Inanimate Existence – Calling from a Dream (Review)

Inanimate ExistenceInanimate Existence are a US death metal band and this is their third album.

Starting off softly, with ambient sounds and female vocals, this album is a different beast to the band’s last album A Never Ending Cycle of Atonement. Sure, the band haven’t completely changed, but they’ve definitely progressed a significant amount.

So if you take their Continue reading

Blood Incantation – Starspawn (Review)

Blood IncantationThis is the debut album from US death metal band Blood Incantation.

Blood Incantation play death metal with plenty of atmosphere and technical skill. This is a band who have gazed towards the night sky, saw the vast darkness, and pay homage to that empty malevolence via the medium of underground music that’s less restricted and more expansive than your average death metal band. Continue reading

Sarpentra – Supernova (Review)

SarpentraThis is the début album from Russian Death Metal band Sarpentra.

If you think of bands such as Nile, Behemoth, Melechesh and Septic Flesh you’ll be on the right lines. This is aggressive, atmospheric and dark Death Metal that’s further enhanced by choirs, orchestration and operatic vocals.

The core of the band is fast and brutal, with deep growls and blast beats leading the way. This is tempered by the atmospheric side of the band, which reins in the brutality, (or tries to), so that the band’s grander and more cinematic side can come to the fore.

The technical brutality of the band blurs by as they indulge their atmospheric side and the two taken together merge into something really special. They may not be the first band to play this style but they sound like they’re doing it on steroids. While some Death Metal bands dabble in their Classical components, here they’ve been taken to the nth degree. It’s as if Therion had created reinterpretations of Nile songs and then asked Behemoth to perform them.

These are songs that have real presence to them. It’s undeniable. There are so many stand-out moments on this album that it’s hard to credit. The lightning-speed playing combined with the exotic melodies and the orchestral bombast…it’s a heady mixture and Supernova is nothing if not ambitious.

A lot of hard work has clearly gone into writing and recording these songs and it’s all paid off handsomely. This is an album that feels like a tour of a strange new land, one that’s ripe with danger but worth exploring nonetheless.

Very impressive and very, very good. Make this a high priority listen.

The Big Jazz Duo – Enemy (Review)

The Big Jazz DuoThe Big Jazz Duo arre from Italy and this is their début album.

Looking at the album cover and knowing the band’s name, you’d probably never guess that they play Death Metal. But they do; Experimental/Atmospheric Death Metal/Deathcore.

This is sickeningly heavy with grooves and breakdowns aplenty. Speed and brutality are also present, as are pignoise vocals and scathing screams.

There’s a Djent aspect to their sound too, which seems to go hand-in-hand with a lot of Deathcore.

The band also include orchestral interludes, atmospheric sections and the like in their sound, which immediately makes them more interesting and raises their game.

Deathcore and Djent are two sub-genres that can get very stale, very quickly, if not handled well. The Big Jazz Duo avoid this trap by mixing these up with more traditional Death Metal and a melodic edge, as well as the more experimental aspects of their sound.

The songs are well written and the band understand the need for dynamics and pacing. A very polished and strong production rounds off the package and ensures that the songs have the best chance to shine.

These songs may be largely quite short but they’re packed to the rafters with goodies. Heavy groove, blasting carnage and atmosphere all merge together to create a listening experience that, in all honestly, makes me really fucking happy. I can always tell when I’m getting into an album when I start spontaneously bouncing along to it without realising. As you do.

If you imagine a cross between The Black Dahlia Murder, All Shall Perish and Xehanort then you’ll be on the right lines.

So, Brutal Death Metal, Djent, Deathcore, melody, atmosphere, orchestration…all in 31 minutes and all very well-written? I’m sold!

An extremely impressive album, especially considering the oft-dreaded Deathcore/Djent aspects of their sound.

Very highly recommended.

Sulphur Aeon – Gateway to the Antisphere (Review)

Sulphur AeonSulphur Aeon play Death Metal. They are from Germany and this is their second album.

I love a good album cover, and this one is just brilliant.

Sulphur Aeon are not your standard Death Metal band. Sure, the ferocious riffs and brutal delivery are there, but they also add a lot more on top of this. Sound enhancements, effects, interesting vocals and chants, etc. add to the feeling of something special, mysterious and subtly disturbing.

A strong feeling of the underworld pervades this release, with mysterious sounds and otherworldly echoes aplenty.

The vocals are bowel-shakingly deep and sound as evil as they do inhuman. Added to this there are various shouts and chants also included that ratchet up the atmosphere and feeling as well as the aura of otherworldly darkness that these songs exude.

Musically this is interesting Death Metal in the grand tradition of bands like Behemoth and Nile; bands that are not content to play generic Death Metal and instead infuse their style with atmosphere and character. Sulphur Aeon have both in spades.

These songs are heavy and brutal yet still manage to make room for atmosphere and no small amount of melody and leads. The musicianship and songwriting skills of the band are all top-drawer and these 53 minutes speed by in a blur of remarkable Extreme Metal.

This is a very impressive release that is guaranteed to make waves in the Extreme Metal scene. There’s not enough individuality and differentiation in the Death Metal scene, (why fix what largely isn’t broken?), but thankfully Sulphur Aeon have produced an album that builds on all of the strengths of Death Metal and takes the genre further than most.

Essential listening. Go and get this now.

Sarpanitum – Blessed Be My Brothers… (Review)

SarpanitumSarpanitum are a UK Death Metal band and this is their second album.

Sarpanitum take a three-pronged approach to their Death Metal that combines traditional Death Metal, melodic atmospheres and a touch of Black Metal’s heart of darkness.

The band’s melodic edge is a sharp one and it’s incorporated directly into their heaviness rather than seeming like an addition to it as is frequently the case with other bands that combine brutality and melodics.

Added keyboard sounds subtly enhance this already keen melodic sensibility they have and I really like the sense of atmospheric brutality that they create. There’s a Middle Eastern feel to a lot of the melodies that adds an exotic touch to the songs, as well as no small amount of epic grandeur.

The vocals are as dark as night; thick, deep, malevolent growls that are so low as to be akin to rumbling thunder.

Blessed Be My Brothers… has a thick, dense sound that’s uncompromising and combined with the band’s complicated riffing is impenetrable to the casual listener. This is Death Metal for real Death Metal fans who want something a bit more interesting than the standard generic fare.

Fans of Nile, Mithras, Lelahell, Gorguts, Morbid Angel, Sidious and Dying Out Flame should love this.

Highly recommended.