Thursday, 15 December 2011

UKEM Update #2

UKEM Records first release is nearly upon us; DISCIPLES OF EXTREMITY Vol1 is a 19 band compilation cd featuring some of the UK's finest underground acts!
Cd's are £5 (FREE UK delivery, overseas ask for rates)
Anyone interested can email: ukem@hotmail.co.uk for ordering info


We have also produced short sleeve shirts (£10), long sleeve shirts (£15) and Sweatshirts (£18) to co-incide with the release of the cd.
A package deal is available for the short sleeve shirt. Again, email: ukem@hotmail.co.uk for ordering information
Stocks of the cd's are very limited, however, all shirts are avalable at any time!
SUPPORT UNDERGROUND EXTREME METAL





Tuesday, 13 December 2011

**Featured Band** Zombified

UKEM delved into the creepy comings and goings of Irish Zombie/Gore loving fiends Zombified

Grindscene (2010)

1.Infection 2.Morgue Angel 3.Amputheatre 4.Outbreak 5.Zombie Fodder

Wailing police sirens, news reel radio reports and screams of terror greet the listener on the short intro that is “Infection”. Second up is “Morgue Angel”, an orgy of bass heavy guitars and clattering drums with ultra-guttural vocals all performed brilliantly in old an school vein.  There’s are definite U.S death metal influence to Zombified’s sound, tempos ranging from a horror crawl all the way through to blasting madness. The guitars have a real bass heavy and gravelly tone which adds to the air of horror. Mix Incantation with a heavy dose of Crypticus and your pretty near the mark. “They’re Dead! They’re Fucking Dead” exclaims the intro to “Amputheatre” the track then opens up menacingly, a fury of blast beats and frantic guitar work. There’s a real old school vibe on show again, some of the riffing having that trade mark old school groove to them. Variation is added vocally by using screamed high pitched vocals under the guttural main vocals which although has been done a thousand times before by a thousand bands, still works very well, the contrast between the two styles complementing each other perfectly.
“Outbreak” is over before it’s begun, being the shortest (of five short tracks), clocking in at only 1:04. It’s the most brutal track on offer however, the pace unrelenting for the tracks entirety. “Zombie Fodder” closes this five track horror influenced festival of dirty, rotten and stinking old school death metal. Again, tempos are varied which adds variety to the track, vocals again mixed between the higher and lower styles and again working really well. The underlying groove to the guitars is ever present, but don’t let the word “groove” distract you. It’s not a groovy release by any means. From the artwork to the lyrics to the delivery, its old school as fuck, zombie addicted, putrid and acrid hairy arsed death metal. It’s the way death metal used to sound before every band had ‘core’ at the end of their genre description. The way death metal used to be and the way death metal should be played. No triggers or crystal clear pro-tools production here. This is knuckle dragging metal, ugly music for ugly people! Grindscene have signed a real gem here, comes very highly recommended if you want to get back to grass roots death metal.
8.5 out of 10

Grindscene (2011)

1.An Introduction To The Human Disgrace 2.Limb After Limb
3.The Forgotten Art Of Strangulation 4.Human Cull
5.The Insidious Tragedy 6.Murder Serpent

Second e.p released through Grindscene, ‘Backroom Eugenics’ needed to be something special to better the band’s debut. The boys haven’t let us down! ‘An Introduction To The Human Disgrace’ is a short musical intro blended with spoken ‘movie like’ samples and is the calm before the storm, as the sickness blasts in disgustingly with the first full song ‘Limb After Limb’. Zombified haven’t added anything new to their brand of sick and twisted death, but there is definitely a greater sense of urgency to this opening track, something not really seen on their debut. The bands trademark horror and gore inspired sound still very apparent, the guitar tone heavy as hell and with a slightly more polished sound. The tempos are varied, ranging from a sludge laden crawl to all out blast, something the band mix and craft very well with the heaviness of the guitar really punching through in the slower sections.

‘The Forgotten Art Of Strangulation’ is a really brutal offering, a frenzy of blast beats, old school morbid riffing and ultra-guttural vocals all making for a trademark Zombified track. The band seem to have crafted slightly more technical songs, the drums especially more complex than was seen on their debut. ‘Human Cull’ continues the theme perfectly, flying out of the speakers in an orgy of morbid and rotten old school death metal riffing. This is their shortest track, being only 1:36 and as with a lot of their tracks, there’s a resemblance to U.S. gore fiends ‘Crypticus’. There’s more variation vocally as well, the band opting to back up the main ultra-guttural vocals with high screams, seen frequently on ‘The Insidious Tragedy’. This does add some variety to the main guttural vocals which can hold their own brilliantly and are a real highlight and a real pleasure to listen to. ‘Murder Serpent’ closes this (all too short) e.p and it’s more of the same really, the track showing that ‘sense of urgency’ seen earlier, taking on an almost crazed sound, especially when the solos let rip.

If you still need some idea of what the band sound like, imagine the members of Crypticus and Exhumed taking the best of their riffs and then writing some songs, well that’s kind of where Zombified are coming from. We do see some progression from their debut, namely their song writing skills and handling their instruments better but there’s been no real progression in their sound…and rightly so. It’s still morbid, disgusting old school death metal, the band have found “their sound” and are sticking to it, ‘cos let’s face it, if it ain’t broken don’t fix it, don’t change it. It works and works really well. Zombified continue to produce knuckle dragging death metal and continues to be ugly music for ugly people. Again, highly recommended!

8.5 out of 10

Wilbo (bass), Jamie (guitar), Pete (vocals), Adrien (guitars), Gary (drums)

For those unfamiliar with the band , who are the members and what is their role?
Firstly thanks for having us for an interview. We are always appreciative of any chance we get to publicise the band further and expand our fan base. We are a five piece band from Belfast consisting of Pete 'Midnight' Clarke on vocals, Jamie 'Grindhouse' McClenaghan and Adrien 'Flon' Crozet on guitars, Gory 'Blast' Beattie on drums and myself, Willbo, the man of many different names, on the four stringed flame-thrower.

How did the deal with “Grindscene” come about?
Actually, Grindscene is run by our vocalist Pete, he initially started it with the intent to sign Zombified, as over the years with his previous band, Condemned, he has built up quite a big list of different reviewers, and distros to send the CD's to. As he can do this all himself, we didn't see much point of trying to get signed to another label that would only be able to offer us the same thing.

You’ve now had two releases with the label, is the plan to stay with them or maybe move up to a bigger label if there’s interest?
Personally, the plan has always been to try and get signed to a bigger label. I think that would be every underground band's dream, although we haven't seemed to get any interest from the bigger labels as of yet...though we are open to offers if anyone wants to make any.

There’s a real “old school” feeling to your sound, would you agree?
Completely, we draw a lot of our influence from 90's death metal, even though we don't consider the 90's as being old school, it's still a shock to the system realising that it was close to 20 years ago. We're not particularly trying to re-invent the wheel, just paint the fucker gold.

Musically, who influences you, if anyone at all?
As Jamie has been the main songwriter over the last 2 CD's, a lot of his inluences have came from watching horror movies. Take 'Amputheatre' as a good example, which he wrote directly after watching a zombie movie. Zombie fodder is another one that was inspired by a movie as well. Although, 'The Insidious Tragedy' was completely inspired by Suffocation, and was written the very day after we supported them. Otherwise, the obvious bands like Cannibal Corpse and Autopsy would be our main influences.

Lyrically, there’s the obvious horror and zombie theme. Would it be fair to say your fans of horror / gore / slash movies?
Absolutely. We all love a good horror movie with a good bit of unadulterated violence and gore. Although when it comes to lyrical themes, Pete is trying to move on from the Zombie theme to more darker themes. Though when it comes to being dark, I am the wrong person to be asking about that altogether. If I had it my way, everything would be Jurassic Park themed...but that's all down to personal preference at the end of the day...and thank fuck I'm not in charge.

Composing songs can often be a frustrating process, how do you guys go about it?
Jamie has been writing songs for years now. When we had a full line up the songs were re-vamped slightly to suit each member's musical preference. Adrien has written two of our songs so far, and now even I am starting to put songs to the drawing board.

Are there any new releases on the horizon?
Writing and learning songs for our first full-length album has been well underway over the past few months. We are concentrating on the album for the time being, although there may be a surprise or two in the while leading up to the album.

Is gigging important to the band and what can we expect for a live Zombified performance?
I can confidently say that gigging is the most important part of being in a band, and this will be the same opinion for the rest of the members. Personally, I love interacting with the crowds and you never know what type of mentalists you bump into at a death metal gig. From a live performance you are likely to expect beer swilling, windmilling, and a lot of unnecessary general behaviour on my part!

 Plans for the future?
We have a 4 day UK tour coming up in January 2012 with Cancerous Womb, so if you're anywhere near Manchester, Newport, Bristol or Nottingham in January, then come along for a good old piss up. Ideally our next plan of attack would be to invade mainland Europe and to keep playing gigs until the supposed end of the world next December, and providing what the radiation levels and the fallout situation is we will go from there.

What merch do you currently have available and where can we get it?
Due to unforseen circumstances, we now only have a limited stock of t-shirts left and will hopefully be getting more in the not too distant future.The Grindscene website is currently going through some updates including a merch shop and when it is back up in a couple of weeks our full listings of what we have got will be on there. Otherwise, you can get our stuff from any of our gigs.

Any final words?
Yes, thanks to anyone that has took the time to come to our gigs and buy our shit. Your support is greatly appreciated by all of us. If you haven't heard of us yet, hit us up on facebook, there's tracks on there for you all to listen to.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Laceration Interview




You recently lost two thirds of the band members, can you explain what happened?

I asked Ryan and Mark to leave the band late September. This was for a number of reasons but primarily because playing live was becoming not only a chore but something of an embarrassment. Ryan came to me and said he couldn’t be in the band at this point whereas it was not as easy with Mark. However everyone is now on friendly terms and understands why it had to happen.

How have you been finding life as a “one man band”?

It hasn’t made a huge amount of difference for the most part. I have always written and recorded 100% of Laceration material, the only difference is live.

You gigged as a “one band”, how was that, less pressure, more pressure?

It was a different pressure. I didn’t have to worry about the other members’ stage performance and instead could enjoy playing. However relying on technology can be just as stressful if it doesn’t work out.


Any new members lined up?
I have a session drummer and bassist lined up for the full length to make sure it sounds as good as it possibly can. I am not looking for any more live members at the moment.

Lyrically, what are the bands inspirations and what topics do you deal with?

Previously I dealt with typical gore but it got to a point where I didn’t want my name to be associated with the messages I was putting across. I write now about depression, isolation, humanity and things of a generally dark nature.

There’s a definite slam edge to your tracks, how do you describe your sound?

I’d say now it definitely falls under brutal death metal. I think the promo 2011 release has a suffocation/Inherit disease feel to it. In the full length album however listeners will easily pick up on my love for bands such as Disgorge, Defeated Sanity and Putridity.

What has reaction been like to the promo you released some time ago?

It got a really good reaction and definitely won over some new fans of the band.

Did you get any label interest from the promo or is the “whole label thing” not of interest?

Yes. Although I should stress I wasn’t looking for a ‘big’ deal. I just wanted some help with the release and distribution of a full length album.

What future releases do you have planned?

I going to be on a split CD with Party Cannon and Agonised Deformity, we still need a label to release this. And by the middle of next year I will have the debut Laceration full length released on an independent label.

What merch do you guys currently have for sale and where can we get it?

We have a load of t-shirts in stock and they can all be purchased from www.laceration.bigcartel.com

Thanks once again for speaking with us. Any last words you wish to share with our readers?
Be sure to like the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LacerationUK) and keep up to date with tour news and information regarding the upcoming releases!
Thanks for the interview and thanks to everyone who reads it!





Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Ulfarr - Promo 2011

Self Released 2011

1.Forgotten By Time 2.Cold In Death

There appears to be a real appreciation of black metal in the UK at the moment, many of the bands hailing from Cumbria and who appear to have a love of harsh, melodic, lo-fi and ultimately kvlt black metal. One of these torch bearers is Ulfarr, a one man misanthropic and bleak black metal outfit, ‘Hellfire’ being the sole creator. ‘Forgotten By Time’ reeks of pure atmosphere, being  haunting, devastating, harsh and ice cold in its approach. There’s a definite underlying sense of melody captured in all of the riffing whilst the production remains lo-fi and nasty but allowing the melody to breath and create the atmosphere. Vocally it is as you would expect, harsh screamed black metal shrieks. However, we don’t see the “all too usual” reverb and echo heavy vocals as is so apparent with so many other bands producing this brand of BM. Hellfire resists the temptation to follow that path, opting for a more raw, organic and natural approach which works extremely well and is a welcome change from the norm.
‘Cold In Death’ begins a very sombre affair, atmospheric keyboards back up melodic lead guitars. Not so chilling, rather more atmospheric that anything else. Very repetitive, the riff becoming almost drone like and slowly fading out creating a bleak ending to this two track release. This is a great taste of what’s to come from Ulfarr, albeit only two tracks on offer, it all shows great promise, the (BM) boxes all being ticked for a very mysterious, kvlt band capable of producing some extremely atmospheric, harsh, lo-fi black metal. The follow up to this release promises to be something very special indeed. Well recommended if you can get hold of a copy for as in the tradition of underground BM releases , this comes hand numbered and is limited to 50 copies only….KVLT!
8 out of 10

Saturday, 3 December 2011

UKEM Update

United Kingdom Extreme Metal has taken the decision to start up as a record label. After the success of the Facebook page and this blog, it seemed like that natural thing to do. And so UKEM Records is born!

The aim of the label is to support extreme metal bands from the UK only through limited edition cd and download releases. We have set up a dedicated website and Facebook page. This blog will be dedicated to UNITED KINGDOM EXTREME METAL, rather than the label. Find our pages here:


Our debut release is set for January 2012 and will be a compilation cd based on the successful downloads we have released. DISCIPLES OF EXTREMITY Vol1 features 19 UK extreme metal acts and is available for pre-order now!! For ordering info email: ukem@hotmail.co.uk
Numbers are strictly limited, so be quick!! A package deal of CD and shirt is also available for a great price.Shipping in the UK is free, overseas ask for rates.


Shirts are available in S,M,L,XL,XXL,XXXL. Great quality Fruit of The Loom "heavy cotton" shirts.

Big thanks to everyone who has supported this venture so far. Be sure to check out our websites

COMING SOON! UKEM patches, UKBM Compilation


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Spires - Spiral Of Ascension

Self Released 2010

1.Equilibrium 2.The Infinite Descent 3.Nightfall 4.Broken Hourglass
5.Symmetry 6.Martyr 7.Spiral Of Ascension 8. A New Prayer (Bonus)

‘Progressive’ is a description which can sit uncomfortably when discussing issues surrounding extreme metal. The boundaries can often be blurred between progressive and extreme metal and often when a band describe themselves as one, they actually sound like the other. However, Manchester’s Spires have managed to encapsulate a mix of progressive metal and extreme metal and blended it into a style which could be described as extreme progressive. ‘Equilibrium’ probably sums this style up best, a melting pot of influences, melody and heaviness colliding brilliantly. Harsh screamed vocals sit comfortably amongst cleanly sung (but with a harsh edge) vocals whilst guitars switch from heavy extreme to acoustic and back again. ‘The Infinite Descent’ tears open in a blaze of black metal inspired riffing, accompanied by the harsh screamed vocals before the more melodic guitar takes over, time signatures vary giving the middle section of this track a very technical feel whilst the cleaner sung vocals add progression whilst remaining extreme (similar in approach to the likes of Akercocke).
‘Nightfall’ is an atmospheric guitar interlude, very classical acoustic guitars soaring over a rain filled and thunderous background, haunting yet compelling. ‘Broken Hourglass’ see’s the melody continued, opening up with pure atmosphere, touches of Opeth on show, maybe even some Dream Theatre. This is where the band loses their extreme edge and the progressive elements are in full flow. However, the band never forgets their extreme metal foundations, with the heavier guitars and screamed harsh vocals being re-introduced, but only selectively. This is a 14 minute monster of a track with the music being the main factor, the vocals definitely taking a back seat here, used sparsely. Seven minutes in and the track takes on a whole new feel, down-tuned heavy guitars bringing the track to an almost standstill, growled vocals drenched in reverb giving an emotionally charged doom sound and a new element to the bands sonic arsenal. Definitely not one for the faint hearted or narrow minded as there’s a lot on offer and a lot of progressive melody. ‘Symmetry’ is another extremely melodic track, acoustic guitars played alongside the main electric guitar which adds a lot to the band’s sound. Sweeping guitar solos add even more melody and atmosphere, again the bands more extreme influence taking a backseat to the bands progressive edge. It can feel very heavy going at times, but the music buffs will lap this up, taking in all the complexities of the bands sound and making sense of it all.
Thankfully ‘Martyr’ sees the re-introduction of the heavier guitars and screamed vocals, the track taking on an Egyptian or Arabic feel, another one of bands influences subtly placed into the track and a nice addition. Melody and cleanly sung vocals again take over proceedings; the harsher and heavier vocals used extremely sparingly which is actually a shame, as they work really well over both the heavier sections and the more progressive elements. It’s not very often the pace rises, but we see it here and when it does, the double kicks get a good workout but as with a lot of the bands heavier elements, it is extremely short lived, the progressive melody and cleanly sung vocals favoured. ‘Spiral of Ascension’ is another 14 minute monster, acoustic guitars and emotionally charged cleanly sung vocals leading the way. You always get that feeling that each song is building up in momentum and about to ‘let rip’ at any moment, which sadly (for this listener at least) never really happens. The band are obviously extremely talented musicians and very good at what they do. Music students into metal will wank over this, listening to every note and analysing it to the ‘enth degree.  The further into this cd you listen, there’s a feeling that the band are moving ever father away from the limited extremity seen in some of the previous tracks and starting to take on a whole metal/rock approach, forward thinking perhaps! Appealing to a whole new breed of music fan whilst retaining some extreme metal elements to keep some of the more broad minded extreme metal fans relatively happy. Atmospheric, progressive and intellectual metal played with pure skill, this can be extremely heavy going at times and is definitely not going to appeal to fans of blast and grind extreme metal, however Spires have a lot to offer and offer it well. Definitely one to chill out to rather than bang your head to!
7.5 Out of 10

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Lazarus Syndrome - Flatline

Self Released 2011

1.Forsaken 2.Devoured By Conflict 3.A Path Less Travelled
4.Blameless Creator

There’s a heavy dose of groove and melody to the band’s sound all wrapped around a melodic death metal framework. Opener 'Forsaken' is a fairly mid-paced generic affair, the extreme edge to the bands approach being in the vocal department. Gruff death metal vocals are mixed with clean sung passages, the contrast in styles working well but never really grabbing your full attention. Not that the vocals are bad, far from it, the differing styles are well arranged but when the clean vocals are used the ‘extreme’ edge to the band is lost and the song seems to sink into a very melodic mire, becoming almost ‘rock’ sounding. It’s quite apparent that LS are trying to tap into the ‘Scar Symmetry’ market, but unfortunately they fall far short from achieving anywhere near that. 'Devoured By Conflict' is very similar in sound, the generic melodic death metal riffing feels very ‘un-threatening’ and the ‘safe option’. There is a more extreme edge to this track, the vocals again structured and arranged well, the downside being that the cleaner vocals begin to take the track over and once again, the bands extremity lost to the more ‘rock’ orientated riffing.
 'A Path Less Travelled' falls further away from any extremity, even the melodic death metal sound seen on the two previous tracks is lost to some very melodic guitar work, clean sung anthemic vocals and ‘nice' drum work. This is as far away from extreme metal as it is possible to be, the track taking on a “Scuzz friendly” American rock ballard feeling. Gruff vocals are introduced at the end of the song, but by then all interest has been lost in a very dull song. Maybe Scuzz is the bands ‘target market’ and they’ve pulled off a master stroke, but from an extreme metal point of view, this falls well short of the mark. 'Blameless Creator' does it’s best to rescue this e.p, a more upbeat melodic death metal start to the song, double kick drums being given a real work out and the death metal vocals really bringing the track to life and adding to the bands limited extremity. This is more like it!! The clean vocals are again used, but used more sparingly to complement the song rather than taking it over. This closing track is all round heavier, everything about it more extreme, more metal. It’s just a real shame the band didn’t emulate this on the previous three tracks because if they had have done, this would have been a cracking cd. Unfortunately the rest of the cd is just too generic, too safe and never really pushes the boundaries of this genre and what the band are trying to achieve. Easy to see what the band are aiming for, but sadly it’s not working to its full potential. Extremely melodic death metal, with hints of rock, something Kerrang might lap up but it’s probably not for the majority of the UKEM community.
6 out of 10

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Somne - Demo 2011

Self Released 2011

1.Suicide Through Contentment...Exist For Extinction
2.Halls Of Melancholy 3.Beyond...

As ‘Suicide Through Contentment…Exist For Extinction” starts the anticipation is utterly chilling such is the atmosphere being instantly created. On offer is absolutely haunting and devastating suicidal lo-fi black metal. Vocalist ‘A’ is obviously a very disturbed and lost soul, his tormented screams crying out in absolute agony, utter despair etched into every single scream. Musically everything is as ‘Necro’ as possible, buzz-saw like guitars carving out some extremely melodic and depressive black metal, surprisingly catchy given the genre Somne place themselves in. The pace remains relatively slow which compliments the concept behind the song. However, the band isn’t afraid to up the pace which gives the song a more contemporary black metal sound with the vocals remaining utterly tortured. ‘Halls Of Melancholy’ begins with extremely melodic acoustic guitars and synths, a world away from the opening track. Bass and drums then join in and add to the melody which is then all complimented by a guitar solo. The devastation then returns dramatically, repetitive lo-fi black metal riffing all played at a fast pace, again very catchy but also horribly suicidal. The vocals are absolutely drenched in echo and reverb and ‘A’ does actually sound like he’s about to die and these are his tortured screams of anguish and regrets from days gone by, crying out in preparation for his inevitable demise. You find yourself being drawn into the horror, the music mesmerising, melodic yet as harsh as you’ll hear from similar bands. For such a long track (10:22) it passes extremely quickly such is the power of the song, time becomes insignificant. ‘Beyond..’ closes this demo and slows things right down, the song taking on a more familiar ‘Suicidal Black Metal’ feel and pace. Again the music remains relatively melodic, every riff being memorable yet unforgiving. As ever, the tortured vocals sound like ‘A’ is begging for help but receiving none. The ending to this track is superb, the guitars remaining at the same pace as the drums up their pace which makes for an extremely good ending to a haunting track and demo. Melody is re-introduced through acoustic guitars and synths as the track ends, the misery drawn to a close. All three tracks are truly compelling and is an absolute must for fans of lo-fi ‘kvlt’ depressive and suicidal black metal that is played with true passion and conviction. Already looking forward to their next release, can’t be recommended highly enough.

9 out of 10

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Consecrated Flesh - Demo 2011

Self Released 2011

1.Bow Down At The Altar Throne 2.Ethnogenesis 3.Meteotsunami
4.From The Dying Earth

As the guitars slowly fade in there is a sense of impending doom starting to fill the speakers, the tension building to fever pitch before an unholy barrage of brutal and melodic Black Metal is unleashed in opener ‘Bow Down At The Altar Throne’. Guitar melodies leading the track through a Scandinavian influenced BM assault. The main and fully obvious influence to the band’s sound being melodic Swedish BM, think Vinterland, Eucharist, The Moaning, Excretion and Sacramentum and you’ll pretty much understand where CF are coming from. Everything you need from this style of music is on show, harsh and scathing screamed BM vocals, drums that mix tempos but generally remain in the mid-paced to faster bracket, blast beats firmly on show and when the pace is slowed the fast double kick drums take over. It’s an absolute beast of a track, at 8m 51 it is very lengthy but there’s a lot on offer, the guitars keeping the whole track very interesting, catchy and brutal. All well-crafted which affirms the bands skill for writing a good tune. ‘Ethnogenesis’ is another lengthy affair, clocking in at 7m 29 and again is a guitar lead song, the melodies and harmonies being at the backbone of the song and creating a really ice cold atmosphere. Acoustic guitars are introduced which add an extremely melodic interlude with the acoustic riff then being carried through into the main body of the song when the harsh guitars kick back in. Very typical of the genre but it does sound extremely original and well structured. This is definitely the bands song writing at its very best and catchiest, especially when the pace is dropped slightly, there’s a real sense of despair on show – very haunting and very captivating.

‘Meteotsunami’ sets itself aside from the three other tracks, mainly due to the song length being only 4:44. There’s also a variation in the sound with spoken and clean sung vocals introduced that ultimately didn’t work and sounded a little uncomfortable and out of place – keep the vocals hateful, it works so much better! ‘From The Dying Earth’ closes the demo and shows CF at their very best, blazing in with a storm of blast beats and and ice cold riffing, tremolo picked riffs really showing off the bands melodic edge. Clean sung vocals are again introduced but when mixed with the BM vocals, changing from one to the other then back again actually works really well. They are however used sparsely which is only right, not over-using them makes them work really well. The sense of despair really begins to build in this closing track. It really feels like all life is about to end and this is the soundtrack to end it all, the atmosphere becoming utterly compelling and addictive. It’s going to be interesting to see where the band go from here because if they can produce more of the same for a debut full length I’m sure it will be extremely well received. Brutally melodic epic BM which is extremely well played and is another highlight in the current UKBM scene and comes well recommended.
8 out of 10

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Sarpanitum - Fidelium

Self Released 2011

1.None Shall They Receive 2.Before The Walls 3.Fidelium 4.Sanctus Incendia

The UK is a currently awash with a lot of very talented musicians right now, more and more bands upping the ante and showcasing extreme metal at its very best. One band in amongst the excitement are Sarpanitum who excell in precisely played brutal blackened death metal. ‘None Shall They Receive’ is as good as you will hear from the genre, blazing forth in an orgy of blast beats and technical yet catchy death metal riffing, guitar solos featuring heavily in this opening track. All played skilfully and managing to retain a sense of melody whilst absolutely killing everything in their path – really impressive! The overall feel to the track is death metal, but by adding a BM influence the band add an extra dimension to their barrage. The pace is unrelenting, blast beats setting an impressive pace and featuring very heavily throughout. The ultra-guttural vocals work extremely well over all of the song, completing both the death metal and black metal riffing excellently. ‘Before The Walls’ is an absolute monster of track, the pace similar to the previous track. Theres a slightly more crazed and technical feel here, dischordant riffs introduced which sound absolutely manic when played at this pace. As with the opener, the drums absolutely lay waste. To end the track there’s a heavy BM influence, a brutally melodic end to one hell of a track.
‘Fidelium’ is something and nothing, a sampled interlude used as a stop gap between tracks. Atmospheric yes, but not really necessary. Another song would have been a much more attractive proposition. ‘Sanctus Incendia’ closes this e.p and to start with sounds very different to the two previous songs, showing a very heavy old school U.S death metal influence (Incantation anyone?). This doesn’t last long however, the technical blast beat laden brutal blackened death metal being the bands strongest element and re-introduced as soon as the song allows. The band is definitely at their best when the pace is super-fast, which is most of the time! Slower, more melodic passages are introduced and do work well and does show a willingness to experiment in their sound to escape becoming one dimensional, which they do to great effect. Obviously accomplished musicians, Sarpanitum are a pleasing highlight in the current UK extreme metal underground scene. Plans are underway for a new release with a new full line up which, if anything like this release, will be one of THE albums to have in 2012. Extreme blackened death metal, precisely played and a shining example of “how it’s done”, this comes highly recommended.
8.5 out of 10

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Sacrilegious Throne - Acts of Apostasy

Self Released 2011

1.Acts Of Apostasy 2.Lying Dormant 3.Spreading The Swarm
4.Creating Eternal Darkness

Two man melodic black metal act Sacrilegious Throne certainly know how to craft well written, well-structured and catchy songs. ‘Acts Of Apostasy’ is all of the afore-mentioned being a mid-paced affair, well written melodic black metal at the backbone of the band’s sound with the emphasis being placed heavily on melody. There’s no all-out pummelling BM barrage here, instead intelligent song writing and a willingness to let the music represent the song rather than the speed is more than apparent. ‘Lying Dormant’ is very similar and shows all the traits seen on the opening track. The band start to take on a very ‘Scandinavian BM’ sound and if any comparisons were needed then try to imagine a slower and melodic Dimmu Borgir, vocalist ‘Awrath’ similar sounding to ‘Shagrath’. The tempo is increased slightly into mid-paced territory and blast beats are introduced but used extremely sparsely to inject some variety into the tempo. ‘Spreading The Swarm’ slows things right down, this track being vocally lead and at the forefront, leading the song in a scathing and hateful manner with the music tending to take a back seat at this point. This track could even be described as a ‘narration’ such is its structure. However, half way through the track things change, a pure BM riff is introduced and the drums blast over it, giving the track a whole new feel. This is however short lived, returning to the slower style seen in the first half of the track.
‘Creating Eternal Darkness’ is a mix of everything seen in the three previous tracks; tempos are mixed to add variety. Riffs are varied, moving from extremely melodic to scathing black metal with the drums accompanying each and every riff brilliantly. As this last track fades out an acoustic outro fades in slowly and is a fitting end to a great e.p. Four tracks are probably about the right amount to have as song lengths tended to be quite lengthy, 6:21 being the longest of the four. For all the highlights, the lack of pace to the tracks becomes a minor negative point, especially to those that like some pace in their music. After listening to four tracks that are all around the five minute mark and above and that are all generally slow to mid-paced It sometimes feels that the songs lack direction and a sense of purpose despite being well written and well played. Faster sections are introduced, but sparsely and when introduced they sound great. Having said that it does set the band aside from the BM norm and is certainly unique to the U.K. Definitely worth your attention
7.5 out of 10

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Corpse Fauna - Gore Gallery

Self Released 2011

1.Two Girls In A Well 2.Earth Ablaze 3.My Pretty Little Torso
4.Gore Gallery 5.View To An Execution

Woah! Press play and what a racket you’re greeted by! Down-tuned, ugly, rotten to the core old school monstrous death metal. ‘Two Girls In A Well’ is an absolute beast of a track, a true carnival of horrors, guitars a gurgling, grinding and putrid barrage, heavy as fuck. No doubt all backed up by a bass straight from the swamp, but it’s impossible to tell, such is the heavy low end rumble. Structurally, the song jumps around all over the place, a very punishing and unforgiving sound which at times could be seen as confusing, losing itself in its own brutality. ‘Earth Ablaze’ blasts out in similar fashion, blast beats introduced from the outset and giving the track a more composed feel than the opener. There appears to be a clearer structure, the riffing simplified somewhat to give the track more clarity under the barrage of old school caveman death metal nastiness. Slower passages are introduced which give the band a new sound and adds variety and breaks up the blasting sections well.
‘My Pretty Little Torso’ changes the momentum completely, opening very melodically and even using acoustic guitars with a spoken sampled passage which actually adds to the horror and throws the listener off balance somewhat. When the main body of the song starts, the melody is retained, albeit through the heavy and nasty sound. Tempos are kept to a minimum and this again allows the track to stand out and not be lost in the carnage that was seen in the opening track. Choppy time changes don’t work too well and add to a sense of chaos, but that might be the object of what the band are trying to achieve. Thankfully this track is well structured, old school brutal death metal, horrid and nasty in its execution. ‘Gore Gallery’ returns us to the carnage seen in the opening track, blast beats blazing along to some absolute rabid riffing. It’s just pure brutality, this is super-fast horror death metal and as brutal as the band have sounded so far. Again tempos chop and change but the track does still manage to keep things together, the slower sections retaining the songs composure. ‘View To An Execution’ is pure old school, tempos and time changes again changed frequently but when the band slow things down, it gets really nasty, the song dragging its rotten corpse along with an air of horror that’s immensely captivating. No sooner has the song started then it has ended in a hail of blast beats and the corpse of this track is returned to the putrid grave from where it first lumbered from. For such an old school, nasty and rotten release there is actually a surprising amount of musical variety on display. Tempos are varied and structures vary from the complex through to the disgustingly simple. Acoustic guitars sit comfortably alongside the bass/buzz heavy death metal riffing, hard to achieve the right balance but CF have managed it perfectly. Its old school, nasty, sexually depraved and perverted death metal which absolutely pummels and is a joy to listen to. This comes well recommended if you want to feel used, abused and dirty after you’ve listened to it – bathe in horror!
7.5 out of 10

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Sanhedrin - And On Into Eternal Nether...Of Forgotten And Stricken Souls

Self Released 2011

1.And On Into The Eternal Nether 2.Of Forgotten And Stricken Souls
3.Leviathan Restrained

‘And on Into The Eternal Nether’ is an intro, but at nearly three minutes long almost acts as the opening track. Streaming water and rivers are accompanied by melodic acoustic and electric guitars, the guitar solo being played sounds very heavy rock / metal due to it being very melodic. Dark, spoken passages are also used minimally and add to the dark atmosphere being created. This opening track leads straight into ‘Of Forgotten And Stricken Souls’, a very melodic Black/Death metal offering, riffing remains heavy and melodic with a definite ‘Swedish’ Black/Death metal influence on show, fast tremolo picked riffs providing a lot of harsh melody and creating a real intensity which gives the track it’s Black Metal edge. Keyboards are introduced into some of the slower sections which then develop into a really sombre feel, spoken vocals again introduced and adding to the dark atmosphere. Melody is at forefront of the bands song structures and is used heavily throughout, being mixed frequently with some heavier, slower death metal style riffing, a great contrast and used effectively throughout. An absolute beast of a track, clocking in at over ten minutes, it’s a great example of what the band have to offer, showing off their many influences. The music ranges from slow mournful death metal all the way through to harsh, scathing yet melodic black metal. A real amalgamation of styles which when mixed, works well. For such a long track it remains interesting throughout, especially when the pace is upped and the harsh melody introduced, very catchy yet brutal. A style captured brilliantly by the likes of Dimension Zero which isn’t far off what Sanhedrin are producing.
‘Leviathan Restrained’ closes the demo and as with the intro, isn’t really a track proper, more of an outro, being a piano instrumental. Nothing really new and slightly unoriginal but probably a fitting end to a demo filled with such atmosphere. Musically, there are no complaints, the only ‘actual track’ featured is excellent and a great example of what the band are capable of. The intro and outro seem somewhat pointless and unnecessary; more songs would have been the preferred option. Featuring one track of well played atmospheric death/black metal which is worth a spin, but you’re probably better off listening to their album (review to follow) as there just isn’t enough on offer here.
7 out of 10

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Hexen - Demo1 & Demo2

Demo 1
Self Released 2011

1.The Atrocity At Newchurch 2.The Great God Pan 3.The Moor

 The UK is currently seeing some first class BM bands springing up left right and centre and another newer band with great potential are Hexen. Sat firmly in the raw and uncompromising bracket, ‘The Atrocity At Newchurch’ is a hateful opener based around simplistic riffing and song structures which are all backed up by a sense of melody, albeit a savage ice cold melody. ‘The Great God Pan’ continues this theme, except this time round the vocals are absolutely tortured, bordering on the insane. The sense of melody is retained through buzz saw like guitars. Beginning the track at a slow pace the song then opens up in a barrage of hateful and spiteful lo-fi BM, the drums absolutely blasting. To end the track, the pace is once again slowed, melodic riffing re-introduced alongside spoken vocals. These spoken vocals sound out of place, hateful and scathing spoken passages would have been more fitting, variety not really a word associated to this bleak BM in general.
‘The Moor’ closes this demo and is by far the longest track on the release, clocking in at just less than ten minutes. As with the previous track, the slow crawling pace starts things off, whispered vocals accompanying the song, barely audible, but this time round presented with a bit more malice and hate and working well. The slow and tortured riffs are repeated endlessly, guitars sounding a lot heavier than has previously been seen, mainly due to the composition of the riffs. It’s a rather disappointing end to a demo which showed so much promise in the first track. The Lo-Fi, ice cold and raw sound almost disappearing in favour of doomier BM feel. There’s a definite lack of identity and cohesion between the three tracks on offer. Not that they are bad by any means, they just don’t gel particularly well together. Still worth checking out though

6.5 Out of 10

Demo2
Self Released 2011

1.Instructions In Medieval Cruelty 2.Funereal (Instrumental)

 Second demo in only two months and ‘Illustrations In Medieval Cruelty’ is already sounding so much better than ‘Demo1’ and it’s only 20 seconds into the song. Hateful, raw, lo-fi and vicious BM blasts straight in, the song absolutely racing along at a furious pace. Vocals are absolutely tortured, drenched in reverb and echo as is so familiar to the genre. The sense of melody has been retained, souding great due to the production which is more fitting with this style of BM being ice cold and raw. Again the pace is varied throughout the track, returning to a slower pace so heavily used in their first demo. The difference this time round though is that when the pace is slowed, the BM edge isn’t lost, the sound remaining firmly BM. A vast improvement! ‘Funereal’ is a seven minute instrumental, melodic guitars introducing the track and the bands suffocating and repetitive sound again on show, illustrating that the band have not lost their ability to repeat riffs endlessly and still keep the song interesting. However, as with their previous demo, there seems to be another lack of clear direction, no cohesion between the two tracks. A third track similar to the opener would have gelled the demo, made it a clear BM release rather than 2 tracks which, to be fair, could have been produced by two separate bands. Again, not bad tracks at all, ‘Illustrations In Medieval Cruelty’ is nothing short of amazing, it’s just a real shame the theme wasn’t continued. Showing real promise, just more cohesion and a greater identity needed. Well worth a listen nonetheless
7 out of 10

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Rotted - Ad Nauseam

Candlelight Records 2011

1.Anarchogram Sun 2.Rex Oblivione 3.Surrounded By Skulls 4.Non Serviam
5.Just Add Nauseam 6.Entering The Arena Of The Unwell
7.The House Of Bedlam 8.Apathy In The U.K 9.Motoerbastards
10.The Hammer Of Witches 11.Put Me Out Of Your Misery

A dirty and heavy as fuck bass accompanies the drums as ‘Anarchogram Sun’ opens up, filthy D-Beat nastiness from the outset. A slow to mid-paced affair, this opener crawls along, twisting and grinding slowly with vocals full of spite and scathing. ‘Rex Oblivione’ is a storming song, a fury of punk tinged extreme metal, blast beats keeping the pace fast and furious. The Rotted sound extraordinarily like Finnish Blacked Punks Impaled Nazarene (who have been listed as an influence), the simplistic punk element combined with extreme metal to great effect. ‘Surrounded By Skulls’ takes it lead from the previous track, again a mix of the punk D-Beat and extreme metal which makes for an extremely catchy song, shout along backing vocals adding to the punk ethos. ‘Non Serviam’ threatens to be another slow, but catchy anthem. That is until blast beats and furious double kick drums are added, giving this track a more ‘extreme metal’ feel, losing the punkier edge seen on the previous tracks. It’s at this point that the band start sounding less ‘Impaled Nazarene’ and begin to take on their own identity, ‘Just Add Nauseam’ being a fine example of this, being unbelievably brutal, full on grinding madness, blast beats pummelling the listener into submission. Sing/Shout along choruses re-introduced into the sound, creating some very catchy and extreme death metal.
 ‘Entering The Arena Of The Unwell’ continues this theme brilliantly, the pace kept to a maximum. Even the punk D-Beat riffs are played at full throttle and when mixed with the more metal type riffs makes for another catchy, and brutal song, an all round lesson on how extreme metal should be played. ‘The House Of Bedlam’ is another bass heavy offering, extreme metal in essence but the punk element (as ever) never far from the sound. Track lengths are just right, averaging about 3 minutes 30 seconds, some shorter, some slightly longer but all flying past in a whirlwind. ‘Apathy In The UK’ strips the sound down, simplistic riffing with punk and metal meeting head on in a very short, sharp lesson in how to craft an extreme metal song, no fuss, no thrills - all balls!. ‘Motorbastards’ takes the bands sound to extremes, mixing the very simple and the very extreme, blast beats and frenzied riffing absolutely tearing from the speakers before dropping back to the D-Beat and punk simplicity. The two styles are mixed perfectly, really complementing each other. ‘The Hammer Of Witches’ introduces a new element to the bands sonic destruction, sitting nicely alongside the bands now trademark sound are keyboards, placed in the background and at a level where they don’t overpower the song. The keyboards add to the sense of intensity and are a welcome addition, adding some variety.
‘Put Me Out Of Your Misery’ closes this cd, stripping the sound to an absolute minimum, the bass really punching through and adding to the overall heaviness of the guitars. Gone is the punk, gone is the D-Beat, this is all about the heavy as fuck, intense as fuck death/extreme metal, grinding along at a snail’s pace and a great way to close the cd. Creating a real intense atmosphere, this will come across great in a live setting. The whole album shows a confidence and maturity from a band who are now seasoned veterans of the UK extreme metal scene, willing to ‘break the mould’ and not pander to passing trends but instead create their own sound, their own identity with an intensity rarely seen from bands within these shores. Punked up extreme metal intensity that is flawlessly executed and well deserving of your attention.
8 out of 10

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Neuroma - Extremophile

Self Released 2011

1.Gash In The Attic 2.Cyclopath 3.(O)beast 4.Chicken Poodle Soup
5.Semi Skimmed Milf 6.Killed To Bits 7.Quadraspaz
8.Centipaedophile 9.Columbine Harvester

After a short sampled intro we are greeted by blasting technical and precisely played death metal which opens up in a sonic fury, the production absolutely pounding your ear drums. ‘Gash In The Attic’ has everything you need from a brutal death metal track, namely blasting drums, heavy and frenzied guitars and deep guttural vocals spewing obscenities. All the boxes are ticked. There’s a heavy U.S influence on show, a lot of slow ‘chugging’ riffs interspersed with frenzied technical riffing. Gravity blasts are introduced to add even more extremity and adding to the storm being stirred up. ‘Cyclopath’ shows the bands more technical edge off through the guitars, the fret boards being given a good work out. The band tends to jump between styles, brutal yet simple slower type riffs followed by a whirlwind of technically exquisite riffs. Working from one to the other then back again, the song flows nicely with the pace being fast, rarely slowing down to take breath.

‘(O)Beast' follows a similar pattern, jumping back and forth between styles but again flowing extremely well. The more technical riffs are very catchy on this track, especially when the pace is slowed down. ‘Chicken Poodle Soup’ begins as a more mid-paced affair, bouncing along at a reasonable pace and being fairly simplistic in its delivery compared to the previous tracks. Not a bad thing as Neuroma manages to inject some groove into their slower riffs which retains your attention and makes for an enjoyable slab of death metal. ‘Semi Skimmed Milf’ see’s the bands differing styles mixed to the extreme, jumping sharply from one to the other. Simple passages mixed with short, sharp bursts of technicality which work surprisingly well, never sounding ‘too different’ that they end up sounding wrong. Rather a mix of styles used to great effect which keep the song interesting, no fear of mid cd boredom creeping in here, there’s too much going on to keep the listener entertained. ‘Killed To Bits’ is extremely catchy, especially when the chorus bursts in, the vocals spewing out “Killed To Bits” repetitively before a barrage of blast beats is unleashed over some ‘stop-start’ technical riffing. The track takes on an ‘all over the place’ feel not seen on the previous tracks. Simple but effective and catchy riffing re-introduced to keep the song ‘together’, not allowing the technical edge to take over the song and lose it’s structure. ‘Quadraspaz’ is another extremely catchy affair, the U.S. Death metal influence on full show here and at the forefront of the track, pinch harmonics a plenty. The band definitely at their best here with simple, heavy death metal riffing which makes for an excellent listen. Obviously fans of ‘Brass Eye’, the intro for 'Centipaedophile' sampled from the ‘paedophile’ edition and It’s more of the same, the now trademark mix of mid-paced slower riffs together with the faster technical style again being used to maximum effect.
‘Columbine Harvester’ is the last track and it’s a great finish to a great cd. Blasting drums and frenzied guitars up the pace and see’s the band at their fastest and catchiest, pinch harmonic riffing takes leading the track, the band really ‘going’ for it, ending things on a high before slowing the song right down and fading the track out. The finish to this track reminiscent of a more technical ‘Incantation’ maybe mixed with some ‘Monstrosity’ with a hint of ‘Cannibal Corpse’, the obvious U.S influence again on show. For such serious sounding music, the song titles baffle me. Adding humour into extreme metal isn’t always a good idea, very few bands actually manage to pull it off (Gorerotted and Birdflesh manage to) and Neuroma haven’t. The music is first class well played technical death metal, no hint of humour to their sound. The song titles just don’t fit with what the band are producing. It’s almost like the all that effort put in producing such a great album is almost spoiled by the stupid song titles because as mentioned, if they are trying to inject some humour into their sound, they haven’t done. They have produced some extremely serious sounding extreme metal. That aside, the music should do the talking, and it does. Another great example of a UK band at the top of their game and producing a first class death metal album. Well recommended.
8 out of 10