Thursday, April 20, 2017

DEVILISH ART - Temple of Desintegration review

DEVILISH ART - Temple of Desintegration

Self Released

Over the years the Ukraine has become a bastion of blackened greatness. Of course in the past it has had it's house hold names and infamous ones as far as black metal goes. But at least in the past ten years, as far as my inclination for hateful music goes, I've seen this great nation pump out more great left hand path bands that would rival their contemplates. I've written about Ukrainian bands for years and here's another one.

DEVILISH ART  are a two piece act (Gelidos on vocals and Wolfheart handling all the instruments). They hail from the Ukraine but sound wise this is second wave black metal circa Norway 1995. Just for the record Gelidos and Wolfheart are also in the blackened death band UNHOLY TRIUMPHANT. 

On this their second full length the duo treat you with very riff centric aggressive blackened death, mainly because of Gelidos' vocal style which consists of harsh vocals and bloody throat death like vocals. The guitars and drum work by Wolfheart are part melodic/part harsh pounding into creation. There's even a small but noticeable industrial element tossed in along with keys giving it all a grand subtle symphonic touch. 

One could say hey I've heard all of this before and yeah you would be correct. But those bands of the past are gone or have petered out. Here you have two guys creating what should have been. All of which sets right with the whole Ukrainian black metal scene.

RIMTHURS - Gravskrift review

RIMTHURS - Gravskrift

Ketzer Records

This is the type of release where you just need to tune out every other distraction around you and concentrate on the music. What we have here is second wave black metal with folk inspired interludes, harmonious clean vocals for the most part with some harsh ones and chants as well. When the blastbeats do commence it reminds me of an industrial quality. The guitars have that transcendent melody feel to em, not punishing but free flowing. Listening to this I'm reminded of many bands from twenty years ago which is a good thing at least to me.

This is a Swedish one man project by a man named Ymer (aka: Tommy Holmer).  Gravskrift is his second full length which has been an exciting ride to say the least. Years ago it was this versatile style of black metal which redefined the genre and push aside the one dimensional vibe of early Scandinavian black metal. Ymer is not recycling old ideas in fact I hear him expanding the promise of old but staying on the blackened template. 

This is something I've been touting for years now. You can create a very artistic as well as compelling piece of black metal without having to go so far out of bounds that it doesn't sound like black metal anymore. Ymer has composed a masterpiece which enthusiests, like myself, will love.

WOMIT ANGEL - Impaling Force Of Satan review

WOMIT ANGEL - Impaling Force Of Satan

Ketzer Records

Hey this band gets props just for covering a G.G. ALLIN song. Other than that I gotta say this has been one of the fun releases of 2017. Ah this blog is called Scumfeast Metal 666 for a reason. So here we have WOMIT ANGEL hailing from Finland which seems obvious. Where else will you get filthy necro black metal from? But better yet these guys, they're a three piece, add punk/hardcore to the mix. Someone call Hells Headbangers because these guys are right for that label.

Impaling Force Of Satan is WOMIT ANGEL's third full length and the first one for me although now I'll be checking out their early stuff. On here they pull out all stops in order to entice the listener with typical blackened hate and yet hit the tempo of hardcore's past to a hilt. There are few times when I envision a slam pit (that would be a real one and not that push and shove crap) breaking out during a black metal show and this would be it. I just fuckin love it.

TERMINAL NATION - Absolute Control review

TERMINAL NATION - Absolute Control

Deep Six Records

So this band is from Little Rock, Arkansas. Ok it's hot there and I should know because I spent six months in Hot Springs doing work and that place sucked. I think chiggers are the state animal. With that said I can understand the angst and attitude being produced by this band at least from an environmental perspective. As far as their personal outlook on things well maybe not. 

Musically this sounds like 80's hardcore meets Scum era NAPALM DEATH. Seriously a song will start off sounding like VICIOUS CIRCLE for twenty seconds and then the band hits the grind button. Pick another 80's hardcore band then after a half a minute it's hit the grind button again. I think I heard the CIRCLE JERKS' "I Just Want Some Skank". This is done on a fairly regular basis and it's interesting for a little while. 

What usually happens to bands like this is that they give 110% of themselves during their short careers, burn out then the band members are left with the words "formally of" behind their names. Oh well look for TERMINAL NATION at the next house show, bring your own Pabst.

REBIRTH OF NEFAST - Tabernaculum review

REBIRTH OF NEFAST - Tabernaculum 

Norma Evangelium Diaboli

There are times when black metal can sound so beautiful as well as harsh and decadent. This Icelandic one man band by Wann, aka: Stephen Lockhart an ex-patriot from Ireland, is a prime example of blackened beauty in music. Albeit it's not perfect but I'll get around to that later. First off lets explain who the mastermind behind the music is. Wann by all observations is a busy man. He first released a demo under the name REBIRTH OF NEFAST back in 2006. He also recorded a split release with the Irish band SLIDHR a few years later but moved to Reykjavik, Iceland and has been silent until now as far as this project goes.

He did keep busy though by creating the Studio Emissary recording studio as well as founding the Oration Records label. If that ain't enough he managed to put on two metal festivals in Iceland. He’s also responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering a ton of other black metal acts, too many to name. Plus he has some other black metal band projects he performs with. So I can love this release, aka: his comeback, but still I have one complaint. The overall sound is muffled.

Tabernaculum is an exquisite piece of black metal and doom with gaping valleys of atmospheric passages. It's like flying map of the earth (that's an Airborne term) on a journey to the mountains of madness. Whether it's the opening fury shown on "The First Born of the Dead" which lays into magnificent intricate blackened doom or the sublime "Alignment Divine" which lays out a grandiose plain of harshness, folk laden and doom.

Yes this is an hour's worth of dark path treading but the sound quality still pisses me off. Was this recorded in an ice cave? There's just that cavernous feel to it which I cannot stand. A cleaner sound would prevail. Oh well.

SPACE WITCH - Arcanum review


HeviSike Records

According to the promo info "SPACE WITCH are a psychedelic stoner/doom band that draw on influences from 70's prog and psychedelia." My opinion, they're a sludgy version of HAWKWIND which as we all know has been done ten to fifteen times over already. This is what I like to call mood music so the first time I listened to this I was in the mood to shave, shit and shower. When I got done the first song was still playing. 

I think if you're into the whole sludgy space rock sort of thing then you won't go wrong with this one. SPACE WITCH, who've been around since 2007, hail from England yeah go figure right? A nation which has a history of launching a thousand ships and yet can't even launch a satelite. But hey they gave us PINK FLOYD and HAWKWIND (aka: PINK FLOYD lite). Anyways on Arcanum these English space cadets drag out four long cuts of tripped out, sonically heavy handed, galactic stoner jams. 

The previously refered to opener "Cosmonoid" is an instrumental and in a word, monolific. The thing starts out early FLOYD like, as if you're floating in space then slowly gets heavy when the guitar and bass sink in the sonic riffage. Best part is that the song just grows and grows in power then finishes of as a raging jam with keyboards taking on the lead work. "Astro Genocide" follows up but with a more evil, crunchy groove also we finally get to hear some vocals about 2/3rds of the way in. More like shouts at first and some spoken word rhetoric.

The third cut on here, "‘Hex" is like a massive opus suited for the coming of a gigantic demi-god. The fourth and final cut on here, "‘Battle Hag", starts out like another god-like enterance music saga but slowing turns to the closing soundtrack to some really bad 80's sci-fi flick that you would see on the Comet channel. Fine by me because in the long run because SPACE WITCH will put a cosmic spell upon you.

DESECRATE THE FAITH - Unholy Infestation review

DESECRATE THE FAITH - Unholy Infestation

Comatose Music

Ya know when you collect music over a long time you tend to become devoted fans of certain labels simply because you know they won't disappoint. That's the way I look at North Carolina's own Comatose Music. I became aware of em a while back since they're the label which released all of our local one man death metal band's material. That would be BLOODSOAKED for all of you unknowing. So it was through picking up BLOODSOAKED stuff that I wondered what else this label had. So I learned that Comatose are the purveyors of truly brutal music and who doesn't like it brutal?

Case in point, here's the latest release by Texas Death Metal merchants DESECRATE THE FAITH. This is their second full length and it's a tight package of brutality. While bands of this genre have been trying to tweak the template in order to be progressive and appealing to a broader audience (ie: hipsters suffering with ADD), DESECRATE THE FAITH are no frills, straight up brutal DM. It's like the time some friends suckered me into going to a fancy Mexican restaurant. What a fuckin nightmare that was. I don't give a rat's ass about the fine decor, the fancy plates and plating, the total lack of napkins and no hot sauce on the table. Look I just want a big plate of food to devour and screw anything else. That's why I go to another place which is family run, plenty of food, decent prices and no fuckin frills. Unholy Infestation is all that, a heaping plate of brutal lo-fi riffage, gutteral monster vocals and jackhammer drumming. Yeah now this is what I want from a band of this genre.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

ORDOXE - Towards Eternity review

ORDOXE - Towards Eternity 

Horror Pain Gore Death Productions

My boss was away this weekend which left me in charge, it happens. When I came in on Monday he asked how did things go? I told em well there were some highs and lows. Which is also the description I'd give to this new one by ORDOXE. Lets start with the lows shall we. The drum sound on here has that tin pot sound and the triggers are crickets on speed. OK maybe it's because former drummer, Steve De Cotret, switched over to full time vocals now and the band has newcomer Dominic Dupuis handling stick duties. Maybe there's another reasonable explanation but all I know is that sound-wise it's a downer.

Next up this is supposed to be black metal but it's really melodic death metal with some hits at the blackness. DISSECTION is not even closely related here. The shock point is that ORDOXE have been around for over a decade and they're from Quebec, a place that screams fantastic metal especially the blackened type as well as the tech death. OK so this band has had a conviluded career, hey join the crowd. I kinda figure that if you're on your sixth full length in eleven years then these little details should be handled.

With all of that said ORDOXE do have some cool things working for em. I like Steve De Cotret's angst infused vocals. It kinda sounds like he's pleading in front of a judge. Check out "Your Sorrow, My Sorrow", he's very harsh but not raspy. There's also backing death metal growl vocals provided by guitarist Jean-Fran├žois Jalbert. When they pair off like on "A Passage of Time" it makes for a cool effect. Follow that up with the guitar melodies being laid out. There's a cool fluid-ness part of the time and an aggressive thrash crunch which follows suit. Of course there's a fair amount of blast beating and low fi black metal feel throughout. The more times I play Towards Eternity the more I find to like about it, minus the drum sound of course.

GOATH - Luciferian Goath Ritual review

GOATH - Luciferian Goath Ritual

Van Records

I must admit I'm a traditionalist when it comes to my favorite music but once in a while I kinda like when a band adds to their template of sound. I don't refer to it as progression or progressive because in musical terms that means "watered down". For me it's like adding something to the secure foundation. Think of it like putting an addition on your house or spicing up a recipe. That's what I come away with while listening to this German band's debut full length.

GOATH are firmly rooted in the blackened death genre but it's when they douse themselves in the whole cannon of black metal, toss in some thrash and even old school metal then they have built up their template and not progressed away. Lots of bands have done this in the past which I've had mixed opinions about. When it's too obvious it fails but this three piece seems to incorporate it well into their song craft. This is the musical equivalent of peering into an well equipped inquisition style torture dungeon.

I don't want to get into the songs, vocals or riffs, fuck, seriously everything on here is a raw brutal assault. Luciferian Goath Ritual is a hungry sounding beast and look if I was pressed to compare I'd say imagine if DEICIDE was more into black metal. Otherwise this is just unique as well as being one of the best releases you'll punish yourself with in 2017.

MORASS OF MOLASSES - These Paths We Tread

MORASS OF MOLASSES - These Paths We Tread


Although there's been an explosion of heavy blues influenced doom in the past five years (thanks ORANGE GOBLIN) this English trio do seem to have a off kilter sound which I'd say scores a few points in my book. Hailing from Reading these three wannabe early 70's looking vagabonds start off by taking the basic style of groove laden doom and sludge then cut open sections of it to insert some atmospheric guitar melody minus the thud. 

Perfect examples would be, well all six of the seven tracks on here. I don't get what was up with "The Ritual". Some Celtic witchcraft something or other which seemed out of place on here. The second tier rock of the 70's is back. Have at it and maybe I'll dust off my CACTUS and ATOMIC ROOSTER records.

FROWNING - Extinct review

FROWNING - Extinct

Black Lion Productions

This guy makes MOURNFUL CONGREGATION, EA and ESOTERIC sound like party bands. I mean this is just flat out miserable. The guy in question is Val Atra Niteris, who probably has a dark cloud hovering over where ever he goes. Val hails from Germany and if you're into German black metal, and frankly who isn't, then you might know him from his other projects like HEIMLEIDEN which released an evil little icicle last year titled Mysterium Melancholie on Winterwolf Records. Then there's AD CINEREM which has a few length of blackened doom out this year called Shadows of Doubt. 

While Val does spread the pain with all his other projects its this one where he's spent most of his time on over the years and not many years to speak of either. He started doing FROWNING (yeah what a perfect name) by himself in 2011 at the age of seventeen. He put out four singles that year. In 2014 he released Funeral Impressions his first one hour opus to funeral bliss. This latest one follows suit with another full hour's worth purgatory imprisonment in five cuts. The sound is heavy as well as slow allowing the atmosphere to linger on well beyond decency. On "Veiled in Fog" Val slowly picks the guitar strings to create an almost church bell chime probably to call out the dead. On the over twenty minute "Buried Deep" there's a funeral parlor-like keyboard interlude which bleeds into the excruciatingly slow dense guitars. Val changes from cavernous vocals to background chants. There's more but I'll leave it there.

What Val has created here on Extinct is far from reinventing the funeral doom genre. It's more like giving it a good creative shot in the arm. He takes it to levels not yet explored but deeply at home with the style. His previous works were just hints at greatness. Extinct is a masterpiece in funeral doom.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

SEASON OF ARROWS - Give it to the Mountain review

SEASON OF ARROWS - Give it to the Mountain

Argonauta Records

Can I just say this is one of the best releases of 2017 and be done? Ah, I guess not. Alright so what we have here is a stoner rock act that adds plenty of psych and sludge to their sound. Oh yeah and their vocalist is a woman. Yeah I know you've heard it, seen it and read about it all before. But what makes my extreme interest in SEASON OF ARROWS is how much they are not typical. For starters the band hails from Nashville, Tennessee, not Athens, GA or Richmond, VA or England or from Europe. If you look at a band photo you won't see a bunch of hipsters or goth types. Actually they look like my friends, kinda rough. And then there's the music which is also off the typical template.

When you have bands putting out this style of doom and with female singers they tend to do two things. They mix the vocals back into the mix so the singer sounds like a ghost which means their masking a bad singer. Or they place the vocals way out front in order to focus attention on the singer and less on the boring music. With SEASON OF ARROWS you have front-woman Stormie Wakefield's vocals on equal footing with the music. Maybe that's because she can sing and has a versatile range perfectly compatible with this type of music. You get that early with the opener "Farewell to the Horseman" which starts out with a folk laden intro until sludge kicks in and Wakefield's scorching and powerful vocal delivery hits. 

Sound wise speaking the band besides Stormie Wakefield (guitarists Brandon Shepard and Dave Gates, bassist Shawn Van Dusen and Brad Lawson on drums) perform a sound compariable to something inbetween COUGH and KYLESA but stretched out in order to allow the songs room to grow or better yet, carry you along. They don't drag things along to the point where you have to check your pulse after five minutes. On songs like "Evening Lord", "Bellow" or the mournful "Autumn Wings" the band as a whole have you holding on to every note every verse. 

Whenever someone writes about the thing they admire there's always going to be the assumption of hyperbole on the reader's part. Please don't even think that here. Whether it's the song craft or the cool vocal performance clearly SEASON OF ARROWS are standouts and my opening comment is secure. This is truly a great release.

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Dewar PR Winter Compilation review

VARIOUS ARTISTS -  Dewar PR Winter Compilation

Dewar PR

If I had a dollar for every comp I've bought over the past forty years I'd still be working my ass off today for a paycheck week after week because I spent too much money on comp LPs, CDs and cassette tapes. Hindsight sucks when you get older. Why didn't I buy two or three copies of those things? I could've sold em years later and put the money into an IRA. Who the fuck could've predicted that cassettes, fuckin cassettes, would've made a comeback?

But I digress, I work with Dewar PR as in I review the material they send in. For the most part this Canadian promo firm sends in interesting stuff. A lot of it is retro sounding as hell which to an older fuck like myself, who remembers it back when it was still fresh sounding, gets a kick out of. I'm not exactly nostagia driven, oops sorry I actually am. So yeah I like hearing new bands reviving cool sounds from the past and throwing a new coat of paint on it. So here we have a cool comp release with fifteen tracks from various bands who run the gambit on almost all forms of extremism. I'm not gonna go into each band's specific track but just the highlights.

This comp opens with the band ALLFATHER who let loose with some sludgey death groove. It's decent and more like an open door welcome to start things off with as opposed to a tire iron across the face with the greeting of "whatafuck do you want, asshole?" That's been left to Finland's NAPALM TED which follows up some late 80s sounding grindcore. Another cut I'm partial to is "Burn the Temple Down" by North Carolina's own FINAL SIGN. This is straight up 80's metal in the vein of ACCEPT as far as the riffs go and the cut comes from their Hold High the Flame album from a few years ago. Yeah I know, local boys, but hey I can be bias or supportive in that respect. 

Other exceptions are Canadians YETI ON HORSEBACK who pummel their way in with a little over nine minutes of crushing, screaming modern sludgey doom. As far as some cool NWOBHM sounding stuff there's Ontario's FLIDAIS who come off as a more modern sounding ENFORCER. They're a three piece act with a bassist/vocalist who can wail a heavy metal scream. There's plenty of bands on here that are ok but I just gave ya my faves. If this was a battle royal of bands then the ones from Canada win hands down. Damm good compilation.

LORD - Blacklisted review

LORD - Blacklisted

Heavy Hound Records

The promo info on LORD states " fans of EYEHATEGOD, DOWN, NEUROSIS and TODAY IS THE DAY." I'm not really a fan of any of those bands but I do own stuff by em. I kinda hate TODAY IS THE DAY and there are times this Virginia sludge/hardcore act reminds me of them as well as a third tier NEUROSIS. Now I won't taint this band with my own bias, well not directly. Also it's been a nostalgia year in metal as far as all the new releases go. So why not some early sounding sludge?

For those of you who don't know, I've been around as far as the music scene goes. When I listen to this release by Virginia's LORD I'm reminded of the late 80s/early 90s. That was the time when the "sludgery" crept upon us in the underground music scene. You had hardcore bands slowing down midway in their songs to extend them out. I kinda thought they all got turned onto Gluey Porch Treatments by the MELVINS or at least Ozzy era SABBATH. But the deed was done and a genre was formed. We also got stoner rock at the same time but that' another story. And since I lived in an area with a decent club scene for touring bands I got to see it all form and flow.

This band reminds me of those early days. Now strangely enough LORD are not new. They've been around for a decade and have some past releases including last year's full length Awake also on Heavy Hound Records. They're a five piece act with two guitarists, a bass player, drummer and a vocalist. Obviously there's more than one person providing vocals on here since you get a trifecta of hoarse growls, cat shrieks and a wise ass sounding punk voice. Starting off with the first two cuts, "Mile After Mile" and “They Lied”, both start out with a metalish hardcore feel (crossover?) until someone hits the drudgery button. It's works the same way on "The Bandage" as well as the title cut. Both start out fast and furious then the groove kicks in.

The more I listen to this I keep thinking it's a cassette from a band I saw at a sparcely attended show at a local club in 1990. Three quarter's of the way through their set they beg those still standing around to buy their merch so they can afford gas money to get home. I feel sorry for em so after their set I buy a tape off of em for three bucks and then they sale's pitch me for a an extra five I could also get a t-shirt, unfortunately it was white only of course. Truth be told I had a big box of those types of cassettes and a shitload of t-shirts, white only of course.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

IRON REAGAN - Crossover Ministry review

IRON REAGAN - Crossover Ministry 

Relapse Records

I kinda thought IRON REAGAN would be a one off side project for MUNICIPAL WASTE's Tony Foresta and Phil "Landphil" Hall. Unlike the other side bands the members of MUNICIPAL WASTE have been involved in (ie: BAT, BIRDS OF PREY, CANNABIS CORPSE, VOLTURE) which were actual departures, IRON REAGAN was simply more crossover thrash. But hey to their credit Tony, Phil along with friends have turned it into a steady vehicle while MUNICIPAL WASTE lies in hibernation (stay tuned for their comeback).

Crossover Ministry is their third full length and their best by far. Sure there's still plenty of DRI worship going on to the point where I'd rather just put on Dealin With It and be done. But the release has some real standouts that give the band a feel for themselves or at least their main gig. "Dead with My Friends", "A Dying World", "Twist Your Fate" and the title cut could've easily been WASTE tracks. That's not a cut down. There's only so much you can do within the confines of the genre. The band seems to have milked it for every last drop.

POWER TRIP - Nightmare Logic Review

POWER TRIP - Nightmare Logic 

Southern Lord

Listening to this Texas band's second full length is a trip down memory lane. Let me take you back to the late 80s when people in the mainstream metal music industry started seeing slam pits breaking out at thrash shows. To some it was a shock but to those of us in the underground hardcore scene it was nothing new. Yeah people who liked thrash were also into hardcore. Soon you had thrash and hardcore bands on the same bill. It didn't take long for the industry to start signing hardcore bands, place them in the studio with a metal producer and pumping out releases of the new hybrid music genre Crossover. Talk about commercialization but hey it worked and it's legacy still holds to this day. I'll stay away of any mention of metalcore for now.

While some people are fine to throw POWER TRIP into the retro thrash bin I am not. Opener "Soul Sacrifice" is definitely on par with second tier 80's thrash but once "Executioner's Tax (Swing of the Axe)" kicks in the riffs and shout out vocals take on the past with vigor. "Firing Squad" is a slam pit worthy rager. Hell I could keep going through each song but fuck that. The one factor that defines this all is vocalist Riley Gale. It's his vocals which has me thinking DRI more than say VIO-LENCE, for lack of a better choice. Either way it's a great release and I hate the fact that when they played locally. I had to work but hey DRI is coming in August.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

TEMPTATION'S WINGS - Skulthor Ebonblade review

TEMPTATION'S WINGS - Skulthor Ebonblade
Self Released

Ya know if I came home from work and found out someone burned my house down I'd be beyond pissed and a reckoning would be coming. That's basically the premise behind this debut full length release by TEMPTATION'S WINGS who hail from Asheville, North Carolina. I live in the same state as this trio and I'm glad to see a band buck the metal trend. I'm sure some people will pigeonhole these guys in the doom or power metal genre. That's sad since I look at their music as pure Americana Metal in the same vein as some of my favorites like GATES OF SLUMBER and ARGUS.  

This is a concept album with the premise being the title character Skulthor Ebonblade is seeking vengeance against these witches who burned down his village. Musically it's bass heavy, rock heavy fuckin metal with cool solos out the wazoo. Real guy vocals in a high pitch of gutsy added with some doomish riffs. Hell fuckin yeah this is great. This is true American metal with a Southern touch but not sludge and with lyrics involving "steel".

Bands of the past like MANILLA ROAD and CIRITH UNGOL are part of what we have here as legacy following. Skulthor Ebonblade is just a fantastic release of American metal. Make some room on your battle vests people, here comes one of the best releases of 2017 and you'll  want a patch.