Album Review – Katharos XIII / Negativity (2017)

After the 56 minutes of intense and pensive Depressive Suicidal Black Metal thoroughly crafted by this Romanian quartet reach deep into your soul, you’ll never be the same again.

Born in 2007 in the city of Timișoara, the main social, economic and cultural centre in western Romania located around 550km northwest of the capital Bucharest, and functioned in the early days as a one-man band until de beginning of the recordings of the demo Silver Melancholy in late 2008, self-released in 2009, Depressive Suicidal Black Metal act Katharos XIII return after their 2011 debut Dead Emotions with their second full-length installment, titled Negativity, comprised of seven tracks emerged from the dark chambers of human psyche, questions and deep melancholy into black chords, a truly unique combination of different layers and influences.

Featuring a somber artwork by Romanian artist Alexandru Das (Argus Megere, North, Ordinul Negru), Negativity offers the listener an amalgamation of personal experiences (all kinds of abuse, paranoia, severe depressions), strange stories, movies (Greenaway, Lynch) and books (Eliade, Cioran, Zola), all thoroughly put together by the talented F on vocals, guitars and keyboards, Andrei on guitars, SQ on bass and Sabbat on drums, resulting in a unique experience of extreme music for admirers of the genre. And if you feel your heart got darker after listening to the album’s 56 minutes of intense and pensive Black Metal, that means Katharos XIII succeeded in sending you the desired message through their disturbing music.

Opening the album on a high note we have XIII, a modern approach to Black Metal sounding very melodic and epic thanks to the excellent guitars by F and Andrei, with the devilish gnarls by F bringing more obscurity to the overall result. Moreover, its riffs get to a very traditional mode halfway through it, while the song’s atmosphere keeps growing in intensity and mystery, flowing to an ominous ending led by the demonic vociferations by F. Slightly different than its predecessor, the title-track Negativity goes full Black Metal, overflowing blast beats, flammable riffs and infernal growls, also presenting elements from Atmospheric Black Metal and Doom Metal, not to mention its disturbing lyrics (“Burn in the kingdom of the blind / A garden that cannot be seen / By the ones who ignore the creation / The path of the eternal self-torment”) and its beyond somber break.

The steady beats by Sabbat together with the darkened keys by F create a truly somber ambience in No One Left to Lead the Way, a perfect fusion of Black Metal with Blackened Doom supported by a strong harmonious background, flowing into a smooth but very obscure ending; followed by The Chains are so Beautiful, where a melancholic and grim beginning led by Sabbat with his sluggish beats and bassist SQ with his low-tuned roars gradually leans towards old school Doom Metal, supporting the very macabre spoken words by F (“I will tell you a story / Stories as we all like to hear / The amphetamine has won the game / Enslaving the pain inside soul / Close your eyes and sleep tight / While the angels watch you closely / Nothing bad to happen to you / Only to fall into their arms”), before exploding into visceral and deranged Black Metal until its introspective finale.

Spearheaded by the piercing riffs by Andrei, World’s Coffin sounds like a blackened waltz, with F grasping his words bestially, blending old school Black Metal with contemporary Symphonic Black Metal the likes of Dimmu Borgir. Furthermore, the bass by SQ keeps rumbling in a demonic way in the background, topped with a soulful solo by Andrei. I Die Everytime I Walk This Path brings forward a serene and contemplative intro, generating a comforting but at the same time perturbing ambience where F instead of growling simply grasps in a vile manner. Not only that, tempestuous moments are thoroughly inserted in this Blackened Doom aria, with the beautiful work done by Andrei and SQ with their strings taking you to a dark dimension ruled by Katharos XIII. Lastly, closing this amazing album of extreme music the band offers a darkened assault titled Inside, with Sabbat pounding his drums vigorously while Andrei blasts straightforward demonic riffs, reaching an epic and reverberating stage before the song’s climatic and violent conclusion.

In other words, are you prepared to have your mortal soul embraced in the endless darkness crafted by Katharos XIII? If you can’t wait for that to happen, then you should definitely visit Katharos XIII on Facebook to know more about this distinct Romanian band, and purchase your copy of Negativity through the Loud Rage Music’s BandCamp or webshop, as well as at Discogs. As mentioned before, after listening to Negativity, you’ll never be the same again, and all you’ll have to do is to thank this amazing Romanian quartet for such unique experience of dark and mournful sounds.

Best moments of the album: XIII, Negativity and World’s Coffin.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Loud Rage Music

Track listing
1. XIII 9:50
2. Negativity 6:13
3. No One Left to Lead the Way 6:24
4. The Chains are so Beautiful 8:21
5. World’s Coffin 5:58
6. I Die Everytime I Walk This Path 12:03
7. Inside 7:16

Band members
F – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Andrei – guitars
SQ – bass
Sabbat – drums

Album Review – Olde / Temple (2017)

Putting society and personality in its crosshairs, attacking the traits that make people hide behind various masks in order to survive, here comes a Canadian Doom Metal brigade ready to crush our skulls with their heavy-as-hell new album.

Inspired by a recording session with long-time Stoner Metal stalwarts Sons of Otis, guitarist and producer Greg Dawson (Cunter, Grift, BWC Studios) began to handpick and assemble Canadian Doom/Stoner Metal brigade Olde, emphasizing a powerful and economic approach to doom music. Enlisting the help of drummer Ryan Aubin (Sons of Otis), bassist Cory McCallum (Five Knuckle Chuckle), guitarist Chris “Hippy” Hughes (Moneen) and vocalist Doug McLarty (Jaww), this Malton-based band began to take form, releasing their debut full-length album simply titled I, in 2014, followed by the EP Shallow Graves, in 2016.

Always true to their heavy, bludgeoning roots, Olde are back in 2017 with a brand new full-length instalment, the pungent and resonant Temple, an album where Olde put society and personality in its crosshairs, attacking the traits that make people hide behind various masks in order to survive, and how the ranks of the disguised, with their ulterior motives, aren’t exacting worried about the average Joe in their quest for self-preservation and “progress”. Olde’s sound has also grown since the band’s inception, encompassing more abstraction and harmony, whilst never forgetting to bludgeon their fans, as needed, with riff after riff, driven by the sophisticated-caveman drums of Aubin and the harsh, yet always clear, vocals of lyricist McLarty. Featuring an eye-catching artwork by Joshua Wilkinson, Temple will undoubtedly punch you in the face with all its doomed strength, like it or not.

Heavy, sluggish and thunderous from the very first second thanks to the amazing stringed trio comprised of Chris, Greg and Cory, the opening track Subterfuge is an excellent Doom and Stoner Metal composition, bringing the best elements of both genres to our avid ears, but it’s when Doug begins vociferating the lyrics that things get really dark and serious (“The blood you seek is out there, / On the frayed edges of town / Just point your boots, and follow… / Your rotten heart”). Ryan kicks off the following tune, the obscure Now I See You, with his pounding, damned beats, before Doug offers more of his grumpy and raspy vocals perfect for the music being played. Furthermore, I love when it’s possible to listen to those metallic bass punches like the ones blasted by Cory due to the album’s crisp production, but of course without losing the band’s amazing rawness. Also, if I were you, I would check Olde playing this excellent song at the NP music studio for the National Post Sessions, in order to fully enjoy the band’s catchy sonority and refined technique.

The Ghost Narrative is an excellent depiction of the most sluggish and deranged form of Stoner Metal, where Chris and Greg are kicking ass on guitars with their riffs and solos in an overdose of heaviness flowing from all instruments, which is also present in Doug’s enraged vocals; followed by the title-track Temple, the longest of all songs, starting in a somber manner through the bass sounds crafted by Cory and quickly morphing into a neck-breaking Sludge and Stoner Metal hymn. Its hostile sounding, led by the beats by Ryan, only gets more belligerent when joined by the vocals by Doug, hitting you hard and mercilessly until its dark ending. And increasing their aggressiveness and speed, Centrifugal Disaster presents modern and poetic lyrics (“The world heaves under the weight of our existence / A population siphoned from, stretched beyond all reason / Exploit everything for a fraction of what it’s worth / Rallying cry of modern Man: / Give me convenience, or give me Death”), piercing guitars and rumbling bass lines boosted by the intricate drumming by Ryan, culminating in a Stoner Metal extravaganza highly recommended for fans of the genre.

Bringing hints of Southern Rock and old school Rock N’ Roll, Maelstrom reminds me of some of the classic tunes by Down, with highlights to the excellent job done once again by Chris and Greg on guitars. Put differently, this is a song perfect for enjoying a cold beer and banging your head vigorously together with the band, presenting an excellent guitar solo at the end as the icing on the cake. And lastly, closing the album Olde brings forward an ode to darkness titled Castaway, reaching deep into our most deviant thoughts. This low-tuned and slow composition is led by the potent drumming by Ryan and the rabid, deep growls by Doug, while the rest of the band makes sure the atmosphere remains as cold-hearted, gloomy and unhappy as possible.

You can always keep up to date with everything Olde are doing, including their tour dates (especially if you live in the Greater Toronto Area), by following them on Facebook, and purchase your copy of Temple through their BandCamp page, the STB Records’ BandCamp page or Big Cartel, or the Medusa Crush Recordings’ BandCamp page. Temple is not only a top-notch album of Stoner and Doom Metal made in Canada, but it also cements Olde’s name in the Canadian independent scene, opening the doors for the band to reach new heights and to properly explore new markets in a not-so-distant future, like the United States and the UK, where their music style is extremely appreciated. And, of course, to support Olde in their mission to crush everyone’s head with their heavy-as-hell damned music wherever they go.

Best moments of the album: Subterfuge, Now I See You and Centrifugal Disaster.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 STB Records/Medusa Crush Recordings

Track listing
1. Subterfuge 4:06
2. Now I See You 4:27
3. The Ghost Narrative 4:17
4. Temple 7:48
5. Centrifugal Disaster 5:04
6. Maelstrom 6:16
7. Castaway 7:05

Band members
Doug McLarty – vocals
Chris Hughes – guitars
Greg Dawson – guitars
Cory McCallum – bass
Ryan Aubin – drums, guitar solo on “Maelstrom”

Guest musician
Simon Talevski – guitar solo on “Castaway”

 

Album Review – Coldfells / Coldfells (2017)

Feel the beauty and desolation of the Appalachian landscapes through the Blackened Doom by a talented American power trio with their debut album, a perfect soundtrack to journeys outside frozen windows and within frozen souls.

“Visions of deep desire lay dormant, broken into fragments by an icy stare from the haggard, furrowed brow of nature – its cruel intent, to taunt the soul with beauty always out of reach, that disappears like mist with time…”

Hailing from Martins Ferry, a city in Belmont County, Ohio, United States, on the Ohio River, the extremely talented American Blackened Doom power trio Coldfells has just unleashed their debut full-length self-titled album upon us, bringing the aura of the band’s Appalachian surroundings as the album’s core essence. According to Coldfells themselves, the sonic purpose of the album is “to see the winter Appalachian landscapes we grew up around, the dead trees, grey skies, run-down mill towns, but, besides everything being desolate, it’s still beautiful.” And the trio comprised of Aaron Carey on vocals and additional guitars, Jonny Doyle on guitars, and Andrew D’Cagna on bass, drums and backing vocals definitely succeeded in providing with the music found in Coldfells a perfect soundtrack to journeys outside frozen windows and within frozen souls in a winter night of introspection.

Creepy, obscure keys ignite a 10-minute darkened feast of Doom Metal named The Rope, spearheaded by the sharp, slow-paced drumming by Andrew while Aaron fires his raspy gnarls tailored for the music and atmosphere created. This song brings a beautiful and melancholic musicality with a precise balance between clean and harsh vocals, or in other words, a very detailed composition recommended for fans of dark and smooth music with a piercing sonority, with its last part flirting with traditional Black Metal. With a melancholic start just like the opening track, The Sea Inside explodes into gripping Melodic Black Metal with highlights to the deep growls by Aaron and the mesmerizing riffs by Jonny, sounding atmospheric and doomed at all times and, consequently, providing amazing Blackened Doom for admirers of the genre. In Time Shall Be Forgotten, the shortest of all songs, is devastating from the very first second, with Andrew demolishing his drum set while Jonny fires sheer darkness through his strings. In addition, the song contains elements from the music by Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and other darkened bands, which ends up making it as menacing and lugubrious as hell.

All Night We Flew offers the listener sluggish and devilish Blackened Doom, with Aaron and Andrew adding tons of malignancy and darkness to the music with their anguished growls and steady, pounding beats. Once again, harsh and clean vocals complement each other in a fantastic manner, not to mention its magnificent main riff. Hence, while listening to this full-bodied hymn, simply bang your fuckin’ head nonstop until you feel that excruciating pain inside your head. And the last explosion of atmospheric Doom Metal by Coldfells, titled Eons Pass, sounds very stylish and harmonious, with the clean voice by Andrew bringing hope to our ears while Aaron reminds us all life is dark and dammed. Furthermore, the trio wants to drag us to a dark and cold side of life with the song’s mournful rhythm, and after a melancholic break the band returns in full force for one final breath of their Blackened Doom led by the blast beats by Andrew, until the song’s hellish conclusion.

In a nutshell, if what Coldfells wanted us all to feel while listening to their music was the beauty and desolation of the Appalachian landscapes, as aforementioned, they more than triumphed with each one of the five tracks of the album, which by the way can be enjoyed in its entirety on Spotify. And if you want to purchase Coldfells, the album is available at the band’s own BandCamp page, as well as on CD Baby and on Amazon. Actually, there’s a special edition of the album that’s already sold out at the Eihwaz Recordings’ webstore, which includes the two songs from their 2014 demo Black Breath as bonus tracks, but if I were you I would keep an eye on that just in case they print more copies of it.

Best moments of the album: The Rope and All Night We Flew.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Bindrune Recordings/Eihwaz Recordings

Track listing
1. The Rope 10:26
2. The Sea Inside 8:18
3. In Time Shall Be Forgotten 5:36
4. All Night We Flew 8:28
5. Eons Pass 7:51

Eihwaz Recordings Black Breath Demo 2014 (Disc 2) bonus tracks
1. Dungeons Deep 8:32
2. On Carven Throne 8:17

Band members
Aaron Carey – vocals, additional guitars
Jonny Doyle – guitars
Andrew D’Cagna – bass, drums, backing vocals

Album Review – Dö / Astral: Death/Birth EP (2017)

A cathartic 20-minute experience in the form of a concept EP inspired by things happening around us at this very moment, and the future that does not look that bright for mankind, brought forth by the Finnish propagators of “Dööm Metal”.

There’s a wicked phenomenon that has been happening once a year in the city of “Hellsinki”, Finland for the past few years, when a trio of ill-tempered creatures that goes by the uncanny name of  leaves their secret, somber den to unleash upon us mere mortals all their wrath and negativity in the form of raw Doom and Stoner Metal, or simply “Dööm Metal”, as christened by Dö themselves. It first happened in 2014 with the release of their self-titled EP, then again in 2015 with an EP titled Den, and once again in 2016 with the full-length Tuho. Now in 2017 it’s time for this eerie tradition (or perhaps I should call it an annual ritual) to strike us again with the release of their brand new scathing EP Astral: Death/Birth.

Featuring a minimalist but meaningful cover art by the band’s own guitarist Big Dog, Astral: Death/Birth brings all the traditional elements found in their previous albums without forgetting to move forward in their already solid career. “Over a year has passed since we released Tuho, and now we’re back with a brand new two song EP called Astral: Death/Birth. It’s a concept EP inspired by things happening around us at this very moment, and the future that does not look that bright for mankind. The songs were recorded live during one session at our rehearsal den, as we wanted to capture the intensive live feeling and maintain their roughness. The tracks are basically individual, but we highly recommend you to enjoy Astral: Death/Birth as one cathartic 20 minute experience”, said the band about the album. I guess I don’t need to say more, right? Just relax and join Dö in their doomed astral voyage of life and death, feeling every second of their coarse sounds penetrating deep into your mind.

One interesting fact about the EP is that the band itself has already provided their own “review” of each one of the two songs. According to Dö, the first track of the EP, titled Astral Death, is “a song that’s heavy as the burden we carry with us when scuffing towards the inevitable end”, and let’s say they’re spot-on with their description of this tune perfect for breaking your already damaged neck into pieces. The distorted guitar lines by Big Dog, together with the damned drums by Joe E. Deliverance, kick off this beyond obscure Doom Metal hymn, before reaching a sluggish, heavy feast of demonic riffs that flawlessly support the hellish raspy vocals by Deaf Hank. Moreover, Big Dog blasts one of his traditional guitar solos while Deaf Hank shakes the earth with his ominous bass, resulting in a thrilling thunderstorm of sounds.

“A cosmic rebirth in form of a song. Starts as calm, mantra-like levitation, until it transforms into vicious, unstoppable force of nature.” Those are their words to describe the metallic extravaganza titled Astral Birth, where their demented sounds intoxicate the air throughout the song’s 12 minutes of melodious Doom and Stoner Metal. Deaf Hank and Big Dog align their strings powerfully, while Joe fires his steady and rhythmic old school beats. The vocals never get too harsh in the beginning, sounding arcane and hypnotizing, but that lasts for only around four minutes. After a gripping display of dark music, the band’s demonic vein arises again with Deaf Hank gnarling in a bestial way, being effectively complemented by the song’s tribal beats, wicked distortions and pure psychedelia, with all those sounds and noises invading our ears until the song’s harrowing ending.

The full EP is already available for a detailed listen on YouTube and on Spotify, and you can always keep updated with all things Dö through their Facebook page as usual. And, of course, you can support the most villainous power trio of the entire Scandinavia by purchasing Astral: Death/Birth through their BandCamp page or on iTunes. Now that their yearly rite of “Dööm Metal” has been successfully consummated, it’s time for Dö to spread their damned sounds across the earth with their live performances before they get back to their lair and start working again on new material, for the delight of admirers of obscure, sluggish and low-tuned music.

Best moments of the album: Astral Death is my favorite of the two songs, but Astral Birth is also pretty amazing.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Independent

Track listing
1. Astral Death 7:46
2. Astral Birth 12:16

Band members
Deaf Hank – vocals, bass
Big Dog – guitar, backing vocals
Joe E. Deliverance – drums, backing vocals

Album Review – Ghost Horizon / The Erotics of Disgust EP (2017)

Four distinct compositions that will pierce into your mind and soul in a beautiful way, brought forth by a musician that definitely knows how to transform his deepest feelings into great music.

If you’re an admirer of the most obscure and melancholic forms of Melodic and Atmospheric Black Metal, I have some very good news for you. Critically acclaimed Post-Black Metal act Ghost Horizon is back with a brand new EP, titled The Erotics of Disgust, a follow-up (but with a considerably different sounding) to the band’s previous EP Astral Possessions, released in 2016.  This time around, this Phoenix-based project consists of founder Dan Stollings on vocals and all stringed instruments, and newcomer “Frog” Magus (Norse) on drums, who together brought into being four distinct compositions that will pierce into your soul and crush your feelings in a beautiful way.

Dan commented that the EP “has been waiting in the darkness for quite a while now – it’s been completed for months. It’s been hard to let this EP into the world, because in a lot of ways, I’m sharing some pretty deep emotions that I would never talk about otherwise. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs in the process of its creation, and I think that’s reflected pretty heavily in the music. The decision to do the vocals myself was also a part of this realization that in order to portray exactly what I’m thinking, I need to use my own voice. Nothing on this album is perfect. I didn’t want it to be perfect. At first I went into writing with the mentality that this will be the best produced thing I’ve ever done, but after finishing the vocals, I realized this thing needs to be raw. And so it was.” After reading such powerful words by Dan, I’m sure you’re more than curious to listen to The Erotics of Disgust, but once again let me warn you that the music might be too dark for the average listener.

Radiant Eyes presents an introspective beginning for this new phase of Ghost Horizon, gradually morphing into a dark amalgamation of Blackened Doom and Post-Black Metal with hints of progressiveness enhancing the song’s depressive sonority. Moreover, “Frog” Magus does an amazing job on drums, maintaining the song’s dense rhythm flowing smoothly. In So Hollow, not only Dan surprises us with his clean vocals supported by a gentle ambience, but the song’s lyrics also prove that he’s definitely a skillful poet of darkness (“You can take it all / Everything we know / You can break it all / You chose a path I cannot follow / You left a heart in me so hollow / Changing skies above / Breaking hearts below / On again / True love / Off again / Bruised love”). This is modern and gripping Atmospheric Black Metal that brings at the same time peace and hopelessness to our hearts, making us eager for more of the music by Ghost Horizon.

Following a similar pattern to the previous song, This Forever Flow also presents delicate guitars and bass lines together with the Doom Metal-inspired beats by “Frog”, with its last piece getting heavier due to the harsh growls by Dan without losing its core subtlety. Besides, how not to get touched by its profound lyrics (“Fading from my heart is the will to be one / Fear in my words – last words to my love / Fire fading quickly, your lips have left me cold / The ending of a romance with the ending left untold”)? Lastly, featuring guitarist and composer Tyler Allen on guest vocals, Ghost Horizon deliver a full-bodied darkened composition bursting with anguish, despair and melancholy entitled Whispers, with its Black Metal riffs and blast beats bringing an extra dosage of obscurity to the overall musicality. In my humble opinion, it’s the best and most complete of the four songs of the EP, the type of music I would like to see Dan explore even more with his future releases.

In summary, although many people have a lot of difficulties to talk about their deepest feelings, it seems that Dan has simply mastered how to express his own feelings through the music by Ghost Horizon. However, you have to be very open-minded and absorb each second of The Erotics of Disgust in order to fully understand the whole message delivered by Dan this time, letting your mind and soul minutely merge with the music found on this fine album. And you can always get to know Ghost Horizon in more detail through their Facebook page and listen to their music on Spotify, as well as purchase your copy of The Erotics of Disgust on BandCamp, at the Tridroid Records’ webshop, on Cd Baby, on Amazon or on iTunes. The Erotics of Disgust is certainly not Dan’s last stint with his Ghost Horizon, which means there’s still a lot to come from such distinct act, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Best moments of the album: Whispers.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Independent

Track listing
1. Radiant Eyes 4:11
2. So Hollow 4:05
3. This Forever Flow 5:01
4. Whispers 4:34

Band members
Dan Stollings – all stringed instruments, vocals
“Frog” Magus – drums

Guest musician
Tyler Allen – additional vocals on “Whispers”

Album Review – Astral Corpse / Metsän Pimeydessä EP (2017)

Enter the forest of darkness ruled by a cold-hearted Keravian Black Metal horde and succumb to their malignancy and hatred.

From the depths of ancient Keravian burial grounds, influenced by Nordic nature and music, Finnish Black Metal horde Astral Corpse launches their first sonic onslaught, titled Metsän Pimeydessä, or “In the Forest of Darkness” from Finnish. If you love Black Metal without compromise, you’ll surely have fun listening to the 20 minutes of what the band calls “True Keravian Black Metal”, which translates into sheer obscurity, blasphemy, speed and raw sounds. Are you ready to enter the forest of darkness ruled by Astral Corpse?

Hailing from Kerava, a citiy in Southern Finland located around 40km north of the capital Helsinki, Astral Corpse have been through several lineup changes after their inception back in 2008 before reaching their current shape and form. With lead singer, guitarist and founding member AstroNuclear Agitator, guitarist Frostektor, bassist Arcane Desolator and drummer Cosmic Triumphator extracting extreme aggression and vileness from their instruments, Metsän Pimeydessä becomes more than just their debut EP, but a solid statement that Astral Corpse are among us to stay, bringing darkness to our souls and high-quality Black Metal to our ears.

The Black Metal attack led by the putrid growls by AstroNuclear Agitator begins in full force with Cease to Exist, with Cosmic Triumphator obviously delivering the most traditional blast beats you can imagine, not to mention how the song ends in a brutal way. In Drain the Blood, AstroNuclear Agitator and Frostektor accelerate their riffage, blasting sheer darkness through their guitars while Cosmic Triumphator and bassist Arcane Desolator keep a menacing atmosphere rumbling in the background, proving how loyal they are to the foundations of traditional Black Metal. And the title-track Metsän Pimeydessä lives up to its name, being an obscure Black Metal hymn spiced up with hints of Doom Metal, with the potent and precise beats by Cosmic Triumphator dictating the rhythm while AstroNuclear Agitator keeps gnarling and roaring like a demon.

Welcome to the Spirit World gets back to the band’s most demonic stage, being a furious display of extreme music where not only the guitars sound on fire, but the hatred and aggressiveness flowing from both vocals and drums is outstanding. Put differently, it can’t get any more blackened than this. Following that intense tune, epicness and blasphemy are the main ingredients in the evil chant Nocturnal Winds, inspired by the most traditional form of Scandinavian Black Metal with its old school guitar lines and bestial drums impregnating the atmosphere. Finally, how about ending the EP with a pulverizing Black Metal aria? That’s what we get in the thrilling Winds of Death, with AstroNuclear Agitator barking his last breath of malignancy while Cosmic Triumphator crushes his drums mercilessly, therefore generating a chaotic and dense musicality that aims at dragging us to the pits of hell.

All the malice, irreligiousness and odium flowing from the forest of darkness ruled by Astral Corpse can be explored through the band’s Facebook page and SoundCloud, with Metsän Pimeydessä (which you can take a listen at in its entirety HERE) being available at the Orbovoid Records’ webshop. But remember that once you enter this Keravian forest full of malignancy and hatred, there’s no way back. You’ll be trapped forever in Astral Corpse’s dark realm of old school Black Metal.

Best moments of the album: Drain the Blood and Welcome to the Spirit World.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Orbovoid Records

Track listing
1. Cease to Exist 3:43
2. Drain the Blood 3:04
3. Metsän Pimeydessä 2:53
4. Welcome to the Spirit World 2:41
5. Nocturnal Winds 3:28
6. Winds of Death 5:24

Band members
AstroNuclear Agitator – vocals, guitars
Frostektor – guitars
Arcane Desolator – bass
Cosmic Triumphator – drums

Album Review – OHHMS / The Fool (2017)

Spanning the course of 60 minutes and focusing on corporate and personal politics, the first full-length album by this British quintet is not only a huge step forward in their career, but also a lesson in Sludge and Progressive Metal.

Armed with the thickest riffs and fieriest will, Sludge/Progressive Metal act OHHMS was formed in 2014 in Kent, a county in South East England, aiming at blowing our minds with their monolithic, doomed music. After the release of their debut EP Bloom in 2014, followed by another EP title Cold in 2015, OHHMS started to build a strong reputation in their homeland’s underground scene, playing big festivals such as Desertfest and Temples, and also sharing the stage with acts like The Skull, Conan and Rolo Tomassi. Now, three years after their thunderous beginnings, the band is back with their debut full-length album, the heavy and sludgy The Fool, another step forward in their short but solid career.

Spanning the course of 60 minutes of hard-hitting, progressive music, The Fool delivers five thunderous songs that focus on corporate and personal politics, all wrapped up in an elegant tarot-inspired packaging designed by Black Sails Design. With two of its songs going over the barrier of 10 minutes (one of them having over 20 minutes in duration, by the way), something inconceivable for any regular radio station or TV show, The Fool won’t provide any sort of “music for the masses” to you, but an introspective and very peculiar journey through the minds of the five talented musicians behind OHHMS, and that’s in my opinion what makes this album so distinct and impactful.

The acoustic intro Shuffle, Cut and Reveal slowly introduces us to the sluggish and heavy The Magician,  which after a fast-paced beginning smoothly flows into traditional Stoner Metal, with Max Newton smashing his drum set while lead singer Paul Waller blasts sheer anguish through his vocals. The Hanged Man is a top-notch musical voyage, flowing from an ominous intro into 13 minutes of progressiveness, slow-paced passages and a somber ambience. Max adds endless intricacy to the music with his beats, while guitarists Daniel Sargent and Marc George alternate between heavier riffs and gentle lines, with the overall result being so compelling you won’t notice the length of the song at all. Even more progressive than its predecessor, The World is a song that combines in a potent way the heaviness of Stoner Metal with the experimentations of Progressive Metal, not to mention its hints of several other styles such as Industrial and Doom Metal, with Max and bassist Chainy Chainy building a more-than-thunderous atmosphere with their respective instruments.

The superb The Lovers is beautiful and thrilling from start to finish, with all instruments creating the perfect ambience for Paul and a mysterious (and wonderful) female voice to complement each other’s lines flawlessly. It’s a slow and serene ballad recommended for true lovers, or in other words, simply close your eyes and feel your significant other’s embrace while listening to this awesome composition. And as the icing on the cake OHHMS present to us The Hierophant, a bold, complex and mind-blowing 21-minute extravaganza, where the whole band is able to display all their skills as great musicians they are. After over two minutes of initial dissonant noises, Paul arrives with his somber vocals, and this eccentric atmosphere goes on until at around six minutes the rest of the band joins him, becoming a sonic experimentation through the realms of Sludge and Stoner Metal, with highlights to the bestial, crushing riffs by both Daniel and Marc (in special during the song’s final part).

One might say The Fool is not an album for the average listener, but in my humble opinion I think this album is a great opportunity for newcomers to the world of the lengthy and sluggish sounds of Stoner and Doom Metal to explore the uniqueness of this subgenre of heavy music. Well, newcomer or not, you should definitely go check what OHHMS are up to at their Facebook page and, if you’re already hooked on their music, purchase The Fool through their BandCamp page, at the Holy Roar Records’ webshop, on iTunes, on Amazon or at Discogs.

Best moments of the album: The World and The Lovers.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Holy Roar Records

Track listing
1. Shuffle, Cut and Reveal 1:15
2. The Magician 8:10
3. The Hanged Man 13:24
4. The World 6:42
5. The Lovers 8:03
6. The Hierophant 21:49

Band members
Paul Waller – vocals
Daniel Sargent – guitars
Marc George – guitars
Chainy Chainy – bass
Max Newton – drums

Album Review – Loathfinder / The Great Tired Ones EP (2017)

A newborn Blackened Doom entity hailing from Poland will bring endless obscurity, fearfulness and anguish to your mind and soul with their menacing 28-minute debut opus.

We might not have the slightest idea of who they really are, but we know without a shadow of a doubt that their spine-chilling, perverse Blackened Doom lives up to the legacy of bands such as Forgotten Tomb, Woods of Ypres and the early days of Katatonia, also presenting an ominous vein inspired by the most funereal form of Atmospheric Black Metal. I’m talking about a newborn evil entity known as Loathfinder, who have just released their debut EP titled The Great Tired Ones, a 28-minute opus that, above all things, will bring endless obscurity, fearfulness and anguish to your mind and soul.

Founded somewhere back in time in the imposing city of Cracow, one of the most fertile cities not only in Poland but in the entire Europe in regards to arts and music, Loathfinder are a remorseless spawner of the most obscure elements found in Extreme Metal, with The Great Tired Ones being the amalgamation of all their evil. Displaying a visceral artwork by Polish illustrator Robert A. von Ritter (Diabolizer, Armagh, Ragehammer), with the design and colors originated by Polish illustrator and graphic designer Maciej Kamuda (HerezA, Misanthropic Rage, Virgin Snatch), this is an album that will certainly be part of your personal playlist for a long time if you love the rotten and grim sounds of old school Blackened Doom piercing your ears.

Flies buzzing and thunderous bass and guitar lines ignite the damned feast named Genetic Gloom, with the cavernous growls coming from an unknown creature impregnating the musicality through and through. Furthermore, a few moments of tranquility are meticulously inserted amidst the ominous Blackened Doom that reeks in the air, with steady beats dictating the song’s lugubrious rhythm. Darker and more aggressive due to its infernal gnarls and deep guttural growls, Feast on My Entrails presents lyrics that couldn’t be more putrescent (“My cradle is rotten / Black fingers ream my ribs from inside / As I gaze into sky with learned apathy / And miss places I’ve never been / When venom is dripping from every wall / Only thing you can do is spit, spit and spit”), which together with its mesmerizing riffs and rumbling ambience (led by the song’s Stygian bass lines) turn it into a macabre hymn of darkness.

Metallic and lancinating bass sounds kick off another vile creation by Loathfinder, the excellent Scents of Regression, bringing forward putrid growls and doomed beats in total sync, increasing the song’s obscurity even more. Not only that, this song also offers the listener a solid Doom Metal sonority with the band’s blackened vein pulsing inside it, enhanced by sharp guitar solos and riffs. And lastly we have the title-track The Great Tired Ones, where a truly macabre intro goes on for about a minute until all instruments rise from the pits of hell, also displaying acid lyrics perfect for the music played (“Through the black eyes / Of agonized priestess / We were allowed to see / The gathering / Of faceless / Of whipped / And lost in time / The Great Tired Ones / Black chain of greatest lies / The Great Tired Ones / One were all, all were One”). If you love Blackened Doom, get ready for almost ten minutes of mournful passages, cutting guitars and desperate growls, ending with rancid gnarls that will darken your mind instantly.

You can savor the 28 minutes of hatred and anguish found in The Great Tired Ones by clicking HERE, and also grab your copy of this devilish album at Loathfinder’s BandCamp, at the Godz ov War Productions’ BandCamp, or at Discogs. This is a beyond solid debut album by Loathfinder, with no fillers, no artificial sounds and no happy feelings, but only the deepest rooted form of our good old Blackened Doom, and if those enigmatic musicians were capable of delivering such high-quality music with their very first release, I’m sure Blackened Doom will remain strong and menacing for years with Loathfinder being one of the new remarkable names of the genre.

Best moments of the album: Feast on My Entrails.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Godz ov War Productions

Track listing
1. Genetic Gloom 6:08
2. Feast on My Entrails 6:50
3. Scents of Regression 5:25
4. The Great Tired Ones 9:37

Band members
*Information not available*

Album Review – NONE / NONE (2017)

Over 30 minutes of chilling and despondent Atmospheric Black Metal by an unknown entity from the Pacific Northwest that will darkly guide you on a one-way journey to emptiness.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Chilling and despondent music from the Pacific Northwest is what you’ll hear on the impressive self-titled debut album by Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal entity NONE, a dark, full-bodied album comprised of three freakish and distinct arias interconnected by the howling winds of winter that will certainly appeal to fans of the Atmospheric Black Metal and DSBM (Depressive Suicidal Black Metal) crafted by groups such as Shining, ColdWorld and Woods of Desolation. Misery, grief, negativity and hopelessness are just a few elements you’ll find in the music by NONE, darkly guiding you on a one-way journey to emptiness.

Formed in 2015 in the city of Portland, Oregon, in the United States, NONE doesn’t carry its simple but enigmatic name in vain. NONE is precisely that, as they have no faces and they are no one, being solely represented by the depressive and obscure sounds emanating from each one of the three multi-layered compositions of the album. Drawing influences from the most melancholic and austere forms of atmospheric extreme music, NONE can quickly become the soundtrack to your most obscure moments, showing you that solitude might not be a bad solution at all in our lives.

In the opening track, simply titled Cold, the atmosphere couldn’t feel more sinister and disheartened, with its background noises and smooth piano notes quickly exploding into a puissant sonority. This is beautiful Depressive Black Metal perfect for closing your eyes and letting darkness embrace you, showcasing not only demonic gnarls and Stygian Black Metal guitars, but also presenting acoustic elements to bring some sort of false peace and hope to our hearts, before its climatic ending gets back to a somber and heavy sonority.

Also phantasmagorical and doomed, Wither is a direct sequel to its predecessor, with its Black Metal sounds invading our ears and souls while its hellish growls transpire hatred and despair. Furthermore, it brings forward a distressing aura found in the most sluggish and evil form of Blackened Doom, resulting in a delicate and at the same time powerful creation by NONE. And in Suffer we finally reach the stage where all songs together become one, displaying anguished screams and slow-paced Doom Metal beats complemented by the song’s serene piano notes. It’s a strong conclusion to the story being told by this arcane creature known as NONE, morphing into a desolated ending where it’s clear that darkness has taken full control of our souls.

You can purchase a digital copy of NONE at the Hypnotic Dirge Records’ BandCamp, but if you prefer to actually put your hands on such bitterly cold and mordant Depressive Black Metal work-of-art, the album is available in a 6-panel digipack (limited to 300 copies) at the Hypnotic Dirge Records’ webstore, where you can also find it as a T-shirt + CD bundle, or at Discogs. You already know that after following the dark path crafted by this unknown entity there’s no way back, but I guess you really don’t care about the consequences. Quite the contrary, that’s exactly where you want to be.

Best moments of the album: Wither.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Hypnotic Dirge Records

Track listing
1. Cold 11:57
2. Wither 8:45
3. Suffer 9:25

Band members
*Information not available*

The Headbanging Moose Show – Thursdays @ 20:00 UTC exclusively at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio

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Attention, metalheads!

It’s time to rumble with THE HEADBANGING MOOSE SHOW every Thursday @ 20:00 UTC (with a reprise on Saturdays @ 19:00 UTC) exclusively at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, your London-based web radio blasting the best of heavy music nonstop 24/7!

Presented by Gustavo Scuderi, The Headbanging Moose Show will bring to you the cream of underground metal music, giving you a short and sweet background on every band played on the show. No silly jokes, no shenanigans… THIS IS PURE F****N’ METAL!

So remember, EVERY THURSDAY @ 20:00 UTC (with a reprise on Saturdays @ 19:00 UTC) tune into Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio to enjoy one hour of kick-ass underground metal from all over the world, courtesy of The Headbanging Moose!

Here are all the options where can blow your speakers with Midnight Madness:

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Don’t forget to follow The Headbanging Moose on Facebook to know beforehand which bands will be played on the show every week.

And if you want to have your new album reviewed at The Headbanging Moose AND played at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, simply get in touch with us through our CONTACT US page.