Microdose: Venom Prison, Necropanther, Descent & Harbinger Of Storms

Written by Carcassbomb

Four good albums, four short reviews. This week there’s almost a theme with double death/hardcore. Throw in some blackened thrash and epic synth doom and you’ve got a good time. If you dig all four of these then hit me up for a sweet high five, because you’re a cool person. Also I do this every week but I keep having to check the previous one to remember how to format it. Mobile users, tilt that phone! Seriously, or it will appear jumbled… next week I’ll probably put all the images on the one side… lol.

My favorite tracks are “Sadistic Rituals” which has epic dual vocals with a bit of melody in the instruments and “Naraka” which is similar in it’s vocal approach but just way more loose and stink-face-inducingly low at times. This album is huge and wonderful in every way.

Venom Prison – Samsara (2019)

I wish I had listened to this album last year, it no doubt would have made me end of year list with the quality artwork from none other than Eliran Kantor and absolutely crushing death metal sound. Venom Prison got snubbed pretty bad around list season on my side of metal twitter and IG, I’m not sure why that was but everyone should check this shit out. The vocalist is seriously talented and works in a pitch of their own – it doesn’t sound like the run of the mill death vocals. There’s a lot of energy and they basically roam throughout this album with mastery of their voice and awareness of the composition. The guitars are really expressive as well with plenty of finger tapping, whamming, pinch harmonics and just a general variance of riffs that sustains my attention. There’s an element of hardcore that isn’t overbearing but contributes a lot to the stomp factor of this album. It’s very punchy.

Necropanther – The Doomed City (2019)

A creative and fun blackened thrash metal band that looks to be a rising star in the scene. They have a similar tone of playfulness of Dethklok and some further similarities in much of the guitar playing with soaring licks that always have an epic feel. The black metal aspect is primarily on the vocals which are are twisted gurgles and screams telling of dark thoughts and things. The guitars and bass manage to keep a middle ground between old school blackened speed and thrash metal that always feels appropriate, it’s pretty bloody awesome. The album has a classic structure of over a dozen tracks that are all self contained but also short, they kick your ass and keep running until the final track. The album gets even better towards the end with “Deep Sleep”, a heavy metal/melodic black metal crossover ballad that works really well and ending with the track “Argos” that brings the energy back up with some of the best vocal performances yet.

A super solid album capped off with great artwork by Max Sherman. I may be turned around on thrash metal yet, there’s been some highly creative albums in the genre lately.

The artwork on this one is a piece befitting of the Australian underground aesthetic and was done by Dan “Sawblade” Shaw. Overall It’s a cocktail of interesting and intensity that will pass by before you know it, you’ll want to hit that replay. It’s resplendent fucking darkness.

Descent – Towers of Grandiosity (2018)

These guys are a local Brisbane band that have an absurdly heavy death/grindcore sound. Like really heavy. They’re opening for Cattle Decapitation and Revocation on the 13th of Feb and I can’t think of a more appropriate band for that show, it’s going to be a loud start. On this record there is a base structure of death metal riffs and growls that often give way to hardcore breakdowns and grindcore gutturals, there’s some strong peaks on this album that utilises the genre diversity perfectly. The bass is killer on this one, it often stands out in the chaos as a prominent accent throughout the tracks. The vocals are super deep and never deviate from death/grind styles, no cleans and no bullshit, just a consistent fit of screaming mania. On guitars and recording duties is Brendan Auld (Snorlax, Siberian Hell Sounds) who I recently interviewed here, a very capable guitarist who is no stranger to grindcore.

Harbinger Of Storms – Jupiter (2019)

I really dig this, it’s a combination of epic doom and synth. Not symphonics or dungeon synth, I mean legit synth that imbues the songs with a flight of fancy, and even hype. Once those bad boys fully kick in the whole rhythm changes into some gothic dance doom madness. This sound lies somewhere between Sisters Of Mercy and Candlemass, with a healthy dose of Christian Death. If that doesn’t sound awesome to you then you’re probably not in your late twenties or early 30s… or beyond. It’s a real treat that could have easily been another average doom album but instead had enough vision to be something much more. This is the solo project of Shane Selmer from Scotland and this release is inspired by mythology, melodrama, tragedy, romantic themes, and Shane’s own life experiences. The classic style artwork certainly encapsulates a lot of those themes. I also saw that there are drum samples from Judd Madden, an Australian doom composer who I interviewed last year here.

This is a unique EP that is very easy to listen to. The vocals are nice and draw from the operatic Virgin Black influence, who are a real gem in the Australian gothic doom scene.

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