Denominate – Those Who Beheld the End (Review)

DenominateDenominate are from Finland and play death metal. This is their debut album.

Here we have 43 minutes of progressive/technical death metal. Take some Carcass/Death influences and mix with something like Vital Remains…are you interested yet? You should be…

Denominate have a decent production that lends them a satisfying sound. The music itself is skilfully played with no lack of talent. Continue reading


Spinebreaker – Ice Grave (Review)

SpinebreakerThis is the début album from Spinebreaker, a Death Metal band from the US.

This is ugly Old-School Death Metal born bloody and ragged from the Hardcore scene. This means that the band combine the purity of their Death Metal heritage with the fire and energy of their Hardcore bloodline.

My, what a sound they have! Boasting a Swedish Death Metal guitar tone that their spiritual forefathers would be proud of, this is presented in a filthed-up package that fuses the feel of the era and style with a Hardcore edge and a touch of At the Gates and Carcass in the vocal department.

The end result is a savage demonstration of the fact that A) you don’t need to be Swedish to wield a chainsaw and B) there’s life in Old-School Swedish Death Metal yet; it’s not necessary for a band to simply rehash past glories.

Spinebreaker manage to successfully inject vitality and vibrancy into a rather stale, (but still very enjoyable), sub-genre. The inclusion of a Hardcore edge to some of the riffs adds a blood-pumping energy and the harsh screaming growls are a thing of gory beauty.

Whether ripping out giant grooves or pounding heaviness, Spinebreaker make everything sound dark, nightmarish and nasty, just as it should be. The spectre of At the Gates looms over the faster sections, (prompted for me by the vocals, but bleeding into the guitars too), and it’s a joy to hear this encapsulated by such a dirty Swedish delivery.

A very enjoyable 38 minutes.

Chained to the Dead – Born to Rot (Review)

Chained to the DeadChained to the Dead are a US Death Metal band.

Take a look at the album cover. I dare you to guess what this sounds like. Actually, you might not be completely right. I, for example, expected ultra-brutal Death Metal with completely guttural pignoise vocals. Instead, this is a sharper and more precise form of carnage, more akin to Carcass than Brodequin.

Serrated, lacerated, rasping vocals lash out from the music, which itself sounds quite barbed and nasty. The band’s songs are well-written and much more surgical in their attentions than some of their peers. No-one would accuse them of not being brutal, of course, but it’s a different kind of brutality than a lot of Death Metal bands employ.

There’s also quite a bit of variety here, relatively speaking. Well-written songs and interesting riffs combine to produce memorable songs that are actually identifiable from each other quite quickly. In such a short release the band manage to pack in a lot of content and personality.

I also like their considered approach. The music has a sophistication that is shared by bands such as Carcass and Aborted, although the album cover totally denies this. It’s an interesting contrast, and I wonder where this will take Chained to the Dead in the future. I can image them dropping the primitive imagery and becoming even more state-of-the-art in their approach to slaughter. Only time will tell.

For the moment though, Born to Rot is a a surprisingly professional and well-realised 21 minutes of surgical violence that still loves a bit of gore on the side. Well, a lot of gore really, I suppose. Either way, the songs are good and the band have a bright future ahead of them if they can get the right exposure.

Top marks for this. Much more impressive than I was expecting. Check it out.

SSS – Limp.Gasp.Collapse. (Review)

SSSSSS, (or Short Sharp Shock), are from the UK and play Thrash Metal/Crossover. This is their fourth album.

Featuring Metal that’s heavy, antagonistic and to-the-point, SSS’s latest album is a Thrash/Crossover onslaught that is as good an overview as any of where this particular style is at in 2014.

The songs are instantly catchy and memorable enough to stick around after a few spins. The chuggy guitars and stub-nosed riffs mean that subtlety is not a key part of their sound, but subtlety can be overrated; sometimes you just need to have some violent fun and SSS provide the soundtrack.

SSS manage to capture the intensity of Hardcore, the riffs of Thrash and the pure heaviness of Metal. This combination embodies the Crossover spirit and the songs rumble and chug along nicely, battering everything else aside with their enthusiasm and blunt delivery.

The vocals are gritty and belligerent shouts that perfectly straddle the Thrash/Hardcore divide. Added higher/lower screams/growls add emphasis and a bit of extremity when needed. There’s even a guest spot from the singer of Carcass.

Although I’m not a massive fan of this particular style SSS are clearly better than most.

Check out SSS and see what you think.

Gory Blister – The Fifth Fury (Review)

Gory BlisterGory Blister are from Italy and as the name of the album suggests, this is their fifth album.

The band play Technical/Progressive Death Metal and take the listener on a whirlwind journey.

On The Fifth Fury we hear influences from bands like Carcass, Death and Morbid Angel. Gory Blister make these their own and use them throughout the 35 minutes playing time to create an album that is involving and complete.

The band manage to be sharp and aggressive in their assault whilst tempering this approach with restraint and more considered passages that show their Progressive Metal influences. Although they have plenty of Technical Death Metal in their sound the Progressive edge and the Carcass influence never let this side of the band get in the way of the songs themselves.

This is music that likes to explore itself. For a relatively short album there is plenty of variation around the central theme and lots of nice ideas scattered around to engage the listener such as the subtle synths that add further feeling to some of the tracks.

The riffs are largely inventive, with plenty of leads and solos to sink your teeth into. Melodies and Progressive tunes punctuate the brutality in a way that works with the flow of the songs rather than against them.

Serrated screamed vocals are the main mode of attack but satisfyingly deep growls are also used.

A strong sound and strong songwriting means this is a strong album. Strongly recommended.

Puteraeon – The Crawling Chaos (Review)

PuteraeonPuteraeon are from Sweden and play Death Metal. This is their third album.

Old-School Swedish Death Metal will never die, and I for one am happy about this.

So what of Puteraeon? Think early Entombed with dirty great Doom riffs and some punkier influences to boot. They faithfully reproduce That Chainsaw Sound as all real purveyors of this style must and the concentration is firmly on the songs and the heavy-yet-melodic riffs.

As you can see this is the usual fare for Swedish Death Metal, but that’s not to denigrate the band at all. They may have chosen a well-trodden route but they’re not without ability; the songs here are enjoyable romps through the blood-soaked Swedish landscape and the vocals in particular sound more bestial than most.

Also; Puteraeon do inject a few influences outside of the standard Swedish template – hints of Carcass, Pestilence, Autopsy and Bolt Thrower can be found here and there, buried beneath the chainsaws. That’s the beauty of Death Metal, no matter which particular subgenre a band specialise in there’s always room to throw in other influences.

If you’re fed up of this style then there won’t be much here to convince you otherwise, but if you still enjoy this particular brand of Death Metal then The Crawling Chaos hits the spot. It’s also a release that gets better the more you listen to it, which is always a good thing to be able to say about an album. It has top cover artwork too.

Check them out.

Columns – Please Explode (Review)

ColumnsColumns are from the US and this is their début album. They are a Grindcore band.

Columns play Grind that’s groovy and passionate. This is the kind of music that ignites pits and gets even reluctant Metalheads to start moving. Even when they’re playing at top speed and blast beats are flying everywhere the band have a definite swagger and rhythm to their grinding destruction.

Think rhythm, groove, brutality and individuality; think Pig Destroyer meets Aborted with the odd Carcass riff. That’s right, it’s wet-dreams-made-reality time.

The music is full of high energy riffs, crushing chugs, eviscerating speed and the occasional, remarkably Rock ‘n’ Roll, solo. For songs that are this short and brutal there is a surprising amount of variety and interest to be had.

The vocals are deep and growled or higher and intense. The singer has a good voice and range with some variety between these two ends of the spectrum occurring throughout the tracks as well.

Please Explode has a Hell of a lot of personality and each song is a hothouse of great riffs and brutal design. The thing Columns excel at, however, is ensuring that the songs become more than the sum of their parts. These riffs make full use of the band’s songwriting skills to really maximise the impact they have throughout the songs.

Rather then merely a few, (or a lot of), riffs stitched together to create a fast song, as a lot of Grind bands do, Columns create dynamic and purposeful riffs that gel with every other instrument and work synergisticly with the rest of the tracks to create a complete listening experience. It’s even more remarkable that this happens in songs that average about the 2 minute mark.

This is impressive, modern Grind that has a unique identity. It’s destined to be mentioned in the same breath as bands like Pig Destroyer as forerunners of the genre.

I loved this album. I’ll be very surprised if this doesn’t place highly on my year end list.

Essential listening for Extreme Metal fans everywhere.

Reciprocal – New Order of the Ages (Review)

ReciprocalThis is Reciprocal’s second album of Technical Death Metal. They are from the US.

A strong start introduces the band and their heavy, sprawling sound to the listener. It’s complex and interlinked whilst retaining a brutality and nastiness a lot of Technical Death Metal bands are lacking in.

This is Technical Death Metal mixed up with the modern, New-School breed of crushingly Brutal Death Metal. It’s a heady combination that immediately makes you sit up and take notice of them.

The songs are long, (for Death Metal), and the band use this time to explore the labyrinthine riffs and to show off their musical chops.

They appear to have quite the mixture of influences on this release. I hear elements of Cephalic Carnage, Carcass, Spawn of Possession, Arsis, Gorguts, Decapitated and many more crammed into the technically dense songs. There is too much going on here to absorb in one listening, which is a good thing as it increases the longevity of the album.

Vocally the band incorporate pretty much all styles in the album somewhere, although high-pitched Carcass-esque screams are the most used.

The sound is absolutely immense. It sonically shines and the tracks hit home like hammers. It doesn’t get stale or boring as the band have enough variety within their framework to introduce elements of several Death Metal sub-genres; Brutal Death Metal, Melodic Death Metal and Deathcore being the main ones in addition to the core of Technical Death Metal.

New Order of the Ages is an ambitious album; 68 minutes of music with plenty of ideas and enough talent to hold it all together. Piano and samples are used liberally to help spread the band’s message and to provide breaks between bouts of swirling riffs and widdly fret-wizardry.

I heartily recommend this album to anyone who enjoys bold, challenging, heavy, technical music. If this is you then this is a must listen.

Monumentomb – Ritual Exhumation (Review)

MonumentombThis is the début EP from UK Death Metallers Monumentomb.

After the usual perfunctory intro we’re into the title track and straight into some glorious Old-School Death Metal with a sound to kill for.

What’s so special about it? It just sounds fat, tight and recalls Dismember without overtly ripping off that chainsaw sound.

As you’ve probably gathered there is a Swedish Death Metal influence at play here, but that’s not all Monumentomb get up to. The Swedish greats might be well represented, but UK bands like Bolt Thrower and Carcass get a look in also.

The riffs are strong and the solos shred. The drum sound is especially satisfying and the growls of the singer make me warm in my secret happy place.

The vocals are deep growls that work perfectly. Also, the few seconds of clean vocals in Perpetual Execution Torment are unexpected and brilliant.

You can really feel the weight of Death Metal history while listening to Ritual Exhumation, but Monumentomb bear this responsibility with ease and perform admirably.

Amazingly this band have only been around since 2013; how they’ve managed to cobble together such a strong package so quickly is beyond me, but I’m glad they have.

Looking for some Old-School Death Metal that doesn’t sound stale? Look no further.