Epistasis – Light Through Dead Glass (Review)

EpistasisEpistasis are a US band that play experimental Metal.

It’s relatively hard to classify; combining elements of Black Metal, Hardcore and Progressive Metal. With a trumpet.

Let me see…if you take the urban decay and atmospheric barrage of a band like Red Harvest, mix in the experimental extremity from some of Converge’s work and add splashes of Ephel Duath you’ll be on the right lines. Add to that a singer who screams with the best of the Black Metal/Scream-core elite and you’ll have a package for a very interesting and gratifying release.

There is a lot going on in these songs and although they have brutality and intensity in spades they also offer a whole lot more than that. When they want to they can be very atmospheric and create darkened moods ripe with promise of arcane fulfilment, if only the price is right of course.

The use of the trumpet is inspired and is nowhere near as intrusive and incongruous as you might expect; its contributions are relatively subtle and work wonders in adding a further layer to their labyrinthine sound.

Unfortunately this release is only 26 minutes long, which is a shame as the band clearly have a lot to offer. However what they do give us as exceptional and worthy of repeat listens.

Individual and distinctive. Highly recommended.

Interview with Human Cull

Human Cull Logo

Human Cull’s latest release Stillborn Nation is a fantastic slab of top quality Grind chock full to the brim with maximum aggression. I quizzed them for more info…

For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

We are Human Cull, a 3 piece grindcore band from south-west England.

How did you form?

Human Cull was the refocused effort of a former band. We had a bit of a line-up change after our old drummer left, so I moved from guitars to drums and Edd added playing guitar to doing vocals.

What are your influences?

The usual mishmash of old and new grindcore bands, early (proper) death metal, thrash, crust, heavy metal, lots. Basically anything we think we can get away with chucking into the mix.

What are you listening to at the moment that you want to recommend?

Everyone should check what the UK grindcore scene is putting out at the moment, because there are some excellent bands in there; Fetus Christ, Atomck, The Atrocity Exhibit, Evisorax, Godsick, Oblivionized. There’s a list as long as my arm of lots of different takes on fast noise.

Human Cull

What was your writing process like for the songs of Stillborn Nation?

It was very organic (as cliché as that sounds). Edd and I would hash over ideas ’til something stuck. There were no shortage of ideas so we had to be pretty brutal with it all to weed out the weaker bits. Eventually we got to a point where we were happy with all the new stuff. There’s some re-recordings of older tracks on there too that had slowly changed over the course of playing them live so many times.

What can you tell us about the lyrics?

We try and take a few different themes and construct a bleak narrative about them. It’s a mix of current and often political situations, apocalyptic future sci-fi esque shit and some other bits and pieces, but all from a pretty nihilistic point of view.

In my review I praise the growling of the vocals in particular, comparing them to the characterful delivery of The Red Chord. How much thought went into the vocal patterns and rhythms?

With Edd and I both having to play instruments as well as doing vocals we tried to make sure we could play the songs live as well as just record them. Some are easier than others. The vocals are an important aspect to the texture of our music to us so we try and make them as fitting as possible.

Are you happy with how the album came out?

Yes. We always have set out to make music we’d enjoy listening to and I think we’ve managed it. We recorded with Dan Couch (from Godsick) and the album was mixed by William Blackmon (from Gadget), and they both did a great job of capturing the kind of sound we were after.

What does the future hold for Human Cull?

We’re hitting Europe next month for a tour with Oblivionized, Temples Festival in May, and more writing and recording for some more releases and splits we have lined up. We like to keep ourselves busy.

Thanks!

Rotengeist – Start to Exterminate (Review)

RotengeistRotengeist are from Poland and play Thrash Metal.

The band have a good, strong sound that they use to launch their Thrash attack from. I also quite like the album cover.

This is heavy, aggressive Thrash with almost a Progressive edge to some of the songs. This additional penchant for melodic and interesting instrumentation scattered across the album pushes the band above the average, and is definitely something I would be keen to see the band develop and build on for future releases.

The vocalist’s voice is pitched somewhere between singing and shouting, almost like the singer of Testament on occasion.

The instruments are well played and the riffs and licks are endless. You can hear the bass and it makes an above-average contribution to the songs rather than just following the guitar at all times. They have some good solos on offer as well.

A strong album that is a bit of a grower, as all good albums are.

Interview with Gravehill

Gravehill Logo

Gravehill will shortly be releasing their new album Death Curse which is chock full of top quality Death Metal riffage and mouldy corpse-bothering. I asked some questions while Thorgrimm and Abominator stank up the place…

Hi, for people unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself.

Originally formed in 2001 as a three piece and within the same year recorded “The Practitioners of Fell Sorcery” demo and as quickly as it began, the original line-up disbanded soon after the début demo. In 2006 GRAVEHILL reformed with original drummer & founder Rhett “THORGRIMM” Davis and vocalist Mike Abominator, “the brains and heart of the current GRAVEHILL.” Over the course of 2007-2009 GRAVEHILL released 2 CDs with ENUCLEATION Records… the “Metal of Death” / “The Advocation of Murder and Suicide” CD/EP and the “RITES OF THE PENTAGRAM” CD. Soon after the RotP CD release with ENUCLEATION Records, the label folded, leaving both releases free. They were later given to IBEX MOON Records for a combined release of “Metal of Death / Advocation & Rites of the Pentagram” CDs adding a live DVD to the package as well!

By the summer of 2010 GRAVEHILL toured the U.S., added a new guitarist Matt “Hellfiend” Harvey (EXHUMED, DEKAPITATOR, REPULSION) to the line-up and by 2011 played the 9th annual Maryland Death Fest supporting their sophomore record “When All Roads lead to Hell” CD with DARK DESCENT Records (www.darkdescentrecords.com).

2012 began with a line-up change, by adding 2 new full-time guitarists known only as CC DeKill & Hell Messiah to replace Matt Hellfiend & Bodybag Bob due to their momentous touring schedule for EXHUMED.

2014 sees GRAVEHILL deliver their most stripped down and powerful release to date. On April 1st, 2014, GRAVEHILL’S “Death Curse” will be unleashed on CD/Digital formats (vinyl soon after) through DARK DESCENT Records. Over 35 minutes of powerful death metal in the old vein including guest appearances from some of the biggest legends of death metal (Chris Reifert and Eric Cutler of Autopsy and Kam Lee (Massacre, Death and Bone Gnawer). “Death Curse” includes artwork by another legend, Christopher Moyen (Incantation, Blasphemy and more).
<ABOMINATOR> Thorgrimm just put our “BIO” here because we are dead tired of answering this question…….. NEXT!

What are your influences?

<THORGRIMM> VENOM, AUTOPSY, MASSACRE, HELLHAMMER, BATHORY, SODOM, 80’s SLAYER, etc. We are influenced mostly by 80’s and early 90’s Heavy Metal, Speed Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Black Metal, Punk and Crust Punk. In most reviews we are called “Black/Thrash Death” or some variation of that. We just call ourselves Death Metal, everything we play is that to us, but call it whatever you want.
<ABOMINATOR> We are the FLEETWOOD MAC of death metal. Except we aren’t witches dancing around in sequenced moo-moo dresses and we don’t get fucked by penises dipped in cocaine like good Ol’ Stevie Nicks. I would say that I have a better voice than that stuffy ass, friend egg tits Christine McVie as well. Although it would be pretty cool to have a 34 inch cock like Mick Fleetwood. I think he fucked Stevie, Christine AND Lindsay Buckingham all at the same time didn’t he? Maybe even got a piece of that John Weasel Wort or whatever his name was on bass. Wasn’t that fucker in those Harry Potter movies?

What are you listening to at the moment that you want to recommend?

<THORGRIMM> Autopsy – The Headless Ritual / Rose Tattoo- Assault & Battery / Hail of Bullets – The Rommel Chronicles / Venom – Possessed / In Solitude – Sister / Wasp – Inside the Electric Circus / Behold! The Monolith – Defender/Redeemist / The Upper Crust – Let Them Eat Rock
<ABOMINATOR> Axegrinder-Rise of the Serpent Men/ Rea Respirator-Slapp Loss Alla Band Tape/ GBH-City Babies Attacked By Rats/ Tygers of Pan Tang-Wild Cat/ Demigod-Slumber of Sullen Eyes/ Sweet Savage-Take No Prisoners/ Scholastic Deth-Book Attack/ Lubricant-Swallow the Symetric Swab demo/ Bloody Phoenix-Ode to Death/ Peter Gabriel-So/ Warsore-ALL/ Roky Erickson-Don’t Slander Me/ Machetazo-Ruin/ Hellnation-Thrash or Die/ Nuclear Death-Wake Me When I’m Dead demo/ Agathocles-VNA split/ Mastication demo ’91.

GravehillGive us a bit of background to your latest album.

<THORGRIMM> We started the writing for the album in mid-2012′ after we got things rolling with CC & Hell on guitars. The songs came together pretty quickly, and by early 2013′ we had the entire album written along with jamming some cover songs we’d been doing for fun. We recorded all the drums with John Haddad at Trench Studios (who had recorded us in one way or another on our first 2 albums), we recorded all guitars, bass and vocals in our home studio with our guitarist CC at the helm and gave the final tracks to Dan Ochoa to mix and master. We took more of an active role in this album than all previous, we had the opportunity to take advantage of what we couldn’t before. We tried for a couple years to get art from Moyen and had the cover done by him a year before the album was done simply cuz he was available then, again we took whatever advantage we could when we could.
<ABOMINATOR> Right now we can tell you that it’s the best thing that we have ever done. Until we get sick and tired of it and the next album comes out. Wait, we are already sick and tired of these songs. Oh well. Just go buy the fucker so we can take our drugs and fuck our hookers.

How are the songs written?

<THORGRIMM> Unconventionally. Most bands have a chief writer or a writing team or whatever. We just get together in rehearsal, and start woodshedding ideas. Starts with one idea/riff and then we all contribute to that idea/riff, somehow a song gets arranged out of it. Hopefully one day we can just sit around, drink beer, listen to AUTOPSY, GG ALLIN & SODOM and write an entire record in one afternoon. Maybe the next one?
<ABOMINATOR> We can shit and fart out ideas all day and night. Oh and puke them out too. Death Metal should be done this way and THIS way only. Some of these new “death metal” bands sound like they come up with their 137 ideas in some fancy lab of some sorts. Carefully piece stuff together with a fine toothed comb. We just use the blood and semen that’s on our hands, rub it in your face and start the fucking heavy metal. Our songs smell worse than we do.

Tell us about the lyrics.

<ABOMINATOR> My diatribes that I put together for this band keeps me out of prison. That being said, I’m not “singing” about butterflies, saving the world or my failed relationships from 1998 that I still cry about. It’s a heavy dose of hell, throw in some Satan and top it off with a lot of cursing and there you have it. This shit just spews out of me like a puss filled zit. I then spread that pus all around until everything is covered. God loves ugly. Good thing God also fails and I don’t give a fuck what he loves. I LOVE TO SMELL MY OWN FARTS.

Are you pleased with the way Death Curse ended up sounding?

<THORGRIMM> I think it is closest to what we wanted to achieve then what we’ve done before. We want the drums to sound like drums, the bass is in the mix, and the guitars are heavy and raw. Having better gear helped this time out also, as well as not cutting corners on what sound we want to hear. Also the recording work CC contributed was a major factor also.

GravehillHow do you think you fit in with the Death Metal scene as a whole?

<THORGRIMM> We don’t fit into any “scene”, in fact is there really a “scene”? There is an ongoing misunderstanding of what “Death Metal” is, due to so many stupid sub genre’s, the whole genre is confusing and overrun by hipsters with opinions I could give 2 shits about hearing. Nothing against the DIY collective, all those who bust their ass to get headbangers in the door, buying the merch and keeping the gigs alive, all the power to them. I’m just one of many in a band in the Greater Los Angeles area who is a part of the madness. Does GRAVEHILL have anything to prove? No. We are exactly what we are, Death Metal. If anyone feels the need to challenge that, go for it and eat a dick while you’re at it.
<ABOMINATOR> FUCK THE DEATH METAL SCENE AND FUCK ALL SCENES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you think there’s life in the maggot-ridden corpse of Old-School Death Metal yet?

<THORGRIMM> I’m a long time fan of Motorhead and AC/DC, which at one time or another have been bad mouthed by the media (past & present). Words like “Boring”, “Unimaginative”, “Unskilled”, “Barbaric”, “Primitive”, “Raw”, etc… These 2 bands haven’t reinvented the wheel. They are the fucking wheel! These bands don’t need to apologize for who they are, they do what they do and do it well and are happy doing it. That’s my point of view, GRAVEHILL is not here to provide something new, something innovative. We let the jazz pussy’s do that. So to answer your question more directly… don’t care.
<ABOMINATOR> DEATH METAL ETERNAL!!!!!!!!!! LIFE SUCKS SCUM FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!! We will fuck and eat the pussy of that corpse. WE LOVE OLDER WOMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What does the future hold for Gravehill?

<THORGRIMM> Gigs to support the release, we have a short run with DIOCLETIAN in May booked so far. We plan on making a pro music video for one of the songs on “Death Curse” next month. We’d like to release our own 7″ EP and a split 7″ EP in the future also but circumstances have prevented that by no fault of our own, but we will not stop trying. Any labels and bands interested, come our way.
<ABOMINATOR> I look forward to a really good shit in about 30 minutes from now.

Nice.

Taurus – No/Thing (Review)

TaurusTaurus are from the US and play experimental Drone/Doom with Psychedelia and Blackened influences.

This is genre-bending Doom full of ideas and Psychedelic darkness. The songs sound as if they have leaked from some sonic other-dimension and are strange translations of another musical language that can’t exist in its original form in our world.

Varied and strange vocals pierce the heady shroud of the music and are used as effects or instruments rather than traditional voices. A sound collage of extreme vocalisations set to unhinged music describing who knows what.

Twisting, angular rhythms and unusual soundscapes collide to produce Avant-Garde extremity and hypnotic time lapsed aural events. Taurus try to both lull and shock at the same time, producing an unexpected listening environment where transcendence is waved before you only to be snatched away and replaced with a veiled fist.

Each of these 5 songs is a nihilistic trip into other cultures that may or may not exist in our reality. It is a privilege to experience these slices of unreality and the band know this, revelling in their status as elite tour guides to places alternate.

Listen to Taurus if you have the constitution and self-confidence to explore uncharted climes and return unscathed. Enjoy reality while you have it.

Junkyard Lipstick – The Butcher’s Delight (Review)

Junkyard LipstickJunkyard Lipstick are from South Africa and play Thrash Metal.

The band have some quality Old-School Thrash riffs in their repertoire and know how to use them.

The vocals are similarly Old-School, with good melodies and lots of character. Her voice reminds me of a female version of the Agent Steel and Pagan’s Mind singers somehow mixed together. Add to this the odd raspier L7 moment and you have a voice laden with personality. Vocal experimentation rears its head on occasion though, especially on House of the Holy and when it does it’s just wonderful; she can do more than just rasp for sure.

The songs are short and the band wear their their Metallica/Anthrax influences on their denim sleeves.

The combination of youthfully exuberant vocals and passionate Thrash hero-worship means this short EP is very infectious. As I listen to it I can’t help but feel my heart filling with Metal and the urge to mosh along rising.

Check them out and give them your support.

Favourite Track: House of the Holy.

The World State – Flier (Review)

The World StateDanish band The World State have released their first EP Flier.

Orchestral sounds and touches of Rock and Metal collide in this ambitious release.

The ex-Sirenia singer shows that she still has an amazing voice and her vocals here are exquisite.

The tracks have lots of ideas and effects to hold attention. Ambience and subtlety are used effectively as well as heavier and more intense sections.

Well written songs with a great sense of dynamics and pace pound or slink their way out of the speakers and it’s clear that this is a very talented band.

Each song captures a different mood but all of them are involved and have a playful experimental edge that sounds fresh and exciting. There are three main songs and one piano instrumental.

After listening to this over and over I can’t get enough of it. It’s simply wonderful, that’s all there is to say about it.

At under 20 minutes across 4 tracks this EP is brief but effective. A full album of this would be most welcome!

Cultfinder – Hell’s Teeth (Review)

CultfinderThis is UK band Cultfinder and they play Black Metal with a hefty Thrash influence.

A relatively short release of 24 minutes; after a perfunctory intro, (and one interlude), we get 5 tracks of blazing, bestial Blackened Thrash full of Satanic energy coursing through its corrupted veins.

The songs are primitive and atavistic, harking back to simpler times of a purified Metal lineage without outside influences or detractions. The band are fully aware of the path they tread and do so with pride.

The vocals bark their way from the gutter and scrape like nails down a blackboard. Even so, they manage to effectively deliver a wealth of hooks.

The wills of the various musicians are nefariously bent towards the creation and propagation of primeval Metal, and they do this admirably and to full effect. The songs and the riffs stick in the brain even after the final song The Scourging Angel ends in a squeal of feedback.

Apart from a previously released demo this is the band’s first release, and thus is laid a foundation for the future. A terrifying future where Cultfinder’s Blackened vision has come to pass. Get in on the action early and have a listen to Hell’s Teeth.