Antediluvian is a three (originally two) piece from Canada, who a play dark, primitive and cryptic hybrid of black and death metal. They’ve been going since 2006 and have put out a couple of demos and EP’s plus one split and one compilation album. “Through the Cervix of Hawaah” is their debut full length.
At first glance, Antediluvian may come across as a typical war metal band with cryptic death metal tendencies, which would make sense given the members’ collective musical resumes, but upon deeper listening you will find that this band is so much more than that. There is absolutely nothing conventional or predictable about how Antediluvian structure their songs; trying to find a catchy head banging section or sing along is useless. The production makes the album sound as if it was recorded deep within a long forgotten cavern in some remote area inaccessible by conventional transport and ignored by human kind.
The tones and the mix are utilized together to bring forth the most absolutely skull crushing sound possible. This really is not the kind of album you use to get your young child into heavy metal. Again, I want to call attention to the unpredictability of the song structures, which is made even more so with the tones and production used here.
I’m going to flat-out not even try to find stand-out tracks, as this is an album that needs to be appreciated in full, no other experience will satisfy the listener appropriately. All I have to say is that this was one of the greatest albums of 2011 and after giving it the appropriate amount of listening it merits, I can see why there’s been so much hype surrounding it.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Torture Throne is a death metal band from France, of all places. They’ve been going since 2009 and “Thy Serpent’s Cult” is their only release so far. It was originally put out on the final day of 2010 but has recently been re-released on Obscure Domain Productions.
Sound-wise this is very old-school and very European, sounding somewhere in between Swedish and Finnish death metal with a bit of American influence buried within. The guitars are ball-crushingly heavy and low-tuned with a bit of melody sprinkled throughout the riffs, the bass is nice and audible (also ball-crushingly heavy) the drums are pretty high in the mix and do their job very well and the vocals are very hoarse and sound great. The songs vary from straight up Swedeath worship to crawling; almost doom metal-ish, sections and everything in between. The production is murky yet clean enough to hear everything so it fits the music just fine.
I can’t really say much more about this 20 minute EP, but I would wholeheartedly recommend it to any fan of ancient metal of death.
Support Obscure Domain Productions.
Monday, January 23, 2012
As we at Witching Metal have probably pointed out before, the numerous bands that make up the ginormous boom of putrid old school death metal assaulting our ears these days give a lot of credit to Incantation. Some would say too much credit. And I must admit, I don't get as excited about new Incantation-spawn as I did when I first heard Dead Congregation. But, as Ritual Necromancy prove, there is still some room to expand and improve on this sub-sub-genre.
I've seen them live twice, first in a tiny hole in the wall venue in Seattle Washington with Impetuous Ritual, and then on a much bigger stage at the Rites of Darkness festival in San Antonio, Texas. At the Seattle show I actually did an interview with them which I'll throw up at the end here. Both times, they fucking CRUSHED. I don't know which was better; the intimate atmosphere of a small venue or the evil majesty of a large stage. Anyways, about their studio release.
Oath of the Abyss opens with a spoken/chanted intro, ala Graves of the Archangels, and then lapses into nervous, tension-milking lines of tremolo picking, creating a feeling not unlike the climb to the top of a roller coaster before the plummet. Although, this roller coaster is in a dark and stormy corner of hell, built upon a mountain of flayed sinners. The first proper track, Cacophonic Dementia, hits you in the face like a fucking ton of bricks in the split second that the bough breaks, tearing your brain out of your skull and flinging it into the depths of the netherworld. One observation I made at this point was that Ritual Necromancy's guitar tone isn't really like any of their fellow John McEntee cults. Judging by the sheer crunchiness, I think they might actually be using the HM-2 pedal of Swedeath fame. If such is so, copious props to these guys for doing something new with that guitar sound. It really makes the schizophrenic-melodies-played-backwards Incantation inspired riffs sound great, and when they let up into a doomy section, you can feel the growling bite of the guitars in the pit of your stomach. These two elements are juxtaposed perfectly throughout the album, the alternation and cross pollination of minimalistic brooding and blasting chaos.
The production on all the instruments is goddamn sinister. The drums have kind of a wet cardboard sound in the best way possible, like they were recorded in a swamp. The vocals lurk in the midst of the mix, an ominous black shape issuing ominous commands to the surrounding miasma. The bass oozes through the cracks in sound, a subtle corrosive sludge.
Grim ass metaphors aside, this is a cool record and not just more retro death metal. If it had come out 2 or even 1 year ago, these guys would be like Cruciamentum or Anatomia status wise.
I give it 4.5/5
Again we shall descend unto Golgotha...
Here's that interview. Kind of shitty quality, but hey we were all drunk.
Escarnium- Rex Verminorum
Escarnium is a 4-piece death metal outfit hailing from Brazil who have been around since 2008. To date they have released a demo, a split with Inside Hatred and “Rex Verminorum”, a three track EP with four bonus tracks which are actually the songs from their demo “Covered in Decadence”.
Escarnium’s style can be described as a mixture of both American (particularly Tampa Bay) and Swedish death metal with a bit of Brazilian barbaric flavour. Upon listening to this release you will hear elements of Morbid Angel, Grave, Vader (not Swedish, Brazilian or American, I know), Obituary, Entombed and various other acts from the two very different DM scenes. Hell, even the guitar tone comes across as mix of both styles. Escarnium make every effort to carefully follow the stands set by the early 90’s death metal legends, mixing fast paced moments with crawling slow tempos and occasionally adding blast beats. The second track “Self Proclaimed Messiah” stands out as the best new song here.
The production leaves nothing to be desired except that the solos sound a bit far off in the mix, but that’s only a minor issue that I assume will be fixed on later releases. This EP really feels like it could stand as a competent full length and really leaves me anxious to hear what this unholy Brazilian horde will do in the future.
War Master is a death metal group from Texas consisting of members of Insect Warfare, Nibiru, Dissent and Blaspherian. Their style is best described as straight up Bolt Thrower worship done right. They’ve been around since 2009 and put out two demos and a single so far. “Pyramid of the Necropolis” is their debut full length.
Everything about this album screams “Bolt Thrower worship!!!”, from the low end guitar and bass tone to the mid-range vocals, powerful drumming and mid-paced groovy riffage to the occasional burst of all out blasting grindcore chaos. While War Master’s demos focused more on the punkier side of BT worship, “Pyramid…” concentrates more on mid-paced groove and riffs with plenty of headbanging moments spread throughout.
The whole “worship” metal thing is really cheesey and fucking annoying and over-saturated at times, but bands like War Master, who know what they’re doing and don’t directly rip off other songs and just make the sound their own are living proof that you can worship your heroes without coming across as an over-hyped fanboy trying to be cool (I’m looking at you, retrothrash!).
Putrified is the solo death metal project of A. Death who also plays in Swedish black metallers Infuneral. His second full length “Neurotic Necrotic” is somewhat of a concept album which centres around a man who hears voices that he can’t stop. In his attempts to make the voices stop, he begins to dig up graves where he thinks the voices come from. In the end he ends up injecting these corpses with fluids to make them come alive and shenanigans ensue. The story is very loosely based on a couple of Lovecraftian tales.
Now, on to the music itself. The record is very well mixed and has a clear production where you can hear everything without being overly clean. The guitar tone is very early 90’s Swedeath, bass is quite audible as well. The drums have a presence and do their job just fine. The tempos vary from straightforward Swedish death metal stompers to mid-paced grooves and at times get a bit doomy. There is a lot of focus on groove and catchy riffs, so it’s a pretty “rocking” album and the songs flow very well together, tying in with the concept.
I’ve not much else to say about “Neurotic Necrotic”, but if you dig old-school Swedish death and want something else to put in your player, get your hands on this.
Soon to be released on Hellthrasher Productions. Support this killer up and coming label!
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Here we are again folks! Tonight I'm reviewing ElvenStorm, a Power Metal trio from France, and their first full length album, Of Rage and War. Yes, kiddies, that's right: Power Metal. Before you get your panties in a knot going "Sean, why are you reviewing that flowery symphonic shit??" lemme tell ya something: this isn't Nightwish or whatever gothicky symph band you think of when you hear "Power Metal." This is some bitchin' epic speed metal type stuff, like Doro Pesch/Warlock on cocaine. Did I mention this band is female-fronted? IT'S LADIES NIGHT!!
The album kicks off with the song "Winds of War" with a harmony lick a la "Hellion/Electric Eye" in the beginning. Soon enough a barrage of high speed riffs and vocal melodies rings across your speakers. It's like a Valkyrie on the microphone; it makes you want to get your rusty helm out and go pillage your neighbor's house for all of its beer. The album follows up with some other epic speedy tracks, such as "Witchhammer" and "Black Visions." To break off from the high-speed attack, "Raven in a Blackened Sky" sets off with a chunky midtempo riff. If you head or feet don't start moving along with the beat, you might want to check for a pulse. The chorus melody is as catchy as smallpox, you'll be humming along with the melody soon enough.
The singer, Laura Ferreux, has got some pipes! It's hard for me to come by a female singer that I actually like. Her singing style don't lack any power what so ever, you could power half the U.S. with her voice alone. Now, let's not let her voice diminish the rest of the music on this album, as they support and embellish this awesome trait. There are no keyboards on this album, it's all guitar, so the fact that this power metal band is guitar-driven is really a plus. The riffs sound like a blend between Judas Priest and later Iced Earth, not just palm muting root notes like a typical speed band. The solos have enough shred to them to satisfy the guitar junkies, and yet they're not just some schmuck sweep picking all across the fretboard, they've actually got some thought to them. You could probably sing some of the solos if you wanted to. The one on "Struggle Within" is pretty catchy and melodic, very Michael Schenker-esque.
A pretty nice little epic full-length I have to say. For those that want a female-fronted metal band, but don't want the half-baked music of Evanescence or Nightwish this is the band for you. A few of the tracks blend in together somewhat, probably because a handful of speedy tracks were mixed in the order together; another midtempo song would have been nice. Musically, you can't really complain: good vocals, nice riffs, noodley solos, and a feeling of overall epicness. I'm definitely looking forward to their next album.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Cancer Spreading is a crust punk/stenchcore group from Italy who combine influences such as Amebix, Deviated Instinct, Axegrinder and death metal titans Bolt Thrower to create an absolutely crushing mix of crust and death metal.
The guitar and bass tones plus the vocals have much more in common with death metal than crust. The guitars and bass crush and pummel like Bolt Thrower’s early albums and the vocalist wouldn’t sound out of place if he were to front an OSDM band. The song structures, however, are more akin to Axegrinder and early Amebix; dark, heavy and slow with the occasional fast section to change things up a bit. Mixing these kinds of tones and songwriting technique allows the band to evoke a real crushing and powerful atmosphere, fitting of the lyrics which focus on misanthropy and hopelessness, which sets them apart from the standard death metal and crust punk bands out there.
I can’t really choose a stand out track here as the album flows really well and even the cover of the classic Bolt Thrower song “Cenotaph” fits in. Overall this is a consistently killer record that I would highly recommend checking out if you’re a crusty or a metal head. Cancer Spreading combines the best elements of crusty stenchcore and old-school death metal flawlessly.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Into Blasphemy, Archgoat, Sadistik Exekution and early Sarcofago? Into bands that worship these bands? Well, Portland’s Weregoat should be right up your alley. These guys are a 3-piece featuring members of Ritual Necromancy, Lord Gore, Aldebaran, The Howling Wind and Splatterhouse, to name a few. In this project they play straight up bestial black/death metal centered around themes of sex, demons, lycanthropy and violence… all the finer things in life!
The production is actually very clear for this type of release, which was unexpected but not unwelcome. The instrumental tones are similar to that of other likeminded bands in the genre (Proclamation is probably the best reference point to picture in your mind). The songs range between all out blasphemous mayhem and doomy dirges, creating plenty of dark and evil atmosphere, like being stalked by a weregoat on your way home from the pub in the early hours of the morning.
There’s not too much else I can say about “Unholy Exaltation of Fullmoon Perversity”. It’s war metal, so it is what it is, and you’re either going to love it or hate it. Personally, I love it.
Interceptor are an Italian 5-piece speed/thrash band. Usually when one thinks of Italy and Metal, one could conjure up images of Power Metal bands, but the boot-shaped country does tend to put out some good thrash bands as well. Sounds like a mixture of Testament and early Anthrax, it's certainly a nice break from the darker side of thrash. Hailing from the ancestral home of ruined empires and the progenitors of modern art and music, Interceptor certainly shows they know what they're doing.
The EP is roughly 27 minutes long, not as long as a full-length but there's a enough material to keep you entertained on your commute to your mom's house. It's twenty-something odd minutes of all out thrashing. The one minute Intro starts out with a violin chaffing across the strings, very Italian, but it doesn't play a Paganini concierto either... Thrash!
The first song, "2012," begins with a very chunky riff and a high-pitched scream, soon it blasts into full speed like a Lamborghini (Yes, I'm going to be making a lot of Italian references). In my opinion, there's only two years that can be sung about, 1984 and 2012. 2011 just doesn't haven't that catchy ring to it like 2012. There's little snippets of spoken parts in the song, like radio bits and news soundbites about impending doom, a little corny but it works to fill out. They blast into a nuclear bomb of a solo right after, so that makes up for it. Not a bad song overall.
The EP is certainly a balls-out speed album. However, they do have a lot of nice, chunky midtempo riffs. The title track is a prime example, it's got a nice beat to circle pit to and it speeds up towards the end for people to go nutty over. "Take It Out!" and "Drag Me To Hell" are certainly speed-fests, with the former being an amped up anthem of sorts. They're all 5-minute tracks, but the intensity and speed of them just makes it seem like you're blazing through them in no time at all. They tend to keep you busy and don't sound too monotonous as they change up the tempos and add some catchy choruses in there. The vocals are gruff but not harsh, they're in a early Chuck Billy/Hetfield vein so they're relatively clean. There are a few death growls in there, but they're used very sparingly so they shouldn't upset someone that doesn't like them prominently in a song. If they do upset you, fuck off and get over it.
Now, the last song on the EP, "See You in Hell," a Grim Reaper cover, was totally unexpected. I did enjoy the band up until that point, but I wasn't sure if they could pull it off as Grimmett's vocals in the original are pretty operatic. Well, they sure showed me! That track probably has to be one of my favorites off this EP. It's so well done, it wasn't a complete clone of the song as they managed to put their own spin on the song. Fantastic.
Now for my last words on the matter, I know, it's been lengthy. Pretty damn good overall, I have to say. The 5-minute songs are a wee bit overdone in my opinion, but that's being nitpicky. They don't exactly bring anything new to the table, but what's wrong with a nice,zesty plate of classic Italian thrash? Nothing, that's what.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Kicking off the new year with, Antichrist, a dark thrash band hailing from Sweden. Their latest LP Forbidden World, released late(ish) last year, is full of evil necromancers and fast, hacking slashers. They would remind me of the more evil thrash bands, such as Dark Angel and Slayer with a big influence from Iron Maiden.
The album kicks off with a screaming crescendo and then a blitz of speedy riffs. The album is chock full of these speedy riffs, and yet they manage to keep the monotony down by adding a good amount of mid-tempo and slow riffs. Apart from the fast tracks like ‘Dark Sorcery’ and ‘Militia of Death,’ they add some doomy moments in songs like ‘Necropolis’ and in the instrumental, ‘Minotaur.’ You can hear a lot of their Maiden influence in ‘Minotaur’ as there galloping riffs and harmonies a bound! The song does get a little old after a while, 8 minutes of noodling starting to really grind on one’s attention span.
The production is a bit polished, but not too much as it still sounds pretty raw which totally fits their sound. The vocals sound huge, as if they were recorded in a cathedral. The squelchy yells echo over the songs like a banshee in a canyon. And the guitarists are blazing in this album, there aren’t any tinny riffs that make you have to put your ear up to the speaker to hear them, they’re in your damn face! Big, chunky riffs and shreddy, fiery solos that just claw at your ears!
I’m usually never a fan of the “evil stuff” as most tends to sound monotonous to my ears, but these guys really have some good dynamics to their songs which is something I always like. They’re heavy and dark enough for you evil muthafuckas, and yet they should satisfy those that like musicianship. So definitely go check these guys out!