Sunday 23 February 2020

Necropsy - Exitus (Xtreem Music)

Labels: Xtreem Music
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 21 Jan 2020


1. Meat Ceremony
2. Fucking Dead
3. 206 Motives
4. Butcherado

This is likely going to be the last review of my little series focusing on Finnish extreme metal. I say likely because I may do one more today, as long as my hi-fi plays ball (the other review didn't happen, sorry). Exitus is the newest EP from death metallers Necropsy. They've been releasing music since way back in 1989, with several demos and a split coming before an eighteen year break between 1993 and 2011, when their first full-length Bloodwork saw the light of day. Now and following their 2015 full-length Buried In The Woods, the quintet returns to show newer bands how it's done.

Here we go. The review I tried to write this morning before writer’s block hit. Now I don’t know if I’m correct here but is this Necropsy (there are quite a few bands with the same name according to Metal Archives!) the same band that made Noisem change to their current name? Let me know in the comments. Anyway, forgetting that for a minute, this is death/doom of the highest order in a form that only the Finn’s can achieve. Opener ‘Meat Ceremony’ is mid-paced but still nasty enough to sit within the death metal sphere. The instrumentation is super clear on this recording (especially the guitars) and the vocals are deep in tone, which is exactly what you want. 

The aptly titled ‘Fucking Dead’ is straight-to-the-point in death/doom terms at least. It proves that experience means more than enthusiasm and Necropsy has more experience than most within the genre. The riffs are huge and thick with atmosphere, while the whole band is cohesive, as if they’re glued together physically.  

The groove is real on ‘206 Motives’ and it starts right from the off. It’s the longest song on the EP and therefore it’s the doomeist. It’s a dirge-laden slab of death metal with some awesome traditional/heavy metal influences and at times it reminds of Insomnium (a band that may or may not have been influenced by Necropsy themselves). Like the rest of the EP, it’s an engaging listen that really draws you in. 

Final song ‘Butcherado’ is at odds with the other songs on the EP. It’s a raging and fast death metal song that barely lasts beyond three minutes and shows off Necropsy’s more brutal side. Musically, it’s still more than solid and it makes use of their collective writing/recording nouse as well as their instrumental skill. It’s over all too quickly, as is this EP.

It’s going to be hard for other bands playing death/doom to match this release in 2020. Necropsy just seem to have the aura and the musicality to nail it from start to finish. This is a great release and Xtreem Music has done a great job sticking by the band and helping them to flourish. 

Stream and purchase Exitus digitally below:-

CD copies can be ordered from Xtreem Music here -

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Blooming Carrions - Sisters In Blooming Flesh (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Labels: Iron Bonehead Productions
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 21 Sep 2019


1. Sisters In Blooming Flesh
2. Enchantment Of Slaughtering
3. Lehto

I've decided to carry on my dive into Finnish extremity with a review of the latest release from death metal project Blooming Carrions. This time, BC has swelled to a duo with bassist PkE joining multi-instrumentalist EvM on this new EP. I reviewed the band's 2027 debut demo Sparkling Rotten Dreams back in 2018 but they've been off my radar a little until now. 

Blooming Carrions’ blackened death is horrendously evil (in the best possible way). Title track ‘Sisters In Blooming Flesh’ is a mixture of blasting black metal and mid-paced death metal filled with Finnish murkiness. The drums sit deeper in the mix, slightly buried by the bass and guitar, while the vocals are delivered via low growls that bare no comparison. It swirls and howls like the wind.

After a brief moment of silence, the shock of ringing feedback at the beginning of ‘Enchantment Of Slaughtering’ will make you sit up straight. It’s only a brief shock and before long BC head forth into their blackened deathly furrow once more. Musically, this one bares more of an avant-garde feel (though I appreciate that descriptor is probably overused now). The guitar/bass riffs are menacing, while the drums continue to pound out a relentless pace as the vocals hold nothing back.

Closing song ‘Lehto’ is ambient at first but it doesn’t stay that way for long, as thick, almost doom-like riffs take the lead in a song that’s almost ten-minutes in length. Don’t be afraid though, as it breezes by almost effortlessly with a focused tempo that lends itself really well to BC’s extremity and darkness. 

This certainly won’t be to everybody’s tastes but in terms of extreme metal, it’s very good. It’s musically strong and the production/mixing/mastering means that it’s still got an intense raw edge without being a mess of noise. Blooming Carrions are worth investing your time in if barbaric yet intelligent heaviness is what you’re after. 

You can stream and purchase Sisters In Blooming Flesh digitally via the BC's bandcamp page below:-

Physical CD and LP copies can be purchased from Iron Bonehead Productions here:-

Friday 14 February 2020

Sammas' Equinox/Emanating Void - Temples Of Ice Split 7" (Signal Rex)

Labels: Signal Rex
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 31 Jan 2020


1. Sammas' Equinox - Glaciers In The Somber Night
2. Emanating Void - Crystalized In Superiority

Things have been a bit hit and miss this week, but after the excellent reception that my Frogskin/Taser Split review received, I wanted to make sure I got something else written up before time completely gets away from me. Low and behold, this is another split. Released at the end of January by Portuguese black metal label Signal Rex, Temples Of Ice features Sammas' Equinox and Emanating Void, whom contribute one song each. Sammas' Equinox has released two demos, the first of which was in 2016 and a compilation last year, which gathered all of the songs from those aforementioned tapes. Emanating Void is newer with only a single demo to their name so far. Both bands are mysterious and both present their newest work here.

With another storm due to hit the UK over the weekend, there’s reason to hunker down with something dark and foreboding. Sammas’ Equinox begin with ‘Glaciers In The Somber Night’ and their black metal is evil, noisy but not without atmosphere. It’s not lo-fi by any means, but the crashing percussion, raw guitar work and cold shrieks make it sound very true to the sub-genres beginnings. The ambient synth-led latter-half is enchanting, transporting you to a place with no natural light, where you’re left staring wide-eyed at the stars. It’s cosmic in an odd sort of way but utterly encapsulating as well. 

Emanating Void’s ‘Crystalized In Superiority’ snaps you back down to earth with blasting, orchestral black metal that’s filled with layers of uneasy noise and deeper growls. The drums in the background are threatening while the guitars seem slightly hidden by the vocals and the other instrumental effects. It’s an immersive listen, even it requires more attention from you as a listener. There’s a lot to pick up on here and Emanating Void really takes no prisoners. The band’s expressive nature flows through their song here and turns the light into darkness. 

This year is going to be strong for black metal and Finland looks like it’s going to lead the way, with new releases from Hollow Woods and Pantheon of Blood, alongside this split already seeing the black of night via Signal Rex in January.

You can stream and purchase the split digitally below:-

The Signal Rex webstore re-opens in March, so keep heading back to the link below if you want a copy -

Monday 10 February 2020

Frogskin/Taser - Split LP (Gate Of Deliria/Iron Coffin/Penny Whistles And Moon Pies/Ramekuukkeli-Levyt)

Labels: Gate Of Deliria/Iron Coffin/Penny Whistles And Moon Pies/Ramekuukkeli-Levyt
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 21 Oct 2019


1. Frogskin - Settling For Leftovers
2. Taser - Shovel Face
3. Taser - Broken Christ

Yesterday ended up being a washout (literally, due to flooding and me having to help clear the mess from outside the flats that I reside in) and also because I wasn't able to write as many reviews as I had planned for the day. I did hint on social media though that I'd be focusing my writing efforts on Finnish bands this week and here we are. This split LP was one half of a package I received from Ramekuukkeli-Levyt. It split features Frogskin and Taser, both of whom are Finnish doom/sludge bands. It feels very apt to be writing about this release given what I had to endure over the weekend. Thanks go to Tuukka for sending this to me and I'm sorry for the delay with my review.

The artwork on both sides of this split is great. There’s just something about holding the physical release in my hands and pouring over it. It came with a lyric insert and has been pressed on nice thick black vinyl (there’s also a green variant too). Frogskin’s side of this split contains the song ‘Settling For Leftovers’ and it weighs in at nearly fifteen-minutes. With the wind blowing heavily outside my window, it seems only right to jam this now. An eerie spoken word sample plays atop of slow and bass-heavy doom/sludge. It’s not pretty and nor should it be. It’s feedback-laden passages ringing from the speakers as the growled vocals enter the fray. They sit perfectly nestled within the menacing recording. The further in you get, the slower Frogskin’s music seems to become, dragging you down into a blackhole of despair and claustrophobic fear. Towards the song’s conclusion, you’re left with a screeching noise passage that’s even more terrifying than the music that precedes it.

Taser’s side is more to the point and groovy. ‘Shovelface’ is a driving beast with rock n roll sensibilities and vocals that could pass for white-noise such is their high-pitched ferocity. Their approach is to batter whatever functioning faculties you have left with hard and heavy sludge. It works too. The brilliantly named ‘Broken Christ’ continues in the same way and with it’s earth-rumbling riffs, it takes no prisoners. While Frogskin’s contribution is one born of utter harshness and misery, Taser’s duo of songs are slightly more upbeat (if that’s at all possible). I’ve always been a fan of this form of sludge and doom but this split makes me realise why I hold it above all else. It really hits that spot in my brain that wants solitude and distance from humans. 

Both sides of this split are great and while I was already aware of Frogskin, Taser was a new name and I’m glad that Tuukka put them on my radar. They both show how twisted and heavy Finnish heavy music can be. I wholeheartedly recommend this split to anyone who likes the noisier and slower things in life. You won’t be disappointed.

You can stream and purchase the split digitally below, where I've included both the Frogskin and Taser sides for you two stream here via their respective bandcamp pages:-

Physical copies can also be purchased from the bands or from the links below:-

Penny Whistles And Moon Pies is a label that belongs to Taser's guitarist. I don't have a link, but that have copies for sale via their bandcamp page above, as I've already mentioned.

Sunday 9 February 2020

Riviera Kid - It's Not A Matter Of A Or B (Hell Hath No Fury Records)

Labels: Hell Hath No Fury Records
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 01 Jan 2019


1. Building A Disco
2. Black Dot
3. Broken Town
4. Break Free Stay Free

I seem to have done more planning this week that actual writing, so today could well be a day filled with reviews. This is my third Hell Hath No Fury Records review, but it was the label's first release (I think). Riviera Kid is a duo from Southern England and is described (in the band's own words) as one part anarchy punk and one part gothic nu-metal. It's Not A Matter Of A Or B was released on the first of Jan last year as a CD and digitally. 

This is loud. ‘Building A Disco’ is filled with garage-punk and rock n’ roll vibes, but there’s a decidedly angry backbone to it as well. The instrumentation is delivered with real venom and there’s something very industrial about it thanks to the repeated vocal lines and straight-forward way in which Riviera Kid performs their music. Despite the loudness, the duo are really solid musicians, which is noticeable throughout the EP. ‘Black Dot’ edges over into slightly more experimental territory at times but it’ll still smash you over the head. It reminds me of the anti-establishment punk of the 80s (even though I was far too young at the time to appreciate it). 

‘Broken Town’ is the band’s longest song and also the first song where they employ clean vocals. It’s gritty and still heavy in the choruses but there’s an added complexity to their music that’s not as obvious when they’re just going for it gung-ho. Post-punk is probably the closest comparison I could come to here, if that makes sense. EP closer ‘Break Free Stay Free’ is an example in noisy art-punk with masses of urgency and a crushing bass-heavy rumble. Maybe I’m trying to be too descriptive when talking about this EP, when really all it is is just heavy fun from a band that have their own style and aesthetic.

DIY music is always better than anything manufactured and you can’t get more DIY than this. The music a produced/mixed/mastered brilliantly and doesn’t lose any of it’s abrasive edge. The duo play loads of small gigs across the UK in between their busy daily lives and it was released with the help of a great up-and-coming UK label that takes pride in diversity and giving a leg-up to killer bands at the same time. 

You can stream and purchase It's Not A Matter Of A Or B digitally and on cd (4 remaining) via the Hell Hath No Fury Records bandcamp page below:-

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Suspect Parts - You Know I Can't Say No 7" (Dirt Cult Records/Wanda Records)

Labels: Dirt Cult Records/Wanda Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 12 July 2019


1. You Know I Can't Say No
2. Song For Sadie
3. Hundsgemein (Ideal Cover)

I was stood talking to a mate prior to a gig on Friday night and we were talking music, when the conversation turned to my blog and what I cover. I went along the lines of "you cover a lot of heavy shit, but you should feature more punk" or something like that. I agree, I should. Anyway, it's my last day of annual leave before I head back to work and in between scanning Discogs for some elusive gaps in my record collection, I felt the urge to write a review. Suspect Parts are a punk/power pop quartet featuring members from UK, Germany and America. They released this 7" via Dirt Cult Records and Wanda Records last year.

I’ll start this review by saying that I wrote the above intro yesterday, but never got around to completing this and I can’t be bothered thinking of a new one, so here goes. Suspect Parts play self-professed 70’s beach punk with a heavy US flair, mixed with 60’s power pop. The title-track ‘You Know I Can’t Say No’ is catchy and danceable, especially thanks to the vocal melodies and the un-fussy instrumentation. Punk and pop mix together without any form of pretence and plenty of retro appeal. 

The band’s second original on this EP is “Song For Sadie’ and it’s got more of a US Southern drawl going on amongst the band’s pop hooks. One thing’s for sure, Suspect Parts have got the whole three-minute hit thing nailed. Their songs on here are around that mark and they’re instantly hummable from start to end.

They close out their EP with a cover of ‘Hundsgemein’ by 80’s German pop band Ideal. I’m not familiar with the band but listening to the original online before listening to their version, it makes sense that they decided to cover it. The pace is slower and the German lyrics are delivered in a slightly rawer way, which at times is stark (but not because they’re harsh) as well as entertaining. 

Three songs delivered in three subtly different styles by a band made up of three nationalities. Suspect Parts are a great find and they make me nostalgic for punk that’s easygoing and sing-along in nature. Variety certainly is the spice of life. 

You can stream and download the EP below:-

If you're in the EU/UK especially, you can order a copy of the 7" from Wanda Records here -

USA/Canada orders can be placed via Dirt Cult Records here -

Monday 3 February 2020

Gig Review: Fatalist + Bile (Friday 31st Jan, Harrogate Retro Bar)

This post has been a bit delayed due to procrastination and a hangover, but it seems like a good way to start my last day before going back to the daily grind. This past Friday I went to a gig (which, hasn't happened for quite some time!). It was the first heavy gig to happen in Harrogate for sometime and it was all thanks to Retro Bar and Snicklefritz Promotions, a new local gig promoter. 

The gig featured local powerviolence band Bile (whose demo I reviewed not so long ago) and fellow Leeds/Harrogate black metal band Fatalist. Leeds band Dregz were due to play the gig too, but sadly had to pull out at the last minute. I attempted to review the gig and take some photos, so this will either be complete rubbish or not a bad decide.

Doors were at 8pm and Bile started things off at 9pm. Retro is a cosy space and there was over a handful of people in attendance at this point (aside from the bands themselves). Bile's set was short, like their demo. They sounded great and their no-bullshit approach was refreshing given that this was their first gig. Talking to their drummer before the set, he mentioned how much he enjoyed early-Magrudergrind and I could definitely here that influence in their music, as well a slight hint of sludge to. Great set and I'm definitely eager to hear more from Bile. I did take a couple of photos from their set but managed to lose them, which I'm gutted about.

Fatalist were up next and after the fast and short Bile set, their atmospheric black metal was subtle and sounded really clear. Beginning with an instrumental song (from reading my notes, I'm probably wrong in my recollection) they went onto play black metal with melody and a somewhat earthy feel, especially with the vocals held back in the mix slightly and the haze from the smoke machine filling the room. There were a few more people in the crowd at this point as well and Fatalist's tones filled the bar and rung out into the street above, meaning wherever you were in the venue the sound was clear. It was the second time I'd seen Fatalist (both time being at Retro bar). I managed to salvage three photos of them from the night after my phone's wobbly over the weekend, so I've posted them below.

Note: I decided to turn my phone's flash off part way through the gig so I didn't piss people off. That coupled with the smoke machine means that these are a bit grainy and dark, but I think that adds charm.

If anybody reading this review does gig reviews themselves and can give me tips on how to do things differently or better in future, please don't hesitate to shout up. Maybe, I should invest in better camera equipment for future gigs as well.

Finally, thanks to Snicklefritz Promotions for putting this night on and make sure you check out both bands, as well as Dregz:-