Tuesday, May 30, 2017

SELVANS - Lupercalia review



SELVANS - Lupercalia  

Folkvangr Records




After listening to this I had a weird thought of what KING CRIMSON's first album, In The Court of the Crimson King, would sound like if it was re-done in a symphonic black metal fashion. Just a crazy thought but anyways at the moment SELVANS are celebrating the release of their live CD, Hirpi, on Avantgarde Music. This one here, Lupercalia, is actually the band's debut full length from 2015 which also came out on Avantgarde Music. Now it's getting the Folkvangr Records reissue on cassette treatment. 

SELVANS, in recording mode, are a two piece symphonic black metal act hailing from Italy. It consists of multi instrumentalist and vocalist Selvans Haruspex and Sethlans Fulguriator on guitar/bass and clean vocals. At times symphonic level is majestic and reaches the point of mid era DIMMU BORGIR minus the addition of the Austrian Philharmonic as session players. The two piece also cuts through the raging tremolo riffing and blast beated drumming style by adding various Italian folk elements. There's acoustic guitar interludes, flute solos over keyboard melodies along with some traditional harsh blackened vocals. 

Overall I thought Lupercalia is a stunning release. Seven years ago you had people mocking this genre. Some points were valid as far bands falling into complacency in creativity, trendiness as well as pushing for more mainstream acceptableness. As far as any other complaints well those people were just morons. For me the past few years has been exciting for the sub-genre and it's bands like SELVANS who are making it that way. We've heard bands in the blackened realm who add something organic and homespun into their sound. Bout damm time the Italians got a good crack at it. 

https://folkvangrrecords.bandcamp.com/music

https://folkvangrrecords.bandcamp.com/album/lupercalia

https://www.facebook.com/templeofselvans

Monday, May 29, 2017

SOJOURNER - Empires of Ash review



SOJOURNER - Empires of Ash

Folkvangr Records




Folkvangr Records is a US based black metal label that deals in cassette releases. Now ever since the reemergence of cassette tapes as a listening format my impression of it has not been good. The majority of product I saw was cheap quality. I mean it would've been fine in the 80s but not now. Folkvangr Records is quite the opposite. Their stuff is high quality. A couple of their releases have come in for review via promotion people. Of the three it was this particular release that stood out visually with the impressive cover artwork as well as musically.


SOJOURNER are a pagan/folk black metal act with band members who reside in different parts of the world, kinda like FOLKEARTH. Two band members live in New Zealand. Their lead vocalist calls Sweden home and another band member resides in Scotland. This release, their debut full length, originally came out in 2016 via Avantgarde Music. But now Folkvangr Records is giving it the cassette release treatment.


Getting back to the music, Empires of Ash immediately invokes a majestic feeling with it's pagan black metal sound paired with tin whistle melodies and various keys. Emilio Crespo's vocals are a more mournful rasp which is continued throughout. Multi-instrumentalist Chloe Bray adds an ethereal folksy beauty when she contributes backing vocals as well as lead on "The Pale Host". There's seven tracks in all and after you listen to em for a few times they do remind you of times of yore and castles on the hill.


https://folkvangrrecords.bandcamp.com/music

https://folkvangrrecords.bandcamp.com/album/empires-of-ash

https://www.facebook.com/metalsojourner

DEMON HEAD - Thunder on the Fields review



DEMON HEAD - Thunder on the Fields

The Sign Records




This sounds like the worst DANZIG album ever and that's a tough one since I never was a fan of his solo stuff. ("Mother"????) Now MISFITS and SAMHAIN hell yeah but metal Danziggy was never my way of enjoyment. I also like when that guy punched em out years back. Which brings me to this Danish act who have a vocalist who does a great job channeling Glen Danzig. Unfortunately the music doesn't do the guy justice.

This is DEMON HEAD second full length and I'm not inclined to check out their early stuff. Basically it's a Danzig sounding vocalist who sings over wannabe 70's era hard rock. I use the term "wannabe" because it's not like I remember it. I mean their tunes are original with a hint of CAPTAIN BEYOND, the second album not the classic first one. Of the seven tracks I had to deal with I'd say the opener "Meeneskæderen" was cool as fuck and peeked my interest with a decent rockin cut. Then there's "Hic Svnt Dracones" which is another cool rocker. But that's about it.

Seriously all of these newer Scandinavian bands trying to be 70's hard rock are really not cutting it. You wanna hear some cool Scandinavian hard rockin shit then check out UNION CARBIDE PRODUCTIONS, The HELACOPTERS or THE DEMONS. That's hard fuckin rock. This is not, nor is it doom.


http://thesignrecords.com/

https://thesignrecords.bandcamp.com/album/demon-head-thunder-on-the-fields

https://www.facebook.com/Demoncoven

https://demonhead.bandcamp.com/

Sunday, May 21, 2017

NUNSLAUGHTER - The Devil's Congeries Vol. 2 review



NUNSLAUGHTER - The Devil's Congeries Vol. 2

Hells Headbangers Records




You know it's a fuckin holiday when a new NUNSLAUGHTER comes out. Well actually this ain't new but it is special. If you are a NUNSLAUGHTER fan, and frankly who isn't, then you know that over their career they've released a ton of material most of which in small format releases (aka: EPs and Split releases). I am a fan and a collector but mostly of their full length releases. I have a few EPs as well but to those of us fans we know collecting every little release by this band can be an expensive endeavor. 


Thankfully a few years back, 2013 actually, Hells Headbangers Records released The Devil's Congeries Vol. 1 a double album which was basically a compilation (yeah another NUNSLAUGHTER comp.) that contained all the songs from thirteen NUNSLAUGHTER 7" EPs. The promise by the label was that this was just the first of many more such comps that would compile every one of the band's short form releases. And now we have Volume 2, another double album (or if you prefer a DOUBLE CD package).


Just to get it out of the way the second album contains the Hell on Holland 7"er and the Hell on Austria LP. But of course the first LP has the meat. I'm just gonna mention things out of order but of significance to me. Ya got the band's The Supreme Beast 7"er from 2004. This is a cool one because one of the four songs on it is a BLACK TASK cover "Kill Your Enemies". A great fuckin song by a filthy sounding thrash band from Philly in the mid-80s. Quick look em up you hiptard cocksuckers. 


Other NUNSLAUGHTER 7"ers on here are The Bog People and Cerebus, both fairly known and easy to find. The big surprise was seeing the Tasting the Blood of Your Savior 7"er tacked on. That's a rare and raw one. As far as songs from splits there's the three songs from the split they did with DERKETA in 1999. That release is probably the biggest seller DERKETA ever had. Jim Sadist (RIP) was also their drummer at the time. 


Other cool stuff, there's the three cuts from the split they did with GRAND BELIALS KEY, which went by the title Satan Is Metal's Master / Sperm of the Antichrist. The band covers VENOM's "Hellchild". Also you get the songs from the splits they did with DR. SHRINKER, CIANIDE, NOCTURNAL and CENTINEX which are also not too obscure releases. But the bottom line here is that this release is for fans. ALL HAIL DEVIL METAL! Nuff Said.


http://shop-hellsheadbangers.com/

https://www.facebook.com/NUNSLAUGHTER/

https://nunslaughter.bandcamp.com/album/the-devils-congeries-volume-2



DUEL - Witchbanger review



DUEL - Witchbanger 

Heavy Psych Sounds




Pardon me but whenever I see a band who hails from a certain city and musically is following a trend in metal then the warning light on my bullshit detector flashes. In this band's case it's Austin, Texas but it could just as well been Brooklyn, Atlanta, the Oakland/Frisco area or worse Chapel Hill, NC. What all these cities have in common is that they are well known hipster hovels who have produced bandwagon jumping "acts" (emphasis mine) who see a trend and fly to it like moths to flame. Musically it's all copycat bullshit and don't call me cynical or jaded. I've been watching it for over a dozen years now.


Be that as it is I can say that DUEL are not a bunch of indie rock losers playing to trends. Just a quick glance at the band member's previous endeavors shows their feet are firmly planted in the metal scene. As far as some of the descriptions this Texas four piece has been given, stoner/psych is not one that fits them at all. This band does not sound like Texas psych like the MOVING SIDEWALKS, THE 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS, JOSEFUS or any bands off of some compilations I got like HIGHS IN THE MID 60's - Vol 13 and Acid Visions. Although I do highly recommend checking all of that stuff out if you really wanna know what real psych sounds like.


On this their second full length the band is pure 70's hard rock. You've got hints of Southern Rock boogie, twin guitar swagger ala early AEROSMITH, some guitar lead work (and riffs) not far from what you would've heard on some BACHMAN TURNER OVERDRIVE albums, MONTROSE, as well as anything by Leslie West, toss in some BLUE OYSTER CULT and a minuscule of late 80's doom. There you have it and you know what it sounds pretty damm good. As far as all of these bands of late remaking the 70's blues rock sound for modern listeners I say DUEL is probably the best. I should know since I grew up with that music. 


Witchbanger is eight perfect tracks, ah yeah and that's not me speaking hyperbole. There's no blatant over used SABBATH or SAINT VITUS worship going on here as if we need anymore. No this is plain old hard fuckin rock from devotees of the 70's era. 

http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

https://duel3.bandcamp.com/album/witchbanger

https://www.facebook.com/DUELTEXAS

MARVEL - The Hills Have Eyes review



MARVEL - The Hills Have Eyes

The Sign Records




Holy shit, I feel like I've just gone back in time. It's 1980, I'm sitting in my bedroom listening to WZZO radio and they're debuting some new band which will be followed by a block consisting of BLUE OYSTER CULT, THIN LIZZY and APRIL WINE. OK I'm not having a flashback from some of the drugs that could still be lurking in my system. No actually this is a Swedish band which has their own flashback problems.


According to the promo material Marvel was formed in 2002 by three Swedish exchange students living in Colorado at that time. So like good kids determined to make the best of their foreign experience they decided to skip school, drink beer and play old school influenced hard rock/ early metal. Welcome to the horrible influence of a democracy. Be that as it may this trio actually recorded some material back then before they headed back home to Sweden.


This is the part where I'm lost. Are these new or old recordings? I don't know but I'm hedging towards newer material. Remember the before mentioned bands? Yeah that's what MARVEL have a close sound to and there's some cowbell on the pop oriented and old school radio friendly "Goodbye Shalom". But the highlight on this six song release is their cover of WASP's "LOVE Machine". Actually the video of it is the winner, which was animated by Alfred Lindahl with photo by David Einar and Johnny Lindahl. You can check it out here: 




http://thesignrecords.com/

https://thesignrecords.bandcamp.com/album/m-rvel-the-hills-have-eyes

RAGANA - You Take Nothing review



RAGANA - You Take Nothing

Self Released



Ya know when it comes to writing about bands I kinda stay away from personal politics unless it is those specifics which is part and parcel of the band's definition musically. Case in point here we have a band who are self described anarcho feminists. (I learned that from an interview) Think riot girl goes black metal as well as doom, screamo, neo-folk and sludge.


At first I am thinking this band is very metaphorical instead of in your face mainly because their opening cut, "Spare No Man", comes over as a depressive yet maniac screamed blackened outrage. This two piece female outfit comes from Oakland, California so pardon me if I don't profile em. I can only think of one band from there, HAMMERLOCK, who are not flaming leftists. Although RAGANA originally started out in Olympia, Washington which makes a lot of sense from their borrowing of WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM on some songs or the obvious nod to NIRVANA on the title cut.

Sticking with the music this release, they've got a few out, falls in with the whole gloomy depressive black metal sect. The majority of the vocals are wails of harpies while they do toss in some clean vocals whether it's yelling or tenderly spoken verses. Of the six songs on here the band does show their limitations of being a two piece (guitar and drums) with mediocre song structuring. "To Leave" and "Winter's Light" are probably their best efforts obviously since the tremolo picked blackened riffs came from WITTR.


The only surprise about You Take Nothing is the sound quality. It's not some polished diamond but then again it's far from a lo-fi recorded effort. For a band that believes in the total destruction of capitalism and is right now on a extensive European tour. These are not some piss poor leftists who will be living off of lentils and ramen noodles as they trek from Paris, London and Vienna just to name a few tourism spots. Don't bump into any refugee hordes. Ironically enough they left Istanbul as their final destination for a performance. Yeah you'll be a big hit in an Islamic country.


http://ragana.org/

https://ragana.bandcamp.com/album/you-take-nothing-2

https://www.facebook.com/raganaband/

NEKROKRAFT - Will o' Wisp review



NEKROKRAFT - Will o' Wisp 

The Sign Records




Music Deja Vu, that's when you are listening to a new release and swear that you've heard it all before. I know that can be said about a lot of releases especially if you write about new music like I do. Will o' Wisp is the debut full length by Sweden's NECROKRAFT. Musically the band puts forth a classic melodic black metal sound somewhere inbetween DISSECTION and DARK FUNERAL. Although I wouldn't tie them directly to either of those acts. NECROKRAFT do incorporate some keyboards plus the guitar melodies are harsh with thrashy song structures but not overwhelming in the blastbeat dept.


Still I had this feeling that there was something similar going on. The band started out in 2012 by guitarist Doc (aka: Timmy Rustan) and vocalist Angst (aka: Angus Norder). Angst also is the newest singer for WITCHERY. Over that time they produced a few short format releases prior to this full length. If you wanna hear those then check out their bandcamp page at the following link: https://nekrokrafter.bandcamp.com/


This release is tight and fast with only seven cuts, yeah that's thrashy. Another thing I noticed is that it was mastered at the famous Necromorbus Studio in Stockholm. That might be what I'm thinking of as far as deja vu since many a blackened metal act (and every Swedish DM act of note) has passed through their doors. This release does have an old school second wave black metal feel to it. More like a newly discovered recording than a new band trying to copy the past. Will o´ Wisp is a decent release but I think their next one, hopefully, will be a milestone in that a new band that puts that evil grim grin back on your face because they remind ya of the past without being retro. 

http://thesignrecords.com/

https://thesignrecords.bandcamp.com/album/nekrokraft-will-o-wisp

https://www.facebook.com/nekrokraft/

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

VIOLENT LIFE VIOLENT DEATH - V-EP review



VIOLENT LIFE VIOLENT DEATH - V-EP

Self Released




Well this came out in December 2016 but hey they're from Charlotte, North Carolina and so far this month I've passed on reviewing two releases from some NC bands. One was an average sounding one man bedroom black metal act and the other were some hipsters playing third rate sludge metal. This five piece act is no where near those previously mentioned artists and they actually sound fuckin cool.

VIOLENT LIFE VIOLENT DEATH are a hardcore band but more in the good 90's vein of the genre. Plus they've got a decent metal touch to their sound. On their Metal Archives page they're described as metalcore. Well not by what my perception of metalcore at least. When I think of that genre I think of bands from Chicago, Boston, NYC and a cat's dirty litter box. When I listen to this band's EP I hear some thrashy groove riffs, straight up hardcore riffage, on the last cut "Sharp Suits" they get close to grind. 

Aside from musically having an enjoyable release their singer has that raspy raptor, acid tinged vocal chord delivery. The guy could do black metal just as well. But on these five songs he does have that angst and I hate you attitude which is all hardcore. With that said ya know I've been passing up a lot of hardcore (?) releases coming in for review because they all sound pathetic. This one ain't in fact this just grabs you by the head and screams in your fuckin face. This band needs your attention. 

https://violentlifeviolentdeath.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/violentlifeviolentdeath/

AZARATH – In Extremis review



AZARATH – In Extremis 

Agonia Records




When Inferno (aka: Zbigniew Robert Promiński) is not pounding out the skins during his day job as the drummer for BEHEMOTH he takes time off to pursue his hobby with AZARATH. Bias alert, I am a huge fan of AZARATH. Seriously I like both bands he performs with but I like this one better and have since their inception back in 2001 when I heard their debut Demon Seed. I think their 2009 release, Praise the Beast, is one of the best modern death metal releases ever. The follow up to that, 2011's Blasphemers' Maledictions, was just as good and now six years since we finally have a new one.


AZARATH to their credit have a potent death metal formula, punishing Polish brutality. On their last one they added more of a blackened feel. This time around there is some atmosphere squeezed into the overwhelming assault. To start with, Inferno is a militaristic drumming phenomenon. He should be registered as a lethal weapon when he carries drum sticks. Add to that guitarists Bart (aka: Bartłomiej Szudek) and Necrosodom (aka: Marek Lechowski) who also adds his vicious vocal quality to the mayhem. Then there's bassist Piotr Ostrowski who some how holds this explosive experience together.

In Extremis is Latin for "at the point of death" or better yet "under extreme circumstances". Ah yeah since this dink starts out like a berzerker. This release just pushes the level of straight up death metal which Polish bands, who I freak out to, like VADER do so well. Right now this is one of the most intense releases of the year. Period!

http://agoniarecords.com

https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AzarathBand

AMPUTATOR - Deathcult Barbric Hell reissue review



AMPUTATOR - Deathcult Barbric Hell reissue

Greyhaze Records




Greyhaze Records always does a great job resurrecting past gems most notably by South American extreme metal bands like SARCOFAGO, THE MIST and of course MUTILATOR. Those latter two I've written about this year. So when I saw this was their latest reissue to see the modern light as well as getting the vinyl repackaging treatment I was kinda surprised. I was also curious how the remastering of it would work out since I have a copy of Deathcult Barbric Hell , albeit second hand.

For the record AMPUTATOR's debut full length from 2007 is not some unheralded classic in US black metal history. On the contrary it's a crude lo fi take on blackened thrash that has a more bestial vent than say other contemporary USBM acts at the time like ABSU or KULT OV AZAZEL. With cuts like "Rape Kill Annihilate", "Complete Butchery", "Sarin Death Vengeance" and a REPULSION cover that would even make those grinders wince, the band was certainly not out to make any friends. 

AMPUTATOR were a two piece act consisting of leader Duncan McVeigh on drums and vocals. The guitars and bass were handled by Justin Flynn. When Deathcult Barbric Hell came out in 2007 the black metal scene was already out of it's third and final wave. From that point on bands were moving in a variety of directions, some within the scene and some without. While there were critics at the time who thumbed their collective noses at any bands that decided to keep the blackened tendencies primal. Fans ignored the critics which is why the band had some underground popularity.

The band would go onto putting out a follow up a few years later,  Intolerance Deathsquads, which in my not so humble opinion is far more brutal as well as bestial. Still it's good to see this first album being given the same treatment as other classic choices the Greyhaze has bestowed upon fans.

https://www.greyhazerecords.com/

IRON BASTARDS - Fast & Dangerous review



IRON BASTARDS - Fast & Dangerous

FDA Records




So have you played out all of your MOTORHEAD releases since Lemmy's passing but are pining for more? Well this French three piece has your number. Bassist/vocalist David Bour has the liquer drenched vocal snarl of Lemmy. Guitarist David Semler's riffs and soloing brings back memories of Fast Eddie Clark and Anthony Meyer is a pounding maniac just like Filthy Animal Taylor on drums.

Let's be honest here, there will never be another MOTORHEAD nor do we need a successor. But when a band ceases to exist it's not that wrong to have some youngins come out to pay homage as well as write some cool rockin songs to boot. That's what I like about the IRON BASTARDS. This could just as well be a long lost album by Lemmy and co. There's eleven tracks with a good mix of fast rockers and slower bluesy tunes. If you like classic MOTORHEAD then you will love this. If you love MOTORHEAD and can't bare the thought of a band sounding like them, oh well.

https://fda-records.com/gx2/

https://www.facebook.com/ironbastardsrocknroll


https://ironbastards.bandcamp.com/


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

KIFF - Declares War on Music review



KIFF - Declares War on Music

Self Released




"You wanted the Best and you got it. The Hottest band in North Carolina, KIFF!" Yeah, I heard that line some where. KIFF is short for Knowledge Is For Fools. They're a four piece punk rock n roll band hailing from Raleigh, NC. Here's some history for ya. A little over ten years ago four local musicians got together to jam out some punk/metal covers and decided hey we'll play some shows, have some fun and that would be it. Well the next thing, which happens all the time with garage type of bands, KIFF started writing their own material. Next up they got to write the title songs for some zombie movies, most notably "Forever Dead" and "Fistful of Brains". 


From there the band garnered a good following from their performances. There's an unspoken truth in my area's local music scene. If you wanna go out to a club to be seen then there's plenty of places to do that. But if you want to go out and have a great time, you go to a KIFF show. The band is one big fuckin party in performing whether it's inviting special guests on stage, having props or just smashing things, sometimes over an audience member's head (and they like it). All of that led to their debut CD a few years ago with was a mix of well worn originals and covers. And from that debut the band just exploded in popularity nationwide. Sure it's more popular in the scumfuck punk rock n roll scene but hey they've paid their fuckin dues. 


So here we have KIFF's sophomore release and in all honesty yeah I've heard most of these cuts live. "Prank Caller" will always be a favorite. I know these days the art of prank phone calling is lost but from someone who has participated in that hijinks you gotta love it. "Saw You in the Slammer" is a self depricating cut since at one time all of the band members had girlfriends who were in a local paper which posted pictures of people recently arrested. "Carolina Reaper" is an ode to our state's hotter than hell pepper. Speaking of hot there's a cut about graveyard fucking, "It Was Blasphemy (Was It A Blast For You)". Then there's the hilarious yet thought provoking cut "Record Store Day".

As I said earlier, KIFF does some covers and on this dink you have their takes on songs by the RAMONES, the GODZ, HELLSTOMPER and ANTISEEN. The latter one is special since their version of ANTISEEN's "Fornication" is dedicated to the late great Joe Young, guitarist of ANTISEEN. Since I am a huge ANTISEEN fan (who isn't?) I can say that KIFF did a great job on this song. Another cover which I thought was poignant is "Blood in the Wind". A well loved and respected local band called BLISTER recorded this song for the Fistful of Brains movie soundtrack. Unfortunately their bass player and someone I'd call a friend, Natasha Fatale, passed away. KIFF's version is a stand-up cow punk tribute to that great lady.


For those of you looking at the CD cover and seeing the beautiful woman in the red, white and blue bikini, (which does make America Great Again) ah no she ain't in the band. That's premiere local model and all around rocker girl Kris Kirby. Oh yeah she does know how to use those weapons. Which brings me to the final point on this band's second CD. KIFF have come out with a another release of cool punk rock n roll. Seventeen cuts in all and every one a winner. File this under IT'S NOT METAL BUT I LIKE IT. You could also file this under continuing to create what you love despite the odds. KIFF's second full length shows that the DIY ethic, making long lasting friendships, using social media to it's advantage and having fun beats out having a favorable write-up in a local hipster paper. Nuff Said.  

https://www.facebook.com/KIFF-Knowledge-Is-For-Fools-51878349998/

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/knowledgeisforfools4



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

EPI-DEMIC - Malformed Conscience review



EPI-DEMIC - Malformed Conscience

Horror Pain Gore Productions 





Holy shit it's 1987 again? This sounds a like band I could've seen back in a club then and probably was in the pit while they blasted away. Ya know there's a lot of speed metal/crossover/metalish hardcore revivalism going on these days. So from the perspective of someone WHO WAS ACTUALLY AROUND BACK THEN I can say with experience that there's authenticity and some bullshit in this latest extreme music revival. Now as far as this Canadian act goes, whether it's by design or coincidence I will say yeah this is authentic.


I could take this release to a party and tell people it was some old Canadian band from the late 80s and people would believe it. EPI-DEMIC are most likely not waxing nostalgia for the sake of it. But fuck it I will. The more I listen to Malformed Conscience the more I think of a hardcore band from the 80s who had just heard SLAYER and decided to go with it. To me that's a cool thing. I will also say EPI-DEMIC could have easily fit on this old compilation LP I got back in the day, Them Boners Be Poppin from Boner Records.  


http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/indexmain.html

https://www.facebook.com/theplaguebegins13

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/malformed-conscience

INSANIA 11 - Di sangue e di luce review



INSANIA 11 - Di sangue e di luce

Inferno.99




Normally I really don't use the SFM666 Facebook page for much. I'll post a few updates from the blog but that's about it. Sometimes I'll get messages from bands to review stuff. Most of the time it's weird requests from organizations. A recent one came from some organization that told me for five hundred bucks I (actually the blog) could add my name to their list of Facebook pages in the fight against testicular cancer. Five Hundred Bucks? Hell why dontcha ask for a nut?


Be that as it may yeah I also get requests from bands wanting a review. With those I look for certain words in their descriptions which determines if I'll be interested or not. When this band sent in a request I saw they were from Italy and that clearly peaked my interest. Now to a lay person (or hipster) if you ask em about Italian metal they'll answer "ah Goth, Doom and LACUNA COIL. Of course that's minus the help of an internet inquiry. But for people really into it then they know that for a little over a decade now Italy has had a huge surge in extreme metal acts be they of black metal, death metal, thrash and grind or a combination of any of those. And that's where this band comes in.


The best way I can describe INSANIA 11 as far as their sound goes is slightly technical death thrash with a vocalist who sounds like Big Boss from ROOT. Seriously aside from the basic ripping riffs it was the vocals, sung in Italian, that hooked me in. Vocalist/guitarist Saamang just sounds so cryptic and foreboding that he could just as well be singing about puppies and unicorns and it would still give you pause. The release itself is a five song EP with compositions that don't rip your face off or give you an attention deficit disorder headache. Instead what Saamang and second guitarist Ethrum (they are a two piece act) are doing is drawing you in with intricate song structures that bring about a uneasy dreamscape effect. Think demos of Robert Fripp doing a tech death solo album.


Di sangue e di luce had the unfortunate position of being originally released two days prior to the new year so technically it's a 2016 release but in the long run who cares. Also it might be INSANIA 11's debut release but there's more to that. Originally this act started over two decades ago under the name INSANIA but only released a demo in the 90s. Hey it's never too late to start all over again.


http://www.insania11.com/

https://insania11.bandcamp.com/releases

NERVOCHAOS - Nyctophilia review



NERVOCHAOS - Nyctophilia

Greyhaze Records/Cogumelo Records 





NERVOCHAOS are not a household name amongst death metal fanatics here in the states unless you are a consumer of Brazilian death metal. Hey I have a nice collection of releases from extreme metal bands down there, mostly KRISIUN of course, but this band has escaped my attention for years up until their 2014 release The Art Of Vengeance. Actually that's kinda fucked up considering NERVOCHAOS have been around for ever, well their debut full length Pay Back Time came out in 1998.


Since that time they've piled up a nice catalog of releases with six full lengths, this being their seventh. Add to that a few splits, a compilation album (2 DVDs plus a CD) 17 Years of Chaos MCMXCVI which came out on Cogumelo Records in 2013. And they've got a box set out as well. The Art Of Vengeance was a perfect old school sound death metal release. So now we have a follow up in Nyctophilia and it continues the brutal assault with some twists and change-ups.


NERVOCHAOS will always be the vehicle of drummer and only original member Eduardo Lane. Over two decades now he has kept the band going through various line-up changes. As of now it's Eduardo on drums with previous bass player Thiago Anduscias plus newcomers Cherry on guitar as well as some background screams and Lauro Nightrealm on guitar and vocals. One thing you notice about this band's sound/style is that there's not much of an outside influence going on. They're basically keeping in the spectrum of Brazilian extreme metal. If I had to name drop then think early primal SEPULTURA, MUTILATOR and latter era SARCOFAGO. 

Basically you get a full assault of blackened death thrash with one out of left field surprise. " Ad Majorem Satanae Gloriam" is pretty much a straight up metal headbanging rocker of a cut. Check out the video for it. 





The rest of the tracks, thirteen in total, contain a brutal atmosphere that keeps this release in check and a decent listen. 

https://www.greyhazerecords.com/

https://www.facebook.com/NervoChaos

https://nervochaos.bandcamp.com/

https://greyhazerecords.bandcamp.com/

FEN - Winter review



FEN - Winter

Code666 Records




Well first off if the title of your release is Winter and it's released in March you're kinda off. With that said let me tell ya about this British act. Years ago, at the end of the 2000s to be exact, there was this sudden rise of shoegaze influence in black metal. You had bands like ALCEST, ALTARS OF PLAGUES and FEN leading the way with this new progression into the black metal template. To be honest I liked it at first because it was just another outside influence that strengthened the genre. I liked the first albums by those bands including FEN's debut, The Malediction Fields. But it didn't last.

After the shoegazers got their feet in the door their second albums showed their true colors. Now they were shoegazer/post rock bands who were influenced by some black metal. Of course the critics in the media ate it up because they were college radio losers to start with. A bunch of hiptards clutching MY BLOODY VALENTINE and other ADD acts as if it was masturbation. My answer was a middle finger salute which is why I did not care for FEN's sophomore release Epoch in 2011 and vowed never to give them the time of day again.

Which brings us to this point, I decided to give FEN another chance because I had read some fuckin early report that the band was going back to their roots on this new one. Of course that could've meant anything but I had hoped it did mean a return to playing actual black metal with some atmospheric touches instead of boring earth fart indie crap. So the verdict here is yeah Winter is very good in fact better than I expected. First of all it is a very long album, the longest for these Brit's recorded output. The opening cut "I (Pathway)" is over seventeen minutes long. I made breakfast while it played in the background.

Winter is spread out over six long cuts taking it to slightly over an hour and fifteen minutes in playing time. Fortunately the song structures never get boring or repetitive which plenty of other bands do on similar endeavors. The title definitely captures the total vibe of the sounds which allow the imagination as well as feelings to run wild. There's harshness, solitude, dread, melancholy, numbness all well crafted in these compositions. This is the album that should've followed Malediction Fields but obviously this trio didn't have it in em yet. Now eight years later they've done it. 

http://www.code666.net/

https://www.facebook.com/fenofficial

https://fenuk.bandcamp.com/

Saturday, May 6, 2017

BEYOND BELIEF - The Demos 1991 - 1992 review



BEYOND BELIEF - The Demos 1991 - 1992

Terror from Hell Records 





Now while I do consider myself a fan of Dutch death metal this band here has escaped my radar over the decades. I said fan not completest and chances are, unless you grew up in the Netherlands, you don't know em either. As far as history goes BEYOND BELIEF did release two full lengths in their career, Towards the Diabolical Experiment in 1993 and Rave the Abyss in 1995. Interested parties should head over to E-bay. 

The band originally formed in 1986 and finally put something to tape in the form of two demos, Remind the Skull in 1991 and Stranded in 1992. Both of these came out on cassette and once again interested parties should head over to Ebay if you have not done so already. Then again you could just pony up and get this release since it contains the bulk of those rarities.


BEYOND BELIEF are/were basically SABBATH dirge influenced death doom. The promo suggests "for fans of ASPHYX (that's a stretch), SEMPITERNAL DEATHREIGN (another rare Dutch death doom band lost to entiquty), NECRO SCHIZMA (and another rare one), etc. Hey how about mentioning the Swedish elephant in the other room, aka: CANDLEMASS. Yeah in no uncertain terms BEYOND BELIEF, on these demo cuts, sounds like a poor man's CANDLEMASS. They even add some gothic keyboards to a few cuts.


BEYOND BELIEF are definitely a gloomy bunch with A.J. van Drenth demon monster vocals that separates from any epic doom comparisons. But seriously with the riffs alone Leif Edling could sue them for copyright infringement. Then again so could Tony Iomni. Either way if you're curious of the early Dutch death doom scene, and frankly who isn't these days, then you might want this gem. Who knows, it might start a revival next year. Can you say New Wave of Old School Dutch Death Doom?


http://www.tfhrecords.com/terrorfromhell/

https://www.facebook.com/BeyondBeliefDoom

NECROMUTILATOR - Ripping Blasphemy review



NECROMUTILATOR - Ripping Blasphemy

Terror from Hell Records





Usually the truly extreme bestial blackened necro stuff comes to us from places like Finland or somewhere in South America so this was a surprise. NECROMUTILATOR (gotta love that name) hails from Italy although after listening to this over the course of a couple of weeks I kinda see them coming from some burning pit. The band is a three piece that actually got started back in 2009. Prior to this the band has released a full length, Eucharistic Mutilations, in 2014. They also put out a demo in 2011.


Ripping Blasphemy is just a four song EP but when it comes to this type of music a little goes a long way. Musically this bands stroll down the left hand path takes a direct raw blackened death route with hints at the thrash side of evil. Think SARCOFAGO on speed for an example. Hey what's not to love when you have songs like "Unholy Semen of Doom", growled throat cancer vocals and completely low fi riff attack with drumming that's a war like assault. Pardon the pun but Hell Yeah.

http://www.tfhrecords.com/terrorfromhell/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/NECROMUTILATOR-221413121202401/about/

Thursday, May 4, 2017

KALOPSIA - Angelplague review



KALOPSIA - Angelplague

Horror Pain Gore Death Productions 





Ah New Jersey, my birthplace and where I spent my early childhood. What an experience that was and so many memories. The one place where all standing water as well as streams had a petroleum product sheen. Ed Fricky's Seafood Restaurant was closed because it had rats in the lobster tank. Not only would you see tires floating in the Hackensack river but the occasional dead body of course that was when the river wasn't on fire. A place where English was a second language for adults and you could still meet someone named Adolph. 

But that was many years ago. I was born in Hoboken and grew up in Fairview. This band here hails from New Brunswick, New Jersey. When I was growing up if you came from New Brunswick you were thought to be rich. Well I can say that KALOPSIA are rich in the tradition of death metal. The band has a convoluted history which is surprising considering the pummeling sound and fury they pull off on this release. KALOPSIA originally started out in 2000, put out their debut full length Exquisite Beauty of the Defiled in 2003 then stopped. Almost a decade later the band puts out Amongst the Ruins. Then five years later we have this platter. Whatever the case something wicked is going down in New Brutalsville.

The first thing I noticed on Angelplague is that the band is not totally part of that northeast death metal style (aka: NYDM). In fact they remind me of VADER (with a technical edge of DECAPITATED) be it the cavernous vocals of singer/guitarist Matt Medeiros, who use to be in another great Jersey DM band FUNEBRARUM. Add to that the complexity of the compositions, it's not all about bludgeoning. The band allows in some melody in-between the bloodletting. There's some CANNIBAL CORPSE influence here and it's prevalent on the latter cuts. I believe this to be just a perfect death metal release. The soloing is more inviting than throat cutting. There's a good balance of face rippers vs cuts that stretch out to allow some somber moments. Yeah great record.

http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/

https://www.facebook.com/KalopsiaMetal

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/angelplague