Hooded Menace – Darkness Drips Forth (Review)

Hooded MenaceThis is the fourth album from Finnish Doom-laden Death Metallers Hooded Menace.

Hooded Menace are well-known for playing Death Metal that’s heavy on the Doom influence, and just heavy in general. On this latest release this is taken to its logical conclusion, and the four songs on Darkness Drips Forth really blur the line between Death and Doom Metal, so much so that this is equally for fans of Incantation as it is for Esoteric.

The shortest song here is just under 10 minutes in length, with all tracks being stretched out to their maximum capacity for crawling, sinister, evil Metal.

Dark melodies creep into the thick, crushing music so that the band really foster the ancient Death/Doom influences that sit at the core of music like this. It’s not as overpowering or centralised as some who play similar styles though, allowing the heaviness and pure dirt of a band like this to remain at the fore. Old-school Anathema/Paradise Lost/My Dying Bride fans will be proud.

The singer’s cavernous growls are slow and drawn out, keeping pace with the unhurried music and reminding everyone that ultimately this isn’t pretty music; this wants to drag you down into the murk and consume your soul.

When they’re not playing at a snail’s pace the band have a rhythmic quality to them that’s almost Rocking, albeit one that’s coated in filth and grim intent.

These songs are veritable slabs of monolithic Metal, seemingly passed down through the ages in sealed tomes of forbidden lore, only to be discovered and unleashed by Hooded Menace. Each one is an impressive foray into Doom/Death, only much more malignant and nasty than a lot of the style normally is.

Highly recommended for both Doom and Death Metal fans alike.

Display of Decay – Dust of Existence (Review)

Display of DecayDust of Decay are a Canadian Death Metal band and this is their second album.

This is Brutal Death Metal that wastes no time on pointless intros or messing around; the album starts with a bang and is all about the aggression and violence.

Display of Decay’s brand of brutality involves nods towards the Old-School as well as worshipping at the more timeless brand of thick, groove-laden Death Metal skullduggery so beloved of bands like Deeds of Flesh, Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation.

The album has a good production; it’s raw and dry enough to fit nicely in with the underground, but strong and focused enough to have a powerful presence. I love the sound of the bass too; scratchy and omnipresent without being overpowering. It’s as if it’s saying “Yes, I’m here. I’ll be the end of you, too”.

There’s a good combination of blasting, mid-paced groove and slower sections that have a definite Doom vibe to them, akin to bands like Incantation, Zombiefication and Hooded Menace. The songs are well-written and there are plenty of decent riffs hanging around, like torture implements waiting to be used.

Dust of Existence is a really enjoyable Death Metal album that succeeds in avoiding being a faceless drone in a sea of similar bands and instead has a personality and character that’s very pleasing to see.

Blow the dust away and crank out Display of Decay at full volume.

Deathrite – Revelation of Chaos (Review)

DeathriteThis is the third album from German Death Metallers Deathrite.

This is Old-School/Classic Death Metal that’s filthy and dirty as Hell. It also has a poisonous mixture of both Doom and Hardcore influences pulsating through its infected blood.

Yes, this is an interesting mixture of different types of extremity all wrapped up in a Death Metal giftbox. There’s an air of the Swedish style to their attack, as well as a whiff of a chainsaw in their sound; there’s a Doomy Asphyx/Incantation vibe going on; there’s a Hardcore/Grindcore energy à la Nasum; and there’s plenty of balls-ahead Death Metal fun for all of the family!

The songs are heavy and nasty, with plenty of bite and a substantial presence. This is a compact little album lasting 35 minutes that doesn’t outstay its welcome and is in fact the kind of thing you’ll find yourself playing again almost straight away.

The singer has a throaty growl that’s malignant and rabid. It complements the aggressiveness of the music perfectly.

This is a top quality album full of decent Metal tunes and plenty of big riffs, with everything you see and hear being covered in filth, of course.

Highly recommended.

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.

Putrid Evocation – Echoes of Death (Review)

Putrid EvocationPutrid Evocation are from Chile and this is their Death Metal début album.

Putrid Evocation play Old-School Death Metal with a strong reek of the grave and a palpable miasma of rotten flesh.

The band write ancient, primordial Death Metal tracks that are ultra-primitive in their assault. The songs may be simple but they’re also effective and Echoes of Death should satisfy any cravings you have for Old-School Death Metal.

A raw, murky production seals in the feeling of decay and Putrid Evocation are clearly not interested in any aspect of modernity. It’s an acquired taste of course, but if you’re not a fan of clinical, high-gloss recordings then you should feel right at home here.

Featuring a few Doom and even proto-Black Metal elements in their sound, the band successfully create their crypt-like tales with the love and care of a recently risen ghoul.

Early Incantation, Death, Autopsy, Dismember, etc. are your guides to the sound of Putrid Evocation.

Be sure to give them a listen.

Encoffination – III – Hear Me, O’ Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs) (Review)

EncoffinationEncoffination are from the US and this is their third album of Doom/Death Metal.

Now that’s an album cover. If you wanted a cover that said dirty, filthy and wretched, that’s what you’d go for. And they did. Top work.

Encoffination play a blend of Doom and Death Metal that is utterly miserable and carries a strong stench of decay around with it.

This is morbid, rotten Doom Metal filtered through an underground Death Metal influence. Incantation is the obvious reference, although imagine them slower, with a rawer production and sounding a lot more stinking than they normally do.

The band create a fully oppressive atmosphere that’s as all encompassing as it is relentless. The slow, Doom-filled riffs saturate the brain and lull the listener into a sense of foreboding despair that’s surprisingly comfortable to slip into.

This is a long album at just under 1 hour in length but the atmospheres that Encoffination create mean that you don’t really notice the passage of time. What’s 60 minutes compared to the glacial pace of geological time that it feels like the band use?

Slow, heavy and nasty. The palpable aura of desolation and woe is almost overwhelming. The band draw you in and drag you down into their world.

Highly recommended and highly addictive.

Sempiternal Dusk – Sempiternal Dusk (Review)

Sempiternal DuskSempiternal Dusk are from the US and this is their début album of Doom/Death Metal.

If you take the Doom-laden riffs of Incantation as your base of reference and then mix this with a band like Esoteric then you’ll have an idea of where Sempiternal Dusk are coming from.

Huge, miserable riffs crash down on the listener and the band seem compelled to create atmospheres of pure horror and neglect. The production is one of filth and decay, with the music seemingly being played beneath a shroud of despair.

The vocals are very deep and low. They’re used as an additional instrument and seem to bleed from the guitars like a disease.

Lumbering, slow Doom shares space with mid-paced Death Metal to create dark moods and a heavy sense of oppression. Occasionally the speed picks up with faster drumming and guitar work, but thanks to the glacial nature of the growling and the overall feel of the songs even these parts are infused with a sense of something colossal slowly unwinding.

If you like music that’s punishing, unforgiving and unrelentingly bleak then Sempiternal Dusk are the band for you.

Class.

Drowned – Idola Specus (Review)

DrownedThis is the début album from German Death Metallers Drowned.

With an album cover that gives nothing away I was, for some reason, expecting Old-School Death Metal. What we get, however, is far more interesting.

Their brand of Death Metal is complex and mature. Elements of both Doom and Progressive Metal have evidently taken root in their sound and have blossomed on this release.

Drowned have a warm, organic sound that allows the riffs and melodies to come to life and virtually jump out of the speakers. The guitar tone is thick and syrupy and the entire production is satisfyingly heavy and well-judged.

Deep growls punctuate the journey into Drowned’s world as the guitars breathe tar into your lungs and the drums assault from all angles. It may be atypical Death Metal in some respects but this is to be applauded.

Idola Specus reminds me of a Proggier Incantation; Incantation crossed with Death, Gorguts and Immolation perhaps. Either way, it’s a great thing to hear and Drowned have certainly made an impression.

This is a class example of esoteric Death Metal that may have a firm base in the genre but is not afraid to incorporate more Progressive/Doom elements to enhance the core substance of the band.

It may have taken the band a considerable amount of time to put this album together but the end result has been worth the wait.

Have a listen to Drowned. Just remember to hold your breathe before wading in.

Coffinborn – Beneath the Cemetery (Review)

CoffinbornCoffinborn are from Hungary and play Death Metal. This is their début EP.

This is Old-School Death Metal through and through. The band rip, tear and shred through these 4 tracks with morbid fervour.

This is rotten, stinking Death Metal that’s clawed its way out of the depths of the foetid crypt in search of brains and fresh body parts.

Cavernous vocals fill the air and one can almost imagine some ravenous, giant maw being opened ready to suck in all light and matter.

The dirty, filthy sound they have fits the music perfectly and the tracks pummel and bash with pleasing brutality.

Some good riffs and melodies stick out and there’s a good chug and groove in parts.

Mixing elements of the Old-School from bands such as Autopsy, Dismember, Incantation and Death; Coffinborn’s Classic Death Metal is played well and with good songs.

There are only 4 tracks on this EP but at just under 21 minutes in length it’s a good hit of Death Metal for Old-School fans. This is a very enjoyable release that promises good things for the future of this band.

Their début album could be one to watch. Check them out.

Confrontation – Fieseler Fi 103 (Review)

ConfrontationConfrontation are from the Netherlands. This is their début EP and they play Death Metal.

This is Old-School Death Metal with a malignant Doom influence. Think Swedish Death Metal meets Incantation. The recording has a bit of that Swedish tone, an evil vibe and a very tasty drum sound.

The songs are lumbering, heavy behemoths of dark destructive energy and deep, inhuman growling.

There are only three tracks on this release but each song is relatively long with the whole EP clocking in at just under 20 minutes.

What I like about this band is that they take the Swedish/Old-School sound and really ramp up the Doom side of the equation. The end of the first track, for example, is a great combination of feedback drenched slow riffing, harrowing noise and deep growls.

The band know how slowness works and how to make the most of it; atmosphere, feeling – these are important to the band. The start of the second track reinforces this as we get an eerie guitar melody over a pitch-black Doom riff and slow, crawling drums. When the vocals kick in it sounds as if Bolt Thrower have slowed down more than normal and decided to take the evil route to Death Metal.

Highly enjoyable – a hidden gem of the Metal underground.

This is an impressive EP that should be listened to by fans of both Doom and Death Metal. Be sure to check them out.