First Impressions Vol 14: Blitzkrieg, Shallow Grave, Deicide, Pressure, Monstrosity, Druglord, Pulver, Mourning by Morning, Krisiun, Satan, RUIN, Candlemass, Kruel Kommando & Tomb Mold

In this installment I’m finding myself rediscovering a few acts who helped the “roots” (of the scene) to flourish and then stuck around to ensure their hard work wasn’t for naught. In essence a few familiar names amongst a variety of others who might be destined for the same fate.
The artists given an * I honestly haven’t heard about in a great number of years, and I’m more than intrigued as to how their style has developed, if it has,  and how they sound now…
Be prepared to reminiscence alongside me on music from decades past…
*Blitzkrieg – Judge Not!
United Kingdom 
Release – April/27/2018
Mighty Music 
Artwork – 6.5
Kinda crude though unmistakable in its homage to earlier album art from the same band from many moons previous.
First Track – 6.5
This is sadly not the Blitzkrieg I’m familiar with. The melodies seemed more thrashy rather than ‘fluid’ as I would’ve assumed (based on my experience) and the vocals and lyrical content a tad dramatic/cliched/cheesy. Although it has it’s moments (the singer, Brian Ross has an amazing voice) this is nothing like I remember being wowed about upon hearing “Buried Alive/Blitzkrieg” for the first time, I’ll admit the track still “does it” for me everyone I hear it. 
This has more an early Candlemass vibe with a thrashy edge. I’ll stick around, for old times sake…
Initial Listen – 7
This is beginning to grow on me even though it still bears a certain amount of cheese it sports melodies and an overall vibe that any fan of traditional heavy metal will find hard to resist. And then there’s the underrated Brian Ross (the throat and force behind the mic also present in Satan, review below) I honestly don’t think there’s anyone who compares as his voice just “fits”, for want of a better term.
For any long time fan this is a pleaser, a fantastic addition to the collection, but for those new to the scene this might take some easing into. Final verdict – good but not great!
Shallow Grave – Threshold Between Two Worlds
Release – October /31/2018
Sludgelord Records/Black Voodoo Records/Cursed Monk Records/minoRobscuR
Artwork – 9
Dismal and dark this image oozes themes of suffering while also providing imagery that conjures thoughts of arcane astral projection (gone wrong?) and other things utterly unfathomable in nature and scope.
First Track – 9.5
There’s something captivating, unfamiliar but drenched in dread and foreboding on the horizon and it’s getting closer. 
Atmospheric, seething, all enveloping and suffocating this track offers audio that could easily accompany the arrival of the new (old) Gods and their quest to rid the earth of the blight (us) upon it.
This is doom/sludge with an undeniably diabolical presence and power that warrants attention. I’m certain of this and I’m only presently partway through.
Initial Listen – 9.5
This could very well be the audio representation of literary giants Lovecraft (The old Gods) joining forces with Barker (Hellraiser, Weaveworld) and Lumley (Necroscope) for it displays a cinematic grandiose vibe, four tracks totalling close to a forty minute length. And also a majesty, a foreboding, a ceremonial arcane nature and an undeniable aura of something, as old as time, which could never fully be described. 
It’s a long wait for the night of illuminated pumpkins, costumes and Micheal Myers and now you can add something else to that list (for this year anyway) for Shallow Grave have carved an album that will be talked about for some time to come, perhaps not as long as that which it honors but a long while nevertheless.
Highly recommended, put those preorders in now!!
Deicide – Overtures of Blasphemy 
Release – September/14/2018
Nuclear Blast/ Century Media Records 
Artwork – 9
I’m not entirely sure what’s going on but this image draws you in, reminiscent of the beasties in Hellraiser it depicts forms devoid of flesh amidst tomes and parchment soaked in crimson. I want this on a shirt!
First Track – 9
The Beast is back! Deicide have returned reinvigorated and this track proves it. Shades of Vital Remains influence and riffs to melt the flesh from your offspring. I’m left panting and eager for more of the same.
Initial Listen – 9
It’s been worth the wait. And I’ll say although I’ve not really been overly excited about amy of their previous albums this one has me preaching from the unholiest of pulpit. Hints of Vital Remains and smigdens of a diabolical nature by way of early Morbid Angel make this an album that stands out from previous efforts IMO.
The riffs are there, the production is solid and Glen Benton provides that which his fans have come to adore (sounds a lil weird but it’s the truth!) thundering bass and trademark vocals.
All in all an album that needs a multitude of ears wrapped around it. Deicide are back on form and this propels them to the front of the pack!
Prezir – As Rats Devour Lions 
Release – August/18/2018
Self Released/Independent
Artwork – 7.5
This screams diabolical schnanigans, rebellion based on the title, and one can’t ignore the arcane element. I’m interested as to how this plays out.
First Track – 8
Majestic cresting rapid riffs and galloping melodies alongside vocals with an impressive range. Definite Dissection influence frolics alongside others, even vintage Slayer, as well an undeniable tip of the hat towards CoF (an abr. every metal fan should know!)
Initial Listen – 8
There’s a multitude of styles on display here that which might leave many fans scratching their heads as to possible influences. What’s for certain though is that Prezir deliver throughout an album that’s packed, to overflowing, with menace, fury and enough riffs to please even the most discerning of fan. As Rats Devour Lions balances precariously on the often wavering borders between black and death while borrowing heavily from other extreme arenas resulting in an album that’ll keep the listeners digit poised on the repeat button.
A fantastic showing. 
Monstrosity – The Passage of Existence 
Release – September/6/2018
Metal Blade Records 
Artwork – 7.5
Flames, demons and a hidey hole to another wicked realm. Count me in!
First Track – 8.5
The riffs are infectious and the track structure surprising, I detect a slight hint of a progessive element in here, I don’t remember Monstrosity ever sounding like this. A great start that has me pumped for what’s to follow.
Initial Listen – 8.5
It’s been a while since their last release and to be honest I can’t recall Monstrosity being this G.D impressive. The transforming pace, the diabolical nature, the vocals, the breakdowns, and the melodis and riffage rather than a reliance on merely chuggery (yes, there’s melody think early Arch Enemy) all adds up to an album which cannot, and should not, be ignored. What a return!!
Druglord – New Dying Day
Release – September/14/2018
Sludgelord Records 
Artwork – 9
There’s just something about this menstrual blood image that has me intrigued. Is this brutal death or something else entirely?
First Track – 7.5
Sounds like Ozzy in the vocal department, initially, but it isn’t. The music is of the doom variety, monstous riffs and surprising melody.
Huge mammoth riffage, groove and cosmic -esque elements with sprinklings of heavy metal. A great combination.
Initial Listen – 8
In its progress this release covers a large percentage of the doom arena. There’s chaos, bludgeoning riffs, epic qualities, the occasional organ keyboard passage, grittiness, and moments of trance like melody. But let us not forget the groove, there’s plenty of it making for an album that isn’t typical of the genre but is exciting and utterly captivating. Another fine example plucked from whats rapidly transformibg into a rising powerhouse in the genre, and a label to keep eyes on, the Sludgelord camp.
Pulver – s/t (EP)
Release –
Gates of Hell Records
Artwork – 7.5
The cover of this one reminds me of an old 2000AD comic strip from back in the day. Does anyone else remember Nemesis the Warlock? Warning – admitting such might just show your age.
First Track – 8.5
This burns with an old school rock/NWOBHM  vibe and a grittiness courtesy of the vocalists approach. It’s different, not at all brutal, and boasts emotion lacking from the majority of that which usually graces my ears. The style is slightly Motorhead in feel though also offers a slew of simplistic (or so some might think) melodies that work surprisingly well. A great start that has me twitching and leaves me eager for the remainder of this short (not even thirteen minute) EP.
Initial Listen – 8
The vocals sound like a mash up or sorts, better yet the result of a diabolical creation utilizing Lemmy (a legend RIP Sir) and Danzig as the main ingredients. Whereas the tracks on offer serve up a delightfully diverse spectrum of styles encompassing rock, heavy metal, doom, stoner rock and smatterings of speed/thrash boding well for huge appeal for this and hopefully a full length in the very near future.
Want to grace your ears with something slightly off the beaten path, give this a listen. Especially recommended for those with a hankering for audio of the old school variety, ala Iron Maiden, Diamond Head and Motorhead.
Mourning by Morning s/t
Release – September/27/2018
Wolfspell Records
Artwork – 8.5
Dank, wet, dismal forest imagery that seethes with an ominous presence by way of circling carrion. Even the logo looks like entangled roots. I am intrigued.
First Track – 8.5
Striking classical melodies, beauty with unmistakable morose and melancholic aspects, against a ferocious black metal vocal attack which works to mesmerizing effect. I’m left more than impressed.
Initial Listen – 9
Atmospheric, grandiose, spellbinding, epic and majestic are words that don’t even come close to what this album offers. And to think this was all by created by a solitary person. A stunning example of doom tinged melodic black metal which is sure to appeal to both traditionslists and those leaning more towards the atmospheric, somber, side of the genre. This is slated to suffer an eternity in my audio system, the more I hear it the more I find myself melting into the captivating audio it sports. Screw the neighbors I’m cranking this till my stereo complains!
Krisiun – Scourge of the Enthroned 
Release – September/7/2018
Century Media Records 
Artwork – 6.5
Summoned fury? Or, too many guys attempting to exit a hot tub at the same time? The verdict is out.
First Track – 7
Bludgeoning chords with uncompromising drums. This is what Krisiun are known for and is in no short order here.
Initial Listen – 7.5
Crescendo brutality and ferocious vocals amidst a definite drum heavy mix. A great addition for existing fans though probably not, in my opinion, a release that’s strong enough to pull many new ones into the fold, although with that being said it does sport a number of tracks which could well spark a riot.
Satan – Cruel Magic
United Kingdom 
Release – September/7/2018
Metal Blade Records 
Artwork – 8.5
Gothic, classic. This image reminds me somewhat of Giallo celluloid with a turn of the century twist.
First Track – 9.5
Galloping riffs and killer vocals sans the falsetto nonsense which usually makes me quickly lose interest and the style – an exquisite mix of speed, rock and heavy metal but let’s not forget the sprinkling of blues. If you’re a long time fan of the scene and this doesn’t put a smile on your face I’m honestly at a loss for what to say.
Initial Listen – 9.5
The melodies, the vocals, the rhythms and the vibe. It’s truly as if the NWOBHM movement within the early eighties has been resurrected. And boasting top notch production this could well be the album to hoist the flag for all to gaze upon. Satan with Brian Ross at the helm, alongside only a few others, most disbanded years ago, have been delivering constantly since the scene was first spawned/birthed and continue to do so to this day, this being a prime example of their quality output and proves without a shadow of a doubt they aren’t going anywhere, anytime, soon.
Huge props go out to Metal Blade Records for standing behind Satan, believing in their vision and the music, when it could have been so much easier to follow the trend of the moment. 
Add this to the must listen album pile, and the catalogue of other killer releases from the same act and while you’re at it toss this atop the heap for album of the year, for it goes far beyond that which I consider impressive. 
RUIN – Human Annihilation 
Release – October/22/2018
Memento Mori 
Artwork – 8
Sludge, filth and all manner of other things who reside in the gutter of the underworld. I believe I have a good understanding of that which is about to grace my fleshy audio catchers.
First Track – 9
In hearing this the bands adoration of grindhouse and cult celluloid is undeniable as too their devotion to the extreme audio realm. This tosses me back, none too kindly, to the vintage Earache days in which Bolt Thrower, Carcass, O.L.D and an album called Streetcleaner (Godflesh) destroyed the senses. 
A great start blistering with groove and vocals that are dripping in disease.
Initial Listen – 9
The influences are obvious and this is honestly not a style which is fresh. But, with that being said, this is damn impressive and showcases attention to detail in the ‘what works’ department in regards to slow punishing extreme audio. The groove is here (those drums), the vocals fit perfectly, the rhythms are saturated in grime and filth and let’s not forget the exquisite cult homage (as well nods to the non-curicular activities of serial killers) with the excellently placed soundbites. To be honest there’s not much to complain about, a little cheese to be sure but that’s all par for the grindhouse course, otherwise this nails all the elements I can imagine in an album representing the lumbering death obsessed grindhouse/sludge genre that which I am sure to enjoy for some time to come. 
Highly recommended for fans of middle era Carcass, The Beserker and the early Earache audio catalog. 
Candlemass – House of Doom (EP)
Release – May/25/2018
Napalm Records 
Artwork – 7.5
Retro, Gothic leaving no doubt of that which is about to grace the ears. This is traditional doom folks, or so I can only imagine.
First Track – 9
Long gone is Messiah Marcolin, but not however that which also propelled Candlemass to the forefront of the scene. I’m talking melodies, the “stomping” riffs and the ominous vibe. And the new/old (I believe he featured on Epicus) vocalist adds to the overall enjoyment of the initial track of a release I’m now more than excited about. 
Did I mention the organ and tolling bells? Fantastic touches. This track has managed to pull me full force back into the traditional doom fold!
Initial Listen – 9
Although the vocalists spot is currently left rather mysterious, shrouded in rumor (come back Messiah) this album showcases all that Candlemass are known, praised and regarded for. I’m happy to report this is a stunning example of that which continues to keep the scene thriving, a release which has the power to propel it’s audience back to the days when traditional, melody, based doom reigned. My only gripe is that this is merely twenty minutes long. I want more! 
If you haven’t discovered Doom or even Candlemass yet this is a great album and opportunity to do so.
And introducing a new segment…
WTF is that 
Albums recommended to me by a fellow metal scribe, Void, and my thoughts upon them (ponderings that well be much different than your own)
Kruel Kommando – Sinagoga Satanae
Release – September/15/2017
Final Agony Records
Is that lil winged bestial fellow holding a coat of arms shield with a member of the poultry family on it? How quaint. But what does it all mean. Pressing PLAY to find out…
My Thoughts
Somebody wasn’t kidding when they gave this the description of raw. For that is exactly what it is. Leading on from the Hammer-esque colliding with Fulci’s Zombie introduction the music initially sounds like a rehearsal of sorts. Think Crotch Duster and their description of the black/war/viking metal genre and you wouldn’t be far off. This sounds like it was recorded into a boom box inside of a dumpster, in fact …”that’s being generous” (thanks for those words Void, you nailed it!) Perhaps the description would be closer if I stated that it sounds as if someone recorded this hiding in the bushes from several houses down as the band played in their basement. With that being said however it does have charm (wha-!?) Admittedly this mostly lay in the scrambling everything between the ears way, but there’s something else. It’s raw, primitive and menacing with the occasional smattering of something akin to melody. There’s no doubt these guys know their way around a fretboard, a keyboard and a drumkit it’s only their knowledge of a mixing board and recording equipment that’s sonewhat questionable. Of course I’m being a lil mean, this is a genre I know very little about and hardly ever frequent if truth be told. In regards to the vocals, they’re unique, that’s a great word, existing someplace between wails, screams and howls (with the occasional what sounds like a “get offa my lawn” old man yell) although there are clean passages. Gotta dig that rough organ outro which sounds as if it’s plucked from an original recording (circa the turn of the last century) sans mastering or restoration of any type.
My Final Verdict 
This is probaby not an album I would revisit anytime soon but I can see how some might fall for its attributes, the fact that it doesn’t pander to anyone or anything and its overall spirit.  Undeniably this has a vibe about it, an arcane enthrallment if you prefer, an aura I’m not entirely sure how to put into words although I believe the word Kvlt about comes close.
Tomb Mold – Manor of Infinite Forms
Release – June/8/2018
20 Buck Spin
Not at all typical of the genre, this isn’t Seagrave material or corpses tearing something apart on a surgeons table. But it is Slightly reminiscent of early Carcass covers without the photo montage feel this is an image which also demands the eyes caress it’s many details. The colors and textures bring to mind a putrescense amusement park, of sorts, whereas the forms make me think of a fantasy realm where nothings to be trusted and everything is on a quest to harvest organs for nefarious purposes.
My Thoughts 
The Slayer-esque riff intro took me to a familiar place though what followed twisted me into a locale utterly foreign. Forget typical or traditional death for that’s not to be found herein. Naturally, there are passages which could result in damaged vertebrae and moments of chuggery though there’s so much more on offer. Think death metal with doom sensibilities. Technical phrasing abound, transforming melodies are commonplace, as too a plethora of exciting, often grandiose, rhythms that contort and frolic alongside drum tattoos that might put me in mind of early Morbid Angel. Though not ultra pleasing to a speed freak this still delivers and demonstrates the diverse nature of the death genre and yet another way to conjure brutality without over utilizing blast beats.
My Final Verdict
Complex and tight. Melodic and more often than not intricate in its approach this is an album which has the ability to latch on then grow on  the listener much like the image the audio is encapsulated within.
This is an album that deserves praise and the highest of recommendation. In my opinion it  has album of the year written all over it. Feel free to discover this for yourself and comment.
My thanks to Void for the Recs.
Your slave to audio in many of its most extreme manifestations

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