Lago/Calm Hatchery – Split (Review)

Lago Calm HatcheryHere we have a short split between death metallers Lago and Calm Hatchery, from the US and Poland, respectively.

Lago’s 2014 album Tyranny was an album that had a kind of darkly melodic brutality to it. It saw the band balance their style somewhere between the old-school and the new, to great effect. Continue reading

Nogrod – Abstruce Dismal (Review)

NogrodThis is the début EP from this Indian blackened death metal band.

Think of bands like Behemoth and Belphegor – bands that combine the brutality of death metal with the occult malevolence of black metal. This is the world that Nogrod inhabit.

This is either black metal with a death metal influence, or blackened death metal, depending Continue reading

Fractured Insanity – Man Made Hell (Review)

Fractured InsanityThis is Fractured Insanity’s third album. They are a death metal band from Belgium.

Fractured Insanity play brutal death metal that’s intense and well-written. Although this is predominantly on the brutal end of the spectrum, there’s also elements of technicality at play here, which just adds further depth to the music.

Think a combination of Nile, Behemoth, Severe Torture, Malevolent Continue reading

0N0 – Reconstruction and Synthesis (Review)

0N0This is the second album from this Slovakian industrial death/doom band.

Now this is an interesting release.

0N0 combine the industrial, death metal and doom genres together, creating an album that has aspects of all weaved into its genes.

How to classify this? Well, extreme metal is the easy cop out, and as these things don’t ultimately matter that much, I suppose that will do. Industrial death/doom is more specific, of course, but there we are.

Think of the something like Continue reading

Demonstealer – This Burden Is Mine (Review)

DemonstealerThis is the second album from Indian Extreme Metal band Demonstealer.

This is a very ambitious album. Across 9 tracks the band deliver 57 minutes of music that straddles Death, Black, Thrash, Progressive and Atmospheric Metal to deliver an epic journey.

Recognisably Death Metal at their core, Demonstealer skilfully incorporate the above-mentioned aspects into their sound so that we have something that the likes of Nile, Behemoth, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septic Flesh, Opeth and other such envelope-pushing bands should be proud of.

This Burden Is Mine hops between genres with ease. One moment it might be all blasting and mayhem, while the next it may be soft, reflective and shamelessly progressive. And then you have the atmospheric, symphonic elements, where the keyboards get to shine and the emotive side of the band is ramped up to full capacity. The band also have a melodic flair that adds a lot to the tracks, with plenty of tasty leads and solos thrown into the mix.

Pure Death Metal growls are accentuated with a more varied delivery of screams, shouts, clean and semi-clean vocals, professionally done and perfectly judged. You’d easily think this album had more than one singer, rather than just one very talented vocalist.

Although this album is extremely diverse and varied, it carries a holistic cohesiveness with it that speaks of the quality songwriting and talent that the band are capable of. This Burden Is Mine is extremely impressive and a rich, evocative listen.

Well well. Albums like this don’t come along that often. This should be embraced and celebrated by all Metal fans as the tour de force that it is.

Essential.

Vredehammer – Violator (Review)

VredehammerThis is Vredehammer’s second album. They play Black Metal and are from Norway.

Vredehammer play aggressive Black Metal that keeps the core of the genre alive and well, while merging it with a state-of-the-art blackness that bands like Satyricon, Keep of Kalessin and Temple of Baal do so well. Add a bit of Death Metal in the form of something like Behemoth and even a touch of Aura Noir-esque Thrash and you have a good overview of Vredehammer’s style. Tracks like Ursus even have a bit of the Amon Amarth about them, to my ears.

The vocals consist of dark outbursts that strike a fine balance between legibility and outright harshness. Sitting somewhere between the styles of Black and Death Metal, they work well to provide a focal point for the music without dominating it.

Powerful rhythm guitars form the bedrock of the tracks and these punish and damage for all they’re worth. Interestingly though, the band build on these strong foundations to provide a more well-rounded listening experience than you might expect; Violator is not a one-dimensional album.

Twisted melodics and bright, ethereal leads occasionally add colour and texture to the band’s blackened rhythms, allowing them to explore wider pastures that their brutal tendencies might otherwise preclude them from. This adds a lot to the album and raises it to another level, quality-wise. This is all wrapped around their inherent malevolent nastiness though, which is never too far from proceedings.

Boasting a strong production to round things off, Violator is a very enjoyable album, and at 35 minutes in length it’s easy to get your fill of their blackened aggression.

Recommended.

Necrosavant – Aniara MMXIV (Review)

NecrosavantNecrosavant is a one-man project from Sweden. This is his début album.

In an unusual move for a début album, this is one single track that lasts 45 minutes. Also unusually, this is Blackened Death Metal with a style that kind of falls between that of Behemoth and (old) Opeth.

Not content with doing vocals and playing everything on this release, the brains behind Necrosavant has also drafted in some other guests to add to the mix.

The music has the muscularity and occult auras of Behemoth and the progressive and melodic know-how of Opeth. The track ebbs and flows, picking up themes previously discarded, only to breathe new life into them again as the listener becomes re-familiarised with different parts of this immense song.

The guitars are nice and thick and there are a lot of tasty riffs on here. Plenty of solos and leads add colour, but it’s frequently the well-written rhythm guitars themselves that elevate this to a top-notch position.

The music has the feel of a dark epic in more than just length and the brutal atmospheres that are created reverberate with meaningful impact and emotive delivery.

If you think that a 45 minute Blackened Death Metal song would get old very quickly, you’re dead wrong. There’s so much on offer here and so much talented Metal being delivered that it’s hard to imagine that this is essentially the product of just one guy.

This is hugely impressive and enjoyable. This one is a must.

Mandragora Malevola – Black Flame ov Illumination (Review)

Mandragora MalevolaMandragora Malevola are a Portugese Black Metal band and this is their début demo.

Here we have three tracks of newly-birthed Extreme Metal lasting 15 minutes.

The first track Mandragora Malevola is essentially an intro, setting the scene with dark sounds that soon morph into unearthly incantations and invocations. As is the case with most intros, it’s entirely disposable.

So, first proper song is Arkangelvs Satanis (The Red Moon Wolves). Right from the start we get a lovely, filthy guitar sound that sets the tone in no uncertain terms. My first impression is that it reminds me of Antaeus, although this has a bit more of a Blackened Death Metal feel to it too. Soon after we get some absolutely rabid vocals that are somewhere between a growl and a scream, reminiscent of older Behemoth. The band inject some energetic melody to things almost halfway through and also at this point they reveal themselves to have other, grander influences as the song takes on a powerfully epic feel, all the time retaining its raw, dirty sheen. By the end of the song I’m extremely impressed by their Antaeus-meets-Behemoth-meets-Dissection style.

The second song is Apotheosis (Hvmana Manifestvs), and this initially continues the themes and atmospheres projected by the previous track, but soon demonstrates a more Euro-Metal influence that wouldn’t be out of place being described as Atrocity-meets-Hypocrisy. It’s all still wonderfully raw, and the previous influences can still be heard, but it’s great to see a band not constraining themselves to a one-dimensional approach.

Mandragoa Malevola have revealed themselves to the world, and what a glorious revelation it is! This is an exceptional demo and shows a band with a massive amount of potential and promise for the future. If they can harness the dark energy that seeps from every pore on these two songs then their future place at the top of the pile should be assured.

A must listen.

Tine – The Forest Dreams of Black (Review)

TineThis is the début album from US Symphonic Blackened Death Metallers Tine.

Blackened Death Metal is a funny beast. Frequently just a Death Metal band with some added Blackened spite, you also occasionally get a Black Metal band with some added Deathly brutality too. Very occasionally, however, you get bands that actually combine both styles in a convincing, equal way.

Tine are one such band. Combining the darkness and atmosphere of Old-School Black Metal with Death Metal’s feral core, The Forest Dreams of Black is a feast of spectrally enhanced Metal that takes elements of bands such as early Emperor and Behemoth to create 53 minutes of emotive Blackened Metal.

The Symphonic elements are nicely understated, making sure that they don’t overpower the rest of the music. They add and enhance, rather than overtake or smother. One of my all-time favourite Atmospheric Black/Death Metal albums is Depresy’s Sighting, so it’s a big compliment that The Forest Dreams of Black puts me in mind of this.

The music is clearly a passionate and personal affair for its creators, and this shines through in the music with a dark, poisonous light.

I have really enjoyed this release. There’s real feeling and atmosphere here, with an underlying emotional intensity that’s hard to ignore. The two different genres both come out in the songs in different ways and the commanding vocals are full of presence, bringing everything together to a charismatic focal point. A satisfying sound that isn’t too polished rounds off the impressive package and I am left with fond memories of a walk through a dark and dangerous forest, one that I’m happy to revisit again and again.

Highly recommended.