Written by: Blackie Skulless
Nothing like a good ol’ slice of death metal from an area not far from me. Spesimin are an upcoming act out of Philadelphia, PA, and their debut EP Born In The Crypt is an instant burst of in-your-face discomfort. With only thirteen minutes of runtime, they certainly gauge a healthy idea of what they’re all about, as they waste zero time opening on such a harsh kick.
Composition wise, Spesimin injects a surprising amount of thrashier elements. It’s quite riff oriented in that sense, boasting plenty of bounce and energetic life under a harsher mix. This allows for a solid balance between melody and chaos--the former being lesser in quantity. Most of this comes from a crustier, punk-like push that can be heard especially in “Violent Sanctification.” It’s your perfect moshpit banger with plenty of sharp leads breaking the buzzing rhythmic surface.
Written by: Beaston Lane
Frigid rain falls through the canopy of a Scandinavian forest as the clearing fog reveals two opposing armies, each with unbreakable faith after paying tribute to their gods. A natural ambiance thicker than fortress walls separates the warriors as they each anticipate their leader’s call to charge. What I’m describing isn’t necessarily the beginning of a medieval battle, rather the vivid atmosphere that introduces Vampire’s mighty third record, Rex. This feeling of anticipation builds during the interlude entitled “Prelusion,” and at its sudden conclusion, the armies charge as the carnage of Rex is unleashed upon us all.
Rooted in mythology, Rex is a hellish journey through chaos and serenity. Juxtaposing high-octane thrashers and sneering mid-tempo odysseys, the album showcases the band’s versatility and highlights the demonic vocals of Hand of Doom, the lead vocalist. Existing at the intersection of classic thrash metal, melodic death metal, and modern black metal, Vampire is a three-headed monster which utilizes these influences to create an engrossing and unique listening experience. While not every song can boast of being truly memorable, Rex is a bold statement from a young band destined to continue their ascension through the metal ranks.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
I can almost always count on Blood Harvest to deliver some of the nastiest, filthiest, and most unlovable music that’s ever been unearthed. Nekus are a German act that cooks up horrific soundscapes that fit this description perfectly. Their debut album Death Nova Upon The Barren Harvest casts some striking imagery based from the black and death metal voids. The dirtiness of the former crossed with the filthiness of the latter is why this takes such monstrous form.
There are only four tracks, none being overly long besides the ten-minute closer “Dagger Of The Corrupter,” so it’s actually a fairly swift listen. But truthfully, it all feels like one massive song. The common core of droning riffs that feel like a constant swarm of hornets clouding up small hints of comprehensive rhythm saturates every track with ungodly amounts of weight. If it weren’t for the rather steady drum patterns, you’d have a hard time finding the direction of where things are headed.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
I have to be brutally honest, I'm not the world's biggest thrash metal fan. There was a time from ages 8-14 where I was absolutely obsessed with thrash--I refused to listen to anything else, and I eventually burned myself out. That's not to say that I don't enjoy thrash and still look for new bands, but there are other genres I tend to listen to more.
And that leads us to Warbringer. They are the exception. Warbringer is easily my favorite "new" thrash band, and I'd go as far as to say that they are the best modern thrash band around. Their last album Woe to the Vanquished was a career highlight and saw the band even sharper than ever with a razorblade to the throat of their thrash metal roots, but all the while expanding upon their extreme metal and progressive influences. And here we are with Weapons of Tomorrow. Do the band continue on their trajectory of their roots-conscious but expansive and extreme thrash metal attack? Let's dive in.
Solitude in Madness is here, and, as one might expect by this stage in their illustrious career, Vader is as Vader does. These guys have been putting in the work for a good long while at a remarkably consistent rate, delivering decent-to-good slabs of death metal with the kind of fibrous regularity the Village’s brick shithouse comes, over time, to respect. Headbangable thrashy death done right is a constant from the Vader camp.
But...there’s a big but. By their twelfth full-length release, these Polish death pedallers have begun to toe that slippery slope towards legacy act mediocrity. Not complacency, mind--they still play with a ferocity and a bite, and they still hit the nail on the head more often than not. Unfortunately, however, my feelings regarding this album after a plethora of run-throughs can be boiled down to this: as fast-paced death metal, it’s quite enjoyable in the moment, but suffers significantly when it comes to staying power. Granted, most of us aren’t looking for the year’s greatest or most innovative riff-fest when we crack open a cold Vader, so take my criticism for what you will.
Taking a card from the band in question’s deck, we’re jumping over the typical long-winded intro you’ve undoubtedly come to expect ‘round these parts. Today it’s straight into the fray as we fire up another rotation of Restructure the Molded Mind, the third effort from Bay Area death thrashers Hemotoxin. Let's pulverize a blood vessel or two, shall we?
Hemotoxin's approach recalls a wide variety of bands from the primordial days of thrash-infused death metal--the era where experimentation into increasingly violent and technical territory represented, for good reason, the heights of innovation. Instrumentally, they hit (with a varying degree of accuracy) that vague point on the thrash metal timeline right after Death came a-knocking.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!