This Gift Is a Curse – A Throne of Ash (Review)

This Gift Is a Curse - A Throne of AshThis Gift Is a Curse are a blackened sludge band from Sweden and this is their third album.

Here we have 45 minutes of hateful extremity that combines black metal, sludge, and hardcore. It’s violent, world-ending music that’s wreathed in both aggression and atmosphere most foul. Continue reading

Lambs – Betrayed from Birth (Review)

LambsLambs are an Italian blackened Hardcore band and this is their début EP.

You gotta love Blackened Hardcore. A sub-genre that takes the best of the violence and darkness from Hardcore and Black Metal? Yes please! This style is getting more and more popular and has already resulted in a plethora of good bands such as Hexis, Plebeian Grandstand, Dark Circles, Ancst, Cowards, Funerals, Protestant and Flesh Born, to name just a few. Some bands go slightly more one way or the other, while others, like Lambs, meet both genres in the middle. That, and a bit of Post-Hardcore thrown in for good measure.

This is a quality little release that showcases what Lambs are capable of, and it seems that they should have big things ahead of them if they can keep this level of quality control and intensity up for a full album. Well, big things for a small sub-genre at any rate.

The aforementioned intensity doesn’t mean it’s a Blackened blast fest, (although they can blast when they need to); Lambs have a darkly emotive and fanged assault that never lets up regardless of the speed they play at. In this way they can be compared to any number of modern violent Hardcore bands, as they keep on pushing and pushing with the relentless riffs, to make sure their point is rammed home; be this by straight forward assaults, dirge-fuelled slower sections or angular, atypical melodies. Lambs cover all of the bases.

There’s only three songs here but contained within them is a lot of dark intent and malevolent ambition. As calling cards go this is up there with the best of the style and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Play at full volume.

Unsacred – False Light (Review)

UnsacredThis is the début album from US Crusty Black Metal band Unsacred.

This is blistering, raw and nasty but still boasts a powerful sound.

This style of Black Metal that incorporates the visceral, harsh nature of Crust and Hardcore is a particular favourite of mine of late. Unsacred join the ranks of top bands like Hexis, Ancst, Vermin Womb, Protestant, Flesh Born, etc. who all play the style with power and presence.

False Light boasts songs that have a very direct impact with quality riffs that are halfway between the scything, frozen Black Metal style and a more direct and energetic Hardcore one. Combined like this they mix the best of both worlds and the tracks on this album come across as pure class.

The singer has a very satisfying rasp, somewhat akin to a higher, sharper version of the At The Gates singer in some ways. His voice suits the acerbic nature of the music and is another feather in the cap of Unsacred.

The dark energies flow freely through Unsacred. The suffering and pain they inflict is exquisite.

At only 22 minutes in length False Light is over far too soon. I can easily listen to this over and over again, and I suggest that you do too.

Great stuff. Now bring me more.

Primitive Man/Hexis – Split (Review)

Primitive Man/HexisPrimitive Man are from the US and play Sludgy Doom. On this release they have teamed up with Danish Crusty Black Metallers Hexis. Each band contributes one song, each about 8 minutes in length.

This is my first time hearing Primitive Man, but I’ve heard good things about them and am not disappointed.

When Getting High Is Not Enough starts off crushingly slow and heavy with vocals so deep and dark they seem to swallow all light. After a while the bass adopts a crawling pose while the guitars transcend to an almost Post-Metal ethereality before falling back to earth with a weighty riff. This soon breaks out into an unexpected frenzy of speed and the vocals become higher and much more vicious.

The band have this ability to play slow, fast or chuggy-as-hell while still retaining their own identity and a sense of filthy, Sludge-fuelled blackness pervades everything. The song is a victory and I am left wanting to hear more from this impressive band.

Hexis are a band who I am very familiar with as they have produced some very strong material over the years, particularly their recent full length Abalam.

Their track Excrucio is a weighty beast that has their trademark Blackened guitar walls with shredding vocals seemingly buried just underneath the enormous tide of distortion. Hexis manage to write very emotive songs where the guitars are the main stars of the show and the vocals and everything else are their to support them and help to accentuate how rock solid they sound.

Hexis have struck a winning formula with their sound and Excrucio is no exception.

This is a great showcase for two talented bands that offer a lot for the discerning metal fan who wants something a bit more from their listening.