2021

Album Review: Wreche – “All My Dreams Came True” 8/10 (Black Metal)

When someday I teach a college course on heavy metal, one of the things I’ll cover on the first day of class is the basic instrumentation of the style: guitar(s), bass, vocals, drums. Some bands drop vocals from the standard lineup (Animals as Leaders, Behold the Arctopus), some drop the bass (Eremit, formerly Pig Destroyer), and some will even drop the guitar (Bell Witch, Necromantia). Autarkh even blew minds earlier this year by using DJ-style beats instead of a drumkit.  […]

Kep Reviews

The Z-List: Philosopher, Kosmodemonic, PlagueLord & Gravecarver

Welcome for another entry in your new favorite series that celebrates the unsigned, underexposed underground of extreme metal. Celebrated below are four badass bands whose music is released independently, without the assistance of a label. These are the kind of groups that keep the scene we love alive, who give all of their blood, sweat, and tears to create phenomenal works that deserve more recognition than they’ve yet gotten. It’s my hope today to bring some of you readers your newest obsession, that album that you can’t help but want to share with your friends—an album that you might not have discovered without an introduction. Bring your appetite for riffs that wallop, and let’s get into it.  […]

2021

Album Review: Disembodiment – “Mutated Chaos” 8/10 (Death Metal)

Time to leave the beautiful but unforgiving open waves of the blue ocean and go someplace a bit…uglier. Like, waaaaaay uglier. A place that’s as grimy and full of muck and shit as any putrid swamp or sewer. Disembodiment is here to bring their debut EP Mutated Chaos to the eyes and ears of the world, and it’s not a pretty sight. It’s damn good, though. […]

2021

Album Review: Becerus – “Homo Homini Brutus” 7/10 (Death Metal)

Quick, without thinking too deeply about it, what’s the complaint you most often hear from non-fans about extreme metal? For me, it’s this smartass gem, undoubtedly delivered in the most strident of whines: “You can’t even tell what they’re saying.” I’m pretty sure that the gentlemen of Becerus have heard that before, too, because this project exists pretty much to serve as the world’s most entertaining middle finger to that insufferable objection. […]

2021

Album Review: Stone Healer – “Conquistador” 10/10 (Metal Fusion)

Let’s talk about labeling and subgenres, shall we? I love the process of listening and assigning labels to bands, and lots of metalheads are like me in that regard. Pretty much every group we hear can be classified into a category (or two or three) through some careful listening and attention to detail. The sheer breadth of stylistic diversity in metal is probably my favorite aspect of it, and digging deep into the little elements of new outfits is one of my usual pastimes. That being said, it’s rare, but sometimes a band comes along and stumps my ability to classify them. Stone Healer is one of those bands. […]

2021

Album Review: Plasmodium – “Towers Of Silence” 4.5/10 (Black/Death)

You ever drop a ton of acid and then spend three-quarters of an hour in a carnival funhouse? I mean, I’ve never done that, but it sure sounds like it would be a bewildering, terrifying experience, and one that would stick with you. Approach Towers of Silence, the new offering from Australian black/death purveyors Plasmodium, the same way you would that hypothetical drug-induced, hallucinatory horror trip: with a healthy dose of caution, but with expectations of something unique. […]

2021

Album Review: Malformity – “Monumental Ruin” 9/10 (Death Metal)

Malformity has had about as uncommon a journey to their debut full-length Monumental Ruin as any band ever. 2021 marks a full THIRTY YEARS since bassist Eric Snodgrass and guitarist Dan Ratanasit first got together and formed the group in 1991, and 26 since they added a drummer and second guitarist and released their first demo, Black Holes to Heaven, in 1995. After those two demos, they split up entirely for nearly TWENTY MORE YEARS before re-forming with new members Craig Vogel and Glenn Sykes on drums and guitar in 2014. Now, after two well-received EPs (Lectures on the Apocalypse and The Rapturous Unraveling) in ’15 and ’18, Malformity is finally, finally ready to drop their first full album into the world. […]

2021

Album Review: Unflesh – “Inhumation” 7/10 (Death Metal)

A while back, in his review for the new Orecus album, John Angel asked “How do you like your death metal?” It’s a good question, and so, with a tip of the hat to John, today I’d like to ask you the same. What is your death metal flavor of choice? Do you like it technical, precise as hell and complex? Maybe you prefer it on the melodic side, with soaring guitar lines and a touch of power metal flair. Or do you want it blackened, icy with just the right amount of evil filth? […]

2021

Album Review: Violblast – “Lazarus Abandoned” 8/10 (Thrash Metal)

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t *dislike* thrash. I just don’t, like, like it. It’s never done much for me. Maybe that’s because I got into metal later than lots of metalheads; by the time I was diving in, instead of being introduced by bands like Metallica and Anthrax and Testament, I was checking out Meshuggah and Fear Factory and Arch Enemy. My gateways were bands with thrash influences, sure, but definitely not thrash bands.  […]