Written by: Lord Hsrah
One of the best aspects of doom metal is the way the music encapsulates the pure essence of grief, of tragedy, of sadness, and of sorrow--all in the most beautiful and grim way. With all that's happening around us these days, as well in the near past, "the days have been long and heavy" is saying the very least. Marrowfields' Metamorphoses captures the true effects of all of those aforementioned feelings and emotions in the most melodiously dark way.
Based in Fall River, Massachusetts, this 5-piece band have very boldly brought forth this debut full length effort, hitting the hammer hard and heavy with excellent material and musicianship. Composer and guitarist Brandon Green's guitar work is immaculate, and, paired with fellow guitarist Josh Moran, the strings get pretty heavy. The Candlemass and Pallbearer influences are evident without even feeling the need to be explicitly mentioned as the loud and clean vocals laid down by Ken Gillis add to the album the eerie sorrowful effect, while the rhythm section holds down the line extremely well as bassist Tim Cabral and drummer AJ Grimes combine to produce the very heartbeat of the album.
Written by: Izzy
For those who aren’t familiar with the deathcore and tech death scenes, Beneath the Massacre are pretty well known and recognized amongst both communities, and dare I say even beloved, certainly at least by some. They first popped up in 2007 around the second wave of deathcore when it really became popularized. As such, most of their notoriety came from the deathcore scene despite “true” fans swearing they were technical brutal death metal; granted, their first two records were more like deathcore flavoured tech-death so that was somewhat valid at the time, but nowadays this and their last record are very much...tech-death flavoured deathcore. I’d never actually listened to this band before because of my phobia of bad tech-death and bad late 2000's deathcore joining forces, but figured since this is their first album in 8 years it’d be worth checking out for posterity, especially given all the praise I’d seen for it amongst both reviewers and my friends.
Written by: Continuous Thunder
If you told me at the beginning of the year that one of the best sludge metal albums I’d hear in 2020 would come from two Japanese girls… I’d lean in closer and ask you to tell me more. I don’t know about you, but in my experience, when women are involved in making hard rock and metal on the doomy side of things, it tends to be pretty damn good more often than not. Some of my favorite albums from the past couple of years have been from bands like Windhand, Castle, and Electric Citizen. And this year we’ve already had great albums from Konvent and Lucifer. Well, get ready to add BlackLab to the pile.
As mentioned, BlackLab is a doom and sludge duo from Japan, made up of guitarist and vocalist Yuko Morino and drummer Chia Shiraishi. Abyss is their second album. Being a duo in the doom metal world requires some sonic creativity to get your sound sufficiently heavy and thick. I’m not sure what witchcraft Morino has employed, but her guitar tone is freakin’ huge! And these riffs aren’t just fuzzy, they’re downright filthy. We’re talking trve slvdge, Houdini-era Melvins levels of nasty. Along with down-tuning, a sub-octave can be heard filling out the bottom end. I don’t know if Morino dubbed in a bass guitar or if she split her signal into an octave pedal, but there is certainly no lack of low end here. She’s also the kind of guitarist who uses feedback to her advantage.
Written by: Alex, Bringer of Payne
Attempting to retrospectively describe Italian deathcore outfit Drown in Sulphur is a little tricky, as unfortunately the band has been mired in conflicts since the release of Blackwind. Ultimately, it appears to have split the band, with several members departing to found Defamed, while the drummer has tethered himself to Drown in Sulphur, and repopulated it with a fresh new lineup. Group politics aside however, both the band and Blackwind are pure meat and potatoes deathcore. Thick, pulsating blast beats are layered upon chugging bass and pitched down guitars to create a monochromatic whirlwind. It’s a tried and tested technique that has been a dominant force in extreme metal since being popularised by Job for a Cowboy and Whitechapel, amongst others, almost two decades ago. Remaining fully faithful to the genre, Blackwind is sonically coloured with brutality and themes of violence.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
There is darkness within all of us; it doesn't matter who you are. Rather, it all matters on how you handle it. Some resort to writing lyrics, painting, or various other art forms. Unfortunately some pick more destructive means. Sojourner does the former, using melancholy as a tool to add to their already highly atmospheric blend of black metal and folk metal. Premonitions marks the third album from the international atmospheric metal band, and their first album on new label Napalm Records. Do they succeed in expanding their darker and more melancholy emotions on this album? Let us begin.
"The Monolith" begins on a grand note. We are greeted to the gorgeous vocals of guitarist/clean vocalist Chloe Bray, who's voice really helps add to the scope of this tune. You are transported to a vast open field with the music taking you by the hand and comforting you on your journey.
Written by: Volt Thrower
“In the novel, Frankenstein's creation is identified by words such as 'creature,' 'monster,' 'daemon,' 'wretch,' 'fiend' and 'it.'” Thanks, Wikipedia, for describing this album cover so that I don't have to. I know these guys don't take themselves too seriously, and I mean no disrespect to the artist, who upon a cursory search has some really nice artwork, but this is just too cheesy. Maybe I'm just a lame grouch, taking it too seriously. And I get that they're going for the old school sci-fi horror covers look, which are usually cheesy, but just slapping the antagonist of each song onto the cover, feels like a bit of a blunder. Let’s hope that the tunes are out of this world.
The album itself is a bit of a mishmash of songs, a new tune in the album opener and title track, two reworked songs from their 2017 demo For God Snakes, and a couple other tracks that the band has had in their back pocket for a while, giving them a little modern touch.
Written by: Izzy
Well I suppose it’s time to christen my very first goregrind review, one of the most inhumanely brutal genres out there, so much so even some metalheads fear it! Think you look brutal in your Dying Fetus T-shirt little guy? Wait until you see my Active Stenosis and Sulfuric Cautery cassettes! (Disclaimer: I don’t own either of these bands music on cassette (yet)! So, what a better band to kick it off than the Netherlands' very own Last Days of Humanity!
...Oh wait a moment, I seem to be reading from the wrong script. Today we’re ACTUALLY reviewing one-man Arizonian goregrind act FIRST Days of Humanity. Bad jokes aside, do not let the parodied name put you off from this album. Even if you are familiar with LDOH
and know they aren’t your cup of tea, FDOH are a completely different monster and have carved a place for their own bestial niche amongst the cavernous cave walls of goregrind and gorenoise.
You may have already noticed this isn’t a regular review, well that is because FDOH have yet to put out an LP, and if or when they do, frankly I doubt it’ll be much longer than a standard EP anyways. This band’s projects thusfar have been especially short, more comparable to the average demo length than anything. I mean, their entire discography of 4 EPs and 2 splits is only about 40 minutes. So instead, since I’ve been dying to put out a full-sized review on these guys, we’re looking at the two EPs they’ve released thusly this 2020, Pixel Death and Atrocities.
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.
Written by: Volt Thrower
As a kid the countless hours spent driving under starlit prairie highways in the 90’s, on the way to various campgrounds and theme parks, laid the foundation for desert rock being able to bring a wash of fuzz driven comfort later in life. There’s something incredibly soothing about being able to lose yourself in a locked in groove, essentially time traveling through the hundreds of km’s of nothingness. Heavy rockers Heavy Hands from Boston, take a stab at a classic style with some modern flair with their latest self-released offering “Through the Night.”
A rolling drum groove, with some fuzz drenched bass open things up on “Devil Nets”, sure to make Brant Bjork blush. Kicking things off with a nostalgic blast is a great hook, but they build upon that opening, with a really unique sound that the band feels out across the dozen fleeting minutes. The soulful delivery of the vocals on “Villain” really compliment the underlying bass and drum groove, but the guitar is the real scene setter for most of the album. Ranging from bluesy psychedelic washes, to straightforward riffage, to a near black metal tremolo picking style, giving it another layer with a sense of urgency and despair. Lyrical themes starting with, of course a desert highway cruise with your girl, to a poetic exploration of the plight of the never good-enough, ending in a mental “Breakdown.” Clean production wraps it all up into a nice, tight little package.
Written by: Lord Hsrah
Beyond the Red Mirror follows after a long 5-year wait since German power metal titans Blind Guardian's last studio release, which was 2010's At the Edge of Time. The record received warm and positive reception from both fans and the media alike. Beyond the Red Mirror, however, is a completely different gravy compared to At the Edge... or some of their releases of the 21st century such as A Twist In The Myth, which saw the band move increasingly to a more progressive direction.
Released by Nuclear Blast, Beyond the Red Mirror is a concept album that loosely follows the events of their 1995 masterpiece Imaginations From the Other Side. And like it's prequel, this is a very riff driven album that was the Krefeld-formed band's style for the 80's and the first part of their 90's records. The orchestral elements climb higher up the pecking order of the song composition percentage, taking the band to a more classical side. This is also the first album to feature new bassist, Barend Courbois, following the departure of long time session bass player, Oliver Holzwarth, who left the German outfit after filling in for bass duties, both live and in the studio for 13 years.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!