Friday 30 July 2021

Cosmic Reaper - Cosmic Reaper

Labels: Heavy Psych Sounds

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 19 Mar 2021


1. Hellion

2. Heaven's Gate

3. Stellar Death

4. Wasteland I

5. Wasteland II

6. Planet Eater

7. Infrasonic

I feel like doom and psych have very much been missing from these "pages" recently. After trying to line up some 2021 release premieres with Heavy Psych Sounds earlier in the year, I gave up bouncing from person to person (in the hope of getting somewhere) and settled for what I had, which is still pretty good to be fair. That led me to North Carolinan (US) quartet The Cosmic Reaper and their 2021 self-titled LP. What sweetened the deal was finding out that the band includes a member/ex-member of mathcore favourites The Great Redneck Hope, amongst others. I mean, that's not the only thing but I've had a stressful afternoon and that's all I can think of!

I like Electric Wizard but they haven’t been able to hold my attention for long enough, which is strange because I love sludge and doom. Cosmic Reaper have been compared to that enigmatic UK band yet they differ more than you’d think. On opener ‘Hellion’, there’s a lot of groove as you would expect, but good old classic heavy metal guitar work and hypnotic, mainly clean vocals set them apart. When they do heavy, Cosmic Reaper does heavy really well and the ironically titled ‘Heaven’s Gate’ is a prime example in full flight, instrumentally at least. Once again, the almost druidic vocals ring out as rumbling and low bass/guitar riffs drive the tempo, and the atmosphere of the album down a darker path.

I’m in absolutely no doubt that this is the right record to be listening to on a Friday night, even if I don’t partake in the Mary Jane. I do have a glass of red wine though and savouring it while ‘Stellar Death’ plays is an utter joy. It also reminds me that I need more records like this in my personal collection. Will have to rectify that soon, if only for that grooving closing section. ‘Wasteland I’ is a slight departure in the sense that it’s somewhat shorter than the rest of the songs on the album; however, that’s no hardship at all because the musicianship on it is so strong. That’s what I like about bands like Cosmic Reaper. The fact that they’ve seemingly come from nowhere (at least to me anyway) and are still able to blow my expectations. They’ll blow yours too if you give them as much as a second of your time.

That previous song was entirely instrumental, but with ‘Wasteland II’ the band delivers a huge desert/stoner rock song with all of their bells and whistles added in for good measure. Everything about this album feels and sounds so assured, it’s insane to think that this is their debut full-length (though given their collective experience, it shouldn’t be!). Penultimate number ‘Planet Eater’ hints at something more cosmic and in some ways you do get that felling thanks to Cosmic Reaper’s psych influences, yet the heaviness is still there in spades. It’s the longest song on Cosmic Reaper and tempo wise it’s very much the slowest, which is no bad thing at all. Once again it’s heavily instrumental though the vocals within it settle back into the soothing tones of the album’s earlier songs.

‘Infrasonic’ is the final track here and much like the red wine, it’s gone straight to my head as the impulse to headbang is just too much. As I sit back and rejoice in the glorious tones I’m hearing, it’s hard not to feel the true energy of genuine, enjoyable music again, which is something I’ve probably been lacking over the last couple of months (purely due to my own state of mind and nothing else) . Cosmic Reaper have done a solid here. Hats off to Thad, Dillon, Garrett and Jeremy for being wholesome and awesome on this record.

You can purchase Cosmic Reaper on digital, cd and (multiple) vinyl pressings below:-

Cosmic Reaper -

Heavy Psych Sounds -

Tuesday 27 July 2021

Coven - La Chaleur Nous Accable

Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 31 Jan 2021


1. La Violence

2. Cortege De Faim

3. Détruis Les Cartes

4. Marasme

5. La Pluie

There's a bit of a back story about how I came to hear about French screamo/punk band Coven. It goes back to about 2012 when I was contacted by a gentleman called Bertrand (who ran the French label Orchidscent Records and played in Who Needs Maps?). We conversed back and forth, and he was kind enough to send me some of his label's releases to review. Anyway, fast-forward nine years and out of the blue, he messages me again via social media to tell me about the new band he's drumming in...Coven. 

I'm telling you this because I'm still utterly taken aback by the fact that someone who I was in touch with when the blog was arguably way more active, remembered me and took the time to write to me again. It feels really humbling. Anyway, before I get even more sentimental, La Chaleur Nous Accable is Coven's debut EP. It was self-released digitally by the band back in late January. 

Coven has such a killer sound on La Chaleur Nous Accable. The melodic instrumentation sits so well alongside the harsh screams on opener ‘La Violence’ that it’s almost impossibly pointless to try and describe their music any further, though I’m still going to try my best. Coven’s sound encompasses the best cinematic post-hardcore in it’s approach and ‘Cortege De Faim’ switches between La Dispute-style atmospherics and darker hardcore leanings with English lyrics. It’s such a powerful song from start to finish. 

In terms of complete and rounded compositions, this EP is near perfect. ‘Detruis Les Cartes’ is the most punk song so far, with gang-vocals and percussion that demands pogoing from even the staunchest of arm-folders. ‘Marasme’ seems like a bit of a breather in terms of it’s more laid-back approach and I guess it is, given it’s shorter length. It’s not an interlude though and Coven still fills it full of atmosphere with gentle instrumentation that goes head to head with distant(ish) screams.

EP closer ‘Le Pluie’ allows for one last uplifting blast of screamo done right. It’s not all about emoviolence and total dissonance. Instead, there’s genuine emotion and that comes through in the lysis, and the pitch of the vocals. There are moments of more chaotic heaviness towards the mid-section but it’s controlled chaos right up to it’s conclusion.

I haven’t felt energised enough to write as much as I used to recently (and I think that clearly shows), which I’ve put down to general metal fatigue mainly, but when I do sit down to listen to music and write words about it, it feels more special than ever. Maybe that’s the key and maybe (definitely) it’s thanks to bands like Coven (and people like Bertrand) for making it so. Please throw Coven your full attention and support, they deserve it.

You can stream and purchase La Chaleur Nous Accable digitally below:-

Wednesday 21 July 2021

People's Temple Project/Мятеж - Split 7"

Labels: Akashita Corp/Dingleberry Records/Friendly Otter Records/IFB Records/Upwind Productions/Wolf Town DIY/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 21 Nov 2015


1. People's Temple Project - 1

2. People's Temple Project - 2

3. People's Temple Project - 3

4. Мятеж - Stunning Advancements In Revolution

5. Мятеж - Awake/End

Everybody's complaining that it's too hot here. As soon as gets over twenty degrees celsius, we start melting. Thankfully, it's not too bad this evening and I've got all the windows open, so my neighbours are gonna love it when I hit play on this glorious split 7". I'm continuing my ZBR review series with the split featuring US band People's Temple Project and joint US/CAN band Мятеж. If you're familiar with ZBR then you'll be familiar with both of these bands. Released on 340 copies of black wax in November 2015, it contains five tracks in total and was jointly released by several labels, all whom I've listed above and will link up below (where possible).

Starting with three songs from NYC screamo, flower violence (their words) band People’s Temple Project, you get something that’s jangly yet chaotic and shouty on opener ‘1”. It only just breaches two minutes in length, yet musically you get sudden blasts of emo-violence stowed away alongside more thoughtful and cinematic passages, where guitars and percussion sound both far apart but also really cohesive, while the vocals are used more sparingly but very effectively, thanks to their power.

‘2’ has such a nice tone to it. A twinkly guitar tone that gets a little swallowed up by the full band at the mid-point and lurches into an instrumental (at least I think it’s instrumental, though there may be subtle humming going on too), that’s really pleasant to listen to and isn’t as heavy as you might think. The heaviness is left for the rawness of ‘3’, with it’s raucous multi-vocal approach and subtle blackened screamo that makes up the first sixty seconds before an interlude of gentle guitar/percussion takes over. The musicality on show from People’s Temple Project in this song alone is worth obsessing over and it rounds out their side of this split in perfect fashion.

Мятеж steps on the loud pedal immediately with their opener ‘Stunning Advancements In Revolution’. There’s an angrier and more intense feeling going on here, with a lot more hardcore/emo-violence too. It’s hard to explain because they also have some great post-hardcore riffs that bring to mind bands like Alexisonfire and Moneen (to me anyway). That comparison is slightly apt maybe due to the Canadian connection. Мятеж’s final song ‘Awake/End’ is a slower number but is still filled with emotion. Emotion that threatens to burst right over the top, but that never does, leaving something quite beautiful in it’s wake. 

It’s really hard not to compare one band to the other on split releases like this, but inevitably it always happens. Both People’s Temple Project and Мятеж have their own takes on the genre/sub-genre here and even though this release is pretty short, it will bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart. 

Stream and purchase the split digitally here:-

People's Temple Project -

Мятеж -

Physical copies can be purchased via the labels below:-

Zegema Beach Records CAN/INTL -

Akashita Corp -

Dingleberry Records -

Friendly Otter Records -

IFB Records -

Upwind Productions -

Wolf Town DIY -

Zegema Beach Records -

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Funeral Fullmoon - Revelation Of Evil

Labels: Self-Released/Inferna Profundus Records/Consumed By The Flames Productions/Adramalech Records

Formats: Digital/Tape/Vinyl/CD

Release Date: 14 Sep 2020


1. Perpetual Hate

2. Cursed Of My Poison Mind

3. Secret Of The Moon

4. Revelation Of Evil

5. Cold Is My Soul

6. Malefic Incarnation

7. Under The Shining Moon

8. The Whispers A Dark Dead

This is probably a first for me, as this review features a band that mixes black metal with dungeon synth. To be honest, I still haven't really listened to any dungeon synth as I prefer my heavy music on the more traditional drums/guitars/vocals end of the spectrum. Funeral Fullmoon is a solo black metal band from Chile, forming part of the 'Pure Raw Underground Black Metal Plague Circle' within the country. Revelation Of Evil was originally self-released on tape and digital formats by the band last September, before Lithuanian label Inferna Profundus Records released it on vinyl in mid-January. Since then, Mexican label Consumed By The Flames Productions and Chilean label Adramalech Records have released it on both cd and tape respectively. A note to add is that the full album features eight song, while the Inferna Profundus Records vinyl pressing only contains seven (all label/track information comes courtesy of Metal Archives, so please correct me if it's wrong).

What lies ahead is over fifty-five minutes of raw black metal. Album opener ‘Perpetual Hate’ is certainly raw, with a real sense of analog recording and cold tones, while there are also some synth elements hidden within. The percussion of guest drummer Insepultor is spot on, while the guitar provide melody that’s very much at odds with the icy growls from Magister Nihilifer Vendetta 218. There’s more of a mid-tempo pace for the majority of the song, but it’s not always the case.

I have to say that compared to the Vampirska/Glemt split I reviewed last month, this is a more palatable release in terms of raw black metal. There wasn’t a lot wrong with that aforementioned split but it just went too far in the other direction for me. Funeral Fullmoon uses subtle melody and more structured song-writing well on ‘Cursed Of My Poison Mind’. Funeral Fullmoon’s metallic leanings come through on ‘Secret Of The Moon’. There’s a lot more prominent use of guitar here, in what is probably the album’s most furious song. It’s tempo is high, the percussion is full of crashing cymbals and the vocals seem to settle into a raspy, evil growl. This is a much more straightforward black metal song for sure.

The momentum continues on the album title track ‘Revelation Of Evil’, which is a constant black metal battering if ever there was one. It seems to pick up pace as it goes and even though it’s rawness is obvious, there’s much more to take in musically. By now, black metal’s restrictions as a genre are well known but that doesn’t stop bands like Funeral Fullmoon from putting on their best show. The song-writing is really strong, more so that you might be expecting. The second half of the album begins with another mid-paced number in the form ‘Cold Is My Soul’ and as song titles go, this one is more than apt. For a band that filters their music through such cold atmosphere and emotions, it’s hard not feel to the same when listening. At times we all act with disdain toward our fellow humans, so it’s okay to like what you’re hearing here.

‘Malefic Incarnation’ may read like a death metal song but it’s not, unsurprisingly. There’s nothing deathly about it, as metallic trails are woven against a backdrop of black metal spite that’s more than just necro. The twists and turns that make up this song are much more beguiling than the average black metal anti-hymn. Funeral Fullmoon is to thank for that. Groove is the overriding element in penultimate song ‘Under The Shining Moon’ and whether it’s intentional is immaterial, as there’s always going to be an element of repetition and comfort in a song lasting seven minutes. I think that this pace suits the band really well as a matter of fact. Yes, it’s probably a bit primitive for some but black metal isn’t necessarily technical after all. The synths make an appearance again too, adding to the melody. They’re used subtly and yet they’re not drowned out by the dissonance either.

Ending with ‘The Whispers A Dark Dead’, there’s one last chance for complete Chilean black metal immersion and Funeral Fullmoon know’s it. Not wasting any time, they launch into a high gear and deliver one final breath of truly assured heaviness. The experimentation within the music has not always been obvious on Revelation Of Evil, but it is here for sure. Raging extremity rubs shoulders with haunting introspection, contributing to a mid-section that’s more sensitive and restrained. The final few minutes are more comfortable territory for the band, but with all elements still wringing in your ears, it’s hard not to be thoroughly impressed with this.

I know that glowing reviews aren’t considered necessary by those in the black metal underground, but it needs putting on record that Revelation Of Evil is a fantastic piece of work. Funeral Fullmoon shows just how much talent is lying in wait, to be discovered by the unsuspecting listener. 

You can stream and buy Revelation Of Evil digitally from the band here:-

Physical copies can be purchased from the labels below:-

Inferna Profundus Records -

Consumed By The Flames Productions (via e-mail) -

Inferna Profundus Records -

Saturday 10 July 2021

L'Effondras - Anabasis

Labels: Araki Records/Kerviniou Recordz/Medication Time Records/98 Decibels

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 21 May 2021


1. The Grinding Wheel

2. Ce Que Revele L'Eclipse

3. Aura Phase

4. Anhedonia

5. Norea

Part of what I enjoy most about writing is receiving e-mails/messages directly from bands. I know that I'm not the best at replying to all of them but they still mean a lot to me. That's how French instrumental post-rock band L'Effondras came to my attention (although being behind on my e-mails meant that I missed the message from releasing label Medication Time). L'Effondras is a trio made up of two guitarists and a drummer. According to their bandcamp page, they released their first self-titled LP in 2014 and have since released a couple of EPs and another LP, prior to Anabasis.

L’Effondras describe themselves as being an instrumental rock band with elements of blues and on opener ‘The Grinding Wheel’, it’s easy to understand where they’re coming from. To me they sound more western than blues but I guess the two aren’t that far apart. When the post-rock takes hold, it’s superb and yet the trio don’t allow things to get too heavy. Instead, they go in a more experimental/laid-back direction.

It’s unsurprising that they wade in with an eleven-minute song in the form form of ‘Ce Que Revele L’Eclipse’. It’s heavier in parts, yet still it contains a bedrock of melody and desert-rock style meandering that’s superbly listenable. I don’t really know who to compare this to in band terms, which is probably a good thing.

The first couple of songs on Anabasis have been very expansive, so ‘Aura Phase’ is somewhat of a departure. It’s shorter in length but somehow manages to sound heavier also. There’s a great use of dissonant guitars and melody that shows a folk influence from L’Effondras too. The percussion sits deep in the mix when the trio is in full chat and the bass tones are more obvious. 

‘Anhedonia’ has a really menacing intro, which builds in volume slowly. I had a lengthy lie-in this morning and feel really lethargic as a result. The lumbering tempo of this song is definitely accentuating that feeling. It is a truly absorbing listen though and one that shows post-rock/instrumental music in it’s best light for sure.

Album closer ‘Norea’ kicks in instantly after the conclusion of ‘Anhedonia’ and it’s experimental rhythms have been woven into the music effortlessly while being pretty hypnotic in their own right. The instrumentation again is top drawer and L’Effondras, for the first time on the record, introduce spoken-word vocals Into the mix. They too sit deeper, adding an edge of mystique to the song. Everything moves in a more sludgy direction later on and there are some disconcerting screams/cries (at least that’s what I think they are!) towards the end as well. 

I started this review yesterday evening and coming back to finish it off today has heightened how I feel about Anabasis. Overall, it’s an extremely well played and professional LP, which allows the instrumental skill of L’Effondras to shine through. Also, the further you go into it the darker it seems to get, so if you’re listening to it and expecting something easygoing, it’ll catch you off guard. 

You can stream Anabasis and buy it on all formats below:-

L'Effondras -

You can also purchase the album from the labels below:-

Araki Records -

Kerviniou Recordz -

Medication Time Records -

Araki Records -

Kerviniou Recordz -

Medication Time Records -

98 Decibels -

Monday 5 July 2021

Republic Of Dreams/Autarkeia - Split 7"

Labels: IFB Records/Moment Of Collapse/React With Protest/Suspended Soul Tapes And Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 09 Jun 2015


1. Republic Of Dreams - Dooh Nibor

2. Republic Of Dreams - Would You Like Some Sauce...

3. Republic Of Dreams - No Pretense

4. Republic Of Dreams - Don't Live By Any Letter

5. Autarkeia - A Constant

I feel like I need to make more of this month, as I've been seriously off my writing rhythm over the last two or three. I have loads planned but it's just a case of finding the time and having the mental energy to see it through. That being said, I stated a few posts back that I wanted to fire out some quick ZBR roster reviews so I'm making good on that intention with a write-up about the 2015 split 7" featuring German hardcore band Republic Of Dreams and US heavy emo/post-hardcore band Autarkeia. This EP brings you four extremely fast songs form Republic Of Dreams and one lengthier track from Autarkeia. The pressing for this release consisted of 500 copies on black vinyl, with a really nice (possibly screen-printed?) sleeve, via the labels listed above.

Tackling Republic Of Dreams and their four songs first, opener ‘Dooh Nibor’ is a fast, off-kilter emo-violence song with loads of chaotic melody, similarly erratic drumming and those characteristic harsh vocals that make ROD such an intense listen. Screeching feedback is always a feature with emotive hardcore and it provides the lead-in to ‘Would You Like Some Sauce…’. It’s another fast one, though there are also subtle riffs that straddle the mid-paced line (they are very subtle!). I feel that there’s a Scandi influence to ROD’s sound as well.

‘No Pretense’ is more mathy than anything else on the ROD side of this split. I thought it was nigh on impossible for a band to make their music swirl and grow in such a short time, but it does so here. The band’s closing tome, ‘Don’t Live By Any Letter’ is equal parts Dillinger and Cursed, while still retaining everything that Republic Of Dreams do so well. 

As mentioned above, Autarkeia’s sole contribution is their track ‘A Constant’ and it’s very far removed from that of their split mates. Slower in tempo, the vocals are delivered with a snarling abandon and are full of emotion. The instrumentation is more jangly, especially the guitars and there are elements of crust within the sound here. Autarkeia’s song-writing gives them a more restrained edge, and a cohesion that’s very obvious.

I have nothing bad to say about this split (not that I’d voice any such opinions without being at least constructive while doing so!). It’s a great listen and both Republic Of Dreams, and Autarkeia are still active as far I can tell (though feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), so if you haven’t check this split out yet for whatever reason, there’s never a bad time to do it.

Stream/buy it digitally below:-

Republic Of Dreams -

Autarkeia -

Physical copies are available from the labels below:-

IFB Records -

React With Protest -

Suspended Soul Tapes And Records -

Zegema Beach Records - CAN/INTL -

IFB Records -

Moment Of Collapse -

React With Protest -

Suspended Soul Tapes And Records -

Zegema Beach Records -

Thursday 1 July 2021

Weston Super Maim - 180-Degree Murder EP

Labels: Dark Trail Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 16 Jul 2021


1. 180-Degree Murder

2. We Need To Talk About Heaven

Just when I thought I'd seen every band name ever, one comes along and borrows two-thirds of a Somerset (UK) seaside town's name. Band-name semantics aside, Weston Super Maim is a two-piece math/tech metal band that crosses oceans with one member residing in the UK and another in the US. Original band founder Tom Stevens is joined by vocalist Seth Detrick (of L.A. thrash band PDP). This EP is being released via US label Dark Trail Records on July 16th and it follows the band's 2020 compilation album The Neglected Works

Weston Super Maim have been constantly compered to Meshuggah in their press releases and you’ll hear a lot of that band in the duo’s music here, but there’s more to them that just that one similarity. The title-track ‘180-Degree Murder’ is a beast with destructive percussion, earth-shaking bass, off-kilter riffs for days and a vocal delivery that’s out of this world heavy. It’s kind of like if Trap Them joined forces with Oceano and listened to mathcore for two weeks solid! 

Second song ‘We Need To Talk About Heaven’ is more melodic during it’s intro, before the music pauses briefly to welcome another huge slab of varied tempos and intense heaviness. Perhaps I’m being a little general (or hyperbolic) in my description of the music here but everybody interprets it in their own way anyway. I just merely talk about how I hear it. Both Tom and Seth are clearly on the same page here as they’ve produced an instantly memorable and impactful EP.

If the current global situation is grinding you down…fear not, this composition will help provide some perspective as well as mental release. Weston Super Maim provide the kind of aural catharsis that we all need right now. Jam this as loud and as often as you can

You can stream and pre-order the EP on both vinyl and digital formats below:-

CDs (as well as the above formats) can be ordered from Dark Trail Records here:-

Weston Super Maim -

Dark Trail Records -