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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hellspawn (Pol) - There Has Never Been a Son of Me

Artist: Hellspawn (Pol)
Release Title: There Has Never Been a Son of Me
Year: 2016
Label: Old Temple
Genre: Old-School Death Metal
1. Do Not Be Among Idolatres
2. Hung on a Tree, Damned by His Father
3. Antitrinitarian
4. For the Number Is Human
5. Hallelujah
6. Heralded by Prophets
7. Upon Entering the Valley They Did Not Fear
8. It Is Not Proper for the Gracious to Have a Son
9. Santa Sindone
10. There Has Never Been a Son of Me

Utterly crushing their old ideals, the Polish death metallers under the name Hellspawn have long sought to offer infernal, blasting hymns that used their full-on, intense assault that has been their trademark since the very beginning of their career. With a four-year gap between releases from the band, their third full-length effort was released March 16, 2016 on Old Temple.

Straight from the beginning, there’s a clear idea of the kind of blistering and charging material on display here that continually gets featured. This one is mostly built around tight, frantic riffing and plenty of swirling tremolo patterns in their display of churning mid-tempo paces throughout here, which gives this one such a frantic and intense attack. Keeping the vast majority of the album in such a mainly up-tempo state lets the tight rhythms and crushing tremolo leads dance around to great effect here as the thick riff-patterns generate the kind of intense energy required. That is successfully balanced out by a thumping mid-tempo style that really brings out the tight rhythms to a greater extent that the quicker, more balanced tracks that are far more prominent on here and bring about the kind of dynamics that really get explored here. Although it gets really enjoyable due to this rather strong attack, the fact that it does tend to get lost in these repetitive riffing patterns and paces does tend to undue some of these positives with the album really becoming quite hard to determine what’s going on with the way it continually evokes the same overall approach on many of the tracks. However frenzied and intense it gets, this one tends to go the same way with its attack and that doesn’t do much for the album. Otherwise, this one doesn’t really have much else wrong with it.

Coming across way too familiar to really let the stellar attack get displayed to it’s fullest potential, the fact that remaining features here are so strong and devastating makes this another strong notch in their belt and gives this a lot of appeal to those who prefer this infernal approach to classic death metal.

Score: 87/100

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Sargatanas (Mex) - The Enlightenment

Artist: Sargatanas (Mex)
Release Title: The Enlightenment
Year: 1999 (2017 reissue)
Label: Conquistador Records (Old Temple reissue)
Genre: Old-School Black/Death Metal
1. Eternal Darkness
2. Fear and Suffering
3. The Proclamation
4. Diatribe of the Occult
5. Ritual of the Advent
6. Satan's Curse (Possessed cover)
7. Satanist
8. Veneration of the Black Mark in the Ancestral Forest
9. Doom of Fire
10. Sargatanas
11. Blessed Are the Sons of the Black Flame
12. The Enlightenment

Formed back in 1986, long-running Mexican black/death legends Sargatanas have taken plenty of time to settle on their first professional output as the constant crop of musicians have halted their legacy until the mid-90s when their first demo releases were released. Now finally prepared for their first proper release, the groups’ debut full-length effort was released in 1999 by Conquistador Records before a reissue February 10, 2017 on Old Temple.

Churning out plenty of viciousness, the group display quite a profound and determined understanding of their sound right off the bat on this release. The vast majority of the album contains plenty of slow, lethargic riff-work utterly drowning in old-school tremolo style rhythms, letting this one evoke a truly chilling and darkened atmosphere by droning on through their patterns here. The agonizing patterns, featuring plenty of majestic rhythms and sprawling sections generate the kind of plodding pace that stands out here especially once the album kicks up slightly. These are mainly based on featuring the tremolo riff-work and pounding drum-work in a far more up-tempo and energetic series of patterns that offer a strong dynamic variety against the plodding rhythms here, and with the whole affair completely draped in that raw, churning atmosphere it works so well to its advantage. However, one of the biggest issues here is the fact that this one is just so overlong and bloated that it becomes somewhat of a chore to get through. There comes a point in the later half where it all starts blending into a blur of rather hard-edged but still repetitive tremolo riffing and churning rhythms that sound way too similar to stand-out. Given that this one contains way too many songs for its own good in that format is what ultimately ends up bringing this one down as well since there’s no real reason why it had to be this lengthy and could’ve cut out a few tracks to make it less obvious. Still, for a debut, this isn’t that bad.

While there are way too many repetitive moments here because it’s filled to bursting with too many elements it didn’t need from having so many tracks throughout here, the fact that for the most part it’s still a devastating and dynamic offering makes this a choice look for those that love that raw, old-school black/death metal style.

Score: 82/100

Monday, June 19, 2017

Lectern - Precept of Delator

Artist: Lectern
Release Title: Precept of Delator
Year: 2016
Label: Via Nocturne
Genre: Brutal Death Metal
1. Gergal Profaner
2. Palpation of Sacramentarian
3. Fluent Bilocation
4. Distil Shambles
5. Pellucid
6. Diptych of Perked Oblation
7. Garn for Debitors
8. Precept of Delator
9. Discorporation with Feral

Staying true to their old-school roots, Italian brutal death metallers Lectern have kept their steadfast tradition to mixing a brutal variation of this Floridian variety of death metal with a much harsher, more Satanic bent to their music that makes it more devastating. With guitarist Fabio Mariantoni leaving before recording and being replaced by Gabriele Cruz, the groups’ sophomore full-length was released September 23, 2016 on Via Nocturne.

As is to be expected here, this is a wholly ferocious and blistering effort with plenty of familiar elements to their past present throughout here. The main feature to be found here is the rather sharp, brutal riff-work, managing to work through a strong series of rhythm patterns that showcase a tight foundation with short rhythms and deep, churning grooves. That the vast majority of tracks in this section are built around a thrashing mindset means that they’re fast, vicious and really exploit the fine precision displayed throughout here as the up-tempo tracks and short rhythms give this a distinctly Floridian feel utilizing those similar tactics in their work. This one though adds on a far more blistering and twisting series of riffing over that which adds a frank brutality to the rhythms in this, and given that the riffing still adds a rather old-school vibe to the material is a fine touch. There’s only a minor quibble to be found here in that the album tends to run through a rather familiar and overly-repeated series of rhythms that make up quite a familiar series of riffs throughout here whenever the album drops into the same territory in its pacing. All the riffs are built upon the same general feel and tempo in the usual variants, and while that does lower this one somewhat the fact that rest of the music does stand up with quite a vicious attack that the flaws are lessened.

While it does become some familiar along its tempos, the fact that there’s still quite a lot to like in its overall presentation with a vicious mixture of thrashing old-school Floridian rhythms and brutal attack that it works quite well for those that enjoy either style at play or fans of their past work.

Score: 92/100

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Red Bible Black - Allah is Satan's Toy EP

Artist: Red Bible Black
Release Title: Allah is Satan's Toy EP
Year: 2017
Label: Merdümgiriz
Genre: Death Metal
1. Allah Is Satan's Toy
2. Pedophilic Baptism
3. Antibirth 11: Rape Your Mom
4. Dark Skinned Children Are for Burning
5. Promote, Support and Glorify Hatred
6. In This Beautiful Existence

Continuing to crush the listeners’ souls, Italian death metallers Red Bible Black have turned to the darkest corners of the world to further explore their extreme sound by drafting in Emir Toğrul to help craft the bands’ sonic assault to it’s fullest. Offering up their first new EP release following a series of demos and splits, the new effort was released June 1, 2017 on Merdümgiriz.

From the outset, there’s very little throughout this one that appeals to the rational side of the crowd with the vast majority of the album featuring the same overall approach. The album is essentially a blur of raw, distorted riffing piling out plenty of deep, churning rhythms that makes for a wholly immersive experience. With the album essentially focusing on these issues almost exclusively and basically only changing up the tempo to go for mid-tempo verses or plodding lethargic sprawls for the different forms of variety here which indeed leaves this one with a furious intensity and anger but also quite an obvious flaw throughout it. The fact that everything really sounds the same, not only due to the use of repeated rhythms and patterns but also because of the overall rawness of the project which ends up leaving this one with a muddied sound that can make it indistinguishable what song you’re on during the release. That is somewhat negated by the intensity and energy of the performances but does end up lowering this one slightly.

While still containing plenty of solid, enjoyable elements, the fact that so much of this one is drowned out in the blur of repeated rhythms and a low-fi sounding production does hamper this one enough that it’s really only appealing for fans of the creative personnel involved or aficionados of raw death metal.

Score: 75/100

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Dominate - Cálicem Serpente

Artist: Dominate (Col)
Release Title: Cálicem Serpente
Year: 2016
Label: Black Serpent Records
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal
1. Brave Warrior
2. Deserter
3. Cálicem Serpente
4. Evil
5. Imperial Army
6. Death Awaits
7. Unmerciful Holocaust
8. Cold Bloody Murder (Rare Version)

Formed back in 2008, the Colombian black/thrashers under the name Dominate took their time honing their cold, icy sound combining the concepts of paganism, occultism, world wars, philosophy, the return of man to his union with the universe and nature. Finally able to offer their first professional recording, the groups’ full-length debut was released in 2016 by Black Serpent Records.

From the onset, the group clearly favors the typically extreme end of the South American scene by offering everything that can be expected in such efforts. There’s plenty of traditional blackened thrash riff-work throughout here, taking up the raw end of the spectrum by going through the simplistic, straightforward paces with a reckless intensity that’s quite ferocious. Due to the rather simplistic manner the vast majority of the songs are an endless variation of fast, frantic and sloppy riff-work that blazes along at pretty consistent tempos as the only real variations found here is when it shifts into a solid mid-tempo chug following the rousing thrash-style efforts. This ends up exposing the rather sloppy and utterly simplistic matter of how the album is pretty much a showcase of one-gear songs that aren’t really technical standouts. The songs hit hard and viciously, but after awhile there’s not a whole lot to offer from this one with the sloppy and reckless play throughout here. As well, this is also hampered by being so obviously low-budget that the album does suffer from a weak production, filled with muddy guitars, weak drums and an utter lack of crisp sound ends up making this one much weaker than it should be by standing out quite obviously here. These here are what hold this one back.

While not a truly awful debut release, there’s quite a lot to like here with the infectious energy and rabid attack that’s much more prominent here that it does overcome enough of the flaws here to appeal to the fans of the South American extreme scene only while those looking for more quality in their efforts should heed caution.

Score: 67/100

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Rites to Sedition - Ancestral Blood

Artist: Rites to Sedition
Release Title: Ancestral Blood
Year: 2017
Label: Self-Released/Independent
Genre: Melodic Black Metal
1. Waveform 66
2. The Moon Titan Phylon
3. Echelons of Imposition
4. Ancestral Blood
5. Sorcerers of Atlantis
6. Wartide
7. The Soul-Mind Catechism
8. The Golden Aeon of Saturnia

Formed just in 2014, North Carolina-based melodic black metallers Rites to Sedition have taken their influence from the old-school melodic black metal scene to craft an ambitious effort upon the origins of man and his epic quest to overcome occult mysteries. Dropping to a four-piece before recording as Gabriel Lucia took over vocal duties from original vocalist Brian Kingsland, their self-released debut album was released March 29, 2017.

From the beginning, this one comes complete with a stellar series of influences and musicianship that positions them immediately into the genre’s upper echelons. This is mainly built around the utterly phenomenal riff-work present, featuring plenty of thrilling tremolo patterns full of fiery rhythms and a multitude of tempo changes that allows this one to generate a slew of exciting rhythms. By adding in a technicality to these riffs alongside the ability to utilize the grandiose soundscapes throughout here, this manages to acquire a feeling of explosive icy black metal riffing that develops a variety of tempos and patterns throughout here as the vast array of exceptionally glorious rhythms throughout here which help to make the melodic leads all the more impressive. Running over furious tempos as well as plodding mid-paced efforts makes a huge impact on their rhythms by enabling this one to readily shift focus into the varying tempos and not lose any sense of power or grandeur in the attack, making this a spectacular showing that’s able to generate these varying moods and atmospheres here. If you’re into picking for flaws of the album, this one does tend to feel it’s length with the fact that the tracks here really get up there in length and that does make this feel somewhat of a drag as it goes on. However, it’s still not all that detrimental an effort.

With just the most minor of barely-detrimental issues cropping up throughout this one, there’s plenty to absolutely enjoy about this one as there are so many enjoyable and surprising elements to be found here that this makes for an easy recommend for fans looking for melodic or symphonic-heavy black metal.

Score: 95/100

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sentient Ignition - Enthroned in Gray

Artist: Sentient Ignition
Release Title: Enthroned in Gray
Year: 2017
Label: Self-Released/Independent
Genre: Technical Death Metal
1. Ascension
2. Enthroned in Gray
3. Black Lattice
4. A Thousand Ages
5. Grasp of the Infinite
6. Wardens of Intellect
7. Binding Time

Formed just in the last few years, Bay Area technical/progressive death metallers Sentient Ignition have brought a vast array of influences into a complex, challenging sound which is quite a devastating blow for a band bringing about their first offering. With the band rushing forth to offer their first professional release, the self-released debut full-length was originally released May 1, 2017.

From the beginning notes of this one, there’s a strong display of material here that gives this offering the kind of full-on charge through a progressive landscape. The fact that the vast majority of this one is based on twisting, swirling patterns utilizing challenging riff-patterns that dominate this one quite readily, making for a rather fun time here. These sweeping rhythms are based on the technicality of the riffing which is fantastic in building up dramatic moments through the utterly complex notes hit as well as the bands’ far-more-detailed ability to switch from the varying tempos here with the tight chugging, ravenous gallops and blistering thrash paces all coming to play here while expertly navigating throughout the frantic riffing alongside these tempo changes. That does manage to become quite the album highlight here, especially since there are a few minor flaws here. The biggest issue is the fact that there’s just not a whole lot of tracks to be had here with the album running through just a few tracks after the intro so it does feel rather short in spots as it really could use a few extra tracks to bump this up even though there’s still plenty to enjoy here with the epicness of the tracks as they are. As well, the fact that the guitar-tone on the album does dominate the overall production does make this a lot thinner and not as heavy as it could’ve been as this one doesn’t really pack the kind of punch others in the style accomplish. Still, for a debut offering, this one isn’t too bad and these are definitely fixable issues.

Though this one does tend to come up with a few minor issues, the fact that these are for the most part fixable as the band continues on their career, especially being a debut offering anyway which makes this a potentially intriguing band to follow for anyone into tech/death or progressive music.

Score: 83/100

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Ghusa - Öswedeme

Artist: Ghusa
Release Title: Öswedeme
Year: 2017
Label: White Square Music
Genre: Swedish Death Metal
1. 28 Days Later
2. H
3. Project 9
4. Death or Glory
5. Epitaph
6. Sickening
7. In Gods We Fear
8. Carve Up
9. Immortal
10. Flying in a Dark Dream

Continuing to uphold their country’s output, French death metallers Ghusa have utilized the famous style Swedish attack that was at the forefront of their original evolution years ago and brings them back from the grave once again to deliver the onslaught. After over a decade of silence that only included a compilation release in the interim, the bands’ sophomore album was originally released May 5, 2017 on White Square Records.

One this one gets going, the full-force of their Swedish influenced take on this style comes across in rapid succession as there’s little denying those elements. There’s plenty of focus on the rapid, tight rhythms featuring plenty of swirling buzzsaw grooves throughout here that feature plenty of utterly ferocious rhythms, thrashing patterns and that lively bouncy set of riffing that gives the material a great atmosphere in the faster sections. Even the slower sections contain a steady mid-tempo groove with plenty of tight, thunderous rhythms and a rather stylish series of riff-work which gives this a rather enjoyable air as well as plenty of diversity compared to the faster sections alongside these efforts. While none of this is particularly groundbreaking or original in the slightest as it’s basically just yet another band playing vicious and intense Swedish-styled death metal, it’s pretty much the main strike against the album where it doesn’t really offer up many flaws beyond its rather familiar and overly-accomplished style.

Being yet another in a long line of rather familiar and really proficient stabs at this style of death metal, that’s really all that can really be levied against this one in terms of finding flaws which really makes this a strong if unessential choice for connoisseurs of the genre for the most part.

Score: 83/100

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Sinister (Neth) - Syncretism

Artist: Sinister (Neth)
Release Title: Syncretism
Year: 2017
Label: Massacre Records
Genre: Old-School Death Metal
1. Neurophobic
2. Convulsions of Christ
3. Blood-Soaked Domain
4. Dominance by Acquisition
5. Syncretism
6. Black Slithering Mass
7. Rite of the Blood Eagle
8. The Canonical Rights
9. Confession Before Slaughter

One of the most respected and uncompromising bands in the scene, Dutch death metal legends Sinister have weathered the storm of continuous line-up changes and the times to usher a monster of untethered ferocity and savageness that follows the path of their previous work. Joined by new guitarist Ricardo Falcon and bassist Ghislain van der Stel prior to the release, the groups’ thirteenth studio album was February 24, 2017 on Massacre Records.

As part of their continued history, the band is firing on all cylinders and making for some of the most sonically devastating work of their career. The main focus here is on ravenous, churning riff-work with plenty of tight, chaotic leads that frantically buzz along to the ferocious tempos featured here, and this makes for a stylistically enjoyable offering. These typically envelop the sort of dark atmospheres associated with the early days of the scene when they first appeared, and with the bands’ choppy rhythm section delivering a loud, churning backbone to this material the band offers quite a thunderous full-throttle charge offset by celestial keyboards for a majestic melodic bent. That style of melodic accent is enhanced slightly on the slower-tempo styles where things slow down into a slight chug that adds a great base for some of the keyboards that are placed throughout here to take on a far grander sense of scale and tone than otherwise would be the case here for most older-sounding death metal bands, and that works to its advantage here. This is overall fast, frantic and utterly ferocious in its delivery focusing on the savage riff-work and leaves the melodic accents to select spaces rather than overwhelming the album which can happen here. Some of the longer tracks could’ve been shortened by a minute or two and still leave this with a brutal beatdown, but it’s the one minor flaw in this effort.

Showing every bit of the measured attack and viciousness that’s defined their career thus far, this is a pretty savage offering that maintains their revered name in the scene overall and sees this as a wholly worthwhile offering for any fan into extreme metal, their past works or old-school death metal in general.

Score: 95/100

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Hartlott - Extinction

Artist: Harlott
Release Title: Extinction
Year: 2017
Label: Metal Blade Records
Genre: Retro Thrash Metal
1. Extinction
2. First World Solutions
3. The Penitent
4. Whore
5. No Past
6. Conflict Revelation
7. Better Off Dead
8. Violent Conspirator
9. And Darkness Brings The Light
10. Final Weapon
11. Parasite
12. Epitaph

Drawing from their storied history, Australian thrashers Harlott have emphasized the 80's Bay Area thrash scene and blending it with the Teutonic melody and grit, they focus on high energy, up-tempo music with lyrical influence from war, religion, chaos and the human condition. Bringing new guitarist Jake Weber onboard, the groups’ third full-length effort was released April 7, 2017 on Metal Blade Records.

Offering their strong, raging sound to it’s fullest, there’s not a whole lot to dislike here as the band brings their full-throttle attack to its fiery best. Based mainly on a churning, driving series of riffing that brings out plenty of utterly ferocious rhythms here, this ends up diving and bombing into galloping territory which bringing out the fullest intensity in these rhythms. Playing most of these tracks are dynamic speed-drenched numbers complete with crunchy patterns, a thunderous rhythm section and a truly intense drive to crush forward with the oppressive riff-work featured here as the need for the fastest, most ferocious riffing possible carries this one for the most part here. When this one drops off that intensity for melody there’s still plenty of ferocious rhythms around this blistering attack that it really manages to hold itself quite nicely here as the deeper churning patterns allows this to feature plenty of blistering sections while managing to sound close enough to their general sound without being recognizably off from the general attack. There is a case to be said here about the album being somewhat overlong with a few too many tracks here which make it feel somewhat like a slough in the second half to plow through even more of the same general attacks over and over again. It works nicely but trim this by a song or two and it would improve significantly.

An utterly impressive and near-flawless release, this is a truly ferocious and fiery retro thrash offering that covers the gamut of the old-school thrash scene in fine form which makes this one of the standout groups in the scene and an easy choice for fans of their past works or the style in general.

Score: 98/100

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Created to Kill - Death's Construction

Artist: Created to Kill
Release Title: Death's Construction
Year: 2013
Label: Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
Genre: Brutal Death Metal
1. Fascination with Your Death
2. Object of Perfect Torture
3. Into the Frozen Tomb
4. Murdered and Mutilated
5. Corpse Collector
6. Machete
7. Suffocated in a Bodybag
8. Self Inflicted Flame Engulfment
9. The Reaper Always Wins
10. Death on the River

Continuing to deliver the brutality, Kentucky-based brutal death metallers Created to Kill have been built around their dedication to old school brutal Death Metal that is uncompromising and intense. With a five-year gap in between releases that sees long-time bassist Abe Simmerman put down the instrument in favor of bringing Phil Good onboard to join brother Paul, the group releases its second full-length album October 30, 2013 on new label Horror Pain Gore Death Productions.

From the outset, this here is pretty much a consistent and constant blast of frenzied, brutal death metal delivered with plenty of old-school verve. This is featured with the utterly ravenous and deep, tight riff-work full of frenzied arrangements and utterly frantic arrangements that give this one plenty of dynamic speed-drenched arrangements that makes for some truly impressive times. The loose, rattling rhythms mixed alongside these elements create a fine old-school approach in the riffing by offering up a fine series of thrashing patterns with plenty of furious and utterly savage arrangements while still giving plenty of fine tightly-wound riffing which is part of the wholesale approach to the genre which makes for quite the appealing time playing into the rules of that genre. That indeed is one of the main flaws here in that it’s quite formulaic and goes for the prototypical frenzied brutal death approach even with the inclusion of the more stable riff-work here and it does become somewhat of a massive blur as the album goes along due to the bands’ stature giving them so little room for refining the riffing and plays itself into that familiar playbook. There’s a dynamic and enjoyable crunch to the riffing that elicits quite the fun enthusiasm and competence at the style to overcome this slight flaw as it’s not the biggest detriment, but it does come up throughout this one and does hold it back somewhat.

Despite coming across as quite a familiar blur of frenzied riffing and pummeling rhythms that dozens of other bands in the genre offer, there’s still plenty to really like with this one’s generally furious approach and competence at their performances that it should be a worthwhile choice for aficionados of brutal death for the most part.

Score: 81/100

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Demonic Slaughter - Haunted

Artist: Demonic Slaughter
Release Title: Haunted
Year: 2014
Label: Pagan Records
Genre: Old-School Black Metal
1. Pit of Coffins
2. Mystic Rites
3. Psalm of Mist
4. Haunted
5. Madness and Astral Emanations
6. Monks of Cold Mountains
7. Żałobna procesja (Mournful Procession)
8. Wyklęty (The Wretched)
9. Death’s Creek

Furthering their connection to the old-school, Polish black metallers Demonic Slaughter have settled into a solid reputation for not only their boundless proficiency but also their dedication to writing and recording material in the traditional old-school manners. With drummer Nuklear Kriss departing in favor of new drummer Opium, the group’s fifth full-length was originally released December 10, 2014 on Pagan Records.

As has been the bands’ penchant from the beginning, this here offers up a non-stop assault of traditional Norwegian-styled black metal without much deviation. This one tends to revolve around simplistic tremolo riffing and straightforward rhythms that charge forward without altering themselves or changing up the stylistic charge here with these being placed alongside harmonic melodies and choppy drumming. This is a mostly continuous assault here that’s unwavering in it’s charge with these elements being brought to bear on the tracks without exception, and these find melodies featured throughout here are really where the majority of the album is taken up by the solid infusion of those melodies running nicely alongside the plodding tempos. When it gets to the more charging sections, this change in tempo and aggression leads to some more engaging efforts alongside the pronounced melodic efforts featured here, though these are still dominated by the melodic mindset for the most part. That is the album’s one weakness here with the rather sluggish, driving rhythms not really generating much energy or fiery rhythms which tends to make for a somewhat bland overall impression here that tends to feature the band going through the same overdrawn, bland rhythms for the most part. It’s not entirely detrimental as the melodies are engaging enough, but this one really could’ve used some extra fire.

Though it’s somewhat hampered by the fact that there are some rather bland and somewhat lifeless melodies brought to bear on the album as a whole, this one still emerges with enough positives from the melodic atmosphere and old-school rhythms to give this one some appeal to the most devout old-school black metal aficionado only.

Score: 78/100

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Fogalord - Masters of War

Artist: Fogalord
Release Title: Masters of War
Year: 2017
Label: Limb Music
Genre: Symphonic Power Metal
1. Il racconto della tempesta
2. Rising Through the Mist of Time
3. Daughter of the Morning Light
4. Masters of War
5. By the Everspring Tree
6. The Storm of Steel
7. Absence of Light
8. When the Blizzard Awakes
9. In Everwinter Wait
10. The Gift of the White Lady
11. The Sword's Will

Coming onboard with renewed intensity, Italian symphonic power metal newcomers Fogalord quickly took the scene by storm and formed this newfound hero in a scene that all comes from them incorporating more of their trademarked elements into their newest effort. Now after a five-year gap following their initial appearance, the groups’ sophomore release was initially released June 2, 2017 on Limb Music.

Much like their past efforts, the group is simply intent on offering the attack from a strong series of epic rhythms that add plenty of greatness to their approach. This is based around the tight, flowing riffing here that propels this one along at rapid paces by offering an endless series of fiery speed metal riff-work in the greatest sense of the bands’ past. The rhythms are fast, vicious and built for glorious harmonies when utilized in conjunction with the blistering drum-work and shimmering keyboards that are draped all over the music here that adds an overwhelming atmosphere of epic grandeur that makes for a fun time. Even more impressive is the fact that these are put to the fullest test on a ten-minute-plus epic that enables every facet of their sound to be put to the test with plenty of exciting and enjoyable moments spread throughout which really ratchets up the enjoyment here for including such an enjoyable piece here. While these here are the overwhelming factors on display here, there’s a slight discrepancy here in the album dropping in intensity for bland mid-tempo gallops that just don’t have any kind of impact like the previous tracks, making for a somewhat lessening approach than normal and causes this one to lose a lot of its steam during the middle of the album where all those tracks are placed. Spreading them out on the album would’ve been preferable, yet that’s still an obvious factor about this one.

Filled with plenty of ravishing symphonic goodness and making up for only a few minor flaws ends up working rather well for the band here by enabling this one to come up with plenty of enjoyable moments throughout here that this becomes another notch for a promising act in the symphonic power metal realm.

Score: 89/100

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Father Befouled - Desolate Gods

Artist: Father Befouled
Release Title: Desolate Gods
Year: 2017
Label: Dark Descent Records
Genre: Death Metal
1. Exsurge Domine (Intro)
2. Offering Revulsion
3. Mortal Awakening
4. Exalted Offal
5. Ungodly Rest
6. Divine Parallels
7. Vestigial Remains of...
8. Desolate Gods

Celebrating their tenth anniversary, Georgia-based death metallers Father Befouled have taken plenty of their celebrated influences throughout their work into one of the strongest, most dynamic bands in the entirety of the cavern-core style of revivalist death metal. Back following a five-year break from releases, the groups’ fourth full-length effort was released June 23, 2017 on Dark Descent Records.

Slowly coming into their own, this is a group that is clearly and quite obviously taking their main influences straight into the overall view of their work. This one takes so much from the ravenous cavern-core style of old-school death metal worship where the main view of the album comes from the tight, swirling riff-work. This is laced with deep, churning rhythms that varying from pummeling lurches to frantic mid-tempo gallops featuring that riffing style, and it comes off rather dark and oppressive throughout here when added alongside the vicious leads and pounding patterns on display. Likewise, the fact that there’s a nice tempo switch here into the traditionally plodding, oozingly slow doom-style sequences where it’s churning riffs and pounding rhythms add even more weight and heft to the music gives this a kind of overall sense of crushing completion that’s quite accomplished and dynamic throughout the album. The only issue is that this only ends up being so brief overall that it really feels incomplete, with the fact that the intro and the instrumental end up wasting time on this one to the point where it never catches on the way it should, ending quickly and abruptly and like this one really could’ve used another track or two to give it a little more weight. However, it’s really all that holds this one back.

Coming up just a little short due to the rather short running time to this one, this one has plenty to like overall here in regards to their overall attack that overcomes this brief shortcoming that this becomes a nice and welcome addition to any fan of this particular cavern-core style or revivalist death metal in general.

Score: 89/100

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Evil Never Dies - Ekpyrosis

Artist: Evil Never Dies
Release Title: Ekpyrosis
Year: 2017
Label: Via Nocturne
Genre: Old-School Thrash Metal
1. Holy Mountain
2. No Cure for War
3. Epitaphs
4. It's Alive
5. (This is) Country for Old Men
6. Land With No Future
7. Imagination
8. Ekpyrosis

One of the earliest thrash bands in the country, Italian thrashers Evil Never Dies initially emerged during the height of the genre back in the early 90s, but beyond a few demo tracks never did much until their first professional output coming from EP releases in the late 2000s. Now finally able to get their first true release ready, the groups’ debut effort was released February 28, 2017 on Via Nocturna.

As befitting their old-school style, the basic approach to be found here is straightforward and decidedly old-school flavored thrashing. This goes for fairly lively crunchy patterns in the riff-work and really keeps the pacing incredibly simplistic here, alternating between straight gallops and driving mid-tempo chugs that contain quite a solid diversity to the tracks. Given that these are generally accompanied by a thunderous rhythm section and plenty of intensity, there’s a wholly enjoyable attack to be featured here that gives this one a firm touch to the old-school days. Given that this one features such a strong and generally one-note style performance, it does tend to contain a few minute missteps. The biggest issue here is that the album is basically intense but derivative, containing plenty of tight and vicious riffing but doesn’t really go further with developing them, going instead for rather plain and predictable setups that are more vicious through the genre rather than anything else. It gives the album a rather depleted feel and doesn’t really offer up that much in terms of enhancing the overall feel of the album beyond offering up more of the same rhythms and patterns, which does hold this one down somewhat. As well, that remix at the end of the album is so unnecessary that it really just drags it the album down quite a bit.

With some rather damaging flaws here and some generally enjoyable if not-that-impressive positives, overall this one just seems to be quite a bland and overall unnecessary offering that just doesn’t bring much to the table here and leaves this one only for the most devout old-school thrash fanatic.

Score: 72/100

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Epping Forest - Lebabvoid

Artist: Epping Forest
Release Title: Lebabvoid
Year: 2017
Label: Unexploded Records
Genre: Death/Black Metal
1. Inception: Everblasting Doom
2. Though-o-Matic: The Pyramid and the Exodus
3. Affair: The Curse and the Heal
4. Kria: Resistance Is Useless
5. Lebab Void: The Universe in a Machine
6. Foretoken: A Mountain-Gorges Lullaby
7. Summoning: Three Hundred Out of the Sky
8. Demise: Twelve Times Twelve Sars
9. Hereafter: We Are Alone in the End
10. Cruel with Us

Certainly taking their time on releases, Portuguese blackened death metallers Epping Forest have always been more interesting in unleashing quality darkened material as evidenced by their two releases in nearly twenty years of existence honing their core sound. Following up after nearly a decade of silence with new bassist Trevash, the groups’ sophomore release was originally released March 10, 2017 on Unexploded Records.

Bringing their full intensity to bear, the band offers up plenty of furious and utterly dynamic work throughout here which allows for a lot of positives. This one tends to go for rapid-fire tremolo-picked riffing that is added nicely to the churning rhythms beneath so that the swirling riff-work takes on a frantic tone, offering up plenty of up-tempo sections that brings out the crimson-soaked accents in those tremolo patterns. By offering the majority of the tracks in this up-tempo manner, the riffing becomes even more dynamic with the blackened crunch taking centerstage for the majority of the album and giving this a blistering overall sound. Elsewhere throughout here, there’s a fine display of melodic brought to bear with the usage of exotic middle eastern melodies and rhythms to add a different dynamic to the album. These are mainly in the more down-tempo, slower sections which are balanced out incredibly well with the crushing rhythms alongside as the frantic blackened intensity dropping into sprawling melodic accents creates a perfect balance here. For the most part, it’s really only the sections here where they adopt a more ethereal, somewhat clean crooning that the album dips somewhat into softer realms that are quite an odd contrast against the raging blackened cacophony on display during these sections. Beyond this issue, it’s a wholly explosive offering.

Without too many issues to detract this one from it’s more enjoyable elements, this explosive comeback offering brings about just about all the classic elements expected from the band which makes this a wholly worthwhile offering for fans of their previous work or fiery death/black metal in general.

Score: 97/100

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Marche Funèbre - Into the Arms of Darkness

Artist: Marche Funèbre
Release Title: Into the Arms of Darkness
Year: 2017
Label: BadMoonMan Music
Genre: Doom/Death Metal
1. Deprived (Into Darkness)
2. Capital of Rain
3. Uneven
4. Lullaby of Insanity
5. The Garden of All Things Wild

Working to further their sound, Belgium doom/death metallers Marche Funèbre have sought to expand and warp traditional views of the genre with longer song structures and plenty of dissonant work alongside the more familiar work available here. Putting their work to the fullest point after a four-year break, the bands’ third full-length effort was originally released February 20, 2017 on BadMoonMan Music.

Going for the grandiose segment of their sound, the band brings out plenty of familiar elements featured throughout here that make for a rather impressive outing. This one mainly goes for the extended, slow-churning sprawl that’s typically famous in the genre with plenty of exaggerated rhythms and running times here allowing for the band to access the full range of their influences. Those sprawling rhythms are accompanied nicely by loose swirling riff-work that gives this a melodic touch alongside the stylish plodding patterns driving this one along, giving it a warmth and atmospheric touch that’s quite pleasing throughout here. As this generally works out rather nicely for the album, giving it plenty of solid overall work here, there’s still the small annoying factor here of this one feeling just way too bloated in terms of its structures. This is felt in the second half where the tracks go for even more extended segments that do include slightly more vicious attacks but are still focusing on incorporating plenty of excessive elements to make them last far longer than really necessary here. The band was quite capable in the first tracks that containing plenty of enjoyable elements yet still had a solid sense of keeping it contained and organized, which is lost in the later half which is why those are nearly double the length and just makes the album drag on a little too much. Beyond this, though, there’s not a whole lot really wrong here.

It may suffer a touch by being just slightly too overlong for its own good by going for some extra arrangements and patterns that don’t really need it to be that way, but the enjoyable work elsewhere throughout here makes this one quite the appealing and enjoyable effort for any fan of doom/death in general.

Score: 85/100

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Comaniac - Instruction for Destruction

Artist: Comaniac
Release Title: Instruction for Destruction
Year: 2017
Label: SAOL
Genre: Retro Thrash Metal
1. Coal
2. Suborned
3. Bow Low
4. Guarding Ruins
5. How to End It All
6. Self Control
7. Shattered
8. Heart of Stone
9. Forever More
10. Instruction for Destruction

Continuing to spread their thrash roots, Swiss thrashers Comaniac has spread their old-school intensity and formula throughout their career as the band has grown in stature and technique in the intervening years following a lot of special touring and shows. Following up their debut offering, the quartet’s sophomore effort was released through SAOL on April 7, 2017.

Much like their previous work, the band offers a stellar mixture of dynamic old-school influences into their attack for a generally solid approach. Driven by the chunky mid-tempo riffing, the general emphasis here is on tight rhythms offering that explosive charge into the faster, more frenzied sections of the tracks. Balancing these styles together doesn’t always work, but it hits more than enough here to feature a fine mid-tempo chugging as a main source of attack for the majority of the album which keeps the energy level going strongly for the most part. It’s when the album deviates from these efforts which manages to cause this one to stumble where it goes into a series of abstract ideas, featuring jangled riffing or semi-ballad that really just sticks out so much against the rather fun thrashing on offer here that highlights the fact that some of this feature bland, uninteresting riffs. Basing a large majority of the patterns and arrangements off of the simplistic chug-rhythms featured here tends to make several of the tracks come off as bland and lifeless which is quite problematic when this one clearly shows an ability to cope with energetic chugging patterns, so the sporadic, hit-or-miss nature of these is a bit troubling. It's less of an issue as it was on the debut, which shows some solid growth to fix this but it still pops up here which causes this to come off a bit better overall even with this issue coming into play once again.

Still prominently featuring an issue that popped up from before but also managing to fix it in some regards, there’s an obvious growth featured here that makes this come off rather nicely for fans of their previous work or fans of less dynamic old-school thrash who can stomach the flaws here.

Score: 81/100

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Pokerface - Game On

Artist: Pokerface
Release Title: Game On
Year: 2017
Label: M & O Music
Genre: Thrash Metal
1. The Bone Reaper
2. The Fatal Scythe
3. Play or Die
4. Blackjack
5. Straight Flush
6. Cry. Pray. Die.
7. Creepy Guests
8. Bow! Run! Scream!
9. Jackpot
10. Game On

Continuing to spread their message, Russian thrashers Pokerface have taken their experience and relentless touring schedule into fine-tuning a more vicious and modern take on classic thrash than many of their contemporaries and results in a genuinely intriguing offering. Featuring a revamped lineup with new vocalist LadyOwl as well as guitar-team Xen Ritter and Vadim Whitevad, the groups’ sophomore full-length was released March 31, 2017 on M & O Music.

Much like their previous efforts, the album features a rather strong and engaging type of traditional thrash attack that gives this one plenty of enjoyable elements. The main focus away from the traditional crunch of the revivalist acts as instead they end up going for the heavier swirling approach common in death metal is a major reason for the appeal here, utilizing a much more vicious and ferocious attack. The deep, churning riffing and blast-heavy drum-work throws up a rather furious and intense style attack that’s incredibly appealing here given that this is kept at a higher tempo than normal and gives this the kind of generally favorable rhythms when dealing with the thrash attacks here, forcing this one along at these ravenous paces as the tight riff-work carried along throughout here is fast, dynamic and highly appealing which is a big factor of their debut that was expanded upon here and really wins this one over quite readily. There’s a small issue here in that the album tends to feel like it’s on repeat far too often and doesn’t really spread itself out as much as it could’ve based on the type of attack here since this one is pretty straightforward from the get-go and doesn’t really vary itself from relentless intensity as it’s main selling point. However, this isn’t really all that much of a detriment and barely dents the album as a whole.

There’s a lot to like here as the band has certainly grown since their debut days into a far more vicious and intense act that doesn’t really do much wrong beyond repeating themselves too often, but that’s not nearly enough to hold this one back from those that prefer this more intense thrash or are tired of the revivalist bands and want something else in the genre.

Score: 94/100

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Deathinition - Online

Artist: Deathinition
Release Title: Online
Year: 2017
Label: Self-Released/Independent
Genre: Retro Thrash Metal
1. Trvecizna
2. Złota kariera
3. Zmierzch wartości
4. Ludzkie z o.o.
5. Online
6. KłamsTVa dla mas
7. Dezinformacje24
8. Rytm konsumpcji
9. Pozer Song

Formed back in 2008, Polish thrashers Deathinition have taken on a dedicated stance to feature plenty of enjoyable old-school thrash elements with a decidedly more modern take on the genre to create one of the finest thrash attacks in the entire revivalist scene. After a successful EP release and a couple of split releases to their credit, the groups’ full-length debut offering was self-released January 28, 2017.

Much like their past works, the group is clearly indebted to the typical Bay-Area style of work in the genre just with a slightly European influence seeping through. Being filled with tough, steady galloping riff-work that packs that same crunch as an endless variety of revivalist thrash groups, this provides the album with a continuous stream of simple, enjoyable riffing patterns that makes for a nice variety of attack here. That comes from how this one goes through a nice variety of attacks here as this one slips between the tried-and-true mid-paced chugs or thrashing gallops which is quite an overall impressive experience as each one provides plenty to like about this. The chugging slows this down to the point of acting as a solid counterbalance to the far more intense galloping that gives this one a solid amount of intensity and energy which makes for a solid experience here. That, in essence, is somewhat the only flaw to this release in that there’s not a whole lot else to this one, it’s pretty much just one set factor to their approach that it really does seem somewhat of a one-note attack. There’s not a whole lot else to this one beyond either mid-tempo or faster-paced efforts, and while that does seem like a good variety for the most part there’s not much else to this one so it does wear out its welcome somewhat. Otherwise, there’s not a whole lot to lower this one.

Despite somewhat falling due to its rather one-note approach that both changes up the approach as well as offer up an overly-familiar attack for the most part, there’s still quite a lot to really enjoy here with this one that it does have some merit for fans of the revivalist thrash scene in general.

Score: 85/100

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Stormhammer - Welcome to the End

Artist: Stormhammerbuy now needed]
Release Title: Welcome to the End
Year: 2017
Label: Massacre Records
Genre: Power Metal
1. The Beginning of the End
2. Northman
3. Welcome to the End
4. The Heritage
5. Secret
6. The Law
7. Watchmen
8. Road to Heaven
9. My Dark Side
10. Into the Night
11. Spirit of the Night
12. Soul Temptation
13. The Awakening
14. Black Dragon

Continuing to carry on nicely, German power metallers Stormhammer have steadily built up their brand of power metal with the expanded use of live dates and constant work to get to the point where the band has improved with every release thus far. Keeping the same lineup from their last effort, the groups’ sixth full-length was released March 24, 2017 on Massacre Records.

Offering up plenty of rather impressive work here, this is driven quite nicely by the bands’ rather fun and impressive driving, melodic attack. Featuring a rather thick rhythm section, there’s a much heavier, more traditional-sounding structure built up here with a nice driving attack utilizing the more harder-hitting rhythms during the main sections here. That translates into a steady stream of heavy mid-tempo gallops for the most part here, letting the bands’ faster moments carry this one along to the point of enjoyment throughout here by going for the striking riff-work, the old-school sounding patterns and generous melodic rhythms that give this such a strong and enjoyable method of attack here that manages to hold this up one over the album’s one overbearing, glaring flaw that’s nearly impossible to overcome. Simply, there’s just way too many tracks here and it really wears on the longer this goes as it just features such an enlarged running time with over a dozen tracks here that there’s just no reason for the release to be this long, especially with so many of the songs here being pretty much of the same type and quality. The way this goes for the same fiery, energetic crunch as the earlier tracks the need for going on this long makes less sense with no deviation or variation, so regardless of the quality of the tracks the fact that this one has this bloated, overlong feeling is hard to pass-up and ignore.

While this one is just a touch too long and overblown with a few too many tracks here, there’s still something to be said for how energetic and engaging this one is in spite of that somewhat crippling factor here makes this one recommended mainly for hardcore power metal fans or those who can look past the flaws in this one.

Score: 84/100

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Angel Martyr - Black Book: Chapter One

Artist: Angel Martyr
Release Title: Black Book: Chapter One
Year: 2017
Label: Iron Shield Records
Genre: Epic Heavy/Speed Metal
1. Obsequies
2. They... Among Us
3. Victims
4. Eric the Conqueror
5. Midnight Traveller
6. Turn On the Fire
7. Pirate Song
8. On the Divine Battlefield
9. Angel Martyr

Formed initially back in 2006, Italian heavy/speed metallers Angel Martyr changed to their current moniker from Wraith’sing and set about to forge ahead with their love of old-school heavy metal as the band toured relentlessly honing their attack into a lethal assault. Now finally able to unleash their first official offering, the bands’ full-length debut was released March 17, 2017 on Iron Shield Records.

Taking their cues from the past, the group offers a rather impressive and convincing manner of attack that gives off the tone and feel of the old-school classics. There’s a strong semblance of classic speed metal riff-work throughout here, bouncing along at breakneck tempos that keep this one at a rather engaging pace throughout here which makes for quite a fantastic feeling here. This makes the music light and melodic while allowing for plenty of epic arrangements alongside the tight speed metal sections, working nicely here to make this rather enjoyable and fun as the heavier sections are still displayed prominently alongside the lighter sections that provide the fine melodic accents and furthering the steps into the old-school style. Given that the album does tend to go for the longer, more involved tracks here, that becomes all the more important to give these sections room to breathe and grow as the extended time allows for more arrangements to be included here, although that introduces the one main lowering factor with this one in that there’s just not a whole lot that can be done with how these drag on and feels overlong. The riffing looses a lot of its power noodling along at these extended lengths, the sections get drawn out more than needed and the album tends to slough along until the end which can make for a draining experience. However, being a debut this does get a bit of leeway and doesn’t hold this back all that much.

Though it can get a little bloated and features some rather troubling segments, there’s plenty of highly enjoyable efforts to like with this one’s old-school influenced attack that it should readily appeal to all fans of classic heavy/speed metal or those looking for solid classic metal in general.

score: 84/100

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Ruins of Elysium - Seeds of Chaos and Serenity

Artist: Ruins of Elysium
Release Title: Seeds of Chaos and Serenity
Year: 2017
Label: Self-Released/Independent
Genre: Symphonic Power Metal
1. Kama Sutra
2. Shadow of the Colossus
3. Serpentarius
4. Beyond the Witching Hour
5. Iris
6. The Birth of a Goddess
7. Seeds of Chaos and Serenity

Continuing to uphold their past success, international symphonic metallers Ruins of Elysium have brought their epic sound and capabilities to offer even more bombast and grandeur into their material than their previous efforts. Taking a concept approach around the anime Sailor Moon for their epic title track, the groups’ sophomore full-length was self-released April 4, 2017.

Similar to their previous effort, the band is once again in full-on bombastic and glory mode throughout this one offering a stellar look into their formula. This here is built primarily around the grandiose tempos, featuring lightning-fast riffing and barreling drumming that is completely overshadowed by the bombastic keyboards that offer the over-the-top theatrics customary within the genre. It runs through these efforts with reckless abandon as the histrionics from the music match the spoken tales of glory and heroism that is captured expertly by these over-the-top rhythms giving this one the kind of driving attitude that works for the most part. That gets held up by the one detrimental, overriding flaw here in the overriding and truly bombastic epic at the end, going on far longer than necessary to really prove it’s point and making for a truly exhaustive ending more than anything. The dedication to go for something like this, a massive mini-album in its own right as the five-track suite makes for a fun enough representation of their work anyway beyond going through the motions of what’s on offer elsewhere on the album, yet the fact that it just goes on endlessly as the five movements clock in around regular-length tracks anyway and it just makes the album a drag to have to get through in order to experience it all. Though it’s fun enough, the daunting feel and approach are what somewhat lower this one.

As there’s one huge, nearly overwhelming effort holding this one back somewhat, it’s a little lower than what it should be as the rest of this one is some rather impressive symphonic-styled power metal that’s featured here make this a must for any fan of the style or can celebrate the excess within.

Score: 85/100

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Interment (Swe) - Scent of the Buried

Artist: Interment (Swe)
Release Title: Scent of the Buried
Year: 2016
Label: Dark Descent Records
Genre: Swedish Death Metal
1. Death and Decay
2. Sinister Incantation
3. Chalice of Death
4. Repugnant Funeral
5. Scent of the Buried
6. Rise of the Dead
7. Unholy Upheaval
8. Dawn of Blasphemy
9. Skull Crushing Carnage
10. Nailed to the Grave

One of the original bands in the genre, Swedish death metallers Internment have gone through numerous hardships in their near three-decade existence which has seen the group continue to churn out their old-school Swedish sound in the interim. Now, after six years between releases and a few lineup changes that sees Toob Bryndal on guitars and Allan Lundholm on bass, the group finally releases their sophomore release April 1 on Pulverized Records.

From the onset here there’s little change-ups on display other than prime early-90s Swedish death metal with all the usual trappings, and it doesn’t really offer any difference from these rhythms throughout here. This one runs through all the prototypical elements that should get featured in the genre which means it utilizes the same general churning buzzsaw riffing patterns that alternate nicely between ravenous blistering thrashing with pounding drumming and agonized melodies swarming along throughout the tracks. As well, there are all the usual tempo changes from that go from these thrashing rhythms to a more majestic mid-tempo sprawl that utilizes more of a fine mid-tempo chug more than anything here as the speed is dropped in favor of the heavy-set riffing present which changes the style and sound significantly. As those are dropped off in favor of the thrashing-entered material in the second half of the album that significantly adds to the album with the enhanced aggression offering up plenty of ravenous tracks here which make for a rousing, high-energy affair. Now, none of this is anything revolutionary within the genre or even the individual scene where this is yet another in a long line of bands to emerge from the scene playing this exact kind of material, even though the fact that they originally were part of that movement at the very beginning makes that somewhat easy to overlook. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it works more often than not, but it is a determining factor for this one.

Though it’s nowhere near the most original band on this very scene that they were originally involved with at the very beginning, this here is quite the enjoyable and thoroughly enjoyable old-school blast of Swedish-influenced death metal for fans of that scene in particular or those that appreciate the old-school scene as well.

Score: 83/100

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Revel in Flesh - Death Kult Legions

Artist: Revel in Flesh
Release Title: Death Kult Legions
Year: 2014
Label: Cyclone Empire
Genre: Swedish Death Metal
1. In the Name of the Flesh
2. When Glory Turns to Ruin
3. Black Oath Impurity
4. Graveyard Procession
5. Death Kult Legions
6. Frozen Majesty
7. Hurt Locker
8. Cryptcrawler
9. As Souls Descend
10. Levitation
11. Necropolis (Manilla Road cover)

Continuing to honor their heroes, German death metallers Revel in Flesh have stayed remarkably consistent as they dwell in the realms of the Swedish scene for which they pay homage not only in their sound but from their namesake being a classic Grave track. Now almost two years of in-depth songwriting and production process has brought forth their third full-length effort released December 5, 2014 on new label Cyclone Empire.

There’s little overall surprise here, this one is straightforward and unyielding Swedish-styled death metal which goes for the traditional elements featured here quite frequently. This one goes for that typical swirling-style buzzsaw riffing patterns that were born in the early-90s Stockholm scene and manage to feature the same energy and infectious bursts of aggression that are featured prominently throughout here that give this one a touch of the strong melodies woven nicely into the main rhythms. While these are quite impressive, there’s a more prominent mid-tempo aspect here that simply features those elements played more with a chugging mid-tempo rhythm pattern that makes this one far more prevalent in keeping the effort plodding along rather than dropping it in favor of the blistering speed. Though it still conjures up the effortlessly melodic rhythms and epic arrangements that have always been featured here with this one sounding quite massive, the fact that there are just too many of the same plodding tempos does way this one down somewhat as there’s just not as much of a change within the album to really generate much more beyond the obvious enthusiasm playing this kind of material. Also, due to the overt and obvious influence taken here from the very beginning, this one isn’t all that original and doesn’t really go for the most creative riffing patterns or stylish arrangements here as it tends to be way too similar-sounding to numerous other old-school death metal bands that actually come from Sweden which has that same general approach and attack as shown here, and it can lose it’s identity quite easily. Otherwise, this one is still a somewhat solid and enjoyable effort.

Though it really does seem like numerous other efforts in this very scene which can cause this to become quite voiceless at times, there’s a palpable sense of enthusiasm playing these same rhythms throughout here that makes this one a solid choice for any Swedeath or old-school death metal aficionados, though those looking for more original bands should heed caution.

Score: 81/100

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