Monday, 29 August 2011

Wizard's Beard - Pure Filth

PsycheDOOMelic Records 2011

1.Paint The Skies 2.Hemorrhage 3.Parasite 4.Wizard's Beard 5.The Albatross

It’s really refreshing to hear something a bit different, something that differs from the norm and that’s exactly what Wizard’s Beard are doing, creating music which is a bit different. The bands moniker might put some people off, expecting what is perceived to be the norm, the usual Doom reference points might spring to mind. This would be very bad judgement as WB are creating something very nasty indeed. ‘Paint The Skies’ bellows out, spewing pure hatred via Chris’ vocal delivery. Tortured, despairing and tormented probably best describe his singing, being almost black metal in their delivery. That probably best sums up the music as well, very heavy doom laden riffs crawling desperately searching for salvation but only finding more torment. Think doom can’t be extreme? Think again, this is doom, but it’s as extreme as many of the death and black metal bands within the UK extreme metal scene.
‘Hemorrhage’ starts with a more groovy, rock orientated pattern, the song almost ‘bounces’ along, some of the riffs showing a Kiss influence. Remarkably short, clocking in at only 1:47 which was another nice surprise, a bit different! ‘Parasite’ returns to heavy, nasty doom laden sound, the bass especially showing through in this track and when the guitars drop out to leave the bass to do its thing, it’s heavy, nasty, dirty and suffocating. As ever, the vocals remain the dominant feature to this e.p. spewing their tormented messages. There some great variation vocally on this track, deep guttural death metal style vocals used to back up Chris’ spite laden rasp. Reminiscent of slower Soilent Green perhaps. ‘Wizards Beard’ see the band returning to the more rock orientated sound and due the tone and heaviness of the guitars the song begins to take on a Southern Rock feel, again reminiscent of Soilent Green amongst others. Another surprise is that the tempo is upped in places, venturing into mid-paced territory and with the use of the guttural backing vocals almost sounds death metal.
Final track ‘The Albatross’ sees the band at their most doom inspired, the track crawling and scratching along at funeral doom pace. Heavy as fuck guitars being tortured to create some depressive and exhausting riffs. The tone of the guitars are really allowed to breathe life into the song (or should that be death given the mood WB are creating!) Again the vocals only adding to the sense of despair. Variation is once again added by upping the pace and using the death metal style backing vocals, a real sinister section before the track ends by returning to the slow, doom crawl. This e.p. will appeal to a broad range of extreme metal fans, the doom heads will love the music, the pace. The death and black metal fans will ‘get’ the vocal delivery. If you like extreme metal and are looking for something a bit different, then look no further – there’s doom, there’s rock, there’s even a bit of death metal….inspiring stuff and well recommended.
7.5 out of 10

Diathesis - The Inception

Self Released 2011

1.Mute Telepath 2.Embrace The Mutilation 3.Hematolagnia
4.Caustic Mind Condition 5.Prosthetic Collective 6.Parasitic Symbiosis

Technical, brutal and frenzied death metal greets your unsuspecting ears when the play button is pressed, a whirlwind of precisely executed extreme metal flying from the speakers. It’s a great start to opener ‘Mute Telepath’, however things take an altogether more melodic approach half way through the track. Instruments are stripped down to a minimum to create a very strange atmosphere, the song almost ‘stalling’ due to the change in pace. However, the pace then returns to the track, the frenzied riffing and blast beat heavy drumming brings the track back to life, ending it on a high. ‘Embrace The Mutilation’ begins with an old school feel, but then sets a blistering pace, technical in its structure, guitar riffs sweeping from one to the other with maximum effect. Reminiscent of Malevolent Creation in places, there’s an American death metal influence on show. For all the bands technical prowess and ability, there’s also an undercurrent of old school death metal, the slower passages especially reminiscent of death metal ‘from back in the day’, the sound being stripped bare with guitars and drums being played simply, but effectively.
 ‘Hematolagnia’ offers the listener something different, more old school riffing opens this track up, but then a black metal influence shows through and the melodic edge to the bands sound again on show. The mix of old school, melodic death metal and BM gives this track a great deal of variety, being a very well played and really well written song. ‘Caustic Mind Condition’ again reminds us that Diathesis aren’t a one trick pony and have a great deal of variety to their song writing. With a lot of technical death metal riffs on show here, the blasting drums are the perfect backing to guitars, giving the track an almost Altar-esque (Holland) sound. The band members are obviously accomplished musicians which really shows through. Vocally, this disc is first class, remaining guttural throughout and backed sparsely by screamed vocals which keeps things interesting.
Closing this e.p. is ‘Parasitic Symbiosis’, very atmospheric, acoustic guitars almost Latin in their sound which are drenched in echo and backed up by simple drum work. This track see’s the band at their most brutal, the drumming a blur of frenzied and extreme blast beats, guitars heavy as hell and again the American Death metal style is mixed with Swedish style riffing to create on hell of a sound and a fitting finale to this excellent e.p. The ‘overly loud’ guitar solo towards the end of the song was unnecessary, feeling slightly out of place amongst all the brutality, but that’s a minor negative point in an e.p. full of positives. Diathesis have the mix of brutality and melody just right, the brutality the overriding element with the melody taking a back seat, used sparingly but to great effect when needed. Technical death metal with some melody to keep things interesting, well recommended

7.5 out of 10

Friday, 26 August 2011

Cultfinder - Demo 2011

Self Released 2011

1.All Conquering Death 2.The Devil's Whore 3.The Scorging Angel 4.Witching Curse

An unholy blackened thrash assault blasts forth straight from the pits the hell, with the emphasis being placed heavily on thrash. ‘All Conquering Death’ opens this demo up and introduces us to Cultfinder’s racket. There’s a simplicity to the song structure which is endearing to the sound and the rawness of the music. Black metal style vocals layered with reverb and echo creates the ‘blackened’ element to the band’s sound, spewing messages of Beer and Satan (great combination!!). The band describe themselves as black metal, but not really in the ‘traditional’ sense of the term, the guitar riffs taking their influence heavily from thrash, but a very filthy and ugly thrash sound. Dare I say that some of the riffs in this opening track might be raw, filthy and rotten, but are also very ‘catchy’ and very well written! Satan will be pleased with his young disciples \m/ 
‘The Devil’s Whore’ opens up unusually, almost as if none of the band members knew when the song was starting, but if feels right, well planned out, adding to the underground, raw and “fuck you” attitude the band creates. Tempos are mixed, ranging from a filth laden crawl to all out unholy blast, the majority of the songs being in the ‘mid-paced’ bracket, the drumming setting the pace with simple, but effective drum beats. ‘The Scourging Angel’ travels the same well-worn path being very similar to the previous track. Try to imagine a less brutal, but a lot thrashier Black Witchery or Blasphemy and you won’t be far off the mark getting to grips with their sound. The production is horrible, but in a really good way. The guitars are filthy; the bass grinds the hell out of every riff, rumbling horribly along with the percussive horrors that are the drums. The drums are obviously being battered to bits, but are barely audible under the nastiness of the guitars and bass and this is quite clearly intentional and not an error in the studio when mixing this monstrosity. ‘Witching Curse’ closes this demo and doesn’t offer us anything different than we’ve already witnessed in the three previous tracks, which isn’t really a band thing as Cultfinder have created a really great sound, taking heavily from the old school underground black metal classics and adding their own take on it. We’re even treated to a big, heavy metal finish to the last track, fitting given the bands old school and thrash influences. It’s a nasty Satan worshipping, beer drinking black thrash assault. It’s simple, to the point and it’s definitely worth your attention.
7 out of 10

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Memories In Torment - Demo 2011

Self Released 2011

1.Self Inflicted Wounds 2.D.U.S.T 3.Horror Horror

Ugly, dirty old school death metal is where this self released demo is placing itself in amongst the multitude of sub-genres that have been created under the ‘Extreme Metal’ tag. The first thing that grabs the attention is the overall heaviness of the songs, opener ‘Self Inflicted Wounds’ rumbles along in a cess-pit of nastiness, the guitars very heavy and old school in their nature, the composition of the riffs bringing back memories of the early 90’s. It’s all very slow to mid-paced which suits the song perfectly, no need to blast here, the heaviness of the riffs makes up for the lack of blast! ‘D.U.S.T’ follows and is very similar to the previous track, the pace increased slightly in places to add some variety to the track. Variety is also added by differing vocals, guttural roars used alongside a more screamed main vocal, the guttural vocals drenched in reverb and echo which adds the old school feel. Final track ‘Horror Horror’ again sees the pace being upped slightly but then returning to the familiar mid-paced crawl. The ending to this track is very catchy, a definite ‘toe-tapper’ and just as the song is gathering pace and becoming appealing, it ends, which is a shame.
Overall there’s a hint of groove to the death metal riffs, reminiscent of Baphomet and slower Incantation in places. That’s basically what gives this demo its old school appeal, the death metal riffing being very catchy in places, simple guitar riffs and patterns backed up by simple, to the point drumming both used to create a real air of horror. Production wise, the guitars couldn’t be better, heavy as fuck and raw, just the way they should be on a release like this. On the down side, the drum production is awful. I’m not sure if this was the aim of the band, to have the drums sounding like they were recorded in the garage next door. The kick drums especially bad, barely audible through all the other instruments and vocals. A shame, but not too important as this is only a demo and in it’s (old school) nature shouldn't have a crystal clear production anyway. This demo will appeal to a lot of people and might even bring back a few memories for the older extreme metal fans listening to it (me included!). Admitedly, it's not going to set the world on fire, but it is a good solid death metal release which showcases a band who were hoping to gain some attention from it, before they sadly called it a day. Disappointing news, as their next release would probably have been a belter! Worth your time.
6.5 out of 10

Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair - Contraception


Self Released 2011

1.Meet Me By The Fountain 2.Buy Her Flowers 3.Treat Your Woman Right
4.Spooning Song 5.Never Go Dutch 6.Make Sweet Music 7.Ice Cream Song (Two Straws)
8.Be My Valentine 9.Meet Your Mum 10.Courting Song 11.Roses Are Red
12.We All Need Someone

'Contraception' is the debut album from Glasgow based grinders Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair. Searing crazily from the outset, opening track ‘Meet Me By The Fountain’ is a potent and violent affair, the guitars blasting out crazed riffing with a really raw and bass heavy tone. There’s a dirtiness to the guitars which gives them a sludge feel and instantly reminded me of Soilent Green. And on that Soilent Green theme, some of the riffs have that Southern Rock / Grind feel to them, making use of the groove which the Southern Rock influence brings with it. ‘Buy Her Flowers’ again utilises the Southern Rock / Grind element brilliantly, mixing the two perfectly and with added shouting ‘sing-along’ vocals makes for an interesting sound. ‘Treat Your Woman Right’ begins with some almost thrash like vocals which actually reminded me of Nuclear Assault. These vocals making way for the main screamed vocals which are placed over some really frantic guitar work. ‘Spooning Song’ carries the theme of the previous tracks, making the most of blast beats and frenzied riffing. However, there’s some slight change in direction with the guitars and the vocals, the shouted, sing-along vocal sections are re-introduced, working well when layered with the harsh, screamed vocals. A heavy dose of groove is also introduced through the lead guitar work, the main riff being instantly memorable and very catchy. The pace slowed to a crawl to allow the groove to really open the song up and add some variety to proceedings.
‘Make Sweet Music’ see’s the band at their most brutal, insane blast beats over some really crazy vocals all supported by ever grinding, ever groovy riff work. The shorter tracks, ‘Spooning Song’, ‘Ice Cream Soda’ and ‘Courting Song’ all come in at around the 35 second mark and are all pure grind, setting a blistering pace for their short time spans. The end section to ‘Courting Song’ actually has a hint of Macabre to it in the way the vocals are arranged and delivered. These guys wouldn’t look out of place of the Relapse Records roster alongside the likes of Brutal Truth, Soilent Green, Hemdale and Benumb when Relapse was signing bands of that nature. They have ‘that feel’ about them; that ‘Relapse’ feel. Maybe it’s because there is a big dose of ‘Soilent Green’ to their sound (Sewn Mouth Secrets-era). This release is definitely something unique to the UK, a grinding; grooving boiling pot of influences that when mixed, works perfectly and is a must for Southern Rock / Grind fans, highly recommended.
8 out of 10



Wednesday, 17 August 2011

**SPECIAL FEATURE** One Man Bands

One man bands can often be overlooked, scorned for not being a ‘full' band, sometimes shunned by extreme metal fans because they lack appeal. If this is your stand point then ignore at your peril as you are missing out on some of the most extreme metal that the UK currently has to offer. There’s no real rule book on who should be creating extreme metal, nothing to say that a band should consist of more than one member. Extreme metal as one genre has just come accept that a band is four or five musicians creating music, this becoming the accepted and sometimes preferred norm.
Sammy Urwin~Regurgitate Life
However, lurking in the UK underground are a group of dedicated individuals, talented solo artists who are smashing the system, breaking free from the perceived norm and forming bands with just a single member. Crafting and creating some very professional, brutal and extreme metal, easily able to hold their own amongst the plethora of current underground bands within these shores. There tends to be a perception that the one man bands are bedroom projects, never seeing the light of day or being showcased through the gig scene. This being yet another misconception, many of these individuals are now experienced live artists, performing at some of the UK’s premier festival events. It seems this small army of one man killing machines are beginning to lay waste to the UK live scene and are giving ‘full’ bands a run for their money. The UKEM blog has recently highlighted a few of these bands, so for those who missed out first time round, we are providing a guide to some of these extreme individuals.

~ICONIC DESTRUCTION~
First up is London based ICONIC DESTRUCTION, the man behind this black metal solo project being Zac Broughton (also vocalist in brutal death metallers OBLIVIONIZED). Zac is single handedly producing some very tortured, haunting and misanthropic black metal. There is a suffocating atmosphere being created on ‘Godstained Perfection’ (Malignant Manifestation Productions 2011), a real feeling of desperation and despair with a very bleak outlook on life. Suicidal black metal, raw but very catchy, original and never repetitive…pure black metal hell!
Iconic Destruction - Embrace Extinction

 ~ABOMNIUM~
Now based in The Netherlands, but a native to the UK is Pete Watkinson, the hell raiser behind ABOMNIUM. Another black metal offering but with a lot more influences thrown into the mix. There’s a very Norwegian feel to this release, ‘Rites Likes Chains’ (Self Released 2011) having an Immortal sound showing through on several of the tracks. There’s also a big thrash influence on show, but it’s definitely not Black-Thrash, Pete describing his sound as “A vicious bite of  Death, Black and Thrash metal” and “A vicious splattering deluge of pure fucking metal”…no arguments here!

~WRAPPED IN A SHEET~
WRAPPED IN A SHEET is the brainchild of Scarecrow, hailing from Derby; this is yet another Black Metal band who adds a variety of influences into his music on ‘Vultures’ (Self Released 2011). Mixing harsh black metal with more gothic sounding sections by using synths and spoken / sung passages, Scarecrow has managed to create some unique and interesting music. There are moments on this release which are so catchy, not always a word associated with harsh black metal. Rather than using a drum machine, Scarecrow plays live drums and puts in a good first attempt, albeit a little simplistic, although he has assured me that on the next release, the drums will be improved.

 ~NORTHERN TERROR~
Garr is the individual behind Yorkshire based Black Metal project NORTHERN TERROR. ‘Embracing Satan’ (Pure Blood Distribution 2011) features seven tracks of thrashy, industrial tinged black metal. There is a lot of melody to his sound, the BM aspect taking a back seat to the melodic and industrial elements, and Garr does appear to have a lot of influences outside of extreme metal which he is incorporating into his music. His music won’t necessarily appeal to everyone, but there is definitely something here for the more open minded fans of melodic, gothic and industrial Black Metal.


 ~REGURGITATE LIFE~
Woking based REGURGITATE LIFE offers up some solid death metal with a very old school feel. Sammy Urwin is the man bellowing out some really good, no frills straight for the throat death metal. Only two tracks on ‘Promo 2011’ (Self –Released 2011), both showing great promise and a man at ease playing this form of extreme metal. From a mid-paced rumble, to blasting sections, there’s variety to each of the tracks which definitely keeps things interesting, Sammy’s vocals being a highlight, reminiscent of old school Swedish bands somehow.
Regurgitate Life - Hear You No More

 ~MORBID ATROPHY~
Having played is several UK underground acts, Sacha Varwin decided to go it alone and form MORBID ATROPHY, releasing ‘Grist ‘N’ Grind’ (Self Released 2011). This is a dirty, grinding release, Sacha having a fixation with beer on this release (aren’t we all fixated with beer?). It’s raw, it’s dirty, it blasts and its grinds, song lengths being typically around the one minute mark. Reminiscent of older Finnish black metal band such as Archgoat and (old) Impaled Nazarene, it is 6.66% nasty blackened grind. There’s even some techno style re-mixes at the end of the cd, something a bit different, but the original songs work much better!

 ~FOUL BODY AUTOPSY~

Beginning to get some real recognition for his efforts, Tom, the one man killing machine behind FOUL BODY AUTOPSY has recently played live at Bloodstock 2011. Creating some extremely brutal and blasting death metal and leaning heavily towards U.S technical death metal, Tom grinds his way through this release, ‘Pathology’ (Self Released 2011) and adds some great variety to his songs via a black metal influence. Thirteen tracks in only twenty minutes, it’s precisely played technical death / grind. There’s even a track which lasts only six seconds! Brutal as fuck!
Foul Body Autopsy - Left To Rot



~XENOPHOBIC MISOGYNIST~
Sicko Joe Mawdsley (also drummer in Liverpool based perverts Dr.Aids) is a one man brutal slam-fest via his solo output through Xenophobic Misogynist. ‘Fritzled Throated and Left to Scaphe’ is a forthcoming split release with BUTCHERED BEYOND RECOGNITION (U.S) and SPHINKTA SPIT (U.K) and judging by Joe’s tracks, it is going to be an overwhelmingly brutal release. Brutal slam / goregrind is order of the day here, with added groove to give an old school grind feel and sound. Joe’s vocal range is superb, ranging from guttural death metal to pig squeals and everything in-between! It slams, its grinds it’s brutal as fuck and sick as fuck…enjoy!

UNDEAD PANDEMIC (Blackened Death/Grind), ERADICATED (Death/Grind) and PUTRID PUSTULENCE (Death Metal) are just a few others of many individuals who have decided to go it alone, preferring to have full control of the their respective bands rather than having to deal with other band members and the internal conflicts this can bring.
Tom~Foul Body Autopsy
There is without doubt some really talented individuals that are flying the flag for one man extreme metal bands, a shining example of what this country currently has to offer and undoubtedly more than capable of matching anything the genre has to offer from around the world. There is variety, extremity, melody, and atmosphere, we have it all – so let us embrace this sometimes overlooked aspect of extreme metal and all hail the current crop of UK Extreme Metal one man bands.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Xenophobic Misogynist - Fritzled Throated And Left To Scaphe

Split w/ Butchered Beyond Recognition (U.S) and Sphinkta Spit (U.K)

1.Gastrointestiphilia 2.Amputee Kung-Fu 3.Zombie 3 Way
4.Ungreasedbackdoorhammertimearsesmashing 5.Bloody Slam Gag
6.Fritzled Throated and Left To Scaphe.

Yet another one man band hailing from these shores, this time round we have Xenophobic Mysogonist, the sicko behind this project being Joe Mawdsely (also drummer in Liverpool based perverts Dr.Aids). This solo project being a world away from his exploits behind the kit with his other band. We are treated to six tracks of brutal slam/grindcore, the slam element to XM’s sound being the predominant feature throughout. ‘Gastrointestiphilia’ starts proceedings, no fancy intros here, no movie samples. A single snare hit introduces the song before blasting into brutal as fuck grindcore. There’s a big dose of groove to XM’s sound, especially when the pace is slowed down, the slam sections showing this groove off superbly. Joe’s vocal range is amazing, ranging from guttural death metal, to pig squeals and everything inbetween. ‘Amputee Kung-Fu’ has an old school grindcore feel to it when the song blasts insanely from the speakers. It then shifts down a gear into some real, full on slam, sick vocals puking all over the riffs. The groove side to XM is again on show, giving an old school, but brutal feel. ‘Zombie 3 Way’ is an all-out brutal affair, blasting drums backing some really brutal guitar work and as ever, Joes sickening voice adding to the songs appeal, his variety and range a real pleasure to listen to.
 ‘Ungreasedbackdoorhammertimearsesmashing’ is next up, all 24 seconds of it, not a brutal, short grind song as you might expect, but instead a 24 second brutal slam fest. Really good for such a short track! ‘Bloody Slam Gag’ is introduced with the use of a movie sample before opening up with the trademark slam so prevelant throughout all the tracks. The track does lose some focus towards it’s ending, sounding chaotic and out of control toward then end. But that was obviously the intention. To end this short e.p. we have ‘Friztled Throated and Left to Scaphe’, more of the same, blast and slam, the blasting, grind element more on show throughout this track. Guitars shred then slam to produce a quality song. Joe programs his drum machine very well, the drums not suffering from over-used hyper speed drumming, but instead used relatively simplistically but well thought out. If Joe ever decides he wants XM to be a full band, then it will be possible for a drummer to reproduce what the programmed drums are doing (to a point) without losing the essence of the songs. Summing up, it grinds, it slams, it’s brutal as fuck and sick as fuck and will be a very enjoyable cd when released as a split.
7 out of 10

Northern Oak - Monuments

Self Relaeased 2011

1.Sun Gods Wrath 2.Gawain 3.Into The Forest 4.Silvan Lullaby 5.Arbor Low
6.Nivis Canto 7.The Scarlet Woman 8.Death In The Marshes 9.Pavane in G Minor
10. In These Hills.

Sheffield’s Northern Oak describe their sound as progressive folk metal which is a fair description but there sound has more to it than that, Black Metal being at the core of the music they are producing. Opener ‘Sun God’s Wrath’ features all their influences, the harsh BM guitars and vocals, the epic sounding flute work which really stands out and gives the track its folk feel. ‘Gawain’ takes a more subtle, melodic approach. The flute again at the forefront of the song and this time round synths are introduced giving a very symphonic BM feel. It’s very atmospheric and epic sounding, the harshness of the BM vocals sitting perfectly alongside the folk elements of the flute and synths. Ever present is the BM style guitars which accompanies the other elements of Northern Oak’s sound perfectly.
‘Into The Forest’ strips the sound down, the flute again the backbone of this track, with spoken / sung vocals and acoustic guitar; this is the band at their most melodic, even progressive. There’s are a very distinctive atmosphere being created and it leads into ‘Silvan Lullaby’ perfectly, the BM element introduced subtly through the harshness of the guitars and vocals. The melody is continued throughout this track, synths and acoustic guitars once again used to create that ‘folky olde world’ feeling.  Vocals are sparse throughout this track, but when used, are a great addition to the folk elements. ‘Arbor Low’ starts surprising heavy, guitars crunching along in an almost death metal style. Growled style vocals are also introduced to add variety, sounding very doom/death (early My Dying Bride maybe) and then the BM is re-introduced, the drums blasting to the harsh BM style riffs. It would be very easy for Northern Oak to continue that BM style, scathing guitars, blasting drums, harsh vocals. But I’m glad to say the band don’t follow that cliché, as ever the flute re-introduced to ‘calm things down’ and retain the melodic folk sound. ‘Nivis Canto’ almost sounds like an interlude, the band once again stripping the song back to a bare minimum, vocals, flutes, acoustic guitar and drums used to once again create a haunting atmosphere, swathed in a progressive and folky edge. The second half to this track again re-introduces the BM sound, reminding the listener it’s not all melody and folk, there is extreme metal on offer here as well. ‘Cerridwens Round’ sounds very medieval, the synths especially effective…days of old spring to mind, kings sat in courtyards gorging on feasts. The production is great; the only grumble being that when the guitars shred out the BM riffs, they are too quiet, the flute, vocals and drums tending to overpower what are some great BM elements. Every track is unique in its composition and structure, all the familiar elements being used, but being used differently to create 12 individual pieces of music but not so different to each other that they sound out of place. Each track sits comfortably with the next.
‘In These Hills’ sees the band at their most Black metal, harsh guitar and vocals on show throughout most of the track, all backed up superbly by the flute and acoustic guitars. There is certainly a lot on offer here, every element to band’s sound working in conjunction with each other to produce what is a very unique, interesting and well executed sound. This will not be to everyone’s taste; there is a lot of progressive, folk inspired melody on offer and the pace throughout the entire cd remains slow to mid-paced. But that is where Northern Oak are succeeding, they aren’t following any trends, they aren’t treading any well-worn paths; they are creating their own path and treading it extremely successfully and uniquely. If you are looking for something a bit different from the norm, which retains and extreme metal edge but also offers a lot more, then this cd comes highly recommended.
8 out of 10

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Ninkharsag - Destroyed By Design

Self Released 2011

1.Introduction (The Anunnaki) 2.The Dawn Of The Age Of Aquarius
3.Destroyed By Design

Black metal horde Ninkharsag have only been together as a band since early 2011 but already have a 2 track demo written, recorded and released; and what an impressive introduction to the band this is. Lurking firmly in the ‘old school black metal’ vein, the band has produced some absolute quality old school, grim, necro black metal. ‘Destroyed by Design’ opens up with ‘Introduction (The Anunnaki)’, an eerie ‘backwards talking’ intro with screams and industrial soundscapes, it sounds like someone (or something) is being tortured to death, a good start! First ‘actual’ track, ‘The Dawn of The Age of Aquarius’ is next up, the bands influences instantly obvious as there is an overall feeling of ‘Mayhem’ (De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas era) here, the guitar sound, the drum sound all suggesting that the afore mentioned masters of black metal are a massive influence on the band. Having said that the bands aren’t just Mayhem clones, they hold their own brilliantly, crafting some very memorable songs which really grab your attention. Vocals are scathing and hateful as you would expect, spouting demonic tales of woe.
 ‘Destroyed By Design’ then follows, slightly more melody on show than with the previous track, the riff which ends the track is so catchy and so fucking black metal. Within this track there’s definitely a hint of Enslaved on show, especially with the opening riffs. However, it’s a strange beast of a track, only lasting 1:53 which is really disappointing. No sooner has the track found its footing, and then it has ended. As mentioned, the riffing in this track is really catchy, an all-out black metal masterpiece, but unfortunately the track ends up sounding like the band have run out of ideas, hence the short time scale. Showing so much promise, it really should have lasted a lot longer and there are obviously reasons that only the band knows as to why the track is so short. Having said that, this 2 track demo is amazing, for such a young band they show a great deal of promise. They are ticking all the right boxes and have definitely found ‘their sound’ which yes, may be drenched with the Mayhem sound, but is very unique to the UK underground.
Ninkharsag need to get an e.p. or full length out soon, because if the band continues to write such well-crafted black metal songs, they can’t fail to impress, unless impressing people is un-kvlt of course! Disregarding the shortness of the tracks, it’s a very impressive first release.
7 out of 10

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Foul Body Autopsy - Pathology

Self Released 2011

1.Left To Rot 2.Exhumed 3.Reduced To Puss 4.Mince The Flesh 5.Pathology
6.Flayed And Displayed 7.Mutilating 8.To Dismember
**BONUS TRACKS**
1.The Beholder 2.Synthetic Esistence 3.What Ever May 4.Deception 5.The Eternal

Another one man band hailing from the UK, this time it is Foul Body Autopsy, the man behind this killing machine being Tom Reynolds. Right from the outset FBA are taking no prisoners at all, brutal and blasting death metal driving hard from the speakers at full force. For all the brutality on show, there is also a massive dose of melody, the guitar riffs to opener ‘Left To Rot’ being very memorable and catchy. Second track ‘Exhumed’ lasts all of 43 seconds and has black metal written all over it, guitars shredding ice cold riffs supported by blasting drums. Very different to the opening track but it certainly doesn’t feel out of place. Vocals are changed to harsh black metal screaming throughout the songs short, but violent length.
 The death metal barrage is then resumed over the next few tracks, especially on ‘Pathology’ and ‘Flayed and Displayed’, being only 50 seconds and 20 seconds respectively. Tom is obviously at great ease producing these short, sharp slabs on precisely executed death/grind because they work really well and add variety amongst the longer lasting tracks. ‘To Dismember’ takes the grind element to the extreme, being only 6 seconds long, hardly worth the bother you might think, but it works amongst all of the brutality and chaos! Musically there is a heavy U.S death metal influence to the sound with the guitar work being very intricate and technical at times and with an added progressive edge there’s no danger of predictability creeping in. The only predictable slant being the excellent delivery of each track. There is also a European feel to a lot of the riffing, similar to bands such as Hour of Penance. However brutal proceedings become, Tom always manages to include some melody into the tracks which allows the tracks to open up and not become one dimensional.
Foul Body Autopsy - Left To Rot
The vocal delivery helps to add to the brutality, on the whole being guttural but with added screamed, backing vocals which adds variety and increases the overall appeal. Drum programming can often be an issue with the whole one man band thing. However, the production of the drums is excellent. Yes, it does sound like programmed drums, but only every so often, especially when the double kicks go into overdrive. Other than these few exceptions, they sound reasonably ‘human’ and it wouldn’t be hard to imagine a talented extreme metal drummer joining Tom to cause havoc. Thirteen tracks in only 20 minutes – a whirlwind of precisely played, technical death / grind all executed by one man, impressive stuff! More impressive is that Tom reproduces this destruction live, gigging a lot and even winning a place at Bloodstock 2011 for his efforts. Well worth your time and support.
7.5 Out of 10

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Depraved Plague - Promo 2011

Self Released 2011

1.Self Conceited 2.Deviant

For a 2 track promo this cd has an excellent production, opening track ‘Self Conceited’ hits you in the face full force, brutal death metal from the offset. Bass heavy, every instrument is worked to maximum effect. The guitars are a mix of U.S and Swedish death metal inspired riffing. These two tracks would sit comfortably on a full length cd, the production matching anything on offer from more established bands with labels and studio budgets. The Guitar tone is first class and suits the more melodic riffs prefectly. Tempos are changed in an instant, flashing from all out brutality to a sludge infested crawl yet still remaining extreme. Musicianship is first rate, all handling their instruments well. Second track ‘Deviant’ is very similar to the opening track, with some added melody, one of the main riffs to the song is so catchy, the guitar work reminiscent of some of the older Swedish death metal bands such as Dismember and Hypocrisy. But, this isn’t old school at all, it has a real modern sound and feel, intelligent song structures which aren’t overly complicated but very enjoyable nonetheless.
 Vocally it is a no frills affair, a rasping death metal voice which suits the music perfectly, no dual vocal overuse here. It’s just a real shame DP only have two tracks to tempt us with because the songs are really good, but aren’t very long, so no sooner have you pressed play then you are pressing eject (or play again, depending on how much you like it). Hopefully DP are busy writing new material, because if it’s as good as these two tracks, their next releases promises to be something special. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.
7.5 out of 10

Dr.Aids - Drive Me To Kill You

Fred Westlife Incorporated 2011

1.Shit Eating Freak 2.Simply Cunt 3.Drive Me To Kill You 4.Fellate My Phallus
5.Stiff And Blue Screw 6.Thats Why Dads Go To Iceland
7.Katie Price Fuck Off To Jordan 

Dr.Aids, possibly one of the UK’s most un-pc bands, but bands of an extreme nature tend to throw two fingers up towards the politically correct elite. ‘Shit eating freak’ opens up this festival of bad taste. Punk in essence, simple guitar structures are based around simplistic, caveman drumming. Elements of death metal and grind are also present drum wise, blast beats used sparingly to add variety and pace to the tracks. ‘Simply Cunt’ lowers the tone even further, but in a good way. Its crude, its rude, plenty of swearing to be had from the dual vocals of Agz and Butch. The vocals are a real highlight, varying styles used, from shouting, to guttural death metal growls, to screamed high pitched insults.
There are definite hints of Macabre to Dr.Aids sound, although they are just hints, nothing more. Its in the way the songs are structured, both musically and vocally where the band are reminiscent of Macabre. ‘Drive Me To Kill You’ has an excellent main riff, fast and furious it gives the song a real brutal feel, the bands grind influence on show. ‘Stiff And Blue Screw’  has a real punk / crust feel to it, setting a blistering pace to start but then venturing into the more familiar punk orientated riffing. ‘And That’s Why Dads Go To Iceland’ is probably the most Grind orientated track, blast beats used to end the track in a grinding haze of crudeness. The lyrics to all the tracks are truly inspiring and amusing, Agz being the author of these slices of utter depravity (“Katie why don’t ya fuck off and die, or I can shoot you in the eye, but not with my cum. I’d rather fuckin die than sleep with you”).
Production matches the lyrical theme, being dirty and nasty but clear enough for each instrument to hold its own. The band have a real D.I.Y work ethic and this shows through on the cd, punk as fuck but with enough bite to hold the attention of extreme metallers. ‘Katie Price Fuck Off To Jordon’ is inspired, not only for the lyrics, but the overall delivery of the track, the dual vocals working excellently on the choruses. The easily offended should stay well clear, all others should give this a listen. It reminds you of why you got into extreme music in the first place. Its not politically correct, its really fucking crude, its punk/death/grind nastiness. And it has a song with ‘Cunt’ in the title, worth the cost of the cd alone! You will feel used and abused, dirty and humiliated after listening this, but I have a feeling that’s what the band want – dirty c***s (that’s for Agz!!) Recommended.
7 out of 10

Not Above Evil - Deification

Self Released 2011

1.Singularity 2.Jacob's Ladder 3.Seven Broken Halos 4.Terra Nova 5.Into The Mist
6.Deliverance 7.Tusked In The Throat 8.Rise To Fall 9.The Crown Of Lead 10.Atropos
11.Beneath The Surface 12.Of Stars And Shadow

Right from the off there is an intensity surrounding NAE, a foreboding atmosphere created and maintained throughout the entire cd. Opener ‘The Singularity’ setting the tone, heavy blackened death metal with some added melody to spice things up. It works perfectly, especially the use of scathing, screamed black metal style vocals. An ominous mood is set. ‘Jacob’s ladder’ continues the theme only with a more melodic edge, guitar solos used over the more melodic, slower passages. There’s a real feeling of sorrow when the pace is slowed, the band sounding like they have just been told their mothers have been murdered and then deciding to write a song. ‘Seven Broken Halos’ starts very melodically, but then thunders in with chest rattling heaviness, the song been worked to a crescendo of frantic and intricate riffing. 
‘Terra Nova’ opens up in a whirlwind of pinch harmonic riffing and blasting drums. There’s a sense of urgency with this track, it feels as though NAE want to get their message to you as brutally as possible, which they definitely manage to do. When the track slows and the melody is introduced it again feels like the band are telling you their bad news of the loss of a loved one. Compelling stuff! This track also introduces some black metal ‘tremolo’ styled riffing which only adds to a growing sense of despair. Although there is a sense of melody to the guitars, they manage to retain that heavy as fuck death metal feel which is really appealing. I was very surprised to read that the drums aren’t actually drums, but a drum machine. They sound very natural, very drum like (which is rare, as drum machines very often sound like drum machines on a lot of releases – too clinical, too precise). You could imagine a human behind the kit drumming to this, as the drum patterns used don’t take advantage of the fact it is a machine playing them by playing at inhuman speeds or stupidly precise rolls and fills.
‘Deliverance’ showcases the bands more technical edge, the guitar work first class, the fret board obviously taking a beating! What works so well with this cd is the mix of brutality and melody, NAE finding the perfect mix, never over-doing one against the other. ‘Tusked In The Throat’ shows a different edge to the band’s sound, introducing industrial tinged vocals with ‘sing-along’ choruses which to my surprise, works well and doesn’t sound out of place which you might expect given the differences in sound. Is it possible for a band to have a nasty and evil sound, yet be catchy at the same time? I believe it is. For all the melody on show, NOE never lose that sense of despair, the evil sound crafted well to include melody but to never lose its edge. ‘Atropos’ even shows a groovier edge to the band’s sound, the track almost ‘bouncing’ along in a cess pit of groove inspired nastiness. This is a monster, coming in at 60 minutes over 12 tracks, every track offering a great listening experience. Never becoming repetitive or uninteresting, 60 minutes might seem a long time, but it will be time well spent if you’re listening to this! Procceedings are ended with an 8 minute instrumental track ‘Of Stars And Shadows’ incorporating all of the bands influences and sounds, a fitting finale to what is a very impressive cd. Heavy as fuck blackened death metal. Brutal and melodic; catchy yet evil. Well recommended.
8 out of 10

Wolfcrusher - Virgin Tapestry

Casket Music / Copro 2011

1.Reborn 2.Skeletonizer 3.Lost At Sea 4.All Shall Pass 5.Insuperabilis 6.No Chance
7.Moving Mountains

Death metal with a touch of groove is where Wolfcrusher sit amongst the plethora of genres within extreme metal. First track ‘Reborn’ showcases the bands groove element alongside the melodic framework to which the track has been set. There is a great amount of variety to the opener, especially from the vocal department, with everything from guttural death metal vocals, to rasping black metal type vocals to sung ‘Fear Factory’ style vocals. Second track ‘Skeletonizer’ is very catchy, the bands melodic edge again used to great advantage, the chorus riff a fine example. Wolfcrusher obviously have a wide variety of influences as many of them are on show within this track, even dipping into metalcore style breakdowns – but don’t let that put you off, they retain an element of heavy death metal to them.
‘Lost at Sea’ shows another one of the bands influences, opening up with a doom rock feel, which feels totally out of place, as they mix the sung ‘rock’ passages with the rasping black metal style vocals and they just don’t sit comfortably together. The whole song feels out of place, losing the heavy, yet melodic death metal feel to the two previous tracks. ‘All Shall Pass’ feels even more out of place, very very melodic American style rock singing over acoustic guitars and soft drumming, very radio / Kerrang & Scuzz TV friendly – this track couldn’t be further away from the death metal shown on ‘Reborn’ and ‘Skeltonizer’ – very disappointing. Obviously aimed at the kids and the girlies, cos I’m sure hairy arsed death metallers like me will be cringing and have sick buckets at the ready!
 Normal service is resumed with ‘Insuperabilis’, a Pantera style groove opens up, the heaviness to the guitars brought back, the extreme vocals also brought back. A good start, but the tempo of the track lets it down, giving the track a doomier feel but ultimately leading the track nowhere. The pace is upped towards the end of the track, but by then it’s too late, interest has sadly been lost. ‘No Chance’ is another strange track, opening up with an AC/DC style guitar solo, the band choosing to mix things up again, doom rock sitting uncomfortably with rasping black metal style vocals, then adding spoken and sung passages for variety – a little too much variety! Wolfcrusher show moments of promise when they speed things up and get the double kick drums into action, but sadly this doesn’t happen very often. Final track 'Moving Mountains' ends the cd as it began, heavy groove orientated melodic death metal, a welcome relief from the ‘normality’ of tracks two to six. The production is good, when the guitars are playing death metal they are heavy. The drum sound is good as well, but they never really get going enough, the faster tempos few and far between. This CD is a strange beast and I know this won’t appeal to the majority of extreme metallers. Rock and metal fans may appreciate it more. A melting pot of influences which when mixed, don’t always work. If you’re like me and you like your metal EXTREME, stay away from this, if your open to suggestions, give it a spin, there may be some good you can find from it. Not extreme and not for everyone.
5.5 Out of 10

Friday, 5 August 2011

Morbid Atrophy - Grist 'N' Grind

Self Released 2011

1.Stout Pout 2.Story There? 3.A Porter Too 4.Extract Attack 5.Ownes On The Ale
6.Mash Tun 'Til It's Gone 7.Lagers For Lighties 8.Pillow Talk 9.Dry Hop 10.Yar Bru, Yar Bru
11.A Porter Too (Blench Mix) 12.Lagers For Lighties (Wifebeater Mix)
13.Story There? (Blench Mix)

Another one man band hailing from the UK, this time it’s Morbid Atrophy (Sacha Varwin the man behind this project). A Short sharp film clip intro starts things off, then it’s a filth ridden blast into opener ‘Stout Pout’. Although Sacha classes his music as grind, "with splashes of death metal and punk" there’s definitely an underlying element of horrible black metal. I was instantly reminded of dirty Finnish black metal, Archgoat and early Impaled Nazarene sprang to mind. Good reference points for when the songs are in ‘blast mode’, horrid scathing riffing supported by neandethal, brutal drumming.
This is very impressive for a one man band, for rather than relying on a drum machine, Sacha clatters away at the kit like a man possessed as he is primarily a drummer, having sat behind the kit for previous musical ventures. But he has also played guitar and been the voice for other bands, so to bring his talents in to a solo venture is a good move indeed. Song lengths are typically very short, averaging around the 1:00 minute mark, but any longer and I don’t think they would work as well as they currently do. Vocal style suits the music well, Sacha’s dirty, filth ridden higher pitched gargle complemented by some real ‘from the depths of hell’ guttural growls, used sparingly throughout, but to great effect. Tracks 2 – 10 are over in a whirlwind of filth, depravity and beer (song titles such as ‘Lagers For Lighties’ and ‘Dry Hop’ explain the reference to beer!).
The production is great, being dirty, heavy and very organic sounding. Track 11 ‘A Porter Too’ (bench mix) offers up a surprising change in proceedings, the track still retaining heavy guitars and tortured screaming vocals, but the drums have been replaced by a techno style drum machine. This gives the track an extreme dance / techno edge whilst retaining its metal extremity.  Last two tracks ‘Lagers For Lighties’ (Wifebeater Mix) and ‘Story There’ (Blench Mix) are the same, techno mixes of tracks already featured earlier on the cd. They also sound extreme, and although a surprising change, offer little to the disc, the ‘normal’ metal versions of the songs outclassing the mix versions hands down. The mixes may appeal to the more open minded extreme metallers out there, but failed to impress here. Three different tracks rather than three re-mixes might have been a better choice. Having said that it shows a willingness to experiment and to ‘not give a fuck what narrow-minded reviewers think of It’ ;) Thirteen tracks lasting 14 minutes – you get the idea. It’s raw, it’s dirty, it blasts, and it grinds…its 6.66% nasty blackened grind. Its genius! Well recommended
7.5 Out of 10