If you, much like the ravens lurking outside our drafty Scriptorium, are on the hunt for something new and shiny, I'm happy to present an alternative from our standard fare. Today on the docket: a healthy platter of horror-tinged gothic dungeon synth, conjured from the mind behind the (equally stellar) Order of the Wolf. In this newfound context outside the underground black metal sphere, he goes by Spectral Child. Moribund Kingdom is the first haunted creation of this alter ego, and will see a 2020 cassette release from Akashic Envoy.
I like to think of Spectral Child's Moribund Kingdom as an alternate soundtrack to the horror-themed action games that (only partially, I swear) defined my adolescence. While it certainly isn't a sonic match to, say, the grossly high-octane riffage of the equally high-octane Painkiller series, the mood is similar. Consistently menacing, in a word. Frightening in a sincere sense--like if the more intense moments of the soundtrack to Amnesia were distilled and reproduced in synth-based form. That comparison, again, is a bit of a stretch, but the fact remains: there is something about Spectral Child that feels intrinsically attached to the world of video games wherein a lone protagonist braves a world designed exclusively to confound and cause harm.
Move aside, typical intro. In a tidy break from the normal band bio hullabaloo, Märvel have brought a genuinely intriguing story detailing the release of their latest. As they tell it: back in the primordial aughts, three Swedish exchange students in Denver found themselves in an exciting situation--after being picked up by a US indie label, the original vers kion of this EP was recorded. And then...it didn't see the light of day. This was due, firstly, to the label not releasing it as planned, and, secondly, the untimely demise of the master tapes in 2008's Universal Studios fire. Thankfully for us slumbering Villagers (and you as well,) the four tracks that constitute Märvellous have been reborn anew.
This current iteration of those lost songs is not, however, an exact replica. In the band's words, "we wanted to play, produce and record the songs as well as we possibly could." And so here we are, listening to the pseudo-original tunes from a band who have since gone on to prove themselves worthy to shoulder the burden of rock 'n' roll revitalization.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
We as human beings have to struggle. We all have our issues and faults, but it takes pure bravery to pour yourself into your music and lyrics. That's where Benighted in Sodom comes in. Matron Thorn (Reuben Christopher Jordan) is an enigma and a dime-a-dozen musician. Since 2006, Benzo (as he abbreviates it) has been the vessel for Thorn to release the pain and tragedy of his life in a healthy and therapeutic way. So in 2019, after a few years of no studio output, he returned with two new albums, and Carrier of Poison Apples is the most recent. Described by the man himself as his life story, Carrier of Poison Apples could be seen as his most personal album to date. As for the content of the music, let's find out!
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Death metal is a genre I love. I first heard "Shredded Humans" by Cannibal Corpse when I was 10 years old, and have been a fiend ever since. While I tend to be a person who likes when bands experiment and progress, I also can't deny that I love a really raw and old-school death metal release that wears its influences on its sleeves, and that's where Necropsy comes in. Finland is quite known for their influx of death metal bands (metal in general) but even Necropsy remains a name unknown to most. Though they have only released two albums as of now (mind you, they formed in 1987,) they do remain a cult name within underground death metal's bowels.
This EP immediately kicks in with "Meat Ceremony," one of the most uptempo songs on this release. Complements to the guitar work, as it is catchy as hell but also as simplistic and barbarian as you can get. The main riff to this song is drowning in hooks and memorability but without sacrificing brutality. While not the best song on this release, it makes so much sense for it to be the opener. Now we move on to the aptly-titled "Fucking Dead," and man oh man is this song fucking great. As soon as the song begins we are immediately greeted by one of the nastiest doom metal riffs I have heard in a while, this riff is absolutely devastatingly heavy. The whole song continues to build upon itself before going into another catchy riff that will be sure to be stuck in your head for days.
Written by: Izzy
Have any of you noticed this trend in recent years of more post-black bands mixing in elements of post-hardcore, and vice versa? Harakiri For The Sky, Asunojokei, Cara Neir, Unfurl, Oathbreaker, Glassing, King Apathy, John The Void, Møl, they all do it, and as both a hardcore nerd and someone who's often annoyed by the stagnation of black metal due to the attitude of trve kvlt worship many bands have, it's a trend I've loved to see popping up.
I adore black metal, it's easily one of my favourite non-core genres, but post-black especially is where I get off, as you can likely tell by the Sunbather aesthetic plastered everywhere on my Instagram (@izzlesreviewvault yes I'm a self promoting shill.) I'm absolutely a sucker for any bands that know how to blend the heavy, melodic, emotional, and vicious aspects of the genre or experiment and mess with the genres aspects all together, and no one does that better than the post-black community. But despite my adoration for a good black metal album I'm not particularly active in the black metal community for, uhm... obvious reasons.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Greetings to all of you people today! I hope you are having a great day. Let me just start off by saying that Novembers Doom is criminally underrated. For the past 30 years these gentlemen have been gradually evolving with such ease, without alienating their fanbase. Within these past 10 years, Novembers Doom have been taking a more progressive direction with each album, to their credit it's working and I'm happy to tell you that Nephilim Grove is a masterpiece and continues their evolution with new ideas but without sacrificing where they started.
The album begins on a strong note with the leadoff tracks "Petrichor" and "The Witness Marks, the former of which utilizes vocalist Paul Kuhr's ever-blossoming range. Guitarists Larry Roberts and Vito Marchese come out of the gate with a flurry of heavy, chunky riffs and then even it out with gorgeous melodies to accompany Mr. Kuhr during the chorus. Fantastic drum work from Gary Naples who compliments the heaviness with tasteful double-bass and fill work.
Written by: Bane Ov Silence
Usually when I think of places known for producing great black metal, I think of Scandinavia, particularly Norway, parts of the United States, and random countries in central Europe. Obviously, there are plenty of bands who are exceptions to this rule, but I think if you ask your average metal fan where their favorite black metal band is from, their answer will be one of the aforementioned places. Today however, we are talking about a band from a country not very well known for exporting music, much less black metal, 殞煞Vengeful Spectre, from China.
The first thing the listener will notice about 殞煞Vengeful Spectre is that they wear their Asian heritage on their sleeve. They have everything one would expect from a black metal band, such as tremolo picked riffs and blast beats, but they also set themselves apart by incorporating traditional Chinese instruments, making for an amazing mix of Asian folk music and traditional European black metal. The album sounds like a soundtrack to a gritty retelling of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Every song invokes imagery of two massive armies clashing in an open field.
Written by: Slammey Stanley
Dwelling within the bowels of Maggot Stomp trucker-bros and old-school thrashers lies Technical Death Metal’s most tired and abused insult: it isn’t brutal. These folks could admit the talent behind a minor-7-diminished-13th-whatever-the-fuck arpeggio being played at 300 BPM, but where’s the core of the brutality? Where’s the connection to the very heart, gore, and soul of the genre? Despite their arguably bland position as a staple motif, there’s an undeniable power to caveman riffs that isn’t present in a flurry of notes, or at the least, not in the same regard. Looking past the subgenre itself, the majority of modern, cutting edge Death Metal is bound to contain some extent of Technical prowess; to deliberately avoid the technical element would be to shut oneself off to most of the genre. But what about a perfect conjunction of Brutal Death Metal and Technical Death Metal? Odious Mortem have proven it to be a possibility on their past two records, and with a thirteen-year gap between Synesthesia and Cryptic Implosion, one would think that the Tech-Death titans would only strengthen that bond. And so the question remains: do they?
Written by: Bane Ov Silence
The Artisan Era is a label that has put out some of the best tech death releases of the past three years. Bands such as Equipoise, Mordant Rapture, and Aethereus have established themselves as some of the most interesting and talented groups in extreme metal today. That is why I had very high expectations for this Warforged release, particularly since the band has been working on this record for the past five years.
Sadly, when the first single came out, "We’ve Been Here Before," I realized that the album was probably going to be a disappointment. While the song has its high points, particularly the solo that reminds me of something Inferi would have written for Path of Apotheosis, it is mostly disappointing and forgettable. The piano interlude halfway through the song was unnecessary and broke all the song’s momentum. Most bands on The Artisan Era have very clear production, where every note and drum hit can be easily heard, which is why I was surprised that Warforged opted for a much more disorganized and chaotic mix. While this works for many other bands, it ends up muddying Warforged’s sound, and hinders certain aspects of this record.
After long last, we slumbering peasantry arise from Rip Van Winkle-hood, back with another edition of our neglected Sleeping Village Sampler.
For those of you not in the know, this is our (regrettably infrequent) column wherein we review, in brief, two of the bands that have escaped the clutches of a full length writeup. Usually there is an underlying current, a theme connecting the two. In other words, a method behind the madness. This time, however, all I’ve got is this: both bands featured here today have the word “Serpent” in their name, and they both requested a review on the same damn day. That’s simply too coincidental to neglect, and so here we are. Pull off your boots, pull up a chair, and stay awhile. You may want to check your boots for snakes later on, but that's life.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!