Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Necroriser - Violent

Self Released 2013
1.Destruction 2.Cleanse 3.Suicide 4.Revenge
5.Slaves 6.Fear 7.Horror 8.Ambush 9.Pain 
Originally from Brazil, but now settled in the UK, London to be precise, Necroriser play a mix of death metal and thrash metal. This blend is illustrated perfectly in opener ‘Destruction’ which absolutely pummels from start to finish. Being thrash orientated and from Brazil, it may be too easy to draw comparisons to Sepultura, but actually there are some massive similarities to ‘Beneath The Remains’ era Sepultura, such is the bands riffing style and sound in places. Finishing in a flurry of blast beat laden death metal madness; it’s a great introduction to these Brazilian maniacs. Rooted firmly in the ‘old school’, ‘Cleanse’ is pure old school Slayer worship and is a more trash orientated song. It’s only really the vocals which add the death metal element to their sound, being just guttural enough to be classed as death metal. Next up is ‘Suicide’ and what a track this is, catchy chorus lines are mixed in amongst some exceptionally frantic guitar work and again it makes for a storming track. The mix of thrash and death metal is just right here; neither one over-powering the other. Again, the song is rooted firmly in that “old school approach” which adds to its appeal. ‘Revenge’ is a short and savage affair, blazing along at a whirlwind of a pace with manic guitar solos screaming and screeching in true Slayer style once again – great stuff!
There’s no let up as ‘Slaves’ burst forth in another torrent of brutal, old school influenced death/thrash. What makes Necroriser so enjoyable to listen to is the straight-forward approach to their song writing. It’s all about “just going for it”, which they again do in brilliantly brutal fashion. As ‘Fear’ opens up, it’s become quite apparent that the band are losing the temptation to draw from their main influences and are developing a style in their own right, sounding not too dissimilar to Germany’s own death/thrash juggernauts Dew Scented, a theme which carries on brilliantly into ‘Horror’ with a more European sound to this song, as opposed to the South American influence that was apparent throughout the earlier songs. Living on this side of the world seems to be having an influence on the bands song writing style, and what a great effect it’s had on this release! ‘Ambush’ is the shortest track on offer and being only 1m34 you would expect it to fire on all cylinders and blast brutally from start to finish. As fast as the pace is, there is however a dark and sinister undertone creeping into the slower sections which definitely adds a new dimension to the band’s sound, no complaints here! As the album comes to a close with ‘Pain’ the band are on top form, mixing everything they have in their musical arsenal excellently. The heavier Sepultura-esque riffs are re-introduced as are the manic Slayer style guitar solos which wouldn’t sound out of place on early Obituary albums also. It’s one hell of a way to end an album, and Necroriser do it brilliantly. The Album title ‘Violent’ pretty much sums up each and every track and the album as a whole, the intensity of the music on offer absolutely pummels and slays. The term “thrash attack” is banded about quite a lot, but this is exactly what the band does on every song, they attack you with a brutal assault of death thrash madness that leaves you battered and bruised but ultimately wanting more of the same. Reeking of the old school sound and with a straight forward, no nonsense approach to their song writing, Necroriser have hit the nail firmly on the head with this album as it smashes from start to finish and comes very highly recommended.
8.5 out of 10

Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here

Saturday, 14 September 2013

UKEM Update

It's been a very busy time for UKEM just recently. As you will have seen from the blog header, we have had a new logo designed by Christophe Szpajdel (Lord Of Logos). I'm sure you will agree, its a vast improvement on the old logo!
We have started using this on all of our online pages and we are now planning a run of shirts and hoodies featuring this new logo. Our Facebook page continues to go from strength to strength and gaining in popularity as we have recently passed the 6000 likes landmark, so a huge thanks to everyone that joins us on Facebook. If you haven't visited the page, it can be found Here
Our label, UKEM Records has a several releases out in the last few months including titles from Necrogrinder, The Deathisodes and Primitive Graven Image. We also have had a massive re-development of the online store, making it much easier to navigate and find items with new sections being included and a new and improved shopping cart feature. If you haven't visited the new store, it can be found Here As part of this development and improvement we also introduced a new distro, namely Hell's Hammer Distribution. This subsidiary aims to stock the best titles from international labels and artists and we already have a massive selection of titles to choose from. As with the new UKEM logo, we enlisted Christophe Szpadjel to design the logo for a truly unique identity!
The Hell's Hammer titles can be found in the current UKEM store, however, the link directly to the products is Here
The easiest way to keep upto date with new arrivals is by heading over to the Facebook page and clicking like, we have new titles coming in on a weekly basis. Visit Here
We stock titles from: Nuclear Blast Records, Century Media Records, Metal Blade Records, Sevared Records, Comatose Music, Blast Head Records, Darker Than Black Records, Grindethic Records, Amputated Vein Records, Pathologically Explicit Recordings, Grindhead Records, Glorious North Productions, New Standard Elite Records, Season Of Mist Records + MORE!!! so there's bound to be something for everyone!
UKEM Records has also just ended a highly successful run of adverts in Terrorizer Magazine and Zero Tolerance Magazine which has undoubtedly gained us massive exposure to an international audience.
New releases are now in the planning stage for the label, with our next planned release being from old school death metallers THE OBSCENE with their debut full length album "Architects Of Deliverance". Then for 2014 we have a split album from CRUELTY'S HEART and FROSTWORK with another album from ABOMNIUM nearer the middle of the year (the second for UKEM records). So 2014 is already lining up to be a busy year. And needless to say, we will continue to publish reviews here on the blog, although this has become increasingly difficult due to the demands of the label and the new distro!
Finally, a massive thanks and horns high to everyone that continues to support UKEM, its really appreciated!
we are "Dedicated to Extremity, Supporting The Underground"

Friday, 13 September 2013

Carcass - Surgical Steel

Nuclear Blast 2013
1.1985 2.Thrasher's Abattoir 3.Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System
4.A Congealed Clot Of Blood 5.The Master Butcher's Apron
6.Noncomplience Of ASTM F 899-12 Standard
7.The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills 8.Unfit For Human Consumption
9.316L Grade Surgical Steel 10.Captive Bolt Pistol 11.Mount Of Execution
12.Intensive Battery Brooding*
It’s finally here, after months of rumour mongering and excited chatter on the social media sites Carcass return! It’s fair to say this has been the most highly anticipated album from a band this year, if not in recent memory. Having read interviews with the band, their promise to deliver something that mixes Necroticism era and Heartwork era Carcass is extremely accurate from the outset. ‘1985’ acts as a short intro before ‘Thrashers Abattoir’ blasts in at full throttle in a storm of snarling vocals, blasting drums and tight and catchy riffing. Showing their intentions in superb fashion, this is a magnificent way to let everyone know they are back – back to rip your face off! A similar theme is pursued throughout ‘Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System’, albeit in a slightly less frantic approach, with a touch more melody introduced. It’s great to hear those trademark dual vocals back, Jeff’s rasping snarls accompanied perfectly by Bill’s guttural bottom end bellowing’s. ‘A Congealed Clot Of Blood’ is monstrously epic, the pace slowed to a clinical crawl throughout its entirety which gives it an almost anthem like sound. In stark contrast ‘The Master Butchers Apron’ bludgeons the listener with blast bead laden drumming and sharp riffing. The song does then return to the slower pace used in the previous track and almost acts as an interlude, as the faster pace is then re-introduced to end the song brilliantly. Similarly ‘Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard’ smashes open with more blast beats which introduce the track in brutal fashion before a more mid-paced approach is undertaken. The mix of tempos and styles is working really so far and will definitely appeal to older and newer Carcass fans alike.
‘The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills’ harks back to Heartwork era Carcass and the chorus’ are nothing short of inspired, the chants of “Six – Zero – Two – Six – Nine – Six – One” are massively original and sound unlike anything heard before, not only from the band, but in the genre, this is definitely the band at their best and their most inspirational. As if to further prove the point, ‘Unfit For Human Consumption’ is massive, bringing everything heard so far to the (Surgeons) table. It’s catchy, it’s brutal and epic in proportions, the dual chant like vocals really add a new, and welcome addition to the bands musical arsenal. ‘316L Grade Surgical Steel’ again shows a band sounding more sharp and precise than they ever have done, particularly venomous when the savage blast beats open up to accompany the razor sharp guitar work, executed precisely with utter conviction. ‘Captive Bolt Pistol’ is probably going to sound extremely familiar, as this was used as the “album teaser” with all the social media sites, websites and blogs all exposing the masses to its utter brilliance. And why not, it’s definitely the stand out track of the album that sees the band delving deep into Necroticism era riffing whilst mixing the modern edge to their sound perfectly. If you bought the jewel case version, then ‘Mount Of Execution’ is the final track of the disc and it ends the cd in catchy and epic fashion. However; spending a little more on the digi-pack gets you the bonus track* of ‘Intensive Battery Brooding’ which has a slightly different feel and sound to all of the other tracks on the standard version. It’s a dark and sinister offering that musically, has a much more classic heavy metal sound to it with the pace kept to a minimum for the majority of its length. There’s even a slight thrash metal influence on display here, only very slight however – just enough to make you sit up and think “that’s a bit different for them, but it sounds good”. Carcass are back and are truly on top form, pushing the boundaries of modern extreme metal to the limits. The whole album balances the bands two classic sounds (Necroticism and Heartwork) brilliantly, neither one overpowering the other, rather acting as partners to create an absolutely punishing and devastating slab of modern extreme metal. Highly anticipated? Yes, but the wait was more than worth it, definitely the death metal album of 2013 so far, it comes very highly recommended.
9 out of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Dead Beyond Buried - The Dark Era

Self Released 2012
1.Opening the Gates 2.The Rupturing 3.Spirit of the Void
4.Cold Black Stars 5.Shadows Consuming Spirits 6.Utopia
7.Failures 8.Dripping Black Bile 9.The Dark Era
First track ‘Opening The Gates’ begins life in pummelling fashion, the bands well-honed brand of brutal death metal sounds crisp, tight and is amazingly savage from the outset. Of course you would expect nothing less from a band that are now unleashing their third full length album and can probably be classed as “seasoned veterans” of the UK underground scene. It’s a good start. As if to prove the point, ‘The Rupturing’ is even more brutal than the opener, and absolute storm of blast beat laden brutal death that destroys. The pace is dropped to a sludgy crawl nearer the middle of the song, not lasting too long; it is then followed by the return of the bludgeoning and blasting death metal. DBB sound overwhelmingly intense when they’re at full speed. As the song ends, the pace is returned to the slower tempo which is a good way to close the song after all of the devastation. ‘Spirit Of The Void’ tricks you into thinking it’s going to be a slower, filler song as it begins slowly, and similar to what was on offer in the previous song. However, just as you settle into the slower pace, blast beats are unleashed without warning, hurling the song into oblivion. This doesn’t last long however, the pace is then dropped and the remainder of the song takes on an almost Morbid Angel feel and sound, an evil and sinister crawl ensues. ‘Cold Black Stars’ is a much more varied affair, utilising everything heard so far to great effect in a well-constructed and crafted song. There’s real power in this track, especially in the choruses when the fast tremolo picked guitars and pummelling double kick drums work in unison to maximum effect and give the song an extremely catchy sound. These passages also show off the bands tightness extremely well, but you wouldn’t really expect anything less really.
‘Shadows Consuming Spirits’ is another monster; being the bastard child of Immolation and Hate Eternal should any comparisons be needed. And again, the band add variety to the song writing by mixing tempos well which in turn ensures the listener is never going to get bored – definitely no fear of that here! The opening riffs to ‘Utopia’ are actually quite melodic, and unlike anything heard so far and almost act as the introduction to the song before the heavier and slower riffs burst open in marked contrast. Vocally the track is actually very sparse as there is a long section to the song which would be classed as instrumental, the drums being given free rein to really ‘do their own thing’ which they do for the good of the song. The more melodic start to the previous track appears to have ‘rubbed off’ on ‘Failures’ as it begins in quite melodic fashion, having an almost anthem like feel to it which may be attributed to the slower pace in part. Personally, the band sound at their best at full speed and this song really detracts what the band are capable of doing, which is playing brutal as fuck, tight and precise savage death metal. Maybe this track is the album ‘filler’? ‘Dripping Black Bile’ returns the album to the heavier death metal which was lacking previously, however the pace is once again held back to the slower tempos which is shame as this is the shortest song on the entire album and anyone hoping they would blast entirely through the three, nearly four minutes will be sadly let down. Title track ‘The Dark Era’ closes proceedings continues on in similar fashion, slower heavier riffs are accompanied by slow rhythmic drumming which lacks the truly killer blow to end the album. It’s fairly obvious the band were opting for the more epic ending which is fair play, epic endings do work on certain albums but as mentioned earlier, DBB are a much greater proposition when they unleash the furious blast beat lead brutal death metal. These are added in towards the close of the song, but only sparsely. Overall, the album is almost a tale of two halves with the opening few tracks bursting forth in suitably brutal fashion and highlighting what the band are truly capable of. Then, as the album progresses, the pace and feel to the album is somewhat relaxed and takes on a more epic, anthem like sound. Thankfully, the differing styles adopted don’t sound “too different” so as to give the album a disjointed sound. The production utilised holds all the songs and the album together well as does the tightness of the playing. Packed full of variety, with a tightness and extremely high standard of musicianship, there will be something to quench the thirst of the majority of extreme metal fans, be it the brutal blast beat heavy death metal assault or the slower, Morbid Angel inspired crawls, this album is sure to please and comes well recommended.
7.5 Out of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here

Friday, 6 September 2013

Rat Faced Bastard - Rat Faced Bastard

Self Released 2012
1.Scheizenhaus 2.Grind Song 3.Thatcha 4.Fuck Wound 5.Dungeon Of Misery
6.I Am The Liquor 7.Freeloaders 8.Never Fall Down 9.Staring Into The Abyss
Blast and grind in a frenzied fashion is probably what Geordie ‘Death Grind Dickheads’ Rat Faced Bastard discussed doing when sitting down to write this new e.p. Opener ‘Scheizenhaus’ does just that in an absolute haze of “spazzed out” pummelling guitar work and blasting drums; as does ‘Grind Song’ and ‘Thatcha’ both absolutely slaying, a torrent of blast beat leaden death grind with punk infused guitars and manic screamed vocal work – both over in a blink of the eye. ‘Fuck Wound’ begins with some massively distorted bass guitars before once again blasting open in yet another punk infused grind fest, sounding not too dissimilar to Phobia here. The pace is slowed down to a more mid-paced tempo, but it still remains grind as fuck. ‘Dungeon Of Misery’ is an absolute whirlwind of death grind, the band really going for it here and sounding catchy as fuck through all the blast beats. There's a real old school sound on show, enforced even more by the manic guitar solos that are added to the latter part of the song.
'I Am Liquor’ takes its name from a movie sample used to introduce the song. It then blasts unmercifully throughout the entire song, which at only 0:59 in length sounds absolutely devastating. Following on is ‘Freeloaders’ which drops the pace again and is a total Napalm Death worshipping slab of old school grindcore, one of the man riffs used being very very similar to the UK masters indeed! ‘Never Fall Down’ is only six seconds long and is something and nothing, passing by with no real impact as it doesn’t blast, it just happens. Finishing off is ‘Starring Into The Abyss’, the longest song on the e.p and a mix of everything heard in the eight previous songs. Tempos vary from blinding fast grind sections, right down to almost doom infused slower sections with a splash of punk to really make it stand out. RFB have again released an e.p, (albeit extremely short) of absolutely punishing death/grind that really packs a punch, with a gnarly production that suits the music perfectly and delivers a killer blow in all but one track. Sadly the band has recently lost its vocalist and guitarist, lets hope the remaining two members can fill the vacant slots soon because they are releasing some top notch death grind and comes very well recommended
8 Out Of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Arsaidh - Roots

Darker Than Black Records 2013
1.Roots 2.Carved In Stone 3.Saorsa 4.A Highland Lament
Greeted by thundery rain initially; a tense and foreboding atmosphere gradually gathers pace and when the guitars open up, the haunting and chilling atmosphere increases even further, building the momentum and tension perfectly for opening track ‘Roots’. Tribal like drum patterns solidify the backbone of the song as harmonies wash over the main rhythm guitars. Even more sorrowful atmosphere envelops the listener as more harmonies are layered; the basic pattern to the song not changing for the first six minutes, bearing in mind this opener is over sixteen minutes long. The song breaks into a short, acoustic guitar section before blasting unmercifully in with a hail of black metal inspired and influenced extreme metal. The atmospheres built up in the first quarter of the song are continued perfectly as the more aggressive style is used. Being an ‘Atmospheric Celtic Metal Band’ the Celtic side to the music is very prevalent throughout, through the use of whistles and other such traditional instruments, melding extremely well alongside the more black metal influenced extreme and aggressive music. The music on offer is also very very catchy as well as being unbelievably atmospheric, almost morose, but in a way that makes you want to travel the bleak and sorrow filled musical journey the band are taking time and time again. Amazing probably best describes this monstrous first track. There’s not going to be any let up in the second track ‘Carved In Stone’ as this is another heavyweight, being thirteen and a half minutes in length. Beginning in a similar fashion to the opener, repetitive tribal like drum patterns accompany the atmospheric chanting vocals and harsh guitar work, another blend of Celtic and black metal that completely draws the listener into the bands sorrow filled world. Try to image a blend of Winterfylleth and Northern Oak and you might be somewhere near the band’s sound, but that’s just a very lose comparison, the band offer up so much more in their own right. Keyboards are introduced at around the half way mark and add yet another atmospheric dimension to their music. The guitar harmonies used are utterly captivating and enthralling and yet again, are amazingly catchy – absolutely brilliant, there’s not a lot more to be said, because that’s exactly what it is! Although the tracks are very long, there is so much on offer and listening to it, you’re never going to lose concentration or wander off in your own thoughts, this music will keep you thoroughly engaged.
‘Saorsa’ breaks from the monstrous time lengths used and being a mere 2:17m long acts as more of an interlude than a track proper. Chilling wind samples are accompanied by eerie and echo drenched pipes, almost acting as a lament to fallen comrades, such are the emotions stirred. Closing this debut e.p, and the longest track of all (17:33) is ‘A Highland Lament’ which follows on seamlessly from the previous short interlude. Yet again, the tension and atmosphere is built up slowly, extremely slowly and repetitively before blasting in dramatically with the harsh ‘roared’ (growled) vocals and black metal influenced riffs. There is an overtly mournful and sorrow-filled tension to this closing track. It really sounds and feels like the band are mourning the loss of relatives, or comrades fallen in battle. Traditional pipes are put to use effectively over the faster, blasting black metal influenced sections and the two work together very well indeed, two different instruments both producing atmospheres at the opposites ends of the musical scale but when brought together sounding like they should have never been apart. The song then breaks off into a melodic interlude as acoustic guitars and what sounds likes violins take over in another grief stricken dirge, almost marking the halfway point of the song. We then return to the atmosphere drenched, black metal influenced music which builds and builds before once again blasting harshly to end the song brilliantly. Since recording this debut e.p. the band has changed their name to SOAR, not that the name change will affect them musically of course, good songwriters are good song writers no matter what guise they go under. I am in absolute awe of this release, such is its impact. For a debut release it is nothing short of fantastic. The extremely long songs are noting to shy away from as each track is packed full of interesting moods and atmospheres. The use of traditional Scottish instruments mixed with the harsher black metal influenced music stands out at something exceptional, wholly original and massively catchy. As mentioned earlier in the review, the music is “absolutely brilliant” and that description stands firm having listened to the release in its entirety. Atmospheric Celtic metal with a big black metal influence, this is yet another stand out release for 2013 so far and comes as highly recommended as it gets and not having this cd in your collection means you are missing out on something truly special!
9.5 out of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here