By Theron Moore
Death is Righteous
Release: 13 January 2015
Imagine Pantera and Exodus birthing out a kid and naming it Shredhead. The kid’s a wild child, a hellraiser, likes the music loud, just wants to thrash, you with me so far? I think you have the idea. It seems clear that the mission with “Death is Righteous” is to bludgeon you back to a time when metal still had swingin’ balls and wasn’t so hipster and fashionista as it appears today.
What I like about this record and Shredhead as a band is that neither relents, not for a second, it goes for the jugular with every song. I mentioned Pantera and Exodus before. Imagine “Vulgar Display…” meets “Fabulous Disaster” updated. That’s “Death is Righteous.” A blueprint for metal and a schematic for how death shall come to us all, hopefully drunk or stoned, horns up!
Release: 27 January 2015
Lord Dying embodies that Northwest metal sound that’s low end heavy, smelling of beer and weed and born out of a garage with the spirit of TAD hovering ’round. That’s right, I said it, the great Tad.
This isn’t thrash, this is more akin to say The Sword, Black Tusk and Red Fang although we do get a slight taste of pit action with “Suckling at the Teat of a She-Beast” but the bulk of the record is just heavy groove with a big, riffy wall of sound and massive drumming. A great example of this is rack two, “A Clearing at the end of the Path” which is pure crushing power.
I dig this disc because I hear echoes of Mudhoney, Blue Cheer, Crowbar, Lemmy and High on Fire conjured up, dancing around a bonfire of skull and bone as only Lord Dying could do. In the end, “Poisoned Altars” is a more evolved and involved style of heavy. Buy this record now.
Release: 30 January 2015
When you’re a death metal band calling yourself “Hate,” you’ve got a lot to live up to and I’m happy to say this band doesn’t disappoint. “Crusade Zero,” dropping Februrary 10th via Napalm Records, is a head crusher of the highest order.
What immediately drew me in and connected with me was how well crafted the song structures were. It’s layer upon layer of texture, depth and complexity which death metal often lacks. Not so with this “Crusade Zero.”
I like how they interpreted the concept of “heaviness” as it pertains to this genre and expanded it’s definition with songs like “Vox Dei (A Call From Beyond) that opens “Crusade Zero” followed by “Lord, Make Me An Instrument Of Thy Wrath!” and the final track “Black Aura Debris.”
Hate took a lot of time and energy branding this record with a multi dimensional sound that not many bands can actually pull off. Their skill and artistry come through loud and clear. Cheers to them. Now go buy this record!
Captivity & Devourment
Release: 20 January 2015
“Captivity & Devourment” is straight ahead, no frills thrash with just enough melody to satisfy even the staunchest fan without crossing the line into something else entirely.
This might sound odd but Armageddon have a good understanding of their musical identity and breadth of their genre as well. “Captivity & Devourment” demonstrates a nice balance between heavy and melody allowing both to complement each other without either overpowering and disrupting the flow of the music.
Thus the bar of excellence is raised high with melodic thrashers such as “Rendition,” “Locked In” and “Fugitive Dust” which oughta make Arch Enemy stand up and take notice. All in all a very good record and most certainly a band to be on the look out for in the future.
Heart of the Netherworld
Dark Descent Records
Release Date 13 January 2015
“Heart of the Netherworld” strikes me as the music you’d be forced to listen to in the waiting room of Hell. It’s the sound of a thousand lost and tortured souls (Track 2, “Black Fires of God”) searching for light in a world consumed with darkness (track 5, “We Dawn Anew”) only to be whipped with chains and spat upon by the master (track 6, “Leviathan) realizing that hope for redemption and absolution is gone, futile (Track 7, “Heart of the Netherworld”).
“Heart of the Netherworld” is an apt title for a record that sonically is the incarnation of all that is hellish and nightmare cast in that which the band has described as “Netherworld” on this record. Desolate Shrine churns out a harsh, blackend brand of metal that builds with each song, getting heavier and more intense until the pinnacle is reached with the final track “Heart of the Netherworld.”
This is an outstanding record that deserves attention. Listening to it does feel like having been on a journey into the belly of some horrible beast. The saving grace being that we, unlike the souls of the damned, are not trapped in this terrifying place that Desolate Shrine has so vividly painted on this record. This is a highly recommended buy…
Unspeakable Axe Records
Release: 24 March 2015
“Grindcore” is just that — Grindcore but with a sharp, punk rock / crossover edge. And anyone who thinks I’m referencing the bullshit that passes for punk today, you couldn’t be more wrong. I’m talking old school. Reagan Youth. Verbal Abuse. Negative Approach. Millions of Dead Cops. And that’s why Unrest sounds so fucking good on this record.
By the time you hit track 8, “Nothing (That’s All You Have To Give) it becomes very clear that these guys are really, really good at what they do from the way they approach their music to the way they write songs. You really get the vibe that a lot of thought went into the making of this record, and you get that musically.
“Grindcore” isn’t relying on the Greenway inspired vocals or the constant blast beats, instead there’s a lot of intricate well placed musical change ups in songs that give it an extra. added dimension a lot of grind bands don’t have.
This record is 12 songs of pure grind / crossover / punk fun and if this disc is any indication of what their live shows must be like, right away they’re must see. Buy this record now!
I Will Get Your Soul
Cimmerian Shade Recordings
Release Date: 31 March 2015
Nepente’s “I Will Get Your Soul” is the kind of music I would expect Freddy Kruger to listen to while killing. It’s four tracks of abrasive, neck snapping, blackened death metal. One listen to this record and you may actually find Slayer sounding timid afterwards in comparison.
My only complaint is that “I Will Get Your Soul” is only four tracks, I wish it was longer; otherwise it was right on in every way. Nepente is a band I’m going to be on the outlook for in the future.
Nepente Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nepente.metal
Cimmerian Shade: http://cimmerianshaderecordings.com/
Taake Stridens Hus
Releases: 10 February 2015
“Stridens Hus” is nothing short of splendorous brimstone beauty. It’s the chorus of a thousand demons conducted by Hoerst himself backed by the symphony that is Taake.
“Stridens Hus” is a thinking man’s hellfire opus of inspired medieval beauty and equaled brutality. From start to finish it’s dark, gothic and classical in both sound and approach providing a harsh and unrelenting environment both unwelcome yet pleasurable to the listener.
Truly decadent and madman inspired, “Stridens Hus” is sure to be a quick fan favorite. Hoerst is in top form as the carnvial barker for this band of black metal freaks. My only complaint is that seven tracks is not enough to tell this particular story…
- Gamle Norig
- Det Fins En Prins
- En Sang til Sand Om Ildebrann
- Kongsgaard Bestaar,
Tormenting the Innocent
Release Date: March 24 2015
You get ten tons of crunch and two pounds extra with “Tormenting the Innocent,” the band’s second record and follow-up to their debut disc “Ear Piercing Thrash.” The songs are fast and the music has teeth. Prisoners will not be taken and the circle pit will show no mercy.
Bio-Cancer shine on tracks “Boxed Out” and “Bulletproof” where their retro-thrash chops are put to the test. Although their music does harken back to an earlier time they’re anything but a throwback. They’ve clearly found their identity and established their sound with “Tormenting the Innocent” an album that delivers the shred.
Pulses of Pleasure
Release Date: February 27 2015
“Pulses of Pleasure” is the closest thing to 1985 you’ll ever hear that wasn’t recorded in 1985. It’s pure speed, pure power. Track 1 “Fast, Loud, ‘n’, Rude” is a testament to this statement.
“Stairway to Insanity” really caught my attention where we find Evil Invaders switching gears to bow down and worship at the altar of Iron Maiden done in only the way this band can do it, with full force.
I heard a lot of old Voi-Vod, Possessed, Raven, Whiplash, Razor getting moshed up and given the modern day treatment Evil Invaders style with “Pulses of Pleasure” which I really dug.
I can’t get enough of the retro-thrash sound when it’s done as good as Evil Invaders did with this record. What really stood out to me was how well the band treated their sound with respect and dignity without going overboard with the nostalgia thing. By doing this, by carefully walking this line it allowed them to not lose sight of who they are musically and as a band. This is a must buy.
Release Date: Available Now
Evil Spirit. The name alone should be a hint what their music is about — a little bit of black metal, a little bit of doom with just a touch of Hellhammer. Thrashy. Noisey. Raw. The perfect description, that which is, “Cauldron Messiah.”
Track one could be the opening / intro to a horror movie. Track two, “Grey Ashes Of The Reptile” begins the journey into Evil Spirit’s bleak realm of terror. The music is scaled down, partly due to the fact that the band is a three piece which begs the question, “How the hell do they create that wall of sound with just three people?”
What I like about this record is Evil Spirit’s keen ability to create a spooky atmosphere in a theatrical, almost cinematic manner. It’s almost like you “feel” the music, making you anxious, feeling on edge. From a sonic standpoint “Cauldron Messiah” has a primitive edge to it, lo-fi at times but wielding their volume level as a well trained weapon. It’s worth a check out. Look into it.
Record label: www.horrorrecords.com
The Sanity Days
“Evil Beyond Belief”
Release Date: March 24 2015
I’m a huge Grim Reaper fan so hearing Steve Grimmett is fronting a new band with a new record was naturally great news to me but then learning that Onslaught’s drummer Steve Grice was drumming, holy shit, that’s nothing short of what I’d call heavy metal salvation.
“Evil Beyond Belief” is straight ahead, no frills, bad to the bone metal with a great 80’s vibe to it but the real question is…can the boys write, can they play? Hell yes!
Not a bum track on “Evil Beyond Belief.” You won’t find anyone resting on laurels, everyone’s in top form and Grimmett’s vocals are amazing. Just give a listen to “Charlie,” “Satan’s Blood” and “My Last Words.” Metal is back, folks, and in a big, large way.
Describing this band sonically is a cross between McAuley – Shenker meets Dio meets Metal Church but all The Sanity Days, killin’ it, cranking it past 10. This isn’t retro speed metal or 80’s rehash, this is well thought out, well written, well played rock N roll by guys who know their shit and deserve to be HUGE. I’ve already got this record on my “best of 2015” list and it’s still February. Buy, buy, buy and then buy another copy for a friend.
Steve Grimmett – vocals Steve Grice – drums Al Jordan – guitar Jase Stallard – bass https://www.facebook.com/TheSanityDays
Dark Descent Records
Release Date February: 24 2015
What do you get when you combine old school Venom with modern day black metal with a touch of doom? Hacavitz. Their new record “Darkness Beyond” might just be the bands best record to date.
Previous outings such as “Venganza” and “Kafun” were more thrashy / heavy death whereas this record is raw and primitive in spots where it needs to be but more focused and tightly honed allowing the band to take it’s time telling it’s musical story of gloom.
Because “Darkness Beyond” is less confined and more daring it shows a progression and evolution inside the band allowing Hacavitz to explore the craft of building mood and atmosphere to enhance the inherent heaviness of songs like “Livskit” as well as the title track itself.
“Darkness Beyond” is the future of black meets doom meets thrash. How the band will top this record I do not know but I do want to see. Hacavitz is a band to watch. Buy this record.
Blackwork (Alkemy Brothers)
Release Date: March 22 2015
Black metal from the hinterlands of North Dakota? USA? Yeah…and they’re good. “Endless Winter.” Doomed. Forsaken. Ungodly.
The instrumental “Glacial Eon” begins the disc starting out slow, mellow, then building into something fierce and ugly, a perfect segue into track two, “Storm of Teeth,” which might as well be ten nuclear bombs going off since that’s what it sounds and feels like. And just when you think the worst is over, track three, “Forlorn Tides,” is a neck twister that shakes the holy ghost out of you. But that’s the whole record in a nutshell, not just a few songs, the whole chimichanga. It never relents, it just keeps going, and destroying, and going further.
Let me describe this band sonically as “well balanced” in the sense that the vocals are as wicked and evil sounding as the band itself is — together they could etch concrete. Forget the comparisons to their Norwegian counterparts and just listen to Frosthelm and “Endless Winter.” You’ll thank me later. Buy this record.
“Coalition of Hate” split with Conceived by Hate & Acheron
Morbid Skull Records
Release Date: March 10 2015
Outstanding split with each band bringing their “A” game to this record. Kind of a cool idea being that CbH and AKERHON each do three originals and one cover and let me say, they get the job done aptly.
Conceived by Hate, who hail from El Salvador, play a brand of death metal I’d compare to Sweden’s Necrophobic — thick, heavy and plodding. They covered DISSECTION’s “Thorns of Crimson Death” and did a solid job nailing the tune.
Colombia’s AKERHON is balls out thrash. They covered the Misfit’s “Where Eagles Dare” which seemed a perfect fit for the band. Sonically they reminded me of Sepultura meets Rigor Mortis; thrashy, speedy and making a shit list.
Both bands struck me as not relying on blast beats or growls to get a song over. They took their time with structure and progression, putting forethought into song composition and sound and trust me when I tell you it shined through on the original tracks each has on this disc. The end result for Conceived by Hate and Acheron was a natural heaviness that didn’t seem strained or contrived. Both are bands on the “to watch” list.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Morbid-Skull-Records-Distro/339635656052678 https://www.facebook.com/morbidskullrecords https://www.facebook.com/pages/AKHERON/219232631435984 www.facebook.com/conceivedbyhate www.conceivedbyhate.bandcamp.com