Vallenfyre – Fear Those Who Fear Him (Review)

VallenfyreThis is the third album from Vallenfyre, a death metal band from the UK.

Featuring current and ex-members of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, and Abhorrence, in Fear Those Who Fear Him Vallenfyre deliver 39 minutes of ugly, nasty death metal. Continue reading

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Warcrab – Scars of Aeons (Review)

WarcrabWarcrab are a death/sludge band from the UK and this is their second album.

There aren’t too many bands that mix death and sludge metal together, but those that do tend to be pretty notable. The Dead and Tides of Sulfur are two that spring instantly to mind. I can now add Warcrab to this short list too. Continue reading

Killing for Company – House of Hades (Review)

Killing for CompanyThis is the début album from Norwegian Death Metal band Killing for Company.

Killing for Company’s music seems like it has congealed from a pool of blood that’s seeped out of the corpse of old-school Death Metal. To get an idea of the band’s sound, think Bolt Thrower and Autopsy; mix this with a bit of, (old), Hypocrisy and then add in some atmosphere and coloured melody. Continue reading

Purtenance – …To Spread the Flame of Ancients (Review)

PurtenanceThis is the third album from Purtenance, who are a Finnish Death Metal band.

Purtenance play old-school Death Metal that’s so ancient that as you sit listening to it in whatever dank crypt you chanced upon it in, it starts noticeably getting darker and as the crypt doors start creaking, you’re convinced all manner of shambling horrors are descending on your position. You’re probably right.

From the very first riff, this album has instant charisma and it’s extremely hard not to like its rotten charms. The band wear their influences on their sleeves and if you’re a fan of bands like Bolt Thrower, Incantation and Autopsy, you won’t go far wrong here. However, given that their first album was released in 1992, Purtenance know a little bit about the old-school and …To Spread the Flame of Ancients is as honest and authentic as it gets.

The singer has one of the best Death Metal voices I’ve heard in a while for this style. It’s an absolutely huge and pitch black growl that seems to come from the depths of The Pit. Sooooo good.

The songs are well-written, quality beasts, evoking just the right amounts of rot and power at the same time. Unlike a lot of old-school-themed bands, they also throw in a few unusual riffs and ideas here and there, as well as some dark melodies, faster sections and blast beats; all too often neglected in a sub-genre where mid-paced seems to rule the roost. Due to this, there’s a lot of differentiation between tracks on this album and it’s easy to not only tell them apart but to also have them slot nicely next to each other, making for an album you can enjoy either in bite-size, (bloody), chunks or holistically in one sitting. A worthy achievement.

An extremely enjoyable and satisfying 46 minutes. Purtenance have released an album of character and quality, one that I can heartily recommend.

Dementia 13 – Ways of Enclosure (Review)

Dementia 13Dementia 13 are a Death Metal band from Portugal. This is their début album.

Sometimes only Old-School Death Metal will do. Yes, it’s always nice to hear the latest in TechDeath fusion, or the latests sophisticated Avant-Garde Black Metal opus, or some new-fangled take on Doom…but sometimes you just want something primitive, ugly and swamped in Death Metal’s rich heritage. For times like that, there’s bands like this.

This is horror-inspired music, with each track finding inspiration in a different film.

With a decent sound that means the guitars sound good and heavy while the bass is actually audible, Dementia 13 take a festering, decaying sub-genre by storm and kick up some dust and muck while they’re at it.

This is a very satisfying release. The tasty riffs and deep, growling vocals hit the right spots and Ways of Enclosure is full of grim, filthy Death Metal that manages to capture the spirit of the Old-School style perfectly without sounding stale or tired, as so many do.

The singer’s voice is perfectly gruff but still surprisingly legible. His throaty growl tears along over the steady pace of the music, while the guitars throw out riff after riff and dark tidings aplenty.

Fans of Bolt Thrower, Massacre, Entombed, Autopsy and Six Feet Under will find a lot to enjoy with Dementia 13.

Ululate – Back to Cannibal World (Review)

UlulateUlulate is a one-man Chinese Death Metal band and this is his second album.

His take on Death Metal is one drenched in horror and cannibalism. It’s an Old-School brand that has lost none of its teeth despite its age.

Ululate play Death Metal as it was originally intended and infuses dark melodies with enough morbidity and graveyard rot that in some ways it’s hard to believe it’s 2015 when you listen to it.

Classic riffs and winding melodies work their way into your mind and soon the Metal is all that matters once more. There is some quality riffage on display here and the songwriting skills of the brain behind the band is highly polished, even if the music is not.

Back to Cannibal World combines a few different Old-School sub-genres into one thoroughly foetid release. It’s a difficult sound to pin down in some ways, as it incorporates elements of bands such as Immolation, Autopsy, Incantation and Cannibal Corpse.

Ultimately this is just a really good Death Metal album, regardless of how one chooses to classify or talk about it. It has a whole bunch of interesting riffs, flawlessly delivered deep growls and songs that hit the spot. When you want an Old-School Death Metal fix that sounds fresher than most, Back to Cannibal World is where it’s at.

Highly recommended.

Six Feet Under – Crypt of the Devil (Review)

Six Feet UnderSix Feet Under are a Death Metal band from the US, although it’s highly likely that they need no introduction. This is their eleventh album.

This album is slightly different to previous releases as it’s somewhat of a collaboratively written effort between Six Feet Under main man Chris Barnes and Cannabis Corpse’s bassist/vocalist.

How has this changed things? At first glance not a lot, but on closer inspection there are some subtle alterations to Six Feet Under’s Death ‘n’ Groove style this time around.

Some of the riffs are a little more complicated, (just a little), there’s a little more aggression, a pinch of extra speed and a little more fun. Not fun in the ridiculous, novelty way, but fun in the Autopsy-covered-in-bowels style of macabre fun. You know, graveyard fun.

Also, some of the riffs just have a bit more Metal to them, Death-style almost. Not all, but it’s noticeable in places.

These ten tracks are catchy and laden with enough barbed hooks to stick into anything. The songs continue to batter and bruise their way through the running time with all of the finesse of a wrecking ball, of course. But would we want it any other way? No way.

Ultimately Six Feet Under are the kind of band you either take to or don’t. Of course you can realistically say that about any band, but Six Feet Under certainly do seem to be one of those groups that people either love or hate.

I think that Crypt of the Devil will do very little to convince those who have already decided they don’t like the band. For those of us who are fans though, it’s similar enough to the normal Six Feet Under output to sound reassuringly familiar; however the small but important alterations to their sound due to the collaborative songwriting mean that they come across fresher and hungrier than ever.

After two decades of Death Metal Six Feet Under are still going strong. Crypt of the Devil is yet another solid slab of mid-paced Death Metal that’s meaty enough to satisfy that craving for rotten, putrid flesh that I know you all crave.

Turn the volume up and get ready to bang your head once more.