Reviews

Dynfari The Four Doors of the Mind

Dynfari - The Four Doors of the Mind album coverThis record sang to me even before I pressed play as I was reading the press release notes, it is a concept album around the issue of pain.

And this is very close to me as I have experienced neuropathic nerve damage pain for about 8 years after a very nasty and unexplained infection.

So let’s get on to Dynfari, who play a black metal infused prog tinged shoe gazing post rock. Using a fantasy writer’s theories on the mind and its processing of pain. Aldous Huxley and Jim Morrison discussed the doors of perception, and Patrick Rothfuss is speaking of the four doors here. To me, it can feel like a revolving door of pain at times. And this musical journey evokes that as well as it moves through differing emotions and moods as it entwines Icelandic poet Jóhann Sigurjónsson’s view of human existence, so we are back with Huxley and Mr. Mojo Risin’!

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Drude S/T

Drude - S/T album coverTrump maybe getting ‘really bad drudes out,’ but this bad Drude is here to stay! And that is because it hides and morphs and blends in like a musical chameleon.

You know how it is, you get comfy with something you know and feel familiar with for a minute or two, then it explodes in to an outpouring of harsh sludge which flattens me to the floor.

Drude hail from Indiana, and I am guessing that it’s Eerie, Indiana (I’m showing my age, aren’t I?) as they mix and contort their sound along the lines of reality distortion expected of some Sam Rami horror movie.

After the opening horror of “Drude,” we slow down to a bong pace for “Barbelo,” as it builds slowly layer upon layer like silt at the bottom of a river… and the music swirls around as the smoke begins to rise.

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Death of Kings Hell Comes to Life

Death of Kings - Hell Comes to Life album coverI am late to the party, but a friend gave me Mustaine: A Life in Metal which was a terrific read, and made me feel 15 again in the summers of the late 80s.

And to cap it all, Death of Kings come along with a top crossover thrash single to be the soundtrack to my imaginary salad days reverie! Hailing from Atlanta, these guys pack a punch, no holds barred full on no messing thrash. With some traditional reference points for sonic boom speed shredding lead guitar solos and power holocaust vocal screams.

This is a taster of the coming long player Kneel Before None later this year, and the vinyl will be a limited edition release, which I will miss out on I am sure, and I couldn’t face the import charges for bringing it over to Old Blighty. But any of you who can afford it, get on this as soon as you can, it will be released on March 31st, and will not disappoint closet old timer thrashers or the neo-wavers that missed it first time round but have youth on their side.

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Black Bow pulls its strings

1968 - Fortuna Havana album coverMy, they have been busy of late with some excellent tuneage coming near your ears this year! What better way to sum up the events of last year with a release schedule of grunging, stoner, doom and sludge to nourish us nether-beings and keep us hanging on.

Kicking off this mighty crop is 1968, a British rawk band funnelling the colours of Black, Blue and Purple, of the Sabbath, Cheer and Deep kind! Names after their mutual musical love of the albums released in that halcyon year 1968.

This four track EP Fortuna Havana was released on Feb 10th, so is hot off the press, and the amps are still humming with that sweet fuzz vibe! 1968 offer full pelt power rock assault. Riffs, lead solos, and I fully expect dusty flares and billowing shirts to boot! Opener “Vorpal” makes no bones about what is going on here, amplifier worship of the hazy 1960s. and it’s a boogie beauty getting me get my thang on straight away!

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Season of Arrows Give it to the Mountain

Season of Arrows - Give it to the Mountain album coverNashville doom band Season of Arrows have left Static Tension Recordings and are very excited about moving to Argonauta Records, and are due to release their second LP on March 24th.

Reminding me of Witch Mountain in more ways than one, Season of Arrows offer a luxuriant album, that first coaxes you in with its warm purple and orange album covers and the haunting pose of the lady as she walks towards you, and then sinks its hooks in like an addictive illegal substance.

“Deep Graves” uses echo to good effect on her voice to add an extra layer and nether worldly dream charm to the hazy stoned heavy metal playing behind enhancing my opium day dream. Whilst “Evil Lord” scares me with those Hammer Horror riifs and “The Bridge” takes me down loooow, with a comedown in to the depths of darkness and solitude, a suffocating pit I struggle to resist her siren like charms. They have the chunk power of Witch Mountain and the mesmerizing haunt of Devil’s Blood.

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Hån Facilis Descensus Averni

Han - Facilis Descensus Averni album cover It’s about time an underground black metal band spoil us. Switzerland’s Hån gives us nothing less than grim emotion on their latest full-length, Facilis Descensus Averni. Hån is the Norwegian word for “scorn,” and their tribute to ridicule is stained on each and every one of the tracks on Facilis Descensus Averni.

Loose percussion ignites track number one, “Black Banners”; a swarm of melancholy instrumentation treads under piercing screams, awaking the theme of the album. Guitars scratch through “Desublimation,” and the arrangement of the melody and vocals makes it feel like a rallying, dark anthem. “Distant Lights” quickly builds up and feeds listeners hyper blast beats. Sealing up the album is “Summum Bonum.” Vocals and instruments work together to give a final outcry, but the album’s effects are to be everlasting.

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Heretoir The Circle

Heretoir - The Circle album coverJourney with me into the colorful phases of the human experience. There’s newness, hardship, healing, triumph and bleakness of ending. Our companion is dressed up in the atmospheric/post-black metal tones of Heretoir. The name (meaning “going an own way”) suggests the band’s devotion to individualistic discovery; so, you know Heretoir’s musical efforts buzz with emotive depth and a keen eye. From their debut full-length (2011’s Heretoir), we watch the band expanding these elements as they settled deeper into the modern metal side of the music scene. Heretoir’s latest effort (out in March) is The Circle, ambitiously addressing the cycle of life.

The Circle starts off with a fleeting introduction, “Alpha.” The tune serves as a passageway to some serene realm. Early on in “The White” calm, clean vocals rest against a tasteful batch of melodies. Drums dance us into other shades of the album, and sure enough, we get acquainted with harsh vocals that channel desperation. A quick shift in percussion brings us to another phase in our musical trek: It’s the guitars’ turn to shine on “Inhale.” Notes seem to sparkle under distant beams, and suddenly, our soundscape releases a sprinkling of Opeth-like sensibilities. A thumping bass sweeps up these remnants as it leads us into a dimmer zone.

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Morbid Messiah In the Name of True Death Metal

Morbid Messiah - In The Name of True Death Metal album cover The cover says it all. The skull of a beast falling (or floating) in darkness welcomes us into a world of the foul and macabre. Morbid Messiah provides the soundtrack. The Mexican act drives death metal straight into your ears and delivers it unfiltered. On their new EP, In the Name of True Death Metal, they show respect for the classic death metal elements that have kept this style alive throughout the decades. That means you can expect guitar riffs that roar with might, equally rowdy guttural vocals and fast, pulverizing drumming.

Sounds guide you into a cramped cellar and trap you in to experience this woe again and again. Things get good and settled in once “Putrid Voices” appears. Morbid Messiah pushes their signature formula of raw instrumentation, but prepare to worship the delicious guitar solo that soars atop of the rubble—revealing to listeners an aerial view of some disastrous scene. “Condemned to Hell Sores” trudges along in the beginning, but amps up its forces gradually. This zone is dominated by thick guitar riffs and varied shades of vocal delivery. Then we have “Legions of Death,” ending our metallic joyride under three minutes, but it’s packed with plenty of grimy goodness for us.

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Blodspor Only Sheep Cry Wolf

Blodspor - Only Sheep Cry Wolf cover Oslo’s Blodspor designs the kind of metal that’s guaranteed to get listeners energized and in a frenzy. Over the years, the outfit has been gaining popularity through their stellar gigs. That’s where the band’s summoning of death metal, black metal, hardcore, punk and grindcore commences.

Blodspor captured these different levels of intensity on the full-length, Laughing Through the Violence (2011) and have kept the aggression going on their current four-track EP, Only Sheep Cry Wolf.

Starting off the EP is “Overthrow,” where we come face to face with unforgiving harsh vocals, black metal-esque percussion and one fierce death metal attitude. These forces guide listeners through the remainder of the EP, but the standout guitar-work on “Tap-dancing to the Beat of the War Drum” makes it especially enjoyable and hard to forget. The same can be said for “By Our Own Fire We Shall Burn,” where clean vocals join the harsh ones to give the song some dimension. The EP comes to a close with the punishing sounds of “Black Mass.”

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