Gian – All Life Erased (Review)

GianThis is well-written Death Metal with some nice melodic streaks thrown in for good emphasis.

The band have gone for a song-oriented approach that is part Swedish Death Metal and part Modern Death Metal, not a million miles away from Illdisposed’s 1-800 Vindication in some ways; frequent infectious melodies with a firm heavy backbone to stop things from ever veering into Melodic Death Metal territory.

Gian frequently trade off crunchy, heavy riffs with melodic passages, all the time retaining an overall muscular presence.

The vocals are deep growls and angry shouts for the most part, but I must say that I was completely unprepared for clean vocals to appear on the second track Bloodstorm! They are performed extremely well and only appear on this song, but for a band who have a firm Death Metal sound with blast beats aplenty I was quite taken aback. Their scarcity works in their favour though, as when they do appear it’s just another aspect of the melodic delivery that appears among the brutal carnage that their music alternates between.

Gian have created a very enjoyable album that delivers something that’s an uncommon treat; songs that are equally brutal and melodic but without falling into the trap of losing their bite.

This is one to definitely check out.

Taran – Taran (Review)

TaranTaran are a Polish Black Metal band and this is their latest release.

This is over 36 minutes of evil, hate-filled Black Metal. There are seven tracks of blisteringly fast/groovy Black Metal, as well as an intro, outro and an Immortal cover.

This is the real deal. You’ve gotta love this kind of Black Metal. No frills, uncompromising and pure dark intent.

The riffs are as Black as any and the sharpness of the assault will leave you reeling. Of course this style has been done to death, but when faced with a band playing music they obvious love so much it’s hard not to get swept along in their trails.

Differentiating them from any number of other bands that merge the Darkthrone/Dark Funeral styles is the quality of the songs; Taran actually know how to write music that’s memorable. Some of the guitar melodies are even hummable.

Taran have really given me a fix of raw, underground Black Metal and it feels pretty damn good.

They may be all about the evil and darkness, but they’ve made me a happy bunny listening to this. As I said; you gotta love Black Metal.

Piah Mater – Memories of Inexistence (Review)

Piah Mater

Piah Mater are from Brazil and play Progressive Death Metal. This is their début album.

This is Progressive Death Metal that’s expertly played and produced.

If you take Opeth (old) as a base template and then add in some more Progressive influences, (Wolverine and some aspects of Anathema spring to mind), then you’ll have a good idea of what Piah Mater sound like.

The singer has a top notch voice. His clean vocals are well performed and have the requisite amount of personality to them. His growls are deep with a slight rasp and work well with the melodic music.

The songs twist, wind and curl their way through the playing times. Quasi-melodic angular riffs meet Progressive melodies and it’s clear that Piah Mater obviously know exactly how they want to sound.

Memories of Inexistence is a very enjoyable 58 minutes of Progressive Death Metal that is easy to like and easy to recommend.

If you dislike the direction that Opeth have taken over the last few years then Piah Mater can help to soothe your discontent. This is an album that’s a return to the roots that Opeth put down, only updated for the present day.

Give them a listen.

Demonic Slaughter – Haunted (Review)

Demonic SlaughterDemonic Slaughter are a Black Metal band from Poland. This is their fifth album.

This is Old-School Black Metal with good Darkthrone grooves and a cold, frigid heart.

The production is underground and raw whilst still retaining a power and presence; it fits the band perfectly and recalls a golden era of the style.

Vocally we have traditional Black Metal croaks, rasping out blasphemy and hatred with relish. Again, like the production values, it suits the band’s aesthetic to a tee and the delivery never slips.

The songs are traditionally composed and use winding melodies to add atmosphere and Blackened intent. The rhythms are dark homages to all that is evil and the riffs seem to circle malevolently like waiting carrion feeders.

If you enjoy largely mid-paced Black Metal with a grim melodic sensibility then I would definitely recommend Demonic Slaughter to you.

A very good listen indeed. Bring on the darkness.

Desert Near The End – Hunt for the Sun (Review)

Desert Near The EndThis is the second album by Greek Metal band Desert Near The End.

This is a Modern Metal album that doesn’t pander to clichés or Metalcore-isms. Instead, we get a firm, heavy base of Metal with lots of frenetic riffs and pounding drums.

The vocals are passionately shouted out above the roaring music. Emphatic semi-cleans and rougher shouts are impressively delivered throughout.

The guitars are played at speed and with great skill. Plenty of leads and solos are spread liberally around these eight tracks. The fusion of rhythms and leads creates an emotive tapestry that is pure, molten Metal at times.

The drums are especially energetic and sound like they’re played full-on, all of the time.

There’s a powerful Thrash Metal influence to the band, done in a modern way yet borrowing from the past. The same is true of a lesser Power/Speed Metal influence; almost as if Iced Earth were being channelled through Shadow’s Fall…which is not actually that bad of a description, come to think of it. Add in a bit of Grip Inc. and there you go.

Hunt for the Sun has a solid sound and the energy of the songs can leave you breathless sometimes.

This is an exceedingly interesting release as it perfectly balances an older passion and energy with the state-of-the-art delivery of a contemporary Metal band.

This is an album that has surprised me. So often these days bands like this either fall foul of the hero-worship of older bands or stray too far into generic Metalcore territory. This album is different. The band have an individual take on a heavily saturated genre and they’re left sounding fresh, exciting and vital.

A highly recommended listen – it’s time to support some real Metal.

Call of the Void – Ageless (Review)

Call of the VoidCall of the Void are from the US and play Hardcore. This is their second album.

Call of the Void play the kind of nasty, violent Hardcore that it’s very easy to like. Somewhat of a cross between All Pigs Must Die, early Eighteen Visions, Early Entombed and any number of Old-School Hardcore bands, this is music that is earthy and pure.

Blasting mayhem and Crust-fuelled carnage make up the bulk of the tracks here. Each song rages and tears at the world through red-tinted vision.

The vocals are non-stop shouts and screams that are perfectly adapted to their environment. They provide a formidable presence and focal point to already intimidating music.

Moments of rough melody and abrasive atmosphere do appear amongst the high-energy proceedings. These glimpses of mercy amidst the violence ensure that Call of the Void are worthy of repeat spins and are not just a throwaway one-shot band.

This is music that’s brutally honest and aggressively focused.

Very enjoyable indeed.

Sovereign – Nailing Shut the Sacrosanct Orifice (Review)


This is the début album by US Black metal band Sovereign.

With an obscure album cover and an intro track, Gnosis, that is equally enigmatic; the album starts with a winding guitar and an increasing unsettling feeling. I’m not sure what to expect.

So when the first song proper, Orbiting Lunar Curse, begins, it’s almost relieving to be confronted with recognisable Black Metal, albeit played with passion and obvious talent.

Subtle mysterious melodies are deftly weaved into the tapestry of dark malevolence that Sovereign spin. This is a band who are very good at what they do.

Their Black Metal is richly realised and not limited to just one feeling or aura. They play music with depth and even incorporate into their sound that rarest of beasts – the Black Metal guitar solo.

The music has an almost physical presence. Guitar riffs and occult rhythms are unleashed with the confidence of master craftspeople.

An organic production gives Sovereign a very enticing sound and all of the songs are sinuous and slippery with reptilian heat.

Nailing Shut the Sacrosanct Orifice combines elements of Deathspell Omega, Marduk and Ondskapt to create an engaging album that fills me with a sense of Blackened grandeur.

I’ve encountered a lot of really good Black Metal recently and Sovereign definitely strike me as one of the best. Have a listen and see what you think.

Keep of Kalessin – Epistemology (Review)

Keep of KalessinKeep of Kalessin are from Norway and play Black Metal. This is their Sixth album.

Keep of Kalessin return, and it’s a very welcome one.

Fusing the best of bands like Emperor, Satyricon and Enslaved, Keep of Kalessin have produced an album that’s as epic and soaring as they’ve always promised.

Elements of the symphonic, majestic and even Avant-Garde combine with a state-of-the-art Blackened core to produce tracks that are brightly textured and rich in colour and taste.

Expertly performed cleans act as a central highlight of many of these songs, whilst expressive screams provide an acidic hit of aggression.

Highly emotive music connects with you on a visceral level as the band work their way through 52 minutes of top quality Metal.

The band may have a firm Black Metal core but they have used this to create music that almost transcends genre boundaries. Almost. Ultimately though, this is Black Metal, and it means business.

Their songwriting skills have been further refined since their previous work and this is a relatively varied album that takes in the past whilst leaning towards the future.

Intricate, inspired and sometimes warped riffing is impressively integrated into the wider song structures to create tracks that don’t always do or sound as you expect them to.

The musicianship and production values are first rate of course. Everything is played and recorded extremely professionally and the clean vocals in particular seem vibrant enough to jump out of the speakers.

A must listen for all Extreme Metal fans.

Northland – Downfall and Rebirth (Review)

NorthlandComing from Spain, Northland play Folk-influenced Melodic Death Metal. This is their second album.

There are a whole load of different instruments used on this album in addition to the usual ones that form the Metal core. Keyboards, piano, flute and bodhran are all present, as well as guest musicians and singers.

Northland take all of these and wrap them up in a Melodic Death Metal delivery that successfully knits the Folk influences into a cohesive Metal whole so that the album flows nicely across its 11 tracks.

Downfall and Rebirth has a good sound that brings the Folk and the Metal components together so that you don’t feel like you’re listening to a band of two halves.

Harsh and clean vocals are both used, with the harsh vocals having quite a bite and the cleans being of the epic, stirring variety.

Epic and stirring are good words to describe the music as well, but not in the way that, say, Power Metal or certain strains of Black Metal can be. This is more of a journey to old lands that have been forgotten, and a reliving of the tales and deeds of heroes long past.

The songs are well-written slabs of Folk-enhanced Melodic Metal and whilst the clean vocals provide an extra layer of accessibility the band never stray too far into commercial territory; this is real Metal through and through.

I’ve really enjoyed this. It gets the balance between its jaunty, upbeat nature and its darker Metal soul just right.

Check out Northland and get ready for an epic adventure.