Kampfar – Profan (Review)

KampfarThis is the seventh album from Norwegian Black Metallers Kampfar.

Kampfar play Black Metal with speed and melody, drawing the listener in and then slicing at them with hidden blades.

Serrated screams and powerful cleans are both used to great effect on this release. The screams provide the focal point as they are meant to, while the cleans add an emotive enhancement to the songs that works really well.

Kampfar incorporate influences from both Melodic and Pagan Black Metal into their sound, as well as Progressive Black Metal elements akin to, (but not as pronounced as), a band like Enslaved. This results in songs that have a characterful epic feeling to them in addition to the razor sharp edge of Blackened aggression that they foster so well.

The songs are well-written and played, with lots to keep the interest of the listener. Some of the guitar melodies are particularly compelling and taken holistically there’s a grand amount of atmosphere contained on this release.

Highly recommended.

Organ – Tetro (Review)

OrganOrgan are an Italian Doom band. This is their début album.

Organ play a merging of Doom, Sludge and Psychedelic Metal.

A colossal, crushing sound heralds Tetro’s beginning, and this is a theme which is developed throughout. They’re not without their introspective moments, but the overall emphasis is on heavy atmospheres.

Speaking of atmosphere, Organ have it in buckets. Or rather, waves, as the onslaught of heaviness seems to internally generate its own ecosystem which bleeds out of the speakers like controlled tsunamis of density.

Relentless, repetitive rhythms drive the music forward, while dark vocals seem to lurk just beneath the surface. Harsh screams and cleaner vocals both have a place on this record, although the singer’s voice is used like an additional instrument to merely enhance the power and focus of the main musical maelstrom.

A roiling, churning beast of an album. It’s relatively short for this kind of release at ‘just’ over half an hour in length, but it packs a lot of punches into that time and Tetro is a very worthwhile listen for anyone into layered, atmospheric Doom.

For fans of Om, Electric Wizard, Sleep, Yob, In the Company of Serpents, Ufomammut, Generation of Vipers, etc.

Abhorrent – Intransigence (Review)

AbhorrentAbhorrent are from the US and play Technical Death Metal. This is their début album.

Featuring former/current members of Spawn of Possession, Absurdist and The Faceless, there’s already a wealth of knowledge and experience behind this release, which is no wonder that it sounds so accomplished for a début album.

The aggressive technicality of Abhorrent is a thing of disturbed beauty and the way that it all twists, turns and demolishes can leave you with whiplash if you’re not careful.

Dense, complex music combines with straight-ahead brutality to create something that lives in both worlds but is beholden to neither. Guitar gymnastics and sparkling, spiky bass are your frequent companions and the frenzied drumming seems only one step away from pure madness.

The singer’s rapid-fire grunting is like being hit repeatedly with a blunt object. Add to this the nature of the music and Intransigence is an album that rarely stops to take a breath.

A lot of Technical Death Metal recently seems to be supping more and more from the pot of Progressive Death Metal. Although this is largely a very good thing, it means that it’s been a while since I’ve listened to the insanely-crazy all-over-the-place style of ridiculous Technical Death Metal that Abhorrent espouse. Well, I’ve missed it and I have really enjoyed the chaotic, controlled mayhem of Intransigence.

Listen if you dare, if you think you can handle it.

Against Time – Against Time (Review)

Against TimeAgainst Time are an Alternative Rock band from Canada. This is their début EP.

This is uplifting Alternative Rock with a pinch of Metal here and there in some of the riffs. It reminds me of the kind of style that was quite wildly popular a decade or so ago – somewhat of the time of a kind of Post-Grunge second wave, I suppose.

The singer’s voice fits the music and is kind of reminiscent of the big commercial US stadium rock style from the era, (Pearl Jam, Creed, etc.).

For the most part these songs are upbeat rockers, although on the odd occasion where they slow down I find I actually prefer these parts. Having said that though, there are some good riffs on this in places.

There’s a lot of promise on this EP and I think that if they refine their style a bit more, as I’m sure they will, then they’ll go from strength to strength.

For those times when you want a bit of simple Rock without anything too retro or too modern, there are worse choices than Against Time.

Have a listen and see what you think.

Favourite Track: Breathless.

HD live video here – http://www.omniumdurock.tv/2015/11/20/against-time-18-novembre-2015/

Aktaion – Throne (Review)

AktaionThis is the début album by Swedish Metal band Aktaion.

This is sharp Melodic Metal that combines high-energy aggressive Melodic Death Metal with more restrained and emotive choruses. Elements of Thrash and Progressive Metal also raise their heads, (only to bang them all the harder). Continue reading

Hatecrowned – Newborn Serpent (Review)

HatecrownedThis is the début album from Lebanese Black Metal band Hatecrowned.

This is an album that finds its origins in Old-School Raw Black Metal. The band take this base though and expand upon it, introducing some darker Death Metal influences and atmosphere.

Bleak melodies and leads occasionally break the Blackened surface, but for the most part this is an album that’s swamped in atmospheric distortion from the rhythm guitars. It’s like a fuzzed-up wall of grim auras, ready and willing to crush, smother and consume all in its path. There are also solos, which I approve of big-style.

This methodology works well for the band, and the songs on Newborn Serpent are compelling hymns to hatred and malevolence. The dark Death Metal elements are combined skilfully into the even darker Black Metal core of the band, resulting in songs that just seethe misanthropy.

Screamed vocals are complemented by deeper growls, providing the songs with enough tools to spread their sinister manifesto.

I like that the band don’t stick to just one way of writing throughout; there’s a good amount of variety here for the style. Some songs are pure Black Metal, while others let the Death Metal seep in. Some songs are all about the bile and venom, while others have more atmosphere or pacing. Fast/slow, long/short; the band don’t limit themselves to just one method of assault and should be roundly commended for this.

Very good, very good indeed. Hatecrowned have impressed.

The Sickening – Sickness Unfold (Review)

The SickeningThis is the second album from Norwegian Brutal Death Metallers The Sickening.

This is Brutal Death Metal for fans of Deeds of Flesh, Severe Torture, Vile and the like. Indeed, the last song on here is a Vile cover.

Guttural growls lead the way, deep and dark atop the gore-drenched music. The singer is an accomplished grunter and leaves no doubt in your mind that you are firmly in his sights and may very well be on the menu.

The band have a slightly odd production in that everything sounds extremely sharp; whereas the average Death Metal band will happily pummel you to death with blunt objects, The Sickening prefer to use knives and bladed weapons.

The recording allows the band to make ample use of their bassist too, which is something I always enjoy in my Death Metal.

The songs have plenty of chug and groove in them, as well as the requisite blasting barbarity. This is a band that doesn’t understand the word subtle and is quite happy going straight for the kill in every one of these tracks.

When only Brutal Death Metal in its purest of forms will do, The Sickening are here for you.

Check them out.

Anal Fissure – Mind of a Serial Killer (Review)

Anal FissureAnal Fissure are a Brutal Death Metal band from the Philippines. This is their début album.

Here we have 32 minutes of Brutal Death Metal with a decent amount of groove and blast. Influences from the Slam style work their way into the mix here and there, but for the most part this is all about the tried-and-tested method of Brutal Death Metal carnage.

For some reason, the band name and album cover led me to believe that this was going to be a more primitive Grind-influenced offering than it actually is. I was wrong though and Mind of a Serial Killer is a very professional and polished collection of butcher’s songs; the album features a strong recording where everything is solid, thick and precise.

Blasting drums, heavy grooves and huge breakdowns provide plenty of meat to chew on. The riffs are ever-present and the band know how to play, whether they’re going full-speed ahead or slowing it down a notch to crush the listener with churning grooves. Whatever they’re doing, the songs are well-played, with everything sounding tight and focused.

The singer has a pretty gruesome near-pignoise growl that is perfectly executed for this style of carnage. No marks lost for his performance.

Sometimes you want ostentatious and flashy music, or something more experimental and unique to listen to. At other times, however, only Brutal Death Metal will do. For times like that, you have this.

Bloodily enjoyable.