Album Reviews

Municipal Waste: Electrified Brain: 3

Municipal Waste have been partying for over two decades as one of the leading crossover thrash bands across the globe. in 2022 the onslaught of Thrash continues on their latest effort, "Electrified Brain!" “Electrified Brain” stands as both an apt exercise in career self-description and also a solid culmination of the elements that have made them a premier figure in the millennial thrash revival. The riff work on beasts like “Demoralizer” and “Thermonuclear Protection” is both intense and intricate enough to make the average Slayer or Overkill fan perk up and take notice. If you are looking for riff-happy thrash to enjoy this summer, I recommend this album!

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Soreption: Jord: 4

Soreption return with eight absolute amazing tracks that are perfectly refined. ‘Jord‘ is an album which emphasizes their rhythm section’s intense virtuosic touch while Söderberg basically ups his game, presence and oeuvre for the first time since 2014 or so. The production values here are enormous. Opener “The Artificial North” sells this sound and approach up front with a choppin’ and staccato voiced burst of speed up front for a fine entrance. Performances from The Dark Alamorté contributor James Carey providing what are essentially keyboard breaks in the majority of the pieces. Everything about ‘Jord‘ is aesthetically strong and they’ve packed each moment with technique and strong features. Maybe album of the year?

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Abbath: Derad Reaver: 2

Abbath returns with album no. 3 following his departure from Immortal! It definitely sounds like Abbath. Two years in the making, Abbath’s third full-length is the culmination of everything before it. A fusion of debut Abbath (2016) and follow-up Outstrider (2019), the aptly titled Dread Reaver extends its fantastical fangs outward and drives its cloven hooves onward. Comprised of eight riveting tracks and a red-hot cover of Metallica’s “Trapped Under Ice,” Dread Reaver shows Abbath doing what he does best. The album’s edifice affords tracks like “Acid Haze,” “Scarred Core,” “The Deep Unbound,” and the album’s closing title track ample room to champion the extremes of black metal, heavy metal, and hard rock. While there are nods to NWOBHM greats, thrash metal’s luminaries, and black metal icons, Dread Reaver is unmistakably Abbath. While this album does not seem to offer anything new, it should quench the thirst of the most diehard fans for a while.

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Karmanjaka: Gates Of Muspel: 2

What used to be a one man project Karmanjaka has now evolved into a five piece band. Besmirched with darkness, the elegantly crafted songs are disclosures of sorcery. These tracks mark a reconciliation between melody-driven ‘90s black metal and progressive metal with no shortage of surprising moments. The album is mostly based on actual stories from “The Poetic Edda,” which is an interpretation of one of the oldest texts in Nordic history. All  of  the  musical  instruments  on  the  recording   have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.  The  vocals  add  in a  mixture  of high  pitched  black  metal  screams  and  aggressive  shouts. The  solos  and  leads  are  also  done  in  a  very  melodic  yet  epic  style. If  you  are  a  fan  of  aggressive  and  melodic  pagan  black  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  recording. 

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Abysmal Dawn: Nightmare Frontier:3

Brutal Tech-Death band Abysmal Dawn have returned after 2 years with a barn burning E.P.  Welcome, "Nightmare Frontier!" 2 originals and 2 covers complete this album. There are  blistering displays of guitar prowess and super thick melodies these cuts are killer. The drums are insane and are almost to the point of unbelievable as far as speed and technique go. Don’t get me wrong the music itself is absolutely awesome but man those vocals are something else. The E.P. will have blood-thirsty fans waiting for more.

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Seven Nines and Tens: Over Opiated in a Forest of Whispering Speakers: 2

Over Opiated in a Forest of Whispering Speakers still features the sounds on which the band made their name. The album features some new stylistic touchstones, such as 70's hard rock, classic rock, and jazz styles. Over Opiated in a Forest of Whispering Speakers marks the first time that band founder/songwriter David Cotton wrote lyrics/sang vocals on a Seven Nines and Tens record. This isn’t an epic album when it comes to length. Although it has epic tracks like Let’s Enjoy the Aimless Days While We Can and Sunshine. No, this is a tight and concise listen without a second of wasted time. The overall appeal of the album makes this an early standout release of 2022.

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Guillotine A.D.: Born Into Exile: 3

GUILLOTINE A.D. first took shape in 2003. However, it was until 2017 you would find the bands self-titled debut of southern sludge/death metal brutality. The band has finally returned with their second act, "Born into Exile." Eight more brutal tracks that expand on the bands previous works. Tracks such as "Exile" demonstrate how the band can speed up and slow down the tempo in the same song.  The album shows a variety of elements including Sludge, Death and Black metal. All of which Guillotine A.D. pull off quite well. Pick up this album!

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Wretched Tongues: Ulter Praefinitum: 3

Ulter Praefinitum, ‘beyond the end’, is the full length debut album from Wretched Tongues!  The blows that are delivered by tracks like ‘To Witness The Infinite’ are utterly staggering. As impressive as the sheer intimidating nature of Ulter Praefinitum though, are the intelligent touches of atmosphere, the technical adeptness, the grasp of song writing fundamentals - even when working with the most extreme of sound palettes. This is extreme music at its absolute heaviest and most creative. Prepare yourself for one of the most dominant, commanding and compelling deathcore releases of this year.

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Buñuel: Killers Like Us: 3

Avant-Garde Metal, Hardcore, Hard-Rock? It does not matter what label you give Buñuel, they just rock. Unorthodox forces collide in harmony on this 10-track release recorded by an Italian trio of versatile musicians and avant-garde veteran vocalist Eugene S. Robinson (Oxbow). Guitarist Xabier Iriondo, bassist Andrea Lombardini, and drummer Francesco Valente generate various moods through doom, alternative, noise, and punk arrangements. Killers Like Us risks turning off a prospective audience through its unapologetic and raw sound, but that is surely the way Buñuel wants things. Killers Like Us keeps your attention with its genre-shifting elements and experimental aspects. This is an album of note for listeners across many genres of music.

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Venom Prison: Erebos:4

Venom Prison does not seem to know how to make a bad album. In fact all since Samsara seem to be equally amazing. This is simply put Death Metal, perhaps with a touch of hardcore and black metal.

Right from the opening track / intro “Born From Chaos” we can hear the band’s newest evolution & the sonic soundscapes they are reaching within “Erebos”.  Venom Prison are precise & meticulous in their writing, which creates memorable & a fluid sound structure. Mixing quick rhythmic chugging with blistering leads before the song smashes into the hypnotic verse sections. Larissa Stupar shines throughout the album. This album is clearly a front-runner for best album in 2022.

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Wolfbastard: Hammer the Bastards:3

You all know what to expect from a crusty black metal album, or black punk metal, black n’ roll, whatever it’s called. Filth, perversion, alcohol induced vomit and extreme sonic torment. Wolfbastard is a band that certainly knows all that. They’ve studied all of these lessons and passed the test with flying colors. Wolfbastard keeps to the tried and tested patterns throughout. Most of this, their third, album is a clear homage to blackened crust punk. At times, they slide down into simplified black metal, of the second wave provenance.  The album is absolutely energetic. Filled to the brim and exploding with megatons, straight into your face. Furthermore, it is rhythmically diverse which is a rare occurrence in this musical style. Wolfbastard kicks 2022 of viciously!

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Obscura: A Valediction: 3

Obscura return with their 6th album. “A Valediction” delivers OBSCURA into a new era of extreme metal. ‘Forsaken’ features all the peaks, flourishes and complexity that you expect from this band. ‘Solaris’  features a relentless pace and non-stop musicianship. ‘Devoured Usurper’ channelis some early 90s death metal.  Obscura delivers as always. Irrespective of having a very complex and rich sound from the start, ‘A Valediction” is a very mature yet diverse soundscape of the band.

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Ratings:
1. Not so Good
2. Solid
3. Good
4. Excellent