Flesh of the Stars – Hide (Review)

Flesh of the StarsFlesh of the Stars are from the US and play Doom Metal. This is their début album.

Taking their cues from bands such as Sleep and Black Sabbath, Flesh of the Stars play Traditional Doom Metal with an occult, sinister vibe and 70s accoutrements. Throw in a few elements of bands like Electric Wizard and Ice Dragon and you have a hugely impressive début that is head-and-shoulders above most who attempt this style.

And that’s the thing in many ways; this kind of music has been absolutely done to death, but Flesh of the Stars play it so damn well it’s hard to care. The level of songwriting and dark atmosphere on this album is downright freaky in itself. Surely they’ve sold their souls for these songs?

Out of these seven tracks only four of them are actual songs, so Hide leaves you hungry for more. It’s an addictive release as it’s so very easy just to start playing it again once you’ve listened to it; the hallmark of a great album.

The band create an impressive atmosphere with their music and there are some genuinely creepy/eerie moments on Hide. The interplay between the, (largely), restrained, introspective vocals and the fuzzy guitar is perfectly judged and everything fits into place where it should.

Well, I can’t say enough nice things about this. It’s always great when you discover a band who seem so perfectly attuned to what they’re doing that it’s a genuine pleasure to listen to. This is especially true when the band isn’t actually doing anything different or ground-breaking; Flesh of the Stars are just so massively good at what they do that it’s probably immoral.


Favourite Track: Grim Baptist. Well, what a stunning song!

Abyssus – Into the Abyss (Review)

AbyssusThis is the début album from Greek Death Metallers Abyssus.

I’m familiar with Abyssus from their Split with Morbider, and I have to say that I enjoyed that release quite a lot, from both band’s perspectives. So when this album from Abyssus popped into my inbox, I immediately prioritised it.

Abyssus play Old-School Death Metal with a strong Obituary influence, which is not something that you hear too often when compared with bands that take their influences from other Death Metal greats. Even the singer’s voice seems moulded by Obituary, with a similar kind of tone and style apparent.

This may be Obituary-worship in some ways, but it still has its own charms and Into the Abyss boils along at its own pace causing destruction and death wherever it travels.

The songs are simple, atavistic paeans to 90s Death Metal, with the recording values following suit. It’s a pleasing collection of tracks that makes a good impression with its honesty and authenticity. There’s nothing flashy or new here, but that’s resolutely not the point. This is 39 minutes of enjoyable and pleasurable Death Metal that makes no grand claims and simply revels in the bloodshed.

Like the aforementioned split, I really like this; simple and effective. I bet they’re great live.

Check them out.

Veil of Deception – Tearing up the Roots (Review)

Veil of DeceptionVeil of Deception are a Metal band from Austria. This is their second album.

This is Groove Metal with a Thrash edge, in the vein of Pantera, Sevendust, Breed 77 and mid-phase Anthrax, mixed with a bit of an Alternative Metal approach.

Heavy riffs and lighter leads form the bedrock of the band’s sound. Their approach is a little different to the average Groove Metal band though, eschewing the more Modern Metal approach and instead incorporating elements of Classic and Heavy Metal into their sound.

The singer is a great example of this – he has a cleaner, more Heavy Metal style than you’d probably expect from a band of this ilk. It adds an authentic edge to the music, as well as a good Rock sensibility on occasion.

Well, this is quite an unexpected turn of events. There I was, expecting Metalcore, (based on the cover, logo and band description), when what I actually got has more in common with 90s Alternative Metal than 00s Metalcore. It’s a welcome change of pace and the band are to be commended for not taking a more obvious route with their style.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t any issues with Tearing up the Roots; overall the songs are enjoyable slabs of Metal, but the songwriting could do with a bit of tightening up in places.

All in all, this is an enjoyable release though; one that makes me feel a bit nostalgic in places too. Not many bands play this kind of thing any more, as it’s too Classic Metal for the Modern Metal crowds and too groove-laden for the Classic Metal crowds. It’s an interesting release and it certainly gets better with repeated spins as the riffs, melodies and vocals work themselves into your brain.

Not bad at all. Check it out.


Dementia 13 – Ways of Enclosure (Review)

Dementia 13Dementia 13 are a Death Metal band from Portugal. This is their début album.

Sometimes only Old-School Death Metal will do. Yes, it’s always nice to hear the latest in TechDeath fusion, or the latests sophisticated Avant-Garde Black Metal opus, or some new-fangled take on Doom…but sometimes you just want something primitive, ugly and swamped in Death Metal’s rich heritage. For times like that, there’s bands like this.

This is horror-inspired music, with each track finding inspiration in a different film.

With a decent sound that means the guitars sound good and heavy while the bass is actually audible, Dementia 13 take a festering, decaying sub-genre by storm and kick up some dust and muck while they’re at it.

This is a very satisfying release. The tasty riffs and deep, growling vocals hit the right spots and Ways of Enclosure is full of grim, filthy Death Metal that manages to capture the spirit of the Old-School style perfectly without sounding stale or tired, as so many do.

The singer’s voice is perfectly gruff but still surprisingly legible. His throaty growl tears along over the steady pace of the music, while the guitars throw out riff after riff and dark tidings aplenty.

Fans of Bolt Thrower, Massacre, Entombed, Autopsy and Six Feet Under will find a lot to enjoy with Dementia 13.

Interview with Necrocosm

Necrocosm Logo

Necrocosm’s début album – Damnation Doctrine – is a high-energy, aggressive 45 minutes of Melodic Death Metal that really does hit the spot. I decided it was time to explore their world a little more…

For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

We are Necrocosm, from Raleigh, NC and we play melodic death metal.

Give us a bit of background to Necrocosm

We started Necrocosm in Fall 2011 with three remaining members from a previous thrash band: Kevin (lead guitar), Adam (drums), and our founding bassist Cisco. Since the songwriting duties now fell on Kevin (lead guitars) we naturally went in a more death metal oriented direction as that is his main inspiration. It took until late-mid 2012 to completely flesh out the lineup, adding Brent on rhythm guitar and Zach on vocals. We became active on stage in June 2013 and released a three-song demo later that summer. In early 2014 Matt took over on bass. This past September we finally released our début album recorded in October 2014 and April 2015.

Where did the band name come from?

We wanted a one-word band name, and we are fans of clever wordplay whenever possible, and the word “necro” is pretty fucking metal. So putting our heads together, Necrocosm was the best we could come up with. If you look at the word microcosm, where the definition is a miniature of a larger world. I guess if you don’t mind the details completely, Necrocosm could mean a dead world. And since most humans are brain dead and/or dead inside, we feel it’s not too fantastical of a concept.

What are your influences?

Oh that’s a tough one. I guess it’s fairly obvious that Kevin is a fan of The Black Dahlia Murder, At the Gates, Amon Amarth, Gates of Ishtar, Death, etc. But he also likes to include black metal influences here and there that he gets from Dissection, Emperor, and Immortal. Lately we’re getting a little more technical, thanks to Decrepit Birth, Obscura, and Necrophagist. And a little brutal in places.

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

Our western NC bros Abhorrent Deformity just released a brutal, slammy, SICK fucking debut album titled Entity of Malevolence. Check it out!

Give us a bit of background to Damnation Doctrine – any particular concepts or ideas you want to discuss?

The album title is based on our feelings about the brainwashing cancer of religion. The thought that we’re born guilty of “the original sin” and that we must follow teachings of an ancient book that was written initially by primitive types of people and then translated and reinterpreted at will over the centuries, or otherwise face eternal hellfire, is a doctrine based on damnation. And we reject all facets of organized religion.

How do you go about writing your songs?

Usually Kevin will get a riff idea and then base supporting or lead riffs based off of that initial idea. If the ideas are good enough, he’ll record a scratch track and send it out to the band to get their thoughts. If everyone’s on board then we’ll start going over the song sections at practice and Adam will write his drum parts both at practice and on his own. Once we have a complete song, Zach will write his lyrics based on the inspiration the song gives him.

How did the recording process go?

It was our first time working with someone of the calibre of Jamie King, and he is a professional to say the least, haha. He made it as painless as anyone could, as he is a fan of extreme metal, so he understood exactly what we were shooting for with this album and our sound in general. Tracking was stressful at times haha because Jamie only accepted the best of the best of the best takes; but upon hearing the final product we are so grateful that he did.

What’s your favourite song on the album and why?

Collectively Octopian Eclipse is our favourite. That was the most recent song at time of recording, and it displays us at our most varied and technical, writing-wise (before recording). The newer stuff we’ve written is more varied and technical.

What does the future hold for Necrocosm?

That’s tough to say these days. We’re going to be here doing what we do as long as we can keep the band together. But as you may know, we are completely self-supported and our resources are quite limited to say the least. We’re hoping to get out of town and play some weekend shows in other cities we haven’t yet been to, and hopefully they’ll dig us and want us back some day.

Naðra – Allir Vegir Til Glötunar (Review)

NadraNaðra are an Icelandic Black Metal band and this is their début album.

This is noisy and aggressive Black Metal that manages to create a frosted, dangerous atmosphere. It’s a passionate display of Blackened spite that sees the band explore their grim musical vision with apparent relish.

There’s plenty of high speed attack, but Naðra also take the time to slow things down when they need to, leading to Allir Vegir Til Glötunar having sufficient depth to hold attention throughout the 40 minute playing time.

The singer seems just one short step away from a full break from reality as he tears through the material with maniacal haste; even when the music slows down, his intensity does not.

Allir Vegir Til Glötunar only has 5 songs on it but there’s enough content here to satiate. The tracks have that wonderful secret ingredient that’s essential to underground Black Metal and makes releases like this so special. Listening to this, it’s easy to feel the modern world slip away and to become absorbed in far away places full of threat and mystery.


Necropsy – Buried in the Woods (Review)

NecropsyNecropsy are a Finnish Death Metal band and this is their second album.

Necropsy play Old-School Death Metal that stinks of the crypt and is full of rotting horror.

Their sound is nicely heavy and full of rolling, tasty riffs. Frequent leads and solos accompany the the thick riffs and an ancient atmosphere of atavistic Death Metal is easily achieved.

The singer has a good growl that conjures up all manner of revolting, sickening images as he grunts and roars his way through the musical carnage.

The songs are well-written and the band have that authentic, underground quality to them. Necropsy are veterans of the scene and know what goes into making decent Death Metal. They know when to apply speed too and are not over-reliant on slower sections; there’s savagery here.

It’s a well-rounded package really. Good sound, good songs, good variety; Buried in the Woods ticks all of the boxes for this kind of release and it’s clear that the band have poured a lot of effort and personality into these 8 tracks.

Very nice indeed. Necropsy have impressed and pleased.

Mantric – Sin (Review)

MantricMantric are a Norwegian Progressive Metal band. This is their second album.

Mantric play modern Progressive Metal that favours a combination of atmospheric sections and more aggressive technical parts. Sometimes these parts are separated and sometimes they merge into one another.

The vocals consist of soft cleans and harsher screams. The cleans have a wistful, tender feeling to them while the screams are more Hardcore in nature. The cleaner vocals tend to, (unsurprisingly), correspond to the more atmospheric parts and the harsher ones to the more aggressive parts.

Mantric’s Metal hides a lot of complexity behind the atmospheric veneer that it cloaks itself in. I can imagine that it will be a bit hit-and-miss for a lot of people due to the rather unusual style they play, which combines a rather ethereal feeling of atmosphere with a more rugged technicality that is a strange combination in some ways.

I like its unconventional charms though, and Sin does have the feel of a special record due to this. It’s certainly not perfect and does have a few unpolished moments, but overall the odd feelings it creates remind me of a strange amalgam of Poison the Well, Enslaved and Drowningman.

Works for me. Check them out.

Antlion – The Prescient (Review)

AntlionAntlion are a Canadian Technical Death Metal band and this is their début album.

Antlion’s brand of Death Metal incorporates some Jazzy, Progressive and Death-style elements into their Technical Death Metal broth and it tastes good. It’s a modern take on the genre and is somewhat of a mix of bands like Gorod and Between the Buried and Me’s quirky extremity, mixed with a classic essence of Death and just the barest touch of Djent.

The music is highly accomplished, featuring enough style and time-changes to satisfy anyone’s craving for challenging music. This is coupled with a wider Progressive sensibility that stops the music from going off the rails completely, but only just.

Liquid leads and fluid guitars fracture into spiky riffs and jagged melodies at a moment’s notice. The merging of the two disparate Progressive Technical Metal worlds that bands like Between the Buried and Me and Death inhabit is a stroke of genius and it’s a joy to hear the modern and the Old-School share space in this way.

The singer’s voice mainly consists of sharp, shrieking screams and aggressive growls. His performance fits the music and it’s nicely rabid the entire way through.

For all of their seeming-randomness, these are tightly controlled songs that have a surprising emotive content and even catchiness in places, both of which are unexpected for a band of this ilk.

This is an impressive release, especially for a début. I would love for this band to develop their Progressive side in the future, but at the same time keeping the inherent unpredictability of their Technical side. This would probably mean songs that average about 10 minutes in length each, but I’m happy with that. As it is though, The Prescient is a very involving slab of Technical/Progressive Death Metal with loads of content and a nasty bite.

Highly recommended.