Album Reviews

FULCI: Exhumed Information: 3

The new FULCI album, entitled “Exhumed Information”, continues the paradigmatic experience of the band as a tribute to (cult Italian film director) Lucio Fulci’s filmography. The album is a concept based on the film “Voices from Beyond” (1991). This is not one of the most established and praised Fulci’s works, having actually been made in the final (low budget) phase of his career, yet it is still a very interesting giallo / horror enhanced by a peculiar dark aura. “Exhumed Information” is a very intriguing chapter in FULCI’s discography, as the album has been structured in two parts that explore all the facets of the FULCI sound. The A-side is purely death metal while the B-side has been conceived as a movie soundtrack. All the synth parts were written and performed specifically for FULCI by the electro / soundtrack project TV-CRIMES. This side in particular embodies a reverberating sense of eeriness, danger and fear: the brooding sound feels dangerously unsettling, lacing its churning atmosphere with catchy melodies that travel right through your ears to your central nervous system.

Musically this album is what you would expect from the Italian Death Metal band. Very brutal straight forward old-school death metal.  The album has a horror machine sound much more likely to eviscerate your still twitching corpse than to give a shit about appeasing one deathly faction or another. This comes highly recommended by TMZ! 

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Wormlight: Nightmother: 4

Possibly an album of the year. Black Metal band Wormlight drop a new album on May 7th. The forthcoming album, Nightmother, evokes spirits from nine worlds, eleven spheres, and crooked angles, four alchemical conduit worlds, or the highest or lowest pantheon realms of sterile rivers and the accursed firebrand torn asunder by avian hellions — be it the origin of the golden Hellenic or the shimmering Aesir. The holy and unholy feminine will gather at a 54 minutes crossroad feast through 9 courses to subjugate their ravaged supplicants with an opus bereft the warmth of a womb, with an ageless affront towards all life, the torrid lusts of all the damned seeking adulation in the motherly embrace of the utmost darkness. For you, all this will be a bacchanal of matriarchal sovereignty, sublime and perverse infancy that will allow you all to know the mother(s) with a thousand names.

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Obvurt: The Beginning: 2

Initially, OBVURT was a solo project created by Philippe Drouin. In 2016 he was victim of a car accident, which injured his right wrist and prevented him from playing the guitar. Despite undergoing multiple medical operations, Philippe was not able to get his dexterity back. Even when facing adversity, he refused to give up on himself or on the guitar skills he had been perfecting for 15 years. In 2018, he decided to buy a left-handed guitar, despite being right handed. With the help of Michael Angelo Batio, and because he kept practicing, Phil was able to come up with his very first songs. With the debut album Obvurt drop some intense sounds. Obvurt guitars are equally adept at chops and leads. Obverted has both on display, and while chords here are fantastically consistent, leads are almost triumphant, in your face, happy to declare to the whole world what someone who was previously impaired can do. This music just flies by, propelled by its own energy, with the first stretchy slowdown not coming until the end of Obverted. Scars of War

is another Kataklysm-like track with belligerent title fitting riffs, and the EP closes with a groovy longing instrumental The End (with a play on the EP title), leaving you hoping for more, hoping Obvurt will be an entity for a while.

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Darkthrone: Shadows of Iconoclasm: 4

This deluxe set marks the formative years of one of Norway’s finest & most celebrated metal exports, as well as highlighting the 30th anniversary of their ground-breaking debut opus Soulside Journey, this extensive vinyl and cassette boxset contains the full early works of the band, much of which sees a release for the first time, including restored material courtesy of Patrick Engel at Temple of Disharmony. From humble beginnings to revered gods of metal, Shadows of Iconoclasm unfolds the band’s early journey towards greatness. 

Shadows Of Iconoclasm contains:

 

- The 4 cult Darkthrone demos presented on cassette tape format with their original art and layout.

 

6 LPs plus 7” featuring:

 

- A newly remastered 30th anniversary edition of 1991’s Soulside Journey

- The original Goatlord instrumental rehearsal/album – specially transferred and restored from Fenriz’ own original tape.

- Live in Esbjerg, Denmark 1990 – For the first time on vinyl. 

- Live in Oslo November 1990 – taken from a new digital transfer from the original master tapes from the Bootleg TV archive. Previously unreleased.

- Live in Riihimaki and Lahti, Finland. Darkthrone’s 1991 Finnish tour dates for the first time on the vinyl format.

- Tracks from Oslo 1989 Bootleg TV appearance on 7” vinyl, including the Celtic Frost cover, ‘Visual Aggression’.

 

- DVD featuring a new digital transfer of Darkthrone’s November 1990 Oslo appearance from original master tapes, as well as their Finnish tour date appearances, plus bonus footage from Oslo 1989 & a previously unseen track from their September 1990 Oslo gig, when Cadaver & Abhorrence were in support.

 

- 60 page book with a large collection of band photos, plus text covering the early years of the band as featured in the Black Death & Beyond book, including additional text for this release, plus bonus chapters compiled from rare Darkthrone titles.

 

- Band promotional photo print replica.

- Soulside Journey art print

- Posters of the original Darkthrone logo image drawing & gig poster promoting their Oslo live appearance from September 1990.

Buy this! Enough said!

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Ablaze My Sorrow: Among Ashes and Monoliths:  2

Ablaze My Sorrow returns with their fifth full-length album, ready to kill once again with their visceral and aggressive music. Among Ashes and Monoliths sticks to the tried and tested formula. There is not a lot of new here. In the atmospheric and dark opening track My Sorrow, Magnus and Dennie provide their welcome card from the very first second with their slashing riffs. Dark Chasms brings forward another round of their vicious and aggressive Melodic Death Metal. The Day I Die is a solid Melodic Death Metal tune showcasing all elements from this genre including harsh growls intertwined with clean vocals, smashing drums and epic and frantic riffs and solos. If Melodic Death Metal is your business, and you want the expected from your bands, then this album is a solid listen. 

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Asphyx: Necroceros: 4

When you just want great straight forward Death Metal, enter veterans, "Asphyx!" Asphyx has returned with another tremendous effort that takes the form of “Necroceros” whose raw power compiles all light and life within its core to only then explode it outwards in terrible fashion. “Necroceros” holds nothing back and is a much stronger approach to the death metal side of their side while still including some massive passages of doom.  Tracks like “Botox Implosion”, which was also the first single released, and “The Nameless Elite”, bring in the spirit of energetic death metal into picture. Asphyx continues to play to its strength, resulting in many hits on this one. Pick it up today.

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Pantheon: Age of Wolves: 2

Part Death, part Thrash... that is what you get with Pantheon. Playing old-school blackened death thrash metal with groove elements, Pantheon has quickly secured a diehard following breaking the trends in the Mid-South and Midwest Metal scene. Pantheon’s debut album “Age of Wolves” was released in July 2020 by Necrotic Records and continues to receive excellent reviews as the band prepares for its vinyl release in April 2021. “Age Of The Wolves” puts forth a collection of Death metal rooted riffs, sick thrashy grooves. Pick this album up now.

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Fuath: II: 3

Translated as “hatred” in Gaelic, FUATH is the atmospheric black metal offshoot of SAOR’s Andy Marshall. Taking inspiration from arguably black metal’s most fertile and explosive period — the early to mid-1990s — the music channels the unrelenting tenor and iciness of forebears BURZUM, DARKTHRONE and MAYHEM. Written during the winter of 2019 and then recorded in August and September 2020 at Fortriu Studios in Scotland, ‘II’ features Marshall handling vocals and all instrumentation except for drums, which were performed by Carlos Vivas in Spain. Whereas ‘I’ dutifully remained within the boundaries of conventional black metal, ‘II’ finds the songs going further into the frozen plains with elaborate doses of melody, ominous riffing and hypnotic blast-beat sections. ‘II’ marks a huge progression for Fuath from ‘I’ The progression shown from FUATH‘s debut to II is uncanny, evolving from a one of-side project into a band that can hang with the best in the genre. With enough atmosphere and melody to keep things memorable, II is a whirlwind of old-school black metal, in all it’s brutal glory. Eviscerating, shrouded in darkness and complete with a stunning production job that perfectly walks the line between abrasion and clarity, FUATH‘s second coming may just be the best thing to happen to UK black metal this year.

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Memoriam: To the End: 2

After steadily eclipsing previous releases – culminating in 2019’s masterful Requiem For Mankind – Memoriam‘s latest bruising collection marks the beginning of a second trilogy of albums, with To The End serving as something of a prologue to the first three Memoriam releases.

“Onwards Into Battle” is a huge opener; ably building the mood for the entire album and its slow, heavy, destructive nature is as strong an intro as you’d hope for. Conceptually, we’re in World War I territory (obvs) with Karl Willets’ throaty bellow demanding we march “onwards into battle….one more time” sounding as stupendously heavy as ever. Honoring their collective past – while forging stridently into the future – these four seasoned musicians show no signs of slowing down [except on “Each Step (One Closer To The Grave)”] and To The End is merely the next step in Memoriam’s ongoing evolution. 

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Epica: Omega: 3

Epica’s eighth full-length studio album, “Omega”, is really good. Epica’s high quality comes from the contrasts between Mark Jansen’s growls and Simone Simon’s angelic and powerful voice as well as the combination of the heavy guitars and keyboards. The band’s first full-length studio album in five years, we get to hear Epica’s trademark sound and, as always with this band, there is some added complexity. For example, there are some terrific Middle Eastern touches incorporated into the songs “Seal of Solomon” and “Code of Life.” At times, Epica’s music sounds like a film score. The epic piece “Kingdom of Heaven Part 3 – The Antediluvian Universe” clocks in at almost thirteen and a half minutes. During that time, Epica takes us on one helluva ride. This is a ride needed during these trying times. 

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Nervosa: Perpetual Chaos:  3

With a fairly quick departure and quick reunification with some changes to members notwithstanding, Nervosa have returned with their 4th album Perpetual Chaos. Original guitarist Prika Amaral is the solid foundation of this new incarnation and the Thrash is as in your face as ever on this album. However, the foundational rhythm section is re-imagined with the addition of Mia Wallace (bass) and Eleni Nota (drums). Capping off the revitalized Nervosa on vocals is Diva Satanica. Again they stayed true to the Nervosa sound. First the listener is struck by the opening track "Venomous." Nervosa bring in a couple of legendary vocalists to add some variety to Perpetual Chaos. “Genocidal Command” features guest vocals from Schimier (Destruction). His styling fit in well with the song structure. Erik A.K. (Flotsam and Jetsam) adds a bit of his awesome melodic power to the song “Rebel Soul”.  Treat yourself to a thrashing new year with this brutal metal album.

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Mordkaul: Dress Code Blood: 3

Mordkaul are here with some blood curdling Death Metal. A dark and evil mood, an infernal drive, and incendiary vocals on top is how MORDKAUL likes to forge killer songs. The members of this Belgium based band share a mutual passion for melodic death metal, and Dress Code Blood is no exception. 10 tracks of brutal death metal. From the opening track "Damnation" all the way through the finale "The Widow Black" Mordkaul deliver technical and guttural riff after riff. This is clearly an early top favorite that must be purchased asap.

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