Bulletbelt: Rise of the Banshee

Bulletbelt - Rise of the Banshee album cover“This is brilliant and… inhuman!” Back in the day, it was the first thing that came to my mind when I was listening to Bulletbelt’s debut album “Down In The Cold Of The Grave” for the first time. When you have an album in your hands with such great music imagery, definitely you’re waiting to hear something more from the band that has created such a thing! Now, Wellington, New Zealand’s very own Bulletbelt strikes back with their brand new album “Rise of the Banshee”.

Bulletbelt has a great taste of choosing the coolest artworks as their album cover. Their first album cover was done by their townsman and a great artist Nick Keller, which caught my attention and made me listen to the album immediately. Now, “Rise of the Banshee” artwork is done by acclaimed New York-based illustrator Scarecrowoven and yet again it is charming and powerful. “Rise of the Banshee” consists of 8 songs, same as their previous album but 10 minutes longer, spanning up to nearly 40 minutes. The album doesn’t spend a lot of its moments for an intro song, immediately starts with seven minutes long “Death Tinted Red”, which is the longest song of the album. This song completely portraits everything this Banshee album is. Fast tempo parts mixed up with catchy and melodic riffs, which is in the same direction of the debut album. “Murderer’s Collar” strikes as the second song of the album based on the same structure the first song is built on. “Sniper” and “Deathgasm” are reincarnating some of the greatest classic Thrash Metal tunes; revolving around the old school and modern Thrash Metal, which is the most of the album sounds like.

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Fistula: Vermin Prolificus

Fistula - Vermin Prolificus album coveCleveland, Ohio’s restless cancer spreader, Fistula is hot again in underground music news. After releasing three albums in 2008, two of which (Lessons in Lamentation and Inverted Black Star) are nothing short of noisy Sludge odysseys, and releasing tons of EPs and splits, Fistula’s long-awaited sixth full-length album, Vermin Prolificus, is finally out. To many, Fistula’s music is very hard to get involved with. Dirty, harsh and chunky tunes that don’t fit in every person’s body and soul and they (mainly Corey Bing who has carried the torch throughout all these years) have kept it ever since their days of formation back in 1998 and years later with their 2001’s soul-vomiting debut album “Hymns of Slumber”. Now, Fistula has a new album on the counter and with “Vermin Prolificus”, “Sick Heavy Sh*t!” has found a new meaning!

Despite Fistula’s 2008 albums all being an hour-long records, Vermin Prolificus is shorter, containing 7 tracks of crushing hateful hymns, spanning up to 35 minutes. Vermin Prolificus’ album cover is well illustrated and its filthiness takes the listener to the tombs surrounded by serpents and rats, to the throne of cannibal bishop and disembodied crucified woman. With a brief, bitter humor lying underneath its image, the album cover is Verminous and prolific enough to handle the name of Vermin Prolificus, explaining its rotting and depraving sound. This (bitter) humor is still going on while the first and the opener song of the album “Smoke Cat Hair and Toenails” is coming around. This 5 minutes song is so famous right now that it is called “Mom, Dad, Marty! The Drugs Are More Important Than You!” with a voice of a girl, which is sampled and used in the song, repeating these words. “Smoke Cat Hair and Toenails” is an utterly brilliant yet neck-wrecking grand opener, with thick bass line and guitar riffs, throwing the poor listener into the dark and wicked spiral, dragging it down to the reworked version of the grinder “Harmful Situation” taken from their 2012’s EP “Northern Aggression”. Vermin’s “Harmful Situation” sounds slightly different from the original one, and is more in-the-face than the opener song.

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Ellorsith: 1959

Ellorsith - 1959 album coverRising from Scotland, Ellorsith plays Atmospheric Death Metal with some Black Metal touches. Their musical concept is centered on a mysterious event that took place on the night of February 2, 1959 in the northern Ural mountains, famously known as The Dyatlov Pass incident, where nine ski hikers met their horrifying yet unsolved deaths. As you see this concept is very rare to be spoken in the metal scene but it is interesting enough to be chosen as the concept for your band’s debut album.

Ellorsith is as mysterious as The Dyatlov Pass incident, date of the band’s formation and band members’ names are not available yet. However that helps the band to continue their activity so mystic. Ellorsith have simply named their debut demo EP as “1959”, which clearly refers to the year of the mysterious incident with an album cover that shows a photo of the ski hikers, hiking through the Ural mountains. This album cover and album title is quite charming to lead you to listen to the album on its own. Ellorsith’s music revolves around Death Metal, with reverberant atmospheric guitar riffs and drums which take the music to some Black Metal structures, filled with Death Metal growls. It helps to create an enormous sound scape fitting the name of Dyatlov incident. Songs on 1959 are long enough, giving the band more space to focus more on dynamic atmospheric pieces, avoiding writing repetitive parts through the lengthy songs and that is by far 1959’s important point.

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The Haunted: Exit Wounds

The Haunted - Exit Wounds album cover“Ladies and Gentlemen, please let us celebrate the huge return of The Haunted!”

Surely these are the words that every single die-hard fan of The Haunted (including me) would say while they’re listening to their new album Exit Wounds.

Ok, but let’s have a brief review of what happened in The Haunted camp in the past ten, eleven years. Marco Aro left the band in 2003 and the band was reunited with Peter Dovling and The Haunted slowly fell out of the right path and ended up becoming a radio friendly group who seemed to not know who they actually were and what they had done in their career. Honestly after powerful opuses like The Haunted Made Me Do It and One Kill Wonder nobody wants to hear something like The Dead Eye or Versus and the most disastrous one, 2011’s Unseen. After the second departure of Dolving, there were some rumors that Aro and Erlandsson would be back in the band again and when it became reality, it was very predictable that the band had decided to return to their old forms of music. Ola Englund was also replaced by Anders Björler to be The Haunted’s new axeman. See? Everything is ready to hear something wicked once again. That was already proven when the band released the three songs EP, Eye of the Storm in early 2014. This EP had most of the things (if not everything) that fans want to hear. Catchy, thrashy and melodic riffs that brought those classic sound of The Haunted back to life, far from those experimental Grunge/Alternative Rock, Tool-vibe era. Eye of the Storm EP was followed by the full length Exit Wounds that was released a couple of months later, on August 25th. All three songs from EP (Eye of the Storm, Infiltrator, My Enemy) also appeared in Exit Wounds.

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Incantation: Dirges of Elysium

Incantation - Dirges of Elysium album coverWhen the name Incantation comes up, there will be nothing around but blasphemous gigantic Death Metal that curses the human soul. With a brief look at the history of Incantation, loads of great Death Metal releases come up that make hellish flames rise from the pits of this unique Death Metal band. “Dirges of Elysium”, as the band’s tenth studio album is nothing short of Incantation’s trademarked, crushing sound.

John McEntee, the only original member remaining in the band, Incantation’s mastermind and the main songwriter knows how to create a blasting occult themed Death Metal album. By judging the album’s cover art (which is done by Eliran Kantor) and by its oil painting technique, which resembles a bit of their first two albums Onward to Golgotha (1992) and Mortal Throne of Nazarene (1994), it would be predictable that the band is still in the right direction in songwriting and will do no wrong in the coming album.

Only two years after the releasing of critically acclaimed “Vanquish in Vengeance”, which showed the band in its finest situation and form, Incantation’s new opus “Dirges of Elysium” came along with the same line-up with John McEntee on guitars and vocals, Kyle Severn on drums, Chuck Sherwood on bass and Alex Bouks on [lead] Guitars. Album opens with the atmospheric and dark instrumental title track “Dirges of Elysium” with some eccentric guitar works continuing to “Debauchery” and “Bastion of a Plague Soul”, which instantly brings the only Incantation that their fans know. Fast-tempo Death Metal filled with blasting drums of Kyle Severn and wrecking guitar works by McEntee and Bouks. Songs like “Carrion Prophecy”, “From a Glaciate Womb” and “Charnel Grounds” show the listeners another side of the album with more dynamic songwriting, switch from fast-paced Death Metal to some heavy slow-paced Doom Metal, which further blackens the heart of the album.

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Entombed A.D.: Back to the Front

Entombed A.D. - Back to the Front album coverAh Ok! Alex Hellid has been left alone while the other four members of Entombed decided to leave the band to form Entombed A.D. with a new [ugly] logo and some new music. Entombed, the band that has always stood as one of the greatest Swedish Death Metal acts of all time is an important band, not only in their genre-bringing country but in the whole world of Metal. Many fans recognize Entombed with their early ground-breaking albums such as Left Hand Path, Clandestine and Wolverine Blues, which have all been released in the early 90s and gained some huge success for the band. In later years Entombed decided to add some rock vibes to their music and turned to Death ‘n’ Roll, which also gained some serious attention.

Now, seven years after releasing the acclaimed Serpent Saints – The Ten Amendments in 2007, the wait is over and Entombed returns with a brand new album Back to the Front. Entombed which is now identified as Entombed A.D. (better to skip the story behind this transition) has the same Entombed line-up minus Alex Hellid and consists of L-G Petrov (Vocals), Nico Elgstrand (Guitars), Olle Dahlstedt (Drums), Victor Brandt (Bass). For some reason “Back to the Front” can be marked as a love-it-or-hate-it album. But for old-school fans it could still be a decent experience. The first obvious thing that comes from the album in the first listen is Entombed A.D. wants to start a music project that sounds heavy, which waves the flag of old school Death Metal. It looks like a great decision that Entombed A.D. has made. Listen to uncountable bands that have come aboard in recent years, who want to keep the sound of old school Death Metal alive. To name a few Slaugherday (Germany), Monumentomb (UK), Bombs of Hades (Sweden), Ignivomous (Australia) and Entrails (Sweden), out of which the last one is highly inspired by the early Entombed. So there would be no better choice for Entombed A.D. to pack their instruments, having some time-travel to their roots of face-breaking Death Metal.

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Liber Necris: Negative Creator

Liber Necris - Negative Creator album coverRecently, it’s become more and more apparent to me that the UK has some of the best metal bands in the world. Of course, the UK is where the roots of heavy metal were first sprung so it shouldn’t be that surprising. What *is* surprising though is the number of quality metal bands that keep springing up out of the country.

Liber Necris is one such example. A Leeds based band, they call themselves death metal, but personally I would go a little bit further than that and categorize them as more blackened thrash then death metal. Vocally I can see where the death metal comparison comes in, but musically this is thrash with more black than death metal elements thrown in.

While Negative Creator consists of only 4 songs, it is definitely something you do not want to miss: 18 minutes of metal infused with rage and hate. Despite this intensity, the album also manages to add in some doom infused parts as well in certain songs.

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Misery Index: The Killing Gods

Misery Index - The Killing Gods album coverMisery Index is one of those bands who has not put a foot wrong in their career. Since their early days back in 2001 with their first EP Overthrow, they have shown they are ready to blast every single note, transforming it into the most brutal thing you’ve ever heard and their fifth album The Killing Gods is nothing but the same astonishing brutal visions they had kept through their four previous albums.

The first thing you notice in The Killing Gods is the two instrumental short songs “Urfaust,” the first song and “The Oath,” the third. “Urfaust” is a great and interesting intro and has a tune that we haven’t heard too often from Misery Index, “melodic”! And this song is like a secret message for the listeners, you are going to have a melodic album on your hands. But it doesn’t mean there’s no longer brutality in the album. Even though “Urfaust” is a minute long song but with its melodic construction acts like a bridge to the next song and it demonstrates the second song’s attitude, “The Calling,” which is constructed with an intro of attacking blastbeats that lead us to some Thrashy riffs but is melodic and groovy at the same time. The third song, “The Oath,” consists of thrilling dissonant guitar arpeggio surrounded by ravens sounds, which makes this track so dark and atmospheric, carrying us to the fourth song, “Conjuring the Cull.” Once again filled-with-brutal-riffs but in a more Thrashy way with a touch of guitar arpeggio from the third song are present in this song, which shows the band connecting their songs with similar riffs and melodies.

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Black Anvil: Hail Death

Black Anvil - Hail Death album coverBlack Anvil, the New York Based Blackened Thrash Metal act is ready to return with a brand new album Hail Death. This would be their third one after releasing two albums Time Insults the Mind in 2008 and Triumvirate in 2010. Band started their career with a sound more inspired from the Hardcore music scene which they actually came from. Playing in a bunch of NYC Hardcore bands (the most famous one being the legendary Kill Your Idols, this made their debut album sound a little Hardcore-like yet Blackened Thrash. On the second album, Triumvirate, they appeared to have a less Hardcore/Thrash tune and focused more on Black Metal atmosphere, which allowed them to successfully create the sound they had been looking for. But after four years since their last album, by their third album they don’t want to focus on a specific genre yet it seems they’re still looking a bit more to construct their music on Black Metal basis.

On Hail Death you can feel the band’s music is getting more dynamic, as well as exploring and experiencing some new sounds in songwriting. With addition of Sos, the fourth member as the second guitar player, band show that they’re interested to expand the progression of writing heavy music, sounding bulky and strong both on studio albums and live performances. In contrast with the two previous albums, Hail Death has longer songs, the opening and ending tracks “Still Reborn” and “Next Level Black” are respectively 9 and 11 minutes long. Writing longer songs lets the band have enough time to seek in riffs, tempos and tunes.

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