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.”
A solid name combining the ideas of violent holy crusades and pure human sadism, Crusadist are a Chicago based death metal band with a helping of thrash influence. Their debut LP The Unholy Grail is generally a modern style of death metal but with the old school thrash metal hooks. It’s here that people may divide, depending on how they feel about thrash metal in general, personally I find it to be a stagnant genre that brings a lot of repetition to this album. Others may say it brings more groove to the album. In reality, it’s likely to be somewhere in between with the solid mixing and recording evening it all out. It’s an interesting album either way and a hearty independent release, check out the new lyric video for the track “For Blood And Conquest” below. The Unholy Grail drops on black friday 2019 (29th November).
This year has been incredible and if you’ve been reading for a bit now then you’ve seen me become increasingly excited about metal over the course of 2019. I was starting to think it may slump then I started getting some really good submissions from very talented bands putting out music towards the end of the year. Death Metal, black metal and hardcore have been insane this year and so has sludge but until today I didn’t realise I was missing something that I fondly remember having last year – A solid and true to form post hardcore album in the visage of bands like Boss-De-Nage or Birds In Row. Toluca offers an experience equally eloquent and abrasive from the lands of Russia with their new album Soras. Out November 29th via Tokyo Jupiter Records.
Endless is straight up ‘the shit’, that’s the most important fact of this review. It’s an album that has made me swoon like few others this year and it’s not exactly that metal or heavy. It is however, perfectly suited to the current climate of stoner rock and doom, bringing something quite zesty and refreshing, a fusion of fuzz, alt rock and doom rock. I’m hearing influences from Type O Negative and My Bloody Valentine, it’s super inspired and engorged with energy despite the doomy tempo. They nailed it musically and in terms of doom aesthetic – something Australia has been refining for some time now.
Is it metal? Is it hardcore? Well the album art sure as shit is metal, the music on the other hand is a purer form of hardcore than anything I’ve heard in a while. It’s not depressive or frenetic or “post” in anyway, it’s just straight up fucking hardcore. Get in that pit.
Rings Of Saturn have been around for a bit perfecting their insane brand of techno death metal, and with this latest album they prove they can soar alongside current titans Infant Annihilator and Cattle Decapitation. 2019 keeps upping the vocal game and setting an insane standard that most just can’t compete with. Add an overgrown child prodigy of a guitarist and you’ve got the essence of RoS, it’s excessive… and fancy. Utilizing brutality with finesse rather than toxic bravado. I’ve heard so many albums try to reach this peak but fall short, so it’s not without pause that I consider this one of the greatest tech death works of like… the decade? Imagine if Dragonforce was good.
So I got a message from this band, Agabas, a few days ago asking me to check out their self titled EP. It’s a super cool little thing. They call themselves a death jazz band and I can’t say that’s something I’ve ever listened to before. This kind of music certainly isn’t my area of expertise but I do know fun music when
I had an epiphany during the opening track, “Archaic Vision Of Despair”, that death doom is supposed to be a combination of death metal into doom metal but in reality it’s mostly death growls over doom instrumentals. Well in this case the instrumentation brings a strong sense of death riffery but with a sludgy twist. It feels old school, it reminds me of some solid shit out of the late 90s and early 00s of death doomdom. Like all good music, this sounds like descending into the mouth of madness. Well, madness is a mixed bag.
The latter half of the 2010s has brought a savage strain of hardcore to the masses. It’s metalcore tinged hardcore filled with savage breakdowns, fight riffs, and 2-steps galore. It’s been a very nice evolution to the genre, and popularity is at an all-time high with bands like Knocked Loose raking in huge first week sales and Billboard numbers. A front runner in the genre has been the mighty Kublai Khan, or Kublai Khan TX now (they haven’t spoken out about the inclusion of the TX to my knowledge, but I can assume it’s because of legal troubles with an old speed metal band by the same name). I was super pumped for this album. I’ve seen the band live, met their lead singer, own some of their merch, and jam their stuff on the regular. They did not disappoint my sky-high expectations!