Totengott – The Abyss (Review)

Totengott - The AbyssThis is the second album from Spanish doom/heavy metallers Totengott.

This immense album is a hard one to describe with genre tags. It’s a mix of doom and thrash/heavy metal, but with elements of black, death, and progressive metal added in too, (as well as forays into dark ambient waters). The promo blurb mentions Continue reading

Gravehill – The Unchaste, the Wicked, & the Profane (Review)

GravehillThis is the fourth album from US death metallers Gravehill.

2014’s Death Curse was a very tasty serving of rotting metallic delights, and now the band are back with another mouldy 43 minutes of atavistic death metal. Continue reading

Swampcult – The Festival (Review)

SwampcultSwampcult are a doom metal band from The Netherlands, this is their second album.

The Festival is a H. P. Lovecraft-themed release, completely built and fashioned around one of his stories of the same name.

This is heavily atmospheric doom metal and sees the band mixing elements of classic proto-black metal into their cauldron and Continue reading

Svlfvr – Shamanic Lvnar Cvlt (Review)

SvlfvrSvlfvr are an Italian blackened doom metal band. This is their latest album.

What we have here is essentially a doom metal band that have fallen to darkness and embraced black metal as a secondary influence. There are some other influences detectable in their sound too, (old Anathema), and they all converge together quite nicely over these 56 minutes.

The songs on Shamanic Lvnar Cvlt have muscular guitars and plenty of dark presence. The old-school black metal influences make for a darker sound than most doom metal bands, but the traditional doom metal aspect of their sound means that they don’t wander too Continue reading

Heretique – De Non Existentia Dei (Review)

HeretiqueThis is the second album from Heretique, a Polish Death Metal band.

This is solid old-school Death Metal that takes additional influence from older Metal and proto-Black Metal, making for a well-rounded release that creates its own atmosphere and character with ease.

Snatches of melody appear here and there in the leads and solos; played well and thoughtfully constructed, they add colour and feeling to the otherwise heavy old-school thrashings that the band produce. I love me some good soloing and there are some real crackers on here.

Continue reading

A Thousand Sufferings – Burden (Review)

A Thousand SufferingsThis is the début album from Belgian Doom Metal band A Thousand Sufferings.

This is semi-blackened Doom with dark screaming shouts. The band succeed in creating sombre, down-beat moods that snare the listener in their barbed grasp.

The band have a similar feel and mood to that of Triptykon; like an updated Celtic Frost with added Doom and Black Metal atmospheres.

The riffs pile on top of each other, almost reaching wall-of-guitars proportions but offering more nuance than that style usually does. There’s some quite inventive and emotive ones on here too, adding to the overall dark feelings that they espouse.

A Thousand Sufferings understand the nature of this kind of music all too well, with negativity seeping out of the speakers in an occult way, seeming to feast on the souls of those drawn into this grim web of mystical invocations.

A very enjoyable slab of Doom Metal for fans of the darker side of life.

Tor Marrock – Destroy the Soul (Review)

Tor MarrockTor Marrock are a Gothic Metal band from Wales. This is their second album.

Tor Marrock play Gothic Metal with a plethora of different influences; Black, Death and Doom Metal are all represented to various degrees. The tracks are an interesting combination of these influences and make the band quite hard to pigeonhole in some ways.

For reference points I’d say an unholy mix of Type O Negative, Celtic Frost, Paradise Lost and Moonspell. Essentially it’s an Old-School Peaceville sound updated with a few different elements from some of the aforementioned bands and genres.

The songs are quite catchy and are quite accomplished in the verse/chorus technique. You could almost sing along, if you fancied trying to keep up with the usually gruff tones of the vocalist.

Some of the songs are quite upbeat while others take a slower, more maudlin route. I find I slightly prefer the latter, although the former is almost as good. Songs like Christ Betrayed have the best of both worlds, making this track one of my favourites.

The songs are stripped back and simplified; it’s easy for Gothic Metal bands to pile on the keyboards and other sounds/effects for quite an ostentatious sound, but Tor Marrock have gone for a basic and raw sound, (relatively speaking), making the most of the standard instruments to colour their emotive palette.

Tor Marrock are doing something a bit different with their take on Metal and this relatively short album, (36 minutes), is an individual and charismatic take on the genre.

Bloodlust – Cultus Diaboli (Review)

BloodlustBloodlust are an Australian Black Metal band and this is their début album.

This is Black Metal that’s infused with a good helping of dirty Thrash Metal to produce ugly Black Thrash that has a very Old-School vibe.

Featuring a sharper, Blackened approach to the early Hellhammer, Venom, Celtic Frost, etc. sound, this is Satanic Black Metal based on these genre founders and with an added Thrash influence, (think early Kreator).

Spiky riffs and acidic screams are used to good effect and the band keep the spirit of proper songs alive in their delivery. Solos are also included in this rusty Metal warrior’s arsenal, and these are always good to hear.

The songs blast and pound with an excitable and ancient energy. There are a lot of bands playing Black Thrash these days but it’s still an enjoyable proposition when done well.

Give this a listen.

Obscure Infinity – Perpetual Descending Into Nothingness (Review)

Obscure InfinityObscure Infinity are from Germany and play Old-School Death Metal. This is their third album.

I was excited to hear this after the excellent but oh-so-small taster that was their split with Funeral Whore.

After an epic-sounding intro we’re into the thick of the action with Obscure Infinity’s blend of Swedish-style Death Metal, atmospheric leads, and Death/Iron Maiden-guitar influences.

The band have tight control over their songwriting with all of the hallmarks of a band who are able to craft classic songs.

Whether sped up or slowed down, the band pace themselves well and the dynamic guitarwork is impressive. This is a band who are confident enough to simplify things when necessary but also talented enough to throw in some technicality on occasion.

The leads and solos are all blinders and the riffs in general are hugely impressive. The guitars make the songs and give them a vitality that’s rare in Old-School Death Metal. There are plenty of atmospheric moments and even the odd feeling of Old-School Black Metal in places; it’s not a huge influence but it’s noticeable.

The bass and drums underpin everything, providing a firm base for the songs to launch their attacks from. Blast beats are an important staple of the band but they also excel in the more rhythmic moments.

The vocalist is very accomplished, with a lovely deep growl and occasional screams to keep things interesting. Some unexpected cleans even appear on A Forlorn Wanderer, and it’s a testament to the band that they don’t seem out of place at all. It comes across as a mix of Emperor and Celtic Frost and is a great thing to hear.

The recording is first-rate, with plenty of heaviness. The songs sound alive and ready to crush!

Perpetual Descending Into Nothingness is just as strong an album as I was hoping it would be. Occult-sounding, malevolent Death Metal with plenty of texture and colour; Obscure Infinity are making sure that 2015 is starting off with a bang.

Crucifyre – Black Magic Fire (Review)

CrucifyreThis is the second album from Sweden’s Crucifyre. They play dark Death Metal full of personality and great songs.

The first track starts in a very unexpected fashion, with darkly melodic Doom riffing and clean female vocals that sound quite ritualistic. It’s a bold start to the album and when the song starts “proper” it doesn’t disappoint.

Calling Black Magic Fire Death Metal is a bit of a disservice in a way, as there’s a lot more going on here than just a straight ahead Death Metal album. Bringing to mind a mix of bands like Usurper, Venom, The Meads of Asphodel, Cathedral, Celtic Frost, Gravehill, Black Sabbath and Dismember this is a strong release that captures an occult feeling and channels it through a Heavy Metal core with a Death Metal exterior.

The band have that Old-School Death Metal style going on but there’s also more than enough Classic, Heavy and Doom Metal touches/riffs to go around. This means that the album is incredibly well-rounded and complete. Back this up with a set of very solid songs and you have an album that is extremely impressive in nature.

When I mentioned The Meads of Asphodel earlier it was because I hear echoes of this band in the vocal department and the vocal patterns/rhythms; Crucifyre have the same talent for catchy rhythms and Blackened shout/growls that have a similar character and personality. Semi-clean vocals even make an appearance and these are just great.

Albums like this are more than just one style; this release has a plethora of weapons with which to ensnare the listener and hook them in. The brutality is rhythmic and this is very song-oriented so that each track has an actual identity rather than just taking up space. The personality and character of the vocals spills over to the music as well and the passion and fervour of the band for all things Metal is never in doubt.

This passion is backed up by talent though and they ably pull off everything they try, whether this is the cleaner sections, the ugly brutality, the catchy songs, organs, sound effects, impressive solos or the female enhancement; it’s all performed and delivered at a masterly level.

There’s enough here to appeal to almost any Metal fan. This is Metal as it should be done. I love it.

Get this.