Tharsis They – Formless/Shapeless (Review)

Tharsis TheyTharsis They are from the US and this is their latest EP. They play Hardcore.

I’ve enjoyed this band’s previous work and this short EP is no different.

This is a band who take their cues from classic early 00’s bands like Converge, Botch, Coalesce, Nora, Zao, Most Precious Blood, etc. and combine both Metal and Hardcore into destructive behemoths of pure heaviness.

Here we have 4 tracks lasting just under 9 minutes. As such, it’s short, sharp and straight to the point like a red-hot branding iron.

The first track Wicked Response kicks off with angry guitars and equally angry vocals, snarling at the world, before the blast beats come in and the band begin a full on killing spree. Angular riffs and aggressive attitude dominates proceedings.

Suitable Appellation boasts equally demented riffing and some nightmare melodies. The singer sounds thoroughly pissed and gives a generally great performance across all of these songs. A guitar solo makes its first appearance and is backed up by some chunky rhythms.

New World Vultures is the shortest track here at a minute and a half. Consequently it wastes no time in getting to the meat of the matter and it’s abrasive heaviosity from the get-go.

They end the EP with The Felling, which once again ramps up the speed and intensity. The dynamics are strong and so is the writing. Winner.

I love this kind of Hardcore. Excellent work!

Listen to them here.

Decaying – One to Conquer (Review)

DecayingThis is the third album from Decaying, who are a Death Metal band from Finland.

This is Old-School Death Metal with a solid sound and plenty of guts. Sharing stylistic space with bands like Hail of Bullets, Warlord UK and Bolt Thrower, this is War Metal in the Classic style that rampages over the landscape like a heavily armoured tank.

One to Conquer is played well and benefits from the band’s obvious experience.

The songs are straightforward tracks with Death Metal’s destructive sound and warlike spirit. It rumbles along at a satisfying speed and even finds the time to interject a couple of blasts here and there.

I particularly enjoy the band’s chugging riffs and winding melodies. Yes, the Bolt Thrower influence is strong in this regard but if you like that band you’ll like this one too.

Vocally the band are armed with a singer who deals out death with a very deep growl, Hail of Bullets-style. It sounds good.

Decaying’s War Metal will be a familiar style to many and fans of this sub-genre will find One to Conquer a capable battlefield ally.

Check them out and have a listen.

Orion – On the Banks of Rubicon (Review)

OrionOrion are from India and play Progressive Death Metal. This is their début EP.

If you imagine Opeth with more of a Death Metal slant then you’ll have an idea of what Orion sound like.

The band are adept at the strong melodies and captivating leads but they also know how to take it to its brutal conclusion and unleash their inner beasts.

The vocals consist of deep growling and fine-sounding cleans. The growls are perfectly serviceable but to me it’s the cleans that steal the show here. They soar effortlessly and have a tone to them that’s quite refreshing.

The band know how to play and bend their talents into creating Progressive songs that yearn to tell a story as much as they ache to set fire to things. The guitar work is enticing and the combination of aggressive music and more considered approaches makes for an enjoyable and satisfying listen.

Each of these songs is Metal to the core and the winding leads, forthright riffing and Progressive tendencies mean that this is an EP worthy of respect. There are lots of good ideas and interesting riffs here and the band produce enough variety within their self-imposed template that these 4 tracks just fly by.

Having been around since 2008 with only this and a demo to show for it, they may not be the most prolific band but let’s hope that changes soon.

Definitely ones to watch.

Wolf Blood – Wolf Blood (Review)

Wolf BloodThis is the début album from US Doom Metal band Wolf Blood.

Wolf Blood play Doom Metal – a cross between Traditional Doom and Stoner Doom.

The tunes here are memorable and kicked out with obvious passion and no shortage of charisma. It’s a testament to the band’s talent that the melodies and riffs that the band perform sound both familiar and fresh; ancient yet vibrant.

A mix of Traditional Doom and Stoner Doom could theoretically have descended into the mediocre quite quickly but Wolf Blood manage to side step this pitfall by taking the best aspects of each. This has resulted in a collection of songs that have the power and majesty of Doom with the energy and drive of Stoner.

The band have a really warm, welcoming sound that embraces the listener with good feelings and Doomy vibes. It’s not too polished and keeps an underground feel but it does the band justice and the songs sound authentic and engaging.

There’s a lot to like here. Wolf Blood clearly know what they want to achieve and I think their début album succeeds in this.

Listen up Doomsters, there’s a new power in town.

Mangel – Mangel (Review)

MangelMangel are from Germany and play Melodic Black Metal.

After a nice piano intro the blasting starts and we’re into wind-swept, frosty Black Metal territory. Dark melodies and Blackened riffs abound.

The band create their grim atmospheres well and some of the riffs and moods are inspired.

This may be Melodic Black Metal but don’t make the mistake of thinking this is the overly-polished commercial variety. This is underground Black Metal with quality guitar playing and lots of lead work.

The vocals are sharp and sound as if they’re forged from pure evil. They work in conjunction with the music to spawn fertile breeding grounds for hordes of Black Metal Hellspawn to fester and lurk.

These are quality songs that have good structure, pacing and dynamics. They do the job they set out to do and this is a remarkably enjoyable listen.

At only 16 minutes in length this is a relatively brief introduction to the band, but to my ears Mangel could become a force to be reckoned with in this particular sub-genre.

Have a listen and decide for yourself. Me? I’ll be listening to this again quite a bit, as well as eagerly awaiting a début album from them.

Imperial Conquest – Hammerûn: Monarch of Serpents (Review)

Imperial ConquestImperial Conquest are from the US and play Black Metal. This is their début album.

This is upbeat and grim Black Metal with fantastic symphonic accompaniment. The Metal is hot out of the furnace and is likely to melt flesh upon contact.

The symphonic elements are very well-performed and are a highlight for me. They’re subtle enough most of the time that they become fully enmeshed with the music so that it sounds like a natural part of the band’s repertoire, yet when needed it comes out to the fore and really adds its weight to proceedings.

The symphonic effects really are a master-stroke for this band as they’re not overwrought, perfectly fit with the music and are very well delivered. Considering this part of the style usually just sounds tacked on for most bands of this ilk, having it completely engrained with the rest of the music is no mean feat. Impressive.

The songs as a whole are full of dynamics and have an epic streak to them that never becomes overblown. The music is dark and suitably Blackened, but the relentless riffs and the symphonic keyboards allow the band to work with a rich palette and each track is extremely enjoyable because of this.

The vocals are scything high-pitched screams and the album features guests from Promethean Horde. Nothing not to like here!

I’ve really enjoyed this album. It has almost the perfect ratio of beauty to ugliness, with the symphonic elements being particularly stunning, especially as they sound so damn good set against the rest of the pitch black music.

Very highly recommended. In fact, go and get this right now.

Obscurity – Vintar (Review)

ObscurityThis is the seventh album from German band Obscurity. They play Death/Pagan/Viking Metal.

The band play a melodic blend of largely mid-paced Death Metal with Viking and Pagan influences.

The singer has a varied bark that seems just as home with deep grunts as it does with higher screams. After seven albums his voice is perfectly in shape and sounds really good.

The obvious and lazy reference point for a band like this is Amon Amarth, and that certainly gives you a basic impression of Obscurity but it’s not the whole picture.

Vintar is a strong collection of songs. The band play with an obvious passion and it’s clear after so many albums they’ve honed their art to a fine cutting edge. All of the instruments are well-played and the riffs and song structures in general show a good ear for composition, structure, tunes and dynamics.

I enjoyed this. It won’t set the world on fire, but it may just cover everything in a frosty winter coating…

Best played loud.

Karne – Faith in Flesh (Review)

KarneKarne are a Black Metal band from France. This is their début album.

Karne play the kind of Black Metal that’s fast and aggressive. Blackened riffs and dark melodies tear out whilst scythe-like vocals scream from the dead of night. The singer has a voice like ragged silk and her performance is worthy of dark praises.

The songs rage along effortlessly, propelled by melodic bile and vociferous emanations. It’s the kind of Black Metal that’s easy to like.

The melodies and riffs seem to coast along as the band channel all of their collective hatred and grim determination into these dark musical expositions.

This is Black Metal for fans of Marduk, Immortal, Gorgoroth, Naglfar, Dark Funeral and the like. It’s well-written and very enjoyable. Faith in Flesh is mainly a high-speed affair, but they also know how to lock into a good groove when they need to.

Karne also manage to foster the true Melodic Black Metal atmosphere and mood that the best of these kinds of bands manage. There is just the right combination in their sound of polish and evil, cult malevolence. For me, it works just right.

Check them out.

Intraneum – Perfection (Review)

IntraneumIntraneum are from Poland and this is their début EP. They play Melodic Death Metal/Deathcore.

Apart from the brief and atmospheric piano intro this a short 3 song EP that showcases the band’s abilities.

This is modern Melodic Death Metal that includes components of Metal-/Deathcore.

The songs chug and rip along quite nicely with plenty of leads, solos and melodic extremity sharing space with more considered and streamlined Metal.

The band can clearly play their instruments and they inject a good amount of technical playing into the proceedings, although they never ascend to the crazy heights of pure Technical Death Metal.

How to describe this…it’s like one of the more commercially heavy bands, Lamb of God, Chimaira, Killswitch Engage, etc., started getting heavier and playing with a more Death Metal slant. Add to this a bit more technical playing and remove any clean vocals and you have an idea of where Intraneum are coming from.

The songs are chunky explosions of heavy guitars and melodic riffs, all wrapped up in a punchy production that gives them the bright sound that a band like this needs.

This is a short collection of good songs that demonstrate the potential of Intraneum.