Sunday, July 8, 2018

AXIA - Pulverizer review

AXIA - Pulverizer 

Selfmadegod Records

When I saw this was twenty-one songs in thirty-two minutes of Portuguese grindcore I had to admit I was not up for it. Honestly I've got one of those Summer colds that seems to be lingering on. So being unwell is pulverizing enough. But hey then I gave it a listen and was fairly surprised.

Pulverizer is the debut full length by AXIA, a four piece act whose members all come from various bands in the Portuguese extreme metal scene. Basically these guys all like death metal, black metal and of course grindcore. But the music on here is not all full on grind for the sake of grind. (hey that sounds like an album title.)

Now AXIA does lay down some punishing grind throughout on this release but they also included some other extremes in order to break the monotony. There's a smattering of death metal groove, a touch of doom and a hint of sludge. The vocals kinda remind me of old school hardcore barking and at times there's a hint of harshness.

Instead of individual songs I look at this as one whole piece since it's much of an enjoyable listen that way. There's a violent ebb and flow to this release. And when the band takes a left turn and hits you with something different, but not too out of place, it just makes it all better.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

SATHANAS - Necrohymns review

SATHANAS - Necrohymns  

Transcending Obscurity Records

I have many reasons on why I love doing SFM666. Most of those reasons wouldn't appeal to other people in the mainstream music media. Listening to this, the tenth full length release by Pennsylvania's SATHANAS, is a damm good reason. You see doing this blog is enjoyable in many fuckin ways but one important reason is that it's an education.

Case in point here we have a US band that have been creating extreme music since 1988. This is my first time hearing em and I'm fuckin floored. To all of you people out there into the new stream of blackened thrash, forget your faves and listen to THIS. SATHANAS are a three piece act who, at least on this one, twist BATHORY and VENOM into a blackened thrash and death mixture of blood, vomit and great music.

What is not to love hear? You've got the say you love Satan lyrics, the harsh flamed vocals, that bees nest guitar sound plus cutthroat solos. The eight songs on here have that NWOBHM dynamic meets pure fuckin evil. Something else of note, this is not generic sounding modern day blackened thrash. This band has a sound that's not tainted by trends. These guys are veterans who've honed their sound over many years. And that's why it's damm good.

GAEREA - Unsettling Whispers review

GAEREA - Unsettling Whispers
Transcending Obscurity Records 

Well despite what the promo info on this band says, "(the band) have turned the genre of black metal on its head." Basically what we have here is another black metal act who incorporates outside of genre influences into their overall sound. GAEREA hail from Portugal and last time I heard that nation is still connected to the rest of the world in that they're not out of the loop.

As far as black metal goes this nation is far from being a stranger to the genre. One of their oldest BM bands, DECAYED, has a new album out (which I will be writing about in the near future). I think another old band, IN THY FLESH, is still around. And of course there's CORPUS CHRISTII who I learned about in 2007 from Moribund records with their Rising full length. A few years after that they released Luciferian Frequencies on Candlelight no less which I think got a lot of BM fans (and others) scouring the internet in search of more from that nation.

But getting back to GAEREA, as far as bands with outside influences go in black metal, get in line. Specifically this band incorporates a variety of influences into their sound that at times I wondered if they could even be considered black metal since it's one of many things played within their cuts. I mean early on there's goth, doom, sludge, death metal, caustic hardcore vocals as well as bloody throat-ed guttural barking. Of course there's the tremolo picked riffage, blast beats and melodic rhythms that glue things together

Now some listeners (and music critics) might deem all of that as challenging. And of course they would if they were only listening to black metal for the past ten years. Seriously people, incorporating new sounds and expanding the black metal template started in the mid-90s. Some acts stayed on the template while others dove off the edge. Then in the late 2000s a new breed entered the fold which were bands who incorporated black metal into their sound. Which they took as street cred as in "hey we're black metal too". To which fans proclaimed "ah no you're not, you're hipsters."

After listening to this release by GAEREA for a while now I think they need to be listed with those great Portuguese black metal acts I named earlier. Oh you weren't expecting that one were you? Yeah well the second part of this release is so steeped in blackened fury and anger that it won me over. Hopefully their next full length won't take as much time to get into.

Friday, July 6, 2018

NIGREDO - Flesh Torn / Spirit Pierced review

NIGREDO - Flesh Torn / Spirit Pierced  

Transcending Obscurity Records

Of late I've been exposed to a lot of cool black metal from Greece. Here we have a side project by two members of RAVENCULT, a band I've been a fan of for a while now. Specifically there's A (aka: Alexis Papatheofanous) who handles vocals, guitar and bass. The drums are handled by ex-RAVENCULT member Maelstrom who's also in some incredible Greek extreme acts like DEPHOSPHORUS as well as EMBRACE OF THORNS.

Musically this is similar to RAVENCULT if they leaned more towards thrash. What's cool about this project is how the song structures within take on unpredictable directions. The band is shooting for blackened thrash but forgo the boring traditional trappings. Things are flat out exciting and vicious sounding throughout all eight cuts. Seriously I was waiting for a lazy cut to sink in but hell no.

Flesh Torn / Spirit Pierced is this project's debut full length. They've got an EP, Facets of Death, from a few years ago which seems to be an obvious pick to check out as well. As far as this one goes it rides the line sharply between straight up black metal and it's thrash sub-genre. To me that's important since too many jack-legs take on the latter as a derivative of punk than metal. Secondly you've got two well accomplished and respected musicians from the Hellenic black metal scene creating this gem. Absolutely one of the Greek blackened scene's top acts.

Thursday, July 5, 2018


It's time to honor a few choice releases that will be remembered not only at the end of this year but to remind YOU the reader of some great extreme metal that would feel right at home with you.

FERVENT HATE - Tales of Hate, Lust and Chaos

Satanath Records

Death & Roll from Peru who mix DISMEMBER with  touches of AT THE GATES and a lot of swagger.

HUMAN COMPOST - Exhumations Of Death And Horror

Horror Pain Gore Death Productions

Imagine the third cousins of CARCASS discovering  IMPETIGO. This is a compilation of everything they've done.

FETO IN FETUS - From Blessing to Violence

Selfmadegod Records

Polish grind merchants unleash a cauldron of chaos

DEIQUISITOR - Downfall of the Apostate

Dark Descent Records

There's a battle raging on here by these Dannish scene vets who appreciate the old ways of death metal's  destroy and conquer actions.

JUDAS PRIEST - Firepower

Columbia Records

A mixed bag of sounds old and new. The best album they've done since the 1980s.


Craneo Negro Records

A flawless homage to old school Swedish DM by one man from California. Can I get a hell yeah?

HUMAN CULL - Revenant 


Old school Grindcore done by new school hellions who will rip your face off in eighteen minutes.

RITUAL NECROMANCY - Disinterred Horror

Dark Descent Records

Seven years is worth the weight for death metal greatness like this.

SINAYA - Maze of Madness

Brutal Records

Reminds me of early Angela Gossow era ARCH ENEMY. That's a complement by the way. 


Transcending Obscurity Records

ENTOMBED meets BOLT THROWER meets late 80's Hardcore.

Friday, June 29, 2018

HUMAN CULL - Revenant review

HUMAN CULL - Revenant 


Who's up for some good old fashioned grindcore? What, too generic for ya? Well you can go take a flying fucking leap then. To me, in my not some humble opinion, there's good and bad grindcore. Good grindcore is like catching up with an old friend. Sure there's some reminiscing but the bottom line is that you feel comfortable being around em. Which is why you became friends in the first place.

Now bad grindcore is when you're old friend introduces you to their new spouse. Sure the new spouse likes some things about your old friend. But it's evident that the new spouse has reshaped your friend a bit to be more appealing and impressive to their new friends. And you wonder if you'll ever know your old friend again.

That's why I have no problem with England's HUMAN CULL. This three piece act has been around since 2011. Since then they've honed their sound throughout the years producing a bevy of short form releases as well as full length, Stillborn Nation, back in 2014. I missed out on that one but on this their second album the band unleashes a relentless assault of old school grind that's uncompromising as hell.

Revenant is eighteen songs in just over eighteen minutes. It has a continuous flow as if it's one long piece of music. Sound-wise it's a full on attack to your senses. Their instruments are weapons that rip you apart and HUMAN CULL give no quarter. The only times this band lets down their guard is to allow a slow death metal groove to slip in. The vocals are deep throat-ed angst and a few guttural rips. All in all one of my favorite grind releases of the year.

BLOODBARK - Bonebranches review

BLOODBARK - Bonebranches

Northern Silence Productions

Some people like to look upon atmospheric black metal as they do with art. It's beauty is solely in the eye, in this case more specifically the ear, of the beholder. Ah yeah whatever. If the music is not compelling enough to hold your attention then it's boring. Case in point, here we have the debut release by BLOODBARK an atmospheric black metal act that's virtually a mystery. There's no info on them to be found (so far). According to their label "BLOODBARK is an anonymous project with no country of origin. The decision to remain anonymous stems from a desire to let the art present itself without any distractions." 

Personally I don't allow too much personal info on a band to distract me. But I can understand an artist who might have some baggage which could cast undo prejudice upon their music. Be that as it may Bonebranches gives us three long songs in the realm of atmospheric black metal. The basic standards are covered and upheld well. The vocals are in a style that's frostbitten and harsh (there's also some solemn spoken word parts). Musically there's a mix tranquil ambiance and tremolo picked melody which reminds one of cold desolate landscapes.

Sure what's not to like about all of that? Of course there's plenty of layering on with piano as well as string arrangements. There's also some variance in song structuring. But there's too much repetitiveness going on. Too many times a song could've closed but it's dragged on to a degree where it loses it's impact. The epic bombast is completely lost when one feels sleepy. There are times when I just don't get into an artist's concept at first. So I give a release multiple listens and walk away a fan. All this did was make wanna yawn. Mystery solved.