First Impressions Vol 12: Void Ritual, Witchgoat, Iron Flesh, Void Rot, Exxxecutioner, Helrunar, Stormland, Terror Hammer, Destroyer Attack, Released Anger, Nocturnal Hollow, & War Possession

First Impressions #12:  A Brutal Dozen
 
Twelve in this entry. Note, this isn’t a bakers dozen (that’s thirteen, for those not educated in such matters). Nothing is going to be broken, apart from vertebrae, delicate collectibles and limbs, naturally all on account of the blistering, evil, deviant, tunage on offer…
Enjoy.
 
Void Ritual – Death is Peace
USA
Release – August/3/2018
Ipos Music/Bandcamp (digital)
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Artwork – 8
An intricate black and white image (reminiscent of a wood carving) that depicts lifes final breath in stunning detail.
First Track – 7.5
Oozing with surprising depth, presence and emotion this track boasts folk rhythms with a decidedly Nordic edge colliding with majestic Black metal melodies and all to great effect.
Initial Listen – 8
Infectiously catchy, mesmerizing at times and sporting stunning intros and diverse and varied rhythms, which are often easy to lose yourself within, this album showcases much more than merely what one might think when the term black metal finds itself in the conversation. Although the rabid assault is present it’s often complemented by an unpredictable nature which helps catapult this release to a status that demands various listens to fully appreciate but what makes this even more outstanding is the fact that it’s solely created by one mind – Daniel Jackson. 
Pick this up and don’t miss out!
 
Witchgoat – Umbra Regit 
(Very limited physical format 3 track demo)
El Salvador 
Release – July/31/2018
Morbid Skull Records
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Artwork – 7.5
A deadly scorpion, of sorts, upon a pile of skulls. There’s certainly something menacing and ominous here, but what about the music?
First Track – 8
Blistering speed metal blasphemy with surprising depth, rhythm changes and tempo shifts making for a track which is unpredictable and wholly enjoyable.
Initial Listen – 8.5
Definite influence and undeniable raw 80’s style production values complement this release. But it’s the music that speaks for itself. The malice, the ominous nature and the atmosphere, but let us not forget the neck snappin’ riffage.
Barely more than ten minutes in length this serves excellently to whet the desires of those who yearn for more than merely break neck speed and evil rasping vocals. I’m all ears for an upcoming full length and based on the calibre of what this boasts it should be nothing less than stellar.
 
Iron Flesh – Scourge of Demonic Incantations
France 
Release – April/7/2018
Independent
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Artwork – 7.5
A zombie head. Impaling horns and a coffin entangled and in stunning black and white. Yea, it’s a damn sight better than I make it out.
First Track – 8
Groove, inciteful drums and riffs, laden with sinister doom passages, and all too familiar but damn impressive. This is early 90’s death worship ala Vomitory, Massacre and Grotesquery but with a smidgen of Grind tossed in for shits n giggles. Great start to perk up the attention of any long time rabid fan of the scene.
Initial Listen – 8.5
I’m enjoying the way in which Iron Flesh have taken a wide swath of influence and injected in with their own flavor. Many riffs are familiar but, for instance, in Obscure Paranoid Visions (and throughout the album thpugh moreso here) the addition of the drum tattoo heavy in the mix just makes the track that much more memirable. Gold! And there’s plenty of groove to get the listener moving. Honestly, there’s very little to complain about as this is solid from start to finish.
A stellar find which boasts familiarity, brutality, atmosphere and rhythm to spare. This release warrants attention (I don’t state that too often about material from France, me being a Brit and all, other than my adoration for Grind gods Benighted) And to think this may well have been lost under the radar. Seek this out!!
 
Void Rot – Consumed by Oblivion EP
USA
Release – August/3/2018
Everlasting Spew Records/Sentient Ruin 
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Artwork – 7
An image with an classic ageless style and an unmistakable ominous nature. Someone hold me back I feel like I’m being pulled into something all powerful and utterly unfathomable.
First Track – 8.5
Suffocating, dense and bludgeoning this track harkens back to an era when doom and death first got (romantically) entangled yet also boasts sinister charm and an aura which is diabolical, cavernous yet wickedly groove laden.
Initial Listen – 8.5
Pulverizing, claustrophobic and slathered in distortion this collection boasts a myriad of influence spanning decades from a slew of extreme genres including but in no way limited to Realm of Chaos era Bolt Thrower, early Anathema and more recently audio by way of Krypts. Death, Doom and Black this album has it all about covered and in a concoction which is set to please any and all demanding fan of the brutal realm. Barely less than sixteen minutes in length this leaves you panting, wanting more!
 
Exxxekutioner – Death Sentence
United Kingdom
Ulthar Records 
Release – October/16/2018
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Artwork – 7.5
Black imagery, enough chains to make Spawn envious and medieval wickedness about wraps it up.
First Track – 8.5
From the first note my attention was enrapt. Speed, rasped vocals and a production reminiscent of the glory days of the British (fucking) black metal scene.  What a start!
Initial Listen – 9
Witchery, Venom, early Slayer, sprinkles of Black Sabbath, unexpected melody and an assault of riffs sure to put an abrupt hip-shattering spring in the step of the elderly and infirm. This is surprisingly groove laden, evil as Satan’s cornflakes and faster than something renowned for being more than merely swift. I cannot say enough good things about this. If you let NWOBHM cavort with black metal this is likely the resulting offspring. Outstanding audio. If these guys would tour with Hellripper I could be easily talked in doing silly things in order to get a ticket. Wait wha-?
 
 
Helrunar – Vanitas Vanitatvm
Germany
Release – September/28/2018
Prophecy Productions
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Artwork – 8
Ominous, sinister and Gothic. Beauty against Darkness. Black and White. Yin and Yang. I could take my thoughts on this image this into a lengthy physiological (a what?) diatribe. But I’ll spare you the torture.
First Track – 8.5
Ferocious yet grandiose and dripping with atmosphere in moments this puts me in mind of Rotting Christ. This is not what I expected but I’m happy as a clam (whatever that means).
Initial Listen – 9.5
Over an hour in length this is a stunning value for your dollar effort that you can truly lose yourself in. Unconventional and steeped in a mixture of styles, primarily black metal, this executes what it set out to do running the gamut of emotion and atmosphere sporting zero (count them!) dull moments and that’s why I can’t get enough. Honestly, I’m not a fan of traditional ‘black’ but I’m finding myself talking about this whenever I’m given the chance, and often when I’m not. Diverse, a tad experimental if truth be told but outstanding with its approach, delivery and follow through and to think not even a word in my own language is to be heard in its entire length.
This is an album I will be preaching for some time to come. Just outstanding!!
 
Stormland – Songs of Future Wars 
Canada 
Release – August/4/2018
Independent
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Artwork – 7
Militaristic in its image, more like an insignia. With guitars crossing beneath a skull. Metal forces unite!
I’m going into this blind but I have faith.
First Track – 7
With no introduction the first track tosses the listener straight into its blunt assault. An attack of grindcore esque proportions with vocals more akin to the barked orders of a commanding officer than what is normally heard.
Initial Listen – 8
To my knowledge this is the first anyone’s tackled the Gundam suit concept in audio form using metal as the medium. Although it’s no less unique than Bolt Thrower taking on the dark fantasy realm of Warhammer back in the nineties it still deserves huge props. The music ranges from aggressive thrash, punk/crust, death, doom to grindcore with some proggressive elements tossed into the mix to keep things exciting and interesting. Influences are varied, easy to decipher, and their utilization lends this album an exciting edge which fans of the scene are sure to greedily devour. And all from the mind of one individual with a little help in the skin-bashing department.
War, thrash and extreme metal what’s not to like? Give this a peek and prepare to drop some green in appreciation.
Terrorhammer – In the Name of Hell
Serbia
Release – January/29/2018
Dying Victims Productions 
terrorhammer
Artwork – 7
Go on, take a quick glance at the above image. Familiar, right? I’m thinking (Slayer) Show no Mercy but with slight changes and an altogether different background.  Regardless I’ve heard of Terrorhammer before so I’ll stick around.
First Track – 8.5
An intro with Gothic undertones by way of organ manipuslation (sounds dirty, my bad!) but when the first riff kicks in, holy fuk – I’m listening, seconds later all that’s in my world is what issues forth from the speakers…I’m hooked!
Initial Listen – 8.5
Blistering fast, illegally infectious and sporting vocals that drip venomous evil. With varied influence coming by way of Venom, vintage Slayer, early Witchery Bathory, vintage Kreator and smatterings of a vibe courtesy of South American unholiness your attention might perk up and for good reason. This is a damn fine release, it’s not pretty, the production could be better, but it does the job, and executes what it set out to do damn well. Just try to sit still as this bounces betwix your ears. 
 
Destroyer Attack – Solve Et Coagula
Equador
Release – July/13/2018
Morbid Skull Records 
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Artwork – 7
Evil, Hell, Goat, Satan, Blasphemy…I think I have a good idea of where this is headed. A vintage image that pulls no punches.
First Track – 8.5
Blistering, unmerciful and Vader fast. I’m awake and about ready to break out the ceremonial robes, light the candles and ask around (as politely as possible) for a virgin…or something. Menacing and reminiscent of diabolical acts from the roots of the blackened/death scene this is an attention grabbing start.
Initial Listen -9
This is chaotic, diabolical and seething with lyrical themes which aren’t wholesome in the slightest (at a guess as it isnt in my native tongue) but it also bursts with rhythm and melody, a strange mixture for sure, at times leans towards black n roll (is that a thing?) and displays definite crust attributes but it works and has me jumping around like a loon. I’m not sure what I was expecting but this is exemplary audio that fans of Hellhammer, Bathory and bestial blackened speed will lap up. I’ll be spinning this until the surgeon general warns me I should probably check into getting a neck brace fitted. 
 
A Blast from the not so Distant Past
 
Released Anger – Revenge
Greece
Release – December/8/2017
Eat Metal Records
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Artwork – 8
At first all that comes to mind is a bunch of monsters possibly playing Twister. But then a lone shadowy figure makes itself known at the bottom if the image. Does it want to play, is he/she able to? Do they have a major gripe againot Miltin Bradley? The minds reels with the possibilities.
First Track – 9
No pansy, unicorn sprinkle intros here, just shred your flesh, ninja swift, riffs and a tightness not often seen outside of the closed doors of the Vicars study. Ok, I’m distracted. Hold my calls. I have some serious head bangin’ to take care of.
Initial Listen – 9.5
It need not be said, for anyone that’s had experience with this, that obvious influence comes by way of Kreator (Extreme Aggression era) and Sodom. There’s even smatterings of Mille in the vocal department. But it has to be mentioned that Revenge is top notch “aggrothrash” (to quote Void), regardless of the fact it’s the bands first full length which alone is a stunning achievement in and of itself. The speeds reached far surpass what I’ve heard before and I thought Violent Force were insanely fast! This stands out for several reasons, the vocals are wicked raspy and the rhythms rarely let up their intensity. I’ll go out on a limb and state I believe this surpasses anything Kreator or even Sodom has released in recent memory, I’ll add that anyone into the scene need check this out, and pronto. Seriously, it reigns!!
 
Nocturnal Hollow – The Nuances of Death
Venezuela 
Release – September /29/2017 (previously only digital)
PRC Music
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Artwork – 9
Intricate and sinister. Dark and foreboding. The dude has four arms and is surrounded by mountains of skulls, I wouldn’t screw with him. He seems comfortable in his climate. Need I say more?
First Track – 8
Steamroller pulverising riffs and a style that’s highly reminiscent of Grave, Bloodbath, Asphyx and in instances more recent Bolt Thrower. A great start that’s sure to please fans of 90’s European death.
Initial Listen – 8.5
Galloping exhilaration and melodies that will incite movement rather than an all out speed assault drive this album. Groove within brutality, production of a Dismember and Entombed, a catacombs quality and a style that’s only that much more enjoyable because it’s so utterly familiar. The influences here are obvious but what’s not is the fact that this band remains largely ignored and that an album of this calibre flys under the radar. Shit, they even have a track dedicated to a lady sporting mammoth ankles and a penchant for donning clothes eerily similar to those found covering an event complete with clowns, elephants and trapeze artists.

 

War Possession – Doomed to Chaos 
Greece
Release – October/23/2017
Memento Mori/Screaming Victims Distro
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Artwork – 8.5
Screams old school brutality both with the font and ghastly image. A veritable orgy of skeletons cavorting and birthing ‘something’ in a quagmire of filth.
First Track – 8
A fantastic intro (which may or may not be exclusive to the tape release) leads into brutal death tunage heavily shrouded with a grindcore aura. The sound is highly reminiscent of British brutality circa the early nineties from bands such as Napalm Death, Carcass (less obvious than most) and most notably Bolt Thrower.
Initial Listen – 8.5
Bolt Thrower worship through and through, both in lyrical content, theme and musicsl style (it even has an intro with tank action which I’m sure Karl would appreciate). With that in mind however there is still a damn site more this release offers. It boasts doom and varied speed passages and sports an aura which any fan of the death scene circa the nineties will be able to appreciate. Another amazing album from Greece, one day I’ll return there and try to resist the drunken allure of the moped (sorry that’s an inside joke!)
Seek this gem out and prepare to reminiscence on albums you might have forgotten the importance and impact of.
 
Your slave to Metal and the places (I pretty much covered the globe in this segment) it often transports us to.
Cult

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