TALISMAN STONE “Lovecraftopolis”

This might just be a strange coincidence but after having heard none Italian bands with two bass players I know have heard two; Riti Occulti and TALISMAN STONE. I have no problem with there being no guitar. What matters in the end is if the music is good and if the songs are worth spending time on. Everything else is almost secondary. Continue reading

THRONE “Avoid The Light”

“Avoid The Light”
I might not be the biggest connoisseur of sludge but the stuff that I have heard that has been classified as that has been to my liking. There is something to bands like Deviated Instinct that I find appealing. The whole dirty, almost punkish sound mixed with a tempo that would make a turtle seem fast is something that I can take to heart. Continue reading

VEX “Memorious”

VEX is a Texan band of the extreme kind. Did you expect anything else from the great state of Texas were everything is large, even the extreme metal bands. The stuff that I’ve heard coming from Texas has so far all been great. I see no reason why it would change with VEX. Not having heard anything by VEX before this is like my initiation into what is so great about this band. Continue reading

VORUM “Poisoned Void”

“Poisoned Void”
(Woodcut/Dark Descent)
Oh no, not another Finnish band. Will it never end? Joke aside I love the Finnish metal scene. There seem to be so many cool bands yet to discover. I’ve only read great things about VORUM. With that in mind it will be my pleasure to unwrap this to see what it really is all about. It is when I get sent albums like this that I’m reminded how much I dislike digital files. Continue reading

XENOSIS “Of Chaos And Turmoil”

“Of Chaos And Turmoil”
It might all have started with a way to describe a guitar sound but now Djent has turned into a sub-genre all its own within this great tree that is metal. Blame it all on Meshuggah if you like but you can’t deny the impact this Swedish band has had on a world of kids. Continue reading

Hate – “Solarflesh”

Hate – “Solarflesh” (Napalm Records)

These guys go right back to the 90s alongside other Polish acts such as Behemoth and in many ways are comparable in playing the same style of blackened death: roaring vocals; nihilistic but technical riffing and hyper speed blast beat precision drumming! Given their years, or at least those of sole founding member Adam “ATF Sinner” Buszko, there’s also general metal influences in the soloing as well as a liberal use of their native Polish language in the intros, but otherwise songs like ‘Sadness Will Last Forever’, ‘Alchemy Of Blood’ and ‘Alchemy Of Blood’ are certainly up there with the best of the extreme metal genre. Quite why Hate aren’t as big as Behemoth remains unclear but despite playing in Russia, Mexico and Brazil I guess they were still a local band – however, this line up along with the support of a label like Napalm has what it takes to take on the world! Continue reading

Belasco – “Transmuting”

Belasco – “Transmuting” (Maybe Records)

Belasco’s history reads like book: from getting signed by respected indie label Splendid/City Slang in 2001 just after their 2nd gig to debut album “Simplicity” being produced by Charlie Francis (REM), to playing the Isle Of Wight festival and sharing stages with PJ Harvey, Iggy Pop, and Patti Smith no less.The culmination to this meteoric rise was a signing to Mercury no less, but like a needle bouncing off a scratched record, it all came to a tangled end mired in legal issues. Plucky lads that they are though, the Belasco bullet train was still on course and has since been picking up speed again. “Transmuting” is indie rock par excellence, honed from that raw talent into headline professionalism up there with the best of ’em. I wouldn’t say that as individual musicians messrs Brownlow, Battye and Cartledge are demonic by any means, but as a unit they are formidable in their writing of songs like ‘Moves Like Water’, ‘Empire’ and ‘What Is It’ which are 100% pure indie rock. In them you will find the greatest of that genre from the Smashing Pumpkins to The Pixies to The Cult, reflecting passionate vocals, delicate off the wall melodies and a dark, brooding heaviness that build gradually in each song until irresistibly culminating in an outburst of pure emotion. Belasco don’t hold back, and neither should you. Continue reading

Kongh – “Sole Creation”

Kongh – “Sole Creation” (Agonia Records)

Hillbilly sludge metal from the deep forests of Sweden! Like a possessed King Kong going about his business, this Växjö crew wield meaty hooks in their dark, reverbed riffs and a rhythm to boot. David Johansson’s rasping vocals brilliantly contrast with stoner harmonies which add a helter skelter groove on songs like ‘Sole Creation’, ‘Tamed Brute’ and ‘The Portals’ – in fact, there are only 4 tracks but with each one clocking in around the 10 minute mark, they’re mightily powerful doses of heaviness indeed! Well known in underground circles, even co-headlining the Kuma Doom Fest in Chicago, Kongh fit right in with the likes of Weedeater, YOB, Black Sun etc as purveyors of serious brain damaging music guaranteed to frazzle you right outta your skull. Continue reading

Mourning Beloveth – “Formless”

Mourning Beloveth – “Formless” (Grau Records)

Dark, beloved death from Ireland. Less well known than Primordial, Mourning Beloveth none the less have their place in Irish metal history as long standing purveyors of doom death in the Emerald Isle. Slow, melancholic and awesomely heavy, Mourning Beloveth use a mixture of growling and clean vocals and likewise, heavy doom laden riffs drenched in tons of reverb graced with melancholic guitar melodies. With an average time of 12 minutes each, songs like ‘Nothing Has A Centre’, ‘Theories Of Old Bones’ and ‘Ethics On The Precipe’ are epic, almost poetic pieces characterized as much for the stillness of death in their tranquil passages as for their sombre tones. It all points to a very articulate band indeed who both musically and lyrically don’t shy away from one’s inner nightmares but rather embrace our fragile mortality for what it is…pure Shakespeare. Continue reading

Odessa – “Carry The Weight”

Odessa – “Carry The Weight” (Ghost Music)

Brummie bruisers, Odessa have been kicking it around Europe for the last 2 years with their brand of aggro-core! Rich Lardner has one of these guttural growls that could give a boar the shits and the heavy, stop-start chugging riffs are nothing short of neck shattering on songs like ‘All I Have’, ‘Divide And Conquer’ and ‘Blind’. Even more so are the rhythms, especially the double bass drum arrangement that reminded me a lot Machine Head, and little wonder given they worked with messrs Bond & Ford who did exactly that with Robb Flynn’s crew! However, what really impresses about Odessa is also their pensive use of melody both in guitar passages as well as in emo harmonies which add a brief respite before the next onslaught of aggression – an excellent use of contrast if I might say so! With some electro tinges and samples completing the mix, it’s easy to see why Odessa have such a pull across the European Union nations given both their wide appeal but moreover they’re ability to hold their own against other metal, hardcore and even heavy thrash bands. Continue reading