First Impressions Vol 7: Lik, Droid, Outline, Zero Down, Hellish, Abigail, Hoth, Allfather, Bookakee, Veld, Old Chapel and Zombie Ritual

Why was 6 afraid of 7?
…Because 7,8,9!
 
Without descent into further silliness…
A selection of fresh metal to please the senses plucked from the far reaches of the globe.
 
Lik – Carnage
Sweden
Release – May/4/2018
Metal Blade Records
Artwork – 8
Black and white skulls and cavorting skeletons, what’s not to like?
First Track – 8
Gothenburg worship but surprisingly  ‘cleaner’ than normal.
Initial Listen – 8.5
Harkens back to Massive Killing Capacity era Dismember. The riffs are clear, the drums infectious and the production fantastic. Strange that they have used every tool available and have still managed to bring something new ‘to the table’. A great example of the resurgence of the Gothenburg sound. Before you consider the Gothenburg resurgence a mere flash in the pan boiling over with plagerism, check this out!
Droid – Terrestrial Mutations
Canada
Release – August/10/2018 (LP format)
Shadow Kingdom Records
Artwork – 7
I’m getting epic vibes bursting with fantastic sci-fi atmosphere from this image. Not your typical heavy metal or even thrash cover unless the band take huge influence from bands such as Hawkwind or Voivod.
First Track – 7.5
This is busy, not the typical start to an ordinary thrash album by any means. Intricate riffs, tempo changes and surprising rhythm directions ingredients that bodes well for an intriguing album to follow.
Initial Listen – 8.5
Epic, diverse and overflowing with a myriad of influence and elements this oozes with musical dexterity and talent offering audio that’s highly unpredictable, ranging from jazz through punk, yet still manages to keep its flow. Not quite as seemlessly thrashy as Vektors last outing (a godly slab of metal IMO) but this offers diversity in the form of a intricately woven tapestry of styles. A rarity in concept albums Terrestrial Mutations manages to entertain throughout as it drags the listener grinning from one exciting soundscape to the next.
Recommended for those who like to listen ‘outside of the box’, experiment with their audio and who aren’t afraid of albums which aren’t comfortable residing in a single genre.
 
Outline – Fire Whiplash
USA
Release – July/27/2018
Hell’s Headbangers
 
Artwork – 7
Dark and moody. For some reason I’m liking this even though it’s rather simple.
First Track – 7
Raw speed metal with riffs that are infectious and vocals which are wholly unexpected.
Initial Listen – 7
It may take me a while to get used to the vocal style but the music throws me back to Anthrax’s Fistful of Metal, Whiplash’s Power and Pain album and numerous other faster than a bullet albums I couldn’t get enough of when I had yet to sprout hairs in unmentionable locales. This is fast, raw and straight for the throat speed/heavy metal that’s guaranteed to grow on the listener. A great start for a new partnership that pit’s HMMR frontman and the mastermind behind Demona together for a fresh chance to assault the scene. 
 
Zero Down – Larger Than Death
USA
Release – August/10/2028
Minotauro Records
Artwork – 6
Abraham Lincoln fighting snakes in the Louisiana swamps…or something!? Does America need saving? (I don’t need a reply it was rhetorical).
First Track – 8
Damn fine rock n’ roll/heavy metal. Great rhythms, impressive vocals. With hints of thrash/speed metal this track is not at all brutal but rather somewhat fun, catchy and very infectious.
Initial Listen – 9
Highly infectious audio, think a mixture of Raven, Dokken, Exodus and Decimator (Carnage City State Mosh Patrol – anyone remember these Brits from the late 80’s?) with a whole ton of melody throw in for shits n giggles. With vocals you’d swear came from the throat of the Ghost of Dave Brokey sans the intergalactic costumes, perversity and lyrical silliness. Seriously though, this surprised me as I hadn’t heard of Zero Down before. This made me jump around in the car like a silly fool, my apologies if you happened to be on I80 at the time.
Amazing from start to finish. Hardly thrash, speed or death, though it does have hints of the former, just utterly solid metal that any fan of NWOBHM and melodic tunage will appreciate. Highly recommended!!
Hellish – The Spectre of Lonely Souls
Chile
Release –July/27/2018
Unspeakable Axe Records
Artwork – 7
The image tosses me back to cartoon imagery seen on a slew of thrash albums in the 90’s. Something is afoot in the deepest part of the forest. Ghostly figures, candles and skeletons…whatever next?
First Track – 7.5
A fantastic introduction showcasing a variety of riffs that’ll melt your face off or leave you with a cracked vertebrae. Take your pick. Blackened vocals only add to the fun!
Initial Listen – 8.5
Daaaammn- my neck hurts! There’s enough riffage bursting at the seams of this collection (of tracks) to keep even the most discerning of speed freak sated. Its worth mentioning that the finale works amazingly well too. Short and to the point, with no frilly bits whatsoever the style herein is a delicous blend of South American thrash and melodic blackened metal. Needless to state – I’m hooked!
Keep an ear out for these guys, and be prepared for a workout as this album delivers in all the best ways leaving you panting for more.
 
Abigail – Far East Black Metal Onslaught
(7′ ep Vinyl limited to 200 copies)
Japan
Release – August/7/2018
HelldProdRecords
Artwork – 7.5
There’s no doubt whatsoever what the listener us about to subject their ears to…
fast, evil, barbaric and brutal audio.
Bring it on!
First Track – 7
Raw, catchy, blistering fast, as evil as Mr Pickles (Google it adults) with ultra-menacing vocals. This is better than I was expecting and yet still black as night – I’m all ears!
Initial Listen – 7
How is it I’ve never heard of these guys before? They’ve been around since 90′ and have released a dizzying amount of material and on a consistent basis. This is evil audio indeed with stylistic nods to other extreme acts and genres (Venom, Bathory, Motorhead) at times black n’ roll (if that’s a thing?) Always entertaining and harsh audio this is utterly consumable with production values firmly stuck in the glorious roots of the genre, after all who really needs ‘clean’ black metal? Check this out then dive deep into the depths of the Abigail back catalog.
 
Hoth – Astral Necromancy
USA
Release – June/15/2018
Epicurus Records
Artwork – 7
Titan or God? I’m not sure but this is rather ominous indeedy and he’s looking at me. Is it too late to pretend I didn’t see him/her?
First Track – 8.5
Dissection-esque with some ultra intriguing vocal elements and rhythms. Melodic and triumphant. Infectiously catchy, a strong start!
Initial Listen – 8
Who said Star Wars and black metal can’t play well together? Hoths logo is obviously a spin on the image of Darth Vaders tie fighter (isn’t it?) yet surprisingly the lyrics aren’t based on a narrative conceived by Lucas and company but something else entirely. As well more melody than one might expect in a black affair folk elements are also present though not at all overpowering.
A fantastic variety of tracks bursting with melody (at times unconventional veering towards a progressive playing field) and atmosphere with traditional rasping vocals (you can actually make out lyrics in) to keep the listeners attentions rapt. Give this a listen!
Allfather – And All Will be Desolation
United Kingdom
Release – September/7/2018
Rotting Throne Records
Artwork – 7
A bronzed skull and a crown. Hmmm – consider me curious.
First Track – 6.5
Sludgery, distortion and angst. Rather hard to categorize this resides somewhere between doom, death and hardcore with a myriad of influences inbetween this is an interesting commencement.
Initial Listen – 6.5
Surprisingly emotional passages amidst salvos of hardcore infused angst with punkish attitude. Plenty of groove to get the listener moving and lyrical content to incite the wheels in the skull to spin ferociously.
Unapologetic attitude and melody for those who prefer their tunage loud, distorted and fueled by the desire for rebellion.
Bookakee – Ignominies
Canada
Release – June/29/2018
Transending Records
Artwork – 8
Nekkid green babes and gore. I’m all in!
First Track – 7.5
Whiring dervish technical insanity in a vein similar to Rings of Saturn and the like. I’m left only the more intrigued especilly since it’s executed with exquisitie talent.
Initial Listen – 8
Listening to this is quite the experience to say the very least. Tech death collides with prog death, jazz passages and so much more weaved inbetween. You can tell the band is having fun and that there’s an impromptu amount of tongue in cheek-ness about the whole affair but it’s damn impressive making for future exploration and possibly placing one of their celebrated live shows on the ‘bucket list’. It doesn’t hurt that they utilize one of my favorite vocalists (from Benighted) in a guest spot either.
Diverse, exciting and wholly unexpected in terms of top notch musicianship this is an album that warrants a listen from an act who are headed for possible world domination (or something along those very same lines).
 
Veld – S.I.N
Belarus
Release – June/15/2018
Listenable Records
 
Artwork – 8.5
Stunning imagery with medieval, archaic and celestial being elements. An image that even Geiger might glance twice at.
First Track – 8.5
An effective introduction showcasing cavernous atmosphere grabs the attention whilst the entirety of the initial track does naught but blanket the listener in excellent blackened death ala Morbid Angel, Nile, Noctem and Abysmal Dawn. A fantastic start!
Initial Listen – 9
Forget how disappointed you might have been left by the much hyped return of Morbid Angel, clear your mind and give this a listen. Infernal, diabolical and epic with plenty of soundtrack-esque atmosphere to boot. And those on point drum salvos – damn!
These guys are set to take the genre by storm with a release of a calibre such as this shrouded in such an applaudable production quality. I could spin this all day and forget about food and water. This gem deserves the listeners undivided attention. 
And, a few selections from the past most brutal indeed…
 
Old Chapel – Visions From Beyond
Russia
Release – November/7/2016
Chaos Records
Artwork – 7.5
Theres lots going on here. Even a slew of excited tentacles to please those for a penchant for all things Lovecraftian.
First Track – 8.5
Mid tempo and rather simplistic rhythms tell of a myriad of infuence but damn they get you to the core. If the album continues this way I’ll be stomping around like Messiah Marcolin (Candlemass) in no time and probably in front of complete strangers to boot.
Initial Listen – 8.5
Grooves aplenty with an astounding amount of excellently executed nods to the old school and there’s even an instrumental homage to Fulci’s City of the Living Dead. What’s not to appreciate? But seriously, this album deserves alot of attention especially since it’s a mammoth leap upwards from the bands initial effort. Rumor is the band have split which is a great pity as this certainly points in the right direction for future greatness. Melody, brutality and rhythms to incite frenzied silliness. Give this a peek!
 
Zombie Ritual – Night of the Zombie Party
Japan
Release – December/7/2004
Razorback Records
Artwork – 8.5
Those decomposing hues and that fun loving image. Break out the party hats it’s festive time in gut- chomping ville.
First Track – 8.5
Damn – grindcore, thrash, punk. This is a limb flailing hybrid whatever its moniker. One things for certain this shit incites movement whilst still reeking with rotten brutality and groove. I’m sold. Did I mention every track has the word ‘zombie’ in it? And there’s twelve tracks totalling forty minutes – that’s odd for the genre too. Color me curious indeed!
Initial Listen – 8.5
I honestly don’t know how it is that these guys aren’t better known. Apart from being confused with a popular track in the vast Death (the band) library they are actually very easy to listen to. There’s groove, rhythms that bring to mind early Terrorizer then also a slew of others that might raise the eyebrow (surprisingly so to more melodic leanings in some tracks) but all have the potential to yank the listener around by their spine rather than merely noise audio that’s sometimes associated with the same genre. Did I mention that the gutter vocals fit like a flesh glove, a great combo to be sure. All in all this is a release that any lover of the genre can laugh along with, move to, recommend and appreciate, especially those with a penchant for extreme music with the inclusion of the shambling, putrescent undead. In short this under-appreciated album demands a listen! I honestly liked this a damn sight more than I thought I would.
 
That’s about it for this installment folks, here’s hoping you discovered something new to tickle your auditory senses (I certainly did while trackong down albums to compile this) a huge thanks from me for making this far down the ‘page’.
 
Your slave to audio atmospheric, blistering fast and often dripping in grue but slathered in groove.
 
Cult

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