Dawn of Disease – Ascension Gate (Review)

Dawn of DiseaseDawn of Disease are a death metal band and this is their fourth album.

I wasn’t expecting a new Dawn of Disease album so soon after last year’s enjoyable Worship the Grave, but I’m certainly not complaining about it. Continue reading

Benighted – Necrobreed (Review)

BenightedBenighted are a French death metal band and this is their eighth album.

Benighted impressed the Hell out of me when I managed to catch them live supporting The Black Dahlia Murder, (whose singer guests on this album), so it’s with a palpable sense of excitement that I press play on Necrobreed. After a typically throwaway intro, the Continue reading

Hybrid Sheep – Hail to the Beast (Review)

Hybrid SheepThis is the second album from French death metal band Hybrid Sheep.

After the promise shown on 2014’s Free from the Clutches of Gods, Hybrid Sheep have now returned with another instalment of their modern death metal, and have showed some nice progress since their first opening release. Continue reading

Serpentine Dominion – Serpentine Dominion (Review)

Serpentine DominionSerpentine Dominion are a US death metal band. This is their debut album.

Featuring current and ex-members of Cannibal Corpse, Killswitch Engage and The Black Dahlia Murder, this was only ever going to be good at the very least.

Well, it’s even better than that. Continue reading

Bent Sea/To Dust – Ascend/Descend – Split (Review)

Bent SeaThis is a split release between Bent Sea and To Dust, both of which play grindcore and both of which feature a plethora of members/ex-members of bands such as Aborted, Megadeth, Soilwork, Napalm Death, (Bent Sea), and Abigail Williams, Vintage Warlords, Humanity Is Cancer, Grave Plague, Fountain of Piss, Severed Remains, The Black Dahlia Murder and Phobia, (To Dust).

Phew. As you can see, there’s a lot of experience here.

The first half of the split is provided by Bent Sea, who give us almost 10 minutes of state-of-the-art ferocity. Continue reading

Gargantua – Avant-Propos (Review)

GargantuaThis is the début EP from French Progressive Metal band Gargantua.

Gargantua play Progressive Metal that combines some quite eclectic influences to produce a 26 minute calling card that shows off what they can do quite effectively.

To give you a flavour of their style, imagine a mix of The Meads of Asphodel, Sigh, The Black Dahlia Murder and Akercocke, among others. It’s essentially a form of melodic Death Metal with added folk, avant-garde and progressive influences, allowing the band a freedom to experiment and be playful with their influences.

The keyboard and accordion aspect of their sound is quirky and endearing. While not as completely over-the-top as some of the stuff that Sigh get up to, this part of their sound can still be demanding and attention-seeking.

The more aggressive Metal that lays the foundation of their music is tempered by their other influences so that the majority of the riffs have a lot of other stuff going on; the avant-garde and more-emotive aspects of their style are never too far away.

Thrash Metal-esque shouted growls, barely-holding-it-together screams, progressive cleans, operatic choral parts, emotive theatrics; there’s a plethora of different styles employed on Avant-Propos via four of the various band members.

A very promising first release. While not perfect, it shows a creative band willing and able to push boundaries to achieve the sound they want. With a few tweaks here and there to tighten the songwriting up, they could become quite a fearsome proposition in the future.

Check them out.

The Black Dahlia Murder/Benighted/Ingested – Sound Control, Manchester – 21/01/16 (Live Review)

TBDMTOUR

I like Sound Control as a venue, and tonight, even though I’ve definitely seen it busier, there’s still a decent amount of people here and the place has a good atmosphere.

Ingested 1

I think I’ve seen Ingested before. Maybe. If I have, it was a long time ago and neither the band or the details left too much of an impression. Tonight changed all that. It seems they’ve either come a long way or I just wasn’t paying close enough attention. Probably both.

So, as you’ve probably gathered I arrived in time to catch Ingested, and I’m eternally grateful I did. They positively explode out of the stage, full of high energy, revelling in their status as show-openers and doing a damn good job at it.

Ingested’s slamming Death Metal deals in plenty of blasting and groove. They’re essentially slam machines with colossal breakdowns that somehow fail to sound one dimensional. The singer has a voice like a demon and bellows, roars and screams himself into fits of slamcore delirium.

Ingested 2

Tonight they benefit from a huge clear sound, which is downright shocking for an opening band and allows them to display what they do best at full power. They got me moving which is more than most support bands do.

Mixing parts of Despised Icon, The Red Chord and Dying Fetus, Ingested just destroy the stage. Their music is clearly designed with mosh pits in mind, and the crowd give a suitably good account of themselves throughout.

The set ends and most people seem happy. Me? I’m very happy.

Benighted 1

After Ingested’s impressive performance, Benighted had their work cut out for them, or so I thought.

Being unfamiliar with Benighted, I was not sure what to expect, (except in general terms), but they rose to the challenge nicely.

Like Ingested’s set, we are treated to another strong sound; the venue should be proud of itself and tonight it appears to be support band heaven in this regard.

Benighted are aggressive and sharp, with a more focused, refined assault than that of Ingested’s raw muscularity, although that’s not to say they lack direct brutality or strength; far from it.

Their polished and professional style takes modern Death Metal and dips it in an impassioned performance. The band’s twisted melodics and grooving blasts come from the same school of nastiness as Cattle Decapitation and Aborted, combining quality musicianship with streamlined brutality. Elements of their sound have a tribal, rhythmic quality, frequently interrupted by a tirade of blast beats for maximum effect.

Benighted 2

They make quite the impression and it’s clear that they have more than a few fans in the crowd, and there’s plenty of movement too. The groovy parts get the bodies moving hard and the fast, blasting sections just demolish. In fact, I particularly like it when they play fast. The evening’s first stage diver even makes an appearance mid-way though the set. He looks like he’s enjoying himself.

The singer has a commanding presence and a great voice. He also looks like a smaller version of powerlifter Jeremy “Couch” Hamilton, which keeps me amused the entire set. The bassist has an infectious grin and even indulges in a bit of Steve-Harris-from-Iron-Maiden-machine-gunning, which is always nice.

Their penultimate song starts with a sample of an alarm clock that sounds exactly the same as mine and freaks me the fuck out. What follows is much better than what usually follows though.

At the end of their set me and a large chunk of the crowd are left with smiles as large as the bassist’s. Nice.

The Black Dahlia Murder 1

And now for the band everyone’s been waiting for, the USA’s premier Melodic Death Metal masters.

I’ve seen The Black Dahlia Murder before, but they were playing in a support capacity and were marred by a weak, muddy sound. In keeping with the theme of the evening so far though, there are no such problems tonight, and the band absolutely slay. Boasting a crystal clear sound that demonstrates a band at the top of their game, the band’s performance tonight is exemplary.

When the bassists asks if we wanna hear a very fast new song, you know we do.

The Black Dahlia Murder 2

The major selling point of The Black Dahlia Murder for me is their peerless brand of fast, razor-sharp melodicism, and tonight it’s on such fine display that I’m amazed I don’t leave with lacerations.

Opening with Receipt off their latest album, they power through a veritable greatest hits package. Although, like any greatest hits collection, you can’t please everyone, (I was hoping for Climactic Degradation…). However, there are enough quality songs here to please, spanning the band’s entire discography.  Vlad, Son of the Dragon makes a welcome appearance and Moonlight Equillibrium (about a werewolf that eats English breakfasts, apparently) is a particular favourite. Abysmal, the title track from their latest album, sounds even better and more savage live than it does on record, and then Funeral Thirst absolutely just melts faces. Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn, (about the Evil Dead, he tells us), is a real catchy crowd-pleaser, as is Statutory Ape. They end with the one-two punch of Deathmask Divine and the iconic I Will Remain, which features one of the best intros and outros to any song. And the bit in the middle isn’t bad either.

The Black Dahlia Murder 3

The band themselves are on fine form, and focus inevitably finds itself being directed towards their charismatic frontman; he attacks the songs with such enthusiasm it’s palpable, sometimes seeming to take the role of a mad conductor.

As befitting the band’s status, the crowd have a strong reaction to the songs and there is stage diving and moshing in abundance, including some relatively immense circle pits. One stagediver arrives on stage just after a song finishes and gets to be interviewed by the band, (his name is Lawrence, and he likes slam). At the behest of the band the audience give a good attempt to carry him to the back of the venue during the next song, but he doesn’t quite make it. It’s a valiant effort though.

The Black Dahlia Murder 4

When a crowd casualty seems to occur, the band take the time to make sure everything’s okay, and also lead a chant of “Live! Live! Live!” which is most amusing.

After this long in their career The Black Dahlia Murder are a well oiled machine live, but it’s good to see that they aren’t just going through the motions and there’s real passion here.

This was genuinely one of the best shows I’ve been to in a long time. All three bands did themselves proud and I am left with nothing but fond memories and a slightly tired neck, exactly as it should be.