Friday, June 29, 2018
HUMAN CULL - Revenant
Who's up for some good old fashioned grindcore? What, too generic for ya? Well you can go take a flying fucking leap then. To me, in my not some humble opinion, there's good and bad grindcore. Good grindcore is like catching up with an old friend. Sure there's some reminiscing but the bottom line is that you feel comfortable being around em. Which is why you became friends in the first place.
Now bad grindcore is when you're old friend introduces you to their new spouse. Sure the new spouse likes some things about your old friend. But it's evident that the new spouse has reshaped your friend a bit to be more appealing and impressive to their new friends. And you wonder if you'll ever know your old friend again.
That's why I have no problem with England's HUMAN CULL. This three piece act has been around since 2011. Since then they've honed their sound throughout the years producing a bevy of short form releases as well as full length, Stillborn Nation, back in 2014. I missed out on that one but on this their second album the band unleashes a relentless assault of old school grind that's uncompromising as hell.
Revenant is eighteen songs in just over eighteen minutes. It has a continuous flow as if it's one long piece of music. Sound-wise it's a full on attack to your senses. Their instruments are weapons that rip you apart and HUMAN CULL give no quarter. The only times this band lets down their guard is to allow a slow death metal groove to slip in. The vocals are deep throat-ed angst and a few guttural rips. All in all one of my favorite grind releases of the year.
BLOODBARK - Bonebranches
Northern Silence Productions
Some people like to look upon atmospheric black metal as they do with art. It's beauty is solely in the eye, in this case more specifically the ear, of the beholder. Ah yeah whatever. If the music is not compelling enough to hold your attention then it's boring. Case in point, here we have the debut release by BLOODBARK an atmospheric black metal act that's virtually a mystery. There's no info on them to be found (so far). According to their label "BLOODBARK is an anonymous project with no country of origin. The decision to remain anonymous stems from a desire to let the art present itself without any distractions."
Personally I don't allow too much personal info on a band to distract me. But I can understand an artist who might have some baggage which could cast undo prejudice upon their music. Be that as it may Bonebranches gives us three long songs in the realm of atmospheric black metal. The basic standards are covered and upheld well. The vocals are in a style that's frostbitten and harsh (there's also some solemn spoken word parts). Musically there's a mix tranquil ambiance and tremolo picked melody which reminds one of cold desolate landscapes.
Sure what's not to like about all of that? Of course there's plenty of layering on with piano as well as string arrangements. There's also some variance in song structuring. But there's too much repetitiveness going on. Too many times a song could've closed but it's dragged on to a degree where it loses it's impact. The epic bombast is completely lost when one feels sleepy. There are times when I just don't get into an artist's concept at first. So I give a release multiple listens and walk away a fan. All this did was make wanna yawn. Mystery solved.
Thursday, June 28, 2018
FORGE - Heimdall
I don't receive as much Viking themed metal as I did years ago. Obviously the fad has died back and only a few of the original long standing bands are still around. But low and behold we have FORGE from Switzerland who take things to the hilt. Now when I think of Switzerland I am not thinking of vikings. Actually I'm thinking of banking. By the way here's a band photo below. That guy on the bottom left looks like the dude who prepared my taxes last year.
Now with that said FORGE are actually damm good at the whole viking metal thing. First off they're not pushing the total melodic death metal sound meets Asgard type of shtick. FORGE have a base firmly planted in traditional folk meets metal and have a symphonic touch that's not overwhelming. Their metal portions are exceptional. To hear a band in this genre at this stage of time do so well at not being cliche is a plus to me.
The violin playing as a full on instrument that takes a song to heights is where I was like, Yeah! So you've got full frontal violin playing meets extremely guttural vocals and a melodic death metal template. But who's doing the keyboards? Also why are the vocals so brutal DM style? Not at all like traditional viking metal by the way. That really failed on my expectation. Look you've got the music pure, the song structure exciting and then you muck it up on the vocals. Oh well, great music with a different vocal style.
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN - And You Will Obey Me
Transcending Obscurity Records
Here we have yet another Rogga Johansson side project. Then again isn't everything he's involved in a side project? OK he's still got PAGANIZER and THE GROTESQUERY. But seriously Rogga has so many oars in the water it's a wonder if he even remembers what he's played before. After so many years of listening to his work I can attest he doesn't.
But serious DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN is a side project Rogga started in 2013 with Dave Ingram of BOLT THROWER fame (amongst other acts he sang for) plus fellow PAGANIZER guitarist Dennis Blomberg. They use a session drummer. This is their third full length together and the second one I've heard. Musically, and I've said this before, Rogga is going for a more straight up death metal version of DISFEAR. Better yet think of this as DIS-PAGANIZER.
Now with all of that said this is still an exceptional release. I mean you've got Dave Ingram belting out incredible vocals while Rogga and Dennis Blomberg totally rip on guitars. From start to finish this is fuckin fantastic. Frankly this is more ENTOMBED meets BOLT THROWER than DISCHARGE. Sure there's a surge of simple hardcore riffage (I'm old and we called it Hardcore before you kids called it crust). In the end I love this.
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
SADISTIK FOREST - Morbid Majesties
Transcending Obscurity Records
As far as metal goes, Finland is well known for producing some of the finest acts in the world when in comes to extreme metal. Right now we're here to talk about death metal. Now when most lay-people think of Scandinavian death metal they think of that other country. But just for the record Finland has spawned some great ones. Sure early AMORPHIS & SENTENCED were good. But for me some true Finnish DM greats are DEMILICH, ABHORRENCE, FUNEBRE and DEMIGOD. I might have another one to add to my list.
SADISTIK FOREST have been around since 2007 and over that time have produced two full lengths and a split. That latter release came out in 2013. Morbid Majesties marks the end of a five year gap. Now as far their style goes they're not copying from their fore-bearers. Sound-wise this leans more towards death thrash. Still with that there's no lack of punishment and torture. The vocals are both traditional Finnish cavernous death growls as well as a different style that's harsh sick shrieks. The guitar solo work is face peeling. The basic riffs are savage for the most part. I think their drummer deserves a lot of credit for being a total pounding beast.
Musically the band adds subtle outside touches as well. They tread into melodic black metal territory a few times which is cool. There's instances were the layering of death metal type atmosphere comes in to bring some depth. But then there's some chugga chugga groove metal invocations which hampers a lot of death thrash. But on a whole it's a damm good release. Makes me wonder about their previous stuff and how far they've come. Anyways their Finnish DM predecessors would be proud.
Monday, June 25, 2018
DE PROFUNDIS - The Blinding Light Of Faith
Transcending Obscurity Records
I don't think I've ever said this before but here's an English death metal act that can push the tech element plus has a melodic touch and still stays ruthless throughout. Oh yeah this is not the DE PROFUNDIS I remember from 2010 with their A Bleak Reflection full length. Back then they were progressive death doom. This my friends is a whole new animal.
For those of you who don't know this English act started out back in the mid 2000's as a death doom act which was not into following the path of their nation's premiere death doom acts. I reviewed their second full length A Bleak Reflection in 2010 and liked it. So when did this overwhelming change come about I don't know. The band has released two more full lengths, an EP as well as a compilation since then.
So now we have this new one and once again DE PROFUNDIS are following their own path instead of their peers. They follow the melodic death metal template then add some tech death edge courtesy of guitarist Paul Nazarkardeh who must be the one nailing those solos. He joined in 2013 and definitely defines himself as a cutter while slicing throughout the melodies. I'd also like to mention how new drummer Tom Atherton (who came aboard in 2014) adds to the excitement. The guy is a fuckin monster.
All in all The Blinding Light Of Faith a brilliant piece of work. The vocals are perfect in that deep dark harsh throat-ed style. The band also adds a touch of blackened fury which is cool. I don't know about their jazz experiments but it's so short one could overlook it. Basically DE PROFUNDIS have created something that is an attention getter. You're not going to be folding laundry or playing video games to this because it demands full attention. This is modern death metal done right.
GRAVEHILL - The Unchaste, the Profane, & the Wicked
Dark Descent Records
I haven't heard anything from California's GRAVEHILL in a while. Yeah like since 2011 when they put out When All Roads Lead To Hell, also on Dark Descent Records. I liked that album a lot but things have changed over the past seven years. First off line-up changes on here as in Corpse switches from bass to vocals. Former guitarist Bodybag Bob Babcock returns but is now on bass. Matt Harvey is gone. Their new guitarists are Hell Messiah (who came on board in 2012) and Eric 'Eldehelm' Elde (became a member in 2015). Thankfully original drummer Thorgrimm is still around.
Now obviously the band has been busy since last I checked em out. They put out the full length Death Curse in 2014 plus a handful of short form releases. All of which I've missed out on, yeah that's gonna leave a mark. As far as this their fourth full length goes, sound wise it sits between NUNSLAUGHTER and NECROPHOBIC. That's a good thing by the way. We're talking about raw death thrash for the most part. But once in a while they'll sneak in some standard punishing Swede-Death style.
GRAVEHILL are veterans in US extreme metal. Therefore even though they're not shooting for the top. They do know how to make a decent release that's enjoyable to the rank and file of metal fans. That's more important than anything else.
Saturday, June 16, 2018
RITUAL NECROMANCY - Disinterred Horror
Dark Descent Records
A few years back, alright it was 2011, this Portland based death metal act released their full length debut Oath of the Abyss. If you missed out on it then well you can be forgiven. 2011 was a very good year for death metal, as was 2009 & 2010. While back then the mainstream metal media was touting hipster crap, OSDM was in a revival that frankly is still in bloom today. Hell back then Dark Descent Records was still looked upon as a small upstart underground label. Nowadays they're the best record label in the US.
Also back in December of 2011 I said of this band's debut release, without going through a line by line description, that it was decent. So here we are seven years later. Since then they've released an EP. But as far as this full length goes it's still decent. Their worship at the alter of AUTOPSY, INCANTAION and PORTAL has not abated. On the contrary it has gotten more intense. Which to me is fuckin cool since the latter name dropped bands haven't done shit over the years.
RITUAL NECROMANCY's Disinterred Horror is the stand in that out performs the main actor who's sick that night but after one performance wins the lead spot. They're still worshiping at the altar of old (who doesn't?) but they've learned by introducing a more doom atmosphere to their songs. Torture only works if it's extended over a longer period of time. Toss in a better song craft which keeps even jaded fuckers like myself glued to every moment you deliver.
The bottom line here is clear, Disinterred Horror is not the ground breaking death metal release of 2018. Thank you so fuckin much because there are times throughout this release I am glued to the extremities as well as foreboding touches this band creates. Hell Fuckin Yeah and attach the electrodes to my nuts, I am ready for more you pretentious fucks! That's my credo while listening to this winner. Seven years is worth the weight for greatness like this.
ET MORIEMUR - Epigrammata
Transcending Obscurity Records
This is not straight up metal per say. It reminds of the time DEEP PURPLE performed with an orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in 69. Too far back for ya? OK how bout when DIMMU BORGIR performed with an orchestra? Wanna vomit? Alright imagine MY DYING BRIDE playing a concert hall with an orchestra and a choir. Whatever the case we're talking about pushing the boundaries here. What I'm getting at is ET MORIEMUR, who hail from Prague, are a death doom act who employ much from classical music. So much so that this recording comes across more like a full on concerto.
The band itself is typical as far as a line-up which consists of the standard metal band quartet: two guitarists, drummer, bass player and a vocalist who also plays piano . On this release they include a number of guest vocalists (the choir/Gregorian chanting and spoken word recitalists). Plus we have a cellist, violinist, trombone player and someone exclusive to acoustic guitar playing. All of this brings to mind that Epigrammata is this band's triumph after being around since 2008 and previously releasing two full lengths.
Epigrammata is honestly an incredible opus of death doom. Rarely will you hear an act that can meld crushing rawness with beauty and elegance. They even squeak in some blackened Goth elements. Maybe they need to perform this live in a cathedral. Only Euro-centric acts can pull this type of material off. Then again they hail from a place that spawned some of the greatest classical music composers of any century. Pulling off iconic death doom of this magnitude just fails in line with their predecessors.
TOWARDS ATLANTIS LIGHTS - Dust of Aeons
Transcending Obscurity Records
Here's a Italian / English four piece act whose tagline status is that of a super-group. The members of this band hail from such doom acts as PANTHEIST, APHONIC THRENODY and VOID OF SILENCE. Three bands I've never heard of and in light of this release I don't really care. What TOWARDS ATLANTIS LIGHTS have created here is truly epic and important to say the least. That's why to me it's more about standing on your own then what you bring to the table.
Yes epic is the correct term to use here especially when a band opens up their release with a 30 minute long cut. This is funeral doom at it's most auspicious and grandiose. I kinda wonder if it was just that song, "The Bunker of Life", which once completed then the band would be like OK we're done. But hey they added three shorter cuts as well.
All in all this release sets a mile marker on what we see as funeral doom. The songs challenge the listener in their craft. Granted it took a while to get into this release. "Babylon's Hanging Gardens" is minimalist at first but after a while you get the idea of atmospheric levelness verses tension. "Alexandria's Library" at a sixteen and a half minute running time seems to be the only true traditional funeral doom cut on here not marked with specific experimentation. "Greeting Mausolus' Tomb", the shorter track brings to mind contemplation as a spoken word eulogy is heard in the background of a sad soundtrack of grief and doom.
Funeral doom is a sub-genre that is solely for cult purists. I admit to not being a huge fan. As I turn around to look at my bookcases full of CDs there's a small section devoted to this area of metal. There's around three dozen dinks stacked on that shelf and those titles are all the classics which I enjoy every once in a while. TOWARDS ATLANTIS LIGHTS has risen from obscurity to become this genre's leader in my not so humble opinion.
Friday, June 15, 2018
ARKHETH - 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew
Transcending Obscurity Records
No sooner was I saying how one sub genre of black metal, ie: symphonic, was making a huge comeback in various countries along comes this. Well what was once old is new again, again. Case in point here is Avant-garde influenced black metal courtesy of Australia's ARKHETH. Now I'm sure there are those out there who will give this a listen and believe it's experimental, mindbogglingly and ground breaking. And you would be wrong. In fact the only ground breaking would be underneath you from the weight of your error.
You think saxophones are new to black metal? Japan's SIGH was using them back in the 1990s. How about some cyber Goth dance aesthetics? Attila Csihar was playing around with that back in 2001 with Italy's ABORYM. Now as far as just plain Avant-garde exploration in black metal then look no further than Norway's ARCTURUS and ULVER. Now don't get me wrong I'm not trying to downplay this release or the one man behind it, Tyraenos (aka:Tyrone Kostitch). I'm just trying to set the stage correctly.
Speaking of which ARKHETH wasn't always a one man BM act. It started out as an actual band back in 2001. They released albums in 2003 and 2010. But in 2016 Tyraenos decided to take full control and now performs all instruments and sings. The saxophone playing is done by a guy named Glen Wholohan. On 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew Tyraenos is definitely pushing black metal in a new direction and that's two steps backwards to circa 1993 - 2003.
Musically this is blackened space rock that hints at PINK FLOYD which has become as trendy as beardo and newly tattooed hipsters. Add to that I think someone hanging out in a Goth basement club would be digging the dance groove being pushed on a cut or two. Need more excitement then there's the haunting and bizarre (as if he's high on some synthetic hallucinogenic drug) sax playing. Most likely he's probably had one too many cans of Fosters. But whatever the case this release is a weird creation.
Be that as it may as I've always made clear I have no problem with BM acts taking on outside musical influences into their cannon. But when it's free jazz meets wannabe 70's prog and psych with added touches of Goth and black metal. Well I'm sure someone in Brooklyn is digging this as well as the metal media that typically hates black metal.
SUDDEN DEATH - Stillborn
Art Gates Records
Brutality and bloodshed to all from Italy? Well from the standpoint of us here in the states it's the more well known FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE. But this five piece act has walked a long hard road to get where they're standing today. SUDDEN DEATH originally started out in the late nineties. Over that time the band has put out three full lengths as well as gone through some line-up changes.
It's because of that last part I decided to check out their 2014 full length Monolith of Sorrow. After which yeah there's some differences so it's obvious that Stillborn is actually a rebirth. It's also very short as in a running time of slightly less than fourteen minutes. Add to that is a piano intro with some bestial grunting. But when the band does actually kick into gear it's in your face brutal but more in line with death-core from years ago.
No one can dispute their sincerity in creating music worthy enough to kick your ass. But are we talking about old school death-core or death metal? I've got a few similar sounding releases by US bands from 2008. So I think we're talking the latter. Which kinda makes sense since there's a clear lack of organic-ness surrounding the recording. Their two new guitarists might be the influence here. Oh well if you're into it.
Sunday, June 10, 2018
PENETRUM - Instrument Of Delusion
Metal Scrap Records
Full disclosure on my part, most of the time when I see a release come in for review tagged as melodic death metal I pass on it. My reasons are simple, I know some will laugh (considering what I do like) but I see melo-deth as very generic. Over twenty years have passed and I still hear bands trying to be the next IN FLAMES, HAUNTED or worse SOILWORK.
So what interested me to check out this release was first and foremost they're Ukrainian. That great nation just happens to always produce cool stuff in my not so humble opinion. Secondly is what I read in their bio that their sound leans towards Finnish melodic death metal. But even with that, one listen to this their debut full length and you won't call em CHILDREN OF BODOM clones.
Along with the usual galloping rhythms, rough throated harsh vocals and melodic song structures there's a homespun folk influence which I like a lot. Toss in some hallowed vocals here and there plus incredible guitar work throughout and you've got a winner. I thought the cover song by a band I do not know was a throwaway track. But the final cut, an instrumental, was absolutely beautiful as well as a powerful ending statement.
If there are negatives then the album cover, which depicts an evil looking composer, throws you off on what to expect musically. This could've been power metal for all the eyes see. Another thing is the production which had me wondering. If say Peter Tagtgren got hold of this band's reigns would they sound generic as hell? Good question but for now this is an intimate play that will take any jaded melodic death metal person to the side and say wow.
Saturday, June 9, 2018
ARKVEID - Arkveid
Metal Scrap Records
And now for something completely different as well as out of season. Right now where I live it's the beginning of summer. It was in the high 80s today. So when I listen to this debut full length by Russian one man folk doom act ARKVEID it feels weird. I feel like it should be cold and miserable outside. It's all about the mood people.
I can't say I listen to a lot of music that falls under the genre of dark folk nor am I a huge fan of bands/artists who mix in a lot of folk into their metal. A little is fine by me. So this is a very new experience for me. This self titled debut is one long song titled "I" and lasts just short of forty minutes. For the first ten it's pretty much the artist singing while strumming an acoustic guitar folk melody. Next keyboards are added to give it some Gothic doom elegance.
After a minute and a half of that the electric guitars and drums kick in. Finally we have some atmospheric blackened music to excite a listener. The entrance of layered back growls, tempered tremolo riffs and melodic soloing doesn't last that long. The song reverts back into it's opening somber refrain. For interested party's I won't give away the store.
This is definitely an ambitious piece of work and I'd consider it perfect for late late late night listening. But overall it's not my cup of tea. To me it's too much folk, not enough metal and that dooms it. I was kind of hoping it to be multi faceted as far as it's soundscape. But if you are into the whole dark folk genre then this one will rip your heart out.
JUDGEMENT - Self Titled EP
Metal Scrap Records
METALLICA is coming to town later this summer. I'm not going but if I was and had a chance to ask James Hetfield a question it would be like this. "James, you use to play thrash a long time ago, so what do you think about bands from all over the world playing thrash as if it was still 1984?" Chances are he'd call security to haul my belligerent ass away.
Now with that said it's a fact that in other parts of the world thrash is still a vibrant force. Case in point here we have the debut release by Serbia's JUDGEMENT. Even though it's just a five song release it packs a lot of punch and contains more excitement then some full lengths I've heard this year. They're not a traditional thrash act. In fact they mix in plenty of classic true metal overtones which I love. Their song "Metal Warriors" sounds like it should've came out in 1982 instead of 2018.
JUDGEMENT are a five piece act, (two guitarists, bass player, drummer and a singer who can wail as well as push real guy vocals.) Their songs are up with the times, for example "Slaves of Technology". The band also delves into more philosophical lyrical territory. Add to that they also know how to layer in some modern progressive elements, fine melodic soloing along with galloping riffs. I believe they like IRON MAIDEN as well as some Euro power metal acts. A very good start.
VHS - The New Batch
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
Ya know in the 70's I grew up listening to a great three piece act from Canada. Bought all their albums and eventually saw em in concert three times. That band if you haven't figured it out yet was RUSH. Now VHS are also a three piece act who hail from Canada but are not like RUSH at all. In fact VHS sound like a punk version of IMPETIGO.
Not so strange is that Stevo from IMPETIGO adds some guest vocals on here. Actually there's a couple of guest vocalists on here as well like Dave Ingram of BENEDICTION/BOLT THROWER and HAIL OF BULLETS fame. OK that's impressive but they've also got Maniac Neil from the band BLOOD FREAK and Bob Shaw of EXISTENTIAL DISSIPATION. One would wonder how they can play live when they're missing all of these guests?
The first time I played this, it's only thirty minutes long, I stepped out back on the deck to have a smoke and think. I heard someone's kids screaming off in the distance. I'm sorry was I playing this too loud? So VHS make babies cry and hipsters puke (that latter idea is an educated guess.) Basically the band play gore obsessed punk/grind with some death metal influence.
Basically it's fourteen tracks sandwiched between a vocal intro and outro by someone imitating the Cryptkeeper from Tales from the Crypt. I never liked the TV show. The old comics were much better. But anyway comical relief runs wild on this gore-lite full length release which is their second since starting out in 2015. Here's a fun band to blast during a keg party, baptism or grandma's 90th birthday celebration which will be her last. But hey the song "Wrestlemassacre" rules.
BUTCHER ABC - North Of Hell
I learned about this Japanese band over a decade ago when they did a split with GENERAL SURGERY. Full disclosure, I'm a huge fan of GENERAL SURGERY despite what the hipsters in the metal media say about em. To me they were not a CARCASS clone. On the contrary they filled the gap after CARCASS went to shit. Hearing the the five cuts by BUTCHER ABC, one of which was a CARNAGE cover, was the cherry on the cake.
Fast forward to last year when NEKROFILTH put out a split with this band and hey I must admit BUTCHER ABC - North Of Hell won that battle royal. Which brings us to this full length, their first in a twenty four year career. Welcome to utter filth as far as death metal goes. BUTCHER ABC are the modern equivalent of late 80's Swede death with some groove as well as volcanic vocals.
There are times when BUTCHER ABC covers you in filthy distorted riffs. Their best times by far. Then just for more fun it's pile-driving drum work just to keep you a breast to pain. Yeah this band is covered, at their own decision, in death metal rust. We're talking old school DM with a hint of grindcore from their old school days. Are you fuckin worthy?
RADIEN - Syvyys
Black Bow Records
Ya know I've reviewed so much sludge metal releases this year that I'm wondering if I should change the name of the blog to SCUMFEAST SLUDGE 666. That's a joke by the way, fuck you I ain't changing the damm name. But seriously a lot of sludge metal releases have come my way in 2018.
RADIEN's full length debut was tagged as sludge metal. I've been listening to this four song release every night for a week (it's night time music) and there's so much more going on here then just sludge metal. RADIEN hails from Helsinki, Finland. Even as the first cut played I couldn't help but think this is a nation that has given so much artistry to metal music. Whether it's beauty you're looking for or brutality and of course contemplation of sadness it's been Finnish musicians who have created a cannon of greatness. But mere sludge metal?
Syvyys thankfully is not mere at all. Listening to this is like being dropped onto a blackened doom nightmarish landscape. Yes it crawls along at times in a grim and harsh manner. Between torturous screamed vocals as well as spoken word bites the music creates this atmosphere of bleak desolation mixed in with claustrophobic fear. I loved how on "Hetki" in it's opening course the band borrows from SABBATH's self titled cut. Instead of being horrific it's more like you're being dragged up to a monolithic god of doom to decide your fate.
Mere sludge metal, not at all. RADIEN's debut is pure agony as if you're awaiting an execution but must endure torture from within your imagination. This release came to my attention from a message on my SFM666 Facebook page. Strange since I usually get stuff sent in from a PR person who regularly sends me stuff from Black Bow Records.
TOXIKULL - The Nightraiser
When I started listening to this release I began thinking of that famous Yogi Berra quote, "It's like deja vu all over again." I've heard this all before. Seriously I wish I could just say "For Fans Of" and drop a few band names. In this case here it would be METAL CHURCH, EXCITER and maybe ARMOERED SAINT. You get the idea.
TOXIKULL, who hail from Portugal, love the 80's. Specifically the time when thrash was first starting out but you still had bands hooked on the whole PRIEST / MAIDEN template. This band is all of that. Nightraiser is the second release by TOXIKULL, who had a full length in 2016 titled Black Sheep. Just for shits and giggles I checked out that full length and I can say that this one is way better.
TOXIKULL is a side project of MIDNIGHT PRIEST frontman Lex Thunder who is the vocalist and plays guitar. The man has an amazing voice as far as heavy metal vocals and screaming goes. The rest of the band consists of his brother Michael Blade on guitar, Antim “The Viking” on bass and backing vocals and The Lorke on drums.
All in all TOXIKULL's six song EP, five originals and a cover of "Rocker" (a HOLLYWOOD ROSE tune which was Axel Rose's pre-GUNS & ROSES act), is damm good in a retro perspective. They are keeping it TRUE.
Sunday, June 3, 2018
BLACK HELL OIL - Choke on This
When I review stuff it's from things that come to me via email. Every once in a while some band or artist will contact me through the SFM666 Facebook page. Why, I'll never know? So I got a message from the drummer of this band asking if I've checked them out. Some confusion on my part ensued but the end result was basically he wanted me to review his band's full length release.
Continuing on I find out they're a sludge metal band from Canada moreover Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Hey if you come from a place called Saskatoon ya gotta be cool. Next, the guy mentioned that they played the 420 Fest in Calgary. Now I deal with a PR guy from Canada and I swear that I saw him mention that festival in an email once. So with all of that my interest was peaked and I pushed this release to the forefront to check out. I'm damm glad I did.
BLACK HELL OIL are not your typical sludge du jour. I know these days that explanation has become somewhat of a cliche. But in this band's case it fits. There's a cut on here, "Should Have Known", which reminds me of the 1990s punk fuckin rock & roll sound of The DIDJITS. There's a couple of other cuts on here that just scream BUDGIE. Yeah the irony of me comparing this band, a three piece, to old school three piece acts did not escape me.
Of course the obvious genre staples are in place to a degree. The Sabbathian touches of "Searching" or the basic riff to "I Don't Know". Although that latter cut adds some American Southern swagger. "Give It All Away" sounds like something Dickie Peterson of BLUE CHEER could've penned. Obviously BLACK HELL OIL are inspired by past greats and willing to turn it into cool new sounds.
A month ago a friend, after reading a few new reviews I posted, said my writing looks as if I'm getting old, tired and burned out again. I told em, no I'm am tired of hearing the same old thing over and over again. Way too many bands these days are playing it safe for their record companies and not for their own excitement. So hearing this is actually a lot of fun and comforting. It's kinda like meeting the children of old friends who passed on and now they're continuing in their parent's footsteps albeit in their own distinct way. And you know what? That's fuckin cool.