Besegra – Infortunium (Review)

BesegraCanada’s Besegra appear to have found the perfect melding of Thrash Metal and Melodic Death Metal. There is a natural overlap between these genres anyway, but Besegra happily operate on the edge of both worlds and bring them together into one compact 29-minute release.

Lots of high-octane melodics and leads punctuate these tracks, and the band capitalise on this energy by throwing everything into their attack and delivery. A strong first release; the songs are well composed and played with talent and skill.

Besegra know how to pepper their sound with solos and lead work without it feeling overwhelming or like a contest. I’m quite partial to a good solo, and there is a woeful lack of it in a lot of bands, so it’s nice to hear.

The vocalist spits his lyrics out like they are too hot to voice, giving the tracks a feeling of, (almost), melodic Black Metal at points. His is a kind of raspy shriek that lashes out over the top of the guitar melodies and double-bass drumming. I feel it was the right choice for this band as more Death-y vocals could have sounded clumsy against the razor-sharp riffing, and a cleaner delivery may have diluted the sound somewhat.

Check out Besegra and see what you think.

Strauss – Strauss (Review)

straussStrauss are a Metal/Stoner band from UK and this is their first EP.

This band are on a mission to deliver the most fuzzed-up, dirtied-up, Metalled-up Rock there is. A band like this can easily fall short if they lack passion or attitude but Strauss have both of these. This is thanks in large part to the vocalist who injects a heady amount of personality into his singing that’s a real pleasure to listen to.

The music is not found slouching though – driving, riff-heavy Rock with a covering of old-school Metal that really hits the spot. I was always a big fan of Hard Words Softly Spoken by Jerkstore and this EP gives me the same kind of feelings as that.

But enough about the characterful vocals, and no more about the whiskey-soaked instruments; what about the actual songs? That most important of things? Fear not; the songs are here, and they’re ready to dance. A surly, belligerent and sleazy dance, but a dance nonetheless.

They’re also confident enough to play and experiment with their sound. A few widdly bits here, a few explorations there. It all adds up and forces you to notice that yes, there is more going on here than just _____-worship. The last track in particular Stop Pause and Play is of particular interest. I hope they build on this for future releases, as this could be truly something special.

If your tastes bend to this genre then I would heartily recommend giving Strauss a listen. Highly promising.

Mason – Warhead (Review)

MasonAustralian metallers Mason are a Thrash Metal band with a really lovely crunch to their guitar sound. Elements of Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer – all can be heard in their sound and act as useful reference points for new listeners but Mason certainly have their own identity.

This album is jam-packed with riffs, hooks and catchiness. A high-quality, punchy production ensures the songs have maximum impact, with the band making the most of this by showing that they know their way around their instruments.

The vocals don’t let the rest of the package down either – they are full of character and passion, and capture the essence of the great Thrash singers of the 80s, (and beyond).

Mason have released such a strong album it’s hard to believe this is only their debut, especially with one Jeff Loomis, (Nevermore), adding a solo to Lost it All. If it’s good enough for Jeff it’s good enough for me.

And let’s face it – isn’t that just a great album cover?

Suffer the Wrath – Divine Sign (Review)

suffer the wrathSuffer the Wrath explode out of the speakers like a freight train covered in barbed wire and spikes – maximum damage and no waiting.

Coming from the US they show a good grasp of USDM dynamics while also adding elements of modernity and the Polish scene into a utterly brutal package that still manages to have some time for brains and melody underneath all of that brawn. Yes ladies and gentlemen these are actually songs and not just exercises in bludgeoning.

This is well recorded and boasts a nice meaty sound that threatens to decapitate at 1000 yards. And you can even hear the bass clearly. Imagine that.

The drums are an absolute monster and almost threaten to overpower everything else, but just at the last moment everything else is kicked up a gear and the tub-thumper is forceably restrained and beaten.

The vocals are suitably savage but also have a clarity to them which is a welcome change to the usual members of the cookie-monster club.

At only 13 minutes in length this is criminally short, but as this is only an EP it is to be expected. Album time please?

Interview with Funeral Circle

Funeral CircleFuneral Circle play Epic Doom Metal and have recently released their rather excellent début album Funeral Circle, the review of which you can read here. I’ve had the pleasure to ask the band a few questions, the results of which you can see below.

For people who haven’t encountered you before, how would you introduce your band?

Hello, Pilgrim here. Thanks for the interview.

To answer your question – We’re a bunch of guys from Canada playing Epic Doom Metal.

Your début album is incredibly well-developed for a first release – how did the writing of the songs come about?

Thank you, I’m glad you think so! As for the song writing itself… Some of the songs were written exclusively for the album, others were written when we first formed back in 2006 and refined over time. We write songs through different means, there’s no set formula. Either a band mate will have something partially or completely written and then we’ll go from there, or we’ll just build something together from scratch during rehearsal.

What are your main influences for the band?

Off the top of my head I would say quite a diverse range of classic sounding metal bands like Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Mercyful Fate Isole, Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, Pagan Altar, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Solstice. Those were the bands that really helped us go in the Epic Doom direction when we first started off back in high school. Since then we’ve incorporated influences from more great bands and traditional folk forms of music over the years.

What are you listening to now and would like to recommend?

I’m all over the map right now, always listening to the metal classics and lots of progressive rock. Too much to recommend!

However, quite a few albums and EPs from this year are in heavy rotation as of right now. Here’s what I’m digging as of the moment – highly recommended and great records!

Procession’s To Reap the Heavens Apart, Atlantean Kodex’s The White Goddess, Argus’ Beyond the Martyrs, Borrowed Time’s debut, Gatekeeper’s Prophecy and Judgement, Cromlech’s Ave Mortis, In Solitude’s Sister, Tribulation’s The Formulas of Death, Bolzer’s Aura, Grave Miasma’s Odori Sepulcrorum, Blood Ceremony’s The Eldritch Dark, Dread Sovereign’s Pray to the Devil in Man… I’m really straining myself here, there are so many more. An insane year for heavy metal music across all genres.

Do you pay much attention to what is happening in the rest of the Doom scene?

I really try to as well as the rest of the metal scene(s) as well, but not as much as I used to. Life is particularly busy right, and right now I seem to be spending a lot more time catching up with my responsibilities to boring stuff like work when I really want to be writing music or catching up on this huge pile of records that doesn’t seem to stop growing.

But! People need to pay attention to Canadian comrades Gatekeeper and Cromlech when it comes to epic heavy and doom metal! Outstanding bands.

What does the future hold for Funeral Circle?

New releases is for certain, but we also have some plans we are going to announce in the near future… follow us on our facebook page and we’ll divulge everything in the near future!

Finally….Ozzy Osbourne or Ronnie James Dio?

It’s very close, Heaven & Hell is one of my favorite albums of all time, but the first 6 Black Sabbath albums for me are just untouchable… I’ll need a few eons to think about this.


Cheers and thank you once again.

Ragestorm – The Thin Line Between Hope and Ruin (Review)

RagestormItalian Death Metal band Ragestorm chainsaw their way out of your speakers with enough introductory brutality and modern Thrashy Death Metal know-how to raise the odd eyebrow or two. Then the vocals kick in and you know you’re in for a wild ride. Alternating between deeper and darker, and higher and sharper, the singer can strip paint and cut skin at 100 paces.

This release boasts a tight, precise sound that helps the carnage come alive as it rips and tears everyone around it with a surgical slaughter. The songs are heavy and the band can play.

This is the kind of Metal that excites as it bludgeons. Death Metal it may be but there is also a firm Thrash sensibility at play that informs the songwriting dynamics with more than just mindless brutality. I can also hear a Lamb of God influence; particularly in the vocal department on occasion in certain vocalisations and vocal rhythms and patterns. As for the music I can hear similarities to Byzantine in places. So; imagine Lamb of God and Byzantine coming together to play some tasty At The Gates-style Melodic Death Metal; this should give you a good place to start with the sound they have. They also have guitar solos, which immediately makes me like any band just that little bit more.

This is just their début album and there is already plenty of ideas and talent on display to last them a few albums to come. These ideas are spread out over the entire album, but find a focus in Hari Seldon’s Speech.

A really good collection of songs and a really good start to what will hopefully be bigger things to come.

Top stuff.