Sunday, November 10, 2019

WITCH RITUAL - Death Beyond review

WITCH RITUAL - Death Beyond

DHU Records

For the past decade there's been a decent size crop of female fronted doom bands who have an occultist, mystical influenced theme within their sound. Personally I thinks that's a good thing, women in metal, especially when they have talent. As far as those bands go some of em had an added psychedelia touch. Other acts were rooted in the 70's hard rock era. While some bands were basic traditional doom. The stoner rock acts are a dime a dozen. 

WITCH RITUAL are a new doom act out of Berlin who follow along in the whole occult themed sub genre. Basically we're talking about witches, demons, Satan and rituals. Musically their sound is CANDLEMASS-lite with a vocalist who reminds me of Jex Thoth. Yeah that's a good thing to me because I use to like her vocals. They're a cool, gutsy witch style which are never airy or wailing.

This release is their debut full length. I never heard their EP, Rising Doom, from 2016 which is my loss. But what we have here is a solid album and with some standout tracks which are kick ass. First off "The Earth Rises Up" is exceptional since the riffs and vocals/screams complement one another. Then there's "Ruins" which is totally reminiscent of JEX THOTH with a better vocal delivery.

All in all WITCH RITUAL's Death Beyond is a solid debut release. But I'll hold out to see and hear what they'll do next. I think the production values missed out. Lacri's vocals could've been more prominent on certain tracks. The guitars, bass and drums could've been more thunderous at times. Instead the subtle-ness is sleep inducing. Next time.

Monday, November 4, 2019

CULT OF SORROW - Invocation of the Lucifer review

CULT OF SORROW - Invocation of the Lucifer

Black Doomba Records

So whenever I here a doom band who go beyond the SABBATH-ian influence and just shoot for homage I think of a Canadian band called DAYGLO ABORTIONS. Many years ago that band did a cool song called "(Acting Like) Black Sabbath". You can check it out here:

Now with that said yeah CULT OF SORROW are heavily influenced by the early days of the SAB-4. In their case it's a good thing. On this their sophomore full length, the Cincinnati, Ohio four piece display a song writing craft which is widely infectious. The grooves, riffs and vocals all invoke the doom and gloom of old. And yet even with the obvious influence it does come across as fresh as opposed to some other acts who simply run through the numbers. All in all it's an amazing release.

SAVAGE MASTER - Myth, Magic and Steel review

SAVAGE MASTER - Myth, Magic and Steel

Shadow Kingdom Records

By now everyone into True Metal should know who SAVAGE MASTER are. But for those of you still in the dark I'll throw some light your way. SAVAGE MASTER are a five piece metal act from Louisville, Kentucky. Since starting out in 2013 they've rode the wake of old school metal's revived thunder. Fronted by a curvaceous siren and backed by four masked menacing henchmen. They a combination of WARLOCK, MANOWAR and  Mario Bava Italian style horror chic.

Since starting out a few years ago the band has released two solid full lengths and two equally good EPs. With this their third full length you, if you're a naysayer, might think a slump is in order for a band with a shtick. Not so with this one though because Myth, Magic and Steel continues the string of solid sounding release momentum. 

From the opening salvo of it's catchy title track getting things moving. You get another crowd chanting chorus style cut tailor made for the hungry metal crowd raising their horned fists. There's even a video:

From that point on you've got fiery follow-ups, reminders of past efforts and some explorations into new territories. My highlights were fast paced rockers like "The Devil's Ecstasy", "Crystal Gazer" and "Lady of Steel" which to me is easily an ode to Stacey Peak.

"The Owl" is a change of pace for the band. It's a slower Hard Rock/Doom style cut which breaks out into some galloping rhythms and dynamic guitar soloing. It invokes memories of CIRITH UNGOL as far as the song goes. Strangely enough the cover artwork of Myth, Magic and Steel also reminds me of CIRITH UNGOL or at least Heavy Metal Magazine covers from the past.

In the end I have to admit my bias. I like SAVAGE MASTER because they've brought back a cool attitude and theatrical sense to metal which does come across as fresh to a point. I think their first two albums are perfect and I saw em earlier this year for the first time. Yeah I was singing along to their songs. They put on a great show so I'm hoping to see em again on their latest tour.

So as far as this one goes I'd say half of it reminds you of what they've done before which is good. Then there's a part where you think those cuts are good but don't reach what they could be capable of. And next come the experimental ventures which are good and welcome because you don't want to have a one trick pony. It's that last part which kinda makes me excited. Just listen to "Warrior vs Dragon" and wonder what could come next.

Monday, October 28, 2019

VESICATION - Total Fecall review

VESICATION - Total Fecall 

Horror Pain Gore Death

I was in the mood for something else tonight but this gem of a release came my way so what the hell. Earlier this year I said some good things about a compilation of older material put out by these Canadian filth mongers who are in total worship of IMPETIGO. 

Total Fecall, this band's second full length makes me wanna vomit. The pig squealed vocals by new singer (?) Matt Hilden, killer fuckin bass lines and groove by Kimio Hatashita, trudging riffs by original guitarist Eddie Pharoah and the rock n roll plus pure metal drumming by Geoff Hodsman make this one pure puke ready.

Seriously I'm vomit ready by a band who are in total death grind mode to invoke an eruption of my stomach. Seriously (now there's a joke) the songs relating to tits were rocking. But my biggest laugh comes when the thought of the face of some loser listens to "Crouching Pink Hidden Stink". After than it's slam pit central with this old fucker giving you the fore-arm sandwich in the pit. Hell Fuckin Yeah!

ABBATH - Outstrider review

ABBATH - Outstrider

Season of Mist

So where do I start? Alright back in 2016 Abbath, formerly of IMMORTAL, came out with a new band under his name and the eponymous titled debut full length ABBATH. It even had his fuckin face on the cover. Now aside from everything offensive to me about that release's packaging and rock star aura, I actually liked it a lot. 

I've been an IMMORTAL fan forever and I saw that ABBATH debut as a follow-up of IMMORTAL's All Shall Fall release from 2009. It was great and continued the IMMORTAL legacy. But then in 2018 Demonaz and Horgh got IMMORTAL back and released the amazing Northern Chaos Gods. Personally I thought it blew Abbath's release away as far as being true to Norwegian black metal.

So now we have ABBATH's second release and he starts by having a completely new line-up. As far as the sound and direction on Outstrider go, it was a good move. Sure it's practically impossible to remove Abbath's past legacy as far as the basic song structures he uses. But these new members do give him some added help in changing lanes. 

In that regard you've got veteran guitarist Ole Andre Farstad who brings aboard lead work with a varying awry of styles. Whether we're talking thrashy leads (he use to be in a proggy thrash band ILLTI MITA) to some blues as well as some hard rockin metal. It's evident that Farstad frees Abbath from trying to come up solos that sound rehashed. 

Next up comes the new rhythm section of drummer Ukri Suvilehto and bassist Mia Wallace. As far as Suvilehto goes, this guy is a young Finnish drummer who is phenomenal. A great modern metal style of drumming that cuts within death metal as well as black metal. Personally I think he's as good as Kevin Foley (aka: Creature) from the debut. 

As far as the Italian bassist Mia Wallace goes she's no King ov Hell as far as playing and song writing goes and that's a good thing. she fills the bass role just like Ole Jorgen Moe (aka: Apollyon) did in IMMORTAL's final days.

Which brings us finally to the music portion. During ABBATH's first tour they were doing some original stuff, some obscure IMMORTAL cuts as well as an I (as in the band) song, "Warriors". So basically this release comes across like a mix of past efforts by I as well as a less BATHORY influenced IMMORTAL and some grim & frosty hard fuckin rock.

In the end yeah I like this release but after so many plays my bias can't stand up to the truth. Abbath's best effort on here is when he reverts back to I influenced blackened rock. But then he goes back to recycled riffs from IMMORTAL's All Shall Fall and even At the Heart of the Winter stuff. Personally I rather listen to those old albums after playing this.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

COME BACK FROM THE DEAD - The Rise of the Blind Ones review

COME BACK FROM THE DEAD - The Rise of the Blind Ones

Transcending Obscurity Records

The first time I listened to this second full length by Spain's COME BACK FROM THE DEAD I was in full deja vu mode. Basically yeah I've heard the whole old school death thrash with early 80's hardcore influence many times. But once the first part of this release blew by the meat in the middle caught me by surprise. From that point on this five piece act had my attention.

COME BACK FROM THE DEAD are devotes, as far as musically, to old school death metal riff sounds circa late 80's Sweden. Whenever the lead guitar kicks in with a sweet lick you'll think ENTOMBED. That's as far as the influences go. The vocals by some guy named Paul are of the hardcore harshly shouted variety. 

Don't even consider this death-core or metal core because that shit is for kids. This band's music is for adult killers who go into pits to be bloodied but unbowed. I'd say half of this release is truly a fest of rage which I kinda liked. The other half of the cuts were pushing a generic style which lost me. All in all a good album by a band that probably leaves beaten down bodies after every performance.

BONES - Diseased review

BONES - Diseased 

Transcending Obscurity Records

There are places in the mainstream metal media where they come out with lists of most anticipated releases of the year. Most of them are bullshit because of advertising dollars. But when I saw that Transcending Obscurity Records was putting out the newest BONES release. I was like yeah this is my most anticipated release choice for 2019 and here is why.

First off I was a huge USURPER fan back in the day. To me they were the US version of CELTIC FROST. But by the late 2000's they died. Then instead of rising from the ashes you had ex-band members rise up on their own. It's like that ending scene from the movie Jason and the Argonauts where the teeth of the hydra help raise the bones as warriors. 

That's what BONES were all about. In 2011 they (Jon Woodring - vocals/bass, Joe Schaeffer - drums and on guitar Chris Svoboda) came out with a debut release that was a death thrash masterpiece. Better yet they followed it up a few years later with Sons of Sleaze. And then the quiet set in which for a fan sucks.

Earlier this year the reformed USURPER released the comeback release Lords of the Permafrost which was pretty good so what will this new BONES release combat it with? Well starting out your new one with a song titled "Blood, Diarrhea and Tears" is a good start if not scary for older folks like myself who are worried about rectal cancer. That's alright since I'm OK.

As far as this new BONES release goes musically this is their most cornucopia type release so far. This trio drag various genres of extreme music through the filth. I mean there's times when BONES actually gets sludgey and doomish. Personally I was shocked but it always ended in a death thrash or even old hardcore style. Jon Woodring's vocals are maniacal in an old hardcore sounding way. There's good sounding albeit familiar riffs. 

On a whole it took me some time to get into this one. Personally I'm always going to like the first two so this comes in at third place. I'd say a few decades ago sound-wise this would've been called crossover. This is definitely a metal and hardcore hybrid style which is a reminder of cool times from many years ago.