Nephren-Ka – The Fall of Omnius (Review)

Nephren-KaThere seems to be an upswell of talent in the extreme metal world in France of late. Nephren-Ka are one such band.

Easily boasting enough talent, ideas and skill to propel them to the upper echelons of the Death Metal world; given the chance this band could, (and should), go far.

Although this is, in essence, brutal Death Metal; there is so much more going on here. Elements of most styles of extreme metal are included in the mix at some point or another, (all within a Death Metal framework), with plenty of small touches, flourishes and individuality to make this release stand out head and shoulders above the pack.

The band know how to blast, but crucially also when not to. “Mastering the Voice” for example contains some lovely slow, crawling bits that rival the best similar parts that Cryptopsy have ever done. Some nice solos are scattered around, as well as enough atmosphere to give the album enough variety and interest but never allows it to go off-track and become something it shouldn’t.

The songwriting is top-notch, with plenty of dynamics and riffs to hold the attention and differentiate the individual songs from each other. The vocals also show a pleasing amount of variety, spanning the spectrum from deep to high, as necessary for the requirements of the song.

This is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best Death Metal albums I have listened to in a while, and I unreservedly recommend it for any and all fans of extreme metal. Top stuff.

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Exhumer – Degraded by Sepsis (Review)

ExhumerItalian band Exhumer play brutal Deathgrind, and they play it well. It’s not a very long album, but with this style of music that’s a given. It’s not necessary either; too long and it could outstay its welcome. As it is the running time is just right for the dose of brutality that is dished out here. And brutal it is.

After a perfunctory intro; first track proper “Vapours of Cadaveric Mucilage” sets the scene perfectly. Straight out of the gate they lay their cards on the table and go for the kill. The song blasts out of the gates like a rabid attack dog that knows exactly where all of your weak points lie.

A tendency sometimes for bands such as this can be to go for the ultra-ridiculous pig-noise vocals. Thankfully that isn’t the case here. The vocalist acquits himself nicely, having a nice and satisfying deep growl which is used to great effect across the album. The overall sound is not a cold and clinical one as you may expect either; rather it is warm and pulsing – like you can feel the blood coursing!

It’s not all blast though. They do throw in the odd brief respite from the carnage as well, in the form of “Misery” and “Scent of Decomposition”, and then we’re back to the mayhem once more!

For a short album with short songs the tracks are remarkably well composed. As well as the blasting carnage there are also slower paced parts occasionally, as well as some nice meaty riffs to get sucked in by.

All in all a superior deathgrind release for sure – a lot of bands could learn from Exhumer.

https://www.facebook.com/exhumer.official

http://www.last.fm/music/Exhumer

Bongripper – Live at Roadburn 2012 (Review)

BongripperMy first concern with any live album is the sound quality. Thankfully there are no concerns here as the sound is, frankly, brilliant. Everything is clear, warm and the album has a big sound. And when I say big, I mean massive, as Bongripper play all-massive, all the time.

This is a recording of their 2012 Roadburn Festival appearance where they actually played two sets – both of which are included here. If you have never encountered Bongripper before then you are in for a treat. Here they are in all of their visceral glory.

They play absolutely huge doom, with giant fat riffs crawling and shattering around all over the place. There are no vocals to interrupt the flow of these hymns to all things doom; rather the music itself takes you on a trip through waves of sound and crashes all over you leaving you shocked and stunned by what just happened.

At over two hours in length this is not for the faint-hearted. It is, however, worth it. This is something to put on and get absorbed in, and watch your day just drip away as you get lost in the colossal riffs and feedback.

Play loud. Very loud.

Eye of Solitude – Sui Caedere (Review)

Eye of SolitudeUK-based Eye of Solitude play slow, dirge-y funeral doom. Imagine a band like Esoteric only with some Paradise Lost-esque riffs/melodies, topped off with some very nice vocals.  Ahh yes; the vocals. The vocals are absolutely relentless – pure, deep, utterly uncompromising growls. The vocals fit the music perfectly and almost act as another instrument used to flatten the listener with their oppressive aural assault.

As well as the slow, crawling, very-heavy nature of the music, Eye of Solitude display a welcome grasp of songcraft and melody. This means that the songs don’t get boring or outstay their welcome, as well as having an emotional content which enhances the general feeling of the album to the point where even on the first listen you know that this is going to be a ‘grower’ of an album; the more you listen to it the better it gets.

Interspersed with all of the heaviness are also some quieter, more introspective moments that allow the listener a brief respite before being steamrollered once more by the crushing doom on offer here. It all works very well. “A Note to Say Farewell” is a great example of this.

This is the kind of album I can just sit back; turn up loud; and just let the soundscapes wash over me. The sheer feeling of the tracks on display here; the combination of songwriting, melody and atmosphere that gives the album something special and definitely makes it stand out from its peers.

Highly recommended. If you even vaguely like this genre of music then you will enjoy this band.

Generation of Vipers – Howl and Filth (Review)

Generation of VipersFeaturing members of more prominent bands; Generation of Vipers play a brand of ultra-filthy sludge, that seems wrapped in layers of grime so thick and dense it’s impressive. Somewhere; lurking under all of this murky heaviness, the vocals strain to get through. Agonised screams and tortured verbalisations that are strangled and dragged down by the weight of the oppressive sludge.

This is an album aimed at the true devotees of doom and sludge; for those who are willing and eager to brave the extremes of sonic heaviness. Even though there are six separate tracks on this album it’s more like one big journey, one made by wading through the filth. This may not sound particularly appetising to some, but if you like your sludge then you know for this brand of music it’s a very good thing indeed.

Give this band a go – there’s a lot of treats to be had in those murky depths…

Ad Patres – Scorn Aesthetics (Review)

Ad PatresI am a fan of all types of extreme metal, although I definitely go through phases where I favour one particular genre or other for a while. Sometimes it may be Black Metal; sometimes Grindcore; recently I went through a massive Doom-favouring phase. At the moment it’s Death Metal; specifically Brutal Death Metal. Which brings me to Ad Patres; a French band who fill this need of mine perfectly.

The songs are well constructed, well played and the album has a good clear sound. Ad Patres not only have great energy in their songs, but they also display an above-average grasp of dynamics and songwriting skills which makes for an album that is very enjoyable but that also has longevity and won’t simply be forgotten in a couple of weeks. And let us not forget the riffs! Plenty in abundance.

Some Death Metal can be very one dimensional, but this isn’t just pure blasting brutality; there are also slower sections as well as some nice solo’s and melodic sections. A perfect example of this is a song like To the Fathers which is as brutal as anything for the most part, but has a section near the latter end of the song where the brutality eases off and we get a slower, more melodic and emotive section that is very well done indeed.

A top quality album – I highly recommend this to anyone who likes their Death Metal.

Xul – Malignance (Review)

XulFrom Canada; Xul play a bludgeoning brand of blackened Death Metal, with plenty of confidence and assurance. Xul combine both Black and Death Metal in a meaningful way – imagine a sound that is half-way between Behemoth and Dimmu Borgir, sans symphonics, (if that makes any sense).

At about 38 minutes in duration the album is just about the right length. Gritty and raw but still sounding tight and professional – the songs zoom by in  a whirlpool of brutality and dark melody.

Sit back, hit play and hold on!

Night Heir – A Maze of Evenings (Review)

Night HeirAtmospheric metal from the US. There is plenty of variety and individuality on display here, with varying styles from Black Metal to Doom, and everything in between. The band are not afraid to experiment, so you’ll find plenty to hold the interest on this album if you like your metal with a touch of the Avant Garde/experimental.

I also notice what seems to be an In The Woods… influence, so if you imagine a band like In The Woods… with extra Black Metal, Doom, Folk, etc. parts thrown in you’ll be on the right lines.

This will not be to everyone’s tastes of course, but if you are in the right mood then stick this album on and relax, zone out and just get swallowed up in the atmosphere and the journey.

If you’re looking from something a bit different then give them a listen – you won’t regret it!

Coffins – Buried Death (Review)

CoffinsDoomy Death Metal from Japan is the order of the day here. Imagine the doom-death of a band like Incantation, and combine this with the swagger of a band like Orange Goblin – you get the idea. This formula may sound a little unusual at first but trust me it works and makes for a very enjoyable album to boot.

Here we have slow, (mostly), sludgy Death Metal with plenty of atmosphere and attitude.  The production fits the sound perfectly – strong without being clean, murky without being sloppy. Each song has a definite old-school vibe that is missing from a lot of Death Metal these days and contributes to the enjoyment factor. Even on the first listen it sounds like an old friend, but not in a bad, heard-it-all-before way; rather the familiarity is welcome and adds to the overall feeling of a high-quality release with enjoyable songs.

I highly advise you have a listen as soon as you can!