Bewitcher – Bewitcher (Review)

BewitcherThis is the debut album from US black/speed metal band Bewitcher.

This is some heady old-school stuff. Mixing thrash, speed, heavy, and first-wave black metal influences into its delivery, this album is designed to get you headbanging. Continue reading

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Dread Sovereign – For Doom the Bell Tolls (Review)

Dread SovereignThis is the second album from Irish doom metal band Dread Sovereign.

2014’s All Hell’s Martyrs was an absolute stormer of an album, and definitely one of my favourites from the doom metal genre. After catching them live at last year’s Damnation Festival, I was very excited to eventually hear some new material from the band. Finally, the wait is over. Continue reading

Soulburn – Earthless Pagan Spirit (Review)

SoulburnThis is the third album from Soulburn, a predominantly black metal band from the Netherlands.

Featuring ex-members of Asphyx, this is a solid slab of prime-time metal that effectively mixes black and death metal, (with some doom), into a tasty 47 minutes. 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

Inculcator – Void Abecedary (Review)

InculcatorInculcator is a one-man UK black metal project. This is his début album.

With roots firmly growing out of the distant 80s, this is black metal with thrash influences. Or thrash metal with blackened influences. Who cares; turn up the volume, press play and revel in the ridiculously OTT 80s nature of this thoroughly endearing release.

The recording has a wonderfully cosmic edge, surely influenced by Continue reading

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.

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.

Sabbatory – Endless Asphyxiating Gloom (Review)

SabbatorySabbatory are from Canada and play Death Metal. This is their début album.

Sabbatory have an Old-School sound that recalls Celtic Frost if they were a Death Metal band.

The production has that classic timeless feeling and the songs maximise this, playing their morbid Metal with enthusiasm and intensity.

The vocals are deep and disturbed, but remain legible for the most part. They have character and are instantly differentiated from most modern Death Metal vocals by this and by borrowing some Old-School quirkiness from the likes of Celtic Frost and Venom.

Each song has its own identity. There are only 7 of them but they each have a role to play in making up the 33 minutes playing time. There is not a filler in sight.

Like the best of the classic Death Metal bands Sabbatory are interested in songs and know how to write a good tune. They play the riffs well and even push out the odd solo. I hear a healthy Death influence here and there.

Recommended listening. After all, this is Death Metal through and through, what’s not to like?

Cauldron Black Ram – Stalagmire (Review)

Cauldron Black Ram

This is the third album from Australian Death Metal band Cauldron Black Ram.

The band have a very striking sound that instantly forces you to sit up and pay attention. Sort of like Six Feet Under crossed with Venom and Celtic Frost.

There is an air of Sludge to the songs; a foetid whiff of mouldy corpses long sealed in a basement. Add to this a decent Black Metal influence on occasion, and you have a bumpy ride over the screaming bodies of countless poor passers by as this Metal juggernaut rolls into town.

They have a very fluid sound in the sense that the songs can morph into different shades of Metal quite quickly, with different riffs, vocals and drumming patterns all asserting themselves dominantly depending on the song. All of this happens within the Death/Black/Sludge Metal framework of course, but it does mean that there’s never any chance to get bored when the band have so many tools to club their way into your attention.

Although I wouldn’t call them Old-School per se, there is a definite Old-School streak to them and they even have some prime Heavy Metal, almost Iron Maiden-type moments now and again.

This is an interesting and gratifying Metal album. All the more so for the fact that it’s a little different from the norm. A lot of talent and effort has gone into these songs, and it shows.

Get your fix of Cauldron Black Ram today.