Sunday 30 May 2021

Bless The Dead - Overdue Lies EP

Labels: Sliptrick Records

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 26 Jan 2021


1. White Lies Dark Whiskey

2. Overdue

Today's meant to be hot and sunny, so I thought it'd be a good time to check out some new music with a southern metal/groove flavour before I head out later. This little two-song digital EP was released back in January by Bless The Dead from Atlanta, Georgia (USA), with the help of Sliptrick Records. Since forming back in 2013, they've released a self-titled EP in 2015, followed by another EP called Vulva in 2016 and then they came to the attention of Sliptrick Records, who helped them release their debut full-length The Boar's Nest in 2019. Bless The Dead were due to tour in Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states last year but the pandemic put pay to that. With influences including Clutch, High On Fire and Sevendust, there's bound to be plenty to enjoy amongst these two songs.

In my late teens/early twenties, I’d spend many an hour listening to Pantera, Down, FFDP and others on road trips with mates. I’ve grown a little out of touch with the whole groove/southern metal sub-genre in recent years, owing to the fact that I just like lots of different varieties of metal, but I have to say that Bless The Dead are a nice surprise here. The opening song on Overdue Lies, ‘White Lies Dark Whiskey’, is a proper groove metal song. Instrumentally it’s heavy and rhythmic, as you’d expect. The semi-harsh vocals match the sound well and the solo towards the end is really well executed. Bless The Dead take their craft seriously instead of just merely copying their influences.

The thrash is strong on this release too, but it doesn’t overpower things on ‘Overdue’. It’s exhilarating when Bless The Dead hit full stride. The riffs, while familiar in delivery are really melodic and the whole song-writing effort from the band is excellent. I know there’s a bit of a stigma attached to bands of this ilk and indeed their fans, but there’s no need to overlook these guys. Comparisons aside, this EP is great fun and a really good listen, especially if you’re looking for an introduction to the band.

Overdue Lies is available via all major digital outlets and you can purchase the band's previous releases digitally via their website here -

Bless The Dead -

Sliptrick Records -

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Gilded Age: New Song Premiere and Release News

On May 26th Portland, Oregon (USA) powerviolence band Gilded Age will be releasing a very special album called Voices, with the help of Canadian tape label Tomb Tree Tapes. I'm very happy to be able to bring you a special song premiere along with extra release news, ahead of tomorrow's full unveiling via fellow blog Captured Howls. 

Now, I don't normally just copy and paste press releases verbatim but on this occasion I feel that Matt  from Gilded Age describes this release better than I ever could:-

"We wrote 10 instrumental powerviolence tracks and handed the music over to woman-identifying, non-binary, and BIPOC folks to write lyrics and record vocals. The core of this project is to provide an outlet and a platform for those who have been historically underrepresented.

For context, this collaboration started in 2018 when Christine Blasey Ford came forward about being sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh, nominee for Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. As the hearings unfolded, we were outraged by the reductive dismissal she publicly endured. Many of the woman-identifying people closest to us expressed defeat and frustration, as well as an urgent need to blow off steam."

The song that Gilded Age has chosen to premiere is called 'A requiem: ad nauseam' and it's lyrics were written/recorded by Tammy. Here's what Tammy had to say about it:-

"This song was the culmination of my frustrations with the inextricable link between patriarchy and the state. Judges, politicians, police, and professors are some of the biggest perpetrators of gender violence yet are least likely to be held accountable because of their proximity to power. One of the lyrics were inspired by the Chilean feminist protest song  “Un Violador en tu camino”/“A Rapist in your path”: “Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba ni cómo vestía.”/“And the fault was not mine, not where I went, not how I dressed.”

You can listen to the track below:-

Another great touch for this release is that there will be 10 different swirl tape variants coming from Tomb Tree Tapes. 9 of those variants (10 tapes each in total) will bare the names of those who wrote the lyrics for the songs that appear on Voices. The 10th variant will feature the band's name.

They will go on sale tomorrow via the label and any money that Gilded Age brings in through sales of the release will go to the charity, which is a shelter for women who are homeless or have suffered abuse of any kind.

Below are some pictures of the swirl tapes to wet your appetites:-

Make sure you head over to Captured Howls tomorrow for the full album stream -

You can pre-order both physical and digital copies of the album directly from Gilded Age here -

Gilded Age -

Tomb Tree Tapes -

Thursday 20 May 2021

Vainoa - Pelon Varjo

Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 12 Feb 2021


1. Nayta Kuolemasi Minulle

2. Pelon Varjo

3. Vainot Eivat Paaty Koskaan

4. Aani Sen Menettaneille

5. Metalliset Kasvot

Tonight's been a night for browsing through my inbox. I've got some time off in a few weeks so the plan is to fully catch up with it then. While scrolling, I came across an e-mail from Matti from Finnish blackened hardcore band Vainoa. Vainoa released their newest EP Pelon Varjo back in February, so I'm only a few months late with this review!. It follows their 2018 split release with Shark Varnish and their Live In Joensuu EP, which was released digitally in early 2019. Vainoa is currently looking for a label to help with a physical release. 

There’s absolutely no time wasting on this release, with opener ‘Nayta Kuolemasi Minulle’ instantly kicking into a high gear with intense and fast blackened hardcore. Metallic guitars are joined by blasting percussion, truly shattering bass guitar and vocals that can hardly be contained. At times they’re typically low and at others they’re piercing screeches. The title-track ‘Pelon Varjo’ starts after little rest for breath and continues as the EP’s opener left off. There’s added melody here from synthesisers, which give Vainoa’s sound an added layer of intrigue and even a little extra catchiness. This isn’t pop by any stretch of the imagination but as with countless other Finnish bands that I’ve reviewed here, there’s something special and unique about it’s sound.

‘Vainot Eivat Paaty Koskaan’ adds more depth and screeching feedback to the EP. The latter isn’t something I’ve mentioned yet but it’s present, just as it is in every fast bands arsenal. While Vainoa’s pacier songs are really good, I can’t wait to hear them pull off a longer, maybe even slower song. Penultimate track ‘Aani Sen Menettaneille’ isn’t necessarily slower but is filled instead with punk attitude and the riffs to back it up. It does have it’s more lumbering moments though, with off-kilter breakdowns and sudden breakouts into meatier hardcore too. The song’s latter half brings to mind Mastodon’s progression and distills it into something very much of Vainoa’s own making.

The final song here is a cover of ‘Metalliset Kasvot’ by Finnish post-punk/goth band Musta Paraati. This is where Vainoa nods towards their influences and in doing so, produces the kind of dense and almost sludgy sound that I knew they were capable of. They’re putting their own take on a song that probably wasn’t meant to sound this heavy and it sounds glorious (in the darkest possible way). I love it when raging hardcore bands switch to a slower gear. That’s not taking anything away from Vainoa’s up-tempo backbone though, because it’s very good but I can just feel myself heading down a slower path right now and this song reinforces that.

As with many of those that have come before them, Vainoa are carrying the torch for a truly rich musical nation and their music is from the heart. It’s exhilarating and disparate at the same time. There’s no escaping the dissonance at play here, making Pelon Varjo yet another musical step towards this planets eventual oblivion. Fantastic!

You can stream and purchase Pelon Varjo digitally below:-

You can also watch the video for the EPs opening track here:-

Vainoa -

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Eximperituserqethhzebibsiputgakkathsulweliarzaxulum (Eximperitus) - Sahrartu

Labels: Willowtip Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 29 Jan 2021


1. Saqummatu

2. Utpada

3. Tahadu

4. Anhutu

5. Inqirad

6. Riqutu

Eximperituserqethhzebibsiputgakkathsulweliarzaxulum (or Eximperitus for short) is a mysterious and technical death metal band from Belarus. Sahrartu is the band's second full-length (released via Willowtip Records), coming five years after their debut full-length Projecting the Singular Emission of the Doctrine of Absolute and All-Absorbing Evil…' (shortened and translated here, the full title and album can be found here). Also counting a couple of demos, an EP and a compilation amongst their current decade-long discography, they're proving to be a cult hit amongst death metal fans. Their lyrics are presented in an obscure and archaic version of Belarusian.

I think the only other Belarussian band I’ve come across in recent years is Pa Vesh En. Eximperitus are a very different beast and album opener ‘Saqummatu’ gives a great introduction to the band’s instrumental skill. Slow, almost doom-like riffs and bass are backed up by blistering percussion. It does a very good job of keeping you guessing as you progress into the album further.

Following the measured opening song, ‘Utpada’ is where Eximperitus begin to stretch their legs a little more, with the addition of deep growls and instrumental layers, which are both lightning fast yet also rooted in the gloomier death/doom camp at times. It’s very focused. There’s definitely a higher degree of progression within the music on Sahrartu, but ’Tahadu’ is just pure brutality in it’s best form. That’s not to say it isn’t without it’s listenability though, as Eximperitus delves back into their old-school/mid-paced arsenal later on, helping it to retain an air of true evil. 

As most people expect technical death metal songs to be short and sweet, the opposite is true here. The six songs on Sahrartu clock in at just over thirty seven minutes and as the second half of the album kicks in, you’re treated to ‘Anhutu’, which is the first of two that equal almost half of the entire running time. It’s a veritable mix of their punishing death metal and murkier yet melodic grandiosity. Absolutely killer!

‘Inqirad’ is the second of the two and it really captures the traditional roots of Eximperitus. Subtle choral singing sits beneath some virtuoso guitar work before shifting into a different gear, one that sounds even more menacing. Again, the tempo of the guitars and vocals are somewhat slower than that of the percussion, yet it works so well as a whole. You’ll get lost in it before you get tired of it, trust me!

Sahrartu closes with the soothing tones of ‘Rigutu’, which is far removed from the songs that have come before and like the album opener, is instrumental. Again, it’s really well delivered, just like the entire record. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook bands because they’re not from “popular” scenes or whatever. I maintain that you should in fact reach outside of your boundaries instead. If you do, you’ll discover bands like Eximperitus and you’ll be richer because of it.

You can stream and purchase Sahrartu digitally below:-

It's also available to buy on all physical formats via their bandcamp page as well.

Eximperitus -

Willowtip Records -

Sunday 16 May 2021

Nionde Plagan - Frustration

Labels: Dingleberry Records/Epileptic Media/Friendly Otter/Let Them Die Records/Moment Of Collapse Records/Through Love Records/Unlock Yourself Records/Upwind Productions/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 30 Oct 2015


1. Letargi

2. Oandligt

3. Van, I Forodelsens Stund?

4. Orkeslos

5. [mellanspel]

6. Nar Smafaglar Dor

7. Vida Horisonter

8. Samhorighet

9. Revolt

10. Leva Eller Do

It's been another chunk of time since I wrote one of these ZBR roster reviews. Time if flying and I've been in a state of flux recently, mainly down to work and lockdown fatigue. I'm trying to gee myself up though, so let's see how that goes. 'Frustration', the third full-length release from Swedish post-hardcore band Nionde Plagan was released in October of 2015. It was released on various formats with both Friendly Otter and Dingleberry Records putting it on tape, Moment Of Collapse releasing the cd version and a vinyl pressing coming from a huge collaboration of labels, featuring Dingleberry Records, Epileptic Media, Friendly Otter, Let Them Die Records, Through Love Records, Unlock Yourself Records, Upwind Productions and of course, Zegema Beach Records (info taken from Discogs, please inform me of any inaccuracies). 

As post-hardcore goes, Nionde Plagan’s stands out amongst the heaviest. The screams on opening song ‘Letargi’ are fierce, while the melody of the guitars seem at odds with how heavy and crushing they are. The percussion holds up well deeper in the mix, with cymbal crashes being the overriding layer. The abrupt ending to what is a cinematic intro song really sets the tone here.

‘Oandligt’ expands on NP’s sound, adding more melody and a signature Swedish sense of tone and song-writing, which brings to mind some of the country’s best known modern heavy bands, like Dark Tranquility, in the instrumentation sense anyway. It’s a truly expressive song that becomes hypnotic as it eventually fades out in slow and dramatic fashion.

The cross pollination of screamo and black metal in recent years has been much the same as any other union of sounds, but it seems as though NP might have been early-adopters in a sense. The high/low pitched screams on ‘Van, I Forodelsens Stund?’ certainly prove that. Now I know that name-dropping so many sub-genres can be boring, but there are certain reference points within them that I find comforting when writing. Needless to say, there’s much more to Nionde Plagan’s sound than comparing it to other forms of heavy music.

It’s becoming increasingly common for me to take a couple of days to write a review now. Usually, I can write one and publish it within a couple of hours but sometimes it takes longer. Not because the album in question isn’t grabbing me, but because I don’t feel I can do it justice in one sitting. I think Frustration is one of those albums. ‘Orkeslos’ takes the crown of being the album’s lengthiest song and it epitomises the atmospheric, almost-blackened post-hardcore/metal approach of Nionde Plagan. It is instrumental for a large amount of it’s running time, with melody being used more subtly, in turn making it a lot darker.

‘Orkeslos’ is followed by a calming, sample-led song called ‘[mellanspel]’, which draws a line between the album’s two halves. It’s simple and relaxing. After a very short pause, ‘Nav Smafaglar Dor’ drives out of the speakers with it’s earthy post-rock riffing and more considered percussive rhythms. The screams are still hoarse and powerful. Considering the volume of Swedish bands that ZBR worked with prior to this release, it’s immense how unique they all were. ‘Vida Horisonter’ brings the tone/feel that’s present in Envy’s sound, that feeling of anticipation and the release that grabs your attention. 

There’s such a driving intensity about Frustration that it feels as though all of the songs on it could have just been woven into one long song and they would have still sounded perfectly balanced, and in place. ‘Samhorighet’ hypnotises you with repeating riffs throughout, only changing at points and into other sections. The melody layered over the top provides a great soundscape when sitting alongside the more distant screams of the song’s latter half and it ends abruptly, in startling fashion, giving way to penultimate song ‘Revolt’. ‘Revolt’ feels more frantic with emoviolence-esque urgency. It still captures NP’s formula but in a more intense way.

Final track ‘Leva Eller Do’ feels like a properly fitting conclusion to the album. It doesn’t divert from NP’s overall sound too much. Instead, it builds on it in a way that feels much more climactic and free. Chances are, you’re probably already more than familiar with this release given that it’s now over five years old, so I’m no doubt preaching to the converted. If you’re not though and you like your screamo on the heavier side, Frustration still holds up really well and is worth your time. Track a copy down if you can!

You can stream and download Frustration directly from Nionde Plagan's bandcamp page below:-

Nionde Plagan -

Physical copies ares still available from the labels below:-

Friendly Otter -

Let Them Die Records -

Through Love Records -

Zegema Beach Records - CAN/INTL -

Dingleberry Records and Distribution -

Epileptic Media -

Friendly Otter -

Let The Die Records -

Moment Of Collapse Records -

Through Love Records -

Unlock Yourself Records -

Upwind Production -

Zegema Beach Records -

Monday 10 May 2021

Dawn Ray'd - Wild Fire EP

Labels: Prosthetic Records

Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 07 May 2021


1. Wild Fire I

2. Wild Fire II

I'm currently planning to delve into the white metal sub-genre (don't get that term confused with bands solely consisting of white musicians, because it's really about bands with pro-religious beliefs that play extreme metal). Black metal as we all know is about satanism (albeit comically sometimes) and anti-human sentiment, but there is a branch that over the last few years has become more prevalent and relevant within the community. Anti-fascist black metal is the sub-genre and UK trio Dawn Ray'd are one of its main proponents. Last week, they released a brand new EP in anticipation of their next full-length. Wild Fire features two different versions of the same song; one featuring the band's socially adept black metal, while the other strips things back, taking on their folkier form.

I did not expect this EP to begin with the sound of brass. It’s a rousing intro to ‘Wild Fire I’, which matches the melodic yet scathing tones that Dawn Ray’d have become known for. The tight and rhythmic percussion alongside the icy yet heartwarming guitar, provides the perfect backdrop for screams of conscience, the type that should resonate with each of us at this time and always. Dawn Ray’d have always been more traditionally led, with the use of strings especially. Their approach is no different here.

‘Wild Fire II’, as described above is an alternate version of the same song and one that focuses entirely on the band’s folk influences. It sounds very medieval initially until the acoustic guitar comes into view. From here, it once again becomes a rousing hymn of defiance and resistance, but in a different vein. One of my earliest introductions to protest music was The Levellers and while I appreciate that Dawn Ray’d is a very different entity musically, they still have that same depth of feeling. This song embodies that and the clean vocals that close it out are as vivid and clear in their message as they ever could be.

This EP is unapologetic in it’s stance and it’s willingness to defy boundaries. English music was built on the melodies and feelings expressed here, and Dawn Ray’d have lit a beacon that may herald a slight shift in sound, but not in their steadfast beliefs. 

You can purchase Wild Fire on both vinyl and digital formats below:-

Dawn Ray'd -

Prosthetic Records -

Thursday 6 May 2021

Revulsion (Finland) - Self-Titled

Labels: Transcending Obscurity Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 05 Feb 2021


1. Last Echoes Of Life

2. Pyre

3. Walls

4. Mustaa Hiilta

5. Lihaan Sidottu Kirja

6. Wastelands

7. Unravel

8. Silence

9. Pawns

10. Viimeinen Rituaali

Transcending Obscurity Records now has a long and enviable record of working with top quality extreme metal bands. The label champions those from further afield (there is also the Transcending Obscurity India imprint, if you're after a more local flavour). This evening I'm back in my happy place, which features Finnish death metal band Revulsion and their debut self-titled album. Revulsion started out in 2005 but didn't release their first demo Undressing External Humanity until 2010. A year later they release their first EP called Defiled before working on their debut album. After releasing 'Last Echoes Of Life' and 'Walls' as a dual single in 2016, the rest is history. TOR committed this album to wax (in three different variants) alongside the cd and digital formats, and to be honest they couldn't have done it any better.

The excitement is real with this one. Revulsion’s death metal is very much of the old-school variety with added doom and album opener ‘Last Echoes Of Life’ combines both elements with some extra brutality. Groove-laden guitar work, rumbling bass and up-front percussion fight for room with lower-register growls. All of those layers work really well together. ‘Pyre’ comes across as more of a sludgy/slam fest but with added technicality too. Don’t worry though old-school fans, Revulsion’s death metal isn’t of the ‘breee breee breee’  pig-squeal variety!

Revulsion are extremely proficient at what they do and there are no histrionics here whatsoever. Just good, solid death metal with a modern touch. ‘Walls’ proves this with song-writing that’s efficient but also engrossing. In fact, none of the songs present here outstay their welcome, which helps to keep you attentive as a listener. ‘Mustaa Hiilta’ is where Revulsion dips into their mother-tongue and while you may not be able to make out the lyrics (unless you speak Finnish), there’s an unmistakable atmosphere flowing through the song. A dark, otherworldly and metallic one at that. 

Following the more expansive nature of ‘Mustaa Hiilta’, ‘Lihaan Sidottu Kirja’ is a shock to the system, with it’s frenetic and authoritative kick-drumming and headstrong riffing. Rhythm is a big part of Revulsion’s musical arsenal and it’s more than obvious here. While I consider a lot of Finnish extreme music to be more on the punk/experimental end of the spectrum, hearing a band like this that maintains control and harnesses their instrumental skill so well is a breath of fresh air, in a strange sort of way.

The second half of the album well and truly begins with ‘Wastelands’ and it’s brow-beating tempo. It’s one of the album’s shorter songs but loses nothing in the process. Revulsion still manages to tun it into a ravaging death metal beast in the best possible way. Maybe at times it’s more American sounding than Scandinavian but it’s still great fun. ‘Unravel’ is a masterclass in making something sound slow when it’s not. The musical phrasing, the drawn out riffs and the doom/sludge atmospherics make the band’s old-school approach even more real, in an homage to Incantation maybe.

That being said, Revulsion leaves no room for breath as they launch into ‘Silence’, which underpins everything that’s great about both death metal and this band as a whole. Once again the groove shines through the gloom and their confidence is clear to see and hear. Penultimate song ‘Pawns’ proves (beyond any doubt) that this record is more than approachable, even to those who don’t dabble in extreme metal very often. I’m not saying it’s commercial or anything but it has an oddly accessible quality too it, just like NWOAHM did in the mid-late 2000’s/early 2010’s. I hope that little comparison didn’t offend you!

Album closer ‘Viimeinen Rituaali’ takes you on one final doom-laden journey through the well-ploughed furrows of death with a newfound vigour. The atmosphere granted by the slower, metallic riffs that break up the verses are absolutely perfect and give a nod to the band’s compatriots of old. The production/mixing/mastering of this record is spot on throughout, allowing all instruments/vocals room to breath while not skimping on the volume. There’s so much to enjoy about this material and considering it’s only the band’s debut full-length, I think you can only expect greater things to come. 

You can stream the entire album and purchase it on all three formats below:-

Revulsion -

Transcending Obscurity Records -

Tuesday 4 May 2021

On War - End and Means Demo

Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 15 Jan 2021


1. Definition

2. End and Means

How the hell did it get to May so quickly! I've got some serious catching up to do, but then again I always say that. I've decided to focus my first review of the month on a new band that's just starting out and I settled upon Slovakian solo thrash/death band On War. The band's debut demo was released in January via digital platforms and features two songs, which were influenced by the book 'Vom Kriege', which was written by Prussian general Carl von Clauswitz after the Napoleonic wars between 1816-1830 and discusses war, and military strategy. I'm sure there will be some historians amongst you who're familiar with his work. I'm not, but I'm eager to hear this all the same.

Even though listening to a new band sometimes feels like a voyage into the unknown, when you’re talking about metal and it’s sub-genres, there’s often a common ground. On War’s common ground is the incredible musicianship that comes out of nowhere. Demo opener ‘Definition’ features some truly awesome, grooving thrash guitars and percussion. The clean vocals have been put through some effects and as such they sound robotic/electronic in delivery, though the screams sound anything but. Jozzo’s growls are definitely real.

The demo’s title-track ‘End and Means’ is instantly enjoyable, in the same way that modern thrash/metal bands such as Unearth and Trivium are. I think it’s worth noting that Jozzo isn’t completely new to recording and performing, having been in Slovakian bands Feel A Curse, Embalmed and Desecrated Dreams as far back as 1996. I think that experience has really benefitted this new project.

End And Means comes and goes very quickly yet it’s infectious tones, both musical and vocally, make it so much fun to listen to. In spite of it’s harsh subject matter, there’s something really catchy about this release. Fingers crossed for more from On War in the near future.

You can stream and purchased End and Means as a name your price download below:-

On War -