Deep Machine – “Whispers In The Black”

Deep Machine – “Whispers In The Black” EP (High Roller Records)

Blimey – this one goes back all the way to 1979 – the birth of NWOBHM! Deep Machine were one of those bands that everyone knew cos virtually everyone who played with them went onto bigger things – if only Deep Machine did beyond a demo! Founded and still fronted by guitarist Bob Hooker, they were regulars at Maiden’s venue – The Ruskin Arms in London’s East End – so much so that Bob even auditioned for the band only to be trumped by Tony Parsons. Eventually he handed the band to Angel Witch’s Kevin Heybourne, and ultimately it fragmented into Angel Witch, Paul Di’anno’s Lonewolf and Tokyo Blade – and that’s the short story! In 2009, after 30 years, Hooker reactivated Deep Machine and amazingly it sounds just like it did 3 decades ago – right down to the meat n potatoes production on this limited edition EP! Musically Deep Machine sound just like all those aforementioned bands did in their heyday on updated versions of ‘Iron Cross’ and ‘Killer’, which match the newly penned title track – pure heavy metal mayhem with high crescendo vocals, raw no effects guitars and mutha load rhythms. This is a magic effort and I really hope Hooker can keep the band going this time round cos Deep Machine are the real NWOBHM deal bar none! Continue reading

Astronomicon – “Dark Gorgon Rising”

Astronomicon – “Dark Gorgon Rising” (Pure Legend Records)

Hailing from Cyprus and telling the mythical tale of Perseus, the ancient hero who killed Medusa, turned the Kraken to stone and claimed Andromeda, these Greeks have steeped their power metal in a majesty befitting these legends of old! Soaring vocals, passionate melodies and epic riffs par excellence burst forth
to fell titans on fiery songs like ‘Son Of Seriphos’, ‘Bloodborn’ and ‘For You I Will Die Young’. Most of all, Astronomicon show some real class in their musicianship and song writing, which doesn’t seek to merely copy the trademark power style, but incorporate their own Mediterranean flavor that adds even more credibility into those fantastic songs. With a name like Astronomicon you’ve gotta be setting yourself up for some high expectations but these guys have actually exceeded mine: they are easily the best band I’ve heard in a long time coming outta southern Europe who deservedly demand recognition in international circles! Continue reading

Veneror – “Percussimus Foedus Cum Morte”

Veneror – “Percussimus Foedus Cum Morte” (New Era Productions / Hexencave Productions)

Based on an ancient sabbatical cult that bewitched the north east of Italy during the Holy Inquisition, Veneror were formed a coupla years ago to bring back unholy heretical black metal to the modern era! Nihilistic riffs, haunting vocals with banshee shrills and blast beat drumming conspire to create a raw, almost cacophonous sound given substance by only the subtlest of melodies on songs like ‘Conclaves Of Blest Carnality’, ‘Witchblood Arcane Sodality’ and ‘The Wings Of The Daimon Sethos’. Although owing their foundation to their Scandinavian cousins, Veneror have done a commendable job in developing this sound further to meet their own Latin beliefs, as well as truly evoking an okkult atmosphere which is commendable coming from a young band especially on their debut! Continue reading

ANCESTRAL/NON SERVIAM/OFFENSOR “El Rito”

ANCESTRAL/NON SERVIAM/OFFENSOR
”El Rito”
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I gotta admit that Peru is a blank to me when it comes to South American metal. I used to have a decent idea about the Colombian scene in the 90s. The Brazilian and Chilean scenes I’ve followed over the years but the Peruvian scene has huge holes that needs to be filled. This three way split contains bands that I’m not familiar with. Continue reading

ANNO DIABOLI “Morbid Dreams”

ANNO DIABOLI
“Morbid Dreams”
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Just from looking a t pictures of ANNO DIABOLI I get a feeling that this will be “old school” black metal. For some reason I came to think of a Czech band from the 90s that wrote lyrics in Norwegian. And while that was admirable the last laugh was on the band. ANNO DIABOLI is musically far from a joke. Continue reading

DARK AT DAWN “Noneternal”

DARK AT DAWN
“Noneternal”
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I seem to remember this band’s logo from way back. I might even have reviewed a previous album of theirs or I might just have seen them featured in some German magazine. Whatever the correct answer is this scream heavy metal a long way. This is only an EP and a digital only release. Continue reading

EPSYLON “Age Of Freedom”

EPSYLON
“Age Of Freedom”
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I will continue to say it for as long as I get sent stuff from bands directly; I love discovering new acts. This band I knew absolutely nothing about before they decided to contact me. With that initiative I now know of another metal band. And while this is only a five track EP it still shows enough promise for me to want to hear more. Continue reading

INDOMITE “Theater Of Time”

INDOMITE
“Theater of Time”
(Norse Music)
To be honest I really can’t tell progressive apart from not progressive metal. To me progressive is more of a state of mind than an actual genre. But if grand keyboard and guitar arrangements and big soaring vocal acrobatics is what progressive metal is all about then I’m onboard. INDOMITE might have the keyboards down to a T but that is far from the end of it all. Continue reading