Insain – Spiritual Rebirth (Review)

InsainInsain are a brutal Death Metal band from France.  The album starts with a nice, slow, ease-in before entering full-on brutality mode proceeding to pummel the listener into submission, in a thoroughly enjoyable way that only this style of music can do.

This album has a very nice sound – the best way I can describe it is satisfying. As the songs play and the brutality unveils, it feels like a very satisfying listen. This is the kind of album that reminds you why you first got into Death Metal in the first place, and makes you hungry for more.

This is an album that grabs you immediately but it’s also clear that it will stand the test of time and still remain an enjoyable listen down the line. Riffs, beats and (brutal) melodies are in abundance with both simplicity and technicality being displayed.

Special note should go to the vocalist, who I feel has done a particularly good job and whose vocals are very satisfying (there’s that word again) indeed.

Apparently there’s a new album in the works for the near future – after hearing Spiritual Rebirth I can safely say that this is something every Death Metal fan should be looking forward to.

To The Pain – To The Pain (Review)

To The PainNow this is the stuff! Here we have a Thrash/Power Metal band from the US who really know their stuff.

Here we have some classic, 80s/90s-style thrash with a power-feel to some of the vocals. There are seven songs on offer here and each one of them is as enjoyable as the next. No trends, no compromise, just old-school metal played by people with an obvious passion and talent for this style of music.

There are plenty of great riffs, melodies, solos, vocals, etc. being shown off here. Each song is an actual song and stands strongly by itself, with plenty of feeling and quality poured into it and covered liberally in pure molten metal.

As I sit here listening to this album I am transported back to the formative years of my metal youth; listening to the giants of the thrash and heavy metal genres – this album has a similar feel to those, all wrapped up in a modern sound that lends it a freshness that a lot of bands lack these days.

I really, really like this release – I suggest you check them out as soon as you can.

Monolithe – Interlude Second (Review)

MonolitheAnother solid release from Monolithe. They really do play some exceptional doom. After recently getting their Monolithe II album I knew this was going to be good and I was not disappointed.

If you have not encountered Monolithe before they play crawling, mysterious Doom with an emphasis on the heavy.

This is only a two-track EP ‘interlude’ between their main releases, but there is still over 36 minutes of music here – all of it of a high quality and well worth a purchase. Monolithe are not a band for everyone – the repetitive drone-esque heaviness will just be more than some people can stomach. Never-the-less; devotees of all things slow will find a goldmine of doom to be found in their work, and this EP is fitting as a good introduction to the band and as preparation for the doom-a-thons that are their albums.

Interested? Have a listen and then hop over to Bandcamp to get it – it’s currently only €0.50 and an absolute steal at that price.

Nephren-Ka – The Fall of Omnius (Review)

Nephren-KaThere seems to be an upswell of talent in the extreme metal world in France of late. Nephren-Ka are one such band.

Easily boasting enough talent, ideas and skill to propel them to the upper echelons of the Death Metal world; given the chance this band could, (and should), go far.

Although this is, in essence, brutal Death Metal; there is so much more going on here. Elements of most styles of extreme metal are included in the mix at some point or another, (all within a Death Metal framework), with plenty of small touches, flourishes and individuality to make this release stand out head and shoulders above the pack.

The band know how to blast, but crucially also when not to. “Mastering the Voice” for example contains some lovely slow, crawling bits that rival the best similar parts that Cryptopsy have ever done. Some nice solos are scattered around, as well as enough atmosphere to give the album enough variety and interest but never allows it to go off-track and become something it shouldn’t.

The songwriting is top-notch, with plenty of dynamics and riffs to hold the attention and differentiate the individual songs from each other. The vocals also show a pleasing amount of variety, spanning the spectrum from deep to high, as necessary for the requirements of the song.

This is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best Death Metal albums I have listened to in a while, and I unreservedly recommend it for any and all fans of extreme metal. Top stuff.

Exhumer – Degraded by Sepsis (Review)

ExhumerItalian band Exhumer play brutal Deathgrind, and they play it well. It’s not a very long album, but with this style of music that’s a given. It’s not necessary either; too long and it could outstay its welcome. As it is the running time is just right for the dose of brutality that is dished out here. And brutal it is.

After a perfunctory intro; first track proper “Vapours of Cadaveric Mucilage” sets the scene perfectly. Straight out of the gate they lay their cards on the table and go for the kill. The song blasts out of the gates like a rabid attack dog that knows exactly where all of your weak points lie.

A tendency sometimes for bands such as this can be to go for the ultra-ridiculous pig-noise vocals. Thankfully that isn’t the case here. The vocalist acquits himself nicely, having a nice and satisfying deep growl which is used to great effect across the album. The overall sound is not a cold and clinical one as you may expect either; rather it is warm and pulsing – like you can feel the blood coursing!

It’s not all blast though. They do throw in the odd brief respite from the carnage as well, in the form of “Misery” and “Scent of Decomposition”, and then we’re back to the mayhem once more!

For a short album with short songs the tracks are remarkably well composed. As well as the blasting carnage there are also slower paced parts occasionally, as well as some nice meaty riffs to get sucked in by.

All in all a superior deathgrind release for sure – a lot of bands could learn from Exhumer.

Bongripper – Live at Roadburn 2012 (Review)

BongripperMy first concern with any live album is the sound quality. Thankfully there are no concerns here as the sound is, frankly, brilliant. Everything is clear, warm and the album has a big sound. And when I say big, I mean massive, as Bongripper play all-massive, all the time.

This is a recording of their 2012 Roadburn Festival appearance where they actually played two sets – both of which are included here. If you have never encountered Bongripper before then you are in for a treat. Here they are in all of their visceral glory.

They play absolutely huge doom, with giant fat riffs crawling and shattering around all over the place. There are no vocals to interrupt the flow of these hymns to all things doom; rather the music itself takes you on a trip through waves of sound and crashes all over you leaving you shocked and stunned by what just happened.

At over two hours in length this is not for the faint-hearted. It is, however, worth it. This is something to put on and get absorbed in, and watch your day just drip away as you get lost in the colossal riffs and feedback.

Play loud. Very loud.

Eye of Solitude – Sui Caedere (Review)

Eye of SolitudeUK-based Eye of Solitude play slow, dirge-y funeral doom. Imagine a band like Esoteric only with some Paradise Lost-esque riffs/melodies, topped off with some very nice vocals.  Ahh yes; the vocals. The vocals are absolutely relentless – pure, deep, utterly uncompromising growls. The vocals fit the music perfectly and almost act as another instrument used to flatten the listener with their oppressive aural assault.

As well as the slow, crawling, very-heavy nature of the music, Eye of Solitude display a welcome grasp of songcraft and melody. This means that the songs don’t get boring or outstay their welcome, as well as having an emotional content which enhances the general feeling of the album to the point where even on the first listen you know that this is going to be a ‘grower’ of an album; the more you listen to it the better it gets.

Interspersed with all of the heaviness are also some quieter, more introspective moments that allow the listener a brief respite before being steamrollered once more by the crushing doom on offer here. It all works very well. “A Note to Say Farewell” is a great example of this.

This is the kind of album I can just sit back; turn up loud; and just let the soundscapes wash over me. The sheer feeling of the tracks on display here; the combination of songwriting, melody and atmosphere that gives the album something special and definitely makes it stand out from its peers.

Highly recommended. If you even vaguely like this genre of music then you will enjoy this band.

Generation of Vipers – Howl and Filth (Review)

Generation of VipersFeaturing members of more prominent bands; Generation of Vipers play a brand of ultra-filthy sludge, that seems wrapped in layers of grime so thick and dense it’s impressive. Somewhere; lurking under all of this murky heaviness, the vocals strain to get through. Agonised screams and tortured verbalisations that are strangled and dragged down by the weight of the oppressive sludge.

This is an album aimed at the true devotees of doom and sludge; for those who are willing and eager to brave the extremes of sonic heaviness. Even though there are six separate tracks on this album it’s more like one big journey, one made by wading through the filth. This may not sound particularly appetising to some, but if you like your sludge then you know for this brand of music it’s a very good thing indeed.

Give this band a go – there’s a lot of treats to be had in those murky depths…