Ending Quest – The Summoning (Review)

Ending QuestThis is Old-School Swedish Death Metal from Ending Quest.

Swedish Death Metal played by actual Swedes? Yes please!

Instantly That Sound assaults your ears and we’re off into the realm of chainsaws and bright red arterial blood.

The brutal guitars and the ferocious melodics conspire to activate all of the pleasure centres in my head at once…I think I need to have a sit down now.

Yes, yes; I have a soft spot for this type of Death Metal. Over the years it’s just kind of crept up on me. I just really, really like this style of music. It may not be anything new but who cares? It hits the spot right where I need it to.

Ending Quest sound absolutely huge and have a big sound in every sense. Awesome melodies and crushing guitars are powered by a percussive backbone and deep, coarse vocals.

Ah yes, the vocals; like a rabid dog barking. Guttural, unhinged and rough like something inhuman. They’re the icing on this very delectable cake.

The songcrafting is top of the range and the band seem to be having a whale of a time throwing out huge riffs and spookily heavy atmospheres.

As I sit and write this on a wet Sunday morning Ending Quest are the perfect wake-me-up to get the blood flowing and the energy levels moving.

Unless you’re absolutely sick of the Swedish style and think it’s been done to death, then this should be high on your list of things to get. And if you are sick of the Swedish style? Well, get this anyway as it might just be the refreshing tonic you need.

Redemptor – The Jugglernaut (Review)

RedemptorThis is the second album from Polish Technical Death Metallers Redemptor.

A brief Classical intro segues into frenetic technical mayhem with blastbeats, guitar craziness and harsh growls dominating the airwaves.

The band are controlled chaos with lots of ideas and sounds harnessed into their arsenal of impressive musical wizardry.

Take a band like Gorguts as your starting point, throw in a bit of Iniquity and Meshuggah and the starting blueprints are in place for a band who are not destined for mediocrity.

They have a skilled drummer and the songs are very percussive. The remaining musicians are also suitably talented and if it wasn’t for a good grasp of dynamics and some well thought out songwriting the songs could easily collapse in on themselves in a frenzy of technicality; this is avoided though by judicious use of restraint and energetic riffs.

They allow a bit of Jazzy, seemingly free-form experimentation to creep in on occasion, although I imagine it’s far more thought-through than it sounds. It does the trick though.

Quality Death Metal with depth and character.


Venowl – Patterns of Failure (Review)

VenowlVenowl are from the US and play DOOOOOOOOOOM!

Patterns of Failure is like that rickety, shambling, deathless corpse that follows you in your dreams; slowly and surely crawling closer and closer with horror in its eyes. You know the one.

There is a supreme haunting terror at the core of Venowl and I’m not sure I want to know what they do to get it all riled up like this. The howling vocalisations in particular are terrifying in their abandon and make the average “scary band” sound tame and lovable by comparison.

The songs themselves are slow and covered in rust and grime. They give the impression of something being left out in the rain and exposed to the elements for far too long.

The simplest reference point is Khanate, although whereas Khanate made a corrupted virtue of minimalism Venowl have more meat on their bones; Khanate worked with the spaces between the sounds they created whilst Venowl fill every space with a dire sense of dread and ill.

This is the kind of epically dismal and barren Doom that blackens the heart and freezes the veins. There’s no light here just differing shades of darkness and unrelenting negativity.

Venowl have produced a marathon of filth. It’s time to start running, the deathless corpse approaches once more.

Vomiting Corpses – Coma: The Spheres of Innocence (Review)

Vomiting CorpsesVomiting Corpses were from Germany and played Death Metal.

This is a reissue of their 1995 album and their 1994 demo Cold Blood.

This is brutal and heavy; blast beats and crushing riffs paired with deep growls that menace and bully.

Apart from these guttural growls the band also throw in the odd surprise, with ethereal female vocals and someone who sounds exactly like the singer of Obituary both making appearances.

The songs, especially the demo ones, are rough and raw, but perfectly listenable and bristling with aggression. Even so, it’s a very satisfying listen with the music connecting on a primal level.

Vomiting Corpses clearly weren’t interested in just copying the bigger Death Metal names in the early 90’s; they had their own ideas about what Death Metal should sound like and who can argue with their vision when presented in such a good way?

There’s a clear sound progression between the demo and the album, although both are recognisable as the same band.

An enjoyable listen.

Cemetery – Enter the Gate (Discography 1991-1993) (Review)

CemeteryCemetery were a German band who were active between 1986 and 1993.

This reissue is two discs of Death Metal, played with passion and interest. This compilation holds all of their recordings between 1991 and 1993, including their lost album that was recorded but never released.

There is an hour and 40 minutes of music here and all of it is top quality. With more exposure this band could easily have been a leading light in the Death Metal scene.

This is powerful material, played and written very well; it shows up a lot of bands these days who have half the creativity that Cemetery display.

The longer songs show that the band were pushing the boundaries of standard Death Metal at the time. Who knows what they could have released eventually?

What we have here though is ample evidence to show that they knew what they were doing. Occasional effects and acoustics are combined with brutality to make interesting songs that all have that special secret ingredient; these songs satisfy, deeply, in ways that only the best Metal can.

Solid playing, melodics, solos, riffs; all of the necessary elements to make a strong album.

It should be noted that the sound is surprisingly good. Everything sounds balanced, clear and crushing.

This is a lost gem of an album; 20 years buried and now unearthed to give pleasure to all who would listen. Forget whatever latest flash-in-the-pan nonsense you’re thinking of buying this month, invest in Cemetery and listen loud.

Nihilo – Dum Spiro Spero (Review)

NihiloThis is the second album from Swiss Death Metallers Nihilo.

First off I have to say – what a stunning piece of album artwork!

After a sample-heavy intro, the bass-heavy sound thuds out of the speakers with explosive chugging and heavy riffing. The underground recording allows the band to sound earthy and natural. It’s a case of less polish, more spit.

This has an Old-School feel but the main vibe is one of Classic Death Metal played well and with a love of the genre.

Swedish Death Metal is incorporated into their sound but there’s more than just this stylistic reference point.

The singer has a great voice which sounds utterly feral and seems to have serrated edges. High shrieks add colour and there’s no fault to be found with the vocals.

The songs are well written and there are some good choices in riffs. The drumming in particular is enjoyable – no messing around; he provides a strong backbone to the tracks while adding in some nice fills and rolls to mix things up a bit.

Near the end of the album they get bolder and start to experiment a bit more; the extra instrumentation and orchestration on Shields of Justice is as unexpected as it is masterful; the final track Dum Spiro Spero is a 20 minute Doom-filled behemoth. Maybe areas to further develop in the future?

A solid album.

Favourite Track: Last Man Standing. Mid-paced, chugging and demolishing combined with blasting brutality.

Hybris – Blinded Thoughts (Review)

HybrisPolish band Hybris have just recently released their début EP – this is 18 minutes of Thrash-tinged Death Metal.

The first track Amnesia is the longest of the three and starts with a soft atmospheric intro that builds into a nice Thrash riff.

The songs are memorable and well-executed slabs of Thrash/Death, with a strong Old-School feel to the recording and aura of the EP.

I hear a good amount of influence from bands like Death. In fact this is the main comparator I’m reminded of; Death with a technical Thrash makeover. Other influences come into the songs as well though, such as the Egyptian vibe on Egyptian Darkness.

The music is crisp and technical but without sacrificing the song itself. The sound is precise and even the bass can be heard in a meaningful way.

There are lots of solos and leads; the band can certainly play but it’s not showboating or self-aggrandisement, just a sheer love of Metal and the demands of the song.

A most enjoyable EP that introduces Hybris to the world and promises great things for the band.

Eleanora – EP (Review)

EleanoraEleanora are from Belgium and play Sludge/Post-Hardcore. This is their début release.

Intense and fierce; Eleanora pour their hearts into these two tracks and the result is as scathing as it is satisfying.

Dark melodies and throat-ripping vocals are the order of the day. Heavy walls of guitars and solid drums crash and damage the landscape around them.

The vocal performance is impressively energetic and violent. Both the music and the vocals are gloriously passionate and emotive.

This is a short EP of only two tracks, a mere taster really. Consider my palette firmly whetted. This is a superb display of Post-Hardcore/Screamo-influenced Sludge and if this is anything to go by the eventual album that they will hopefully release should see the band become major players in this style of music.

It’s always a great feeling discovering a new, excellent band.

Interview with Servants of the Mist

Servants of the Mist Logo

Servants of the Mist are about to release their latest EP Gross Knowledge of Genital Mutilation, and in its wake a creeping misery and despair does follow. It left such a deep impression that I felt compelled to probe deeper…

Give us a bit of history to Servants of the Mist

Servants of the Mist have existed in some form since 2010. We are from west central Florida. We are keen observers and travelers to dark dimensions. We are in touch with demons who work through and love us. We have opened for Danzig, Jucifer, Obituary and Eyehategod. We create sounds of suffering.

Where did your name come from?

The name came from a lyric in one of our earliest demos. The lyric was based on the 1992 Dracula movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gary Oldman.

What are your influences?

GG Allin, Melvins, Cough, Electric Wizard and Burning Witch. The greatest influence has been life itself. All the questions that can’t be answered. The hunger of the beast. The things we are forced to live with.

What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

…I am always listening to the sound of my own voice telling my head things. I don’t hate anyone enough to recommend they know my brain or have my secrets.

What did you want to achieve with your new release

I want to promote thought and conversation. I want people who listen to realize their own hell. I want them to indulge their physical pleasures because the master won’t allow you love. People like us are ruled by their demons. I predict that right and wrong will be much harder to interpret. I believe we have a choice.

Servants of the Mist BandMost bands of this particular style of Sludge have a distinct Southern tinge to the riffs, yet this is largely absent from your sound. Was this a conscious decision to differentiate yourselves or was it a more natural occurrence?

The songs come from the soul. I am in an emotional prison. Where I exist there is very little color or life. This is what influences the sound. I don’t make a conscious choice to live here in exile. I don’t make a conscious effort to exclude a southern tinge.

How do your songs take shape?

I write most all the songs. I then take them to the band. We bring all the pieces together.

In your songs is it important to you to push a heavily negative vibe or is this a feeling that just happens regardless?

I have had hope and believed in love. I have been crushed by the need to be human. It is in the need for happiness that hope will blatantly betray you. The music speaks of the consequences of betrayal. It speaks of the evolution. The transformation from human to monster.

Would you change anything if you had to do the recording over again?

I am very critical of my own work. I would say that there is always something I think I could have done better. I also like that we don’t take much time or over produce our music in the studio. We plug in, play and what comes out is as real as it gets.

How do you see your songs/direction developing in the future?

That depends completely where I’m at emotionally. I hope to write ballads that celebrate romance and love. I fear though that I will always exist in the world of shadows. I have found a home in the chaos.

What does the future hold for Servants of the Mist?

The future is futile. We will continue to celebrate madness. We will dream of you. We will hate you. We will continue on until death takes us to oblivion.

Ed Tobar…guitars, founder and father of Servants.