Wednesday 30 March 2016

Wilt - Moving Monoliths


1. Illusion Of Hope
2. Moving Monoliths
3. The Elder
4. Solitude

Since this blog's formation, I've had the opportunity and the please of listening to so many great black metal bands including Twilight Fauna, Caina, Lychgate and the list really does go on! Wilt is a new name to add to that ever growing list. From Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada), Wilt released their debut full-length via Bindrune Recordings in November 2015. Having only previously released one EP (in 2012), they've done pretty well for themselves of late, playing their first US show at this year's Hammerheart Ostarablot Festival alongside Fall Of Rauros and Vemod amongst others. 

If you’ve read this blog before, you won’t need me to tell you that black metal isn’t all fire and brimstone (or more aptly; ice and blasphemy). Wilt produces doom-laden black metal more akin to their cold homeland as demonstrated by Illusion Of Hope and it’s mighty opening riffs. Slow and considered with plenty of layered melody, it kind of reminds if Shroud Of Despondency. Things do speed up though and around the three-minute mark Wilt lurch in theatrical yet honest black metal territory. The blasts are used sparingly and the shrieks and screams echo around your ears. Where Wilt really comes alive though is in their instrumental passages. They split up their BM bursts with thoughtful and atmospheric sections brimming with melody, which makes them all the more engaging. The title-track is where Wilt further elaborates on their atmospheric tendencies, as it’s awash with swathes of melody and ambience that sits behind the vocals. People might pluck the obvious comparisons out the sky but there’s much more to this. I think the extended song-lengths really allow Wilt to build on the theme and their song-writing in a way that yields great results. In my tired and post-long weekend stupor this is really hitting the spot. The Elder seems to be more conventional in terms of it’s ferocity and frequency of (dare I day it) orthodoxy. Thankfully there is plenty of breathing space here and Wilt just do what they know best. You really are encouraged to slow down and lose yourself when listening to this. Not enough music does that nowadays. The further you get into the song the more blissed out it gets, as Wilt replace black metal with semi-acoustic guitars and calming whispers. The closing three minutes of the song shake you back to life as Wilt drags their heavier sound back into view, while including some inspired guitar harmonics. Album closer Solitude is not the sampled wind and rain you might’ve expected but is instead a majestic instrumental piece. This sums up Wilt for me. They’ve set out to play music inspired by their surroundings, music that’s from their heart and music that will mark them out as definite ones to watch in the growing Canadian scene. It’s sometimes hard to find quality like this from bigger headline bands so I must praise both Wilt and Bindrune for giving it a platform. Breathtaking!

Stream Moving Monoliths here:-

It's available to purchase in digital and CD form directly from the band above. There will hopefully be a vinyl version available soon.

Wilt Facebook -
Bindrune Recordings Facebook -

Monday 28 March 2016

Major Milestone Reached!


I just want to say thank you to everybody who has helped me to reach 250,000+ readers. When I started this blog a little over 5 years ago, I never envisaged I'd reach 50,000 let alone 250,000 readers. Here's to another five years then!!!

Cerebric Turmoil - Neural Net Meltdown


1. Introduction
2. Twitching Eye Staccato
3. Secluded Out Of Touch By Avoiding Mankind
4. Metaphysics (SKIT)
5. Discordian Equilibrium
6. Grotesque Dreaming
7. Soul Famine
8. Bitstorm
9. Tangled In Trial And Error Scenarios
10. Vile Effect Momentum

I wanted to write one last review today and this record caught my attention. It's the debut album from German technical death metal band Cerebric Turmoil. Cerebric Turmoil started out as Chaosphere in 2004 before changing their name two years later. They released a demo and a split before splitting in 2008. When 2010 came around they reformed and went through various line-up changes, while releasing demo and split before releasing their debut album in November last year via Amputated Vein Records. The main reason for this catching my eye was because Chris Reese (Corrupt Moral Altar, Horesbastard) did session vocals on the album, as well as other guests. 

The glitchy sci-fi Introduction builds expectation before Twitching Eye Staccato mixes slam with mind-bending rhythms, chaotic tempos and high/low death vox. Drinking from the stable that in the past housed Gorguts and Cynic, Cerebric Turmoil infect their death metal with improvisational jazz to make their concoction even more bewildering. Secluded Out Of Touch Be Avoiding Mankind features bass licks that are hard to keep up, while the riffs and sweep-picking aren’t far behind. I’m only two full songs in and already I see no point in trying to even describe this album! CT see fit to break things up with Metaphysics (SKIT) acting as an interlude. Just when you think Neural Net Meltdown couldn’t get anymore mental, you get Discordian Equilibrium. CT fits so much into the song and Chris sounds like three people, let alone one person such are his erratic vocals. The further you get into the record the harder it gets to keep focused on what’s going on. I mean that in a positive way though, because it may be chaotic and technical but it’s played in a controlled manner by clearly strong musicians (a perfect example being Grotesque Dreaming). The guitar textures during the opening bars of Soul Famine are otherworldly, though there are later moments where the song-structure could almost be considered normal. Bitstorm follows in a similar fashion. There’s more slam going on here and the jazz guitar is extremely good in between the brutality. Tangled In Trial And Error Scenarios is the sound of a band completely conformable in their ability and song-writing. There’s nothing trial-and-error about it (sorry). By the time album closer Vile Effect Momentum comes around, you’re either very much alive or dead. Levelled by the sheer breathe of this record but feeling euphoric that you’ve survived it’s continuous onslaught. This might just be the best tech-death record I missed out on last year but glad to have had the chance to hear it now. Incredible!

You can stream this absolute monster here:-

It's available to purchase digitally above or in physical form from Amputated Vein here -

Cerebric Turmoil Facebook -
Amputated Vein Records Facebook -

Charybdis - Demo


1. Into The Light
2. Into The Deep

This is the first in a trio of reviews I'll be doing over the next week or so, featuring recent music from Headless Guru Records. This particular demo was released in July last year on both tape and CD, featuring the first two tracks from new Brighton metal duo Charybdis. It's also the first release to come out since the demise of both Teef and War Wolf, as it contains ex-members. 

Charybdis unleashes a punk-fuelled heavy metal demo and Into The Light is like listening to the bastard son of Venom and Black Sabbath. It’s fast, loud and perfect for smoky backroom pub gigs (not that I condone the flouting of the smoking ban that is!). The solo at the end is pure denim and leather but with a modern edge. Strangely Into The Deep is exactly the same length as it’s predecessor. It’s stylistically different too with a stoner-like Clutch vibe. The riffs and clean vocals are really catchy and it’s a definitely a nod to the classics. The initial utterances of any band are always intriguing and this demo is not different. Short but sweet, heavy and groovy. Pretty much all you need!

You can download the demo for free below:-

Charybdis has both tape (only 6 remaining) and CD copies for sale on their bandcamp page too.

Charybdis Facebook -
Headless Guru Records Facebook -

777"s Of Hell!!!

Don't worry, I'm not going to be writing about 111 7's in this post but I have been planning this little round-up piece for a while. I wanted to dedicate some time to underground heavy/extreme metal label Hells Headbangers by featuring some of their more (and less) recent releases, mainly in 7" form.

Being one of the most prolific labels this side of anywhere, Hells Headbangers have been putting out consistently great music for way longer than this blog has been in existence. Many of the bands on their roster are held dear by those that support underground music. That support was fully evidenced following the sad passing of Jim Konya (Nunslaughter) last year. I had planned to include some of Nunslaughter's most recent splits in this feature, but at last minute I decided that I probably wouldn't be able to do them justice at this time. I may write something in the future. Anyway, I hope this is okay.

Demona - 2015 7"


1. Chasing The Speed
2. Allura Red

I'm starting with Chilean speed metal band Demona. Made up (currently) of sole member Tanza Speed. Hells Headbangers released this 7" in August of last year and it features drumming from Desaster's Tormentor and additional guitar by Midnight's Commandor Vanik. Demona has been playing high-octane speed metal since 2008 with a number of demos, EP's and splits to the band's name already. 

This 7” aptly starts with the song Chasing The Speed; however, Demona doesn’t chase anything. The band is more than capable of dictating their own frenetic pace and kills it. It’s gloriously old-school and Tanza’s semi-clean vocal style is perfect. If metal had stayed true to the ideals laid down by Venom and the like instead of becoming watered down in these modern times, Demona would be on top of the pile. Allura Red begins with the most rock n roll intro I’ve heard in a while, with a screeching but melodic guitar solo in the background before Demona launches into a blistering song full of Latin American passion and energy. The drumming of Tormentor is precise and the guitar of Commandor Vanik adds extra bite. This 7” is short but damn does it leaves it’s mark!

Stream and purchase it here:-

Terror - Legion Of Gore 7"


1. Carving Techniques
2. Legion Of Gore

Cleveland (Ohio) thrashers Terror released Legion Of Gore in December 2015, a full eighteen years since their last output. They first became active in 1986 (the year I was born!) and went on to release several demos and comps before laying down their instruments in 1995. Terror's current line-up has a wealth of underground metal experience and has been active in Terror throughout the band's existence.

Terror are way more dangerous and crucial than their US hardcore namesake. Carving Techniques is filled with modern death/thrash with killer guitar-work and underground murkiness. It’s fast and is just what you need to banish a case of caffeine-overload (what I’m suffering with right now!). The title-track follows instantly in the same vein. It’s underlying beat is mid-paced but again the guitars are razor sharp. Meaty growls from vocalist Brian Sekular add to the extremity and sound great on here, as does everything else thanks to a really solid mixing and production job. Both songs on Legion Of Gore are over five minutes in length, which makes for a engaging listen from start to end. 

Stream and purchase Legion Of Gore here:-

Destruktor/Throneum - A Prophecy Of Nihilism Split 7"


1. Destruktor - Besieged
2. Throneum - Chtonian Lust

Next up is the 2014 split 7" featuring Australia's Destruktor and Poland's Throneum. Destruktor has been playing morbid black/death since 1997! After an initial demo, they've released several splits and EPs as well as two full-lengths. Throneum are genuine brethren here and like Hells Headbanger's, they too are truly prolific. Having started life pre-2000 as Throne, they changed their name at the turn of the millenium and have released countless demos, splits, EPs and have six full-lengths to their name. This split was the only musical output by either band on 2014, so is fairly significant in my eyes.

The three-piece of Destruktor makes a truly unholy racket on Besieged. It’s fast, blasting and the vocals mix grisly deep-bellows with blackened shrieks. The riffs are dripping with thrash influence and the production is great. It’s not raw or low-fi and the volume is more than enough to scare off unbelievers. If hadn’t strained my neck head-banging at a punk show last night, I’d be all over this. Throneum take over with an obvious Euro influence on Chtonian Lust. It’s blacker in delivery and atmosphere, with the instrumentation pushed back in the mix. The pace is still there though and Throneum prefers to spread their song-writing out a little further. it kind of has a doom-death feel to it, especially in the mid-section. The solo towards then end is pure old-school and the UURRGGHH’s are horrifying (in a god way). Both bands provide a snapshot into their respective minds and this EP is a good intro for anyone who is coming across them for the first time. I really liked Destruktor’s track but will no doubt be revisiting Throneum during darker times.

You can stream the EP below via Youtube as it's not up on Bandcamp:-

Midnight/Shitfucker - Split 7"


1. Midnight - Sadist Sodomysitc Seducer
2. Shitfucker - Nightmare Pt. 2

Midnight and Shitfucker are two US underground institutions. Midnight has gained a name for themselves by releasing stellar heavy metal albums including "Satanic Royalty" and more recently, "No Mercy For Mayhem". Shitfucker's profanity filled heavy metal has not escaped people's attention either. Since their 2013 full-length "Sucks Cocks In Hell", they've been on a truly crude heavy metal mission. This split between the two bands was released last October and was limited to 1500 copies. 

Midnight’s Sadist Sodomystic Seducer is every bit the heavy metal rager. Taken cues from Slayer and then twisting those influences and dragging them further underground, Midnight makes sure that their point is hammered home in little over two-minutes. Part black thrash and part straight up heavy metal (with some NWOBHM thrown in), this is over too soon. Shitfucker’s Nightmare Pt.2 is equally as catchy in the riff department but the vocals more evil and the sound is rawer. They employ screaming solos and maddening growls in a song which is slightly more on the mid-paced side but is still great fun. This match could not be better in my opinion. Neither band is trying to be different for that sake of it, they just write and play what they know. This is a great intro to both bands in case you've missed them so far. 

You can stream and download the whole split below:-

All of the records reviewed above are available from the Hells Headbanger's store here:-

Demona Facebook -
Terror Metal Archives -
Destruktor Facebook -
Throneum Facebook -
Midnight Facebook -
Shitfucker Facebook -
Hells Headbanger's Facebook -

Saturday 26 March 2016

Sonance/Torpor - Split


1. Torpor - Jasager
2. Torpor - Environs
3. Torpor - Agalma
4. Sonance - End Your Life
5. Sonance - Under And Under
6. Sonance - Capes

I've chosen to fall back into the comforting arms of my blog, as I'm sick to the back teeth of reading about "Trump" and "AC/DC". 2016's relentless release schedule carries on unabated and it seems that UK sludge/doom is going to be in for a busy year. Sonance and Torpor come together on one mighty slab of wax, that will see the light of day via Holy Roar Records sub-label Truthseeker Music this April. Torpor's previous record "From Nothing Comes Everything" is one of my favourite records period, while Sonance is a band that I've overlooked slightly (through no fault of their own), so now I want to put that right.

This is my first listen to Torpor since they went from a four-piece to a trio. All I can say is that it’s had no effect on their sound, as split opener Jasager proves. Heavy and rumbling bass, driving walls of guitar noise, crashing yet sprawling percussion and low-bellowed vox make it a very different beast to the sound that made up “From Nothing Comes Everything”. After it’s initial burst of hellish sludge, Jasager meanders through a stop/start mid-section. As Torpor turns the volume up once more, subtle layers of sound become obvious and it no longer feels so claustrophobic. Environs cuts a strange figure against the backdrop of Jasager. It’s more ambient and minimal, with clean vocals set back in the mix. It feels like it’s going to explode at any second but Torpor show restraint and use it instead to build expectation for Agalma. Agalma is a cold and mesmeric song. It’s slow groove is almost hypnotic, though you never actually get to that point because those bellowing vocals are there to snap you out of any trance. It ends Torpor’s side of the spit on a euphoric high. Sonance open their side with End Your Life and despite the negative connotations of it’s title, the song itself begins in a calming and thoughtful fashion. It’s not long before that calm feeling is overtaken by one of dread thanks to looping feedback and tribal-like drum rhythms. When things fully kick in at the three-minute mark, Sonance’s crust-filled noise throws out any chance of being pigeonholed. The screams on Under And Under are frightening to say the least. Not because they’re unholy or anything but because of the sheer volume that they’re delivered at. They provide the perfect centrepiece for an epic song. Capes provides some respite from the intensity with an altogether different atmosphere. It’s semi-acoustic melodies are soothing but it does feel as though something more sinister is in the offing as the song progresses. Sonance slowly but but surely adds in more dissonant flavours but Capes still manages to retain it’s melody. This split is once again proof that the UK is probably producing the best music of 2016 so far. Both Torpor and Sonance are logical split partners and the atmosphere they create is second to none. Make sure you pick this up on pre-order or once it’s released, as it won’t be around for long!

You can stream and purchase download/pre-order copies below:-

Sonance Facebook -
Torpor Facebook -
Truthseeker Music Facebook -
Holy Roar Records Facebook -

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Duct Hearts - If You Prick Us, Do We Not Bleed? 7"


1. If You Prick Us, Do We Not Bleed?

I really can't pin down German screamo/hardcore/whatever band Duct Hearts. My first proper introduction to them came in the for of a split 7" with Laube (whose German folk music was very pleasing) and now I'm faced with a 7" featuring a sole eleven-minute song! I'm not complaining because music should always keep you on your toes. This particular piece of alluring wax was released by a slew of labels in mid-2015 (I'll provide links to them all later on in this review).

Duct Hearts approach this 7” from a more atmospheric angle than that of their recent split. If You Prick Us, Do We Not Bleed? begins with a tuneful yet introspective build-up featuring melodic guitar that lasts nearly two-minutes. Once past that point the volume level rises with the sound of distorted guitars and drums, before fading back down. It’s really enlightening to hear and reminds me a lot of earlier bands like Time Of Malta and Cave In, to some extent. Duct Hearts play melodic indie-like emo that’s pretty radio friendly and accessible. Mid-way through the song there’s a brief moment of silence as the guitar fades out and then in again, presenting a louder and more off-kilter side to the band. The minimal use of vocals during the second half of the song reflects the feeling that Duct Hearts is trying portray and while the quiet/loud dynamics bring excitement and expectation to the fore. This is a bold piece of music from a band that isn’t afraid to defy convention or follow their own hearts. Musically it’s brilliant. Music is in a healthy state, you just need to know where to look. 

You can stream the song below:-

7" copies can be purchased from the releasing labels below -

Stereo Dasein Records (Germany) -
Ruined Smile Records (Australia) -
Zegema Beach Records (USA) -
Synalgie Records (Germany) -
Time As A Color Records (Germany) -

Both Dingleberry Records and Driftwood Records were also involved in the release but I couldn't find a store link for the former and I think the latter had ceased activity.

Duct Hearts Facebook -
Dingleberry Records Facebook -
Stereo Dasein Records Facebook -
Ruined Smile Records Facebook -
Zegema Beach Records Facebook -
Synalgie Records Facebook -
Time As A Color Facebook - 

Monday 21 March 2016

New Song Streams Feat. The Brood & Nordwitch

The Brood

First up is London (UK) based grindcore band The Brood and the track Of Guts And Fire, which will be on their debut full length "The Truth Behind", being released by US grind powerhouse Give Praise Records. The Brood has been smashing out nasty hardcore-filled grind since 2014 and is made up of members from the UK, Spain and France. 

Of Guts And Fire is just over two-minutes of raging, heavy grind with plenty of riffs thrown in for good measure. Keeps an eye on their Facebook page for news on the release and for future live dates -

The Brood online store -


Next up is the song No Regret by Ukrainian/Hungarian black/death band Nordwitch. Tbey began their occult journey just over a year ago. There is a record on the way but for now No Regret acts as a taster of what's in store.

If you enjoy hellish blackened death metal that incorporates stunning lead work, you'll find plenty to like. Keep checking Nordwitch's Facebook page for release news -

Sunday 20 March 2016

Moloch/Lich - Split LP


1. Moloch - Disability
2. Moloch - Holding The Hand Of Someone Dying
3. Lich - Beggar's Teeth
4. Lich - Rat King
5. Lich - Fields Of Malice
6. Lich - Negation Delirium
7. Lich - Dead Water
8. Lich - Disir
9. Lich - Lazarus Pit
10. Lich - Hat Trick Of Idiocy

I recently picked up this split up from Dry Cough Records. UK sludgers Moloch return after what seems like forever with two new songs while the rest of the split is taken up by the last recorded output of Lich (RIP). This LP was hotly anticipated before it's release in January, via Dry Cough, Vetala Productions and Vendetta Records. It's a beautiful package too with cover art that's clear of writing and solid black vinyl. A strong start to the year.

Bitter and tortured screams alongside low-rumbling bass/guitar and semi-improv drumming makes up Moloch’s first song Disability. It also aptly describes their sound as a whole. Similar in vein to previous Dry Cough label mates Open Tomb and Ommadon, the music contained here is harrowing and intense. Holding The Hand Of Someone Dying is amongst the most vivid song-titles you’re likely to see. Musically, it’s just as vivid. Moloch’s song writing always remains strong, even after long breaks between recordings and they’ve come back stronger than ever here. The raw energy and thick production reminds you that Moloch aren’t out to harness a squeaky clean sound, but instead they prefer to frighten and unsettle the listener. Their side is both brilliant and brief. Hopefully there’s more on the horizon. Lich’s side is a polar opposite as their opener Beggar’s Teeth is a feedback-ridden slab of noisy and heavy hardcore. Lich left us far too soon as demonstrated with the incredible Rat King. Taking no prisoners they launch through the first of two sub one-minute tracks that are akin to powerviolence. The second of the two, Fields Of Malice is no different. The pauses in between songs only act as mere breaks and Negation Delirium proves that fast is good when done right. The riffs at times are almost metallic-hardcore levels of good (I’m talking about the likes of Rot It Hell and Integrity here, you know, decent stuff!), especially on Dead Water. There are some faint traces of sludge within their music though and Disir is a case in point. Subtle slower tempo riffs flow into off-kilter craziness to make it their standout in my opinion. The noise level on Lazarus Pit makes you feel as though it’s you fighting for your life. Hat Trick Of Idiocy ends it all with one last splurge of chaos. It’s hard not to enjoy this record. I have come to two conclusions as I get my breath back; A) Moloch has written the two best doom songs of 2016 already and B) Lich should come back and be a band again. 

Stream both of Moloch's tracks here:-

Lich's tracks can be heard here:-

Buy the vinyl from the labels below -

Dry Cough Records -
Vendetta Records -
Vetala Productions -

Moloch Facebook -
Dry Cough Records Facebook -
Vendetta Records Facebook -
Vetala Productions Facebook -

Saturday 19 March 2016

Junior Bruce - The Ocean's Daughter EP


1. The Promised Sleep
2. Nomad
3. The Burden
4. The Ocean's Daughter

A while ago I received one of those notification e-mails from Bandcamp about new music that's just been uploaded. This time it featured about four releases from A389, so I checked them out. They seemed to be older digital releases and The Ocean's Daughter by Junior Bruce was amongst them. Junior Bruce is a sporadically active sludge band from Florida who released an LP called "The Headless King" via A389 back in 2012. This EP was originally split up into two smaller EPs. I see that they're playing shows in their native Florida so this is relevant as far as I'm concerned. 

I love listening to older and more obscure stuff, so A389 has outdone themselves by uploading this. The Promised Sleep is so groovy and heavy with ample head-banging room. The vocals are pretty anthemic thanks to their semi-clean delivery. Nomad is stripped-back and even slightly restrained. It’s still heavy but it’s not out of control and it’s catchy too! The lucid spectre of Eyehategod looms heavy over The Burden. It’s a really progressive sounding song where the riff is king! it’s a good thing this style of heavy music is built for longer song because the ones on here work so well and it’s pretty easy to get lost in it all. The closing title-track steals the show for me, with the gnarliest roars on the EP and riffs to match. At over six-minutes it’s not a song for instant gratification but who care when it’s this good! The solo towards the end is filled with atmosphere and a quiet air of confidence. I really hope this sees a physical release because it deserves one. Junior Bruce rules...that is all. 

Go and stream it here (also purchase a download copy):-

Junior Bruce Facebook -
A389 Recordings Facebook -

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Idols Of Apathy - Life Lessons EP


1. Bipolar
2. Addiction
3. Once Upon A Cheat//Always
4. Backstabber
5. Lessons Learnt

While checking out Essex tech-metallers Idols To Apathy prior to this review, it struck me just how much they care about the people who have shown interest in them by picking up Life Lessons and asking about live shows etc. It made me realise that even though we malign social media nowadays, not enough bands truly treat it as a way to reach out to fans and interact with them. It's not just all about how many "likes" you page or post gets, it's about actually taking the time to talk to people and show that you're human too.

Idols To Apathy are a six-piece who released their debut EP "Unheard Words" in February 2014. After a brief hiatus, they returned in December last year with this new EP. Since it's release they've shared stages with While She Sleeps and have been featured in both Metal Hammer magazine and on their cover mount CD.

Idols Of Apathy comes from a modern crop of young bands, who are influenced by both metal and hardcore and that have very strong technical ability. This EP’s opener Bipolar features vocals inspired by both death metal and post-hardcore, while keeping the riffs heavy and the drums powerful. Yes it’s angular and downtuned, but if you persevere there are some subtle In Flames going on and some nice clean melodies towards the end. Idols Of Apathy are certainly aiming for total pit carnage with Addiction. It seems to switch up the pace and the brutality. The post-hardcore earthiness hidden underneath the screams is a nice touch as well. It wouldn’t a modern metal record without a bit of electronica, but even that which opens Once A Cheat//Always is pleasurable to listen too. The song that it reveals is more of the same from the band, but that’s not a negative because it’s played so well. There’s still enough variation inside to keep you listening. Backstabber is a bitter rager. It’s subject matter adding an extra element to the overall feel of the song and IOA’s heavy approach. EP closer Lessons Learnt provides one last high-intensity blast of their progressive metal. The production of Life Lessons is as tight as you’d expect, but it allows Idols Of Apathy to play to their strengths. This is a strong EP from a band very much taking the next step up.

You can stream and purchase a download of Lessons Learnt below:-

Idols Of Apathy also has a merch store with physical copies of the EP for sale, as well as shirts -

Idols Of Apathy Facebook -

Monday 14 March 2016

Triumvir Foul - Triumvir Foul


1. Labyrinthine - The Blood Serpent Unwinds
2. Profanation (of the Wicked)
3. Pathways To Decay
4. Hedonistic Prayer - The Abhorrent Depths Of Perversion
5. The Vomit Of The Three Serpents (Usumgallu, Basmu, Musmahhu)
6. Endless Spiritual Violence
7. Banished to Silence And Slavery
8. Carnal Spectre
9. Tower of Basmu - The Corruption of Flesh And Spirit

With no disregard for any other country, the US continues to spew out incredibly dark and occult black/death metal. Following their 2014 debut demo "An Oath of Blood And Fire", Portland (Oregon's) newest exponents of dark devilry; Triumvir Foul have released their self-titled debut album. Originally released during the dying embers of 2015 on CD via Blood Harvest Records and on tape via hometown label Vrasubatlat, it's just recently made it's way onto vinyl (also via Blood Harvest Records). There's little to no online presence regarding Triumvir Foul, save for a bandcamp page, a Metal Archives entry and a FB fan page but that adds to the mystique of the band. Well that and the fact that members of Ash Borer are involved. 

As the intro to Triumvir Foul’s debut album unfurls, the occult offerings of the band become clear. The droning instrumentation and the growls that sound more like chants provide no calming shoulder. The intro of Labyrinthine - The Blood Serpent Unwinds flows straight into doom-drenched death at the two-and-a-half minute mark. From this point on there’s no escape. TF hits full black-thrashing stride on Profanation (of the Wicked). Even though the title may suggest otherwise, this is not a mere rip-off of Celtic Frost’s Procreation of The Wicked, even though it embodies some of their influence on today’s underground. It is heavy, chaotic and fast. The squealing feedback that begins Pathways to Decay leads you down the left-hand path and into a claustrophobic nightmare. It’s as hellishly evil as anything that has and will be written/played this year with it’s constant percussive battering and low-end heft. The murky atmospherics of Hedonistic Prayer - The Abhorrent Depths Of Perversion belay was is a harrowing assault on the senses. The almighty barrage of The Vomit Of The Three Serpents (Usumgallu, Basmu, Musmahhu) becomes almost uncontrollable to contain, making it the standout song on the record for me. Endless Spiritual Violence is not just a brilliant song title but it also aptly describes what happens throughout it’s near four-minute running time. It’s chock fill of grinding wonderment and glorious groove. At times during Banished to Silence And Slavery and if you listen closely, there are swathes on industrial layered on by those unrelenting guitar riffs. If you close your eyes you could almost be in London’s Slimelight. You’d think that as they reached the conclusion of their record, TF would slow down. You’d be wrong. There’s no time for mid-paced or crawling tempos here as penultimate song Carnal Spectre demonstrates. Their power is full power and it’s all the better for it. Tower of Basmu - The Corruption of Flesh And Spirit closes the record in belligerent fashion, leaving nothing to chance. From start to finish this is a bewildering tome of violence, occultism and extreme metal. Triumvir Foul have crafted something that stretches beyond death metal. Something from another realm, which no man dares treat. 

You can stream the record below:-

It's also available to purchase from Triumvir Foul's bandcamp page in digital and tape form.

CD and LP versions can be purchased from Blood Harvest Records here -

Triumvir Foul Facebook (fan page) -
Blood Harvest Records Facebook -

Saturday 12 March 2016

Ghoul - Intermediate Level Hard-Core & Hang Ten

Metal has featured a long line of mask wearing miscreants over the years, from GWAR to A Band Of Orcs to Lordi! I haven't forgotten THAT BAND before you ask, I just deem them way to serious for this post. Like the bands mentioned above, anonymous US thrashers Ghoul have an image that may look like Scarecrow from Batman, but they party hard and cover their fans in claret at every given opportunity. Heck if Metal Archives deems them "cult" enough to feature on their hallowed pages then they must be doing something right.

Formed after the turn of the millennium by beings from several well-known death/thrash bands, Ghoul has released four full-length records as well as several EPs, singles and splits amongst other things. In this feature I focus on 2013's Intermediate Level Hard-Core EP (released via Clearview Records on vinyl and by Tankcrimes on CD) and 2014's Hang Ten EP (released via Tankcrimes on vinyl), which to date is their most recent record.

Intermediate Level Hard-Core - Tracklist:-

1. Intro
2. Americanized
3. Blow Up The Embassy
4. E.M.S.&D.
5. Propaganda Control
6. Proud To Be Creepsylvanian
7. Outro

Don’t let that retro cover-art fool you, this ain’t no stoned-out desert rock. Ghoul clearly has a wicked sense of humour as the Intro sounds just like one of those dreaded music exams you took at school. Americanized features good old American riffs and a choir that has to be heard to be believed. The song would not be out of place on a Grand Theft Auto radio station or a Scissorfight record. Blow Up The Embassy is a tongue in cheek attack against terrorists and raucous one at that! They’re at their best during quick-fire blasts like E.M.S.&D. and you won’t hear better solos shoehorned into songs this short. It’s unsurprising that Ghoul has an affiliation to Municipal Waste. Propaganda Control rages with the help wicked crossover thrash that’s become Ghoul’s calling card. The standout for me is Proud To Be Creepsylvanian. It’s brief but musically it’s both catchy and brimming with skill, as you’d expect.  The Outro rounds out the EP, which doesn’t stretch beyond seven minutes but still whips up a storm.

Hang Ten - Tracklist:-

1. The Midnight Ride Of The Cannibals MC
2. Kreeg
3. Sidehackers
4. Hang Ten
5. Blood On The Street
6. It Was A Very Good Year

On Hang Ten Ghoul manages to expand on the thrash that was present on Intermediate Level Hard-Core, with longer songs and even a story within the EP. The Midnight Ride Of The Cannibals MC is a menacing instrumental opener. Ghoul wrote a short accompanying piece on their bandcamp page to set the scene for the EP and Kreeg introduces you to the leader of the Cannibals, a raging mob of pillaging bikers. Sidehackers is about the band of vigilante’s that were gathered to battle the Cannibals and save their city. It’s mainly instrumental and allows you to create your own fantasy images about the battle that was waged between the two. In the story Ghoul wrote Kreeg hangs ten orphans, as illustrated in the EP cover are. The title-track is the musical rendition of that event. Blood On The Streets provides the musical background to the Acolyte’s storming of the Cannibals stronghold with the help of citizens that wanted to overthrow them. The EP concludes with It Was A Very Good Year and provides a final grim look into Kreeg’s psyche as he is about to be beheaded. Musically this EP is great but I think they missed a trick with the minimal use of vocals, but that’s no reason to ignore Hang Ten.

You can stream and download both EPs here:- 

You can grab physical copies of both EPs from Clearview Records and Tankcrimes here -

Clearview Records -
Tankcrimes Records -

Ghoul Facebook -
Clearview Records Facebook -
Tankcrimes Records Facebook -

Wednesday 9 March 2016

SLVDR/MOMA - Split 7"


1. SLVDR - Mike 80
2. MOMA - 32 Ave

It's mid-week and we all need some relief from the daily grind. Heck, we all need relief from grind! That's why I've decided to write about a instrumental split 7" that was released last year. It features Brazilian band SLVDR and Japanese band MOMA. It was a collaborative release between US labels Delayed Gratification Records and Tightwolf Records, as well Norway's Kakusan Records. I'm not familiar with either band but my mate Christer (Kakusan Records) gave me a heads up about it and he's got a good ear.

SLVDR plays twiddly and eccentric instrumental emo with some strange effects on Mike 80. They’re a bit scatty and very stop/start, making it a pretty intense listen. The soft/loud textures within the song (which is spread across six-minutes) are strangely soothing, especially the quieter jazz-laden sections. SLVDR is great and who knew that Brazil could produce music this mystifying (as opposed to just another Sepultura/Soulfly copycat band)! Japan’s MOMA are pretty majestic and 32 Ave is a soaring piano-led song that seems like it’s going to break out into a rendition of Vanessa Carlton’s A Thousand Miles at any moment. There is some dirty guitar hidden inside too though! Their second song SUN isn’t quite as soppy (sorry) and comes from a more experimental angle. MOMA has captivated me with these two songs. In fact this whole split is brilliant. When I first started listening to punk and metal I didn’t really give instrumental music much of a chance, but if this is what I’ve been missing then I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!

You can stream the whole split here:-

The 7" itself can be found via the links below -

Delayed Gratification Records -
Kakusan Records -
Tightwolf Records -

SLVDR Facebook -
Delayed Gratification Records Facebook -
Kakusan Records Facebook -
Tightwolf Records Facebook -

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Affliction Gate - Dying Alone EP


1.  Negative Lucidity
2. Devising Our Own Chains
3. Dying Alone
4. Manicheism Inertia

I've been meaning to check out Affliction Gate for a while now. It's a welcome change to find a French death metal band that isn't all about slam and pig-squeals (not that there's anything wrong with this, it just gets a bit samey after a while). Anyway, Affliction Gate have been spewing out old-school death metal for 10 years now, which is quite an achievement! 2008 saw the band release their debut EP "Severance (Dead To This World)" via French label Forgotten Wisdom Productions. They released their debut full-length "Aeon Of Nox (From Darkness Comes Liberation)" a year later and another EP "Shattered Ante Mortem Illusions" in 2012 via German extreme label Metal Inquisition Records. That brings us to Dying Alone. This four-song EP came out on January 5 with the help of Indian label Transcending Obscurity. 

This EP has been garnering a lot of positive media attention since it’s release. I don’t read too many write-ups prior to reviewing a record but that attention has been hard to ignore. EP opener Negative Lucidity is a heavy slab of old-school death with some groove-laden thrash thrown in for good measure. Channelling the energy of their Swe-death heroes as well as fellow European comrades, they produce a glorious noise on Devising Our Own Chains. There’s plenty of melodic leads, rasping growls and pummelling percussion. The production is strong too but also faithful to their sound and approach. This is great track! The title-track has a strange slow-crawl to it even with the up-tempo drumming. There’s a hint of doom-death in Affliction Gate’s music, which is no bad thing and the atmosphere produced is top notch. Manicheism Inertia closes out this short EP is furious fashion. Underlining the power that Affliction Gate has. They aren’t trying to be something they’re not and they don’t fit a million notes into a second either, they just play really good death metal in the same vein as those who dragged it out the underground and into wider existence. Great stuff!

You can stream, download and purchase various merch packages from Transcending Obscurity below:-

You can also buy physical copies here -

Affliction Gate Facebook -
Transcending Obscurity Facebook -

Monday 7 March 2016

Rotting Bull - Beyond Ragnarok


Part 1 -
1. The Rotting Congregation
2. Strung Up With Piano Wire
3. Nurture Hatred

Part 2 - 
4. Auld Crow Murder Plot
5. Tooled Up Drug Addled Teenager

Part 3 - 
6. Through The Looking Glass Of A Failed Suicide
7. As Far As Your Conscience Allows

Hailing from the industrial wastelands of Newcastle Upon Tyne and playing bleak and decaying heavy music, Rotting Bull have aptly summed up their surroundings on new album Beyond Ragnarok. Originally released in 2014, it has since been pressed (and subsequently sold out) on limited CD by Blackwood Productions and on tape via Witchhammer Productions. It's three parts formed by "nine minute bursts" (quote from the CD insert) of ritualistic black metal. 

Part One begins with torturous feedback, noise and metallic swathes of guitar. The Rotting Congregation acts as a maddening introduction to Beyond Ragnarok with it’s discordant and crusty black metal. Strung Up With Piano Wire is as harsh as it’s title suggests. The second movement in the band’s opening part, it’s blasts keep the tempo high while there’s more than just a slight black ’n’ roll influence in there too. Rotting Bull sums up their mood with Nurture Hatred and it’s mix of treble-laden guitar and disgustingly inhumane growls. After the initial onslaught, Auld Crow Murder Plot opens up Part Two with raging black thrash and screams that sit higher in the mix. It’s also pretty catchy, which I didn’t think I’d be saying! You know things are truly well with the world when you can lose yourself in music this nasty. With all of the emphasis on avant-garde black metal of late, Tooled Up Drug Addled Teenager banishes any sort of pretentiousness from Rotting Bull’s music (not that there was any in the first place). They really go all out with this song and it’s inner Voivod-isms remind me of Khthoniik Cerviiks. Through The Looking Glass Of A Failed Suicide is the most terrifying wall of noise on Beyond Ragnarok. It’s a short instrumental piece that ushers in Part Three and shakes your innards at the same time. They force nails into your eyes with the final seven-and-a-half-minutes of As Far As Your Conscience Allows. Black metal truly can take on many different forms in these modern times, with Rotting Bull proving that out of abject hatred, enjoyment can be found. The enjoyment I’m referring to is nestled in this release. 

You can stream Beyond Ragnarok and pick it up as a name-your-price-download below:-

The CD version can be purchased from the distro of Sinister Stench Productions -

Tape versions can be purchased from Witchhammer Productions here -

Rotting Bull Facebook -
Blackwood Productions Facebook -

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Mohicans - Mohicans EP


1. Eagle
2. Swan
3. Road
4. Canyon
5. Bixbi
6. Trench

This evening's foray into heavy music feature a band that I've not encountered before. I've seen their name mentioned in mags and online but somehow missed hearing them. They're from San Francisco, are part of Creator-Destructor Records and released this single-sided EP last December. Their last release was an EP back in 2012. They like good beer and play heavy metal, so that's enough for me!

This is angry and heavy. Mohicans mix hardcore fury with stoner/sludge vibes on Eagle. Not fast like grind but with plenty of zip, it’s a raucous opener that grabs you from the off. They’re incredibly catchy on Swan. This is how Cancer Bats would sound if they became really pissed off and stopped wanting to party all the time. There’s loads of groove in this band’s music and Road is mesmerising is weird way, until it’s understated solo kicks in and reminds you that there’s plenty of swing in heavy music. Canyon is a ripper and owes a lot to punk. The head work is great fun and adds more light to the record. The mighty drum roll and bouncing bass on Bixbi give way to a solid metal song, complete with chunky riffs. Mohicans end it all with Trench, which acts as the mid-paced head bludgeoning that provides the final blow. Six short yet sharp songs make this an EP that will become very infectious, very quickly. It may not be obvious to begin with, but trust me it’ll get you.

You can stream and grab the EP as a name-you-price-download here:-

Pick it up on glorious coloured vinyl via Creator-Destructor Records here:-

Mohicans Facebook -
Creator-Destructor Records Facebook -