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Album Reviews

Ageless Summoning: Corrupting the Entempled Plane: 4

Boasting a sturdy foundation of Morbid Angel and Immolation influences, Ageless Summoning proceed to build on this with skilled vision, producing an album that’s part-hero worship, and part spiritual continuation. Delivering a style of death metal that seethes with malevolence and grim, otherworldly atmosphere, Ageless Summoning do well to balance their obvious influences with their own personality. The songs are largely mid-paced and slower, although faster sections certainly appear. The overall songwriting goal seems to be one of malevolent atmosphere via immersive and engaging riffs, but without sacrificing death metal’s inherent brutality.

 This is an old-school death metal album that has a timeless feel to it. Wrapped in one of the most stunning and sinister Paolo Girardi artworks in recent memory, Corrupting the Entempled Plane is not to be missed.

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Kostnatění: Úpal: 2

The sophomore KOSTNATĚNÍ album Úpal ("heatstroke") is a story of the human condition as a function of heat. The rise of consciousness in warm-blooded creatures has given rise to impossibly dense, illogical webs of thought that can completely divorce our lived experience from the physical world around us. Anxiety, fixations, and hallucinations can appear without material basis, setting our overactive neurons on fire. To bring this vivid scene to life, KOSTNATĚNÍ has become both more meditative and more chaotic, introducing influences from sources as varied as African folk and noise rock into its technical black metal basis. Evoking both the searing rays of the desert sun and the melting of one's sanity, Úpal walks the fine line between burning up and burning out.


Inferion: Inequity: 4

Inferion have returned with one of the top albums of the first half of 2023.  Following up on the epic 2014 full-length This Will Decay, Inferion re-emerge with their most extreme material to date. Inequity showcases 55+ minutes of melodic Black/Death Metal desecration, with firmly-planted songwriting utilizing dual vocal stylings, heavily down-tuned guitars, grinding bass tones, and double-bass-oriented drum groove patterns sure to supplant the seasoned headbanger.  Inequity harkens back to the days of early Swedish death metal, yet delivered with state-of-the-art recording techniques of the modern day.

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Man Must Die: The Pain Behind It All: 4

Man Must Die return with their heaviest release to date. Adding a 2nd guitarist helps. 8 years and the most solid line up they ever had. Signing up with most exciting and innovating new label Distortion Music Group. 8 brutal tracks with an into and interlude. MMD will once again bring the fight but in a bigger way than ever. The is the best album of early 2023. Pick it up now.


Casket Robbery: Rituals of Death: 4

Midwest Death Machine CASKET ROBBERY will unleash their highly-anticipated second full-length album, Rituals of Death! Easily one of the best Death metal albums this year. It’s hard to oversell how hard this album goes, and how top-tier every single member of this band is all the way through. The sound is brutal, nearing oppressive, but never overwhelming. CASKET ROBBERY creates its own signature style of death metal by infusing horror and occult themes. Their trademark huge riffs and unstoppable grooves create the unrelenting, brutally catchy, and eerie sound that only CASKET ROBBERY is known for. Death metal with a wink. Enjoy this album!


Darkthrone: Astral Fortress: 3

Astral Fortress is a swift follow-up to 2021’s Eternal Hails opus, as a result of Darkthrone’s consistent and ongoing writing process, which has been in force for some years now. For Darkthrone does not sleep - it only waits. Carried on the brisk wind of eager rock, with foundations in black, thrash, doom and heavy metal, Astral Fortress is the latest album of stellar, eclectic old metal in the Darkthrone odyssey. With a seemingly endless dungeon full of heavy metal influences channelled through Darkthrone’s dynamic riff-machine, plus also with many increasing inspirations taken from their own past catalogue. Even though sprinkled with atmospheric touches such as synthesizers and mellotron on Astral Fortress to great effect, the Darkthrone sound remains stripped down to the core; always primitive and organic. Darkthrone has truly become its own beast within the metal world.


Autopsy: Morbidity Triumphant: 3

Death Metal veterans Autopsy return with their 8th album, "Morbidity Triumphant." This is truly a dark delight for seasoned and new listeners alike, with a raw organic sound perfectly encapsulating what makes Autopsy so distinguishable among its peers, for what could easily be considered one of its strongest offerings to date. Everything on this record is wonderfully and dementedly put together. The driving force of Autopsy as ever is the virtuoso guitar pairing of Eric Cutler and Danny Coralles, effortlessly trading off their schizophrenic leads and switching from all-out death metal madness to groove-laden heavy doom, with unmistakable drum/vocal legend Chris Reifert being master of proceedings, spewing his own infinitely creative maniacal musings. Turn out the lights, crank it up until your speakers puke and see where it takes you.


Trog: Of Vomit Reborn: 3

Initially forming as a three-piece in 2019, TROG (formerly TROGLOROT), released their debut EP Cave Dweller in the same year. The following years led to developments in both the band's line-up and creative direction, and TROG are now ready to unleash the gory delights in Of Vomit Reborn. Trog is old school death metal with a horror vibe. Eerie electronics in the EP's "Intro" evoke a dramatic sense of foreboding before descending into the deadly depths. Bloodthirsty guttural vocals rise through the heavy instrumentation in "Horrific Irrational Dream Imagery" to a monstrous effect. Bringing high impact with the hard hitting sound of "Cosmic Parasite", through to the progressive melodies seeping through "Of Vomit Reborn".  Immerse yourself in the sanguinary of TROG's latest offering. Brutal riffs, powerful percussion and ghastly vocals fuse together to birth an abominable sound. Deviating with unexpected interludes of 80s style synths, cuts through the dark mood with an equally disturbing segment. TROG have produced a grisly death metal release in Of Vomit Reborn, with their own distinctive twist


Exmortus: Necrophony: 3

Los Angeles-based neo-classical extreme metal mavens Exmortus return on new 

album, Necrophony. Four years in the making, the group’s sixth album offers nothing but savage rebirth and fierce renewal. Necrophony marks a significant turning point—one foretold by the Legions of the Undead EP in 2019—for the Angelenos. Not only have they emerged from the throes of the pandemic stronger, faster and crazier, they’ve signed on to global metal powerhouse Nuclear Blast. The passion and fury of lead-off single “Oathbreaker” is merely the tip of Exmortus’ darkest tower. Follow-on singles like the powerful “Mind of Metal” and “Storm of Strings,” a whistle-stop, no-joke cover of Greek-American composer Yanni interpreting Vivaldi’s “Summer,” add greatly to Exmortus’ masterly oeuvre. Whereas previous albums up through 2018’s The Sound of Steel have been predicated on heroic fantasy/sword & sorcery, Necrophony turns a decidedly darker page. Exmortus have gone from a Conan the Barbarian and Gladiator aesthetic to something blacker, more nefarious as illustrated by the eeriest and evilest Lovecraftian and Tolkien-esque tales. There’s even a classic horror thing happening. This is, of course, a reflection of our immediate world, and the darkness that’s engulfing everything in it. With “Oathbreaker,” “Mind of Metal” and “Storm of Strings” ringing darkened ears Exmortus’ paroxysmal ascent to extreme metal’s upper echelons is guaranteed with Necrophony. Bow in reverence to the high-flying, six-stringed dynasts now.


RUÏM: Black Royal Spiritism – I – O Sino da Igreja: 3

RUÏM was formed in 2020 by the Norwegian born, Grammy award winning guitarist Blasphemer (Rune Eriksen), known from acts such as Vltimas and Mayhem. ‘Black Royal Spiritism – I – O Sino da Igreja’ is RUÏM’s debut studio album. It presents a glimpse of something new, unique, visionary and highly eclectic. This album marks the beginning of a concept set to span a trilogy of releases exploring and incorporating a deeply personal expression of Blasphemer’s own beliefs regarding the greater.  spirits of the left-hand path. Black Royal Spiritism is supremely confident, menacing, entrancing, and overpowering. Blasphemer’s riffs on this scorching offering confirm that he still slays with an expert swordsman’s dexterity. Vocals on ‘Black Royal Spiritism – I – O Sino da Igreja’ are also handled by Blasphemer himself, sung in a mix of English, Portuguese and Norwegian, with lyrical themes rooted in a celebration and dedication to the lore and rituals of linha da esquerda. Such a great debut, pick this album up.


Last Legion: Metall, Blod & Aska: 3

Wow! What a debut album. Metall, Blod & Aska (“Metal, Blood & Ashes” in English), the debut album of Last Legion, centers around the themes of war and death while occasionally emitting antireligious fulminations. Although Last Legion’s sound on the album irrefutably gave the nod to the first wave of speedy black metal ancestors, the overall strength is rooted in the Scandinavian forces of the ‘90s, ensuring a more rampant and intense climate. Having five brand-new tracks and three re-written and sped-up tracks from the demo releases, the album is a bloodstained testimony to Last Legion’s impending triumph on the battlefield.
I would not let this album get away.


Hellripper: Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags: 3

Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags’ establishes a new threshold of excellence and raises the bar further over ‘The Affair of the Poisons’, with an opus standing at the crossroads between the sound that Hellripper has become known for and a whirlwind of different influences up until now yet to be explored, resulting in James McBain’s most personal and diverse work to date. With a greatly expanded scope to the tracks, incorporating more epic and melodic blackened anthems alongside the high-speed metal attack and blistering solos, ‘Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags’ marks a new high point for the band. Inspired by the landscapes and legends of the Scottish Highlands, McBain explores the darker side of Scottish history & folklore - the title itself taken from a line in the Robert Burns poem, ‘Address to the Deil’ - as well as including references to clan culture (including his own) throughout the album.   Setting the scene with the release of their first single (available on all streaming platforms now) and accompanying lyric video, created by Matthew Vickerstaff, for “The Nuckelavee” – McBain comments “I wanted “The Nuckelavee” to be the first track released as it’s not only the album opener, but it is the song that I think best represents the overall sound and vibe of the record. It’s speed metal at its core but with a few twists. Lyrically, “The Nuckelavee” is based on the Orcadian tale of the eponymous creature - a grotesque and skinless horse-like demon that brings plague and death wherever it travels”

The theme is continued with, for example, the track, ‘The Cursed Carrion Crown’, being based on the legend of ‘Sawney Bean’ and the Bean Clan (a spelling variation of “McBain'') and tells the story of a family of cannibals that lived in a cave and committed various gruesome acts.

As always, the writing and recording process was carried out by James McBain himself, with a few guests offering contributions in the form of additional vocals and instrumental parts. With recording taking place between March 2021 and June 2022, the album was also mixed by McBain, and mastered by Damian Herring at Subterranean Watchtower Studios. Make sure to ad d this album to your collection.


Wyrmwoods: No Sun Nor Moon: 3

Finnish Avant-garde metal band Wyrmwoods is set to release a fourth studio album No Sun Nor Moon on November 4th 2022 via Inverse Records.  There are plenty of the familiar ambient and progressive rock influences heard on the album. Listen closely and you will hear a saxophone on tracks as well. There's still plenty of room for more straight-forward and intense Black Metal parts on the album as well. The production is cleaner and less chaotic when comparing to the previous releases. There is a lot to unpack on this album, but it is well worth it.


Gnash: Shared Nightmares: 2

GNASH establishes a powerful and unique sound, drawing influence from the depth of death metal, the raw emotion of black metal, and heaviness of sludge metal, the band’s debut EP, Shared Nightmare. Shared Nightmare tells a tale of conjoined twins, where one half of the pair dies. The remaining twin must continue on in life, carrying with him a corpse he can’t be rid of. The EP is an exploration of what it means to bear trauma and the toll it takes after a lifetime of being weighed down by such inescapable feelings. Prepare to be transported into a dark and chilling tale in GNASH’s debut EP. We cannot wait to hear a full-length.


The Halo Effect: Days of the Lost: 4

The Halo Effect is here. The album is "Days of the Lost" and it does not disappoint. The members of The Halo Effect are not only masters of their domain, but also some of the pioneers of the Gothenburg melodeath scene; Lead guitarists and melodic death- slingers Niclas Engelin and Jesper Strömblad, lead singer and raging growler and lyricist Mikael Stanne, further on adding to this mix is the solid backbone and foundation of power bassist Peter Iwers, and his partner in crime since twenty plus years, hard-hitting drummer Daniel Svensson. For anyone missing that raw Gothenburg melodic death metal sound, this band might be what you’ve been lacking lately. The first look at The Halo Effect is a good one. It’s wonderful to hear Stanne’s immediately recognisable voice on ‘Shadowminds’ with Strömblad and the rest of the band leaning into historic sounds. Those Gothenburg hymns are immediately alive, as the band have come together to pour parts of their soul that they’ve been keeping to themselves for far too long. This is a great album from start to finish!


Tombs: Ex Oblivion: 2

Tombs recently dropped the album "Ex Oblivion!" An EP with two covers:

1. Killed By Death (Motorhead Cover)
2. Commit Suicide (GG Allin Cover)

There is also a remix with two original tracks.

Beginning with the Title track haunting ominous Opener Ex Oblivion is inspired by Lovecraft and merges some goth style sensibilities into some powerful black metal segments, the pace is slower, off-kilter yet purposeful, and excellently dark. The closer ‘’Murder Legendre’’ is hypnotic excellence, somber, atmospheric mood-building stuff of nightmares. The P should suffice until TOMBS is ready to drop their next full-length!

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