Monday, 28 April 2014

Dephosphorus - Ravenous Solemnity 2LP


I've been quite over the last week, mainly due to other commitments. The good news is that I no longer have to commute for my job, as I have found one closer to home, which means I have more time in the evenings. So without wasting any more time, I've decided to take a look at Dephosphorus's new double LP Ravenous Solemnity.

I haven't featured Dephosphorus here since I reviewed their split with Wake in 2012. I haven't even got round to reviewing their previous LP Night Sky Transform yet! I'll need to remedy that soon. Anyway, Ravenous Solemnity was released in February by 7 Degrees Records and Canadian label Handshake Inc. Those of you who are familiar with his Greek grind-trio will know just how heavy they can be.

Tracklist:-

1. Reversed Into Contraction
2. There Is A Colour
3. Ancient Drone
4. Dark On Dark
5. Astrocyte Portal
6. Storming The Sloan Wall
7. False Vacuum
8. Ravenous Solemnity
9. Towards The Cold, Mysterious Infinity
10. Hammer Of Logic
11. Fountain Of Daggers
12. Buried Alive In Obsolescence
13. Glorification Of The Anti-Life Equation
14. Vicious Infinite Regress

For a trio, Dephosphorus are crushing. Opening with Reversed Into Contraction, they mix grind with hints of straight-up metal craziness. There are moments of angular sludge-riffage and while the tone is bass-heavy, they still achieve menacing swathes of melody. It seems that they’ve definitely taken rock to heart more with Ravenous Solemnity, as is evident during the opening bars of There Is A Colour. The screams of Panos Agoros are tortured with frustration and pain. 

The angular influence within Dephosphorus’s grind during Ancient Drone mixes with the ferocity of the drumming, and drags them away from their staple sound. Dark on Dark however, is as crazy as off-kilter as they get. It’s a shorter song and therefore benefits from a big hit in urgency, which is why they fit warp-speed drumming into the mix, with less of the rock n roll frills.

In case you thought it wasn’t possible for them to hit a higher, adrenaline fuelled level, they prove you wrong with Astrocyte Portal. As a song, it wipes you out and it’s relief mid-point when they settle into a bit of groove. The surprise chanting/singing only adds to the uber-mental feel of the song. Dephosphorus seem to head in so many different directions during Ravenous Solemnity, it can be hard sometimes to pin them down, but they’re nothing short of exhilarating. The screaming solo during Storming The Sloan Wall proves that point on it’s own. I also really like subtle metallic guitar tones.

Their musical prowess is heralded in with False Vacuum, which has a grand backdrop thanks to some excellent guitar work and a more laid back tempo, even if it’s temporary. There are hints of early Mastodon in the song, which you probably wouldn’t expect. It works well. Their longest and most expansive song comes in the form the title track, which is still only just over four-minutes in length. It further expands their arsenal of riffs. It’s a song of two halves for sure, with the second half peddling back into frenzied grind territory after the initial complexity of the first half. Musically, so far this is a belter.

That melody I talked about earlier on is again more evident during Toward The Cold, Mysterious Infinity. It’s these intro sections that propel this album to greater heights for me, instead of just being another blurring, feedback ridden noise record. Dephosphorus have made something varied and extremely listenable. A lot of that praise should go to John Votsis (Drums) and Thanos Mantas (Guitar, Bass), as without their instrumentation and the album structure as a whole, the overall feel would not have been possible.

Hammer of Logic and Fountain of Daggers hark back to the chaos of earlier releases, but with the band’s more controlled aggression, don’t end up off the scale. The true dissonance within Dephosphorus’s sound is heard in Buried Alive In Obsolescence, as things take a blackened-turn. The vocals are more akin to black metal, as is the overall melody and speed of the song. The cymbals crashes that appear higher in the mix, also bring forth the metallic edge too.

From then on, it’s just a chaotic ride to the end of Ravenous Solemnity thanks to the duo of Glorification Of The Anti-Life Equation and Vicious Infinite Regress. The breadth of power that exposes itself during these two songs, seals this double LP as a huge success in my eyes. It might be grim and evil to the uninitiated but it reveals itself as a thing of beauty if you give it chance. It might take multiple listens to unearth its subtle layers, but then the best albums don’t reveal their cards too early do they!

Listen to Ravenous Solemnity in it's entirety here:-



You can purchase it both digitally and physically from the above bandcamp page.


You can also purchase it from 7 Degrees Records at http://7degrees-records.de/ and from Handshake Inc at http://shop.handshakeinc.com/Vinyl.

Dephosphorus Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dephosphorus

7 Degrees Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/7DegreesRecords
Handshake Inc Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/handshakeinc

Monday, 21 April 2014

Bands I've Come Across On The Internet Pt:1

Recently (this morning), I was browsing the latest editions on Metal Archives and was thinking about which bands I'd work with if I ran a label. This isn't a new thing, as not only do I constantly like to discover new bands but also wish I had the money (replace that with courage) to start my own label and help bands get their music out there.

This blog post, which I hope will become a permanent thing, aims to shed light on bands that I've found on the Internet that I think are really cool and should be heard.

Before I go any further, I'd also like to apologise for the lack of Umlauts below. Blogger doesn't seem to allow me to add them into the band names where appropriate.

1. DRoN



This band epitomises what I was talking about above. They're a stoner/metal duo from Aarhus, Denmark. They have so far released a two-song demo in 2011 and then they followed it up with a 7" called Judas in late. 2013. They didn't hang around and wait for someone to release their music, they decided to take full control of the EP release, including the record pressing and the expense that comes with it.


They've released the EP on their bandcamp page where it's available for streaming, as a free download. You can also pick up the 7" to help the band out.



DRoN Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dronweb


2. Hellraisers



The next band I came across was Spanish blackened-speed metal band Hellraisers.  These guys are pretty new, having only just released their first tape demo "Rot In Pain" in the last 24 hours!. They're influenced by old-school bands like Motorhead and Hellhammer and their tape even features a Damnation cover song. Witch Ripper, Hellstorm and Sadistic Vomitor (ace names) are doing it right and their crush-all-posers mentality proves that they're serious about what they do.

Their demo is streaming on their bandcamp page, where it's also up for free download:-



You can also purchase a tape directly from the band by dropping them an e-mail.

Hellraisers Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/HellraisersRNR


3. Pest Hole



Pest Hole are a Thrash/Crust band from Brandenburg, Germany. They formed it 2013 and have recently released an five-track LP called Perdition through German label Angry Voice Records, which was mixed by Jocke from Wolfbrigade!


You can stream five songs from the LP via their bandcamp page:-



The LP can be purchased from Angry Voice Records here - http://angry-voice.de/

Pest Hole Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/PestHole666
Angry Voice Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Angry-Voicede


4. Old Graves



I couldn't write a list without adding a black metal band to it. Old Graves is a solo-project from British Columbia, Canada. Old Graves debut EP Like Straining Boughs was only released on the 15th of April and is absolutely stellar. Mainly instrumental, but with distant vocals that sit deep within the mix. It's really good stuff.

You can stream it below and it's also available as a name-your-price download:-



Old Graves Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/oldgraves

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Suffering Mind/SixBrewBantha - Split 7"


Well, I hope you all had a good Record Store Day. Though I think those that read this blog will know what a waste of time it's become and would rather support DIY/small labels all year round. I took advantage a grab box deal from Life To Live Records and picked up a record from Dog Knights Productions that I didn't yet own, which coincidentally was an "unofficial" RSD release but was the same price as usual from the label, which I'm pleased with.

Anyway, it's time for some grind and this 7" is a rager. Perennial Polish grinders Suffering Mind (who seem to release a hundred records a year) and like minded Canadian dudes SixBrewBantha teamed up towards the end of last year to release this record. This was released by Halo of Flies, so that should be a sign of it's quality. Suffering mind pitch in with five songs while SixBrewBantha contribute four. The record is nearly sold out too, so be quick if you want one!

Tracklist:-

1. Suffering Mind - Niezdolni Do Walki
2. Suffering Mind - Nie Zatrzymam Sie
3. Suffering Mind - Kolejny Medialny Obrazek
4. Suffering Mind - Prawicowa Zaraza
5. Suffering Mind - Kompendia Nienawisci
6. SixBrewBantha - Game Show
7. SixBrewBantha - Corroding From The Inside
8. SixBrewBantha - Confined
9. SixBrewBantha - Excesscrement

I don’t think I need to go into to much detail about Suffering Mind now. They’ve been featured here a number of times and remain one of the most revered names in modern powerviolence. Here, they spit forth five short blasts of which four are under a minute. Niezdolni Do Walki is as chaotic as you’d expect from the band, with their characteristic chunky riffs while Nie Zatrzymam Sie speeds by before you have chance to take it in.  Kolejny Medialny Obrazek features more of the high/low vocal contrast that SM are known for, while Prawicowa Zaraza hints at their more sludgy, groovy leanings, while the rhythms are noticeably off-kilter. Their final addition to the split, Kompendia Nienawisci has a much more menacing atmosphere and a prolonged instrumental mid-section with some mean riffs. The stop/start aesthetic and the spoken work sample shows variation and with that their side ends, as quickly at it started. I still don’t know how Suffering Mind continually manage to release music that while fast, maintains an edge of quality that other powerviolence manage to struggle to achieve, but somehow they do and it’s purely out their love of the genre and their hatred of posers!


SixBrewBantha are a newer name to me but one that I’m familiar with none the less. Their sound is equally as thick, especially in the guitars and their drums sit more prominently in the mix. Game Show and Corroding From The Inside seem to feature  more obvious metal influences, especially in the riffs of the latter. Confined is brutal and neck-snappingly fast. It’s features more of a punk edge too. Their closer, Excesscrement (best song-title for a power violence song ever!) sums up SBB for me. Their wall of sound is immense when all parts are fused together, yet they sound controlled, which stops their music from sounding like a feedback-drenched mess. There is some stop/start sections between some of the transitions, but you wouldn’t begrudge them a break of a few seconds when they play so fast. As ever, it’s great to see two bands from different corners of the globe appearing together and highlights the sense of community within grind/powerviolence. SBB are definitely up there with their peers in Water Torture and Dead Church and are another band that deserve your attention.

You can blast the entire split over at Halo of Flies here -




Halo of Flies pressed 700 copies of this split. 500 on black vinyl, 100 on red vinyl and 100 on white vinyl. There were also 50 special packs containing all three-colours. You can still pick up copies directly here - http://www.halooffliesrecords.com/label-releases/halo63-suffering-mind-sixbrewbantha-split-7/.

Suffering Mind Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Suffering-Mind
SixBrewBantha Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/SIXBREWBANTHA
Halo of Flies Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/HALOOFFLIESRECORDS

Friday, 18 April 2014

Totem Skin - Still Waters Run Deep LP


It's great to see a band that you've been following for a long time, finally getting a full release. That's exactly what happened with Swedish hardcore band Totem Skin. After releasing their debut self-titled EP in August 2012 and then their second EP These Ghosts Are Haunting Our Halls in March last year, they joined forces with prolific UK label Dog Knights Productions to release their debut LP in October. The LP was limited to 300 copies. 100 on heavyweight 180g Black vinyl and 200 copies on rather stunning clear vinyl with black splatter. Plus the artwork is worth the price of admission on it's own.

This year, they're touring whenever possible. They'll be hitting the road in Heart On My Sleeve and will be playing shows in Germany, Poland, Austria and the Czech Republic as well as playing in Brighton in September, at the awesome This Is Your Last Chance To Dance all-dayer with tonnes of awesome like-minded bands. I'm just hoping they'll make it further up North at some point.

Tracklist:-

1. Kargt Landskap
2. Still Waters Run Deep
3. The Romans Make A Desert And Call It Piece
4. Atrophy Of The Heart
5. At The Forest's Edge
6. In Darkness I Sleep
7. Seasons Don't Fear The Reaper, We Can Be Like They Are.

When I first came across Totem Skin, I was taken aback by their crust infused screamo sound, as it didn’t really sound like anything else I’d heard. This band opened me up to so many other great Swedish bands, some of which I’ve featured on here. This LP got me equally excited when I first heard of it’s impending release and even though I’m a little late in reviewing it, I’ve been listening to it solidly over the past few months. 

Kargt Landskap is a loud opener and definitely signal of intent from Totem Skin. There’s a lot of cymbal use in it, but it’s balanced out by the melodic guitar and searing screams that flourish throughout the song. With the title track, the band takes a more instant approach. It seems a lot heavier and the riffs are genuinely huge. Their link toward emo comes in the form of the more atmospheric sections to their music, which breaks up the volume and sheer power of their music.
You’ll definitely feel that power during The Romans Make A Desert And Call It Peace. It’s another quick fire blast that's more on the crusty side. The polar opposites between all-out Totem Skin and quieter, more reserved Totem Skin are what makes Still Waters Run Deep special for me.

With Atrophy Of The Heart their sound takes a slightly gloomier turn but that’s not a bad thing. The drum beat that comes in after the initial guitar intro is such a glorious addition and you just know that as the song builds, it’s going to be both cathartic and exciting. It’s nearly eight-minutes long and sees Totem Skin hitting more creative buttons. The instruments are stripped back slightly during the mid-section of the song but burst back into life when they hit full flow. That brooding melody is still sitting in the mix too, with just enough space to breath alongside the feedback and distortion.

They change tack slightly with At The Forest’s Edge and seem to take a leaf out of punk’s book. The riffs have a melodic-hardcore tone too them. It’s good variation and sits well alongside their intensity during the song. They made a tour video for this song too, which is a must see if you haven’t already.
It’s followed by another short blast by the name In Darkness I Sleep. The low-end add some real heft to this song, especially during the brief, sludgy section. 

It’s a mere precursor though to closer Seasons Don’t Fear The Reaper, We Can Be Like They Are. The riffs are at their biggest here and the overall feeling is one of absolute euphoria. Euphoria because not only have you made it through but that you’ll be cleansed by this mammoth song. It’s filled with the dark atmosphere that courses through the record but also due it’s mainly instrumental nature, it gives strange relief. When the vocals do kick in though, it’s like a big release of emotion and frustration. It lifts you, which is a funny thing to say about music so heavy and so seemingly angry. Things settle down mid way through and the hardcore is replaced by a mournful guitar section and sample. The calmness is shattered before the end with one final blast of majestic noise. 

Here's the video for At The Forest's Edge - 




You can stream the entire LP via Totem Skin's bandcamp page here -



You can download it as a name-your-price download from the above page.

LP's can be bought from Totem Skin's at their gigs and also from Dog Knights Productions here - http://dogknightsproductions.bandcamp.com/album/dk048-totem-skin-still-waters-run-deep-12-lp

Totem Skin Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/totemskin
Dog Knights Productions Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dogknights

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Megalodoom - Indiana Jones And The Temple of Grief Tape


Well we made it. It's the extended Easter weekend and what better way for me to start than with some instrumental doom metal, courtesy of Megalodoom. Their debut EP Indian Jones And The Temple of Doom was released in late 2013 digitally and on tape via Dutch label Tartarus Records and the best new doom label in the UK, Dry Cough Records. The tape comes housed in a swish, screen-printed light blue case and inside the dark blue cassette comes with a free download code.

Megalodoom themselves come from Nottingham and feature current and ex-members of Bismuth, Diet Pills, Jesus of Spazzareth, Huffin Paint and Year of The Flood, plus many more. They chose to go down the instrumental route when they couldn't find a suitable vocalist.

Tracklist:-

1. Indiana Jones And The Temple of Grief
2. Vodka Slugs
3. Super Pursuit Mode
4. Kali Ma, Shakti De

The thing that always inspires me about doom and sludge is that underneath the vocals, there’s always plenty of great musicianship to get immersed in. Thankfully then, Megalodoom are instrumental so you can dive straight into it. They kick things off with the EP title track and straight away, it’s pure riff worship. It really is immersive music and having the longest song at the start really gets the listener involved early on. 

The dual guitar attack and the added low end makes everything shake and the drums will make you instantly bang you head, if you happen to catch them live. The other giveaway with their sound is the piercing feedback that adorns the start and finish of the opener. They are more urgent with Vodka Slugs and condense their doom into a quick, sub-four minute burst of groove more akin to sludge. That said though, they do bring the pace down to walking speed towards the end. They are very minimal at times too, leaving the drums and lowly bass to close off the song before one last burst of groove.

Since Sabbath poured their black-country misery over rock and created a new genre of metal, bands have been playing their own take on doom (not always very successfully) but not all are brave enough to tackle it without the safety net of vocals, so Megalodoom are letting their instruments do the talking and they’re all the better for it. Super Pursuit Mode feature not often hear treble from the guitars, which adds extra atmosphere to the tape.

Another shorter blast by the title of Kali Ma, Shakti De ends it all with more groove and even more prominent jazz elements, including some great drum work. Four tracks isn’t nearly enough here, so if you’re anything like me, you’ll have the tape of repeat. I’m just sorry I haven’t reviewed it until now. 

Stream it all on Megalodoom's band camp page here:-



You can buy the EP both digitally and on tape from Megalodoom above.

You can also buy it from Dry Cough on tape here - http://drycoughrecords.bigcartel.com

Physical tapes have sold out from Tartarus Records.

Megalodoom Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Megalodoom
Dry Cough Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/DryCoughRecords
Tartarus Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/TartarusRecords

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Idle Class - The Drama's Done


I'm in a punk mood tonight. It might have something to do with the sunny weather and the impending four-day Easter weekend. I'm writing tonight about German punk band Idle Class and their late 2013 album, The Drama's Done. I've always really liked European punk, though I'm not as clued up on it as I should be.

Idle Class sight Polar Bear Club and Strike Anywhere amongst their favourite bands. I reviewed the recent record from their Austrian neighbours Astpai late last year and loved it, so Idle Class should be no different. The Drama's Done is the bands debut album and follows their 2012 EP Stumbling Home. The album has been released digitally, on CD and on LP (the LP was released via Blackstarfoundation).

Tracklist:-

1. Essence of Every Fight
2. Chances Are For Poets
3. Home? Prove It
4. Han Shot First
5. Pass On The Bottle
6. Defiant Kids
7. Last Night I Got Drunk With Mark Twain
8. Bridges Blues
9. Angus One
10. Sometimes You Eat The Bear

Idle Class follow the gruff punk blueprint, with vocals that mix shouted vocals with gruff-melodic singing. It’s all held together by the drums on opener Essence Of Every Fight, which are a common theme across punk especially when they punch out quick rhythms as good as this. The guitars are a bit understated behind the singing, but their melodies are uncomplicated and played well. I’m a sucker for gang vocals too! After the raucous opener, Chances Are For Poets is a shorter song, with more a majestic atmosphere and a killer sing/shout-along ending. Idle Class transport me back to the early days of my exploration into punk and heavy music, when I used to listen to band like The Offspring and NOFX (we had to start somewhere!). Home? Prove It! is like a calling card. It’s almost familiar, even on the first listen, such is the ease at which Idle Class deliver it. Han Shot First features an unexpected drum beat at the start, which might throw you off slightly. It kind of sounds like the intro to a Korn song. Don’t worry though, they haven’t gone all nu-metal or anything. Han Shot First is still a raging melodic punk song. I think my favourite track on the album is Pass On the Bottle

The multiple-vocalist approach is used throughout The Drama’s Done, but here it just seems to work so well and the dual guitar melodies that sporadically appear during Defiant Kids are equally great. This is what Slam Dunk fest in Leeds used to be like, before the proliferation of fashion-punk and supposed “emo” took over. Last Night I Got Drunk With Mark Twain seems to have a sound all of it’s own, thanks to the guitar tone that’s used during the chorus. It sounds like they’ve embraced ska-punk. The songs on The Drama’s Done are short and punchy, but feature enough variation to stop you from pressing skip (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway!). Bridges Blues is a summer party sing-along anthem. I’m also pretty surprised that Idle Class steer clear of using their native accents too much, as they do sound Americanised, which I guess is a symptom of listening to their favourite bands. They slow things down with punk balled Angus One, which leads you into album closer Sometimes You Eat The Bear. What an end it is as well. It has the same impact that the album opener had, which is good because it helps Idle Class end with strong momentum. This album has succeeded in satisfying my craving for punk and it’s definitely an album that I’ll be revisiting a lot. At the moment, US punk has a lot to answer for so thank god for our European neighbours. I hope that Idle Class come across to the UK soon, as i’d love to see them.

You can stream The Drama's Done via the Blackstarfoundation's Bandcamp page here:-



You can buy The Drama's Done digitally as well on CD and vinyl from the above page too.

Idle Class Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/idleclass
Blackstarfoundation Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Blackstarfoundationrecords

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Mean Little Blanket - Blast Off!


The thought occurred to me the other day after reading a Facebook post about 2014 music. I haven't actually listened to or reviewed much of it lately. I'm remedying that with something very new, from a pretty unknown band. Mean Little Blanket are a three piece from the States and Blast Off! is their debut album. They describe themselves as math and jazz-laden hard rock band and take influence from bands like Between The Buried And Me, Coheed And Cambria and Incubus. Not a bad selection and a big hint as to what you're gonna get musically.

Tracklist:-

1. Don't Be Scared It's Only A Crescendo
2. Everybody's Good
3. Bermuda
4. Wide Eyed
5. Inner Mission
6. Your Monster, My Ancestor
7. Samhain
8. Sweet 16
9. Power Wash
10. Carthage

In terms of technicality, Mean Little Blanket were pretty accurate with their influences. Straight from the off, Don’t Be Scared It’s Only A Crescendo is full of off-kilter time signatures and poly-rhythms.  It’s features very assured musicianship especially in the more introspective, jazzy sections and the vocals of Corey Dozier are clean and compliment the music well. It’s also an ambitious opener at just over nine minutes in length, but they can justify it solely by the quality of the mid-section guitar solo.
Mean Little Blanket abandon the uber-mathy on Everybody’s Good, but writing a really danceable rock song that stays that brings to mind the Chilli Peppers, with the exception a little prig flirtation in the middle. The breadth of their music creativity continues at pace with Bermuda, where they tackle blues/country guitar with added rock swagger. There is lot going on Blast off! so you won’t be in for an easy ride, but then if you’re used to progressive rock and metal, you’ll be aptly prepared to be pulled and pushed in opposing directions on a dime.

Mean Little Blanket seem to have stumbled upon something great here. They have the kind of sound that will appeal to both heavy music fans and traditional rock fans. Wide Eyed has the intelligence to be both easy to listen to and technical, which is testament to the band’s writing. It’a helped a lot by a more focused song structure and really good production. They go from Wide Eyed to Inner Mission, which is a mammoth of a song at over twelve minutes. You know what to expect here. That’s right, pretty of semi-improv jazz and experimental sensibilities. This is where each member’s skill really comes into it’s own. For a moment, you forget that you’re listening to a progressive rock album and are transported to a hip jazz bar somewhere. It’s bloody good.

Following that, Mean Little Blanket head back in an earlier direction with Your Monster, My Ancestor. It’s a briefer song all round but still features plenty of math-elements and some great riffs. They follow immediately with Samhain and the first hint of their obvious fondness of Coheed And Cambria (which I also share). Sweet 16 is a blinder. Okay it’s short by their terms, but it has the same danceable swagger that Everybody’s Good did earlier and it pokes fun at popular prom queens. What’s not to like. With penultimate song Power Wash and closer Carthage, Mean Little Blanket prove they’ve well and truly settled into Blast Off! and as musicians in general. This album ain’t just for rock lovers/ it’s for music lovers and I’m converted. Hopefully, more people will check them out too.

You can stream the entire album via the band's Soundcloud page here - 

https://soundcloud.com/drumz86

Mean Little Blanket Website - http://www.meanlittleblanket.com/Home_Page.html
Mean Little Blanket Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/meanlittleblanket

Monday, 14 April 2014

Noisem - Agony Defined


I remember reading the buzz around Noisem when they were called Necropsy. That was when I first clapped eyes on that amazing cover art. They've come along way in  a short space of time. They initially released Agony Defined under the title of Endless Aggression, on limited tape and cdr through Black Mess Productions, then got snapped up for a full release by A389 Records, changed their name and now they're on tour thanks to Decibel magazine, with Gorguts, The Black Dahlia Murder and Carcass! That's not to mention the Decibel flexi that recently came out too.

They play beyond their years, as has already been said by so many others, but they're bringing death/thrash to a new level and a new audience. I can't wait for them to visit the UK, as I think they'll go down a treat.

Tracklist:-

1. Voices In The Morgue
2. Birthing The Bestial
3. Desire And Disgust
4. Mortuary
5. Rotten Remains
6. Severed
7. Split From The Inside Out
8. Chronic Dementia
9, Agony Defined

You know a record is gonna be good when it starts with screaming solo, within the first ten seconds. Voices In The Morgue is the exact impact you should get, when listening to thrash. Noisem hit the nail on head, with dark old-school death metal vocals and no stupid electronic effects. Just killer buzzsaw guitar, lead work and pummelling drums.  Not wanting to lose any momentum, they go straight into Birthing The Bestial. Noisem don’t mess around. Their songs are short, sharp and to the point. This isn’t chin stroking prog after all. I really don’t want to make any comparisons here, so I’m not going to. Desire And Disgust just reminds me of when I first came across bands playing the death/thrash crossover except thanks to the production, this is more palatable but also equally and evil. 

The song titles pull no punches and leave under no illusion as the type of altar Noisem worship at. Mortuary and Rotten Remains both come in at under three-minutes each, but don’t need any more time at all. All of the right elements are there and Noisem put them together to their advantage. If this doesn’t make you grin from ear to ear, then you’re a heartless soul. The other thing that makes Agony Defined such an engaging listen is the fact that the lyrics are audible. Tyler Carnes delivers them with a deathly rasp, but doesn’t elect to go all guttural. That’s the old-school touch again though and I use that term with the best possible intentions. 

Severed reminds me of the first time I ever saw Evile play. It’s got the same jaw-dropping ability that makes you take a step back. Compared to Severed, Split From The Inside Out is long! It’s okay though, because it slays with copies amounts of double bass and even the more atmospheric mid- section screams brutality as it leads you into another brilliant solo. I’ve run out of things to say about this and I’d just be repeating myself anyway. I’ll just sit back and headbang to Chronic Dementia and Agony Defined instead. Both of these tracks end everything of flailing, thrashing fashion. This album is so infectious. If you’ve been living under a very dark rock and haven’t heard it year, I implore you to do so or you’ll be banished into chartdom for all eternity!

You can stream the entire album at A389's bandcamp page:-



You can buy it both digitally and physically from the above page too. It's available both as a CD and on vinyl or you can head to the A389 online store at http://shop.a389records.com

Noisem Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/NoisemBaltimore
A389 Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/a389recordings

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Wits End/Human Hands - Split 7"


I've decided that after every review I write, I'm also going to write a 7" review. I feel there's so many that I've been missing out on. Take this one for instance, the 2013 split between Norwegian emo band Wits End and Birmingham's own Human Hands. It featured two tracks and was a collaborative release between Eat A Book Records, strictly no capital letters, Adagio 830, Time As A Colour and Lila Himmel (RIP).

Tracklist:-

1. Wits End - Seeing Through
2. Human Hands - Matchsticks

Seeing Through by Wits End is spacious and melodic. It feels like they’re playing on a cliff overlooking  a huge lake or on top of a mountain, such is the grandeur of their indie-infused screamo. The guitars lay a light melodic scent for the vocals to follow, while the drums are played with thought and care, so as not to overpower the rest of the music. 


Human Hands are a similar prospect with Matchsticks, but they lean more toward the sad end of the spectrum. The clean guitar that helps the song build and the vocals that sit behind them in the mix, present their own uniqueness.  It’s dreamy and provides a calming opposite to Wits End and their more frantic screamo. 

Here’s two bands that I haven’t explored enough yet, but will definitely been doing. 

Stream it here - 




The split is sold out from the labels that helped to release it, but I've posted links to their stores anyway -

East A Book Records -  http://eatabookrecords.blogspot.co.uk
strictly no capital letters - http://sncl.collective-zine.co.uk
ADAGIO 830 - http://www.bisaufsmesser.com/store/label-releases
Time As A Colour Records - http://timeasacolor.com/shop/

Wits End Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wits-End
Human Hands Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Human-Hands
Eat A Book Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/eat-a-book-records
strictly no capital letters Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/strictlynocapitalletters
ADAGIO 830 Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ADAGIO830
Time As A Colour Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/timeasacolor

Stalwart - Manifest of Refusal


I'm once again raiding my (digital) review pile for a new band, that's never been featured but that hopefully people will be into. Russian band Stalwart have been playing death/thrash since 1999 and and have released five albums, this being the latest. They play regularly across Russia and the Ukraine, even supporting Behemoth in St Petersburg, which must have been pretty epic. Manifest of Refusal was released in 2012 via Canadian metal label PRC Music.

Tracklist:-

1. The Karma Circle
2. Downgrade Evolution
3. Rise Of The Ninth Wave
4. Last Dawn Of The Era
5. Corrosion
6. Idol Of The Time
7. It's Just My Choice
8. Manifest Of Refusal
9. Renaissance Through Devastation

Russia’s metal scene, just like the rest of Eastern Europe is booming at the moment and there seems to be a lot of death metal coming to the surface. Stalwart take influence from a lot of their European cousins, but also feature a slightly Tiamat inspired gothic side, with low-whispered vocals and subtle keyboard melodies during opener The Karma Circle. When they let rip, the drumming is very precise and the guitars are full of technicality. Their sound is very futuristic at times, reminiscent of bands like Zonaria and Norther. That being said, Downgrade Evolution has plenty of thrash grooves and a screaming solo, which fits the song like a glove. Stalwart hit a new level of brutal during Rise of The Ninth Wave. It’s bloody fun though and that lead picking is sublime. I have know idea how the double bass can stay at that pace for so long either!

Their songs are very expansive as well. Take Last Dawn of The Era for example; it’s six and a half minutes long and it’s here where you catch a glimpse of the band’s jazz elements. I guess with technical death metal, that’s a given though. Here it outweighs the thrash and even though it’s so fast for so long, it’s varied and keeps you hooked though it’s entirety. After the sprawling mass of Last Dawn of The Era, Corrosion features semi-clean singing in some sections and takes on a slightly more modern-metal stance. It brings to mind Soilwork at times. There are so many parts to Corrosion, it’s easy to forget that you are listening to the same song sometimes.

As Manifest of Refusal speeds along, it gets more and more catchy. The more urgent and shorter Idols of The Time is probably my favourite song on the album. The melodic vocals comes across as a cross between Max Cavalera/Rob Flynn in their delivery and the rhythm section comes over all progressive too, which is no bad thing. The band expertly switches times signatures as the song fades.
Idols of The Time flows effortlessly into It’s Just My Choice and Stalwart just keep getting better. The acoustic sections during the song, when the scream die down are great and are sensitive to the quitter vocals. I really can’t believe this band isn’t more widely known, as their song-craft and musicianship is top notch. Mind you it should be if you’ve released five albums!  

Their death-laden thrash hits back during the title track and ravages you with intense buzz saw riffage and super-human kick drumming. Ending it all with Renaissance Through Devastation, Stalwart end on a real high and leave with pretty obtrusive whiplash. Invest some time in these guys and they will repay you in many riffs and such speed. Awesome, life-affirming extremity.

You can stream Manifest of Refusal in it's entirety here:-



You can by the CD from PRC Music here - http://www.prcmusic.com/store/

Stalwart Website - http://stalwart.ru
Stalwart Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/stalwartmetal
PRC Music Website - http://prcmusic.com
PRC Music Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/prcmusiccanada

Monday, 7 April 2014

Moloch (Ukr) - Verwustung


In the final review of my little black metal trilogy, I'm revisiting another solo-project that has been featured a few times before. Moloch (Ukr) has been super prolific over the last few years and thanks to the help of a myriad of DIY and independent record labels, has been able to release more than his fair share of music recently. Already in 2014 Moloch has released a split 7" with Japanese black-thrash band Sabbat and now comes the 12th full-length, Verwustung.

Tracklist:-

1. Todesstille
2. Blutmond
3. Spiritueller Selbstmord
4, Negativitat
5. Nur Der Tod Ist Wirklich
6. Die Kalte Der Ewigkeit
7. Du Bist Nichts In Dieser Sterbenden Welt
8. Verwustung

I know Moloch as a very measured black-ambient band. By that, I mean that Sergiy doesn’t rush things and lets songs build of their own accord. Opening track Todesstille is an extended instrumental track making use if Moloch’s ear for atmospheric ambience. As with my two previous reviews, Moloch’s creator plays all the instruments and delivers the vocals, without too many outside influence/hindrances (delete where applicable). Blutmond is the first glimpse at Moloch’s blackened blueprint. Sergiy has stated the for the first time, the song lyrics have been written in old English and Latin languages, as opposed to his favoured Russian/German tongue. while you may struggle to decipher the specific language amongst the icy screams, there’s no denying that Moloch new, catchier sound and songwriting shows a clear progression.

There is plenty of metallic bite from the guitar during Spiritueller Selbstmord and the haunting choral singing that site just behind adds a great new texture to Moloch’s music. The production and mastering on Verwustung seems to have vastly changed Moloch’s sound and even though the step up isn’t huge, it still makes you forget that this is but one man. Negativitat sounds mighty yet still manages to hang onto enough live atmosphere. The new and more focused song lengths also go a long way to improving the listening experience on Verwustung. Nur Der Tod Ist Wirklich lasts just over four and half minutes but contains all the momentum needed to keep you hooked.

The pitches of Sergiy’s screams during Die Kalte Der Ewigkeit hark back to some of his previous releases, where he seems to take on various maddening souls, that emit themselves through his vocal chords. It’s harrowing stuff for the uninitiated. Moloch takes things down a more minimalist route with the intro of Du Bist Nichts In Dieser Sterbenden Welt. It’s quiet and lowly to begin with, but don’t let that fool you as it’s the last full black metal song on the album and as a result, it’s a bit of a scorcher.

The closing title-track is also instrumental and once again ensures that there is a nudge of ambience floating through the release. Whats different about this piece is the improvisational piano that fluctuates through it. It has a slight resemblance to the music from Silent Hill:The video game (how many times have I said that about ambient music!). All in all, this is probably the best body of work I’ve heard from Moloch. It shows a new, more focused approach and is something that I’ll definitely be listening to again and again. If you’re already a fan of Moloch or want somewhere to start, this is probably a decent place.

You can stream and download the album (also with a bonus demo track) here - 




There are various places in which to purchase physical copies of Verwustung -

Firstly, from the above Bandcamp page along with other merch packages.

Europeans can head to Human To Dust Records to buy the CD - http://human-to-dust.de
People in Asia can head to Hidden Marly Productions - http://hidden-marly.org
If you're in the States, go to Metallica Media - http://www.metallic-media.blogspot.co.uk
Tape versions can be purchased from Acephale Winter Productions - http://acephalewinter.bandcamp.com

Moloch Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Molochukr
Human To Dust Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/human.to.dust
Metallica Media - https://www.facebook.com/MetallicMedia
Acephale Winter Productions Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Acephale-Winter-Productions


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Deviator - To Forgotten Path - Triumph of The Will


The second review in my Eastern European trilogy features Ukrainian solo-black metal project Deviator and the band's latest compilation To Forgotten Path - Triumph of The Will.  This is a very new release, having only seen the light of day in January. It gathers up re-recordings, including four from the 2009 full-length Mighty Black Inner Flame and one from Voice of The Native Blood. The final three songs featured on Fehu-Fohat-Fire. It feels a bit strange to be reviewing a release solely made up of re-recorded material or music that has appeared on a previous album, especially with so many new releases coming out all of the time, but I guess it's an artists perogative in terms of what they release and Deviator has featured on This Noise Is Ours a few times in the past.

Tracklist:-

1. Forgotten Hope
2. Mighty Black Inner Flame
3. Undying Darkness
4. Raw Symphony of Sorrow
5. Thy Blood In My Veins
6. Way of Warriors - Hymn To Immortals
7. Eternity of Blood
8. Burning Bridges Becomes Ashes

To Forgotten Path… starts with four songs from 2009’s Mighty Black Inner Flame and like that album, the opener is instrumental song Forgotten Hope. Starting with an instrumental song is always a bold move for a band, but it actually sets off the compilation well with a rousing build-up. It’s also instantly obvious that the re-recording process has worked in Deviator’s favour, as the sound is bigger and clearer. Thankfully though Deviator’s rawness hasn’t fully disappeared and with Might Black Inner Flame, it comes through loud and clear as the bands black metal takes hold. Whereas Astarium yesterday was textured and more mournful at times, Deviator projects an icier image. That coldness follows on into Undying Darkness. The majority of this song is instrumental, but it does contain a few blasts of Lord Hastner’s black metal bark.

The final re-worked track from Mighty Black Inner Flame, Raw Symphony of Sorry, benefits from increased volume thanks to the production and mastering job. It makes it sound more threatening and it’s the only other instrumental song on the compilation, which means the second half of the album is hate-fuelled black metal, right to the very end. Thy Blood In My Veins is the final re-recorded track and featured on the 2010 full length Voice of The Native Blood. The vocals here are very different to that of previous songs, with them being almost spoken at time, with a strange effect running through the mic.

The final three songs all appeared on Fehu-Fohat-Fire that was released in 2012. Lord Hastner uses more of his native tongue on Way of Warrior-Hymn To Immortals and the song does show a progression in his song-writing skills following previous releases. Deviator’s black metal does sound more authentic with the Ukrainian vocals to me and the musicianship during Eternity of Blood makes it the standout track on the compilation, with passages that stray close to post-black metal and even doom at times. 


Deviator ends on a very atmospheric note with Burning Bridges Become Ashes. With the exception of the album’s opener Forgotten Path, all of the songs here stretch to over five minutes, with some even reaching past the seven minute mark, so there is plenty for fans to get their teeth into and as mentioned further up, the re-recording has helped brings out some subtleties in the earlier songs, but the compilation does feel like a stop-gap release and I for one am hoping that Deviator brings something more original out in the near future. 

You can hear some of Deviator's work on the bands website here - http://hastner.wix.com/black-flame

You can purchase this compilation from Pesttanz Klangsmiede at the below link -
http://www.pesttanz.com/shop/en/productions--distribution/productions/cds

Deviator Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/DeviatorOfficial-Heathen-Epic-BlackDeath-Metal

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Astarium - Wyrm of Melancholy


I've decided to focus my next three reviews on three bands that have been featured multiple times on these pages. Three bands who play ambient black metal and are located in Eastern Europe. The first of the three is Russian solo-project Astarium. Having already featured Astarium's Ostracism of Anachoret tape as well as the bands three-way split with Gmork and In Tenebriz, it's now the turn of the 2012 full-length Wyrm of Melancholy. Astarium has been releasing music for eight years now and Wyrm of Melancholy is the band's third full length. It was released by Metallic Media.

Tracklist:-

1. Unrelieved Solitude
2. Kingdom of White Madness
3. Voices From The Night Sky
4. Farewell (Last Winter)
5. Revival of Cursed Spirit
6. Velleity About Aeonian Rain
7. Grief of The Fallen
8. When Humanity Will Die
9. Permafrost

I always think that musicians who release music as solo-projects must be very skilled, because not only do they write and play all parts of the music they create, but they also record it all and usually master it to some extent. Astarium has always come across as a very genuine band. With the calm opener Unrelieved Solitude, with it’s sensitive guitar riffs, ambience and whispered vocals you can tell that Astarium cares about the listener. The vocals are in English, which isn’t always the case with bands of this ilk that call Eastern Europe home. The song is the perfect minimal introduction to Wyrm of Melancholy.

Astarium experiments with different instrumental sounds during Kingdom of White Madness. The organ, while electronic, still adds some haunting melody that sits below the blackened vocals. It is obvious that this is a solo-project, but the volume and the quality of the music does not suffer at all. 
There are hints of cosmic influences within the too. The blips and sounds that greet you at the of Voices From The Night Sky sound like extraterrestrials trying to communicate with you through your speakers. The clean guitar and keys that create the initial melody are not reminiscent of the black ambient blueprint that the band follows, but they bring this instrumental song to life.

Farewell (Last Winter) is very dramatic, with orchestral layers and impressive lead work. The gargled black metal growls of SiN give the song a sinister edge. Considering the songs on Wyrm of Melancholy are longer in their lengths and mid-paced, they don’t outstay their welcome or get boring. 
SiN’s appreciation of orchestral arrangements can be heard more clearly during Revival of Cursed Spirit. The song’s verses flow well and the gentle piano provides yet another musical layer to Astarium’s arsenal.  The running water of Velleity About Aeonian Rain provides the perfect backdrop for this shortened instrumental piece. The mood swings back toward darkness with Grief of The Fallen, with the re-introduction of SiN’s growls. 

The penultimate song When Humanity Will Die… is a slow burner. At over seven minutes long, it takes it’s time. The one thing that has struck me about this album is how minimalistic it sounds and how the use of distortion and guitar is not overdone. It’s left to Permafrost to end proceedings with what sounds like a train during the ambient passages of this instrumental song. A lot of care and work was put into this album and while it may not be the kind records that gives you instant gratification, it is still a good listen. It requires your attention throughout and rewards you with some very nice musicianship and overall structure. This might surprise you.

You can visit Astarium's website here - http://www.astarium.ru/eng/index.html. You can download certain songs and purchase Astarium's music from the site.

Astarium Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Astarium
Metallic Media Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/MetallicMedia



Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Hell - III LP


Now for a much darker review, featuring Salem (Oregon) sludge/doom band Hell. III was Hell's third full length and was released in 2012 by Pesanta Urfolk and Eternal Warfare, on LP and tape respectively. It's two tracks lasting nearly forty minutes.

Hell's lone multi-instrumentalist M.S.W focuses on recorded output, while playing live shows with a full band. A split with Thou saw the light of day the same year as this release and as I've only recently reviewed Thou's latest record, I thought I would pay Hell the same level of attention.

Tracklist:-

1. Mourn
2. Decedere

I’m venturing into the unknown again here, as Hell are not a band I’m too familiar with minus what I’ve read in various publications. Mourn starts off with folk-influence guitar. The melody it creates is calming and almost dreamy, though you get the sense that it won’t stay like that for too long. The song builds slowly, with added drum and bass layers making themselves known until the five minute mark when the heaviness sets in. The screams are blackened and bleak. The low-end becomes more prominent as the song flows on and feedback fills the record with menacing atmosphere. Mourn ends how it began, with more clean guitar work, as it fades out.

Decedere features strings during it’s introduction, which further develops the folk-influence and opens up the song before a few seconds of silence. Hell build slowly with gently plucked guitar, which sees them stepping away from blackened funeral doom for a brief time. The clean female vocals add to the occult sense of the band and brings out the character of the record, before hopes of solace are dashed by more jagged black metal screams. The music underneath remains melodic though and the band choose not to make use of the feedback that was carried through Mourn. Don’t worry though, it’s not gone for long though as it mixes with the rumbling bass tones to drag you back into familiar territory. Decedere weaves through many different movements, each creating a separate atmosphere yet still staying true to Hell’s approach and sound.

Despite their billing as a drone/doom band, Hell are so much more. The variation and breadth across these two song on III really make it a pleasurable listen and one which is accessible to more than just the ardent doom fans that plough deep furrows in the underground. Brilliant.

You can stream III via Hell's own bandcamp page here - 



You can purchase III as a digital download and buy other merch from the page too.

You can purchase the LP version directly from Pesanta Urfolk here - http://pesanta.bigcartel.com/product/hell-iii

Eternal Warfare are currently working on setting up an online store.

Hell are not on social media.