I love finding metal records with a very unsettling atmosphere, something that’s dark and creepy to the point where it’s overbearing. One of the greatest examples of this in my opinion is Dragged Into Sunlight’s 2011 record “Hatred For Mankind.” A new entry to this fantastic set of records is the new Death. Void. Terror album titled To The Great Monolith II.
This is an interesting album. It’s somewhere between progressive death metal with a raw mix and elements of hardcore or mathcore, particularly on the vocal side of things. It’s hard to pin this one down to an exact essence, it very much does its own thing without necessarily considering where in the world of metal or even alternative music they would belong. I can only respect them for that in an era of redundant worship releases.
Alright, what is in the bloody water over at Perth? The amount of bands coming out of there at the top of their game is intense. It’s unlike anywhere else on the continent, and they’re even on my favorite label, Transcending Obscurity. This label has good taste, every album that gets released there has some kind of quirk or progressive music ideology that separates the bands from their genre. This isn’t just another black metal album, it’s an experience equally capable of being a mosher and a thinker. It unravels unto your mind and stirs something in your soul. Acts of Repentance releases on the 20th of March and will be one of this year’s highlights just based on the sound and presentation combination happening here. It’s a high quality and well-rounded album.
This is one of those times where I got a tape just because of how awesome the cover looked. This is some fun straight out of the 80s and carries both the sound and mentality of the era with it. We’re talking heavy metal guitars and clean vocals about sex and BDSM. It’s dated but highly listenable.
I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, the Aussie underground has some of the best sludge bands in the world. We add sludge to everything, like it’s fucking tomato sauce, because it’s the best genre ever. Whether it’s black metal, death metal or doom metal you bet we’ll sludge it up and make it sound as strange as possible.
The first thing which is worth mentioning in this album is its artistic cover. I am totally in favor of bands actually taking artwork into serious consideration and GSF is a band worthy of praise for their meticulous choice of album covers which are of esthetic value. This piece is a dark and sort of fantastical image of a land of doom. The shadowy and blurry atmosphere in which some human silhouettes and an obelisk are barely visible on top of some coastal rocks has created a nightmarish sight. It is indeed a glimpse into a cold dead land. Thumbs up to the artist Travis Smith, who has previously worked with giants like Death, Katatonia, Amorphis, Iced Earth, Anathema and Opeth, for creating yet another superb work of art.
Deathcore is a very hit or miss genre, but when it hits, it hits hard. Some of my all time favorite metal records are of the deathcore genre. Chugcore is a pretty prominent underground core label that’s put out releases for some of the biggest modern names in the genre, like Shadow Of Intent, Vulvodynia, Within Destruction, and Acrania. I’ve decided to keep a closer eye on the label this year so I can get my core fill, and I’ve already found a gem!
Filthy, just filthy. These two bands need to wash their mouths out with soap or something. This is stupidly heavily in a really despondent and grimy way. This one is going to be an easy favorite with it’s well designed artwork and two extremely dark bands putting down three tracks of consistently suffocating death doom. Real fucking death doom, like the old school swedish stuff that started everything you love about the genre. Forget the melody, forget the melancholy, this is death and this is fucking doom. This one will be released by Everlasting Spew Records on the 7th of February on CD and as well a upcoming vinyl release.
Hey guys, I’m back from my short break from Noob Heavy, and I’m coming back with a bang, and by a bang, I of course mean the new Krosis record! Krosis is a technical deathcore band that formed in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2014. On February 7th they are releasing their brand new record A Memoir Of Free Will on Unique Leader Records. As someone who had the privilege of hearing the record early, trust me when I say this isn’t one you’re going to want to miss.
Somewhere between Idle Hands and Julie Christmas is Ainsoph, an incredible new Dutch band that brings together a series of influences from black metal to post punk and every post metal ideal between the two. It’s all tied together with a distant yet clear kind of mixing that both allows for multiple styles to shine and still sound like one cohesive crushing sound. At the forefront of this is are feminine vocals that sound like someone who isn’t even there anymore, a ghost… “She is the void” to quote the second track “Malkuth”. This is one of those albums that is so in it’s own element that it’s hard to pin it down as metal, it’s more metal adjacent as it allows outside influences to strongly dictate the direction of the sound. Something I’m always happy to hear.
This is my first encounter with King and it was a hell of a great experience. This band does black metal in one of my favourite ways and the album they’ve put out here is of great quality from front to back. As far as I can find, this album is their second full length and it certainly marks a promising future for the band.
A wonderful black metal album that has both more harsh noise and more melody than I was expecting, this is not a middling release – it has a pointed sentiment and strong structure. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times, guitar solos and sweet licks make black metal worth listening to. Even the tremolo picking here isn’t stale. The Arrows Of Our Ways is a very unique album and I’m not exactly sure what makes it so – perhaps the combination of mixing, vocals, concept and low af bass all make for the right cocktail. Izthmi have crafted an immersive and rewarding experience that releases via Within The Mind Records Feb 14th, 2020.
There are few things in my maladroit passage through life as recognizable, or dare I say addictive, as that sweet swedeath guitar tone. Muffled and thick, the pure encapsulation and distillation of sonic headbangable heft. 2019 certainly offered an abundance of riffs that fit said bill–however, it’s a sound that, when executed with a modicum of technical prowess, seldom gets old. When Skullcrush came out of the December gate a tad unnoticed with Archaic Towers Of Annihilation, a worthy album unfortunately birthed in the months o’ lists, they certainly delivered in the prowess department. In short? Throw on your gym outfit of choice and lace up them sneakers (or joggers, as may apply.) It’s time to get sweaty.
I always enjoy a good split. There’s so much you can do with them, whether it’s two completely different bands, a consistent theme or some esoteric experiment. My expectations take a back seat with these kinds of releases and the ride I’ve received on this Body Void/Keeper split is something else. The surprise is the best you can hope for with a split. If you loved the earlier work of either of these bands then the vinyl and tape releases are a no brainer, you don’t even need a preview. It’s raw and sincere sonic mayhem.
This is just the month of Italy for Noob Heavy, this is like the 4th Italian metal band I’ve covered in the last month and the quality has been superb each time across many genres. This time around I’m covering one of Italy’s veteran bands, Cruentus, who have been making music with various lineups since 1989, which is a year longer than I’ve been alive. Their new album Fake, is their first LP since In Myself in 1996 so a lot of people are excited for this long awaited return. Well, I’m happy to say this is the first thrash album I’ve enjoyed in a long time.
Ironflame is one of those projects where it’s very difficult to tell that this is a solo studio project with a live band due to how insanely well rounded it is. I’ve always had a sort of glee in covering solo projects and have a tendency to romanticise the idea of the lone creator but it is not undeserved when talking about the legendary Andrew D’Cagna of Icarus Witch. As with many lone creatives one project just isn’t enough, he’s in loads of projects not just as a musician but also as a sound engineer.
Postvorta are a highly creative post metal band from Italy. I’ve been getting a lot of good promos from this region lately, typically in the wheelhouse of post and doom. Porrima on February 20th, 2020 via Sludgelord Records and I can safely recommend this to anyone with a love for long form metal with a patient sense of storytelling. Porrima unfolds over a series of developments that will keep you enraptured and ready for a second listen.
Epic and thoughtful doom metal from Rome, Italy. This is Doomraiser’s 5th LP in their career which is approaching the end of its second decade and it’s very much the level of quality you’d expect from such an experienced band. The Dark Side of Old Europa will have a wide release on January 24th 2020 and there will be an accompanying live performance of the entire album at Orion Club on the 17th (For the Rome locals).
Wormhole are a four piece technical death/Slam band coming out of Baltimore. Formed in 2015 the band have released one full length album with the second to be released early next year. At the heart of the band is the familial craftsmanship of the Kumar brothers, who along with the remaining members consist of live performers from bands such as Vulvodynia, Cognitive and Vale Of Pnath just to name a few. You can judge the full experience for yourself on the 14th of January via Lacerated Enemy Records.
Snorlax, besides the bubbly pokemon, is a not so bubbly blackened death solo project created by Brandon Auld, who is an Australian metal machine from my neck of the shit-woods Brisbane. He’s involved in numerous projects such as the death/hardcore band Descent and recording/Mixing as Black Blood Audio. Brandon also joined Siberian Hell Sounds and started Consumed in 2018, then started up Necroseptic and did a split as Snorlax in 2019. How do you know when you’re done? There’s a methodical nature to the creative process that ferments over years and almost always starts with a demo, from barebones to the whole damn skeleton, you can see the vision building. This is especially true with his solo project Snorlax which will confront you as harshly as any full band would dare.
I’m in love with this underground russian music scene of post black metal and hardcore hybrids such as the recently release Toluca album. Be it blackened screamo or post black metalcore, it seems the combination is hyper-viable and will become increasingly prevalent globally in no time. Your dad won’t be able to appreciate this one, It feels special like that. Something about being so fucking grim and melodic but at the same time lending itself to actual dancing and moshing. It’s an experience of energy and geography. L’Homme Absurde (The Absurd Man) originally started as solo project and became a band. This is their third LP titled Belong, it releases independently on January 17th.
Nephilim Grove marks the American death doom giants, Novembers Doom’s 30th anniversary. Indeed, an infrequent feat (at least these days) to celebrate. Thirty years of firm, ferocious and fanciful activity, breaking necks as well as breaking hearts. Having been released on November 1st, the album insinuates, all so subtly, the symbolic capacity that it possesses: the quintessence of the band’s career or their next step on their path… or maybe simultaneously both?
Here’s the perfect storm of pre-release bait for me – it’s an Australian tech death release featuring the artwork of Mariousz Lewandowski (I know how we all feel but this one’s really good). Xenobitoic are a tech deathcore band from Australia’s new metal mecca, Perth. Take a look at my Top 25 Australian Metal Releases article and drink every time I wrote Perth, then just drink recreationally. Mordrake releases on the 21st of February and features a couple of guests vocals that really make their tracks for me. Expect more of a scifi prog approach than a bunch of breakdowns – we’re telling a story here with an album of a higher brow.
Well risen from their grave and way past their mid-and-late-2000’s nadir, the Italian power folk metal sextet is back with what seems to be the first in a series of several concept albums to come. Reader of the Runes – Divination is intended to follow its two preceding albums, Pagan Manifesto (2014) and Secrets of the Magick Grimoire (2017) which were able to redeem the band’s tarnished reputation; but is it the next step on the road to grandeur or is it just an album to announce they are still there and working?
There isn’t much information as to the identity or location of Bull Elephant, as they choose to stay anonymous. Their debut record is a concept album, and despite having listened to this record several times I still couldn’t tell you what’s going on in my own words, but their Facebook bio sums it up pretty well, “Bull Elephant is the story of a slain African elephant that occultist Ahnenerbe SS attempted to bring back from the dead as a new form of battle asset. However, before re-animation could be completed it was intercepted by a mysterious witch-shaman, pursuing her own agenda and redirecting the undead creature’s purpose.”