An Inbox Crammed With Metal #5

The Same Old Inbox Crammed with Metal #5

this isn’t very metal but i will continue regardless

I’m forced to make this installment a quicker than normal affair as the house is full and all of my offspring are in attendance for the majority of the summer break. Without slipping into a whirlwind meandering diatribe, on a variety of subjects that no one merely give a flying toss about, I’ll merely state that this week brought my first glimpse into a luxury of nature that a lifestyle in the Midwest offers. To make a long story short, and the pathway to new metal unobstructed by further BS, I encountered my first tornado. And if it wasn’t for the wife I would have boldly strode into it unawares that I could well have found my spleen punctured by a random conifer several miles away and my limbs torn asunder to be later found scattered across a handful of convenience stores in the not so immediate vicinity.

Onwards with my limbs and spleen thankfully unruptured and intact, I’ll be sure to thank my ‘significant other’ through means one would rather not visualize in the very near future.

 

To Start Things off…

https://brumesf.bandcamp.com/album/rooster

As always use this as merely a teaser, please toss the talented some green in support that they might continue

Brume – Rooster (USA)

Has that sweet lil’ bird ran afoul of a horny predator, or a girthy snake?

Release – July/15/2017 – 2xLP (Cassette and CD since April/20th)

Against PR

DHU Records/ Doom Stew Records

Something a little different to commence this week’s festivities.

Rooster is Brume’s first full length release. Sporting six tracks that stretch a whopping fifty – one minutes and classic themed cover artwork showcasing excitable livestock one would be correct in an assumption that this isn’t an album utilizing macabre themes or a collection of tracks blanketed in blast beats entwined with a bludgeoning brutal nature. Rooster is instead a distortion drenched, doom fueled, stoner rock fused, vocally emotion laden treat.

Groove laden riffs sit at the forefront of Brume’s uniqueness. A style that appears oddly lethargic in moments, epic in scope throughout, hypnotically captivating and eerily haunting in nature an attribute complemented heavily by the stunning vocal prowess of (bassist) Susie McMullan.

The appeal of Brume for me comes from the albums composition, plodding riffs ebb and flow bearing a lazy heavy as a drunken pachyderm vibe, which is similarly unpredictable in its stumbling’s (I would imagine) yet curiously engrossing to witness (again I can only imagine), in this case listen to.

Of course, there’s an exception. Welter is the shortest track on the album, an instrumental oozing with passion, and a fantastic break from the guitar distorted aura the remainder of this album boasts. Altogether weird is that this isn’t traditionally what I would normally to, Brume isn’t by any means traditional doom or even stoner rock but I’m somehow inexorably drawn to it.

Keep an open mind, wine seems like the beverage of choice to accompany the consumption of this audio.

Different, unique and altogether engrossing. A great find that I’m placing in the ‘guilty pleasures’ corner of my collection.

8/10

 

Next Up…

https://thebleeding.bandcamp.com/

As always use this as merely a teaser, please toss the talented some green in support that they might continue

The Bleeding – Rites of Absolution (United Kingdom)

Beat me to a pulp in the name of The Lord…please!

Release – May/19/2017

Future PR

Independent/self-released

I’m not going to lie I’ve been holding onto this promo for some time. I’ve always meant to write a little something but have never managed to get around to it for no reason other than sheer laziness on my part.

I’ll attempt to make this review brief (I’m sure you’ve heard that from me before now) and state that Rites of Absolution is one hell of an album. I honestly entered with no prejudices and left stunned at what I’d just experienced.

Many of the rhythms, and the overall style for that matter, reek of familiarity. It could be said that The Bleeding wear their influences (Slayer, Coroner, Asphyx and Morbid Angel) on their sleeve, or upon their shredding digits if you prefer, thankfully however there’s no need to prepare any legal documentation as there’s enough individuality present to fully appreciate all that The Bleeding has to present. Jamie Stungo’s vocal style is an instantly likable wicked hybrid of Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth (Overkill), Paul Baloff (Exodus) and Chuck Schuldiner (Death) an audio wickedness that fits the album like a form fitting studded glove.

After a short introduction comes Consumed Existence, which is not at all an early Gorguts track but rather an amazing introduction to the blazing catchiness that will have the listener unable to keep still. From the first track to the last (a decent cover of Death’s Open Casket) ‘Rites’ delivers (there’s no “filler” here folks) the pace is varied ranging from mid to insanity fast without many a frilly interlude that many a thrash album suffers. The album’s production is also commendable, complementing each instrument’s valued input without muddiness and an overpowering of one over another. Melodies throughout flow with more than enough vigor and aggression to sate even the most rabid of death / thrashin’ fan.

In conclusion, this may well be the album to fill the “cracks” left in your collection where Exodus, Testament and Asphyx have disappointed in the past. I honestly cannot fathom how it is that The Bleeding are yet unsigned.

Crank this up, thank ye old metal gods and forget your woes.

9/10

 

And There’s…

Morbid Skull Records YouTube Link for teaser purposes

Sierpies – Visiones Caóticas (Ecuador/Colombia)

Where’s Hieronymus Bosch? This looks like one of his creations, albeit in black and white.

Release – June/9/2017

Qabar Extreme Music PR

Morbid Skull Records

The CD (format) is limited to 666 Copies, a limited edition Die Hard Version (50 copies) includes an autographed promo card, patch and hand-numbered certificate inked in blood.

Influenced heavily by the “ancient glories” (phrase courtesy of the Qabar press release) of blackened speed metal Hellhammer, (early) Sodom, Inferno, Destruction, Celtic Frost and let’s not forget Deathwitch. ‘Visiones’ offers up nine tracks of extreme metal in the same audio vein and production quality as that heard around the time when the genre was ‘Bursting out’ – to quote the almighty Venom.

Melissa is responsible for the (vociferation & warhammers) drums and the hellish vocal attack whilst Muerto is responsible for the (Destroyer Attack, Bestial Rape) lightning paced string assault.

The album takes no time at all to whip the listener into a frenzy. Within the first minute the riffs break the sonic barrier and Melissa pounds the skins as if possessed, her vocal shrieks might well bring the listener to the same conclusion. Don’t get me wrong, the resulting audio is fantastic and boasts enough (I hate to say it in this context) groove and pace to perk up even the most hardened elitist metalhead’s attentions (nope, I’m not glancing in your direction Voidhanger).

The audio throughout ‘Visiones’ oozes with evil malevolence sounding only more wicked, blasphemous and mysterious on account of Melissa’s heavy accent (I’m a sucker for accents) and the, lyrical, dialect chosen, I honestly can’t decipher a single f-n’ word but I’m so enthralled by the diabolical vibe and primitive raw feel of this album that I couldn’t care one iota!

In conclusion, this is a great release that boasts no frills and no annoying solos with no meandering progressive phrases. This is simply a celebration of the genre’s roots executed with a deep knowledge and a love for the scene. Melissa and Muerto have managed to concoct a collection of tracks with the power to toss many a rabid fan back a few decades, to an age when the extreme “label” was still fresh, exciting and relatively new. Before the metal spectrum was quite as diverse as it is now, when artists played for themselves and not so much for the demands of labels and the most deplorable God of all, the almighty dollar. Any self-respecting genre fans collection demands Visiones Caoticas, if only for the glimpse into what gave countless acts the impetus to carry the torch and a snapshot of where many a style has its origins.

Only one thing left to say…Hail Sierpes!!

9.5/10

 

And Then…

https://khazaddumband.bandcamp.com/album/plagues-upon-arda

As always use this as merely a teaser, please toss the talented some green in support that they might continue

Khazaddum – Plagues Upon Arda (USA)

I curse you for spilling my bitter. May you taste my blade.

Release – August/19/2017

Clawhammer PR

Independent

When you’re bored with cheese the volume of which would make a bovine’s udders shake in fear, a proud statue of Fonzie from Happy Days and boasting about the attributes of Bret Favre and the Green Bay Packers, what is there really left to do? Well, this foursome from Milwaukee aren’t about to spend any time or lose any sleep worrying about the dilemma. Instead they’ve chosen to introduce the world of J.R.R.Tolkien to a metal audience, those of us not already familiar with it from the masterful works of Peter Jackson and his exploration and interpretation of it through the epic Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. Khazaddum’s introduction isn’t presented, as many of us might think, in a medium thwart with falsetto glass shattering vocals and soaring guitar solos, but rather with dense guitar tones, growls and hyper fast skin pounding action (fast drums, not a lesser known faction of the adult film industry). An overall style the band itself calls a “Dwarven Death Metal assault” a term that leaves me only more intrigued as to the resulting composition and sound of the album itself.

However, before I delve into the album a fun factoid. The band’s moniker; Khazad-dum reads in the works of Tolkien (as the) “Greatest of all the mansions of the Dwarves was Khazad-dûm, the Dwarrowdelf, Hadhodrond in the Elvish tongue, that was afterwards in the days of its darkness called Moria.” With the results derived from a modicum of research out of the way I’ll dive into a musical tapestry rich with ancient races, cultural vendettas, ‘one ring to rule them all’ and a race renowned not so much for their metal forging skills and effectively swinging axes, but more so for being vertically challenged. Suffice to say it’s a wicked, cruel world in which we shuffle around searching for purpose.

The album opens with The Halls of Khazad- Dum, a track sporting rich atmosphere by way of symphonic orchestration that effectively drags the listener into the threshold of a more fantastical realm. The Deathless Crown follows on directly from the vibe previously forged and introduces the band’s Dwarven assault style. A sound that’s similar to that sculptured on numerous Nile releases however boasting less of a chaotic aura and more of an epic melody based attack often accompanied by an angelic chorus or symphonic majesty to bolster the effect.

Luka Djordjevic is responsible for both the lyrical content and the vocals (also artwork inside of the album itself if you’re taking notes) with his low throaty style I can well imagine a Dwarven ‘general’ (if that’s the correct term) inciting his troops with purpose, instilling a venom into their cores readying them for battle following yet another Goblin raid. The music itself is drum salvo heavy (courtesy of the octopus like abilities of Peter Kissane) not overpowering merely fronted by a barrage, a tumultuous frenetic battery if you will, which invokes (a multitude of tiny feet running moving as a disciplined unit onwards towards crimson soaked destiny) a narrative of an ancient people steeped in tradition with a lust for life and survival, unavoidable carnage, and continuous frustration.

Lord of Isengard is an early standout that offers impressive depth and more than enough dense riffage and pummeling melody to incite a midget moshpit. But let’s be sure to remove all the sharp objects from the lovable lil’ critters clenched fists first. Dammit! And I promised myself I wouldn’t plummet to such murky, non-politically savvy, depths in this review.

The Black Hand of Gorthaur is another that showcasing the bands newest tool (to add to their already altogether impressive arsenal) the effective execution of the symphonic element in conjuncture with the trademarked brutality of the death genre. These two elements surprisingly work very well together, with neither overpowering in the final mix.

Oathbreaker’s Curse brings the final curtain on an overall outstanding album. Its melodies rely more on atmosphere, orchestration, a slower tempo and a slight black metal vibe (as featured on Cradle of Filth’s Dusk and her Embrace) than heard previously. It also utilizes a mixture of Spill the Blood and Raining Blood riffs for a familiarity to an opening and reoccurring passage. All in all, a commendable way to close out an album that left me wide eyed and wanting more.

Plagues Upon Arda is a concept album that feels anything but and delivers where many an anticipated release has been unable to. A new spin upon the genre within a freshman full length from an act who are most certainly not afraid to take chances. And much like a company of dwarves with sharpened blades of war and a vendetta most definitely a tight collective to keep an eye out for in the future.

9/10

 

Also…

https://eshtadur.bandcamp.com/

As always use this as merely a teaser, please toss the talented some green in support that they might continue

Eshtadur – Mother Gray (Columbia)

I hardly think those flimsy wings will suffice in any desired exodus from ‘Plagueville’

Release – August/8/2017

Dewar PR

Bleeding Music Records

Eshtadur have been active since 2005 with two Eps, a pair of albums to their name and a history of extensive touring throughout South America. So how is it that they have yet to hit the States? I’m pleased to report that this is about to change with the commencement of their first US tour in support of Mother Gray.

The album starts out with Belong to Nowhere. And it isn’t long until Eshtadur make their influences known. A definite Dimmu Borgir orchestral aura complements a melodic nature much akin to the stunning output of At the Gates, an undeniable catchiness that’s also employed effectively by the likes of Arch Enemy.

Later tracks, especially Desolation and March of the Fallen, hint at a Paradise Lost influence, a trademarked slower paced moodiness interwoven with a mid-tempo doom/death type attack the likes of which Gorefest applied in their (1994) Erase release. Desolation’s introduction sounds eerily similar to a Candlemass classic (sitting here in darkness, waiting to be free – Messiah Marcolin vocal godliness) then transforms into a mid-tempo masterpiece with stunning solos (again an Arch Enemy trait) and black metal leanings. An epic standout that is quite simply mesmerizing.

Time Hole to Paris is undeniable At the Gates worship, showcasing frantic fretwork and a pace that’s hard for any long-time European ‘melodic death’ fan not to appreciate.

In and of itself this album is surprisingly good, more so on account of this being an introduction to Eshtadur. Three bonus tracks show their development in style, in composition and their advancements in song structures.

Heavens to the Ground incorporates a Meshuggah type ‘Djent’ vibe, a riff choppiness not heard until now and a twin pronged vocal style that seems electronic in nature, very different than that utilized throughout Mother Gray. Last Day of the Condor boasts more a melodic approach, the same style honed for this release to fantastic results. The last track is honestly one I could have done without, I personally believe rock covers have no place on death albums. I’ll use Graveworm’s horrendous Bonnie Tyler homage as the example, I still haven’t gotten over that shock and truthfully haven’t revisited them since.

Mother Gray is a stunning release sporting enough diversity and familiar rhythms to please a plethora of fans across a multitude of genres. An excellent introduction to an act that is sure to make waves in the metal world especially with continuous releases bearing this same outstanding quality.

9/10

 

Let’s not Forget About…

As always use this as merely a teaser, please toss the talented some green in support that they might continue

Gates of Ishtar – A Bloodred Path (Sweden)

Release – June/23/2017 (original release June/15/1996 through Spinefarm Records)

Vic Records

I’ll admit to only having heard of this acts name before now and not any their output. Shame on me, seriously. A Bloodred Path is now over twenty years young (this makes me feel old!) and still holds up, surprisingly the band is still classed as ‘active’. Naturally it would be easy to state that they sound very similar in style to blah, blah, blah. They do but it must also be said that they were playing/composing around the same time as titans of the genre At the Gates and Dissection (this release came out a year after Slaughter of the Soul and Storm of the Lights Bane). The ‘Melodeath’ scene was gradually building an audience as it carved a niche in the Death arena at the time (a lighter side of the genre boasting decipherable vocals still of the growl variety though, less of a chaotic nature and a more melodic sensibility) which is only stronger today with bands like Arch Enemy, Be’lakor, Mors Principium Est, Children of Bodom and Insomnium continuing to inspire.

A Bloodred Path has a great deal to like. The rhythms are wicked catchy bearing enough deviation from (a trademark in the genre) “chuggery” to keep the album from falling into repetitive territory. Mikael Sandorf’s vocal style is familiar, evil sounding yet appreciatively understandable. And the drums complement the percussion excellently adding more than enough oomph to keep the listeners attention and limbs twitching. The production is crisp and of an applaudable quality binding the mix to fantastic effect.

Inanna is the opening track, an instrumental that introduces the Gates of Ishtar vibe to great effect. Though, it’s not until Where the Winds of Darkness Blow, The Dreaming Glade, Into Seasons of Frost and the title track that the listener truly gets a feel for what Gates are capable of. Melodies upon melodies and riffs galore. Again, if you can look past the similarities to other acts in the same genre you can learn to accept this for what it is…a damn good album in my opinion, an excellent representation of what the best of the scene had to offer at the time.

Well worth a listen, or six.

8.5/10  

 

Lastly…

https://subservience.bandcamp.com/

An older release for a teaser until the newest is unleashed

Subservience – Forest of the Impaled (United Kingdom)

This isn’t the album cover but you get the general idea, right?

Release – August/11/2017

Dewar PR

Black Bow Records

Enter another act whom I have no knowledge of and a virgin listen of audio that is critically hailed and has somehow managed to escape my attentions.

Forest of the Impaled, ironically as is the case of late in these music installments, is the band’s first full length though in no way has that aura about it. From an initial listen basis, there’s no doubt Subservience have a firm grasp on what is pleasing to the unsuspecting metal fans senses and what’s entailed to construct audio that does naught but make a first-time listener, like myself, put distractions aside and take note.

In Depravity They Dwell is a stunning opener that instantly grabs attention with its searing crescendo of drums and a guitar riff that’ll stick with you for days. Thus far in I’m noddin’ my noggin like a maniac and grinnin’ from ear to ear as I’m reminded of older output by (the extreme metal outfit) Bloodbath, although within the opening track alone Subservience are displaying commendable traits, inclinations, to frequently switch up the melody and pace, more so than the aforementioned Swedish powerhouse, and to applaudable effect the track is anything but predictable. My interest continues to mature as the next track, Beneath the Earth, plays out. It introduces another element (or perhaps it’s just that I didn’t notice it in the opener as I was overwhelmed) a familiar vibe, a seething, sludge like denseness, a guitar aura that’s instantly recognizable found in another hugely influential English metal act’s sound. It should come as no great shock therefore that Bolt Thrower are cited as a huge influence alongside Entombed and Deicide.

Around the midway point I’m captivated, in awe of the talent, brutality, melody and the seeming ease with which Subservience have so utterly possessed my earholes. Featured around the midway point is Entity of Indifference. This track sports a vintage Gorguts feel, then just when it begins to descend into generic death territory it shifts dramatically, to another level entirely, boasting bass wizardry, riffs and a groove that combined all have the propensity to pull the listener back in with a vengeance.

The Consummation is a little shorter than most tracks and is an instant favorite, not an easy feat in the slightest nestled as it is within an album containing nothing but top shelf extreme audio. Showcasing the vocal chops of Dan Lofthouse (who replaced Jay Fitt in 2014) which occasionally dip into blackened realms the track also bears hints of atmosphere which only aids its dangerously addictive nature.

The album closes with the epic Descend into Despair. If Bloodbath were ever to incorporate black metal values, rasped vocals and an air thick with vintage creepiness (ala the godly synth mastery featured in Suspiria, Inferno and other assorted early works of Italian cult director Dario Argento) into their style this might likely be the result.

With Forest of the Impaled Subservience have proven they are a force to be reckoned with. The album has the power, potential and repeated playability to undoubtedly leave an impression on the genre as it has on yours truly. All that’s left is hope that it receives the promotion it so rightly deserves in order that it might reach an eager audience left wanting from the lack of commendable newer releases from better known acts. This album is guaranteed to please those with an insatiable hunger for death and blackened metal that resides on the boundaries of slightly diverse and melodic without sacrificing brutality.

9.5/10

Did I mention they are also Brits, if only I had a modicum of the talent they possess I’d be a happy bloke indeed!

 

 

My apologies this wasn’t quite as brief as I had initially intended.

For that I’ll place the blame solely on the choking grasp and overpowering allure of metal.

-Cult (@cultmetalflix on twitter)

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