March Review Round Up

Happy April, everybody. As you can tell I never got around to writing longer reviews. I do like my blurbs though.

Come March 31, I was prepared to hand over my album of the month gong to Tengger Cavalry and their frankly fantastic Ancient Call. But then Plebeian Grandstand came along and blew away all competition. Tengger Cavalry and, now, fellow runner up El Hambre are both fantastic, but Plebeian Grandstand are something else again.

To make up for the previous two months’ lack of links, I’ll post them now. I try to link to official sites, but sometimes it’s just not an option.

Aleph Null: Bandcamp
AlNamrood: YouTube
Amaranthine Lament: Bandcamp
Amnesian: Bandcamp
Behemoth: Official YouTube
Castration Rite/Nihilistic Holiday: Bandcamp (there’s a link to Nihilistic Holiday’s page there too)
Corpsessed: Bandcamp
Cynic: YouTube
Decades/Failures: Bandcamp
Dragons Bane: Bandcamp
Gilla Bruja: Bandcamp
Grand Magus: YouTube
Jackals: Bandcamp
Kindergarten Hazing Ritual: Bandcamp (the Cedric’s Lettuce part of the split is there too)
巨人大虐殺 [Kyojin Daigyakusatsu]: Bandcamp
Larvae: Bandcamp
Lascaille’s Shroud: Bandcamp
Lazarus Blackstar: Bandcamp (the Black Shape of Nexus part is there too)
Parfumerie: Bandcamp
Perfect Beauty: Bandcamp
The Seaford Monster: Bandcamp
Sun Worship: Bandcamp
Sunn O))) & Ulver: Bandcamp
Thou: Bandcamp
The Vintage Caravan: Bandcamp
Waldgeflüster: Bandcamp

Album of the Month
Plebeian Grandstand – Lowgazers
(Technical black metal – France)
Throatruiner Records – 2014/03/31

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I haven’t been this impressed by a black metal album this decade. Demented time signatures are overlaid with uncompromising riffs that border on the mathematical in complexity. It’s a combination of avant-garde darkness and technical fury that creates an atmosphere of relentless misanthropy. This doesn’t simply follow the genre forerunners; it forges a new path. Stunning blackened perfection.
Try before you buy: Flail in the Bliss (Bandcamp)

Honourable Mentions
铁骑 [Tengger Cavalry] – 远古呼唤 / Ancient Call
(Blackened folk metal – China)
Metal Hell Records – 2014/02/01

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I cannot sing the praises of this band loudly enough. The combination of black metal fury and traditional Mongolian music works so well; it’s entirely befitting to celebrate a warrior culture of the frozen steppe. Ancient Call is more blackened than their last album, but it is still an utter joy to listen to. Where Black Steed was a homage to high plains riders, Ancient Call takes said riders to dark, supernatural realms.
Try before you buy: Hymn of the Earth (Bandcamp)

El Hambre – El Hambre
(Grindcore – Spain)
Self-released – 2014/01/13

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What a shameless tease. Five damn tracks, that’s all they give us. Five. Damn. Tracks. And then it’s gone. This is a short, sharp shock of blistering grind, that roughs you up and is gone before you know what happened. I love grindcore for its absolute immediacy and El Hambre is right there, in your face, not giving you the choice to back down. I just wish it was longer. Five tracks of violence isn’t enough.
Try before you buy: Valkiria (Bandcamp)

The Rest in Alphabetical Order
Amora – Violence is Human
(Thrash – Australia)
Self-released – 2014/03/28

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Amora boldly goes where thrash has gone before. I hear the Big Four, the Teutonic three, and all manner of other notable thrashers in their rhythms. It’s essentially a tribute band dedicated to the genre. But, damn it, I just love this e.p. It may be derivative, but it’s put together so well I don’t even care. It’s fast, heavy, and intelligently constructed. It’s a release that celebrates the high energy history of thrash.
Try before you buy: For Those Slain (Bandcamp)

Black i Dekker – Demo
(Powerviolence – Spain)
Self-released – 2014/01/28

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Short songs? Check. Abrasive vocals? Sandpapery indeed. Distortion galore? Yep. A non-commital attitude to time signatures? Very non-commital actually. This demo is packed with what I have come to expect from powerviolence. So what does it do to differentiate itself from the rest? The no guitar approach is a nice touch. Bass, drum, and vox is all this band needs. Occasionally samey, but a fine first effort.
Try before you buy: Estilo Reputado De Hoy (Bandcamp)

ExVx – Contra Violence
(Venncore – United States of America)
Self-released – 2014/03/04

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Venncore: the crossroads of grindcore, hardcore, and powerviolence. The songs are short, fast, and punk as fuck. They are also backed up with awesome selection of samples, starting the e.p. with a quote from a juggalo documentary and rounding it out with some South Park. It’s a whirlwind of sound that still remains balanced and coherent. That the band can keep the reins on this fury is impressive.
Try before you buy: Parochial (Bandcamp)

Hashe – El Espíritu del Árbol Muerto
(Atmospheric black metal – Chile)
Self-released – 2014/03/06

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The trick to good atmospheric black metal is striking the balance between the atmosphere and the fury. Hashe weaves a strong thread of sinister ambience through his songs, demonstrating that it’s actually possible to have keyboard driven black metal that leaves an emotional mark. This isn’t just an album for the frozen heart of winter, but also for the thin air of altitude. This is exposure given a score.
Try before you buy: El Llamado de los Viejos Robles y Alerces (Bandcamp)

Istrulity – Realm of Disturbed Hopes
(Death thrash – Serbia)
Self-released – 2014/03/06

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Once again, the difference between critical me and the rest of me rears its head. Only, this time, critical me is reminding the rest of me that just because a band plays a brand of music I’m partial too, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s fantastic. That being said, Istrulity do play an entertaining brand of midpaced, heavy-end thrash. It’s just a little bit derivative. Pretty good for a demo though.
Try before you buy: R.I.P (Return is Possible) (Bandcamp)

Licrest – Misery
(Doom death – United States of America)
Self-released – 2014/03/01

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I like what this one man band is trying to do. It’s a tad generic, but it’s still likeable. There’s a nice, crisp guitar tone and the drumming lays down a sinister undertone. But those vocals are a real enthusiasm killer. Or at least they are for roughly half the tracks. The problem is the album straddles the line between doom and doom death, and the vocals don’t fit with the songs on the doom side of the fence. Stick to the death.
Try before you buy: I Want to Watch You Die (Bandcamp)

Limbs Bin – Only Toture
(Harsh Noise – United States of America)
Self-released – 2014/01/03

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How would you review 52 tracks of feedback only distinguishable by the occasional shift in tone and the garble of lyrics? How would you pick just one track out of the maddening clatter of similarities? As luck would have it, a guy drove past me during this period of doubt, listening to skip hop, and I realised that Only Torture was still more listenable than that. It challenged rather than bored me.
Try before you buy: Holy Grove (Bandcamp)

Lurid Reign – Omniscient in the Realm of Despair
(Depressive suicidal black metal – Canada)
SomberLife Productions – 2014/03/21

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My experiences with dsbm, while admittedly limited, indicate that a key element to the subgenre is seduction. Not with the swagger of rock or the sleaze of glam; it’s more like the drag of succubi claws across naked flesh. Dark and painful, yet undeniably alluring. With that in mind, this four track homage to Transylvanian Hunger era Darkthrone didn’t tick the boxes. Depressingly unoriginal.
Try before you buy: Awakened From Inside (Bandcamp)

Masses – Horde Mentality
(Post-punk – Australia)
Rust and Machine Records – 2014/01/31

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Press play and find yourself transported to the early 80s and soak up the vibes of a band that sounds like it could be on the same bill as Killing Joke. Hard to believe they’re Melbournians. The guitar tone is ethereal, yet jaunty. To me it sounds like the saddest surf rock band ever. And the twin male/female leads ensure the traditionally dissonant post-punk vocals have a depth of tone. A genuinely enjoyable patch of sonic shadow.
Try before you buy: Blind (Bandcamp)

Multinational Corporations – Jamat-al-Maut
(Grindcore – Pakistan)
Self-released – 2014/03/23

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Mid-paced grind. It’s a phrase that should be as abhorrent as easy-listening thrash. But these up and comers from Pakistan do it surprisingly well. It’s like they’ve taken Diatribes era Napalm Death and reintroduced the punk to it. It’s a sound that has a lot of potential, but they need to beef it up, as it sounds a little bit too stripped back right now. It’s anticapitalist grind in desperate need of funds for stomp boxes.
Try before you buy: White Collar Communism (Bandcamp)

Nightfell – The Living Ever Mourn
(Frankenmetal – United States of America)
Parasitic Records – 2014/02/03

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I think at its core The Living Ever Mourn is a black metal album, but the blending of additional doom, death, crust, and gothic elements make it an experience that goes much deeper than traditional blackened tropes. In lesser hands this genre melding would be a disjointed listening experience but this two piece handles it with aplomb. This is an album that demonstrates the true sophistication that metal can achieve.
Try before you buy: The Hollowing (Bandcamp)

Satvrnia Tellvs – De Constantia Sapientis
(Blackened something something – Italy)
Self-released – 2014/03/10

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Ugh. Generic black metal trying to disguise its generic nature by using generic flourishes. Generic. I first thought it was trying to be black ‘n’ roll, then I thought it was blackened power metal. Finally, I came to the realisation that, at its core, De Constantia Sapientis is nothing more than black metal suffering an identity crisis. The synths and the solos can’t truly cover what is essentially very mundane.
Try before you buy: De Ira (Bandcamp)

Storm{O} – Sospesi Nel Vuoto Bruceremo In Un Attimo E Il Cerchio Sarà Chiuso
(Post-hardcore – Italy)
Shove et al – 2014/02/21

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A minor critique to start off with: the vocals occasionally sound disconnected from the rest of the music. Once past that I was able to truly appreciate one of the better post-hardcore albums to appear of late. Better because it’s not hung up on ‘feelings’. Better because it’s ‘post’ in the technical sense. Better because these guys play with a grindcore-esque intensity. Best 0.50€ I’ve spent really.
Try before you buy: D’istanti (Bandcamp)

Voidcraeft – Disgust
(Black metal – Germany)
Self-released – 2014/02/18

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This German one piece act openly name drops Deathspell Omega and Portal as influences on his work and it shows. This twenty seven and a half minute, two track excursion into madness drips with the avant-garde esotericism that make the French misanthropes and Aussie cultists notorious. Voidcraeft is not a creation of stolen riffs however. It is a creature that embodies the primal chaos that exists beyond.
Try before you buy: Where There is No Image (SoundCloud)

Winterfiend – Forest of the Full Moon
(Raw black metal – United States of America)
Self-released – 2014/03/18

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Paleolithic production values, a drum kit consisting of a snare and a cymbal, no bass, vocals that sound like they were recorded at distance, and a one guitar tremolo assault – yep, it’s raw. This necro demo is firmly in the ‘no mosh, no fun’ mould of black metal. Which means that it paints with a very restricted palette. Ensuring suitable levels of cvltness and trveness doesn’t allow for innovation.
Try before you buy: Vomit the Blood of Christ (Bandcamp)

X-Box Murder – In the First Circle
(Death metal – Ukraine)
Self-released – 2014/03/30

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In many ways, this Ukrainian band reminds me of Devildriver. Born out of the ashes of a nu metal act, the new band actually puts out pretty solid death metal. But where Devildriver put out Florida-esque death, X-Box Murder sound distinctly Polish. This came as a surprise, as they self-describe as techdeath and deathcore, which this release certainly isn’t. Hardly groundbreaking, but fun nonetheless.
Try before you buy: Kelvin (Bandcamp)

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February Review Round Up

Lots to like this month, but nothing could quite top Grand Magus’ latest effort, although Amnesian’s No Atonement came soooooo very close. I strongly recommend getting them both.

I’m thinking about expanding my reviews, making them a bit longer. Can’t help but feel I’m restricting myself. No promises though, because as much as I can write forever about the top albums, getting those extra words out for the mediocre albums is going to be tough.

See you next month, first Monday as usual.

Album of the Month
Grand Magus – Triumph and Power
(Heavy metal – Sweden)
Nuclear Blast – 2014/31/01

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Gotta paraphrase Homer Simpson, because at first I was like, ‘Yes. YES! This rocks!’ and then I was, ‘No. NO! Don’t stop rocking!’ Triumph and Power has everything you could possibly want in a metal album: anthemic choruses, towering solos, fist-pumping rhythms. Even the quiet, folkish instrumental tracks work, because you just know they’re building to something. It’s a masterfully crafted piece of modern heavy metal.
Try before you buy: Triumph and Power

Honourable Mention
Amnesian – No Atonement
(Grindcore – Canada)
Self-released – 2014/02/08

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I love a surprise and this visceral slab of grind nastiness more than fit the bill for me. I simply didn’t expect such a well developed sound from a self-released album. More on the punk end of the grind spectrum, No Atonement allows each song to develop its own character. I could easily ramble about the quality of the performers, but I’d rather marvel in the creation of a sound that is distinctly, and uniquely, Amnesian.
Try before you buy: …Mania

The Rest in Alphabetical Order
Aleph Null – Nocturnal
(Stoner doom metal – Germany)
Self-released – 2014/02/15

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A tough one. The critical me acknowledges this is a good album. It’s uptempo by doom standards, it’s well performed, it’s catchy, and it’s well produced. By rights, it has everything I look for in this sort of album. And, yet, I don’t like it. I know I should; it ticks all my critical boxes, but I still don’t like it. It sounds like it was recorded to earn a record deal. The end result is it sounds good, but lacks the soul of a great album.
Try before you buy: Muzzle of a Sleeping God

Behemoth – The Satanist
(Black metal – Poland)
Nuclear Blast – 2014/02/03

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The blackened titans have sailed through uncertain seas over the last few years with Nergal’s cancer diagnosis casting a pall over the band’s future. But he survived, the band have thrived, and this is a glorious reaffirmation of what Behemoth is. More blackened than their last couple of albums, The Satanist’s infernal sonic wrecking ball should annhilate any doubt about the band’s future. Revel in their balefire.
Try before you buy: Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer

Castration Rite/Nihilistic Holiday – Split
(Noisecore/Grindcore – United States of America/Pakistan)
Subsidence Recordings – 2014/01/12

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Castration Rite don’t really do music. It’s more like crescendos of anger expressed with instruments as well as shrieks. Disjointed and jarring, the songs don’t allow you to fall into any rhythm. Nihilistic Holiday’s take on grind is more coherent than their splitmate’s, but that doesn’t make it any less furious. Their four tracks compliment the previous fourteen by providing direction to the mindless fury.
Try before you buy: Too Sober

Corpsessed – Abysmal Thresholds
(Death metal – Finland)
Dark Descent Records – 2014/02/04

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The debut album by these twisted Finns harkens back to the early days of the Florida death metal scene. It’s willfully dirty production trades crispness for evil and the end result is a wall of Lovecraftian malevolence that crawls across your soul as well as hammers your ear drums. This is a reminder of what death metal in its purist form should be: an ugly noise that gives voice to the primal, raging darkness.
Try before you buy: Trepanation

Cynic – Kindly Bent to Free Us
(Progressive rock – United States of America)
Season of Mist – 2014/02/14

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If Focus is their metal album, and Traced in Air is their transitional album, that means Kindly Bent to Free Us is Cynic’s rock album. People may disagree with my assessment, but it’s hard to call this shining beacon of light and spiritual fulfilment, ‘metal’. There’s something fundamentally uplifting about this album; the lyrics, vocal style, and instrumental rhythms all come together to make this a joy to listen to.
Try before you buy: Moon Heart Sun Head

Decades/Failures – 002
(Darkwave – United States of America)
Dead Tank Records – 2014/02/06

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What I know about the goth approved subgenres could fit on a postage stamp, but I know what I like. And I like this. The sythns and drum machine are looped and fuzzed out to create an ethereal dreamscape, while the vocals are washed out and distant. To my mind, this is what a shadow would sound like. It’s an album that would feel appropriate being spun at a goth club around 3am, just as the pills are wearing off.
Try before you buy: City Streets

Dragons Bane – Harbingers of Glory
(Stoner metal – United States of America)
Self-released – 2014/02/08

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Not going to lie: the artwork for this E.P. didn’t get my hopes up. Seemed cheesy as hell to me. But the music well and truly exceeded expectations. What becomes clear very quickly is that these guys have spent a lot of time listening to High on Fire and Kyuss, because they’ve clearly learned that you don’t need to play low and slow while off guts. It’s not terribly original, but who cares? Good time chunky riffs all round.
Try before you buy: The Wolf Goddess

Gilla Bruja – Clubbed Hands and Fist Full of Snakes
(Sludgey death metal – United Kingdom)
Self-released – 2014/02/11

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It’s not a bad E.P., it’s just dull. There. I said it. It’s not that the band is unskilled or incompetent but there is little to nothing to distinguish these five tracks from the myriad of downtuned growlers. It doesn’t help that it also sounds like nu-metal played at half speed. I guess the best way to sum up is that it’s festival filler. It’d kill time before another band without irritation, but it’s not what you came for.
Try before you buy: One Pinch of Blackleaf and Three Across the Eyes

Jackals – No Solution
(Hardcore – United Kingdom)
Hardware Records – 2014/01/15

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With the alternative festival season passing at the time of review, you would be forgiven for having a sense of despair regarding the hardcore scene. Juvenile mindsets and psuedoactivism do seem to dominate. In this light, Jackals came as a warm hug of anarcho-punk fire. Ten blistering tracks, none of them over two minutes, all of them stuffed full of piss and vinegar. Good to see true punk lives on.
Try before you buy: Manipulation

Kindergarten Hazing Ritual/Cedric’s Lettuce – Kindergarten Hazing Ritual x Cedric’s Lettuce
(Grindcore/Harsh Noise – United States of America/United States of America)
37564 Recordings – 2014/02/09

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Kindergarten Hazing Ritual’s blend of 8-bit sound effects, samples, and a.d.d. grind is always entertaining. Thirteen blistering tracks, all with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Good time party grind. Not a description applicable to Cedric’s Lettuce. I truly worry about the sanity of those who listen to this for fun. It sounds like server noise and a car crash run twice through a moog. When I say harsh noise, I mean it.
Try before you buy: I Just Wanted to Show Her My Pokemanz

Lazarus Blackstar/Black Shape of Nexus – Black Shape of Nexus/Lazarus Blackstar
(Sludge metal/doom metal – United Kingdom/Germany)
Alerta Antifascista Records – 2014/02/20

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Going into this, I knew very little about Lazarus Blackstar and some about BSoN. Both bands surprised me. The former’s downtuned, swampy riffs really draw the listener in. Ordinarily, I like low and slow sludge, but I think it often lacks catchiness. Not a problem here. The later surprised me by not being a black hole of drone. Not that I’m complaining. This foray into doom is immensely satisfying. And, again, very catchy.
Try before you buy: Whispering Through Broken Teeth

Parfumerie – Transmundane and Unprofessional Delocation of Superfluous Extremities and Rare Tissues
(Goregrind – Canada)
Self-released – 2014/01/10
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A band I’ll continue to keep my eye on, because, as much as I feel this particular E.P. was merely average, they have the potential to be great. The blastbeats are pummelling, the guitars are dirty yet precise, and the vocalist is so guttural he sounds like he’s gargling organs. The technical elements are all there, but too many tracks sounded the same. They need to improve the sophistication of their songwriting.
Try before you buy: Irrational Phobia of an Untied Navel

Perfect Beauty – Obsidian
(Drone doom – Poland)
Self-released – 2014/01/16

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I have a soft spot for drone; I love how bands operate within such repetitive parameters. Perfect Beauty, in transforming from industrial electronica to drone doom, have produced an album that embraces the repetitive nature of the genre with open arms. One heavily distorted bottom end note feels like it is played continuously, while other notes rise up from it. Its intentional monotony is a thing of beauty.
Try before you buy: III

The Seaford Monster – Live at ‘303’
(Brutal death metal – Australia)
Self-released – 2014/02/25

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Ahhh, the interchangeable chug of mediocre brutal death combined with the terrible audio quality of what sounds like a straight to iPod live recording. Drums dominate the mix, with guitars and vox fighting for what little audibility is left. And there’s more bass in a castrato choir. Still, gotta give ’em props for the entertainingly puerile song titles and admitting that brutal death can be pretty funny.
Try before you buy: Backpack Full of Shit

Sun Worship – Elder Giants
(Black metal – Germany)
View from the Coffin – 2014/02/22

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These Teutonic misanthropes specialise in drawn out sonic barrages. In many ways they remind of the USBM band, Krallice. And I love Krallice. Minimalist lyrics and hypnotic guitars are meshed seamlessly with blasting drum rolls. It all comes together to create three tracks of malicious menace, which in turn are rounded out by a final track of droning alienation designed to leave the listener unsettled.
Try before you buy: The Absolute is Becoming

Sunn O))) & Ulver – Terrestrials
(Ambient drone – United States of America/Norway)
Southern Lord – 2014/02/03

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It’s amazing what can be done with a minimalist attitude; that so much can be conveyed with seemingly very little. Both bands’ styles are blended to create an album that simultaneously portrays a sense of great desperation and a feeling of total resignation. Sunn O)))’s rumbling bass and distortion combines with Ulver’s judicious use of synths and horns to ably foster this juxtaposition. It’s haunting in its simplicity.
Try before you buy: Western Horn

Thou – Ceremonies of Humiliation
(Doom metal – United States of America)
Dead Tank Records – 2014/01/29

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A compilation of these prolific doomster’s split releases, this is a solid introduction to the band and great warm up to their upcoming fourth LP. It shows the length and breadth of Thou’s talents, from the crushing downtuning to the bile-fuelled vocals and all the way through to the gentler movements that allow a brief respite from the negativity. This may be my first exposure to the band, but it won’t be my last.
Try before you buy: Fleurs de Mal

The Vintage Caravan – Voyage
(Rock – Iceland)
Nuclear Blast – 2014/01/10

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Possibly the best thing to happen to rock since Clutch, The Vintage Caravan is what happens when you take three lads from Iceland and feed them a steady diet of Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Voyage is no mere nostalgia trip though; it’s packed solid with infectious grooves and memorable hooks. It’s the sort of album that instantly lodges in the brain. Air guitar; desk drumming; and bad singalongs are inevitable.
Try before you buy: M.A.R.S.W.A.T.T

January Review Round Up

Slim pickings in January, but there are still some gems and curiosities.

Album of the Month
Larvae – Grave Descent
(Blackened doom death – United States of America)
Self-released – 2014/01/14

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An underground Venn metal masterpiece, this album seamlessly melds its three component genres to create toxic aura of black bile and venom. Pitch paced dirges are interspersed with comparatively faster blackened passages, with vocals that land somewhere between a growl and a rasp. Overall, Grave Descent portrays an atmosphere of creeping malevolence that all doom death albums should seek to emulate.
Try before you buy: Fallen, Left to Die

The Rest in Alphabetical Order
AlNamrood – Heen Yadhar Al Ghasq
(Blackened folk metal – Saudi Arabia)
Shaytan Productions – 2014/01/06

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Bonus points for producing black metal in a country that executes blasphemers, but what about the music itself? The distinctly Middle Eastern compositions lend themselves quite well to blackened folk, sounding suitably sinister, and the vocalist sounds like he was trained by Anaal Nathrakh’s V.I.T.R.I.O.L. However, it lacks the level of spite necessary to make it a spectacular blackened nightmare. It’s still a good listen though.
Try before you buy: Bat Al Tha Ar Nar Muheja

Amaranthine Lament – Spirit Geist
(Atmospheric black metal – United Kingdom)
Self-released – 2014/01/06

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A demo that, more than anything, leaves me confused. Sometimes it’s synth heavy like prison Burzum and sometimes it’s blasting icy venom like Mayhem. But then it channels industrial black metal in the vein of Mysticum and follows it up with pop metal a la Ghost. It even manages to throw some folk in too. The songs are interesting and the musicianship is excellent, but does it work? I don’t know honestly. I really don’t.
Try before you buy: Ulalume

巨人大虐殺 [Kyojin Daigyakusatsu] – Muhaka
(Brutal death metal – Japan/United States of America)
Amputated Vein Records – 2014/01/14

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I’ve said before that brutal death metal often leaves me cold, but I keep on trying it because at his best, it’s amazing. Which brings us to Muhaka. Amazing might be a bit of a stretch, but it certainly is entertaining. It left me a smiling, happy mosh monkey, cheerily daydreaming about windmilling. It has its flaws, such as occasionally tinny drums, but its chunky riffs and bullfrog vocals make it worthwhile.
Try before you buy: Preta Lovers

Lascaille’s Shroud – Interval 02: Parallel Infinities – The Abscinded Universe
(Progressive metal – United States of America)
Self-released – 2014/01/28

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Lascaille’s Shroud is a one man, progressive death band and Interval 02 is an almost two hour long, cosmic odyssey based on science fiction novels, Mass Effect, and a sprinkling of BioShock. Sounds like a self-indulgent wankfest, doesn’t it? And yet, somehow, it’s not. The songs wend and weave in an engaging way, with strong guitar leads and spot on drumming. I just wish it was short enough to enjoy in one sitting.
Try before you buy: Obscured: The Great Aphotic Barriers

Waldgeflüster – Meine Fesseln
(Black metal – Germany)
Bindrune Recordings – 2014/01/10

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Waldgeflüster sits alongside Drudkh and Winterfylleth as a proponent of what I like to call ‘heritage metal’. But their take on pagan heritage is absolutely mournful. The pride in Germany’s pagan history is absolutely washed out with loss, regret, and bitterness. The music speaks of a nationalism that is thoroughly jaded. Depressive suicidal acts could take lessons in emotional songwriting from Meine Fesseln.
Try before you buy: Karhunkierros