Album Thoughts | The Well-Wisher: The Colours Fade

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As I recently said on my Facebook page, Depressive Black Metal is one of those “needle in the haystack” genres; there is a lot of good stuff, but you have to dig through a lot of crap to find it. A good chunk of the genre, unfortunately, is just a slew of teenagers making shitty, incomprehensible messes of songs with poorly played guitars, a Fruity Loops drum machine and pre-pubescent sounding screams. That’s the shit that you have to dig through to find the good stuff, and the good stuff is the acts who actually know what they’re doing and are able to convey strong emotion with potent, gloomy melodies and tortured shrieks under dismal, murky, old school Black Metal riffage and instrumentation. That’s the stuff that makes the search worth it. Bands like Xasthur, Silencer, Thy Light, Gris, Be Persecuted, Abyssic Hate & more recently, L.A.C.K. set fine examples of how it’s done the more atmospheric way, while the likes of Lifelover, Psychonaut 4 & Vanhelga brought a little more of a melodic feel to it, but did it just as good. This band and album, to me, also does it pretty goddamn well.

This is the second album by Finnish one-man act, The Well-Wisher. I discovered him via Bandcamp a few months ago and really dug what I heard initially. It took me a while to finally give this one a listen, but I’ve been on a Depressive BM kick the last couple days, so I finally did. This one for sure stands on the good side of the spectrum! This is a very good serving of Blackened audio negativism done right. It’s exactly what you would expect by the more raw side of the genre; ugly, murky, echoey and cold as fuck. Nothing fancy, nothing deep, just pure misery and anguish flowing through your headphones and flooding your ear canals to drown your happiness away and make you just as pissy. Tracks that stand out to me like A Never-Ending Day and Time-Distorting Hatred are two of the loudest and most aggressive tracks on here that really got me invested. Then there’s The Ghosts of Past Mistakes and I Don’t Need Hope, I Need Death that show me more atmospherically and keeps my attention all the same. The overall production actually gives off a pretty fucked up and creepy vibe, which is always a plus for this kind of stuff. That’s what really kept my interest.

Depressive Black Metal isn’t for everyone. It’s an acquired taste and some even look at it as a “side effect” of Black Metal, but again, for that, the blame can be put on the amateurs in their bedrooms with too much time and not enough talent on their hands who think pro tools are the answer to everything (younger me is also guilty of it), or perhaps those who have tried it just don’t have an ear for the super dark and disturbing side of things. Also understandable, I guess, but stuff like this, I feel can really prove otherwise if given the chance or even the time of day by those people, but even if that did happen, again, some just can’t handle the more noisy and dissonant style. Different strokes. Anyway, even if this dude makes all this in his bedroom or apartment or whatever, it’s pretty damn impressive and a lot of the amateurish acts that make stuff like this hard to find can possibly learn from it. Teenagers have short attention spans, so I doubt it. Whatever.

So overall, not to ramble on it too much, but this is a very good serving of competent DSBM or Depressive Black, or Depressive SUICIDAL Black Metal or whatever the ever-loving fuck you want to call it. Either way, it’s a very atmospheric, very dark and very brooding 45-minute ride of an album that I can only hope to give more exposure to with this review. Again, not for everyone, but if you’re like me and looking for something fucked up, potent and completely disconsolate, I recommended it! Miserable, nihilistic sounds for miserable, nihilistic souls. Plain and simple.

Until next time.

-Scvm

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Album Thoughts | Vallenfyre: Fear Those Who Fear Him

Strap in, folks. This is a wild one.

For me these days, it’s not every day a Death Metal album really catches me off guard and enamors me. However, I get at least one a year that accomplishes that. In 2014, it was Necrophagia’s WhiteWorm Cathedral, in 2015, it was Culture Killer’s Throes of Mankind, and last year, it was Blood Incantation’s Starspawn and Gatecreeper’s Sonoran Depravation. Even this year thus far, just a couple weeks ago, I got one for this year courtesy of the almighty Impetuous Ritual, as Blight Upon Martyred Sentience absolutely incinerated me. Now, I have second one that made 2017 that much better for me in the land of Cookie Monster growls.

Vallenfyre is a band that took me a while to get into. They were one of those bands that just weren’t on my radar for a while, until one day, it finally clicked upon a random listen of Splinters. I was thoroughly impressed with what I heard. So, when I learned of a new album on the horizon, I marked my calendar and looked straight ahead to the day I finally got my filthy claws (and ears) on it. And was this one ever worth the goddamn wait! This is a vicious, brutal and outright face-ripping slab of old school, kinda Swedish-style Death Metal with hints of Doom, Crust and even some Black. A very crushing style with some top-notch production via the great Kurt Ballou that made it sound as filthy and head-crushing as old school Death Metal can sound. The overall sound to me, strikes similarities somewhere between Asphyx, Bloodbath and Grave. Even Gregor Mackintosh’s vocals sound a little Martin Van Drunen-ish. No complaints here for that. The music itself has a little bit of a ”Death n Roll” feel to it with some punky riffs and grooves via the dirty and sharp as fuck sounding guitars, bass and drums. This is everything I long for in a good Death Metal album and it’s a shame that that’s so hard for me to find nowadays.

Starting things off with Born to Decay, probably one of the best intros I’ve heard in recent memory, that does a great job winding you up and preparing you for what’s to come, then drops you down the hole that is Messiah; the first of the absolute beasts of songs that are going to tear you from asshole to appetite throughout this composition of audio carnage. Then things get a little groovier with Degeneration with it’s Crust Punky-style riffs, then get crushingly slow and Doomy with An Apathetic Grave, and vicious again with the blasty Nihilist. The style that these guys exhibit on this album is very versatile, with a ton of twists and turns, putting each element they choose to goddamn good use. Other tracks that fucked me up the most are the dirty, sleazy Amongst the Filth and Cursed from the Womb; both of which do just as good of a job as the rest mentioned with their sheer viciousness and versatility between slow and draggy, groovy and Crusty and intense and blasty. Those are the ones that stood out, but the rest of them did their job just as effectively.

So, for fucks sake, if you’re a Death Metal fan in any capacity; if it’s your favorite genre, if it’s just one of your favorite genres, or if you’re a somewhat jaded fan like me, and you haven’t given these guys the time of day yet, please do! I implore you! Give all 3 of their albums a listen and even if it doesn’t click right away, give them a few more listens after. It just might and they just might end up becoming one of your favorites, like they did for me. This album is a fucking ripper and proof that Death Metal can still offer up something unique and completely devastating to even the most hardened of listeners. Now alongside Impetuous Ritual, Vallenfyre have had the biggest impression on me this year thus far in the Death department and they have skyrocketed themselves high the fuck up in my ranks. All 3 albums put out by these brutal Brits are excellent, but this one might be their best and most creative yet. Even production-wise, which further proves that anything Kurt Ballou touches is bound to turn to gold. They were a grower for me at first, but they became a giant.

Until next time.

-Scvm

Quick Album Thoughts | EPs

So, I just offered my mini-reviews on a bunch of full-length albums that I’ve heard in the last few months that I just didn’t have the time to review in full. Also in that time, there’s also a good number of Extended Plays that I got to check out. Many of which I was anticipating for a while. Now, I save my full reviews for full albums and I don’t usually review EPs. I just feel like the smaller-length stuff is best fit for collective quick reviews. So therefore, i’m presenting yet another batch of mini-reviews; this time of all the new EPs that have ravaged my eardrums in the last 4-5 months. Including some pretty damn good ones.

These 12 offerings from pretty much each genre that tickles my fancy (except for a few), much like the full-lengths, are mostly good to great, with a couple downers. Bands that I already dig and can trust delivered, as well as the ones I was less familiar with. All in all, this is best list that I could accumulate from the last few months without adding too many, and you can expect more of these in the future. Hopefully these will give some of you some good new discoveries, as a lot of these were such for me.

So, here we go. Read on and enjoy. EPs:

Fever Nest: Black Carrion Foul

Starting off with some filthy, rifftastic Punky Black Metal straight outta Ohio. The debut EP from Fever Nest offers up a good 20 minutes of some raw, nasty, head-bashing blackened goodness that will savagely pummel you from start to finish. Dirty, raw riffs, snarling vocals, jamming drums and all around blasphemous chaos. Reminds me a lot of Cult Widow. Very promising up-and-coming bunch and I look forward to what they have in store next. Give a listen!

Ancst: Furnace

Next we have the latest release from German up and comers, Ancst, who released a pretty good full-length last year. This is pretty much more of the the same fast, loud and straightforward Blackened Crust filled with tremolo riffs, fast, sharp drumming and raspy, angry yells. Their style reminds me a little of Skitsystem or Martyrdod, but with a bit more of a Post-Hardcore influence. Still as good as those two nonetheless. Short, sweet, to the point and in your face from front to back. Recommended if you’re into Blackened Hardcore or Crust. Or chaotic Hardcore in general.

Nordjevel: Krigsmakt

The sophomore release by another fresh, budding act straight out of Norway. Nordjevel are a really good new group who released a damn good full-length early last year. This 3-song EP is just as good. Blasty, intense Black Metal with really good riffs and super harsh shrieks, very similar to later Immortal or Kampfar. Very clean production-wise, but very intense and strident. Might not please fans of the more traditional, dirtier side of Black Metal (which hey, I love me some of that too), but still really damn good and very much worth a shot. I look forward to what these dudes have up their sleeve next. They’re going places fast.

Recalcitrant: Cancerous Being

Next, we have another gift from the Grindviolence gods in the debut EP from young bunch from Los Angeles. This is simply 5 minutes of raw, filthy, ruthless Grindcore-riddled Powerviolence that will use every short second of it’s run-time to kill a good amount of your ear cells with ease. Nothing fancy, just fast, grimy riffs, blasty drums and intense growls that many Death Metal bands wish they could pull off. Short, sweet, to the point and downright head-crushing. Highly recommended!

Urskumug: The Throne for My Ego

Uhh… Behemoth?… Is that You?

If there’s one thing i’m not a fan of… well, can’t fucking stand, rather, it’s blatant other band-worship. Bands who are blatant ripoffs of other, more established and notable ones, sounding like a watered down clone of the original. Bands like Caladan Brood (Summoning), Talanas (Akercocke), Hate (Behemoth), Fetal Decay (Dying Fetus… could have been a bit more subtle) and a vast majority of the Stoner Doom genre (Black Sabbath) are just a few examples of this. To me, this comes off as either a major lack of creativity or a cheap power-grab for recognition. It’s very off-putting. This band is another example. This entire EP is made up of pure Behemoth worship. I could have sworn I actually WAS listening to Behemoth a few times during it. The music itself isn’t bad, but I just can’t get into a band that sounds too much like another band. The original already exists and there is no need for a copy.

So, this EP just didn’t do it for me, so i’m not going to say too much about it. The music is fine, very reminiscent of Thelma 6 & Zos Kia Kultus era Behemoth, but just TOO reminiscent. The vocals are a carbon-copy of Nergal’s too. It’s a mess. So this one just wasn’t for me. Bands taking influence from other bands is fine, but have some originality. Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. It’s annoying and depthless.

Skaphe: Untitled

Continuing in the Blackened Death Metal department, next we have some ugly, nightmarish noise made by these Icelandic blasphemers. Skaphe are a very promising group of up and comers who have already released 2 strong full-lengths of terrifying, dismal Blackened goodness that tear your soul apart on your first listen. This new offering is no different. This is one continuous 22-minute track of non-stop atmospheric terror that takes you on a short but effective ride through a world of shrill blasphemy and complete irreverence for your ear cells or general well-being. Much like Impetuous Ritual and Portal, this band is capable of making what resembles the deepest, darkest circles of Hell in audio form. This is guaranteed to please any fiend of all things vile and unpleasant. Highly recommended for those folks. Their first two albums as well. Great fucking stuff!

A Pregnant Light: Devotion Unlaced

One of the bands that got a review for Hipster Week a while back for his album My Game Doesn’t Have a Name, that I shockingly ended up liking, is back with his latest 4-song offering of melancholic Post-Hardcore laced with some subtle hints of Black Metal that creates this unique blend of cold and bleak but vibrant and energetic Post-Blackened Hardcore (best way I can describe it) that although may be brushed off by some as another product of the ”Hipster Metal” craze, doesn’t try to blatantly pass itself off as Black Metal at all; it just borrows a tiny spec of it to add to something unique and totally different. I can respect that and that’s what makes this so interesting to me. It’s on it’s own plane of existence and doesn’t try to be something it’s not, and the music is actually interesting and doesn’t bore me to tears, unlike some other bands that week.

This is another great offering by this fellow and it’s just as good and catchy as the full-length, it has some very catchy riffs and grooves and intensely yelled vocals under a dreary atmosphere that you can’t help but vibe to. Highly recommended for anyone interested in Post-Hardcore or just looking for something different and out there.

Ploughshare: Literature of Piss

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Onto the last bit of Blackened goodness for now. This is the debut EP and second overall release by these purveyors of dark, visceral Black Metal in the vein of some of today’s prominent acts of the uglier side of things like Blaze of Perdition or Svarttjern. Full of gnarly and sometimes eerie riffs, snarling shrieks and blast beats galore with occasional slow, doomy breaks. It includes a 17-minute track that demonstrates that best. If you’re looking for Black Metal that’s loud and dirty but not overly-produced, this is a short but really good one to check out. I’m intrigued to see what comes from these guys next.

Future Terror: We’re All Fucked

Next we have a demo by this Richmond, Virginia bunch that I found through Neil Jameson (of Krieg)’s Dark Hardcore recommendations list on No Clean Singing. This is the debut release by Future Terror, and they’ve already left an impression on me. This is 15 minutes of raw, crusty, old school-injected Hardcore, similar to bands like Busted Outlook or Bloodkrow Butcher. Just a simple, quick head smashing in the form of dirty, gnarly riffs and angry, dismal vocals that attack full force from start to finish. Great for fans of old school, hard-hitting Crust-infused Hardcore, so definitely recommended if you’re in that group. I look forward to what comes next from these dudes.

Intestinal Disgorge: Life Sucks and I Blame You

As if the utter hellish lunacy of their latest full-length wasn’t enough, these maniacs have another offering to destroy you with. This time it’s the 10-minute EP Life Sucks and I Blame You. Nothing too different from Sonic Shrapnel, but you can bet your sweet ass it’s just as effective! The same chaotic, deranged and sonically terrifying noise that their last good number of releases have given us. Just as much as the new album, I highly recommend giving this a listen. Just as insane and just as fantastic.

Throat Breach: Impotent God

Formerly known as Napalm Meth, this band from Kansas City, MO (or the Midwest cesspool, as they call it), now known as Throat Breach (much better name), are becoming one of my favorite acts of the Grindcore & Powerviolence spectrum. Because that’s exactly what they deliver. This EP is 4 quick but effective tracks of raw, vicious, unapologetic and straightforward Grindviolence that will tear you to shreds with 0 effort in the brief playing time that it has. Just a measly 5 minutes long, but a very violent and intense 5 minutes for sure. No fancy riffs, just a good beating that only a band of veteran Grinders can give out. Excellent stuff. I’ll also be reviewing their new LP, Helpless shortly.

Culture Killer: S/T

Last, but sure as fuck not least, we have the final release (sadly) from one of my favorite current acts who released one of my favorite albums of 2015, the devastating Throes of Mankind (which i’ll be doing a review for in the near future). These guys play a relentless and creative mix of Death Metal, Crust, Hardcore, Thrash and any other element that works. Throes became an instant favorite of mine from my first listen of it and I was devastated at the news that they’re calling it quits. I was, however, ecstatic to find out that this was coming out before they did go. I had to hear it right away.

Short story short, it’s just as heavy, just as brutal and just as relentless as it’s predecessor. This time, even exhibiting a bit of a Slam element as well, which again, they make work. Again, nothing fancy, just a quick, to the point beatdown with some heavy riffs, bassey, pounding drums and versatile vocals ranging from growls, yells and snarls coming from a vicious, relentless throat. Overall, another excellent release by these guys and it sucks to see them go, but I look forward to seeing what other projects come out of it.

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And that’s all she wrote for now. Pretty interesting bunch of EPs overall. Again, hopefully these make for some good finds for some of you. There are a lot of gems here. I’ll definitely be doing more of these for EPs, demos and maybe even splits in the foreseeable future. It may take a few months, but they’ll come. I’m also planning on bringing back Random Recs. So, expect that too!

So, that’s it for now. New reviews and other stuff coming soon!

Until next time.

-Scvm

 

Quick Album Thoughts | May – July 2017

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, and for good reason. I’ve been waiting a few months to give myself a fair amount of albums that I just don’t see fit for a full review to include on here. So here they are! This is just some of the new stuff that I blessed my ears with over the last 3 months that I either just didn’t have time or just didn’t quite enjoy enough to give a full review to. So I did my best to get my full thoughts across on these in a couple of paragraphs. Hopefully I said enough. This is quite a mixed bag. Some great ones, some good ones and a couple disappointments, including one big one. This has been quite a polarizing few months.

So here we go. The rest of my May to July new listens.

Nargaroth: Era of Threnody

The more you try to create a paradise, the more you will resent the prison, and all you’re left with is dreams of a future that never happened.

The long-awaited new album by the Norwegian legend, Nargaroth is upon us and I finally got to give it a listen. Upon seeing that cover art for the first time, I grew cautious but remained optimistic. After all, this is the same guy who gave us classics like HerbstleydBlack Metal ist Krieg & Semper Fidelis. It can’t go too far downhill, right?

Well, this is definitely his most ”polished” album to date. The production is top notch and clean as a whistle. This also may be his most melodic yet. Many of the tracks either open with or feature an almost Prog-like melodic passage that leads into an almost later Enslaved-like flurry of mid-paced riffs and grooves, topped with Ash’s signature snarly, shrieky vocal style. Tracks like Dawn of Epiphany and Conjunction Underneath the Alpha Weel are the best examples of this. Pretty epic stuff. The misanthropic themes and bleak tones are still very much present here, as most evident with Love is a Dog from Hell and closer My Eternal Grief, Anguish Neverending, but presented with a more melodic and Progressive vibe. Am I saying this is bad? No. I’m not a Prog fan, but this is still very much a Black Metal album and a pretty good one!

Would I call this my favorite Nargaroth album, however? No. I’ll still most likely reach for the older material when I want some Nargaroth ravaging my eardrums, but I did enjoy this one for what it was. Still worth a listen. Especially if you’re into stuff like newer Enslaved or Shining.

Suffocation: …Of the Dark Light

The long-awaited and much-anticipated new opus from New York Death Metal legends, Suffocation is finally upon us. It’s an interesting one as well, given the recent line-up changes the band has undergone. A few weeks back when it was released, I heard Your Last Breath and didn’t quite know how to feel about it, so I couldn’t help but think that this one could go either way when I finally gave it a listen. So I finally did, keeping my expectations low going in… actually not knowing what the fuck to expect, and overall I was pleasantly surprised. This is actually pretty goddamn good!

Much like the new Nargaroth, I surely won’t put this one as my favorite from the band; it’s far from their best work, but this is still a really solid slab of techy Death Metal in the signature style Suffocation is known for. It’s not quite as intense as say Blood Oath or their self-titled album, but still just as enjoyable. There are some bangers on here like The Warmth Within the Dark and Return to the Abyss; both super blasty tracks with some chugging, pounding riffs and a good amount of double bass inanity via new drummer Eric Morotti. Great stuff. Suffocation have always had a certain level of precision in their sound, which is why they’re one of the few Tech Death bands I can fuck with. This album is another showing of that that surpassed my expectations and left me pleasantly surprised after months of anticipation and not knowing what I was in for.

Overall, it’s another great outing by the NY Death legends that proves that the flame isn’t out yet. These guys still have much to offer and once they find their footing with the new lineup, they’ll be an even greater force than before.

Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition: Raping Angels in Hell

Time for more Grind. This time by French Deathgrind titans, Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition. Here we have some nasty, sleazy, no-bullshit old school Death Metal-injected Grindcore that goes right for the throat from the jump. Right from the very start of Sabbath Nights (The Impure Reptile), you’re given a good slapping with some fast, intense riffs and pounding drums and it continues all throughout. This is a really good style of Deathgrind with some very sweet, solid riffs and sleazy, brooding growling vocals. Very intense and very fun all around. Some might even call this one straight Death Metal, and I wouldn’t argue with them, but there is a good presence of Grind here, which they’ve always been known for.

Either way, this a very intense and very brutal slab of grindy Death Metal that will have you jamming out all the way through. Another album that I gave a listen on the fly due to my Grind kick and don’t regret it whatsoever.

Municipal Waste: Slime and Punishment

A year ago, I would have never thought i’d be listening to anything new put out by Municipal Waste again. This is a band that I liked once upon a time, but then drifted WAY the fuck away from, and even started to think they sucked. That was until April of this year, when I caved in and decided to give the latest Iron Reagan offering a listen amidst the buzz it was creating and ended up enjoying the hell out of it. It was a fun, hyper and super aggressive slab of Punky Crossover Thrash that harkened back to the days of Suicidal Tendencies and D.R.I. It was excellent. Short story short, hearing that raised my curiosity as to the possibility of digging Municipal Waste again. So once again, I caved and gave them a listen after a few year-long hiatus and that leads us here. I’m a fan again and I enjoyed this album too.

This is another fun little Thrash album that wastes no time in bashing your face in from the get-go. It’s the usual Municipal Waste style of humoring you while beating your eardrums silly. Some great riffs, catchy grooves and verses and just an all-around super fast and hyper sound. So if you’re a fan, this one will please you for sure. Definitely better than The Fatal Feast.

Tankard: One Foot in the Grave

On to another fun offering of Thrash. This is the latest one from legendary German thrashers, Tankard, who are also known for their style of humorous and fun, riffy Thrash Metal and the countless albums they have released from 1986 to now in that style without getting old or boring. This is a very abrasive, energetic and fun serving of humorous riffy Thrash with some catchy tracks like Pay to Pray and the title track, as well as just fast, loud and straightforward tracks like Don’t Bullshit Us! and Syrian Nightmare. Some may call it cheesy, but that’s what Thrash like this is supposed to be. I love the aggressive and intense stuff as much as the next bloke, but sometimes, a little cheesy fun is fine too.

This is a great example that as long as the music itself is enjoyable and fits the subject matter, it will work, and this does. Really damn good album that makes for a good energy-lifter. Worth a shot.

Havok: Conformicide

Last but not least in the pure Thrash department, we have the latest offering from Denver, Colorado quartet of old-school style Thrashers, Havok. Conformicide is the fourth full-length release of the already prospering career of these guys, who have built up quite a name for themselves in their so-far 13-year existence by playing a very aggressive style of fast, riffy old-school Thrash Metal with some catchy verses, abrasive hooks, sharp as fuck sounding drums and raspy, harsh vocals with an old school attitude but a modern energy to them that makes for a fun, ear-smashing listen. Tracks like opener F.P.C. and Hang ’em High are fast, loud and energetic assaults with some really catchy riffs and some sweet solos here and there that really set a nice tone for the album that lasts all throughout. Peace is in Pieces is another banger. It’s nothing too far off from any of the other so-called “Retro Thrash” that we’ve gotten so far this year like Power Trip or Iron Reagan, but it’s just as good and just as worthy of a bunch of consecutive listens until I get tired of it. There’s even a nice cover of Pantera’s Slaughtered to wrap it up.

Really damn good album and another example of why Thrash is still alive and kicking’ in 2017 and will be far beyond.

Goatwhore: Vengeful Ascension

*sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh*

I’ve been a Goatwhore fan for 11 years now. Ever since first hearing Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult all those years ago and immediately buying A Haunting Curse at my (since shut down) local FYE, I was hooked and they never disappointed me with any album that followed… until now.

What I love about Goatewhore is, not only that they formed from the ashes of Acid Bath, but the sheer intensity and aggressiveness they brought to the table. From The Eclipse of Ages into Black to Carving Out the Eyes of God to Blood for the Master & Constricting Rage of the Merciless, these fuckers always found a way to keep me invested while churning out masterpiece after masterpiece of vicious Blackened Death Thrashy goodness. So, needless to say when I learned that this album was on the horizon and read the title for the first time, I was ecstatic. Fast-forward a couple months, the wait was finally over and I gave it a listen… and wow. This is a very disappointing output by these guys and all things considered; the title and cover art, which had my expectations high, I was shocked and really let down. This album to me, just lacks the intensity and aggressiveness that I love and expect from Goatwhore. It’s more groove-oriented and mid-paced, similar to Slayer’s 90s output (Seasons in the Abyss and onward). I’m just not a fan of that style. When listen to Thrash, I want to hear THRASH. Fast, heavy and abrasive. Especially when it’s Blackened fucking Death Thrash. I mean, come on. The Groove Thrash thing just doesn’t do it for me.

It’s not that it’s a generally bad album, i’m just not a fan of how things are toned down here. The only tracks really worth mentioning here are Drowned in Grim Rebirth and Mankind Will Have No Mercy. Those are the two most solid tracks that I enjoyed the most. That about does it. So, overall, check this one out for yourself, but for me, it just falls flat. I love you to death, Goatwhore, but this is far from your best work.

Pimeydentuoja: Hellcrowned

Ending things on a more positive note, last but not least, we have the sophomore full-length by Finnish Blackened Death Metal titans, Pimeydentuoja. Putting it short and sweet, Hellcrowned is a very solid and brutal slab of hellish, ripping Blackened Death with crushing riffs, sharp, blasty drumming and fowl, gnarly vocals. Nothing too fancy or innovative, but unique in it’s own right and does what it’s meant to do and ravages your ears into oblivion with it’s blasphemous fury. I was looking forward to hearing this one after hearing their first album and last EP and it delivered no doubt. If you’re a fan of the likes of Angelcorpse, Archgoat or Vanhelgd, this is for you. Very precise, very intense and straight to the point. Great stuff!

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That’s it for now. Again, I wish I could have gotten to give a lot of these full reviews, but time just won’t allow it. So hopefully I’ve said my piece enough for each of these. I do have more reviews coming in the next couple weeks, including one that WAS going to be a part of this post, but far too deserving of a full review, and it’s gonna be a rave one! You’ll see what it is.

So yeah, these last few months were interesting. Some bangers, some rippers and some downers. The really good ones are getting the full reviews (including my last 3) and these are the ones that just didn’t make the cut for one. I have more thoughts for another batch of releases coming out later this week as well. Some non full-lengths. Be on the lookout for that. Until then, check these out if you want and form your own opinions, but enjoy my ramblings on them in the meantime.

Until next time.

-Scvm

Just My 2¢ | Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell, Mental Health & Suicide

I woke up this morning, made my cup of coffee, sat at my computer and logged onto my social medias to find out that yet another world-renowned musician has taken his own life. This time, to my shock, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington. This was a shock to me because it was completely out of left field. Linkin Park were a band who did incredibly well for themselves in the early 2000s and although not as in the limelight today as back then, still maintained quite a following. Not to mention that this is only 2 months removed from the death of Chris Cornell, who passed on the same way, which is still a tough one to even fathom. Chester’s death is no doubt just as shocking. So for this, I want to say a few words for both Chester and Chris as well as give my thoughts and honest opinion on suicide and mental illness.

I’m not a fan of Linkin Park’s music by any means these days, but they were one of the first bands I got into when I was a 13 year old little whipper snapper just getting into heavier music. Hybrid Theory was one of the first albums I bought from my then local music store, Coconuts (later became FYE) and I listened to it religiously. It’s one of the albums that got me through my angsty middle school years. Then Meteora came out and did the same. Crawling was one of the biggest angsty teen anthems of the late 90s/early 2000s along with Papa Roach’s Last Resort and Slipknot’s Wait and Bleed. It was quite a time for my dumb little 12-13 year old self to be alive. I used to buy blank cassette tapes and put them in my boombox and press the record button whenever K-Rock 92.3 would play anything from them or any of the other bands of that era that I dug. Ahhh, memories. Anyway, as embarrassing and awkward as it is to look back on that now, there’s no denying that Linkin Park were one of the bands that opened the gate for me into the world of heavy stuff that would eventually lead me to becoming the Black/Death/Doom/Thrash Metal, Hardcore & Grindcore maniac that I am today.

Soundgarden are a band that I also got into at a young age and still love to this day. The Grunge movement of the early 90s will always have a place in my heart and Soundgarden were, in my opinion, the best band to come out of it, alongside Alice in Chains. Superunknown is an album that i’ll love forever. Fell on Black Days is one of my absolute favorite songs. Chris had a unique set of pipes and he knew how to use them. One of the best and most recognizable voices in all of Hard Rock. He gave us some of the best tunes of the last two decades that still resonate with so many people today. Even Audioslave, who weren’t as popular, but just as prominent in the 2000s alongside Velvet Revolver, fronted by the also late, great Grunge legend, Scott Weiland. Soundgarden are one of my main go-to bands when i’m in a mood for something within the Rock & Alternative spectrum to listen to and probably always will be. Placebo are the only other band who holds that honor.

Now, here’s my analysis.

This isn’t the first instance of a celebrity suicide. Two of the biggest instances were Kurt Cobain and Robin Williams. Those had perhaps the biggest impact on and lit the fire under us as a society to look more into mental illness and what it can do. Or, one that hits more close to home, Joe Ptacek of Broken Hope. A great Death Metal vocalist who took his own life by gunshot. I remember the shock that that caused throughout the Extreme Metal community when it happened. If you grow up with someone on your TV screen or in your radio speakers and come to be just as fond of them as an adult, something like this will be just as impactful on you as if it were a friend or family member. Especially someone like me, who grew up a wrestling fan and spent my teen years and adult life a Metal fan; we are no strangers to death and tragedy. We’ve seen so many of our idols pass on from suicide or other causes, and it never gets any easier to deal with. You just have to get through the grief before you can accept it. That goes especially for the instance of suicide. That’s why we must learn more about what drives people to it.

Now, i’m not going to give you the whole “it gets better” song and dance and i’m not going to try to tell anyone how to cope with their issues and i’m not going to try to talk people out of taking their own lives. In fact, this might be an unpopular and ”shocking” or ”edgy” thing to say, but I have absolutely no problem with suicide or those who choose to commit it if they see fit. We never asked to be born into this world and told to do the things that are expected of us to be respected as human beings, and we shouldn’t be obligated to stay. If you think that’s a shitty, nihilistic opinion, whatever, it’s just how I feel. The world just isn’t built for everyone and some people are just beyond help, and at the end of the day, no matter how much you try to help them, it’s up to them to choose their fate. Not you, them. That’s why mental illness is something that needs to be understood more by everyone; to understand why people make that choice and why it should be an option. Some people just can’t fight forever.

Life is like animal porn, it’s not for everyone” – Doug Stanhope

Am I saying suicide is the only option? No. Am I saying you shouldn’t try to help people? No. If someone you know and love is suffering with these things, you should absolutely do what you can to help them. Try to understand what they go through even if you can’t relate, be patient and be there as much as you can. It’s all you can do as a friend or as family. It’s their fight but you can hep them through as best as you can. It’s a struggle, but maybe you can make it easier. If they have other ways of coping and prefer that, let it be. It’s their choice. If they chose to not use your help and use that outlet instead, let them. Just try to be there. It is important to be strong and persevere, on both ends, the sufferer and the helper, but everyone has a breaking point and once it’s reached and nothing improves, what more is there to do?

So I think we can all use today’s tragedy and Chris Cornell’s and even Robin William’s and Joe Ptacek’s to learn understand the effect of mental illness and what it can do to someone and how it can make life unlivable for some. Even if they are talented, famous or intelligent, you never know what’s going on inside their heads. So if you or anyone you know is suffering, please help and do all you can. Just be more aware of the possibilities and enjoy your time with them as well. You never know when they may reach their end. It’s unfortunate, but it’s one of life’s harshest realities.

So, with that, I say to Chris and Chester, godspeed to both of you and thank you for your influence. You’ve impacted more than i’m sure you knew and helped mold me into the music fan that I am today, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

Until next time.

-Scvm

Album Thoughts | Impetuous Ritual: Blight Upon Martyred Sentience

In my previous review I mentioned bands that can create some of the most fucked up and scariest sounds a human can make with instruments. This was one of those bands and this album is a prime fucking example of why.

Hailing from Australia and featuring members of Portal, Impetuous Ritual are three albums into their existence and already a highly praised act within the Extreme Metal scene and with very good reason. Much like Portal, these guys are known for playing a ghastly, abyssal, trance-inducing and atmospheric style of Death Metal that’s sure to make you shit your pants upon first listen, especially if listened to with either headphones or a quality sound system. Their first two albums, Relentless Execution of Ceremonial ExcrescenceUnholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence were good enough examples of the horrors this band is capable of, but this album drives the point home without fucking question.

Blight Upon Martyred Sentience is the band’s third effort and going in, I knew I was in for something terrifying and was totally expecting to be zoned in the entire way through, but sweet merciless fuck, was I not ready for this. The best way I can describe hearing this album for the first time is the audio version of being dragged into hell during a bad trip and having to face the hallucinogenic terrors that surround you until it’s over. This is a soul-shattering opus of some of the nastiest, filthiest and most nightmarish Death Metal your ears and body will ever have to endure. The slow, drony build of Void Cohesion does a great job of winding you up while you sit there wondering what’s to come, then BOOM! Apoptosis jumps out at you like a demon out of a dark tunnel as Ignis Fatuus unleashes one of the most demonic shrieks you’ll ever hear as you descend into an abyss of filthy, chunky riffs, blasting drums and echoey, freakish growls and shrieks only a unique kind of throat can produce.

As I described the latest Black Cilice album a while back, very similarly, listening to this album is an experience, not just a listen. A very harrowing experience, but one nonetheless. It’s a noisy, dismal and potent journey through a world of endless chaos and nihilism. There are tracks that go straight for the throat like Denigrative Prophecies; a super vicious assault of blast beats and chaotic hellish, murky and really insane riffs, then there are the weirder ones like Untoward Evocation; another track with a weird build to it that lures you in first then delivers the beating, and the slow, doomy Sullen; an almost Funeral Doom-like offering that really sets a good balance between straight viciousness and methodical chaos. It all closes with the 9-minute Intransience, another slow, doomy but chaotic crusher that makes damn sure you don’t leave unscathed. I was floored once it was all over.

So, overall, this is another highly anticipated release for 2017 that did not disappoint in the slightest. This is another excellent, substantial and terrifying experience of a listen that very few bands can pull off. This is the kind of stuff that I fucking love when it comes to the deeper, darker fringes of Extreme Metal and all it’s sub-genres. I love stuff that can put me in a trance and force my full-on attention while making my skin crawl all at once. This band is a perfect example of this and a good one to turn to for a fix of it. So if you haven’t already, give this one a listen and enjoy the auditory trip into the void.

Until next time.

-Scvm

Album Thoughts | Intestinal Disgorge: Sonic Shrapnel

There are certain bands that just have that uncanny ability to reach into the deepest, darkest and most forbidden trenches of their souls and minds and create something truly fucked up and downright terrifying. Us Black Metal dorks are the most familiar with this. Bands like Xasthur, Black Cilice, Ævangelist & Gnaw Their Tongues are all known for having a knack for striking fear into out hearts using their own unique forms of audio terror. Death Metal has also given us gems like this in Impetuous Ritual & Portal. Not every band has this ability, but there are some who can just entrance us into a world of abysmal horror and insanity.

San Antonio, Texas’ Intestinal Disgorge are one of these bands. Starting out as a noisy Goregrind band in the late 90s and leaving a trail of blood, feces, piss, vomit and entrails throughout the 2000s with numerous albums, splits and demos in that style, then, as the 2010s dawned, steered themselves into a more Noisegrind-ish style, mixing elements of Grindcore, Death Metal, Noise, Noise and more goddamn Noise. The style they play now is what I can only describe as a Grindcore version of Gnaw Their Tongues; just an insanely chaotic whirlwind of odd riffs, random soundbites and audio clips and distorted vocals blended all together to create an all around aura of freakishness that creeps you out and makes you paranoid while ravaging you all at once. It started with 2012’s Abject Horror, where their sound took this turn into the Lovecraftian abyss. I say ”Lovecraftian” because their lyrics even shifted from gore, piss, vomit, etc. to Loveraft-like Horror themes. Things got even weirder with Let Them In and Lurking in the Void Between Dreams; two other great albums that fuck with your mind even more with glitchy experimentation. Truly a unique style. This album, however, the one at hand, Sonic Shrapnel, is where it is perfected.

The previous few albums by these guys are as chaotic as they come but on this album, the chaos is much more controlled and more precise. Starting right out of the gate with Doors to Nowhere, the second you press play, you’re immediately thrown into a world of sonic hell and atmospheric violence that takes you on a loud, frightening hellride for the entirety of it’s brief 25-minute runtime. There’s also a good amount of versatility on this one. You have your more intense and blasty moments like in the opener and tracks like the noisy, freaky Eyes Between the Stars and An Entity Older Than Names, then there are the more mid-paced and groovier moments like Foaming Sewage and Inconceivable Horrors. Each track has their own feel to them, but the most common theme is the noise, soundbites and distortion that’s blended in with the music itself that creates this atmosphere of creepiness and paranoia that you can’t help but be entranced by as it brutalizes you with each passing track.

(Most ”current” pic of them I could find)

As for the music itself, it speaks for itself without relying too much on the noise and atmosphere. It’s indeed very intense Grindcore with influences of Brutal Death Metal, Punk and Electronica blended in. Even without the extra ridiculousness, this would still be a pretty damn good offering, but hey, if it works and makes it even better, use it! Other notable tracks are the groovy, but vicious A Vessel for the Discarnate, All Life Exhausted, Seas of Liquid Viscera (love that title) and closer, Silent and Swollen. Nothing too different about any of these tracks, but those are the ones I enjoyed (and was creeped out by) the most. Noisegrind isn’t for everyone, but I think these dudes know how to create something compelling enough to suck any Extreme Metal fan in and at least raise their curiosities enough to give it a shot, much like the bands mentioned in the opening paragraph. This is an excellent album that really perfects their style and makes them a unique force in the world of Grind. Loud, intense and fucking terrifying.

So, give this one a shot. Even if you’re iffy on noisy shit. I think there’s something for everyone here and it could be used as a good gateway into the noisier and more chaotic side of the spectrum. Just be forewarned, when you step into this word, you better be prepared for the nightmarish hellride that awaits you.

Until next time.

-Scvm