Monday 28 December 2015

Khthoniik Cerviiks - Heptaedrone Tape + SeroLogiikal Scars (Vertex Of Dementiia) CD

It looks like Iron Bonehead Productions will be amongst the hardest working labels in 2016, judging the promos I've already received in my mailbox. That's nothing new though! The first promo featured the new record from German black/death band Khthoniik Cerviiks. They've been a unit since 2013 when their previous bands (Zuul and Ignis Uranium) split up. They released two demos prior to their first official release (Heptaedrone) through Iron Bonehead Productions in mid-2014. To give me better perspective on KC's newest album, I've decided to first review the Heptaedrone tape.

Heptaedrone Tracklist:-

1. Khthoniik Cerviiks Exhalement
2. The Grand Sidereal Swindle
3. Colliding Spheres Bend Solar Years
4. Elektriik Redeemer
5. Magmatiik Moil
6. Black Hole Neurotransmission
7. Moraines Of Molten Light (Khthoniik Cerviiks Inhalement)

Heptaedrone was released across two tape pressings and a 12" vinyl pressing via Iron Bonehead. Heptaedrone opens with the nerve-jangling instrumental Khthoniik Cerviiks Exhalement. It’s followed by The Grand Sidereal Swindle, which contains raw and martial black/death metal. The opening riffs from the guitars are hypnotic and are repeated throughout. It’s off-kilter, the drums is chaotic and the guttural growls are deep and disgusting. Their’s is a concept and sound that takes some getting used to, especially (if like me) you’re one of the uninitiated. Yes this is fierce, but actually it’s not as hard on the ears as I first thought it would be. Colliding Spheres Bend Solar Years (great song title) is equal parts driving black ’n’ roll (ala Motorhead/Dodsferd) and swirling death metal, while being thoroughly progressive. The songs contained on Heptaedrone are not short-sharp-shocks. With the exception of the opener, none weigh in at any less than five-minutes in duration. Khthoniik Cerviiks are obviously comfortable with this and Elektriik Redeemer screams along at a pace that keeps you hooked while the overall feel of the song doesn’t allow you to get too close. You’ll want to keep this at arms length to prevent any unwanted psychological damage! The belligerent use of cymbals during Magmatiik Moil highlights KC’s affection for metallic mayhem. They switch from sprawling death metal to NWN! inspired black metal with ease as Black Hole Neurotransmission. The long instrumental builds up and overall musicianship seems to grow in stature as the tape progresses. At times there are also hints of the Industrial veil that shrouds many German extreme acts. If you just sit back and allow Black Hole Neurotransmission to take hold, you’ll be duly rewarded with what could be the standout-song on Heptaedrone. That being said, there is no let up in the pace or the atmosphere as Moraines Of Molten Light (Khthoniik Cerviiks Inhalement) give KC one final vessel in which to corrupt. There are so many elements at play here. KC end proceedings in assured fashion with riffs still ringing in your ears and penetrating your subconscious. Quite an introduction then!

SeroLogiikal Scars (Vertex Of Dementiia) Tracklist: - 

1. Schizophradio (KC Exhalement 2.0: Technocide Inertiia)
2. SeroLogiikal Scars (Sequence 1.0: Vertex Of Dementiia)
3. Miindwrecked (Project Eigengalaxy)
4. Biinary Epitome (Spyder's Web)
5. SeroLogiikal Scars (Sequence 2.0: Veiled Viiral Vektor)
6. Cranial Leftoverture (Angel's Pyramiid)
7. Voiidwarp (KC Inhalement 2.0: Meta Material Monolith)

SeroLogiikal Scars is due for a vinyl release in early 2016. If you thought Heptaedrone was a bit crazy, then SeroLogiikal Scars promises to be even more left field. Album opener Schizophradio (KC Exhalement 2.0: Technocide Inertiia) begins with robotic/sci-fi samples and instrumentation, before KC properly kicks into gear. It’s wholly instrumental and it seems that KC has found more musical cohesion here. SeroLogiikal Scars (Sequence 1.0: Vertex Of Dementiia) demands your attention with more blasting and occasional grunts. Once again, KC plays expansive black/death metal while maintaining their place within the avant-garde camp. Things seem less industrial as well. There’s little or no time for pauses as Miindwrecked (Project Eigengalaxy) begins. Here, the band takes the metallic elements that were present on Heptaedrone and repeats them, but with more control and sensitivity (if that’s possible from a black/death horde!). Despite being the same length (song-wise) as it predecessor, SeroLogiikal Scars feels like more of a journey. It’s a journey that surprises you though, as the semi-acoustic intro to Biinary Epitome (Spyder’s Web) will attest. It switches between up-tempo rhythms and lurching passages with no regard for the listener and that’s before you even get started on the off-kilter grandeur that’s present. There’s also more of a concept to this album, as SeroLogiikal Scars (Sequence 2.0: Veiled Viiral Vektor) highlights. The song itself is more martial at time and keeps momentum high. The ambient riffs that below the vocals are really pleasing on the ear and once again nod towards the band’s black metal influence. Cranial Leftoverture (Angel’s Pyramid) is the most expansive song on SeroLogiikal Scars. KC really invest all of their energy in the song and it very much feels like the culmination of all their efforts both musically and emotionally. It’s a mighty step forward from Heptaedrone. Voiidwarp (KC Inhalement 2.0: Meta Material Monolith) ends the album with a quick and haunting blast of ambience and with it, all resistance is extinguished. 

SeroLogiikal Scars is not yet streaming online, but keep checking Iron Bonehead's bandcamp page in the new year.

Physical copies and pre-orders can be found via Iron Bonehead's online store here -

Khthoniik Cerviiks Facebook -
Iron Bonehead Productions Facebook -

Saturday 26 December 2015

More Than Most - Impossible Is Temporary


1. You're Not Alone
2. Remember Who You Are
3. Save Me From Myself
4. Nightmares

I've only managed to scratch the surface in terms of 2015's releases and next year's are already beginning to role in. Might as well try and start on the front foot! This four-track EP is the debut EP from London-based post-hardcore/alternative quintet More Than Most and it's due out in early February. They began playing together as a band in 2014 and have gone onto share the stage with bands like Mallory Know and Funeral For A Friend, which will give you a bit of a clue as to their sound and direction. 

More Than Most describes themselves as an alternative/Electronica band. On first listen to EP opener You’re Not Alone, it’s tough to tell the difference between this and much of the RnB/Pop that’s in today’s charts. Apart from the chorus (which employs drums and guitars more prominently) you’d be hard pressed to find any link to anything heavier. They rescue themselves with Remember Who You Are, which is a high-octane rock song completed with danceable electronica. More Than Most are a product of the current pop-rock scene that favours slick production and radio-friendly sounds. There’s nothing wrong with that and by beginning their career with that kind of sound, More Than Most don’t set out to mislead anyone. Remember Who You Are is actually a very catchy and professional song. I here Minutes To Midnight-era Linkin Park in Save Me From Myself. It’s a big sound to pull off but they manage to get pretty close at times. All of the songs here follow a similar pattern and length but More Than Most manage to maintain some individuality in each song, so they have their personalities. EP closer Nightmares is more rock-laden and it’s momentum means a strong end to proceedings. Please don’t think that this review is a negative one, it’s just that I’m perhaps a bit jaded towards the more modern, mainstream sound.these days. More Than Most as a band definitely has the skill to climb the ranks and you could well see them playing next year’s big summer festivals, it’s just a bit too pop for me. 

You can stream the song Remember Who You Are via More Than Most's Soundcloud page below:-

More Than Most Facebook -

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails


1. Starlit Path
2, Carved From Stone
3. The Night Reveals
4. The Flesh Prevails
5. Levitation
6. Alone With You
7. Allure
8. Sapphire
9. Chemical Cave

Now I'm not about to throw in the towel and come to the realisation that "I'm not going to be able to review everything I get sent", but I am behind (and with the pace of new releases over the last couple of years, who wouldn't be!). In moments like this I find myself reaching for something a little less recent. The Flesh Prevails was released in 2014 and was released via the venerable Unique Leader. Fallujah signed to Nuclear Blast America this year and are due to finish a European tour alongside label mates Carnifax tonight!

Fallujah forms part of a modern death metal tidal-wave. The sort that’s been brought on by Unique Leader over the past few years or so. I’m not complaining about that at all because modern death metal/metalcore is always a sound I go back to. I like the catchiness and the technicality that bands bring to the genre and Fallujah are a band I’ve criminally overlooked in the past. This album’s opener Starlit Path begins by throwing you completely of track. The measured build and the ambient melody tempers the brutality that follows. As it’s only the first song, you don’t get to hear Fallujah’s full intensity, but us metal fans aren’t the impatient type are we? The Flesh Prevails definitely matches up to it’s billing. Majestic lead guitar, head-spinningly fast drumming and off-kilter time signature make Carved From Stone a tech-death fans dream. There are so many facets to it that it’s hard to pick out just one. Fallujah certainly takes real care over their musical structures. They don’t just throw everything at you. The Night Reveals contains so many jazz/blues elements alongside its death that it’s hard tell that they started life as a blackened deathcore band. The solo work in the song is amazing and stands up well thanks to the cleaner production that the record has. The immediate progression into the title-track is a nice touch too. No time for pauses here! The clean singing adds a further dimension to the music and at times the instrumentation reminds you of Animals As Leaders. It’s really good break from the extremity of the rest of the album. Its over too soon and before long the second half is under way. Levitation takes a more straight-up  and brutal death metal stance (if that was possible with Fallujah!). There are hints of modern electronica on the album, which is something you can never fully escape anymore but thankfully when they’re used in songs as good as Alone With You, it doesn’t really matter. The drop as Alone With You becomes Allure is dramatic. What follows is pretty colossal too! Fallujah’s instrumental approach in the song brings out the best in them musically and I while I like death metal vocals as much as the next man, I really appreciate this kind of thing when it’s done properly. Penultimate song Sapphire is probably as heavy as this band gets on the record. Crunching guitar riffs are used more widely and the super-human kick drums only make it sound more extreme. By the time epic closer Chemical Cave rolls into view, The Flesh Prevails will have you well and truly under its spell. The technical wizardry (of the musicians) and the general feel of the record is one of awe. It may be over a year old now but it stand head and shoulders over a lot of technical death metal I’ve heard recently. 

The Flesh Prevails isn't streaming on official streaming channels through the band or label, so you'll have to buy a physical copy on CD or vinyl from Unique Leader below:-

Sunday 20 December 2015

Downers - Noose 7"


1. Graze
2. Erased
3. Grown Out

I loved Me Vs Hero and was gutted to hear they'd called it a day. Thankfully, out of the ashes of that band (as well as others) comes Downers. Obviously a musician is only as good as their current band, so the comparisons to the former stops here. Downers by their own admission play shoegaze and grunge-laden pop rock. It sounds like a combination that you might not expect to appear on this blog, but I have featured similar bands like Simmer and Playlounge in the past, so am partial to it. Noose is the band's third EP and their second of 2015! It was released in August via Local Colour Records. 

Tuneful and catchy are perfect adjectives for opener Graze. It’s an assured song that teeters between loud walls of guitar and soothing vocals. You’ll on doubt come to your own conclusion about who Downers would sit next to in your record collections, but on first listen this easily stands up on its own. Erased takes the band’s sound and injects a subtle amount of angst but keeps it radio-friendly. The music is textured and layered in such a way that it doesn’t sink into a noisy mess. Downers nod back to the likes of Nirvana and Alice In Chains while not forgetting their past pop-punk endeavours. It’s certainly mature. EP closer Grown Out is a mid-tempo song with plenty of driving guitar. The harsher vocals towards the end highlight their grunge-influence and ups the volume somewhat. I love this EP. Downers are building themselves a solid platform with this and deserve more attention. I think they could breakthrough into the Mainstream in the same way that Mallory Knox did and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t.

Decide for yourselves by streaming Noose below:-

You can download it for £2 from the bandcamp page above or you can grab a 7" from Local Colour Records below -

Downers Facebook -
Local Colour Records Facebook -

Saturday 19 December 2015

Dark Buddha Rising - Inversum


1. E S O 
2. E X O 

Eerie and forlorn doom seems so perfect for this time of year and Dark Buddha Rising is my choice for this afternoon. This secretive Finnish bunch has been spewing out slow occult doom since 2007 and has managed to stay extremely consistent since then, releasing six full-lengths as well as a live recording taken from the pinnacle of European extreme metal, Roadburn in which they appeared in 2012. Inversum is their sixth and latest long-player and is the first since joining forces with Neurot Recordings.

Often with doom it’s all about the build up as opposed to the end product. It’s certainly the case with the haunting and atmospheric E S O. That build-up takes place over meandering ambience, lumbering yet spacious riffs and sensitive percussion. As you’d expect it’s instrumental for long periods. When vocals do eventually appear, they are chanting semi-melodic ones. As the song gets heavier so do the vocals, which turn from the aforementioned chants into distant shrieks. Dark Buddha Rising puts drone to good use as the song passes the ten-minute mark and E S O becomes more and more bewildering, with plenty of experimental flourishes. The experimental and progressive approach carries on through the remainder of the song and it becomes very obvious that this isn’t just your run-of-the-mill doom record. The creaking effects during the early passages of E X O fit the mood perfectly, while the voices conjure images of ancient Finnish moors and roving hordes. The rhythm is more hypnotic and it feels more simplistic overall. E X O is split into movements instead of flowing naturally like E S O did. After the six-minute mark has passed, E X O changes into something more dissonant and menacing. The vocals this time take the form of projected shouting that begins in a clear manner but becomes harsher with time, before Dark Buddha Rising does eventually explode with heaviness. That heaviness is maintained for quite a while before you’re led into a false sense of security by the slowing and calming ambience. The last throw of the dice comes in the form of a pleasing groove that repeats for several bars proving that Dark Buddha Rising isn’t afraid to channel their inner desert-rock band into their music. This is a long and encompassing release that covers lots of ground and emotions. Extremities aside, this is really listenable and enjoyable too. 

You can stream and purchase Inversum here:-

Physical copies can be purchased from Neurot Recordings here -

Dark Buddha Rising Facebook -
Neurot Recordings Faceboook -

Through The Quagmire: Lethal Shock, Solemn Promise and Asilo

I was originally going to start this regular feature in the new year, but I felt compelled to kick it off early. I know I've talked about regular features (that didn't turn out to be so) in the past; however, this time I intend to make it so.

Contrary to what the title might suggest, this feature is not derogatory. By Quagmire, I am merely referring to the sheer amount of bands that appear almost daily and this is my way of trying to guide you through the heaving mass, in order to find something you'll enjoy.

Lethal Shock

I'm opening up with a band that drinks from the genre's purest of waters, heavy metal. Chicago based power-trio Lethal Shock has been around since 2008 yet only released their first demo "Evil Aggressor" last month! They play heavy metal in the vein of Motorhead if they'd been fed through the entire Hell's Headbangers discography, which is apt as they've previously shared the stage with The Lurking Corpses and October 31. Bassist/Vocalist Pat "Noctis" McCormick spent time in Nachtmystium in the early 00's and currently plays bass in Kommandant amongst others. Lethal Shock is completed by Lead Guitarist/Vocalist Steve Beaudette and Drummer/Vocalist Justin Fernal.

Their demo is available for streaming and free download from bandcamp below:-

Lethal Shock Facebook -öck

Solemn Promise

Next up is a British band that were born out of the UK Beatdown scene but that seems to be maturing into something else. Solemn Promise aren't a new band to me, but might be to a few of you. They formed in 2012 and so far have two releases to their name. Their latest EP "Annihilation" was released via UK label Negative Reaction Records in early 2015, following it's digital release by the band. They regularly play across the UK and have recently been tearing it up in Europe.

You can check them out below:-

You can grab a copy of "Annihilation" on CD via Negative Reaction Records here -

Negative Reaction Records Facebook -


The final band in this small write-up is Buenos Aires (Arg) sludge/doom band Asilo. This four-piece has been making slow, riffy, electronic noises since 2010 and has released a few DIY splits as well as a full-length, "Comunion" back in April 2014. Their latest release was a three-band split called "Blackdope Sessions". You can checkout their contributions to that split below (where all of their music is available for free or name-your-price download):-

There is also merch and CD's available from their bandcamp page above.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Lychgate - An Antidote For The Glass Pill


1. Unto My Tempest
2. Davamesque B2
3. I Am Contempt
4. A Principle On Seclusion
5. Letter XIX
6. Deus Te Videt
7. The Illness Named Imagination
8. An Acousmatic Guardian
9. My Fate To Burn Forever
10. The Pinnacle Known To Sisyphus

There are bands that crave media attention and then there are bands that don't. Those that do aren't in it for the music and those that don't are the musicians that exude integrity and artistry. Lychgate falls withing that latter field (at least that's what I perceive anyway) and with minimal fanfare, they've released their second full-length via Blood Music. This follows their debut self-titled record from 2013 (released via Mordgrimm and Gilead Media) and they've gained a guitarist in the lead-up to An Antidote For The Glass Pill.

This may be one of the last UK black metal releases I get round to reviewing in 2015, but I think I’ve left the best till last. I’m teetering towards the avant-garde end of the genre of late and on hearing the organ during opener Unto My Tempest, I know I’m not going to be disappointed by this record. That was merely a hint of what’s to come on An Antidote…though and Davamesque B2 is as orchestral and grand as you’d expect. Gathering together the doom-laden past of it’s various members, Lychgate puts together an album far removed from it’s traditional black metal core. There’s no low-fi production of atonal melody here, while the production is warm and vibrant throughout. The second half of Davamesque B2 is made up of gloriously jazzy instrumentation too. They switch to a higher tempo on I Am Contempt. It aptly describes the mood of the band but the song itself never feels unapproachable. The slower segue of A Principle On Seclusion is mainly instrumental and is extremely cinematic to these ears. It’s various movements flow like an ancient symphony. Letter XIX could be at home starring on the soundtrack of a spy/mystery thriller, especially with that introduction. This song sums up the level of Lychgate’s experimentation on An Antidote… perfectly. There’s no need to go all speed-wise but the switches between mournful organ-led passages and heavy black metal are effortless and the song seems to gain in extremity. Clean singing/chanting makes i’s first appearance during Deus Te Videt and adds another dimension to Lychgate’s sound. It’s a pleasing one too, as it nestles just beneath the guitars and percussion. The level of textures and layers that Lychgate fits into The Illness Named Imagination’s sub 5-minute form is very impressive and the same can be said for the rest of the album. There are many bands that try and fail to match this level of details after years of trying. An Acousmatic Guardian is not a acoustic version of their black metal sadly and it follows the same bewildering blueprint as what’s come before it. The thing that strikes me with An Antidote… is that none of these songs are too long or drawn out. They fit together as one whole and as separate parts. My Fate To Burn Forever is an almost virtuoso-level piece. An Antidote… never reaches tipping point and as it ends with The Pinnacle Known To Sisyphus, like me you’ll be left with the indelible imprint made by an immense body of work. Lychgate has definitely stepped it up following their debut record and by some margin. If not listened to or purchased this record yet, what are waiting for!

You can stream the record via Blood Music's bandcamp page:-

While the sumptuous gold and black double LP versions have sold out, you can still purchase name-your-price downloads and digipack CD copies directly from the above link.

Lychgate Facebook -
Blood Music Facebook -

Monday 14 December 2015

Lahius - 2 Tracks


1. Wanker
2. Sick & Wasted

Just got time for something quick tonight. This is the latest two-track release from French noisecore band Lahius. Lahius is another band that can be filed alongside the likes of Pord, Watertank and Stuntman, who incidentally they now share a vocalist with. I don't know a great deal about Lahius though I have seen their sound described as everything from powerviolence to stoner-rock, so read into that what you will. Oh and they play around France quite a lot.

The affectionately titled Wanker is filled with angular riffs and semi-shouted vocals. It’s definitely noisy and at first comes across as a European version of Every Time I Die. It contains more experimentation that the aforementioned band though, I was merely comparing the vocals there. It switches between heavy/fast passages and slower introspective ones that segue into subtle Southern-stoner riffs. Sick & Wasted gathers up more urgency during it’s off-kilter intro. There’s a lot going on in the song, with feedback buzzing in the background while the percussion and guitars fight to be heard. Sometimes it all gets too much but Lahius manages to rescue things before they spill over altogether. At time this is all over the place in terms of the different musical styles that Lahius use, but it is listenable and just the right side of mad for anyone who doesn’t want music that’s straightforward. Definitely a grower and something I’m going to revisit for sure. 

You can stream and download the EP below:-

Lahius Facebook -

Sunday 13 December 2015

Radioactive Vomit - Ratsflesh 7"


1. Intro
2. Pestis Malevolus
3. Stench Of Treachery
4. Ratsflesh
5. Speak With Tongues Of Flies
6. Outro

While others are putting together and publishing there end of year lists, I'm still catching up with a load of 2015 releases. You may not think it but I do have a pattern to my reviewing (kind of) and do try and work to a schedule to make sure I write on a regular basis. Anyway, today's foray into the extreme comes courtesy of Canadian black metallers Radiotctive Vomit. Last heard on the 2013 split with Column Of Heaven, they released the Ratsflesh 7" back in April with the help of Iron Bonehead Productions and compatriot label Vault Of Dried Bones.

With a name like Radioactive Vomit, this was never going to be a 7” filled with puppy dogs and bunny rabbits. Instead, it’s crammed with disgustingly loud and frantic black metal. The Intro is harrowing enough, but it’s Pestis Malevolus that truly shows the direction in which Radioactive Vomit is coming from. Coming complete with razor-like guitar, raw-production and evil high/low-pitched screams, it’s slow/fast dynamic is strangely effective. There’s no time for breathers or facecloths to soak up the nervous sweat, as Stench Of Treachery opens with a long instrumental build-up before RV unleashes dirty black thrash. It’s more structured this time but no less threatening. The feedback-laden title track alleviates any sense of escape. The rapid blast beats add metallic bite as cymbals crash and the bass rumbles in the background. Speak With Tongues Of Flies conjures up images of maniacs losing it to the band live, such is it’s ferocity. The Outro contains more of the band’s sludge-like noise, as well as some pretty cool guitar-driven effects. It’s a suitable way to end the EP. It’s uncomfortable, unfathomable (sometimes) and exactly what a noisy black metal 7” should be. The cover art is awesome too! 

Stream Pestis Malevolus from the EP here:-

You can grab the 7" from the links below:-

Iron Bonehead Productions -
Vault Of Dried Bones -

Radioactive Vomit Metal Archives -
Iron Bonehead Productions Facebook -
Vault Of Dried Bones Facebook -

News feat: Tor Marrock, Seep Away, Demons Of Old Metal & Akarusa Yami

Tor Marrock

It wouldn't be Christmas without the good old Christmas single, but here's one with a difference. Tor Marrock, The lead singer of British heavy metal band Tor Marrock has joined forces with British dance artist Coco Star and both have released the song A Christmas Night, via Black Vulture Records. 

A full stream of the single can be found below:-

Tor Marrock Facebook -
Coco Star Facebook -
Black Vulture Records Facebook -

Seep Away

UK aggressive noise-punks Seep Away has recently released their debut self-titled EP. The new York/Manchester based four-piece self-release the EP via bandcamp and are already working on their 2016 full length.

You can stream the entire EP via their bandcamp page below:-

Seep Away Facebook -

Demons Of Old Metal

Devon's own costumed metallers Demons Of Old Metal has just released a new single called The Quiet Ones and it's streaming through Pure Grain Audio. Demons Of Old Metal take their influence from bands like Exodus, Panters and GWAR, playing thrash-laden metal.

You can listen to the premiere of The Quiet Ones below:-

Demons Of Old Metal Facebook -

Akarusa Yami

British Tech Metallers Akarusa Yami has released a new video for the song Heavy Climb. It also the last video to feature co-founder and vocalist Tom Brumpton, who is leaving the band after five-years at the helm. The band is currently writing material for their new album, which will be released in 2016.

You can watch the video for Heavy Climb below:-

Akarusa Yami Facebook -

Friday 11 December 2015

Arreat Summit - Frostburn EP


1. Underlife
2. Frostburn

This EP is for those who think that decent metalcore no longer exists. Death metal took on an entirely different form when bands started to mix it with hardcore and melody. Bands like Killswitch Engage and The Black Dahlia Murder are as revered now as they ever were (and quite rightly so), but it was never as big in Europe save for bands like Caliban, Heaven Shall Burn and Fear My Thoughts. Swedish four-piece Arreat Summit are here to remind you that the sound isn't entirely dead, as their latest EP Frostburn contains two tracks that merge both metalcore and death metal (in it's technical form). They formed back in 2012 and currently have a demo and three EPs to their name, with this latest one being released digitally through Swedish label World vs Cometh back in September.

Arreat Summit’s take on death metal is definitely more extreme than I made it out to be in my opening paragraph, but the sentiment still stands, Underlife contains lightning fast drumming, technical riffs and bowel-clenching vocals. The metalcore influence comes in during the solo’s and twin-guitar harmonies that make Frostburn so listenable. The title-track is unmistakably Swedish in it’s delivery. One things for sure, Arreat Summit can craft a catchy song! Frostburn rages but with enough character to separate them from the myriad chuggers doing the rounds. Preferring to ignore overtly progressive song structures, their shorter blasts of death metal are really pleasing on the ears. The dual low/high-pitched screams add further texture while the lead-guitar dexterity is spot on. This EP is brief but it reveals a band that are heading for greater things. This is a must listen for any self-respecting metal fan that wants to discover something new.

Stream Frostburn and grab it as a name-your-price download (with guitar tabs thrown in!) below:-

Arreat Summit Facebook -
World vs Cometh Facebook -

Torver/Arcane North - From Moonrise To Moonset Split


1. Torver - Moonrise
2. Torver - Naked In The Wilderness
3. Torver - Lunar Ritual
4, Arcane North - Invoke The Spirit Of The North
5. Arcane North - Cold Lonely Moors
6. Arcane North - Moonset

It's only during the long dark nights of winter in the UK that you truly begin to appreciate black metal. It's also the only time you're able to really feel what it's like to reside in the cold Norwegian towns and villages that have bread so many of the genre's creative forces over the years. This particular split features two mysterious bands from the upper reaches of Northern England. Torver calls Cumbria home while Arcane North resides in County Durham. From Moonrise To Moonset was released in limited numbers in February 2015, by new homegrown black metal label Blackwood Productions. It was in fact the label's debut release.

Inspired by the landscape that surrounds it, Torver opens with an ambient instrumental called Moonrise. It begins very serenely before building with keys, horns and the distant howl of Wolves. It’s certainly a majestic way to begin. The clean choral singing that greets you on Naked In The Wilderness is unexpected but the rousing intro gives way to distant rasps and symphonic instrumentation. There’s a lot of traditional folk instruments and effects at play here too. Lunar Ritual is stunning, combining all of Torver’s elements into one blasting yet varied song. The verses focus on the extreme side of their sound while the choruses (if there is such a thing here) contain melody and ambient nuances. Arcane North follows with the strange, electronic-led intro of Invoke The Spirit Of The North. Menacing and dark, yet veiled in an avant-garde earthiness (sorry if that description reads as pretentious, it’s not meant to!). The mid-paced tempo of the instrumentation is backed up by occult choral chants and high-pitched black metal vocals. The rousing guitar of Cold Lonely Moors reminds you of the windy isolation of the Northern countryside. It’s something that I can relate to, living in North Yorkshire. It’s a feeling that you get throughout the song. They close off the split with Moonset, an instrumental of interstellar proportions. One that could accompany any lonely night atop of moors or fells watching the stars on an unspoilt night sky. This split is for anyone who appreciates black metal that ins’t strict to the letter. Black metal that’s avant-garde and even a bit melodic. Both Torver and Arcane North compliment each other really well and prove that you can still get very excited about UKBM.

From Moonrise To Moonset is available to stream in it's entirety on Youtube below:-

Physical copies can be purchased from both bands and Blackwood Productions here -

Torver Facebook -
Arcane North Facebook -
Blackwood Productions Facebook -

Sunday 6 December 2015

Sweatshop Boys - Always Polite, Never Happy EP


1. No Pity In The City
2. Special Mood
3. Try Hard
4. Slow Dive

When I was sitting down to write this review, something pretty awesome struck me. Firstly, I got an e-mail from Sweatshop Boys telling my about their new 7" EP. They're a punk band from Israel. Their EP was released jointly by Crapoulet Records (France), Twintoe Records (Israel) and SP Records (Japan). The point I'm trying to get to with this is that even though there's so much global negativity in the media, people can come together from different parts of the world and collaborate to make and share great music. That surely has to mean something!

Sweatshop Boys started in 2011 and have released two EPs and full-length. Their individual members are very active in the punk scene, also playing in The Orions, Spit, Mondo Gecko and Friday Night Sissy Fight.

I love melodic, gruff punk but don’t feature it enough here. Sweatshop Boys make a glorious noise on No Pity In The City, with a great old-school sound kinda like Dookie-era Green Day. Obviously there’s more to their sound than that comparison, but it’s the closest reference point I could think of for the pop-punker amongst you. After the upbeat feel of No Pity Of The City, Special Mood takes influence from country music and The Beatles. It’s a great, catchy song with plenty of melodic guitar. They follow in the same vein with Try Hard. There’s plenty of hummable hooks going on throughout. EP closer Slow Dive, with it’s claps in the background is a great slab of garage/pop-laden punk without being too lo-fi. This is a great little EP and reminds me that we need more danceable punk to stop us from becoming too serious.

You can stream, download and buy vinyl copies of Always Polite, Never Happy directly from Sweatshop Boys here:-

You can also grab vinyl copies from the labels below:-

Crapoulet Records -
Twintoe Records -
SP Records -

Sweatshop Boys Facebook -
Crapoulet Records Facebook -
Twintoe Records Facebook -
SP Records Facebook -

Saturday 5 December 2015

Gruesome - Savage Land (Deluxe Edition)


1. Savage Land
2. Trapped In Hell
3. Demonized
4. Hideous
5. Gangrene
6. Closed Casket
7. Psychic Twin
8. Gruesome
9. Land Of No Return (Death Cover - Bonus Track)
10. Black Magic (Slayer Cover - Bonus Track)

For all intense and purposes, Gruesome is a homage to Death (the band!). It's gory imagery and old-school death metal has connections to the mighty Exhumed, Possessed, Malevolent Creation and of course Death To All. Formed last year after various members toured with Death To All, Gruesome wanted to pay tribute to Chuck Schuldiner and Death though their own brand of death metal. Savage Land (their debut album) was released via Relapse in April featuring eight original songs, then later released as a deluxe version featuring additional Death and Slayer covers. 

If you’re aware of the pedigree of Gruesome’s members, you’d be expecting good things and unsurprisingly they deliver. Opening the title-track, Gruesome presents well-produced and precise death filled with old-school thrash and plenty of Floridian style. The guitars switch between twin-harmonies and ripping solos without any histrionics while the rhythm section adds plenty of low-end and kick-drum excellence. Their method is definitely of the shock and awe variety. Savage Land ends abruptly and in it’s wake, you’re presented with the catchy opening riffs of Trapped In Hell. The rest of the song is pretty catchy as well. Part of Gruesome’s appeal is the fact that they’re able to blend the old with the new to create something accessible, while not allowing their music to be watered down. Sticking to the five-minute mark at most is good enough. If you’re after neck-snapping death, look no further than Demonized. It may be the longest number on Savage Land, but it starts with a real shot in the arm and proceeds to batter you. Thrashing death all the way! Gruesome weaves in some sanguine doom/death atmosphere during Hideous. The further into Savage Land you venture, the more menacing it gets. Gangrene is equally as horrifying as the medical condition it’s name after and sounds beautifully murky. It does highlight more of the band’s instrumental prowess as well. That solo mid-way through is ace. The gutturals during Closed Casket seem to reach new depths somehow, while Gruesome’s new found urgency that signals the second half of Savage Land brings more power to the table. Psychic Twin channels Gruesome’s inner Slayer to great effect, while keeping to true to their death blueprint instead of just merely aping the thrash legends. Their last original number, Gruesome, is a mid-paced affair with flashes of up-tempo death. This expanded edition of Savage Land is rounded out by two choice covers. Firstly, Gruesome covers Land Of No Return by Death, whom they collectively owe a lot to musically. They end it all with an outstanding cover of Slayer’s Black Magic. The guitar sound seems to jump right out at you on this one and it’s a great way to close the record. If it’s straight-up death metal you’re looking for, with no pretentious bells and whistles then Savage Land is really all you need. Cracking record!

You can stream and purchase a download of Savage Land here:-

Grab LP or CD versions here via Relapse Records -

Gruesome Facebook -
Relapse Records Facebook -

Monday 30 November 2015

False - Untitled 2015


1. Saturnalia
2. The Deluge
3. Untitled
4. Entropy
5. Hedgecraft

I hear a lot of people saying that the artistry of extreme music is dying. Things are becoming more diluted and sub-genres get more and more populated, which in turn affects progression. I don't necessarily agree with that train of thought. I sat watching a documentary on Youtube last night called  Metal Evolution - The Lost Episode: Extreme metal, which a follow-on piece by Sam Dunn who created Metal: A Headbanger's Journey. That documentary made me realise that even in extreme metal in 2015, there are bands with their own identities and blueprints for delivering music in their own way. 

That leads me onto False, whom I don't know a great deal about. From Minnesota (USA), they started playing black metal in 2010 and two short years later, they released a mighty split with compatriots Barghest via Gilead Media. In the same year they released an Untitled EP via fellow underground label Eternal Warfare (who also release a tape version of the Barghest split). Earlier this year, their latest untitled album (and first full-length) was released by Gilead Media. Since False appears to be adhering to a social-media blackout (probably sensible), there is only audible representation available.

(Credit: Josh Martines)

US black metal has always felt kind of special to me. No longer full of pretence and corpse-paint, it’s identity has evolved and split away from the bands of old. False and all of their mystery is testament to that. Saturnalia is off-kilter, chaotic and Rachel’s vocals are so full of bile and hatred. The mid-section is splice with sombre atmosphere and post metal instrumentation, which provides a more earthly sound. In spite of moments like that, there is no let up in the intensity on The Deluge. The driving rhythm section and symphonic instrumentation in the background makes for a dramatic listen. This is no cheesy faux-Dimmu Borgir fare either! False’s majesty is even more apparent during Untitled. It’s flawless blackened battery, which is backed up by plenty of melody is just something else. They create a soundscape that swirls and lurches around you. The songs on Untitled may be lengthy, but with the breadth of False’s musical experimentation, they seem to fly by. Entropy is harrowing from the first note to it’s last. At times the riffs from the guitars are at odds with what you would consider to be melodic, but in the context of what’s around them, they fit in perfectly. The latter half of Entropy is so easy to get lost in. It’s textures and layers shine through more-so thanks to the orchestral grandeur that supports it. This journey ends with Hedgecraft. Like the songs that have come before, it marches forth at an incredibly up-tempo pace. It is weirdly uplifting for a closing number, but that is no bad thing when you consider that the record is close to an hour in length. False weaves many different elements together, choosing not to stick just to black metal. The fact that labels like Gilead believe in music and art enough to put it out there, is surely reason enough for you to pay attention if you haven’t already. Untitled needs to appreciated as a complete whole for it’s full effect to be felt. Breathtaking!

You can stream and download the record via Gilead Media here:-

Physical LP and CD copies can be purchased from the Eroding Winds store below - 

Gilead Media Facebook -