Written by: Lord Hsrah
Torture, pain, cannibalism, gore, evisceration, murderous psychopaths are all entities done, brushed, bruised and dusted in death metal and all its various derivative forms over the years. But Pune, India based trio Dead Exaltation bring forth their debut album, Despondent, in progressive/technical death metal flavors, and with it an interesting story of innocent civilians picked off the streets straight into prison, for no rhyme or reason (well, that's a rhyme), left at the mercy of a psychopathic jail warden and his sadistic, cannibal guards who show them what it feels like being hell's very own citizens living in God's created world.
Dead Exaltation took birth in 2015 as a five-piece band, but flowing in the daily course of the river of life, bassist Anish Poulose and second guitarist Sourjya Mukherjee separated as tributaries, leaving vocalist Satyajit Gargori, guitarist Mradul Singhal (who also recorded the bass, now deceased, R.I.P), and drummer Aditya Oke to record this since-long composed concept album.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
The third full-length offering by Vanik somewhat came out of nowhere, but seeing how much I liked Vanik II: Dark Season, this became a priority. Simply titled III (or Vanik III), it delivers more of what they’re great at. Since the beginning, Shaun Paul Vanek and Co. have delivered hefty blasts of heavy/speed metal residing on the rustier side. Picture something like Venom but not quite as abrasive--or in other words, lose the blackened atmosphere.
A notable difference that could be spotted right away is the cleanliness of the riffs and even the vocals a bit here. Though still raspy, the layering is better placed to allow every part to stand out in its own merit, even if it loses a little bit of the bass prominence from before. That also forces room for a tiny drop of melody boost and passages that feel a bit more comprehensive. No worries though, because you still don’t lose that spooky undertow that coats everything this band does.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparitio
Where do I even begin? Only in 2020--one of the most trying times in human history--would Mr. Bungle come back to release "new" music. Granted, it's a re-recording of their first demo, but still, it's freshly recorded material from them. I, of course, am beyond stoked to see this happen. I'm a strong admirer of Mr. Bungle, and, for that matter, most of Mike Patton's projects. This album features the original trio of Mike Patton, Trey Spruance, and Trevor Dunn, and this time they are joined by Scott Ian from Anthrax on rhythm guitars and Dave Lombardo, formerly of Slayer, Fantomas, and various other bands on drums. A stellar lineup of musicians.
So now it's time: The Easter Bunny is pissed off and out for blood. Can you survive its WRATH?
Written by: Shane Thirteen
Gravehuffer! If you haven't heard of this mid-west juggernaut, you will in the near future. They hail from Joplin Missouri, and if you have ever been to Joplin in this century you will know that it is famous for a few things. The first: almost being wiped off the map by a giant widow maker tornado in 2011. The second thing its is known for, far and wide, are the "Spook Lights," an active and annual documented haunting of a nearby farmer's meadow in the area.
What does this have to do with Gravehuffer, you may ask? Imagine, if you will, growing up in a place known for killer tornadoes and dead things literally walking the Earth outside your fucking city. Just milling about. Ya know, like the dead do. So lets examine the name for a moment. Gravehuffer. To huff or to breathe in the rotting putridness of a grave or corpse. To take in to your sinus cavity the rancid smell of rotting flesh. The stank of the dead, as it were.
But what else makes Gravehuffer sound as they do? Undoubtedly some good ol' mid-west oppression from the religious class and a healthy dose of knowing what is on the wrong side of the tracks. Why do I bring all this up? Why is all this prudent to explain Gravehuffer? You have to understand the mid-west mindset to fully understand what these geniuses are doing. What comes together in the middle of the country to influence heavy music fans and musicians? Everything. Everything American, culture-wise, flows to the center. We get it all. Gravehuffer is a regional band for me. I have seen them live a few times. They are solid dudes. Scene leaders undoubtedly. Gravehuffer is the perfect example of culture conglomeration. There are many hybrid bands out there these days, but Gravehuffer is one of those units that brings together everything from punk, thrash, death, and doom to deliver an entirely different vibe and sound to metal. That being said...if you are a fan of heavy you will love what Gravehuffer is bringing to the light of the world: pure Heavy Metal.
Black Doomba Records is releasing NecroEclosion January 15th, 2021, and you better sit down when you listen to it for the first time. Strap in: you are about to go on a trip you won't regret. There a few surprises on this album. I have it looping on my speakers for a while now, and every time I listen to it I find something new. Horns (not Dio horns, but as in brass horns!) Horns in metal? I have never heard it successfully pulled off until Gravehuffer did it on this album. Completely surprised.
Speaking of surprises: spoiler Alert! Gravehuffer has enlisted some heavy hitters as guest players on this album. Voivod's Dan “Chewy” Mongrain and Curran Murphy of Annihilator and Nevermore. If you are fans of any of those bands it is worth your time and effort to own a piece of their history, and history it will make. I fully expect NecroEclosion to launch Gravehuffer to the next level. They have elevated their game. The work done on this album is everything I need out of fast and heavy metal. In my old age I gravitate more towards the stoner doom. But having seen these guys live I knew what was coming. They have delivered something unique. It has covered every heavy metal base for me, including making fun of dance music, which is one of my favorite hobbies. To sum it up: it's all here, kids. Humor, fantasy, thrash, speed, death, hardcore, punk rock, sample babble.
Gravehuffer has something for every fan of heavy and aggressive music. Track them down. Find them on all social media platforms. Smash the like button. On Jan. 15th, share NecroEclosion with your friends.
Gravehuffer - NecroEclosion will be released Jan. 15th, 2021 from Black Doomba Records.
Written by: The Administrator
After receiving official word that my current sequestered life shall extend, at the very least, for another seven months, I decided that it would be worthwhile to rearrange my living space/prison here at the Sleeping Village. Y'know, alter the stuffy environment as much as humanly possible, given a marked inability to go outside.
As such, much furniture hath been moved here within the past few days, and, given a need for a high-octane kick in the ass, the highest quality furniture moving music was required. Crossover thrash was the only thing capable of injecting a little oomph into my disturbingly quarantine-atrophied biceps, and so the debut from Warsaw's Sanity Control--veritable paragons of the modern crossover aesthetic--was spun a disturbing number of times. And here I sit, icing, in hopes that War On Life (or the furniture) didn't push my haggard body beyond the brink. But enough talk. Let's get into it, shall we?
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.
Back in April, we ran a very abbreviated review of this album. However, given its prominence--and the prominence of the legacy act in question--it feels deserving of a full writeup. Enjoy! - Ed.
Written by: Beaston Lane
Testament has dealt with many ups and downs throughout the course of their 30-plus year career, but their 13th release continues a hot streak that began with 2008’s comeback record, The Formation of Damnation. Once again, the band showcases their mastery of all things thrash metal, exploring their usual mystical, mythological, and dystopian themes. Longtime fans of Testament will find much to enjoy on this record, but it certainly won’t extend an olive branch to those on the fence.
Regarded as one of the finest thrash metal bands since their 1987 debut, The Legacy, Testament’s exceptional career eventually hit an impasse. After 1992’s The Ritual, the band descended into turmoil, with constantly changing personnel on the three following albums and palpable stylistic shifts. In 2001, Chuck Billy was diagnosed with cancer, effectively putting the band on hiatus until his recovery. Since Testament’s original lineup reunited in 2005, they have joined the ranks of Overkill as one of the most consistent bands in thrash metal, putting out solid records about every four years since 2008. That pattern doesn’t falter in 2020.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Chemicide are an interesting bunch of Costa Rican thrashers. They grew on me a lot because I thought their first album Episodes Of Insanity was incredibly boring and generic. But as they progressed, they got better. Inequality is their third effort, which dropped last year, and I see this as the band finding their sound. They capitalized on blending this aggressive attitude on world injustices and corruption, which made for an awesome outcome.
Part of this growth was figuring out how to utilize repetition for stronger bridges and setting the mood. “Conditioned Liberty” utilizes this with looping solos, pressing harder kicks and lashes to follow that. On the smoother side of things, we also get songs like “Altered Reality” that drive the repetitive licks into a rhythm-dense tune. That then allows room for more vocal clarity, which has such a nasty snarl. This song in particular has a rather steady backbone, so it’s a neat contrast.
Written by: The Administrator
Riddle me this: does anyone with a love of thrash and/or speed metal really require any sort of ulterior recommendation in order to take a new thrash and/or speed release out for a quick spin? It's a genre that plays fast 'n' loose by definition, so take our stuffy two cents on this split with a grain of salt.
Intro adequately dispensed with, let's dive right into that oh-so-sweet Speed Armageddon. Are ye familiar with Wraith and Bastardizer? If no, you probably should be. Wraith, for one, took my personal 2019 Albums of the Year list by storm with their stellar sophomoric Absolute Power. Said album was (and is) an absolute barn-burner of an effort, characterized by a pedal-to-the-metal approach to wild riffage and wilder vocals. In our review, I stated that "I went into Absolute Power expecting an absolute ripper, and that's exactly what I got." Hold that thought for later, cuz' spoiler: I feel the same exact way in regards to this split. Bastardizer is an outfit I have admittedly less experience with, although a dive into their discography has resulted in some sustained headbanging 'round these parts. These Aussies traditionally lean a little more into the thrash 'n' roll side of the spectrum--rollicking and high-octane momentum abounds, with gritty aggression that's a little more Midnight and a little less Deathhammer. Bottom line is that both acts are choice cuts in the speed/thrash arena, and this 15 minute collaboration is but another feather in their respective caps.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!