Iron Tongue – The Dogs Have Barked, The Birds Have Flown (Review)

Iron Tongue

Iron Tongue play Stoner/Blues Rock and this album is all about the depth and feeling.

Morose and hallucinogenic without being maudlin or depressive; this album is rough around the edges in exactly the right way.

This is earthy, organic and honest music straight out of a Southern backroom bar. When first playing track one, (Ever After), it’s almost hard to imagine these songs will have or even need a Metallic content, as it really sounds like it doesn’t require it, reminding most of all of a band like Soulsavers.

When the distortion does appear though it gels perfectly with the rest of the song that all other thoughts are swept aside as you are presented with the full smoke-ridden package of musical depth and character.

Each song is veritably dripping with feeling and pain; the soulful vocals spinning out into the ether while the weighty guitars come crashing down in a tsunami of emotion. The highly talented backing female vocals adding further personality and Southern feelings to the passion-rich tracks.

A powerfully memorable release that will be sticking around the playlist for some time to come. If you have a passion for soulful Southern-tinged Rock then Iron Tongue are destined to become one of your favourites.

Demon Lung – The Hundredth Name (Review)

Demon LungThis is US Doom Metal band Demon Lung with their début album The Hundredth Name.

The band play Traditional Doom with good harmonies, inventive riffing and strong songs.

The first song Binding of the Witch eases us in slowly with gradually-building waves of towering guitars, while Hellish noises play in the background picking at your sanity with needle-like claws. Once the song starts to begin “properly” it’s with a monolithic winding, driving riff that instantly makes me like what’s happening. Indeed there are a plethora of quality Doom riffs on this album.

Showcasing good musicianship and recording; the backbone of the album is in place and then the emphasis is on the songs and the powerful vocals, both of which are no disappointment.

The singer has a generally deep, powerful voice that has both a dreamy and gritty quality, almost like she’s not quite here and instead exists in two worlds – the real and the unreal, where the monsters and witches roam. She shows good range across these songs though and doesn’t suffer from getting stuck in a vocal rut. Her vocals bring the songs to (un)life and add a flicker of unholy fire to the proceedings that elevate this album above a lot of their peers.

The album flows and caresses with its dark touches and is the Doom Metal equivalent of easy listening in some ways; tracks feel natural and unforced, all the while channelling that special black magic that lovers of this genre always want more of.

A very strong first release. If they can keep this up there is a bright future ahead of them. Purely looking at The Hundredth Name however, they have already put out a record to be proud of.

Morfin – Inoculation (Review)

MorfinMorfin are from the US and play straight-up classic Death Metal.

We get 10 tracks, including a Death cover; which should give you a good idea of where Morfin’s loyalties lie in the Death Metal hierarchy. In fact if you like Death, (and who doesn’t?), then you should like this also.

From the album cover to the album production this screams Old-School at the top of its diseased lungs and then falls to the floor to devour a fresh corpse once it has done so.

Somehow Morfin appear to have captured and bottled early Death Metal and are swigging liberally from it regularly. Rather than sounding derivative, tired and old though it somehow has a rejuvenating effect and this sounds as fresh as it did back in the day. Morfin may have a bit of Death hero-worship going on but when they have the formula this right who cares?

Importantly it’s not just the feel and style of the album that they have the secret ingredient for, but they also have the songs to back it all up. The tracks rumble away one after another and before you know it all 45 minutes have expired and you’re sitting there with a rictus grin on your face wondering where you got the blood on your hands from.

So join me now; shout it loud and proud – MORFIN!!!

Defeated Sanity – Passages Into Deformity (Review)

Defeated SanityGermany’s Defeated Sanity serve up their fourth full-length platter of Brutal Technical Death Metal with Passages Into Deformity.

This is a case study in brutality from the get-go. First track Initiation – from the title and the fact it’s only 1:15 long I was led to assume it would be some typically disposable intro that so many bands have, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It is, essentially, a Deathgrind song and it’s a great way to start things off.

Defeated Sanity play the technical and brutal sides of Death Metal very well, and I especially enjoy the Cryptopsy-esque drum/bass moments, fancy breaks and general riff-chuggery. The Jazz-Death is strong with this one.

The vocalist does a great job gargling with broken glass, and I hope he’s recovered from the blood loss of creating such guttural sounds.

They have a good clear production that allows you to actually hear the bass, (which they make ample use of), and the drumming is an exercise in flawless precision. The two instruments work together to form an integral and essential part of the songs and are every bit as important as the thickened guitars and the bestial grunts.

A top-quality release from a band who have enough experience and know-how to excel at what they’re doing. 

Embryonic Devourment – Reptilian Agenda (Review)

Embryonic DevourmentBrutal and Technical Death Metal from the US.

Oh but this is a quality blast. Reptilian Agenda is interesting and inventive Death Metal, with all kinds of rhythms and creative moments. The songs are alive with reptilian malice and slithering slime.

The band have plenty of technique and their delivery is flawless. It’s instantly apparent that this is not run-of-the-mill Death Metal and as the album progresses this is confirmed in every song. Like Origin and Cephalic Carnage trading blows; riffs chop and change, twist and turn, only to be devoured by some sudden flare up of technicality and then vomited back up in a hail of brutality. The songs just kill everything in sight.

The vocals are uncompromising growls that also have a wet, fleshy feel to them. The verbalisations of a warm, (reptilian), corpse?

The sound does the music justice and the drums in particular sound immense and provide the glue that holds everything together, even though they appear to be inhabiting a different world to the hugely impressive guitars sometimes, it all holds together.

31 minutes of interesting and spirited brutal music. What are you waiting for?

Soreption – Engineering The Void (Review)

SoreptionThis is the second album from Sweden’s Technical Death Metal wizards Soreption.

With a sound so sharp and crisp you could stab people with it, Engineering The Void erupts from the speakers like a geyser of technicality and blastbeats. This is Tech Death of the highest order.

Soreption play things ultra-precise and fast, and aren’t afraid to introduce new or novel ideas to their songs to make things even more interesting. They also know when to hold back and make the most out of a sexy riff, such as in Utopia.

I enjoy Technical Death Metal a lot when it’s done well. The problem sometimes is that the songs can get lost in all of the blurry speed and mayhem and it can therefore be easy to lose interest. Soreption don’t suffer from this though and the interest is held throughout this superlative release. It should be noted that this doesn’t mean the band play catchy songs; they don’t. The songs have form and substance and are merely composed of technicality and focused precision rather than being ruled and overpowered by them as can sometimes be the case with this style of Metal.

The singer can sometimes be overlooked in favour of the extreme technicality in these kind of bands, so I feel compelled to mention that the vocalist’s output matches the high performance levels of the rest of the group. He has a really strong voice which he uses to great effect, barking out savagery in a crisp, precise way; keeping in with the style of the album.

This is mechanically tight and flawlessly delivered. Technical Death Metal is not everyone’s favourite type of music but if you are partial to a bit of this then Soreption do it better than most. This has real longevity baked into it and is a great listen. Give them a try.

Asylum – Inmate (Review)

AsylumIndian Metal band Asylum have released Inmate, a five track EP containing 21 minutes of music.

Thrashy groove-heavy Death Metal is essentially Asylum’s choice of assault, and they do this well. Sounding akin to a modern Thrash band only with harsher vocals and more of a bouncy Death Metal feel to the riffs. Some guitar solos even raise their heads; always welcome.

The singer has a top-quality voice. Deep but defined and clear. It works well with the crisp music the band play.

The songs are enjoyable enough and bounce along with glee. Mid-paced Death Metal that has plenty of rhythm always puts me in mind of Grave, no matter what. Even here where there are few similarities between the bands, (Asylum certainly don’t have that Swedish sound and they’re more New-School, than Old-), Grave can’t help but enter my thoughts. A slightly irrelevant aside of course, but sometimes it’s good to veer off-topic slightly.

Anyway – back to the band at hand. I enjoyed this EP and if they can keep this up and refine their sound even further the band will do well. Check them out.

Agiel – Dark Pantheons (Review)

AgielHailing from the US, Agiel play furious Symphonic Death Metal.

This 5 track EP is a calling card of beauty and brutality combined. A velvet-covered iron-fist smash to the face.

The songs are fast and interesting, with the strings and effects creating quite an exciting atmosphere on top of the underlying blasting.

This is how Death Metal would sound if it ever scored a film soundtrack. Bombastic and epic, while remaining utterly bestial and deranged; at times it can almost sound overbearing, like two disparate musical worlds colliding, or two songs being played at the same time. This description does it a disservice however, as the tracks are coherent enough to be enjoyable and overall this works and is done well.

This is quite an exciting and inspired release, as few Death Metal bands have combined this level of orchestration with such a pure Brutal Death Metal core, and it’s genuinely thrilling to hear.

A very worthwhile listen, and promises much to come for the the next full length.

Amiensus – Restoration (Review)

AmiensusAmiensus are from the US and play Progressive Black Metal with plenty of melody and epic feelings.

Keyboards and other effects transform the already pronounced melodic talent of the band to another level, washing over the listener in waves of atmosphere.

Restoration skillfully blends aspects of bands such as Opeth, Agalloch and Dimmu Borgir into a talented melting pot and adds something of its own personality to the mix to avoid sounding derivative; the results of which have led to this pretty special release.

I usually find this genre of music a bit too sickly and derivative, essentially it’s easy to do but hard to do well. Whatever this magic, secret ingredient is that makes an album like this great without sounding like another clone of the aforementioned bands, Amiensus appear to have it in spades.

Meaty guitars cloaked in wistful mood and dripping with ear-candy dominate this release, while angelic vocals croon and soar alongside harsher cries and grunts. Female vocals are used to punctuate the atmosphere when needed and are a great asset to the band.

The album flows easily from one song to the next; the symphonic nature of the band working perfectly to accentuate every harmony and lamentation into a seamless whole until suddenly the 46 minutes playing time has elapsed and you’re left simply wanting more.

As début albums go this is high quality indeed and quite an achievement for such a young band. If album number one is this accomplished I can only imagine what album number two will be like.

Here’s to more in the future. You should get this.

Halahkuh – Desecration (Review)

HalahkuhThis is the first EP from Indian Thrash band Halahkuh, and they must be putting something in the water over there as this is another quality Indian Metal band it seems.

I was first drawn to this by the album cover – it veritably screams LISTEN TO ME NOW THERE IS METAL HERE! So I did, and there is.

At only 15 minutes this is a short EP but it ably showcases the talents of the band. It starts off slow and atmospheric with the first track Ordeal that builds expectation and then the release comes in the form of first song-proper Sacrilege. Furious drumming and rabid vocals propel the song along at a good pace and the singer sounds more like he’s barking than making actual human sounds.

This is heavy modern Thrash with a Melodic Death Metal edge to it, and even the odd-blastbeat makes an appearance.

The band are to be commended for their passion and the songs are clearly written and performed by a band that loves to play and knows how to, (with solos!).

A thoroughly Metal and thoroughly enjoyable release. Here’s to a full-length sometime soon. Ones to watch.