Gutslit – Skewered in the Sewer (Review)

gutslitBrutal, slamming Death Metal from India with lashings of gore and a sprinkling of torture.

This is a nicely barbaric release. Plenty of blasting and chugging to set the heart racing. They’re not afraid to inject some nice leads into the mix on the odd occasion to augment the punishing rhythms and slamming nature of the rest of the music.

The vocals are low and guttural, descending to the level of pure pig-noise on occasion. Sometimes it sounds like the vocal equivalent of taking a sander to someone’s face. It may not sound pleasant but it works.

Sometimes this form of Brutal Death Metal/Death Grind/Gore Grind/etc. can sound quite generic and average, but Gutslit are better than that. It’s not due to a radical departure in sound or style, but simply a good ear for dynamics and songs. This is Death Metal that is almost catchy while it’s pulverising you. Think Gorerotted for the right kind of idea.

I like this, a lot. It has all of the ingredients of a satisfying album, and at 26 minutes long it’s a quick, easy listen. Of course these things are all relative. To the average person on the street this would be a Hellish torture session of epic proportions. But that’s just the way we like it. This kind of music was not designed for the wider public. This is Death Metal and this is for us.

Favourite Track: Haemorrhoidal Brain Custard. I defy you to sit still when this is playing.

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Skinwalkers – Fateless (Review)

skinwalkersA bit lighter than most of the bands featured on this site, but Skinwalkers provide a nice distraction from the norm with some good melodies and a line on post-hardcore aggression.

Be warned, they may come across as slightly too poppy for most hardened Metal fans. Having said that this is music that does have some bite as they aren’t purely about the harmonies and tunes, they also show their more hardcore influences. It sometimes reminds me of Cave In in their less heavy moments, only without the proggy influences.

Even though they are a band that you can sing along with, they have a rawness and honesty to them that is pleasing.

If you have the urge to occasionally dip into the realms of the more accessible, yet still want something that has a rough edge then give Skinwalkers a try, you may be pleased with what you find.

Disfigurement – Soul Rot (Review)

disfigurementDeath Metal from the USA usually has plenty of muscle and brawn, and Disfigurement are no exception. This release has a physicality about it that just sounds solid; utterly immovable. It’s like the characteristics of a thick, heavy guitar tone have become corporeal and are daring you to try and knock it down or push past it. Which is impossible. Something this dense and massive is not going anywhere unless it’s on its own terms.

These five songs of USDM may be in the old-school style but they can match anything the new-school has to offer in terms of brutality and sheer ability to crush. Classic Death Metal has rarely sounded so vital, fresh and hungry. Thick, rhythmic guitars, pounding non-triggered drums, scathing vocals – Disfigurement have the full package, especially when highlighted with melodic leads and more-than-capable solos.

These are quality songs. They grab your attention with their muscularity and physical presence, and demand you listen to them through choking vocalisations and short, sharp stabs with their leads. At 24 minutes this is a decent length EP, but now we want more. Album please?

Markradonn – Final Dying Breath (Review)

markradonnUS band Markradonn unleash Final Dying Breath on an unsuspecting public that may not be ready for them, unusual that they are. But that can only be a good thing. In an age where so many bands sound the same individuality is hard to come by.

So, how to classify this…? Elements of Black Metal, Death Metal and horns all mixed up together. Symphonic Extreme Metal, but probably not in quite the way you’d expect. Like an Extreme Metal Therion only without the theatrics and operatics. There’s no cheese here – think less symphonic Black Metal and think more the start of Rameses Bringer of War by Nile. This is the territory we’re treading. The band themselves term it Experimental Atmospheric Metal Musical Expression and I think that’s as good as anything else.

Each song has its own atmosphere and a feeling of grandeur is strong on this EP. Each track feels like it’s heralding in some mythic event, or some majestic victory. Music for a glorious Metal triumph where the legions of the False Metal Gods lie vanquished and only the True Metal Pantheon remains. These songs are resplendent in Wagnerian pomp and bluster, crystallised in a hard Metal exterior.

The recording on this EP is functional but with access to a more expansive and complete sound I can only imagine how this band can soar. I’m really interested in what a full album would bring for Markradonn, especially if given complete freedom and resources to create even longer and more epic tracks than what we already have here.

Get into this band now while no-one knows who they are. Then years from now you can legitimately boast how you’ve “always been into Markradonn”. I think they will be worth the investment.

Odem – The Valley of Cut Tongues (Review)

OdemBrutal Death Metal with a malevolent, blackened underlay. Somehow underneath the brutality and blasting the band have managed to inject a level of constant tension and uneasiness into their sound. It’s quite unusual, the closest comparison I suppose is certain Immolation songs, or maybe Arkhon Infaustus, but this doesn’t quite do it justice.

This is undeniably brutal, but it is also very, very evil-sounding. It’s as if someone has distilled the essence of Black Metal, created a foul-smelling tincture and upon consuming immediately vomited forth Odem’s style of Death Metal.

How to describe the vocals? Imagine a condemned, wretched and broken slave dragging a tombstone to his own grave. That is what they sound like.

Exceptional and savage.

Kuazar – Wrath of God (Review)

KuazarKuazar are a Thrash Metal band from Paraguay with a good Death Metal influence in their sound; they have the bite and aggression of old-school Kreator mixed in with some old-school Death Metal from the likes of Death.

The important thing here is the songs. The recording may be relatively low-budget compared to some, (but that’s not to say it sounds bad, quite the reverse), but no expense has been spared in the songwriting. Each track has good riffs, tight drumming and a thought for dynamics and structure.

This is an almost-relentless Thrash attack. But not completely. They may be aggressive but they still have some melodic flourishes and solos aplenty, as well as some moments to catch your breath such as Inner Prison.

The vocals for the main part are raspy and full of bile. Mixed with some almost-clean passages and Death growls the singer offers more than might have been expected and overall puts in a very good performance.

This is undeniably a high-quality album. It’s a couple of years old now so I’m hoping they may have something new to unleash on the world soon. To my mind the world can never have enough great Thrash. Highly recommended.

Sulaco – Build & Burn (Review)

SulacoInventive, modern Grind is what Sulaco have in store for us here, with the odd dashing of Death Metal thrown in for good measure. Think longer-song-style Grind, rather than the shorter-song-style. Like somewhere between Cephalic Carnage and Gorguts or Gorod. Only not quite like that…

This is harsh music and not for the unwary. Choppy, changing, discordant guitars lead the way challenging the listener at every turn, while the drums both set the pace and hold everything together. Needless to say these are skilled musicians who know their Grind, which is only to be expected as they contain a now-former member of Brutal Truth.

The vocals are mostly halfway between a scream and a more hardcore-style shout, which immediately gives the band more of an individual slant than a lot of generic Grindcore bands. It works well here and complements the harshness of the music with an almost Drowningman-type intensity that adds an extra layer of depth to the tunes.

With plenty of ideas, some sharp technicality and the odd flourish of melody and sustained aggressive Metal this is a most enjoyable album.

Wan – Enjoy the Filth (Review)

WanDirty Black Metal from Sweden, brought to you with raw punk attitude. Halfway between crust and Darkthrone. If you enjoy bands such as Black Witchery and Watchmaker this is for you.

Short, sharp songs are the order of the day, but they are not the blast-fests you might expect. Mid-paced malevolence rules the roost here for the most part. This is almost like a hardcore band discovering some black metal riffs to go alongside their normal fare and then recording it in a distinctly Black Metal way. Not too far removed from Teen Cthulhu in that respect, only with more of a Darkthrone-esque influence here I suppose.

Obnoxious, Satanic underground evil seeps from the speakers as you play this. You can actually feel the grime. This is the perfect album to stick on when you’re in a foul mood and want everyone around you to just fuck off and die. What more can be said?

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Streaming track

Hi-gh – Night Dances (Review)

Hi-ghSpeed Metal played with plenty of melody and punkiness. With a low-rent album cover and low-rent sound, will the songs be similarly low-rent? No! It seems that all of the effort has gone into the songs to make them as pleasurable and memorable as possible.

The recording is not a bad one, it serves its purpose and allows the tracks to roll along on their speedy way. This is Speed Thrash made for the love of all things crossover, and not without talent either. This band know how to play as hard as they know how to have fun. Technicality added to an ease of riffing that combines to create something truly enjoyable, that seems to just slip into your consciousness and act like it’s always been there.

If they can keep this up for their next release then there should be a bright future in store for this band.

Ilsa – Intoxicantations (Review)

ilsaWell, isn’t this the proverbial hidden gem. Filthy, dirty sludge Metal with elements of thrash and death ‘n’ roll mixed in. Quite simply this is brilliant.

The overall feelings and structures of the songs are composed in such a way that this is a very complete album. Each song easily identifiable from the rest and together forming one of the most enjoyable albums I’ve listened to in a while. I haven’t been able to stop listening to this the last few days.

Very insipid; the riffs crawl their way into your subconscious and refuse to dislodge. The production miraculously manages to sound both dirty and clear at the same time. The guitar tone in particular is strong and powerful. Crushing in fact.

Each track has its own character and personality, comprising of top-shelf riffs and attitude. There is no filler here; each song is its own entity and more than capable of standing on its own merits.

Snarling, vicious vocals accompany the metallic mayhem and perfectly suit the musical vision of the rest of the band. As a reference point they are sometimes reminiscent of the Darkest Hour vocalist and have the same level of passion and legibility. The singer of Ilsa gives an excellent performance in all ways.

This album is first-rate. If you are a fan of metallic sludge and like plenty of depth and longevity in your music then this will certainly be a must for you. So far, alongside the first album by Morality Crisis, this is a very strong contender for album of the year as far as I’m concerned.