Antropomorphia – “Evangelivm Nekromantia”

Antropomorphia – “Evangelivm Nekromantia” (Metal Blade Records)

Occvlt Metal ov Death – Dutch style! Originally formed in 1989 in the vein of old school death, Antropomorphia recently resurrected themselves complete with the original line-up (strewth, no wonder they look so pale lol – Ed) to finally record their debut filled with necro lesbian lust lol! Even down to the 80s album cover the comparisons to Chuck Schuldiner’s Death are unmistakeable from the bestial vocals to the whirring buzzsaw guitars and pummeling drum work. However, much to my surprise songs like ‘Nekrophilian Mass’, ‘Debauchery in Putrefaction’ and ‘Fleisch’ – which woulda been face rippers back then – don’t actually sound that much more amped up for today. Furthermore, the occult element other than in imagery doesn’t seem to have made one iota of a difference to their style, which although matching in brutality, lacks the amazing catchiness that made Evil Chuck who he was. Ironically, there is still a market for this material and Antropomorphia would have been perfectly poised to capitalize on it, but they failed to understand the changing landscape during their slumber and offered a rehash like a 70s Hammer movie trying to be a 90s Hannibal Lecter. Continue reading

Kill Ritual – “The Serpentine Ritual”

Kill Ritual – “The Serpentine Ritual” (Scarlet Records)

Billed as the latest Bay Area thrash ‘supergroup’ made up of former members of Imagika, Eldritch and Dark Angel, Kill Ritual are aptly named and certainly have a heavy edge to them although the thrash title may be a tad too optimistic. For starters, vocalist Josh Gibson has a soulful voice with scant hint of even a sarcastic Dave Mustaine sneer lol! Secondly I would say that the band have lost none of their prog origins especially in their guitar melodies – which incidentally are beautiful and work a treat – but we’re not talking ‘tallica, ‘deth or Exodus here. Rather, Kill Ritual are a prog / power / thrash amalgamation whose blended success is down to the quality of the musicians present, such that songs like ‘Law Of The Land’, ‘Coat Of Blood’ and ‘Day The World Dies’ contain an addictive balance of cerebrality, velocity and brutality all rolled into one! Continue reading

Il Nino – “Epidemia”

Il Nino – “Epidemia” (AFM Records)

Still brewing their storm, these East Coasters have always had something of an enigmatic sound – brewing together aggressive modern metal with Latin rhythms – you either like ’em or loathe ’em! “Epidemia” is the bands 6th release and while their furor remains, the Latin element is mainly in the percussion and less up front, with almost emocore melodies taking more of the centre stage on songs like ‘Only The Unloved’, ‘Demi-God’ and ‘Forgive Me Father’. Cristian Machado’s vocals remain as brusque as ever and the rhythm is nothing less than a brutal tornado, driven by the energy of Il Nino’s twin guitars that are the melodic eye in the pleasant calm before the storm of being churned back into the brutality that is “Epidemia”!! Continue reading

Bison BC – “Lovelessness”

Bison BC – “Lovelessness” (Metal Blade)

Wow – I know the last time we met, frontman James Farwell said he was gonna make the next Bison opus more punk – and he wasn’t kidding! “Lovelessness” is definitely this Canuk crew’s most raw, punk’d up album compared to their previous doom laden slabs of ultra heaviness. Still unmitigatingly noisy like their pet Stokesosaurus, the key to songs like ‘Blood Music’ and ‘Finally Asleep’ are the intense, reverb laden riffs that resonate for ages round your skull crushed mind as the rest of the rhythm lays in with equal ferocity! I guess the rawness comes from Jame’s own loss of his dog succumbing to cancer (the tumor is on the cover! Ed) and dedicating the opening track ‘An Old Friend’ to him, as well as losing his girlfriend and some other friends. All in all a pretty down year, the result of which is that this is also the first album that James wrote by himself, opting to record in Chicago outside of his native Canada. With a hectic schedule you can literally feel the isolation and craziness creeping in as the band go up the walls on this highly charged album – “Lovelessness” is everything that is in the grim title! Continue reading

Overthrow – “Adjust To Darkness”

Overthrow – “Adjust To Darkness” (Indie Recordings)

Hailing from Norway’s home of the oil rigs – Stavanger – Overthrow put out as much noise as these huge steel structures! Cooly blending in punk with the majestic metallic riffs of At The Gates and some excellent Entombed death n roll, Overthrow create a superb mix of passion and intensity that also shakes it on songs like ‘Phantom Hearts’, ‘Come Thunder’ and ‘Let Them Fall’. Ole Gaard’s vocals are hoarse and almost Lemmy like (thankfully without the warts lol – Ed) whilst his guitar work – along with Erlend Færevåg’s – is as intense in its styles as inspirations, drawing from the full range of punk, death and even thrash influences on the 11 fast n dirty tracks making up this eye catching debut. Continue reading

Stormrider – “Path Of Salvation”

Stormrider – “Path Of Salvation” (Pure Steel Records)

Excellent – galloping German HM with tinges of US heavy metal and NWOBHM chucked in for good measure! Driven by the twin mean but melodic guitar attack of Ingo Rieger and Jan Gerbracht, Stefan Hebes brings in his epic vocals – along with some cool bass runs from Sven Carsten and unflinching double bass drum work from Stefan Lange. In many ways they remind me of Riot and especially Maiden, although Hebes has a much lower range, opting for a more soulful approach that superbly complements Stormrider’s excellent power melodies on songs like ‘Heaven Is Closer’, ‘Across The Acheron’ and ‘The Sentence Divine’. I thoroughly enjoyed this unpretentious yet confident slice of traditional heavy metal which is a fitting salutation to the 10th anniversary of this band – long may they reign! Continue reading

Massgrav – “Still The Kings”

Massgrav – “Still The Kings” (Selfmadegod Records)

Loud, obnoxious crust core from Sweden. What the fuck have they been downing – this trio are like a mental moose let loose in the studio! Frenetic drumming, thrashing speedway riffing and larynx crushing screaming vocals are unleashed on 19 mayhemic tracks like ‘At war with etno’, ‘Ni krustar, dom dör’ and lol – ‘Full fart mot döden’! At times their stuff is more punk reminding me of Discharge with their nihilistic riffs whilst on the more singalong stuff it’s akin to The Misfits. Elsewhere it’s blast beats galore as Massgrav give it their all like it was their last fuck on Earth – total chaos!!! Continue reading

BUST A MOVE “There’s No Place Like Home”

BUST A MOVE
“There’s No Place Like Home”
(Bastardizer)
I gotta say that I associated the name Bust A Move more with a hiphop act than a hardcore band but that just shows that you shouldn’t judge the band by its name. I haven’t been the biggest fan of hardcore over the years for no apparent reasons other than that I haven’t checked out too many HC acts. Continue reading

DYNFARI “Sem Skuggin”

DYNFARI
“Sem Skuggin”
(Code666)
Every time I come upon an Icelandic metal band I’m impressed. Maybe not so much by the music as for the fact that there are metal bands at all on Iceland. I thought all young people left the island as soon as they could to find jobs. But apparently there are those that struggle on living on the volcanic island in the middle of the sea. Continue reading

FAMILY “Portrait”

FAMILY
“Portrait”
(Pelagic)
I’m not one to complain about band names but some names are better than others. Family doesn’t seem that striking the first time you see it. It sounds more like some collective than a band, least of all an extreme metal band or just a metal band in general. With that in mind it’s going to be interesting to see if Family can crush all my doubt. Continue reading