Sunday, June 25, 2017

DATURA - The Harrowing review

DATURA - The Harrowing

Rusty Knuckles 

When you first meet Kellie Gates, vocalist for North Carolina's DATURA, your first impression will be like oh here's a sweet young woman, pretty, nice smile and who knows she probably works at a daycare center with young children. Then you hand her a cordless microphone and she turns into Cthulhu. Kellie Gates is just one of many factors that makes DATURA a band that defies conventional perception to the point where you enjoy every second of it.

DATURA are a self described death/doom/thrash act. Now that's nothing really new in extreme circles until you scratch the surface. The band structures all three genre elements into many of the eight cuts on this their debut full length. Songs like "Shipbreaker", "Dying Design" and "Keeper Of The Light" make you feel like you've been pummeled, pounded and savagely dragged around. This is not kitchen sink metal, where a band throws everything at you. This is good song writing craft. Major props to the riff creators and rhythm section in order to savagely change directions on a dime.

DATURA also plays it traditional as well. "Charm Of The Rat King" has a head banging SABBATH-esque groove to it for fist pumping, headbanging, slam pitting fun. "Haxan" is full on death thrash that weighs in heavy on the scale. The final cut, "WVLFKVNT" combines everything this band contains then chews you up, spits you out and repeats multiple times. Hell even the title cut, a short instrumental, is a twist.

Add to all of that is the unconventionality of the solos placed into the songs. They're few and far between but they slice their way in at points you're not expecting. Then there's Kellie Gates' vocals which also defy the norm. Yes she screams, shrieks and howls like a banshee but also sings gutterally. She's can sound like a witch, a monster or the Dunwitch Horror (if it sang). These days hearing women sing in death metal acts is nothing new but Gates' vocal style is not only extraordinary versatile it's unique. For a while I was trying to figure out if there was another woman in extreme metal with this type of extreme range and for the life of me I can't. 

The bottom line here is that just calling The Harrowing a damm good debut once again doesn't even tell the whole story. This album fails into the realm of a great album, a one of a kind album and a best of the year list member. Yeah I know when it comes to speaking hyperbole I'm somewhat guilty but this is the type of extreme release which will carry through to the end of the year. They really don't remind me of anyone else which for once is cool.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

CRAVEN IDOL - The Shackles of Mammon review

CRAVEN IDOL - The Shackles of Mammon

Dark Descent Records

A few years ago, well actually more than that, this band came out with an incredible blistering debut EP of blackened thrash. The damm thing had enough twisting chord progressions and sharp leads to knock the fuck out of ya. Also existent were the interludes in blackened death which swepted in. Seriously that release to this date still blows away most of the present day stuff from that genre. 

Unfortunately I never kept up with the band because in 2013 they came out with their debut full length and now here's their second one. Sound wise there's definitely been changes. At times these Brits almost come off with the sound and fury of old DECEASED, especially on the second cut "A Ripping Strike". Guitarist/vocalist S. Vrath does sound similar to King Fowley and drummer Jesel Gohil does do the frantic pounding well. The band are still blackened thrash to the hilt but have plenty of death tone to em as well as straight up metal like on "The Trudge".

The latter half of the release kinda peter's out but that's only because the first part is so bludgeoning. That's why I liked their EP so much. Knock you out quickly. Suffice to say England has a great history of extreme metal but I think it's about time fans let go of the past greats who are still lingering on and give the new extreme a chance.

BEASTCRAFT - The Infernal Gospels Of Primitive Devil Worship review

BEASTCRAFT - The Infernal Gospels Of Primitive Devil Worship

Pulverised Records

When Trondr Nefas died on May 12th, 2012 not only was it the end of his long time Norwegian black metal act URGEHAL but also spelled the end for his side work in BEASTCRAFT. Mainman Sorath Northgrove has continued on with his band at least for this album, not only dedicating this release to the memory of his former collaborator Nefas but also including four tracks written by him. The songs were taken from demo material written years ago.  

With all that said I must say that over the years I have been a huge fan of BEASTCRAFT. In fact I consider their Baptised in Blood and Goatsemen full length and the compilation Dawn of the Serpent, which contains their early demos, to be essential black metal. Of course it's been ten years since BEASTCRAFT has done anything new. According to their website this release will be their last. Suffice it to say this is the final chapter.

The Infernal Gospels Of Primitive Devil Worship feels subdued which I guess is obvious. Actually the highlights come from the old Nefas tracks like "Demonic Perversion" which is classic sounding second wave BM. Most of "The Fall of the Impotent God" comes across as Black n Roll with plenty of Luciferin bravado. "Reborn Beyond the Grave" is almost grandiose compared to previous BEASTCRAFT forays. And "Waging War on the Heavens" is another razor sharp blast.  

Sorath's contributions do add some variety since he's tossing in more singular riffed atmosphere, contemplation and naming Satan as much as possible. Overall this release seems like play by the numbers black metal. Good? Yeah sure but ya know something is missing from the equation.

SACRIFICIAL SLAUGHTER - Generation Of Terror review


Horror Pain Gore Death Productions 

Here's an act which I reviewed before as well as hoped to see on tour with VADER. Unfortunately they skipped my state but there is this EP which kinda makes up for it. In the not so distant past (aka: January 2017) I described SACRIFICIAL SLAUGHTER's music as "cool ass hate fuck metal destruction." This EP solidifies that opinion.

Generation Of Terror is five new tracks of extreme death thrash also included is a cover of CARNIVORE's "Race War". The originals are short fast blasts of brutality which just brings a smile to my face. I'd say "Bodies in the Basement" is my favorite track on here then again so is "Bare Knuckle Beat Down". 

All in all I think SACRIFICIAL SLAUGHTER does well in their short form release status, much like their last split release. They pummel you with hard fast tracks that display depth, character with old school influences abound. Each cut on Generation Of Terror is unique which keeps things exciting to the end. Even their CARNIVORE cover is fairly impressive. Nuff said.

CAPTAIN BEYOND - Lost & Found 1972​-​1973 review

CAPTAIN BEYOND - Lost & Found 1972​-​1973

Self Released (?)

OK so where do I start? Alright I bought my first copy of CAPTAIN BEYOND's debut LP back in 1975. I was born in the sixties and grew up in the seventies so with that said if you were cool and into the hard fuckin rock sounds of the seventies then you owned a copy of CAPTAIN BEYOND's debut LP. For me it was an easy buy since I loved DEEP PURPLE and was getting into the past Mark 1 line-up music which Rod Evans was part of. 

One thing that has always bothered me is how modern music scribes push this meme that CAPTAIN BEYOND were an under appreciated band from the early 70s. Pardon me assholes but we the fans liked the band even to this very day. Add to that newer fans got into em from word of mouth. It was the fucked up music critics who, just like today, had their heads up their asses looking at whatever was pop iconic. Seriously not only did they thumb their noses at CAPTAIN BEYOND back then but they also hated SABBATH, GRAND FUNK and URIAH HEEP. All of whom were fan favorites who sold millions of records despite critical hatred.

CAPTAIN BEYOND were more prog influenced than hard rock. The band consisted of former Mark 1 DEEP PURPLE vocalist Rod Evans, guitarist Larry Reinhard and bassist Lee Dorman from IRON BUTTERFLY and journeyman drummer Bobby Caldwell. Basically they were supergroup of second tier status. Unfortunately the band had so many problems internally as well as with their management/label Capricorn Records that after one great album they just fizzled out. They did manage to release a second LP but I think that one sucks and their third one is something people just wanna forget (kinda like PURPLE's Come Taste The Band LP).

Lost & Found 1972​-​1973 is basically the demos from the first album plus one unreleased cut "Uranus Highway". Musically there's no surprises and just minor differences from the original album. Then again they're demo recordings so thats to be expected. Basically this is just for fans from the past, kinda like the posthumously released live album. My reason for even writing about this is that recently the band (?) has resurfaced and is playing shows billed as the godfathers of stoner rock. 

Now there's two jokes in there. The first is that CAPTAIN BEYOND are not related to stoner rock in any way. Anyone who says otherwise is a revisionist. Secondly what is being called CAPTAIN BEYOND today is actually drummer Bobby Caldwell and some other guys playing the old songs. Frankly I think that's a fuckin joke but heh if Corky Laing can hire two guys and tour small clubs under the name MOUNTAIN then why can't Caldwell do the same. Oh well.

SCUMRIPPER - Self Titled 7"er review

SCUMRIPPER - Self Titled 7"er

Hells Headbangers Records

With a name like SCUMRIPPER, of course I've gotta write about it. Here we have three miscreants from Finland who call the gutter home and love blasting scumfuck punk/metal in your face. Musically it's MIDNIGHT meets the MENTORS. This originally came out as a cassette release in 2016 put out by Caligari Records. The good people at HELLS HEADBANGERS records took notice and reissued it on vinyl this year. There's also a promise of a full length in the future. 

SCUMRIPPER consists of vocalist/guitarist Rat Pitt, drummer Son Stalker, and bassist Cliff Hunger. Nice names and with song titles like  "Shit Needle Crown," "Cum Killa," "Run to the Pills," and "Gutter Heights" you should get where they're coming from. Obviously it's nothing new to my ears and probably yours as well if you're into scum themed punk and metal. Still it's always going to be crave worthy.

MERCHANT - Beneath review

MERCHANT - Beneath 

Black Bow Records

The hand of doom has risen many times in Australia and in this instance it comes in the form of some YOB worship. Beneath is the second release by this four piece act outta Melbourne. Their first, Suzerain, came out last year and was an actual full length release. What we have here is more like a two long song EP lasting slighting over twenty nine minutes. MERCHANT are not new to creating long compositions since their self released debut contained four cuts in around fifty minutes. 

Getting back to the music, yeah this is total YOB worship which I don't have a problem with. You've got the massive, droning riffs with plenty of distortion plus monstrous bass lines and that in sync drum style. Yes it's very familiar except for the vocals. They're more in the vain of your typical sludge band rasp variety. Still with originality tossed to the wind the two cuts have a mesmerizing almost hypnotic quality to them. Dare I say psych is involved when listening to the latter moments of "Guile as a Vice"? Or that “Succumbing” is as long and painful as crucifixion? Maybe two cuts is all they need to convey their powerful message that life sucks, mate.

Friday, June 23, 2017

SCUMFEAST VIDEO Rants and Raves but mostly Rants

SCUMFEAST VIDEO Rants and Raves but mostly Rants

It's the return of reviewing band videos. Most blogs/websites like to say "Exclusive Premiere" of some band's video as if they're the only ones who get it sent to them. Bullshit! Usually I just re-post em on my Facebook page to let friends watch em and laugh. But I figured hey why not give em a chance here at SCUMFEAST METAL 666. So shall we begin?

WIDOW - Carved in Stone 

Here's the new "official" music video by North Carolina's WIDOW. Hmmm, does that mean there are unofficial ones? Yeah well here's some background for ya. WIDOW have been around for quite a few years now. And over all that time through various trends in metal, they have stayed true to their love of classic metal sounds. They are defenders of the realm to put it bluntly. Every few years the come out with a new release of melodic, catchy, fist pumping true metal that only a hipster troglodyte would thumb a nose to. This is the title track of their latest album, Carved In Stone, which is available on CD and vinyl from Pure Steel Records 


Hey what's not to like? The video has the band playing inside some stone structure outdoors, ala Carved in Stone. They're serious in the performance as opposed to screwing around (yeah I hate band hi-jinks videos). The song is fantastic. Killer guitar solo and plenty of close-up shots. The video was directed and edited by Justin Reich and Blake Faucette. Shout outs to those individuals for doing a fantastic job. Bang your head. 

CARACH ANGREN  Charles Francis Coghlan (official video)

Next up it's the official video (another one?) from CARACH ANGREN for the song "Charles Francis Coghlan" off of their latest release, Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten, which is on Season of Mist records. CARACH ANGREN are like the Dutch equivalent to CRADLE OF FILTH in my not so humble opinion. I know some people will be pissed at that assessment but hey they're a symphonic black metal act with a horror shtick as their theme. So here have a watch.


OK this song/video is about the Anglo-Irish actor and playwright Charles Francis Coghlan (1842–1899) and the myth about his death on stage and his coffin being swept out to sea as a result of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. Actually it's not a myth at all, it's bullshit. The fact is that he never died on stage and his coffin was swept from the funeral parlor but was found seven years in a swamp nine miles from Galveston along the east coast of Texas. Even the myth isn't so scary as what this video portrays it to be. 

Now even with all of that it's obvious someone dropped a lot of cash in order to produce this theatrical yarn of a video. I wonder how many takes it took for the raining scenes. "Cut, your make-up whoops I mean corpse paint is running we'll have to start over." Look I like black metal as well as the next heathen metal head but when it comes to those bands doing videos, well they're mostly bad especially when they're trying to tell a story. And in this case the story is just as bad. Also I won't be reviewing their album.

SKALLBANK - Grav Efter Grav 

One of my PR reps keeps sending me updates on this Swedish PunBig Balls Productions. I wasn't into doing a review for the release but k Hard Rock n Roll act. There last release SKALLBANK - The Singles came out in January via hey the video is another story. 


OK so five rough looking dudes barge into some hipster's apartment and surprise surprise there's a bunch of instruments also Orange amps. So the the five dudes start playing. Now I don't know Swedish so I have no idea of what they're singing about but the music rocks ala THE HELLACOPTERS. Plus anything to piss off hipsters is fine by me.

SARCASM - Scars of a Land Forgotten video

So are you up for a little Swedish Death Metal nostalgia trip? SARCASM, remember them? Don't lie because you don't and their PR calling them "Legendary Swedish Death Metallers" is sarcasm at best, bullshit at it's worst. Here's the skinny. SARCASM was a late to the party Swedish death metal act. They started out in 1990 and called it quits four years later then tried a comeback in 1997 only to pack it in again. In that time they never got a record deal. They put out plenty of demos but went nowhere. 

Now I don't know why SARCASM failed to make it in their time nor do I care but someone at Dark Descent Records did. Last year they put out their first proper full-length, Burial Dimensions, which was originally recorded in 1994. What we have here is a track from their new Dark Descent album Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds. Here ya go.


If you haven't figured it out the singer Heval Bozarslan is the only original member from 1990. Guitarist Anders Eriksson joined in 1994. Musically yeah it's average blackened death but watching this video just makes me laugh. The singer comes across looking like a midget, ok maybe just short. In this band's case it would've been better not to have watched this prior to hearing the full length. Chances are that won't be happening.

DATURA - Charm of the Rat King 

And finally we have here a band hailing from North Carolina. DATURA, a five piece death/doom, as well as much more, act who have just released their debut full length on Rusty Knuckles music.          

The band, which is made up of local metal scene vets, formed in June of 2014 in Raleigh, NC. I am still listening and making notes for a review of their full length but when the band released this video as a teaser for the album, well you take a watch.


Band performs live in two locations. The song is a basic headbanger. I mean the band is not only doing it but if you're watching it you can't help but follow along. It's a great song and the band doesn't look like they're faking it. I've seen em live so I know. What more can I say?

Friday, June 9, 2017


Well if you're gonna go to a Death Fest in North Carolina then you might as well make it out to the Raleigh Deathfest. OK most of you probably won't but let me just tell ya what it's all about. Last year a bunch of cool minded and extreme metal oriented locals decided  to put on a one night show with a lot of cool extreme metal bands, mostly locals. I'm speaking of the Raleigh Death Fest 2016. Since it was a total success last year it's creators are back for another round.

The Raleigh, North Carolina area (and the surrounding area) over the past couple of decades has had it's share of extreme music, whether metal or punk, fests. There are too many to name but the bottom line is that this area which I call home has a huge and dedicated fanbase for metal of all genres. I can tell you that seeing this Raleigh Death Fest keep going is extremely important to me because obviously it's music which I love and the bands involved, especially the locals, deserve a spotlight of recognition.

I don't know what the future holds for this yearly event. Obviously I hope it not only continues but grows. As I write this I do understand that most of the readers of SCUMFEAST METAL 666 don't even live in my state let alone in my country. (yeah I know I'm big in Eastern Europe) Be that as it may I'm just gonna showcase what's gonna happen on this coming Saturday night and maybe you'll check out some of these great bands.

Let's start with the Fest's headliner, actually the original headliner bailed out, ELDRITCH HORROR. They are called Raleigh's first death metal band for a good reason. I first saw them at a dank underground club here in town called The Fallout Shelter back in 1990. They were dark, heavy and deathly. I'll never forget how the mohawk crowd were like, "dude we like you but we can't slam dance to ya cause you're too slow." Yeah well history was not kind to ELDRITCH HORROR. Despite putting out two demos, Dwelling Beneath (which I still have a copy of but the cassette doesn't play anymore) and Untouched by the Sun, nothing happened as far a career in death metal and so the band called it quits. 

But some years back there was a benefit show for an old friend who passed away but had no headstone on his grave. ELDRITCH HORROR got back together to play that show and the audience went nuts. I'm thinking it was that show which got them thinking hey let's give it another go. So in 2015 ELDRITCH HORROR released Untouched by the Sun, basically a rerecording of their early material which never got the appreciation it definitely deserved. Check em out here:

Next up, North Carolina is not known for it's black metal. Besides DEMONIC CHRIST, who I saw a while back, we are blackened light. Sure there have been an asortment of local black metal bands over the years but nothing long lasting. That's why I'm extremely interested in seeing PAAGTHEAAN from Wilmington, NC. I checked out their Bandcamp site which I recommend you do to at:

PAAGTHEAAN are firmly planted in black metal's second wave which puts a frosty grim grin on my face. Hopefully they have some merch to sell.

Next up in my local rave rage is the band DATURA. If there's one performance I am anticipating the most it is from them. DATURA are a five piece act consisting of local extreme music scene vets who for over a year have got together and honed their death metal craft to a point where everyone I know says "You've gotta see this band." Unfortunately every time they play a gig I've been working. Not this time and it's also their Rusty Knuckles Records' debut release CD party. Check this out:

You can also check DATURA at the following sites:

Next up on the Raleigh Death Fest bill is the return of this area's own one man death metal machine, BLOODSOAKED. Ah yeah I know the feeling, a one man death metal act but I have always supported Peter Hasselbrack, in print and with conversations with friends for a reason. When it comes to his craft, Peter is one dedicated death metal performer. This guy has played huts in South America and beer halls in Europe. All he has ever needed is a mic and an amp to plug in his guitar then it's BLOODSOAKED time. His releases are cool as fuck in fact if it wasn't for Peter I would not have gotten into all the other brutal death metal acts on the Comotose label. Check him out here and you'll see why:

This would not be a true Death Fest without BLOODSOAKED in my not so humble opinion. Peter has always supported death metal in this area and I can't wait to see him perform again especially since he decided to call it quits a few years back. 

OK next up, so around a month ago a Ukrainian promo guy tells me about how he is freaking out at listening to Nature of War by Raleigh's own blackened thrash act SUPPRESSIVE FIRE. The guy was asking me how cool it was to see them play on a regular basis. Truth be told I had only seen SUPPRESSIVE FIRE once and that was when I think they had just got their first release out. It was at the club Slims. I thought they were great back then. I haven't reviewed their latest CD, unlike my friend in the Ukraine who has gone apeshit but I will at this Death Fest show. The band's Nature Of War release is on Lost Apparitions Records and I recommend you check em out here:

Alright next up we have a band that proves without a doubt the Swedish colony myth in what is now Virginia is true, DEATHCROWN hail from Richmond, VA and have all of the trademarks of Sweden's Sunlight Studios and a knowledge of using the Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal pedal or Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal to it's full advantage.  If this band shows up looking dirty, in leather jackets and wearing vintage NIHILIST shirts then I'll give em respect.

A break from the festivities will be Raleigh's own NOCTOMB who bring about a blackened sludge terminal skull fuck to the night's precedings. This band is definitely one to watch.

And then there's OUTLIAR, no I'm not dissing them. Actually I'm getting drunk but while listening to their Provoked to Anger full length from a few years back it's like a caffeine wake up call. OK I'm being nice since it actually sounds like "Holy shit my dad is home" and I'm jumping out the back window kinda metal. I've always wondered why OUTLIAR hasn't broken big. I mean they've got the whole thrash, death, groove metal thing down to the point where these guys are great at what they do. Check em out here:

Almost finally is a new local act called GATES OF ENDOR who, after listening to their songs on their Bandcamp page, is something that an old school SOB like myself enjoys as far as blackened death goes.

Finally,  at least of what I have to say, is BLOODFORCE who hail from the eastern part of North Carolina. I'm definitely looking forward to this act opening the Raleigh Death Fest with some home grown brutality.

Well that's about it. I'll see ya there.

DODSRITUAL - Under Sort Sol review

DODSRITUAL - Under Sort Sol

Black Market Metal

Norway's DODSRITUAL might be a new two piece black metal act but the players are fairly known at least to me that is. Their drummer and vocalist Undertrykker plus the guitarist Nevresch were both in the band HAT some years ago. I have a copy of their The Demise of Mankind full length from 2009. I always thought HAT was a funny name for a black metal act even though it's Norwegian for hate. So I'm guessing the duo just did a name change and musically expanded their boundaries in blackness.

As DODSRITUAL the duo have dialed down the blasts in favor of a more twisted melodious take on the genre. Calling this a "progressive move" would be stupid. Basically they've slowed down adding a creepy doom style along with traditional metal trappings which in the long run is cool as fuck. I fuckin love the organ playing while the bloody vocals spew forth in an insulting way. It's like an insulting haunting which is beyond the pale of socially exceptable black metal. 

The best thing about this release is how on all of the ten cuts DODSRITUAL finds ways to push the unexpected. Personally I like when they blacken the classic metal and goth style. It's certainly not innovative but it grabs you by the throat. By the third time I listened to this I was in awe, not only from their change from HAT, but in the way they captivate the listener. Honestly this is not something you'll fall asleep to.

DEATH OF KINGS - Kneel Before None review

DEATH OF KINGS - Kneel Before None 

Boris Records

It was around a week or two ago that I reviewed a seven incher by this Atlanta thrash act and now here they are with their debut full length. But after listening to Kneel Before None I believe an update on genre categorization on my part is needed. So lets just call em metal since the band does bring in some variety whether it's fast raging blasters or straight up classic sounding metal from the bygone days. Ya got yer harsh screeched vocals, extreme metal screams, explosive riffs, a pummeling rhythm section workout and extremely sharp solos.

The nine songs on here definitely harken back to the mid-80s style of metal. Don't call it proto thrash or I'll kill you. I hate that term along with proto anything. No this is metal in the vein of EXCITER but even with that said DEATH OF KINGS are not trying to ride some nostalgia trip revival. This release is for all and is perfect from start to finish. Easily one of the best metal releases of 2017. Hell I really wanna see this band play my town. Great artwork as well and yes I did say this is ONE OF THE BEST METAL RELEASES OF 2017.

SUNKEN - Departure review

SUNKEN - Departure

Triton's Orbit

I was ready to sink this release after enduring it's three minute intro and yes that pun was intended. Hey I have no problem with an ambient intro but you've got computer generated keys with ocean sound effects that finally leads into some music at the last ten seconds. On the release it says "Instrumental", no that's an intro. That bleeds into the first actual tune which is blistering tremolo riffed, blast beating industrial sized frenzy with banshee screams. The kinda sound you hear when a CD starts skipping. It reminded me of the scene from the movie Spun. Thankfully the band branches off into a more melodic, albeit harsh, direction.

SUNKEN are a black metal act from Denmark whose take on the genre is influenced by the sea and nature. That explains the ocean sounds in the intro. I've heard plenty of doom bands who use the ocean as influence in their music but never, to my recollection at least, a black metal band. Actually it does make perfect sense since the seas are vast and can be looked upon as dark and treacherous. Now I know why the only time I like going to the beach is in the middle of Winter when it's cold, cloudy and desolate. So with that understanding SUNKEN excels at creating, or recreating for me, a cold and cruel atmospheric black metal journey.

Departure is the debut full length by this Dannish four piece. Aside from the intro this release consists of four long compositions. Each one being a long voyage, pardon the many seafaring puns, which carries the listener along with various waves of emotion being slow contemplation or stormy breathlessness. There are times where the band does drown you with keyboard driven atmosphere which pretty much seems like filler. But while you are at that point then SUNKEN turns the tide just in time to keep your interest in tact. I believe the bottom line here is don't judge a release by it's intro.

NIGHTBRINGER – Terra Damnata review

NIGHTBRINGER – Terra Damnata 

Season of Mist

Even though I own a couple of NIGHTBRINGER releases, the latter ones, I've never written about em. (Maybe I shouldn't be writing about em now.) Basically it all had to do with ill timing. The band started out in 2000 but didn't hit my radar until 2010 with their Apocalypse Sun full length. A year later I took a break from blogging and in that time the band released two more full lengths and a couple of short form releases. Over all that time I've read plenty of reviews, articles, online discussion group postings, etc. about the band. Some of it grounded in reality and other stuff pushing things to the realm of complete ignorance.

Lets get to the basis here shall we? NIGHTBRINGER are, and especially on Terra Damnata, firmly influenced by Scandinavian (at most) black metal. When I listen to this I'm thinking MARDUK, MAYHEM and EMPEROR all got together to put out a super-group collaboration release. Some people might say they have an avant garde approach which later day DEATHSPELL OMEGA employs. That could be true but then again the bottom line is that when the release opens with "As Wolves Amongst Ruins" you're pretty much concentrating on the pummeling effect as the music gallops forward like the four horseman of the apocalypse riding across the land. The so-called esoteric avant garde elements seem so minor that only a hipster douche bag would be overly concerned about em. I push the same point on the second cut "Misrule". 

Seven years ago the mainstream metal media (aka: hipsters) would routinely slag any USBM act that dared to follow the same path that the Scandinavians had already laid forth even if they added to it. In all honesty I never liked any USBM act back in the late 2000s who jumped onto the whole DIMMU BORGIR/CRADLE OF FILTH bandwagon or tried to recreate BURZUM. But while the media elite were slagging certain bands they tried to push other USBM acts that were supposedly "progressive" and "pushing boundaries". The fact is that those hipster acts were not even playing black metal. Then NIGHTBRINGER finally comes into their own and shows that yeah we can push the whole symphonic black metal thing but bring it up to date. So when I continue to listen to this their fifth full length I can honestly say they've reached that plateau. 

I think everything cool about this band and album can fall into one song, "Let Silence be His Sacred Name". It's starts out like a peaceful dream sequence with a somber piano intro. Then it breaks into a nightmarish ferocious blast beated nightmare. You wake up only to find yourself in a occult inspired insane reality. The music takes plunges from the furnace faced riffs into a chasm of despair. I'd would say "atmosphere" but that's hipster speak for "No blast beats/No tremolo picked riffs". You get the idea. Despite the opener, which to me is like Panzer Division Nightbringer, "Let Silence be His Sacred Name" is the finest cut on Terra Damnata. And that might be the release's Achilles Heal. 

While the last three cuts are interesting enough, all of the technical chaos that you've already been subjected to takes a toll on your interest. Only one cut finally breaks the monotony from the rest of the release. That's pretty much the rub. There's a good reason why this sat on the shelf for weeks. When I first got it I gave it one listen then moved on. The second time I played it I didn't even get through it. With all of that said it's still a good release. No doubt it will find it's way on some end of year best of lists.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

SORES - Demo 1 review

SORES - Demo 1

Self Released

OK so last week I got caught up reviewing two song 7"ers. Now I'm writing about two song demos. I feel like I'm back in my print writing days. So in that case prepare for a print style review. SORES are a two piece black metal act from Greece. On the positive side I think their choice of a band name fits them well. One portion of the duo is vocalist Sacrilegious who also fronts the Greek black metal act INSANITY CULT. The other portion of this duo is N.D. who performs the guitars, drums and adds additional vocals. Just for the record I reviewed INSANITY CULT's second full length, Of Despair and Self-Destruction, back in February of this year. You can check it out here:

As far as this two song demo goes clearly these guys are going for the second wave black metal route as in lets sound like DARKTHRONE. Now I use DARKTHRONE as a metaphor for raw black metal from the early 90's. And yeah this demo does sound like it could've come out back then. The release has one song "The Cage I Call Life" split into two parts. Part 1 is the longest at over seven minutes containing your typical straight up fast paced riffs with average blast beating drums. Sacrilegious adds in torturous screams and howls. Someone should call Moribund Records because these guys would fit well with their catalog of blackened artists.

The second part is shorter at just missing the three minute mark but the ferocity is heightened as if now they're pissed. I wonder if part one was about torture and part two is revenge. Whatever the case it's a good short release which should please any devotee of this style. If they were to release a full length it would probably come close to what INSANITY CULT is doing.

GURT - Skullossus review

GURT - Skullossus

When Planets Collide

This is the sophomore release from GURT a four piece metal act from London, England. According to the promo info the band proclaims themselves as party doom. Well after listening to this multiple times I don't hear a party or feel like having a party. Although I do hear plenty of sludge, a dose of death doom, groove plus a singer with scar tissue for vocal chords. Musically GURT are not paving an inch of new territory as far as sludge metal goes. In fact I look at them as reviving the early primordial days when the genre first came about and bands were just tossing everything together.

After a boring spoken word audio intro about the end of the human race, the music portion kicks into gear with "Gimme the Night, Any Day" which pretty much exemplifies every description I laid upon this band. Ya got the sludge, the crawling doom pounding, the death n roll groove at the end. Hell I wanted to jump up and hit something/someone pit style. This is followed up by death cadence number "Battlepants" which would keep a slam pit going. What follows is a punk rock n roll influenced number "Double Barrelled Shot-pun", once again pit worthy. 

Unfortunately from this point onward the release unravels. You get some Southern sludge NOLA style, a couple of short ditties not worth mentioning, some bass heavy mid paced boredom, "Jon Garseeya Later" does return the band to early form ala hardcore grooves with a sludgey filth coating. "The Ballad of Tom Stones and Reg Montagne (Part 1)" is probably as close to doom as this release gets. Like I stated earlier this does sound like something from the very early nineties when hardcore bands started slowing down. Sure there are plenty of well known names to drop. But I've got a box of cassette demos and a stack or two of 7"ers from unknowns. GURT would make those acts smile.

Friday, June 2, 2017

BURNING SHADOWS - Truth in Legend review

BURNING SHADOWS - Truth in Legend

Self Released

Alright I must admit that I'm not a power metal fan especially the epic stuff. Years ago, back in the past SFM666 days, some obscure German label sent in a release by a just as obscure power metal act. I gave it a decent review and then the floodgates were open. The next thing ya know I was getting flooded with power metal releases. So when I re-booted SFM666 I promised myself I would refrain from accepting everything sent in especially power metal and especially the epic stuff. But hey if you're a Maryland band who have been likened to the likes of ICED EARTH, HELLOWEEN and BLIND GUARDIAN then how can ya refuse.

This is BURNING SHADOWS, a band who have been around for seventeen years, have three full lengths and a bunch of EPs to their credit and they're still not signed to a label. Musically they have all the chops that make for a great band in this genre. Those being for starters a great vocalist which they have in Tom Davy who has that real guy full throat-ed vocal style. Secondly ya need guitar playing that can carry out catchy but crunchy riffs as well as some powerful lead work. On this release that is all evident especially when the band breaks into galloping riffage. Oh yeah and third, it must all come together as interesting. 

On Truth in Legend the band carries you through with eight tales that speak of fantasy as well as history. That's pretty much all you want from a good power metal band as well as everything I previously mentioned. BURNING SHADOWS are keeping it true.