Cvinger – Monastery of Fallen (Review)

CvingerSlovenian brutal Black Metal band Cvinger don’t pull any punches with their first EP. With eight tracks in 20 minutes there’s no time to waste.

After a brief acoustic intro we get blasting underground Black Metal in the style of a more furious and rabid Panzer Division Marduk. Breaking up the action there is the odd acoustic passage, some chanting, but mainly we have pure second-wave Black Metal with a firm stranglehold on the exposed neck.

Short songs, high on aggression and filth, fly past in a breakneck manner propelled by hatred and rage. Each song a mini-hymn of evil and a testament to harshness.

Vocals are quite varied – we get the standard Black Metal screams of a couple of varieties, as well as some chanting and dirty-singing and even the odd deeper grunting.

An enjoyable release – hopefully they can build on this for the future and unleash something truly hellish on us next time.

Mental Killing Spree – Centrifuge of Man (Review)

mksIncredibly muscular Death Metal from Germany from a band with big ambition and a refusal to be run-of-the-mill.

The sound is rock solid; both the drums and guitar sound like slabs of concrete and the vocalist sounds like he’s gargling granite. The riffs are thick and sinuous; twisting, turning, chugging and shredding their way straight to your ears.

The band play forward-thinking, modern Death Metal but performed in a traditional way; so none of the hardcore/djent additions that some bands have – just pure Death Metal played honestly and brutally. But there’s more.

The band also has a refreshing ear for dynamics and structure. Although undeniably brutal there is more than just that going on here. Songs like Equal Zero Coincidence, for example, displaying some very well composed parts with good ideas shining through – tension-raising sections and similar emotive passages all raising the standard above the average.

Taking a standard Death Metal template and improving it with good songs and good ideas, band like Mental Killing Spree need to be supported. Do yourself a favour and check them out today.

Disfigured Dead – Relentless (Review)

Disfigured DeadThis is the second full-length album from US Death Metal group Disfigured Dead. Boldly named Relentless – does it live up to its name? Pretty much, yes.

Blasting out of the speakers comes the Relentless, (ahem), statement of intent – no intro, no messing around; just straight up brutality and heaviness. As well as plenty of blastbeats we are treated to some punishing slower and more mid-paced segments that make the most of the good guitar sound that they have.

They also have some riffs. Everyone likes a good riff. They know how to write some very mosh-friendly sections and I can imagine them going down extremely well in the local pit.

The vocals are very accomplished – just the right side of cookie-monster vocals for the most part, with some nice vocalisations and patterns used. On the whole the vocals are satisfying and a definite asset to the band.

At its heart this is US-style brutal Death Metal, but they do introduce elements of complexity into the equation that help hold interest and keep you along for the, (brutal), ride.

If you haven’t already met your kill-quota for this month then invite Disfigured Dead to the party and watch those corpses rack up.

Craven Idol – Towards Eschaton (Review)

Craven IdolFrom the foetid corpse of Black Metal we have a surprisingly fresh release from this UK band, who also have a nice sideline in Thrash.

This is a strong album. In every sense of the word. A distinct sense of force and musculature pervades this Black Metal release. Fast, blasting, relentless. This release is all these things and more. This reminds me of the famous Abyss studio-era Black Metal onslaught, where bands such as Dark Funeral and Marduk unleashed their hells on the world. Craven Idol, spiritually, share common ground. And to be fair I’ve missed it!

Songs show good composition, instruments are played well and throats are screamed raw – exactly what you would want from this album. Thrash riffs and more traditional Heavy Metal influences are also incorporated into their sound, all of which help the album to gallop along at a highly enjoyable pace. Not only that though; these influences allow Craven Idol to side-step the problem of being too one-dimensional which has sometimes weakened many a furious Black Metal album.

This is Black Metal with its finger on the pulse just long enough to know when you’re dead.

Israthoum – Black Poison and Shared Wounds (Review)

Israthoum

Israthoum play Black Metal and, (since their relocation), come from The Netherlands.

This album has a dark, grim atmosphere powered by the Darkthrone-esque Black Metal and the suitably hateful vocals that are positively dripping with scorn and strength of purpose. This is underground Black Metal played well by people who know the genre inside out.

Speed, aggression and darkness are emphatically delivered by a band who obviously believe in their calling and are passionate about their art. That’s not to say this is purely a blast-a-thon; they do lower the tempo from time to time as the song requires.

Vocals are as you would expect – tortured and blackened; sounds such as no human should be able to make.

Dredging up the darkest of emotions and altered states to deliver a sermon of hatred to an eager flock; Israthoum are Orthodox Black Metal’s dark missionaries come to spread their corrupt gospel. Will you listen?

Corrupt Moral Altar – Whiskey Sierra (Review)

Corrupt Moral AltarUK based Corrupt Moral Altar play dirty sludgey Grindcore with lashings of filth and passion. This is ugly music for people who know what they like and couldn’t care less what the latest trends are.

The first song blasts out of the speakers like a ferocious angry animal; all teeth, claws and invective. It’s only three minutes long but it’s amazing how much content they cram into it.

Blasting, mid paced, sludge, atmospherics – all raise their bruised heads and have their time in the sun. It’s amazing that they find the time to slow down and inject quality Doom and sludge into their sound – this band are certainly not a one-trick blast pony.

Throughout these four songs the vocals lash and rage in high-pitched screams, as well as deeper shouts and even a nice bit of pig-noise depending on the whims of the Grindcore muse.

Ten minutes is all we get, but ten minutes of highly-inventive grinding extreme Metal that manages to pack more ideas into its short running time than a lot of bands do in a career. If you like Grind or just top quality extreme Metal then this is as near to essential a ten minutes as you’re going to find anywhere.

Ferocity – The Sovereign (Review)

FerocityHailing from Denmark, Ferocity play Death Metal with style and skill. This is contemporary Death Metal that combines intricacy, brutality, melody and controlled aggression to get its message across.

There are blastbeats aplenty, but also mid-paced and slower sections showing off The Chug and other assorted riffs that make this album instantly familiar but also most welcome. Relatively diverse, (within the Death Metal genre of course), Ferocity display influences from various different sub-genres of Death Metal without ever being confined to just one of them. Here and there you’ll find elements of modern, US, brutal, technical, mid-paced and hyperblast Death Metal all sharing the same album, and even the same song. In my book this can only be a good thing, especially as in the case of Ferocity it works and doesn’t sound just mashed together.

There are some very nice riffs on this release and some good moments in the songs – a welcome grasp of dynamics by the band of when to go melodic, when to go full throttle, when to ease off, when a solo is required, etc. all within a solid Death Metal framework.

Ferocity live up to their name but are not limited to it – there is more than just blind brutality here and that makes The Sovereign a better album. Recommended.

Iron Kingdom – Gates of Eternity (Review)

Iron KingdomCanadian Heavy/Power Metal with plenty of ambition and ideas.

A useful starting point would be Iron Maiden/Iced Earth with more Power Metal-style vocals. Epic melody, memorable riffing and considered song-structure are all contained in these songs, as well as plenty of solos and atmosphere.

These guys really do know how to play their Metal! The band are very adept at their trade, whether it is during more atmospheric, classical moments, or going full-on Metal with duelling guitars and galloping drums. Either way they are very confident, talented musicians, and this comes across in the songs.

The singer belts out the tunes as would be expected of the Power Metal style, with the vocals soaring above the music with a high degree of gusto.  The vocals, and the music in general, are well-recorded and sound very organic. The drums and bass in particular have a very warm, live sound that is a pleasure to listen to.

Favourite track? It has to be the penultimate song; the 15-minute epic Egypt (The End Is Near). A triumph.

Like a satisfying Metal meal in a commercial-Metal famine, if you long for traditional Heavy Metal with some tasty Power Metal thrown in – then this is a nine-course meal that is bound to hit the spot.