Holy crap. This is not your standard album, not at all. It’s striking, individual, shockingly emotive, and relentlessly harsh in atmosphere and tone. To set the scene somewhat – Ashenspire play a form of post-black metal with strong avant-garde, experimental, and progressive tendencies. Featuring current and ex-members of Barshasketh and Falloch, Hostile Architecture is a 44-minute journey into the contemporary urban heart of darkness. Continue reading “Ashenspire – Hostile Architecture (Review)”
Containing current and ex-members of like Akercocke, King, Pestilence, Psycroptic, and many more, a lot of experience has gone into the creation of Werewolves’ new album. From the Cave to the Grave contains 35 minutes of monstrous metallic mayhem, and the band are on fire. Continue reading “Werewolves – From the Cave to the Grave (Review)”
Previously named Aetherium Mors, this is the band’s first release under its new moniker. This is modern, dissonant black metal that’s been hybridised with death metal and energised with melodic darkness. Continue reading “Itheist – Itheist (Review)”
2017 was an amazing year for music, with so many top-notch albums seeing the light of day. I pretty much say this every year, of course, but that doesn’t seem to stop it being true. With this in mind, the 2017 list was especially hard to put together, and I agonised over this one more than I did for any of the lists in previous years.
As is traditional, I also want to mention some releases by bands that could easily have made it onto the list, and should have by many rights, if only I could have somehow managed to fit them all in –
I urge you to check out all of the above releases, in addition to the ones in the actual list below. I could probably keep adding more bands you should give a listen to, but a line has to be drawn somewhere, I suppose.
So, without further ado, let’s get right down to it… Continue reading “Wonderbox Metal End of Year List – Best Metal of 2017”
If you aren’t familiar with Akercocke’s previous output, then I’m afraid to say that you’ve been missing out. Across their body of work they have released some absolutely fantastic songs, and have always been a particular favourite of mine. Their Continue reading “Akercocke – Renaissance in Extremis (Review)”
The UK’s Damnation Festival is fast approaching. Saturday 5th November will see a plethora of top metal bands, large and small, take to the stage in Leeds to show off their music, and there’s a lot to be excited about.
With a whopping 4 stages and a wealth of metal talent spread across many genres and drawn from all over the globe, there’s bound to be something here to satiate even the most jaded of metal tastes. There’s a very good reason it’s my favourite UK festival and seems to only be going from strength to strength every year. Continue reading “Damnation Festival Preview”
Here we have a bold, monster of a release; divided into three parts, each lasting about 35 minutes, the entire body of work clocks in at a massive 105 minutes in length.
Schammasch play forward-thinking music that’s rooted in Black Metal, but also visits other styles such as Doom, Post-Black Metal and Progressive Metal.
Gargantua play Progressive Metal that combines some quite eclectic influences to produce a 26 minute calling card that shows off what they can do quite effectively.
To give you a flavour of their style, imagine a mix of The Meads of Asphodel, Sigh, The Black Dahlia Murder and Akercocke, among others. It’s essentially a form of melodic Death Metal with added folk, avant-garde and progressive influences, allowing the band a freedom to experiment and be playful with their influences.
The keyboard and accordion aspect of their sound is quirky and endearing. While not as completely over-the-top as some of the stuff that Sigh get up to, this part of their sound can still be demanding and attention-seeking.
The more aggressive Metal that lays the foundation of their music is tempered by their other influences so that the majority of the riffs have a lot of other stuff going on; the avant-garde and more-emotive aspects of their style are never too far away.
Thrash Metal-esque shouted growls, barely-holding-it-together screams, progressive cleans, operatic choral parts, emotive theatrics; there’s a plethora of different styles employed on Avant-Propos via four of the various band members.
A very promising first release. While not perfect, it shows a creative band willing and able to push boundaries to achieve the sound they want. With a few tweaks here and there to tighten the songwriting up, they could become quite a fearsome proposition in the future.
Check them out.
Boasting a heavy and dirty sound that immediately puts me in mind of Arkhon Infaustus’ Blackened Death Metal classic Filth Catalyst, Mithridatic reveal themselves to be a similar proposition, albeit one with its own blackened charms, of course.
The songs are extremely satisfying and have that fine ratio balanced just about right between Black Metal and Death Metal influences. As such, these songs are both brutal and grim, providing the listener with some of the strongest Blackened Death Metal currently out there, in my humble opinion.
Mithridatic have obviously taken their time with these songs. They’re well-composed, well-structured and have just enough variation to keep things interesting without losing their sense of direction. Blackened riffs, fluid guitar solos, darkened melodies, moody malevolence, brutal assaults and blasting mayhem are all used effectively during these tracks.
High screams and growling shouts form the bedrock of the vocals. The singer has a certain quality to his voice that allows him to have instant charisma, putting me in mind of Morbid Angel on occasion, (whose influence also extends to aspects of the music).
A very impressive achievement. For me, Blackened Death Metal is a style that is all too easy to do poorly, but when it’s done right it really gets the hairs standing on end. This is one such release; not only due to the atmosphere the band create, but also due to the quality and personality of the songs themselves.
A mix of Arkhon Infaustus, Morbid Angel and a touch of Akercocke? Sign me up.
Go check this one out immediately.
The music that Barús play is complex and unforgiving. This is not music for the weak.
The band’s take on Death Metal is one that combines the Technical and Progressive Death Metal sub-genres into something pretty special. There are even some hints at Post-Metal and Black Metal here and there.
The songs evoke complex reinterpretations of bands such as Gorguts, Morbid Angel, Mithras, Nile, Akercocke, etc. – bands that are not content to be constrained by the norm and reach for greater and higher. Barús now join their hallowed ranks.
The dense guitar riffs seem to layer on top of themselves and Barús’ music seems to have levels upon levels of extremity to hide itself in. For all of this though they are also aware that sometimes simpler is better, but even here there’s usually a lot going on.
Sometimes twisted melodies appear to float up out of the chaos to bring an otherworldly element to their already esoteric sound. A great deal of variation exists across these 4 tracks and each song is both self-contained and part of a greater whole.
The vocals are predominantly deep grunts but a whole load of other vocalisations are used too, from semi-clean moans to spoken word to chants and everything in between, including, briefly, actual singing.
I love it when you find a band like Barús who are willing and able to take the standard Death Metal template and experiment with it until it’s mutated into their own personal view of the genre. This EP has a personality and style of its own and these songs are involving and engaging from start.
An extremely promising beginning for Barús. This EP is a strong start to their existence and if they manage to keep up the quality levels then their début album will be fantastic. Here’s hoping.