Monday, 18 September 2017

Fides Inversa - Rite Of Inverse Incarnation MLP


1. First Congress
2. Rite Of Inverse Incarnation

The nights are drawing in now and it always feels worse on a Monday night, probably due to the stresses and strains of the start of a working week. That's why black metal seems like the only way to find solace this evening. This the latest EP from Italian satanic duo Fides Inversa. It was released by World Terror Committee Productions in January on CD, later followed in March by a single-sided LP pressing. Having released two previous full-lengths since the band's inception in 2006, Fides Inversa (made up of Omega A.D. on drums/vocals and Void A.D. on guitar/bass, though joined here by Wraath providing vocals and Unhold on bass) are starting to unfurl their hatred on the wider human race, with 2018 already due to feature a live appearance at North Of The Wall on our very shores. Prepare to lose faith.

The occult chanting and tortured cries that usher in First Congress paint a grim picture. Baring similarities to the UK’s Akercocke, Fides Inversa uses flowing and melodic guitars and mid-paced percussion to build a sound that’s initially at odds with their satanic billing. When they hit full stride during the second-third of the song, it all becomes clear. They are more orthodox in approach than many of the Italian black metal band’s that have crossed my path of late, without the obvious progressive elements of their fellow compatriots though they are impressive musically and very listenable. 

The title-track that completes this release shows how effective Fides Inversa’s more expansive song-writing is, as like First Congress it stretches towards the ten-minute mark and retains a steely momentum as it goes. it is good to hear a band of their ilk ignoring the kvlt production values of their peers in favour of a clearer sound. It makes their songs standout and actually sound more barbaric as a result. This is one of those records where two tracks simply isn’t enough. While Fides Inversa may not be looking for praise, they are deserving of it. “Rite Of Inverse Incarnation” is a teasingly good record.

You can stream and purchase the record digitally below:-

Physical cd and vinyl copies can be purchased here -

Fides Inversa -
World Terror Committee Productions -

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Integrity - Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume


1. Fallen To Destroy
2. Blood Sermon
3. Hymn For The Children Of The Black Flame
4. I Am The Spell
5. Die With Your Boots On
6. Serpent Of The Crossroads
7. Unholy Salvation Of Sabbatai Zevi
8. 7 Reece Mews
9. Burning Beneath The Devils Cross
10. String Up My Teeth
11. Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume
12. Viselle De Drac (Bonus Track)
13. Entartete Kunst (Bonus Track)

14. Deathly Fighter (Bonus Track)

It's fair to say that Integrity is one band that has always remained a bit of an enigma, at least to me anyway. From their earlier hardcore/metalcore days through to the band's more recent experimental efforts and various line-ups, Integrity has constantly refreshed and reshaped their blueprint. With the release of their ninth full-length via Relapse and renewed line-up, the band seems more approachable (in terms of fan interaction) than ever before. Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume was released on tape, cd and vinyl in July (the latter two formats including three bonus tracks). In December Integrity will be headlining CTW Fest VIII: Judgement Day alongside 108 and a whole host of others, in recognition of UK hardcore label Carry The Weight Records as it is put to rest. Both the poster and the full review are below...

After spending a lot of time listening to previous record “Suicide Black Snake”, it was unclear what any follow-up album was going to be like but Howling… bursts into life with opener Fallen To Destroy and it’s mix of screaming guitar and Dwid’s deep roars. It acts as a precursor to Blood Sermon, which has just a small hint of blackness to it! I’m careful at this point not to pigeonhole it, though there’s plenty of rock ’n roll sensibilities beyond the extremities. There’s definitely no time for hanging about as Hymn For The Children Of The Black Flame brims with thrash and blasts. 

The thicker riffs of I Am The Spell reveal why it was chosen as one of the lead-out songs prior to the album’s release. It’s urgency and power is clear for all to witness. The traditional heavy metal influence rears it’s head again on Die With Your Boots On, twin harmonies and all. The first five tracks are all high-energy numbers, so when Serpent Of The Crossroads begins with a pensive and brooding intro, the direction of travel isn’t clear. What you get is a slow-burning classic with a menacing Southern-drawl and a hardcore backbone. That doesn’t even come close to aptly describing it either! 

The organ that opens Unholy Salvation Of Sabbatai Zevi is perfectly placed as it sends shivers down your spine. This marks the nearing of the mid-point in the record (if you include the bonus tracks) and if you’re fully invested in it then it also marks the point at which your psyche becomes twisted and torn. It’s a crawling piece that conjures up images of demons and the undead, depending on your mindset. 7 Reece Mews is gentler with whispered verses and more stripped back instrumentation, though it does build in volume before the choruses so as not to allow you to drift off at all, which you shouldn’t be doing anyway. The melody from the guitar is starkly beautiful too during the mid-section. 

The bouncing punk rhythms that kick off Burning Beneath The Devils Cross are a shock to the senses, but soon get the blood pumping as Integrity hit their stride. The wall of noise is as exhilarating as it is serious. The momentum from the previous song carries on into String Up My Teeth, with the clean vocals of Monique Harcum and Deacon Douglas Williams ringing out. The title-track brings the mood back down and actually retains a lot of what made “Suicide Black Snake” so unnerving. 

The trio of bonus tracks begin with the acoustic Viselle De Drac, with it’s folk instrumentation and softly spoken lyrics. It’s followed by the quick-fire penultimate track Entartete Kunst, which is sixty seconds of intense feedback-ridden noise. The addition of “Decibel Flexi” track Deathly Fighter at the end is a nice touch and the cover shows off their heavy metal hooks once more. For a band with the history of Integrity, to still be putting out albums of this quality is to be admired and should act as an example of “how to do it” for those less established or just starting out. A furious ride with plenty of variation and excellent song-writing. 

You can stream, download and purchase the remaining vinyl copies/merch below:-

Integrity -
Relapse Records -

The event page for CTW Fest VIII: Judgement Day -

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Noothgrush/Corrupted - Split (20th Anniversary re-release)


1. Noothgrush - Hatred For The Species
2. Noothgrush - Draize
3. Corrupted - Inactive

I went away last week and spent it without my laptop, forcing myself to take time away from the blog  in order to rest. That rest has done me good and while spending over eight hours in the back of a car  travelling home yesterday, I couldn't wait to get writing again. I have a lot to catch up on but as this is my main motivation and passion,  I wanted to make sure I hit the ground running. I'm not starting with a new release today or a new band, in fact this is a reissue of a split that was release 20 years ago. 20 Buck Spin has seen fit to re-issue the seminal doom/sludge split between California's Noothgrush and Japanese act Corrupted. Originally released on both 12" and CD via Reservoir Records in 2007, it's been remastered by Brad Boatright (Audiosiege) and repressed again on 12" vinyl. This version features the three vinyl-only songs from the original release and has new artwork courtesy of Hal Rotter. The 35 minutes to follow will surely be achingly bleak and harrowing if that cover art is anything to go by.

Doom/Sludge has always been a go-to genre of extreme music in recent years for me. The sheer heaviness and extremity of it, coupled with the slower tempos has drawn me in on many a booze-fuelled evening and getting to listen to this re-mastered split reminds me of why. Noothgrush opens it with Hatred For The Species, which is a groove-laden and riff drenched doom song that belies their Californian roots. Thick bass, prominent percussion and tortured vocals are given a boost by the mastering and lead into Draize, with it’s peculiar sample. After the build-up of feedback Noothgrush let rip again. Their sound is hypnotic but there’s also a deceptive momentum to it. The minimalistic guitar section at four-minutes brings forth the quality of the percussion when it joins the fray. This was one of Noothgrush’s early splits but it highlights the difference between them and many of those who followed in their lumbering, heavy footsteps. Pure filthy class with an instrumental quality that's held them in high regard ever since. Japanese music and the bands that have produced it has been another fascination for me and alongside the likes of Boris and Envy, Corrupted sit. While stylistically different to both the former, they’re considered equally important. Their sole-contribution Inactive is lo-fi but somewhat more grim than those of Noothgrush. Droning and darker, it’s far from an easy listen. The guitar is more prominent and the vocals deeper. As the song lurches to it’s end, it becomes more engaging, which is an endearing part of Corrupted’s own sound. Over the years they’ve been able to craft a revered following themselves by building a seemingly bleak noise into something more encompassing. Both Noothgrush and Corrupted have been important in the crafting of today’s musical landscape and on the 20th anniversary of their recorded union they’re equally as relevant.

You can stream, download and pre-order the split (on black, grey or and clear w/black smoke vinyl) via 20 Buck Spin's bandcamp page below:-

Noothgrush -
Corrupted -
20 Buck Spin -

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Viral Graphics: Tour/Gig Poster Essay

A little while ago now, I did a small interview with Greek artists Viral Graphics about the cover art they helped to design for Dephosphorus and their latest record "Impossible Orbits". At the same time I asked them if I could do a feature on some of their tour and gig poster designs, to which they said yes. So here's a little photo essay containing some of the posters they've designed over the last two  years for some great acts...

Nekrofilth - Japan 2017

Bolzer - Athens 2017

Swans - Athens 2017

Archgoat - Athens 2016

Suzuki Junzo/Takahashi Ikuro - Western Japan 2016

Inquisition - Athens 2016

Oranssi Pazuzu/Hexvessel - Athens 2016

Youth Code/Venerence - Athens 2016

King Dude - Athens 2016

Nadja - Athens 2016

Lords Of The Void II: Mortuary Drape - Athens 2016

Lords Of The Void I: Saturnalia Temple - Athens 2016

You can buy art prints direct from Viral Graphics here - and you can get in touch with them about commissions here -

Ensslin - Thumbsucker


1. Humiliation
2. Realm Of Fancy
3. Intimacy
4. Lotus-Eater
5. Not Your Reflection

Here's a band that I got really enthused about when I first heard them. Russian band Ensslin has released this EP and it's due for a physical very soon via a quintet of labels. Ensslin is a emo quintet that takes influence from older bands. The cover for "Thumbsucker' reminds me of those that adorned records by the likes of The Spirit Of Versailles etc. They released their first demo in 2015, which consisted of two tracks and they don't seem to have a social media presence beyond their bandcamp page.

Ensslin has crafted great indie/emo on “Thumbsucker”, with clean vocals that envelope you on EP opener Humiliation. It’s pop-like but it also features plenty of punk rhythms. They remind me of bands like Hopesfall and Time In Malta in places. Realm Of Fancy makes me ache for simpler times with it’s lo-fi yet glorious soundscapes, being both soothing and gentle. I think of Japanese emo when listening to Intimacy for some reason. I guess there’s a similarity between that country’s take on the genre and Ensslin’s sound here. The spoken-word approach on Lotus-Eater, which is backed up by minimalist percussion and guitar work sums up Ensslin for me. Listenable and easy-going seem to be apt descriptors. Closing song Not Your Reflection is almost operatic, but I sense that’s me being a bit pretentious and I don't want to write too much for partly that reason. This is just a lovely EP from a band operating under the radar of many. It’s special. 

You can stream and buy "Thumbsucker" here:-

Keep an eye out for news and order links from the labels involved below:-

strictly no capital letter (UK) -
Rubaiyat Records (UK) - (Note: Rubaiyat Records is closing so I'm not sure if the label will have copies)
Polar Summer (Rus) -
Ruined Smile Records (Aus) -
Waterslide Records (Jap) -

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Feed Them To The Forest - Black Canary/Six Seasons And A Movie EP


1. Black Canary
2. Six Seasons And A Movie
3. The Kids Need New Shoes (Live Session)
4. Six Seasons And A Movie (Acoustic)

Sorry for being so quiet over the last few days, life got in the way and didn't leave me much time to write. I knew exactly where to start tonight though, with the new EP from York punk/rock band Feed Them To The Forest. It features two a-sides in Canary and Six Seasons And A Movie, which were both recorded in 2016 and is accompanied by a live track and an acoustic version of Six Seasons And A Movie. Feed Them To The Forest released their debut full-length EP back in 2015 and the quintet has not been shy about getting around the many live venues in their home county. The EP is due for release this coming Saturday.

Feed Them To The Forest play hook-laden pop-punk/rock with plenty of melody and harmonies. Black Canary brings to mind the likes of Fall Out Boy and the UK’s own Hiding Place. Their sound is pretty polished and the musicianship is strong. Second a-side Six Seasons And A Movie is a sing-along anthem where FTTTF makes full use of the multiple vocalists they have in their ranks. It’s to the point and over all too quickly. They through in a live song on the EP, which is The Kids Need New Shoes from their 2015 debut EP. It’s this song where the lead guitar work really stands out and where the band prove they can really sing. It’s another catchy song, full of British rock sass. I am partial to a good acoustic song as well, so thankfully FTTTF saw fit to include one, a version of Six Seasons And A Movie. I’d go as far to say that it’s better than the full electric version, as the soaring melodies and emotion of the band comes through even stronger. I have no problem with clean/melodic music when it’s done right and this EP is most certainly one such collection of songs. Feed Them To The Forest will appeal to a lot of younger listeners, but may also find themselves worming their way into the heads of some fans of heavier music too. They have done so here. 

You can stream and download both Canary and Six Seasons And A Movie prior to the EP release below:-

Keep an eye on both their bandcamp and Facebook pages for release news.

Feed Them To The Forest -

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Comity - A Long, Eternal Fall


1. I
2. II
3. III
4. IV
5 V
6. VI
7. VII

It's been over five and a half years since "The Journey Is Over Now" was released. It certainly doesn't feel like that long ago! Anyway, in May of this year the self confessed "extreme rock 'n roll" quartet came back with their newest full-length "A Long, Eternal Fall. It was released via Throatruiner Records (home to Direwolves, Plebeian Grandstand and more recently Pyrrhon, to name a few). Comity takes great pride in the fact that they've shared stages with the likes of Converge, Keelhaul and The Dillinger Escape Plan in the past, which is certainly company they deserve to be amongst. That should also give you some idea of where they're coming from.

Not bothering with traditional song-titles, Comity instead use Roman numerals and album opener I contains metallic riffs that bring to mind label-mate Cowards, before the band launches into a heaving, grinding song that is equal parts CTTTOAFF and 5ive. What a way to get the listener’s attention! Their music is filled with off-kilter math and rock ’n roll flair, which only the French seem to be able to pull off properly. II is a collage of layered guitar riffs and head-scratching percussion, but it works oh so well. There’s no point in me trying to categorise this any further so I’m just going to say that III is plain nuts. It’s fast and heavy, with an undercurrent of foreboding atmosphere that makes it sound pretty dark. There’s something of a late 90s retro emo feel to IV, with great melodic riffs fighting for space with the crazed rhythm section and the screamed vocals that seem to come from all directions. It’s a really engaging song as well, as Comity manages to pack a lot into it (including a great mid-section that’s brimming with post-metal/sludge). The thing that really strikes me about the album as V plays is the sheer volume of progression that Comity fits into it. This song in particular goes in all directions, not staying still long enough to pin down. It’s wicked! As the record goes on the songs get longer too. VI is six-and-a-half minutes of utter madness. There’s really no other way to describe it. There’s so much going that it’s sometimes hard to notice the subtle groove and sensitivity that’s present here. Sometimes it’s better to just lose yourself. Talking of losing yourself, the ridiculous eleven+ minutes of VII are perfect for that very thing. I wasn’t entirely sure how Commit were going to fill a song of this length but they do, and they do it with aplomb. After about four-and-a-half minutes the song gives way to feedback, which fades and your greeted with a sole guitar weaving a mournful mood. The strange thing here is that fact that it drops silent just before the ten minute mark, after an extended instrumental section that ends with a sound akin to an air raid siren. The sample at the end gives some respite before album closer VIII. As final songs go, this one really hammers home just how intense and great this record is. Comity has nailed it in every sense of the phrase. 

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

It's also available from Throatruiner Records here -

Comity -
Throatruiner Records -

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Expulsion (Swe) - Certain Corpses Never Decay


1. Extreme Hypothermia
2. Whisper From The Abyss
3. Old Time Entombed
4. The Prophecy Of Doom
5. Cerebral Cessation (Part I)
6. Innominandum (Part II)
7. Darkside
8. Bastard Son Of God
9. Veiled In The Mists Of Mystery
10. Undersea (Part III)
11. Soul Upheaval
12. Lain Hidden
13. Certain Corpses Never Decay

I'm doing that random finger-in-the-air thing again, where I scour the Internet and find a band that's on my review list and write about them. This band just happens to share it's name with a new and notable US death metal band. This particular Expulsion though is a little bit older and a little bit more Swedish. In fact, this band is no longer. Expulsion formed in Vallentuna, Stockholm in 1988 (then known as River's Edge), releasing two demos, an EP, two full-lengths and a split before calling it a day in 1997. In 2014, renowned Dutch extreme metal label VIC Records released this compilation cd featuring the songs from their "Cerebral Cessation" demo, their "Veiled In The Mists Of Mystery" demo, an unreleased 7" single and their track from the "Hymns Of The Dead" compilation. Everything was restored and remastered for this release.

I’ve said before that I get a lot of excitement from listening to music by bands that (in most cases) are long gone or underrated. Swedish doom/death act Expulsion are one of those bands, having last released something of their own in 1996 (their second full-length “Man Against”). I also didn’t realise that the band featured ex-members of Treblinka and later Tiamat amongst others.This collection that was released in 2014 brings together demos and other rare songs and it’s a snapshot into the earlier sound of the band. Extreme Hypothermia is bizarrely up-beat and certainly more death than doom. The sound is very much of its time in terms of production and mastering, but that helps it stay true to it’s origins. It’s very bass-heavy, as evident on Whisper From The Abyss, with some thrash metal elements and extended instrumental passages breaking up the growled vocals. In a time when albums are afforded more sound wizardry, it’s refreshing to hear something that’s not lo-fi but genuinely enigmatic. The majority of songs get close to or surpass the five-minute mark, but as Old Time Entombed demonstrates, they blast along without you realising. The analogue tones just get better throughout this comp, with the lowly guitar on The Prophecy Of Doom sending shivers down the spine and the song’s subtle technicality bringing Expulsion’s musicality to the fore. On hearing the blasts at the start of Cerebral Cessation (Part I) you’d be forgiven for asking where the doom is! There isn’t a lot of it present, but then again it’s all about the atmosphere. The death metal is strong in this one. It’s no surprise then that Innominandum (Part II) is the most energetic song on here, though there’s a u-turn about two-minutes in when Expulsion makes use of a short and atmospheric doom passage to break up the instrumental. Darkside was featured on the “Swedish Death Metal” cd that accompanied Daniel Ekeroth’s book of the same name and it’s easy to hear why. It has a markedly different sound to that of the earlier songs on this comp, with more volume and punch from the instrumentation especially. The intensity of Bastard Son Of God is obvious right from the start and it’s clear that Expulsion still had an ear for catchy songs, even though they were extreme. It’s hard to believe that at this point you’re nearly two-thirds of the way through the record. Veiled In The Mists Of Mystery contains some great angular riffs alongside a lot of groove. The acoustic passage mid-way through is clever and shows a slightly more sensitive side to Expulsion’s song-writing. Their songs also seem to bare a similar theme musically, as the riffs at the beginning of Undersea (Part III) sound smilier to those appearing on earlier songs. That familiarity is good though, as is the added acoustic guitar that adds melody to the gloom. Soul Upheaval takes things back down a more lo-fi path and a more depressive one it has to be said. Penultimate song Lain Hidden contains some thicker riffs and a slower tempo in places. Once again it shows off their technicality well. The dirtiest song (sound wise) is left until the end here and it’s the title-track as well. This album is another one for the hardcore extreme metal fan but it does nothing but good things for the legacy of Expulsion. 

The compilation isn't streaming online but you can buy physical cd copies from VIC Records here -

Monday, 21 August 2017

René Descartes - S/T EP


1. Those Lives Found In That Time
2. Subjugation Of Physical Validation
3. Repressed Life Lessons

It's kind of weird covering a band that have for all intents and purposes, called it day, but nothing in this life is guaranteed. That's what's happened with San Fran quartet René Descartes. This three-song EP was supposed to be on a split, bit instead it's been released as tape by both Structures//Agony Records (US) and Zegema Beach Records (Can). This EP follows a demo that the band released in April of last year. They share (or shared) members with Flowers Taped To Pens and SeeYouSpaceCowboy and play emoviolence. 

René Descartes presents three short and sharp songs here. Those Live Found In That Time is a mix of punk and intense screamo, with crazy yet emotive vocals and synths. It’s stop/start as well, which takes the edge of. Subjugation Of Physical Validation is a fraught mix of sensitive instrumentation and pent-up rage. The lo-fi sound of the band makes the vocals stand out more and the mix of audible spoken-word and screams float over the guitars and percussion. The energy of the band is obvious though these recordings and there’s something about it, an old-school emo vibe that sticks out during Repressed Life Lessons. i don’t know whether it’s my overly tired state right now but the music seems to want to make my brain work overtime. I’ve already mentioned the energy that they have, but there’s also true feeling and angst coming through on this EP, which you couldn’t force or fake. René Descartes may have gone to soon but they leave an impression. 

You can stream the EP and grab it as a name-your-price-download below:-

Tapes can be purchased via the links below:-

René Descartes -
Structures//Agony Records -
Zegema Beach Records -

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Nexul - Paradigm Of Chaos


1. Memoriam
2. Hexecration
3. Wrathful Chaos
4. Dark God Of Paradox & Eternal
5. Leviathan Unbound
6. Chaosipher Tower
7. Serpent Of Acosmic Darkness
8. Paradigm Of Chaos
9. Bringer Of Pandimensional Disrupt
10. Lord Of The Bottomless Sea
11. Drowning Sephiroth

In June I reviewed the 2013 demo "Nexulzifer" by Texan black/death band Nexul. Almost four years on from that demo, they've released their debut full-length via the ever productive US extreme metal label Hells Headbangers. The album has been released across all formats, including cd, tape, vinyl and digital. Nexul's members have an underground pedigree but prefer to stay low-key, especially where modern social media is concerned, in order to let their music have greater impact.

Instead of going on all-out attack with their opening song, Nexul uses organs and bizarre ambience to set the tone on Memoriam. It’s an unsettling start. Hexecration is where they first inflict their hellish sound upon you. It’s lo-fi but that only adds to the decaying black/death march. The guitars and percussion set the tempo high, while the vocals are low and soaked in reverb. Their death metal influence comes to fore thanks to the occasional screaming lead. While Nexul clearly favours pace on Wrathful Chaos, there are elements of a more acrid atmosphere within the music with slower riffs sitting in the mix. With no breath between songs, “Paradigm of Chaos” is an intense listen. Dark God of Paradox & Eternal carries on the band’s barbaric blueprint with little cause for variation. Thrash and black metal converge alongside chunky old-school riffs. The intro to Leviathan Unbound provides some melody before Nexul launches into another attack. Musically they’re faultless at what they do and if you listen attentively, you’ll be able to pick plenty of tempo changes and clever instrumentation. Chaosipher Tower is Nexul at their best in terms of extremity. Insane solos, furious cymbal crashes and a constant wall of sound rarely break and when they do, it’s just so the band can groove in simple majesty. A great way to usher in the latter half of the album. More otherworldly ambience and electronic noises greet you on Serpent Of Acosmic Darkness. It twists and slithers forward for jut over two-minutes and is abruptly silenced by another wave of heaviness. The title-track is a quick-fire twenty-two second blast of noise and bridges into Bringer Of Pandimentional Disrupt, which is dispatched with minimal fuss and the dirtiest death metal riffs this album has to offer. One brief moment of calm comes with penultimate song Lord Of The Bottomless Seas. It’s piano tones are quite hypnotic though and it seems at odds with closing song Drowning Sephiroth, which forms the last raid on both your ears and your senses. As mentioned above, “Paradigm Of Chaos” is not an easy listen but it’s executed well and sounds blistering at higher volume. For the maniacs!

You can stream and purchase on "Paradigm Of Chaos on various formats below:-

Nexul -
Hells Headbangers -