First Impressions Vol 666: TORII, Skinless, Ephyra, Grindzilla, Flood Peak, ExMortus, Nervosa, Vomitile, Wombbath, Lago, BattleRoar & Gruesome

1200px-The_number_of_the_beast_is_666_Philadelphia,_Rosenbach_Museum_and_Library

This way to diabolical tunage oh wicked one, or so the papyrus reads!

 
Before I unleash this week’s finds I would like to explain, albeit briefly, the way I rate.
1-5 
Rarely will I use this low of a rating if I don’t like something I’ll not report upon it, as opposed to gleefully shitting on someone elses hard work, sweat and tears. I try not to roll like that!
5-6
Meh! Shows potential.
6-7
Good, well worthy of discovery.
7-8
Great, has instances of shining brilliance.
8-9
Excellent, highly recommended.
9-10
Damn good. Pick this up immediately!
10
I believe I’ve just pissed myself this is so impressive. Do not attempt to operate machinery while listening you this you will end up in a ditch!
As always please keep in mind that my tastes mat differ from yours, I am in no way a professional and there’s quite possibly only only a handful of persons reading this. At the very least my grasp of grammar is comical and worthy of visitation on occasion, but then there’s always new metal yet to be discovered so there’s that!
 
Let’s start with something along the very same “biblical” lines as the picture above
 
TORII – A Judgement Divine
USA
Release – June/8/2018
Unsigned/Independent
a3741334588_10
 
Artwork – 7.5
Classical imagery depicting a dragon devouring a pair of cultists (followers of Cadmus). This only gets curiouser and curiouser.
First Track – 8.5
Haunting dark doom complete with atmosphere, fantastic growling vox and shifting passages akin to that found in the depths of the black metal realm. Even this far in I’m in shock that these guys aren’t signed as this is impressive audio indeed!
Initial Listen – 8.5
I’m blown away! This album is so much more than merely a great introduction that I find it hard to utilize words in appreciation.
For only being a two piece outfit these guys could show some full ensembles a few things. The album oozes with nods to the greats who continue to transform the scene but A Judgement Divine thankfully never plummets into plagerism terrotories, nor an arena where the albums sound becomes polluted with an overabundance of brutality with that being said neither does it lounge in ‘drone’ waters either. Overall a worthy slab of audio to drown your sense in. Seek this out and support a band who deserve to be signed, promoted and discussed.
 
Skinless – Savagery
USA
Release – May/11/2018
Relapse Records
a1477058896_10
Artwork – 7.5
Vivid, bloody and dripping crimson. Rather typical of the grisly artwork found in the genre but this is surprisingly well done.
First Track – 6.5
Wot, no hilarious sound bites? Admittedly it’s been a while since I’ve last paid attention to a complete Skinless album.
Technical, slamming brutality showcasing tight drum salvos and a wide array of riffs and some familiarity. Good stuff, but I’m not entirely sold yet
Initial Listen – 6.5
Only a few tracks and riff passages really hit the mark for me and Ill report that the remainder of the album just sounds rather formulaic. Overall listenable though just seems to be missing that certain something to make it stand out.
 
Ephyra – The Day of Return
Italy
Release – May/18/2018
Volcano Records
EPHYRA-COVER-FB-e1522322864162
 
Artwork – 5.5
I’m not even sure what to make of this tbh. A return to the city after residing in nature for an undetermined length of time?
First Track – 6.5
Catchy. The dual vocal style brings to mind Theare of Tragedy and Lacuna Coil but with more a folksey vibe which isn’t at all overpowering coupled with a thrash attack that isn’t at all aggressive.
Initial Listen – 7
Power/epic metal with thrash tendencies that isn’t afraid to utilize underused traditional Eastern instruments for added atmosphere and depth. The folk vibe has just the right amount of presence to be noticed yet not become later bothersome.
If you’re in the mood for something ‘lighter’ with an impressive vocal range (both growled and angelic traditional) this is a great place to park your ears.
 
Grindzilla – Toshinqusndon
Belarus
Release – May/2018 (CD format)
Bizarre Leprous Production
R-12034906-1526986019-5529.jpeg
Artwork – 8
How can one not love this? Raptors in a post apocalyptic wasteland tearing apart lizard people and apparently having fun doing it.
First Track – 7
Grindcore, death, deathgrind, groove? Call it what you will but this is some fun tunage which incites uncontrollable movements. Reminds me of Benighted in the vocal department and in part rhythm. A great start!
Initial Listen – 7
Fifteen tracks in thirty- two minutes hardly means this is ‘traditional’ grindcore. But it is tongue in cheek fun and contains enough varied rhythms and vocal diversity (Bree, bree, brees and all) to please those with a love for all the scene offers.
Give this a chance, at the very least it’ll put a smirk on your chops.
Flood Peak – Plagued by Sufferers
USA
Release – February/1/2018
Independent
a3854585840_10
 
Artwork – 7
Ominous, daunting and menacing and to think it’s only a leather bound book cast in shadow. But it’s what’s in the book and its utilization that I’m pondering upon.
First Track – 7.5
Heavy and dense this is audio with a somber tone one can drown in. A commendable introduction to the bands style and the album.
Initial Listen – 8
Encapsulating audio with a slow burn feel and delicate nuance that builds to a crescendo, often chaotically, to consume the listener whole with its all-encompassing nature. This is doom that envelopes the senses with its menacing atmospherice qualities. With a release with a calibre such as this Flood Peak are heating places in the extreme audio world.
 
Exmortus – The Sound of Steel
USA
Release – June/8/2018
Prosthetic Records
a3349412004_10
Artwork – 7.5
Like an image plucked from a Frazzetta (apologies for the spelling error) painting but created by an artist renowned for Kreator, Helloween and Celtic Frost cover art. I’m transported into an epic sword and sorcery fantasyland. I’m only left to wonder is this closer to Three Inches of Blood tunage or the more epically themed and drowsingly mellow Magnum?
First Track – 8.5
Wicked swift riffs hinting of Amon Amarth/Unleashed and Annihilator influence (quite the combo that!) and catchy melodies also an undeniable classic element which weaves itself through the track structure without once sounding at all out if place. A great introduction to the band and their style (I’m admittedly an Exmortus virgin). I’m strapped in ready for an exciting journey.
Initial Listen – 9
Exquisite marriage of breakneck pace riffs and classical guitar chops displayed with virtuoso flair. Energetic, lively but most of all catchy to the point of being utterly distracting (I drove through a red light with this bouncing around in the interior of my car – silly me!).
In essence this is not merely thrash, or an album based solely on fantasy themes for that matter, but an album that encapsulates the very best elements from a slew of genres (without going overboard on any individual one) and has the potential to appeal to an extremely wide swath of fans because of the fact. Highly recommended if like me you like to dip your toes into a variety of all that metal has to offer.
 
Nervosa – Downfall of Mankind
Brazil
Release – June/1/2018
Napalm Records
images (8)
Artwork – 7
The Grim Reaper has come to call so best not be making any alas Paul Yorick jokes especially when he (?) is riding the waves on a veritable sea of crimson.
First Track – 7.5
Following a particularly impactful introduction awash in murmur of unrest and chaos the first track collides with the senses like a vicious tornado of razorwire thats grabs ahold and drags you around none too pleasantly for the next hour.
A great start!
Initial Listen – 7.5
This album hits hard and rarely let’s up. Channeling Exodus, Overkill, Kreator and Sodom and a slew of other influence the collection of tracks  herein make for an album that will make its audience at the very least act like they have involuntary muscle spasms in their necks and torso.
The fact that this album adds nothing truely groundbreaking to its genre really doesn’t matter as this is solid from start to finish offering riffage and vicious vocals (which often sends the album dangerously close to the death arena) that’ll propel the listener to the emergency in no time whatsoever.
My only qualm is that at times it sounds a tad repetitive, perhaps making for an album that’s best consumed in installments rather than all in one sitting (perhaps).
 
Vomitile – Pure Eternal Hate
Cyprus
Release – April/18/2018
Satanath Records/Hecatombe Records
a4096368413_10
Artwork – 6.5
Part Sabaton, part Bolt Thrower, part Jungle Rot but not at all a ‘run of the mill’ death metal cover dripping in grue. Color me curious indeed.
First Track – 7.5
Hardly technical, more ‘meat and potatoes’ style death ala Jungle Rot.  I have no complaint however as this is hitting all the right bases for my tastes.
Initial Listen – 8
For an introduction to the band and metal from Cyprus this is tremendous audio. Influence is utterly recognizable and varied. Fans of Obituary, Jungle Rot, Maleovent Creation and Unleashed (amongst others in the same driving melodic vein) rejoice as this is an album to aim your senses towards and a collection of tracks to place Cyprus firmly on the metal map. 
 
Wombbath – The Great Desolation
Sweden
Release – June/1/2018
Soulseller Records
download (5)
Artwork – 7.5
The image is a tad confusing for me. Is the person attacking the monester or performing foreplay as if this is an image plucked from a Japanese fetish film? There’s plenty of tentacle action to savor which is always cool, so there’s that!
First Track – 6.5
Straight up Bloodbath/Entombed worship, not a bad start but nothing stunning or utterly original to add to the already overflowing scene.
Initial Listen – 6
This certainly has its moments though it also has instances where it sounds somewhat muddy the HM -2 Entombed buzzsaw sound (technical phrazing I just picked up) overriding everything else in the mix meaning nuances are rather difficult to pick out. Overall easy to listen to and not horrid, in the slightest, but probably a selection the die hard fans of the Gothenburg/Bloodbath sound will devour  more than most.
 
Lago – Sea of Duress
USA
Release – June/8/2018
Unique Leader Records
lago_seaofduress-820x820
Artwork – 7.5
Ominous, there’s something menacing adrift on the seas accompanied by an entity even stranger still.
First Track – 7
Menacing and diabolical with constantly transforming passages the dense blanketing style brings to mind mid era Morbid Angel with splashes of Hate Eternal and Incantation.
Initial Listen – 7.5
Effective smothering infernal atmosphere complete with vcoals that only complement the overall sound.
Recommended for those into extreme chaotic metal rather than more melodic tunage.
 
Battleroar – Codex-Epicus
Greece
Release – June/8/2018
Cruz Del Sur Music
Battleroar_Codex-Epicus-590x590
Artwork – 7.5
A quest, a huge fuck off dragon and a bunch of winding stairs could only mean one thing…You’ve entered the realm of swords, sorcery and epic metal.
First Track – 8
An impressive symphonic introduction laden with angelic choruses and atmosphere leads into the albums first slab of epicness.  A track oozing with flowing riffs, a fantasy narrative and lyrics which I could imagine will raise more than a few fists in an arena setting. But best of all not one iota of a falsetto element in the vocal department. I am impressed!
Initial Listen – 8.5
Honestly I’m not normally a fan of epic/power/heavy metal but this had me twitching like a criminal on a noose. The riffs are great, the lyrics not at all silly and the solos applaudable. The epic nature prevalent in the album means you can just melt into it and I probably will as I’m about to spin this beast again.
Fans of early Maiden and European metal should dig the crap outta this, if not then I don’t know what to say as Codex-Epicus impressed the hell outta me and I normally avoid this style of metal like the plague.
Gruesome -Twisted Prayers
USA
Release – June/1/2018
Relapse Records
a3854328824_10
Artwork – 8
Vivid imagery that sparks conversation.Is that the creepy long-torsoed pastor from Poltergeist 2?
First Track – 7.5
Sounds very familiar (insert winky face here). Impressive mid- paced death with riffs and dives into sudden swift passages aplenty. A great start. (Seek out the accompanying video it’s great)
Initial Listen – 8.5
Obviously this is Death worship. With that in mind however, it’s extremely well done and continues that which (Chuck) Schuldiner decided to forego in choosing another avenue following the Spiritual Healing release. This album, my first foray into Gruesone territory (I’m late to this shindig), is IMO top notch melodic death metal topped with vocals that remind me of another of my favorite vocalists and acts – Speckmann and Master.
Soaring solos, zero blast beats and the lack of delving into chaotic brutality means this remains nothing but listenable, in fact makes this a great jumping on point for those wishing to make the leap from merely thrash into the darker heavier realms aka death metal. Needless to say this is highly recommended!!
 
That’s about it folks thanks for sticking around for this unusually large installment, I’m off. It seems I have some discovering of a back catalog to do. You can thank (fellow DrunkinaGraveyard metal scribe) Void for that and for placing the idea of a First Impressions piece based solely on one black metal act. Keep your ear to the ground I’ll be dropping hints soon enough, until then.
Your slave to audio extreme, diverse and obscure enough to send fanatics into a cash tossing frenzy
Cult

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