Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Weregoat - Unholy Exaltation of Fullmoon Perversity (2011)

EP, Parasitic Records
November 30th, 2011

Genre: Black/Death Metal
Region: USA

Ready for some filthy bestial blackened death metal? Weregoat's EP is exactly what you want from the genre.

Themed around lycanthropy and satanic rituals Unholy Exaltation of Fullmoon Perversity is fantastically ugly, sullen and feral. Right from the opening of cathedral organs and the piercing wail of the lead guitar you know it's going to be a disturbing whirlwind of ancient chaos, unending in it's brutal assault. The riffs are simple but well crafted, slogging into you with uninterrupted malice while occasional penetrating screeches and solos rear their heads amongst the frantic pinging drums and animalistic vocals; a hideous growl laced in reverb.

The attack is straight forward and unrelenting, almost always a frenetic pace with a few slower, cataclysmic grooves to break up the chaotic battery (Invoke the Black Oblivion for example) with most tracks opening or ending in some frightening noises and samples.

It's unfortunate I missed this one last year but in case you guys did as well here it is. Torturous and rotten, a well executed piece of blackened death metal. Pick this rotten release up in vinyl form at Parasitic Records or on cd over at Dark Descent Records.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Wildernessking - The Writing of Gods in the Sand (2012)

Full Length, Antithetic Records
January 23rd, 2012

Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Region: South Africa

Can't say that much "cascadian" themed black metal has flowed out of South Africa but Wildernessking have adapted that style with a few differences from their North American counterparts. The occasional long brooding riffs are there, winding from furious speeds to slower, warm melodic passages that linger and a great venomous vocal style from the bassist splitting through the atmosphere. However this record is much more complex. The album soars triumphantly with more progressive instrumentals, not necessarily resting on mournful or cold aesthetics but looking towards cosmic themes and breaking through the trappings of the genre.

In other moments their spin on the more traditional elements championed by the genre is refreshing — one thing that helps here is that unlike a lot of their peers they manage to keep every track under 10 minutes long, showing off the ability to edit themselves while managing to have the album feeling huge, atmospheric. While I do love me some 20 minute epics without a doubt (and often prefer them) it's nice to see that, like Obolus for instance, Wildernessking manage to break from this and still provide just as much passionate writing.

Every instrument is clear too. Not only do the guitars have a wonderful biting tone, the bass pushes past everything rather than being relegated under everything else and the drumming (which is a more notable aspect here) is dynamic, tight, powerful; capable of blasting as well as more subtle, gentle touches. The feeling that something grand is being constructed before you in each song is immediately felt.

This is some great black metal I think you guys should check out. It's hard to believe this is their first record. If you want a cd copy you can get one from the Antithetic Records store, or you can listen to the record on bandcamp; and if you want to contribute to the upcoming vinyl press then go to the fundraising page and pay what you want. I would suggest doing so.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Narrows - Painted (2012)

Full Length, Deathwish Inc.
February 28th, 2012

Genre: Metalcore/Hardcore
Region: USA/UK

"New Distances" was a great first release from Narrows and being composed of the talented members from Botch, Unbroken, These Arms Are Snakes, Tropics, etc. there's no question as to why. I've been waiting for their next release eagerly and now Painted has appeared. Despite the off-putting cover art the music within is outstanding, a worthy sequel.

Potent and thick rhythms on bass and guitar heaped with twang, dissonance and feedback draped with infuriated, hoarse yells make each track high energy — most last to about the 2-3 minute mark and manage to stay dynamic. One track ("Greenland") is a behemoth 8 minute powerhouse injected with 3 minutes of cycling noise/feedback, bare drums and violent roars, only to collapse into slower (but still loud) chunky procession with a lot of reverb on the lead; not unlike "Gypsy Kids" on New Distances. The writing is as solid as ever, nothing runs too long and the production is sharp. There are some seriously addictive grooves that demand the volume be cranked to let that bass growl shake the foundations, especially on that last track.

Much thanks to The Elementary Revolt for getting on top of this one first. Highly recommended, don't judge from the cover guys. Narrows set out another win in the hardcore arena with Painted. You can pick this up soon from Deathwish Inc. as well as their other releases.

-link removed on request-

Skagos - Anarchic (2012)

Full Length, Self-released
June 21st, 2012

Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Region: Canada

The frozen earth lays still, dead but ever dreaming…
Dreams spurred by the morrowind, chilled by snows of yesteryear.

The follow-up to the soul crushingly beautiful, visceral masterpiece "Ást" has long been in the wind — presumed dead (by me at least). A bit of news this morning from the hard working guys at Hammer Smashed Sound and The Flenser reveals however that the members of Skagos have decided to put the first side of this lurking work of genius up on bandcamp for streaming. The plan is to raise money to get Anarchic pressed in physical form for a true release date and I for one desperately want this to happen. All they're asking is a mere $2.50 to download Side A: a 23 minute hypnotic raw journey through the mist shrouded dark undergrowth of the cascadian wilderness, delivering a huge dose of sorrow and longing. This is easily worth the measly amount charged and it's only the first side which has me greatly anticipating what is locked away in Side B.

If you haven't heard Ást yet, go listen to it (and download it for free). It's a highly praised yet little known gem which doesn't disappoint. I highly recommend all readers who enjoy it to support these guys so we can get this glorious album to finally see the light of day. They are committed to releasing this themselves which means what you donate will go straight towards just that, and if you honestly can't afford it the guys even suggest just ripping it from the stream. I believe however that once you listen to this sample you'd be fooling yourself if you said it wasn't worth the money.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Undergang - Til Døden Os Skiller (2012)

Full Length, Xtreem Music
February 1st, 2012

Genre: Death Metal
Region: Denmark

It's the new Undergang, building on a previous demo and it fucking demolishes all in it's path. Raw, uncompromising, heavy, ugly, violent, hacking it's way through your brain — you couldn't ask for a more mighty display.

I shouldn't have to say much here in order for a death metal fan to snap this up without question. I will thank JGD again, as well as Haxan of Forever Cursed and JT over at Coffinpslams for getting it out there for me to pass along. I recommend picking this crusty stack of old school greatness over at Xtreem Music ASAP.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Vilipend - Love Left To Rot... (2009)

EP, Independent / Self-released
March 2nd, 2009

Genre: Metalcore/Hardcore
Region: Canada

Gotta thank A389 Recordings for making me aware of this group. Vilipend come to you from the great white north known as Canada bringing a seething mass of chaotic and angry metalcore in the form of 5 tracks on Love Left To Rot.

Chaos and general pissed negativity are the focus here with a smattering of bouncy, gritty, sometimes angular, sometimes melodic riffs and bass lines with a few massive slams expertly placed for maximum force; cracking your skull wide open. Mangled frantic vocals are laid over top of this, furious in their lyrical utterance of distaste and bitterness, with precise percussive clattering sitting comfortably behind it all. Rare moments of quiet/clean riffing are careful interspersed between the high energy, scratchy and strident rhythms; sometimes just leaving the bass to rumble along.

Vilipend know how write and slam down riffs with cacophonous impact. For those of you who enjoy Curl Up And Die, Botch, Narrows, Kiss It Goodbye, Deadguy — you know, all that hard hitting chaotic hardcore/metalcore — this is for you. They put this one up for free and they have a new 7" out too which is pretty fucking sweet. I suggest you check it out as well as their live album.

DOWNLOAD (Bandcamp)
DOWNLOAD (Mediaifire)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Abyssal - Denouement (2012)

Full Length, Independent / Self-released
January 2nd, 2012

Genre: Technical Death Metal/Black Metal
Region: UK

I suggest you wander over to The Living Doorway and thank JGD for unearthing this contorted beauty. Do it.

Abyssal are channeling Ulcerate and Deathspell Omega through an old school lens with Denouement, laying down a shadowy atmosphere with hints of brutal technicality and frightening dissonance without blatantly copying the aforementioned acts.

Twisted, obscure riffs are laced with a ashen atmosphere — at times technical like Gorguts with some taps and bends, occasionally peppered with chunky brutality, and at other moments more drawn out chords or temolos resembling atmospheric black metal; maybe even Blut Aus Nord or Ascension. The drumming is clear and rapid fire though a little out of place sometimes, not quite reaching Ulcerate's unmatched power and grace. The vocals are a mix of putrid roars and slithering whispered rasps hiding behind the instrumental disarray. It's all very seamless too, creative and filthy with quite a few surprises while managing to conjure some hugely addictive hooks amongst the seemingly haphazard blistering fury.

Definitely find time for this one if you enjoy bizarre death and black metal. Not only do these guys craft some disturbing black/death metal but they're kind enough to put this up for free on bandcamp for your listening/downloading pleasure. If you feel so inclined you can also pick up a physical copy over at their store to support them.

DOWNLOAD (Bandcamp)

Timeghoul - 1992-1994 Discography (2012)

Compilation, Dark Descent Records
February 1st, 2012

Genre: Death Metal
Region: USA

A gem of a band buried long ago. Timeghoul's two demos were released in the early '90's and then they split up, but the gentlemen over at Dark Descent Records were cool enough to re-release them in the form of this compilation.

I'm not going to write much about this as others have done far better then I could in describing it. This is some truly excellent and unique old school death metal with a few spacey twists, taking slices of Death and Atheist and blending their astral bleakness into it to create a dark, terrifying, cavernous atmosphere all their own. This shit rips a hole in time, space and surely your face with sharp, creeping, scorching riffs, tight quirky drumming, deep and fast growls — all powerful and uncompromising.

Highly recommended old school echoing horror. I urge you to make your way over to Dark Descent Records and pick this terrific chunk of forgotten death metal before you miss out. Mine's on its way as I write this.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Momentum - Whetting Occam's Razor (2011)

Genre: Dark Hardcore
Region: UK

This is some incredibly powerful, dark hardcore from 4 members of Light Bearer.

Young and In The Way - Amen (2010)

Full Length, A389 Recordings / Swarm of Nails
June 17th, 2010

Genre: Blackened Hardcore/Crust
Region: USA

Since I've already posted their other albums I figured this one should be up here too.

Young and In The Way's first full release Amen compared to their more recent releases displays how far they've come. This album has several tracks that eventually were reworked into I Am Not What I Am and here they sound just slightly different in terms of vocals, production, writing, pacing, etc. "Earth" eventually turns into "Love and Terror Laid the Stone", "Worrier" becomes "The Chaotic and Bloody World Around Us", and the second half of "White Light" is put into "Leaving Nothing But the Absence of Everything" — the first half is slow and sludgy with a nice build to this point.

The rest of the tracks are unique to this release, blasted through their signature style of blackened crusty hardcore with relentless vitriol. The first track is an instrumental and very chunky, followed by Dark Seed which has some wicked gallops and slow chords, and Eye of Providence is full of twangy dissonant riffage. The final track (opening with rainfall) almost hits atmospheric sludge territory. It's 13 minutes with slower chords bringing a melancholic atmosphere swelling up reverb and sparse amounts of vocals until the midway point. It quiets down after this before hitting some crushing powerchords, thick bass lines and  launching into a reverby tremolo riff finale.

Amen is an excellent record showing off early on how much Young and In The Way are capable of in terms of blending genres, keeping everything tight and powerful. A389 Recordings just repressed this and I Am Not What I Am as one double LP (in black or black/white split) so pick it up while you still can, or listen to it and get other copies on their bandcamp.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sutekh Hexen - Larvae (2012)

Full Length, Handmade Birds Records
February 21st, 2012

Genre: Black Metal/Noise
Region: USA

Another disturbing and hazy excursion from Sutekh Hexen.

Larvae envelops the listener slowly, far more incremental and atmospheric than Luciform's brash attack. Isvar Savasana begins creeping with a hypnotic energy. Swirling and frigid, crackling and dragging through bleak static/noise before an ebbing wall of chaos falls upon you, turning into more disturbing scratchy tremolo riffs and fuzzed shrieking. This halts suddenly, morphing into ethereal chimes and a synth-like build only to jolt back into the dark fog of disarray: warped riffs and faint frantic drumming.

This fades and cycles slowly into the next track Lead Us In Warfare. Opening with an evil crawling distorted guitar and bass groove as thunder underneath with sharp discordant sounds circles endlessly. This leads to a break and then heavily distorted vocals with the the groove behind it, eventually shifting slightly in tone and rumbling forth like a fast approaching avalanche before leaving only the bass line. It's like a ritual being performed beneath an collapsing mountain.

Finally we reach the mammoth La Det Bli Lys (Let The Be Light). Cycling samples, creaking and scraping over top a cavernous static while glimpses of a clean guitar surface slowly. As this grows pained cries and whispers rear from the darkness as the background static mounts, and a spoken passage is thrust upward with the acoustic passage quickening. The atmosphere is thick at this point, trance-inducing and deep. This proceeds with various sounds peaking over top the eerie clean riffs with a constant cacophony of whispers and noise twisting in the background; it builds so well. A short gap forms as the oppression loses its grip and then a blast of chaos appears once again, spiraling through the entropic wall of sound while a slow groove gradually breaks through — a final crushing blow from this record entrancing you in the last 2 minutes.

Larvae is much different than their last album and shows off an even darker aspect of their sound, calculated and cold with moments of focused chaos. The vinyl for this album is long sold out but the CD is still available over at Handmade Birds, so pick it up while you can. This is the vinyl rip.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pallbearer - Sorrow And Extinction (2012)

Full Length, Profound Lore Records
February 21st, 2012

Genre: Doom Metal
Region: USA

Pallbearer's new record has leaked. I've already ordered my copy but I've listened to it multiple times through their live stream and wow am I impressed. The demo was excellent as was their performance at Rites Of Darkness III (an unexpected highlight of the festival) and this is record goes further — managing to give me goosebumps from the heaviness and despondency layered within.

On Sorrow And Extinction (as on the demo) the vocals are a huge draw for me. A Black Sabbath kind of vibe. They're beautiful, strong and gloomy, very passionate and flow perfectly along side the melancholic, huge, thick riffs to create a wonderful harmony. His voice rings through the suffocating darkness adding much to the cold atmosphere — sometimes they drone and at other times they're sung shaking with melodic majesty, but always exude numbing pain; truly stunning.

Crashing bass licks compliment this dynamic with a deep growl underneath, and a steady beat lifts all this up artfully. Barely reaching a mid pace except for a few moments Sorrow And Extinction steamrolls over you, and with elegance at that. There's five tracks, two of which are reworked from the demo which sound even better than the originals with a few new additions.

The new tracks are so sweet and sad. Foreigner opens with an acoustic melody that soon turns into the fuzzy roar found in the rest of the song, making walls shake with they're sheer might. The vocals on this track are glorious especially near the end. An Offering of Grief pulls you through more lonesome travels at an agonizing pace, a slow crawl of land-splitting riffage and melodic climbs. Near the end coarse yells lead to a brief acoustic interlude only to tumble back into dark territory under a solo. Given To the Grave starts with a low bass lead and choir-like synths, breaking into more full on sad beauty with a clean section soaked in an ethereal atmosphere. This is broken by Brett's sorrowful vocals and crushing, slow grooves and eventually a spacy effect laden solo that plays off the main riff; the tail end is punctuated in this kind of style bringing the album to a close with the heavenly synths fading out.

This is truly an epic, deep journey. Pallbearer do not disappoint and inject their doom with a nod to the oldschool while staying fresh effortlessly. Highly recommended. You can hear this magnificent record streaming at NPR right now, and you should pick it up over at Profound Lore Records too.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)
DOWNLOAD (Mediafire) 320

Plague Widow - Plague Widow EP (2012)

EP, Burninhell Records
February 29th, 2012

Genre: Death Metal/Grindcore/Brutal Death Metal
Region: USA

Undeniably one of the more brutal and horrifying EP's in the grind/death metal genre I've heard since Wormed's Quasineutrality. Think Wormed crossed with Portal and you have a disturbing image of what Plague Widow have created here.

Furious and uncompromising in it's twisted display of death and refined technicality. Plague Widow have packed so many dissonant, tangled riffs in this 15 minute EP it's almost overwhelming. Between ominous spoken samples there are squalls of grotesque growls and guttural croaks, vicious bends and harmonics, and blast beats that smash your face into a pulp mercilessly. At various points they channel Portal (Swarth era) and bring frightening discordant atmosphere to their style, an impressive feat managing to distance itself from any kind of copycat antics. Spiraling horror flows through every devastating track. This is a powerful display of musicianship, focus and writing in all conceivable aspects.

This can't be more highly recommended. And guess what guys? I'm not going to be a cunt with this one. No mediafire link for a while because these guys are putting this up for $2.00 minimum on bandcamp and this EP is easily worth more than that. So support these guys. Either pick this up in physical form from Burninhell Records, or listen to it on bandcamp and get a digital copy. You can also follow them on facebook, which I would encourage as these guys clearly will be killing it well into the future.

DOWNLOAD / BUY (Bandcamp)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sound Asleep - Demo (2009)

Demo, Independent / Self-released

Genre: Doom Metal
Region: Canada

Sound Asleep are a three piece from Toronto that deliver crushing, plunging dark grooves of doom as deep and cold as ocean trenches. Brace yourself for something massive.

Three gargantuan songs leaving gaping craters and swaths of scorched land in their wake. The first track is an intro that is unsettling and cold, while the other two are 13 and 17 minute behemoths of unbearable weight. The guitar and bass riffs here are relentlessly powerful as are the monstrous vocals with the strong, plodding pummeling of drums driving you further into the ground. This demo has such a wicked growl to it with moments of twangy, crooked dissonance, creaking strings, and mounting feedback buried underneath the rumbling. Each track crawls but without meandering or becoming boring — it's just straight, uncompromising oppressive doom. It commands your attention. Rolling over you like a boulder, smashing down on you like a collapsing tower made of granite. It's grooves are addicting and the tone is vicious.

Highly recommended guys. This is fantastic and they put it up for free. How this band is virtually unknown and only has one release to their name is beyond my comprehension but since they're playing some shows soon hopefully I can get some news on what they're up to, grab a copy of this, and experience their destruction first hand. Follow them on facebook and myspace.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

The Sustained Low ‘C’ of Richard Strauss' “Also Sprach Zarathustra” - Rehearsal 2012 (2012)

Demo, Independent / Self-released
August 2nd, 2012

Genre: Black Metal/Progressive Black Metal
Region: Canada

Castevet just announced a tour of Canada before hitting the Maryland Death festival and they're touring with Ensorcelor, Æsahættr, Sound Asleep, Thantifaxath, and these guys — The Sustained Low ‘C’ of Richard Strauss' “Also Sprach Zarathustra”. I'll be seeing them next month which should make for an intense and noisy show so I thought I'd spread the word about them for those who may be interested.

Containing members of Canadian sludge/hardcore band Titan and the bleak and loud ambient/drone outfit Gates, this is a new project that I'm sure some people here will be interested in. Their approach to black metal could be described as something like Krallice and Castevet, maybe even at some points Thantifaxath.

This rehearsal demo has two tracks on it, one 6 minutes and the other almost 14. Overall it's fast paced with many winding tremolo riffs and a general chaotic atmosphere, thick bass riffs keeping up with the guitar, bursts of feedback and noise, blazing drums and harsh, agonized screaming. They really do sound like early Krallice at points. It stays raw and callous but retains a unique ornate flair, sometimes the riffs slow down slightly but for the majority of the demo they're kept frantic, twisting and spiraling endlessly, playing off each other. The tail end of the last track breaks with lots of feedback leading to a lull filled with angry yelling only to kick back in with heavy, addicting gallops for a nice change of pace.

I'd recommend giving this a shot if you like the above mentioned bands, if you like your black metal progressive. For a rehearsal it sounds promising. You can download this on their bandcamp for free.

DOWNLOAD (Bandcamp)
DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Twilight Sad - No One Can Ever Know (2012)

Full Length, Fatcat Records
February 7th, 2012

Genre: Shoegaze/Indie Rock/Post-Punk
Region: Scotland

Ah... the new The Twilight Sad record has arrived, and with some slight shifts in sound compared to previous releases too. There's far more synth/post-punkish or new wavy influence this time around while the guitars slide back a little more but this does not bring the album down at all to me. Their style has slowly been shifting with each record and it's never fucked up their gloomy atmosphere or ability to write quality tunes.

Once again James' vocals pull you in with that hypnotic, heavy accent and excellent cadence while the lyrics still encompass strange innocence, familial struggles and not-knowing with relatability despite their quirky nature and structure. As mentioned the synths are pushed to the front, shining and creeping over all the tracks without becoming tiresome and really bring a 80's sort of vibe into their noisey, shoegazey sound — it sets this album apart from the rest of their catalogue without a doubt. Guitar is still laced in feedback and reverb hazing the background up with a thick bass lead in front of it and steady, strong drumming acting perfectly to draw everything together with some great beats. No One Can Ever Know is momentarily upbeat at points but this always collapses into a melancholic tone with a spectral touch.

Clearly another win for The Twilight Sad. I really like the change in direction they've taken with this one. A depressive, mysterious, ghostly journey soak up. Pick this up in whatever form you please over at Fatcat Records if you enjoy it, I'll be picking up my copy when they pass through Toronto at the end of this month.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Pharaoh - Bury The Light (2012)

Full Length, Cruz Del Sur Music
February 24th, 2012

Genre: Power Metal
Region: USA

Not sure how well that last Pharaoh post went over but fuck it — here's their newest album Bury The Light.

A nice even spread of medium pace and blazing tracks fill up this album which just falls shy of 50 minutes. Stacked to the clouds with heavy melodic shredding retaining the edge of conservatism in terms of technicality, dips into acoustic territory, raspy powerful vocals that have a rare touch of cynic-like modulation in two tracks, strong bass presence right beside the dazzling guitars that holds its own and bubbles over the guitar on occasion, while the drums are a little far back but still strong.

In general the songs are more hit and miss here than on previous releases in my opinion, almost every odd number track is quite good with the exception of the latter half of the album which plays through more smoothly, far more solid in terms of impact. There are still some great tracks with catchy riffs and some awesome solos exuding that classic grand atmosphere you would expect.

Another solid entry into their category. On the first listen Bury The Light is more tame and slightly less memorable than Be Gone or The Longest Night but there's still some nice shredding to be heard. It's up for streaming until the end of the week over here and can be preordered on various formats on the labels store starting tomorrow. No doubt this will be a post that gets taken down before any others by the label/band so get it while you can

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Charon - Sulphur Seraph (2012)

Full Length, Sepulchral Voice Records
January 7th, 2012

Genre: Black/Death Metal
Region: Germany

I've found myself thanking Haxan over at Forever Cursed a lot lately.

Charon have been active since 1997 but this is their first full length, so one should expect that with all that time and huge gulfs between releases that this record would be of a high quality — and I assure you it is. Sulphur Seraph is a writhing tangled heap of blackened death metal akin to Corpsessed, Mitochondrion, and Grave Ritual.

Throughout the record you'll hear wailing and creaking bends fade in and out under the main thrashy, blackened riffs which become like a siren warning of the impending doom. Occasionally the riffs stray from the black metal formula and hit death territory, sometimes dissonant and sometimes more straight forward but always devastating. This is covered by a a storm of percussion and vocals that flail wildly through different styles: spoken and deep, beastly growls, black rasps, even a touch of brutal death metal gutturalness/squeals are touched on briefly. None of it feels out of place and only bolsters the ancient and apocalyptic mood that washes over the whole album.

Fucking great blend of oldschool and newer styles of death and black metal, a crushing debut without question. You can pick up the cd over at the label's webstore.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Rituals - Rituals (2012)

Full Length, Alerta Antifascista
February 20th, 2012

Genre: Atmospheric Sludge/Post-Metal/Doom Metal
Region: USA

This is the first album from Rituals and wow what a debut it is. A mountainous, beautiful sound is captured by these guys that straddles sludge, post-metal and doom with a sliver of hardcore too. There are five towering, atmospheric tracks to be heard (three hit the 10 minute mark) full of rumbling, fuzzy waves of ritualistic dark sludge that cascade through your ears and fill them with cold fog. Each track bleeds perfectly into each other making the album feel even more like one long, lonely sonic ceremony.

Reverb and warbled effects permeate every corner of the album, amassing from a low ambient whisper up to a soaring, loud, teetering fortress of shadowy doom. Big doom riffs punctuated these moments that repeat creating a hypnotic vibration pulling you in, then slow down even further to envelop you in that already dense, oppressive cloud. Vocals take a Seven Sisters of Sleep and Isis approach albeit at a slower pace but with all the ferocity cranked up around swathes of smooth bass and slow drums. A massive shaking boulder of sound that is paced well, hits hard and demands to be played at high volume.

Another surprising and excellent album of 2012, and once again made free by the artists (you can also hear it in full over here). Very generous. Why not support them by picking up the vinyl over at Doom Rock? Recommended for fans of Isis, Omega Massif, Tides, Lento, Cult of Luna, Atriarch, etc.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Led Astray - Denying the Inevitable (2005) / In Ways Unforessen (2009)

Full Length, Unsigned/Independent
March 27th, 2009

Genre: Technical Death Metal
Region: Netherlands

Often there are bands that create high quality, tightly written, skilled music, put out one or two releases and disappear before their music spreads and attains the recognition it deserves. I feel that Led Astray are one of the bands that fit this description so I've decided to make a repost (sort of) of this bands only material: their demo Denying the Inevitable and their only full length record In Ways Unforeseen; the latter is the primary focus of this post however. Virtually unknown but incredibly impressive and exemplary of the style of technical death metal that crushes and shreds evading soulless wankery.


In Ways Unforeseen is an album that I cannot praise enough. When I first heard it I was overwhelmed by both the complexity of the skill and writing on display as well as the simplicity of it's direction and style, their ability to blend thrash elements with technical death metal seamlessly in a refreshing way alongside the philosophical lyrical concepts and excellent production.

While clearly tech death there is a strong melodic element injected into the majority of songs. The riffs on display are of such a high quality, carefully thought out and dense with great attention to detail and structure; this is all covered in a subtle otherworldly atmosphere. The relentless thrash side spikes to a blinding pace with venomous technical riffs suddenly giving way to a more dissonant set of chords, only to fall back onto more breakneck tremolo madness, giant palm-muted gallops or bouncy, serpentine hammer-ons.

Moments of furious alternate picking are unbelievable and numerous, as are the thick powerchords that accent them perfectly among limited use of pinched harmonics. A few times things slow down (usually near the end of a track) to a chunky set of powerchords that are undeniably heavy. Only one solo including a sweep appears in the course of this record (on Be The Seeker) and it is short but effective; instead the majority of In Ways Unforeseen is focused on the strong rhythms that plow over you without pause. 

The vocals range from guttural murmurs, beastly roars, brutal death metal squeals, and harsh raspy screams. Drumming is all over the place with double kick blasts and crashing symbol play, never getting to Cryptopsy levels of creativity but providing a solid foundation for all the other elements. Bass lines peak out every so often, occasionally a quiet moment where every instrument drops out leaving the bass on its lonesome is heard. Lyrics surround existential themes and astral considerations fitting the complex nature of the album well.

When it comes to the 2005 Demo, you can hear when comparing the two there was a huge amount of growth between the years both albums were recorded. One song from the demo appears on the full length (Moral Perception) and serves as a good point of comparison, especially in terms of production; admittedly though due to the production the bass lines are far more audible. The demo is no slouch and contains five other excellent tracks that display the same unique and powerful style found on In Ways Unforeseen: thick, technical and thrashy riffs that have a melodic flair without compromising the brutality.

I highly recommend both of these records for any fans of death metal. It's a 40 minute masterpiece. CD copies used to be sold on their official site but unfortunately the site is no more since they split, so I'm not sure where you can pick it up. If you can find it though grab that shit immediately. One of my favorite albums of 2009 and the last decade.

EDIT: I've been told you can still grab copies from Deleterious.nl or you can shoot an email over to jona.rovers@gmail.com. Do it.

Bonus: Denying the Inevitable DEMO (2005)

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Pharaoh - Be Gone (2008)

Full Length, Cruz Del Sur Music
April 24th, 2008

Genre: Power Metal/Heavy Metal
Region: USA

You guys may have noticed that absolutely no power metal has been posted on Equivoke (much to the relief of most of you I suspect). I'm sure if there have ever been any purists, elitists, strict old-schoolers, etc. that have stumbled upon this blog they were probably irritated by the lack of trueness and left quickly to do write up on how hipsters are ruining metal.

First: this isn't a post to appease cunts like that. Second: truthfully I was never a huge fan of power metal. I always found it to be far too cheesy and filled with pseudo-epic wank, and while I like bands such as Falconer, Blind Guardian, Iced Earth and Sabaton I do not listen to the genre much nor do I enjoy it nearly as much as other genres. Pharaoh (like Falconer) are a band in the genre I've always had a soft spot for though.

As on previous releases the writing is very solid and complex on Be Gone. Lyrical themes run the gamut of fantasy and war situations and there are some excellent technical, melodic and memorable riffs and brilliant solos spread throughout with a healthy dose of restraint on their skills, so as to not fall into overblown wank. A quality that is much appreciated. The amount of cheese is minimal (no keyboards), the vocals are raspy while retaining the Iron Maiden-esque style, production is great, etc. Be Gone is an impressive entry in a genre that is often neglected, managing to retain the key elements while injecting some new life into the style with great results.

This is one of those posts that will probably be very unpopular based on the genre alone but I'd encourage you to give Be Gone a spin. You can listen to it in full on bandcamp. Pharaoh have put out some quality shit, and they have a new album out in a few weeks titled Bury The Light which is one reason I was prompted to post this up. You can pick this up over at the label's page if you like what you hear.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Obolus - Lament (2012)

EP, Flenser Records
February 1st, 2012

Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Region: USA

So the gentlemen over at The Flenser have just made the first EP from newcomers Obolus available for free for a limited time. Their 2011 demo was very promising and for those who were waiting for the next release you won't be disappointed.

Opening with the sound of rainfall and sprinkling these samples throughout the 20 minute crawl, soaring mournful atmospherics are what you'll encounter in Lament. Building on the strong foundations of their demo and pushing the screaming guitars and drum blasts alongside spectral shrieks to extreme levels before settling down for a slower, depressive journey. Brief moments of shaky clean riffs evoke dark and misty mountain ranges and abandoned, haunted cabins long neglected.

Lament then can shift to rawer levels of black metal as well as the riffs conjure storms of pain and grief, pummeling the listener with relentless barrages of percussion, subtle keys and animalistic screams. Darkly melodic and smothered in foggy sadness it is a great progression of their style.

As with the demo, Lament's approach to the genre is to concentrate the hazey, damp ritual of modern black metal into far shorter songs than is the norm without losing any impact and indeed sometimes increasing it.

Highly recommended. A powerful, focused and sorrow filled release sure to be one to creep into the top  of many fans' lists this year. The vinyl release will be coming up soon so keep watching The Flenser for news on it's arrival, until then listen to this wicked record on Obolus' bandcamp and download it for free.

DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Witch In Her Tomb - Witch In Her Tomb (2012)

Some really dirty, really crusty black metal. Crunchy guitars, soaring, reverb-drenched screams...Great stuff.

Artist: Witch In Her Tomb
Album: Witch In Her Tomb
Genre: Black Metal