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Foreseen – Grave Danger Review

When I was thirteen years old I snagged an album with a wicked (cool word in 1983) cover. It was a drawing of what looked like a cynical, smartass devil. The album was Venom’s Black Metal, and my pals and I thought it was damn near the funniest thing we’d ever listened to. Crappy production, crappy musicians, goofy songs, and horrible vocals. We played that record to death, much to the displeasure of our mothers, girlfriends, and girlfriends’ mothers. C’mon, Huckles, why are you blathering on about Venom? This is supposed to be a writeup for Grave Danger, the second album from Finnish miscreants Foreseen. Well, that is what I’m doing here, but my point is that Grave Danger is basically another Venom album. And for olde rivet-heads, there’s no such thing as too much Venom. Caveat: I’m a bit inebriated as I write this review. You have to be, if you want this kind of music to sound “good.” And in this state, boy, does it ever work [The management of AMG do not advocate excessive alcohol ..

Life of Agony – A Place Where There’s No More Pain Review

A couple of years ago, I had a conversation with friend and former Angry Metal Guy colleague Jordan Campbell about how influential bands of the 90s have changed significantly, and usually for the worse. While we disagreed on some aspects, we both agreed that Life of Agony had the strangest career arc out of all of them. Like many bands in that time period, the Brooklyn hardcore act burst onto the scene with 1993’s River Runs Red, an album that not only got me through some rough patches as a teenager, but also one that holds up reasonably well to this day. I won’t bore you with the details, but many abrupt changes in sound, vocalist Keith Caputo’s departure in 1998 after 1997’s psychedelic Soul Searching Sun, and not one but two disbandings soured me on a band that I once held in high esteem. But times, tastes, and people change. In hindsight, 2005’s uncomfortable comeback album Broken Valley was also uncomfortable for Caputo, who openly came out as transgender shortly after the album’s..

Ghoultown – Ghost of the Southern Son Review

Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Solitude Aeturnus. OK, nevermind. Raise your hand if you’ve never heard of Solitude Aeturnus. For those who know every album, every song, and every band member who ever filled the ranks of Solitude Aeturnus, how many of you remember drummer-turned-bassist Lyle Steadham? Like a metal version of VH1’s Where Are They Now?, let’s head out into the Texas night and see if we can’t find good ole Lyle. Shhhh… listen… do you hear him creeping about like the Fouke Monster? He stalks through the brush like an apparition of his former self. Once the bassist of the Texas doom legends, he’s now Count Lyle Blackburn: actor, author, and mainman of hellbilly/psychobilly/goth rock/Spaghetti Western-metal greats, Ghoultown. Few have incorporated Ennio Morricone’s flavorings into the goth rock sound of Danzig. Few have written theme songs for the Mistress of the Dark. Few have kept the attention of grumpy Doc Grier for as long as they have. And, when I say “few,” I mean ..

Soulrot – Nameless Hideous Manifestations Review

Revered post-post-deconstructionist philosopher Taylor Swift summed up relationships rather well: “so it’s gonna be forever, or it’s gonna go down in flames.” Ultimately, it is a binary choice; it lasts, ‘til death do you part, or it fails, and you part ways while you’re both still breathing. The start, the “honeymoon phase” as some call it, is fresh and exciting; how could you ever grow tired of this? And then it’s a ton of work. Little irritations pop up, those things that were once charming grow stale and boring, and you begin to wonder if they’re even trying anymore. T-Swift’s flames of the end aren’t there yet, but the growing heat, edging ever closer, can be felt nonetheless. Which brings us to Chile’s Soulrot and their debut Nameless Hideous Manifestations. The honeymoon phase of Swe-death, in its prime with Left Hand Path and Like an Everflowing Stream, still brings back those memories of the excitement we long for and want to rekindle. So, like asking her to wear that red dre..

Noumena – Myrrys Review

Noumena is the little Finnish melo-death band that never says die. After cranking out three quality albums in relatively quick succession from 2002 to 2006 (including the awesome Anatomy of Life), they went into cryo-limbo for six years, finally emerging with 2013s Death Walks With Me. The long layoff didn’t derail their charming approach to melancholic death metal, and I welcomed them back with open arms and hearse while hoping for another extended bout of regular releases. Well, I had to wait some 3 years and change to get the next installment, but they’re finally back with Myrrys for what the band calls “A celebration of 90s melodic death and melancholic Finnish mollie tunes.” The word “myrrys” means ruckus or uproar in Finnish, which may be a tad misleading considering their style of somber sadboy death with discreet folk elements and a plethora of female vocals balancing out the death croakery. Myrrys is the first Noumena platter sung entirely in Finnish, which the band did to cel..

Pale King – Monolith of the Malign Review

Assumptions. No matter how hard we try not to make them, we always end up drawing conclusions about something without checking it out beforehand. In this case, with a description in our promo list as “melodic death metal,” and seeing that they hail from Sweden, I grabbed Monolith of the Malign, the debut album from Pale King, expecting some twin-guitar Gothenburg melodies. And man, was I off. After much investigation, Pale King is a side-project of Jonny Pettersson and Håkan Stuvemark of long-running death-dealers Wombbath, aiming to capture an old-school melodic death metal feel, but with modern-day songwriting chops. So is this melodic death metal worthy of praise, or is this “melodic” death metal that you’re better off avoiding? It depends on how you want your melodic death metal served. Do you wish Amorphis kept the path that The Karelian Isthmus laid out? Do you yearn for classic Unleashed in your aural artillery? If so, Monolith of the Malign‘s got you covered. Opening with a me..

Ruin – Drown in Blood Review

Written By: Lokasenna Hailing from Who-the-hell-knows-where, USA, the generically named Ruin originally formed in 1991, only to have its membership swallowed by time in the slammer and/or sanitarium. Reformed in 2015, they’ve sluiced out a swampy sort of old-school death metal their label promises will be reminiscent of early Abhorrence and Bolt Thrower. Drown in Blood, their first full-length, follows on the heels of a 2015 demo, but, as you may have ascertained, information on this band is otherwise rather scant. As a consequence, I enter into this somewhat blindly, led only by my general preference for less primordial death metal. Will this band find a new fan in spite of this? Is the label pulling comparisons out of their ass? After what I assume to be a Z grade horror movie sample, opening track “Crawling Through the Vomit” kicks things into gear with some nice riff-work and an energetic solo before the unnamed vocalist gurgles and growls away. There’s not a lot of variety here,..

Interview with Hugo “Witchhammer” Uribe of Witchtrap

Amidst the drunken insanity that was 70,000 Tons of Metal earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to score an interview with Hugo “Witchhammer” Uribe. Hugo is the drummer for Colombian black/thrash trio Witchtrap, whose most recent album Trap the Witch was re-released via Hells Headbangers late last year to high praise here at Angry Metal Guy. As a founding member, Hugo has been drumming in Witchtrap since 1992, and had plenty of awesome stuff to share about working with Hells Headbangers, the Colombian metal scene, and future plans for the band. The group’s tour manager also participated in our chat (denoted as TM below). How’s it feel to be doing 70,000 Tons of Metal? The feeling is a very strange experience for the band! Especially our old members, because we are playing in a big festival. In Colombia especially, it’s in small bars. In Colombia, festivals are almost all Colombian bands and few international bands. Right here, we are in a festival with tons of metal bands from a..

Bear – /// Review

While I’m quite comfortable in the realm of technical death metal, the whole European tech-metal/djent boom around 2010 never really made sense to me. Where did all of these bands come from, and why did so many sound like even shittier versions of Periphery? Regardless of the source, I can intuit from the number of stupidly named festivals that the continental metalheads keep holding that tech metal — without the death — is pretty popular somewhere. Bear fit pretty neatly into this circle. They’re Belgian, play a sort of Meshuggah-influenced blend of hardcore and metal, and they survived the massive die-off of other djent bands that happened when most everyone who enjoyed or played djent turned twenty. Don’t mistake my bewilderment and insults for real antipathy, though. There’s no rule that forbids Europeans who listen to too much Meshuggah from writing good music, and three albums in, Bear have clearly figured out something that works for them. /// is all groove all the time, with a..

Vampire – With Primeval Force Review

We are three years shy of entering a new decade, and yet we can’t seem to leave the 80s behind. Yes, it was a magical decade, indeed. Iron Maiden was absolutely unfuckwithable, releasing flawless album after flawless album. It was a decade that saw the birth of thrash, death, and black metal. Yet, for all the magic that decade created, bands can’t seem to move forward. Rather, the incessant mining of bygone sounds continues unabated to this day, often with meager returns. For their second full-length, With Primeval Force, Sweden’s Vampire rattles off the usual suspects when it comes to their throwback sound, citing Bathory, Mercyful Fate, and Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, you can’t help but… wait, fucking Castlevania?! And a criminally underrated game in that series to boot? Really? Yes, really! Within seconds of opener “Knights of the Burning Crypt,” you can’t help but imagine an 8-bit Simon Belmont shuffling to the right and whipping skeletons and werewolves while lamenting about w..

Farsot – Fail.lure Review

Farsot are a peculiar entity. Extravagantly cryptic conceptual themes are as just as important to them as their unusual experimental black-metal sound. This German quintet is drenched in mystery, consisting of band members with names that roll off the tongue with sensual ease. Vocalist 10.XIXt, guitarists Pi: 1T 5r and 3818.w, bassist v.03/170, and drummer R 215k combine to paint an avant-garden of musical eden for fans of eccentricity and unpredictability. Their second full-length, 2011’s excellent Insects, focused on multi-dimensional, extra-terrestrial, god-like insects that invade the earth. Although Farsot have managed to exterminate the insects on Fail.lure they still manage to create a dense and cryptic story. Fail.lure, a mixture of “failure” and “allure,” is based on Peter Greenway’s arty movie “Drowning by Numbers,” addressing – and I quote – “the inevitable dilemma between fascination and mania, desire and disgust, power and weakness – the seeming rift between the sexes.” F..

Les Discrets – Prédateurs Review

Prepare to enter the realm of the Non-Metal. Formed in 2003, Les Discrets are a French project started by illustrator Fursy Teyssier as a way of musically expressing the concepts in his visual art. Post-black connoisseurs may recognize Teyssier as having played alongside Alcest‘s Neige in depressive rock collective Amesoeurs, in addition to producing artwork for Empyrium, Wood of Ypres, and Alcest themselves. Not surprisingly, Discrets’ 2010 debut Septembre et Ses Dernières Pensées possessed more than a little Alcest influence with its swooping clean vocals and heartfelt melodies, though Septembre was stormier and infused with a dark romanticism instead of childhood nostalgia. Even lacking harsh vocals, it ended up being one of my year-end favorites. Teyssier continued his blackgaze experimentation with 2012’s Ariettes oubliées…, a mellower and altogether more forgettable work. Five years later, will third full-length Prédateurs show Teyssier truly capitalizing on the soaring, wistful ..

Pyramaze – Contingent Review

Pyramaze has made a career out of defying expectations and being impossible to anticipate. With constantly shifting styles and revolving door vocalists, each new album promises something totally different. Enigmas that they are, it still seemed they’d found a near-perfect sound and a killer front man on 2015s excellent Disciples of the Sun, and since it was such a compelling, addicting album, I hoped they would tinker sparingly with their approach when it came time for a sequel. Alas, it was clear early on the band wanted to take what they did on Disciples and expand on it ten-fold for Contingent, going for a kind of post-apocalyptic conceptual piece with cinematic soundtrack elements and a greater symphonic presence. The result is easily the most ambitious (and deadly serious) thing they’ve done, and boasts some amazing songs, but it also has issues that hamper their lofty goals and send the album crashing back to Earth like the Icarus of olde. Things begin in a deceptively familiar ..

Tehom – The Merciless Light Review

According to a totally legit Wikipedia search, the word “tehom” refers to the deep ocean which once existed and from which Biblical Creation began. The dark but somewhat aquatic artwork adorning the front of Tehom‘s The Merciless Light fits this story and these Swedes attempt to document these primordial times through the medium of blackened death metal. This won’t be the first time that religion and/or mythology has been explored in this way but I had hoped I might feel the somber gravitas which was distinctly lacking before. Alas, my hopes were dashed within the three tracks opening this début full-length. The Merciless Light asks the question “how many chromatic riffs can be stitched together?” The energetic answer is “nearly 30 minutes” worth!1 But this further begs the question “what’s the fucking point?” Almost none are enjoyable, or even vaguely interesting. Riffs are indistinguishable from one track to the next, much like the tracks themselves. While some may initially sound d..

Night Demon – Darkness Remains Review

My perpetual desire to keep up with the new, the strange, and the inventive in the metal landscape betrays one of my greatest sins as a genre fan: I quite often forget to tip my hat to good ol’ heavy metal. Sure, I have nearly every Maiden record memorized front to back and I endeavor to wear my Motörhead shirt at least twice a week, but I tend to push modern homages to metal’s roots to the wayside. I think my ignorance is a byproduct of a general disinterest in new takes on traditional metal endemic to the current scene, and occasionally the metal community (and myself) needs a good ass-kick of a record to whip it into shape. Darkness Remains, the sophomore effort of California’s Night Demon, might not be that proverbial boot to the rear, but it is undoubtedly an effective reminder to keep an ear open for new traditional metal releases as impressive as this one. Night Demon’s take on heavy metal plays like a happy medium between Iron Maiden and Diamond Head, sporting the galloping rh..

Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon Review

With the release of Labyrinth Constellation in 2014, New York’s Artificial Brain won themselves an immediate following of fans and critics alike, myself included.With a shudder and a scream, Labyrinth Constellation pulled me by the throat out into a borderless realm of cavernous sci-fi horror as bizarre as it was enticing. The album managed to feel vast without losing the down-to-earth grit of death metal, and even among other Gorguts-influenced groups, Artificial Brain had created a unique sound and a fantastic debut. Following that up will be difficult. For many death metal fans, Infrared Horizonis the most anticipated album of the year, and despite its standalone quality, it’s impossible not to judge it against the brilliance of their debut. So how does the sophomore effort stack up? When “Synthesized Instinct” breaks atmosphere, flaring up like a decommissioned satellite, it’s clear not much has changed in the band’s tonal palette. Atonal chimes of guitar and bass peel away like s..

Devil – To the Gallows Review

I’ve never been big on punk. Once in a blue moon, the mood might hit me and I spin some Social Distortion or Dead Kennedys but it’s never gotten beyond that point. It’s rarely on my mind either, so rather than an active dislike, it’s simply a blank spot on my list of genres. With this established it should stand to reason that upon reviewing retro heavy/doom metal outfit Devil, the lightbulb for punk shouldn’t even flicker. Yet, early into To the Gallows, the third album by the Norsemen, the bulb was glowing bright enough to cast shadows on the walls. This in spite of the sound being closer to Witchfinder General and Pentagram than Sex Pistols. Strange the connections our minds make. One thing proto-doom and punk have in common, besides body odor and distorted guitars, is a no-frills approach to songwriting, something Devil embody to a T. Most of the tracks have two riffs: one for the verses, one for the chorus. Repeat four or eight times, chuck a solo into the middle, and it’s done...

Ninjaspy – Spüken Review

It is a little-known fact that Canadians are patriotic. Most people think we just apologize a lot (I’m sorry, but it’s true), but just because most of our flags are pinned up in basement windows where we’ve run out of aluminum foil doesn’t mean we don’t love our country. So, when I get promos that might be interesting, often the fact that a band hails from my home country will be enough to tip the scales and get them into my speakers. Thus is the case for Vancouver’s Ninjaspy, which I pronounced “nin-JAH-spee” until I realized no, it’s “ninja-spy.” Nobody said Canadians (or at least yours truly) are smart. Anyhow, this trio of brothers has been working hard on their fusion-metal release, and dammit I’m going to take a chance and spin Spüken. Ninjaspy have been around for more than a decade, and Spüken is the result of a successful crowdfunding campaign that allowed the boys to take their ten best songs from the decade and record them with producer Garth Richardson (Red Hot Chili Peppe..

Arthemis – Blood – Fury – Domination Review

Until recently, Arthemis had been one of around a few dozen bands I’d always had a mild curiosity for but had never bothered to closely investigate. I’m convinced the only reason I knew of their existence was because they included Power Quest’s vocalist and guitarist (Alessio Garavello and Andrea Martongelli, respectively) amongst their ranks, though now only the latter remains in the band. I also vaguely remembered them from high school as one of a handful of power metal bands that had a propensity for including bare breasts on their album covers, which always struck me as an ironic practice for what might be metal’s least sexy genre. Blood – Fury – Domination is Arthemis’s eighth full-length, and while I expected to detect some fatigue, the fact that this is the band’s first album in five years gave me some hope for a fresh sound. After all, there’s triple the tits this time around (albeit of the mangled ,mechanical and antler-censored variety); what could go wrong? Well, a few thin..

Anewrage – Life-Related Symptoms Review

Hey, you! Yeah, that’s right, I know you and your ilk, only scurrying out of your hatch for a new record if the music is heavier than a dying panda reading Sartre and the album is only available in limited release as sheet music stapled to the bathroom door in an abandoned hospital. Well, you better slink back to your cobweb-ridden hovel as Life-Related Symptoms by Anewrage is none of those things. In fact, with its clean, hook-ridden vocals and grungeternative instrumentation, it barely qualifies as metal at all. Still, AngryMetalGuy.com is a broad church, willing to embrace all manner of miscreants within our ample bosom. If Life-Related Symptoms isn’t strictly-speaking a brutal head-on collision of steel and entrails then at least it’s still a laudable sonic diversion, right? As amusing as it would be to keep you on tenterhooks I’ll put you out of your misery and declare that Anewrage have delivered a fairly solid album in Life-Related Symptoms, albeit not one teeming with explosiv..

Repulsive Vision – Look Past the Gore and See the Art Review

I have a complicated relationship with standard death metal; that is to say, the old school, cave-your-skull-in-with-a-cinder-block variety. I love the style, but you don’t need access to our promo bin to realize how much and how often the stuff is churned out (i.e. oh, so goddamn much), and as a result, I rarely go hunting for undiscovered gems so much as I stick to what I know and cherish. However, I found myself with a hankerin’ for a hunt last week and my search resulted in an album that seemed no-frills enough to get me by. Repulsive Vision hails from Cumbria, England, and although I knew there was probably a reason why this was one of the only recent death metal albums Kronos didn’t snag for himself, its title piqued my curiosity: Look past the Gore and See the Art. Could this be some kind of Hannibal Lector themed concept album? Well, no, but we’ll examine the title later. Repulsive Vision is… well, they sure are a death metal band. There are generically evil sounding low-end p..

Trial – Motherless Review

Today I shall be reviewing Motherless, the third album by the Swedish Trial. They are unfortunately unrelated to the sadly-defunct but happily–reincarnated, Chicago-based thrash outfit Trials. Upon consideration, I’ve come to regard Motherless as an album which my superiors will detest. It defies our American standards by featuring the correct1 spelling for “labour” in a track title, with another literally called “Juxtaposed:” a word which has been explicitly banned from use. I’m overjoyed by the furious twitching inevitably invoked in the editor reading this [DIE!! – Dr. A.N. Grier], but larger questions remain. Questions as to whether this delightful editor-trigger amounts to worthwhile music. Trial essentially perform heavy metal but with a healthy progressive bent. Hammers of Misfortune spring to mind though their progression goes further than that of Trial. Maiden-y guitar harmonies are everywhere, as is a classic siren wail and hearty, rollicking drumming which is strong in the ..

Body Count – Bloodlust Review

As longtime readers may know, I have a special place in my heart for L.A. street metal combo Body Count. Their debut album is an indisputable cult classic, and follow-ups Born Dead and Violent Demise were equally essential to the soundtrack of my misanthropic youth. BC suffered some setbacks since the early days, including the deaths of three original members. 2014’s Manslaughter seems to have been the comeback the band needed, and now Ice-T and co. are making a case for modern metal legitimacy with Bloodlust. Opener “Civil War” kicks off with a spoken intro from right-winger and born-again Christian Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), who seemed about as likely as Charlton Heston to appear on a BC record. The song’s doomy pace kicks up a notch or three towards the end, as Mustaine reappears to lay down some tasty soloing. The guest appearances continue with Max Cavalera (Soulfly), who co-wrote and shares lead vocals on “All Love Is Lost.” As a big, stupid Chaos AD-style groove rolls by, Ice-T ..

Possession – Exorkizein Review

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really don’t need originality in my music. Take last month’s Necroblood album. Though it hardly did anything groundbreaking, that record gave me all the Satan, blastbeats, and atom-bomb riffing I could ask for, making me the most excited I’ve been about blackened-death metal since the first time I heard Revenge’s Behold.Total.Rejection. Because I received it at the same time as Necroblood, I was hoping Possession’s Exorkizein would satisfy this same craving. Formed in 2012, the Belgian quartet earned some scattered underground acclaim for their His Best Deceit demo and 1585-1646 EP, the latter priming my anticipation with its archaic atmosphere and themes of witchcraft and inquisition. Unfortunately, while Possession show immense promise here on their full-length debut, a few crippling issues prevent the band from reaching the same heights as my blackened-death favorites like Decrepit Soul and Profanatica. But first, the positives. Though P..

Horte – Horte Review

Scant information about Horte can be found online. Presumably Finnish but definitely human, Horte perform a difficult-to-define noise-ridden electronica-infested female-fronted bass-led fuzz-rock that combines both dreamy beauty and startling harshness. Horte, their debut release, is essentially one long song that flows from minute zero to minute 38 with an organic continuity. It’s a true trip through realms of psychedelic fuzz, electronic flavoured shoegaze, and noise-rock, brought together and delivered through a wonderfully dynamic production that shapes the vast sounds and caresses the subtler moments with warmth and care. Will the actual trip live up to the fantasy of the perfect trip, or will you find yourself clinging to reality as you cry into a bowl of cereal at 3 AM? Let’s go on a trip. The opener “Sekvenssi” is a richly layered psychedelic journey with wispy elements reminiscent of Alcest combined with subtle electronic whirring that hearkens back to the explorative nature ..

Reflection – Bleed Babylon Bleed Review

“Epic” is an oft-abused descriptor, including by yours truly. It has probably been applied to half the bands in existence at one point or another. A particularly good riff can be called epic and the term is guaranteed to pop up when a full blown orchestra is involved. But when it comes to epic heavy metal, the first name to come to mind for many is Sabaton. Their sense of galloping grandeur and pounding symphonic arrangement is instantly recognizable even for someone who, like me, is not otherwise particularly well-versed in their material. Reflection are clearly major fans of Sabaton, however, while it’s not quite a mirror copy of the Swedes, these Greeks have definitely cast Bleed Babylon Bleed from the same mold. But is this an epic fail or can they seize victory on the battlefield? Opener “Glorious Victory” sure seems to suggest the latter. It’s a fast and catchy ditty that bursts forth from the shadow of the intro with booming conviction from the manly choir and a charging riff t..

Azarath – In Extremis Review

I make it a point to never judge a band by the musical contributions of its members. Case in point: Azarath. This Polish death metal behemoth boasts in its ranks Inferno from, well, Behemoth. As such, I know that many people are going to draw comparisons between this act and Poland’s favorite Satanic sons. Doing so shortchanges Azarath‘s five vicious full-lengths and their own standing among Poland’s influential scene. Their last, 2011’s Blasphemers’ Maledictions, ripped heads aplenty with its visceral take-neither-shit-nor-prisoners approach and ridiculous headbangability. How does their first album in six years, In Extremis, hold up against the strengths of their previous work? Quite well, actually. Azarath wastes no time in leveling faces with opener “Triumph of Ascending Majesty.” Inferno’s trademark blasts gallop forth, blanketed by some savage riffery by guitarists Bart and Necrosodom. Necrosodom’s voice retains that “Peter (Vader) gargling gasoline and glass shards” viciousness..

Harlott – Extinction Review

Twenty-seventeen is turning out to be the year of thrash. On top of Kreator and Overkill, there’re new releases from Havok, Warbringer, Power Trip and, later this year, War Curse and Reign of Fury. In between all that, we also get a contribution from Australia’s own Harlott. What I like about Harlott, War Curse, and Reign of Fury is their unfaltering love for old-school songwriting. The kind bathed in the blood of early Exodus, Kreator, Metallica, and Slayer. What I love even more about them is their determination to play the style their own way; bringing a freshness as pure as adolescent rebellion. And, unfortunately, they’re all horribly underrated. Of the three, Harlott are the most aggressive; forging an Exodus–Testament–Slayer hybrid hellbent on total thrash annihilation. Previous records, Origin and Proliferation, are so devastating they set small fires in my pants and melted the linoleum off my kitchen floor. The band shoves Souza’s voice into Billy’s and Araya’s throats, excava..

Mastodon – Emperor of Sand Review

From the moment I heard the pummeling “Crusher Destroyer” from their landmark debut Remission some 15 years ago, I knew Mastodon were something special. My infatuation with Remission began a love affair with the band that bordered on fanboy-ism from one excellent album to the next, each a stirring and adventurous behemoth of sludge metal force and progressive smarts. However, my relationship with Mastodon started to get rocky when they followed their sprawling prog masterwork Crack the Skye with 2011’s The Hunter. It wasn’t that The Hunter was an inherently bad album, it simply found Mastodon playing it too safe, simplifying their sound into streamlined sludge rock with songs that were easily remembered in the short term, but ultimately disposable. 2014’s Once More ‘Round the Sun was an improvement, adding a touch more color and proggy weirdness, but failed to produce a lasting impact. With creativity smoldering, Mastodon return to stoke the fire on their seventh LP, Emperor of Sand. ..

Sloth Herder – No Pity, No Sunrise Review

If you’ve never heard of Frederick, Maryland, then you’re amongst 99.9% of the U.S. population. It’s a Podunk settlement in the western part of the state, composed of little more than a quaint downtown, rolling hills, a few cookie-cutter suburbs, and some scattered golf courses. It also happens to be where yours truly grew up. One dark night years after I moved away, I randomly scoured the web for bands from my musically barren hometown, only to come across Sloth Herder and their Abandon Pop Sensibility EP. Treading the foul line between black metal and grindcore, the record was a lot like Thomas Hobbes’ description of life before society: nasty, brutish, and short. Four years later, the quartet has signed to the Baltimore-based Grimoire Records for the release of their debut full-length No Pity, No Sunrise. And somehow, things have only gotten nastier. I mean that, of course, in the best way possible. Listening to this record, I can’t help but think of metal’s past innovators, who co..

Illimitable Dolor – Illimitable Dolor Review

Few genres resonate with as much sincerity as doom metal. Although naturally predisposed towards the melodramatic, it conveys a range of emotions that other metal genres simply never will. Every now and then, I come across an act that manages to elucidate, with stark candour, some of the most primal of our instincts. In this instance, grief. When you consider Australian doom, you’d be forgiven for immediately thinking of disEMBOWELMENT or even their current incarnation Inverloch. If you are in the know, however, you may also invoke The Slow Death, a band notable for their funeral pace and lustrous, melancholic leads, supplied by Pallbearer main man Brett Campbell. The band also featured a huge vocal section, lead by the outlandishly deep gutturals of the distinctly talented Gregg Williamson, a man who sadly, as of 2014, is no longer with us. Illimitable Dolor was formed as tribute to Williamson, and this self titled debut, driven by half of The Slow Death, seeks to exemplify and convey..

Memoriam – For the Fallen Review

Bolt Thrower are an important band to me. They were the group that I’d turn to, to motivate a wrathful rush of endorphins when I first started working out and a consummate musical aperitif to beer consumption. In short, I grew up with their atom-smashing death metal and I was close to openly weeping when I realized that 2005’s Those Once Loyal would be their last album to worry my ears. So when I heard that Karl Willetts and former drummer Andy Whale were teaming up with two pals from another British death metal institution, Benediction, to form Memoriam, not least to pay tribute to fallen BT drummer Martin “Kiddie” Kearns, my trousers were blown to smithereens. In the wake of the demise of mantle-bearers Hail of Bullets, For The Fallen comes to us in our time of need, locked and loaded and ready to lead the charge… to victory! Prepare for a whole battalion of questionable war puns. Now, rightly or wrongly, I put a certain expectation on this release. I really wanted it to be at least..

Slagmaur – Thill Smitts Terror

Slagmaur convey a theatrical, almost light-hearted, evilness that feels, sometimes, like a parodic jab at bands who take kvlt-evilness a bit too seriously. Thill Smitts Terror is the third full-length by these Norwegian oddballs. Quirks and peculiarities enter at a rapid pace and leave as swiftly as they arrive: disembodied, out-of-tune, and barely audible clippings of schizophrenic vocals strike then disappear; choral eeriness grows and fades; samples of screams, grunts, growls and cries expand and takeover the mix; and a general splatter gun approach of uneasy discord defines Thill Smitts Terror. It’s chaotic and difficult to grasp without being lightning fast and completely indiscernible. Instead, it manages to create a sense of mid-paced discomfort by not really following the guidelines set out in the How to Make Extreme Metal handbook. One does get a feeling, however, that Slagmaur have created this album from the outside in, focusing on eccentricities before addressing foundation..

Record(s) o’ the Month – February 2017

Another month, another spectacularly late Record(s) o’ the Month. At this point, can’t we just agree if you get it at all, it’s timely? As for February, it was a respectable month o’ metal with enough candidates for the top spots to make for a contentious selection, and no matter what we picked, some faction was going to have grievances. Since we’re a grievance type of website, we soak that shit up like craft beer and virgin’s blood. And to be completely honest, none of you are in a position to complain anyway since whatever record we choose will result in significantly less back sweat and man-bunage adorning the site. Count your lucky stars and send all complaints, concerns and unpleasant comments to Metalsucks.com. Formed from the ashes of the highly underrated Chicago thrash act, Trials, Black Sites is like a boot in the ass to a scene drowning in retro and nostalgia-core. Taking the riff-driven, modern sound of Trials and adding more groove and an extra dose of melody, Black Sites..

Digir Gidim – I Thought There Was The Sun Awaiting My Awakening Review

Famed poet, singer, and lyricist William Bruce Bailey1 once opined that “all we need is just a little patience.” Granted, dude is arguably the worst example of anybody having a zen-like stance when it comes to patience with… well, anything, but he does have a point. Going in a straight path from Point A to Point B, while gratifying, can be boring as fuck. It’s the proverbial journey, not the final destination, that people remember the most. What am I getting at? Di?ir Gidim, a relatively new two-piece hailing from parts unknown and featuring vocalist Lalartu of Titaan2, want to test your patience with their debut, the wordy I Thought There Was The Sun Awaiting My Awakening. Four songs, 48 minutes, with the shortest song being just under 11 minutes. Alright, let’s do this. Since a one-sheet bio wasn’t included in the promo package, and their Facebook page is scarce, I glanced at their entry over at Metal Archives to dig up what I could for this review. With lyrical themes described as ..

Warbringer – Woe to the Vanquished Review

Riding in the sizable wake of retro thrash darling Havok‘s new album comes Warbringer, delivering Woe to the Vanquished, their fifth album of Bay Area inspired thrash. Over the course of their speedy career, Warbringer have been careful to conform their sound to what is considerable acceptable for the style, cleaving close to the Exodus and Death Angel playbooks and eschewing pretty much every other influence. This has worked surprisingly well for them thus far, culminating with 2013s very entertaining IV: Empires Collapse release, which was easily their best outing. Woe to the Vanquished feels like a backlash against Empire‘s more refined thrash style, offering a much more frenzied and hostile experience more in line with their early albums, but with a few noticeable stylistic change ups as well. Opener “Silhouettes” offers no surprises but packs in the thrashy goodness with all the key trademarks of the style. The riffs are fierce and attacking, the vocals are harsh and frantic and ..

1476 – Our Season Draws Near Review

Known for its short summers and long, drawn out winters, New England is not the worst starting point for a winter-themed album. Fueled by isolation and frigid temperatures, 1476 hail from the infamous Salem, Massachusetts and their specialty is a mixture of art and stripped-down dark, atmospheric rock. Is this your first encounter with 1476? It’s mine too. Using Our Season Draws Near as my guiding light, I discovered that 1476 have EP and CD releases going back a ways. The highlights include 2010’s release of the tribal/folk inspired Smoke in the Sky, an interesting EP making use of acoustic guitars, bowed and finger-picked stand-up bass and analogue synthesizers. Wildwood followed suite in 2012, relying on ambiance and animalistic imagery to convey it’s abrasive message of contradiction. But I believe it was Edgar Allen Poe: A Life of Hope & Despair that probably got the attention of Germany’s Prophecy Productions. Conceived in 2014 as the Neoclassical and experimental soundtrack to a..

Saturn – Beyond Spectra Review

I was raised on classic rock. My three favorite albums as a 7 year old were To You by Dutch blues rockers Brainbox, Aqualung by Jethro Tull and Deep Purple In Rock. I heard the phrase “Aren’t you a little young for that?” so often in conversation, hearing it on the street didn’t even surprise me when someone caught me whistling “Stairway to Heaven” or wearing a Deep Purple shirt. That love laid the foundations for where I am in music today, and it never went away. But while a lot of bands these days harken back to the age of hippies and vinyl, not many of them manage to truly nail the sound. Swedish rockers Saturn are among the minority. Opener “Orbital Command” demonstrates why within the first minute. The production on this album is wonderfully crisp and clear and it’s infused with a warm fuzz that adds four decades to the music in the best way. If I didn’t know better, I’d estimate Beyond Spectra to have been recorded in 1973 in a good London studio, possibly with The Rolling Stone..

Necroblood – Collapse of the Human Race Review

No matter the genre, it’s always the same story: the vocals are good, the drums are good, but there’s only one thing we’re really listening for. “The riffs! The riffs!” we squeal, like starving kittens begging for milk, scrambling over each other for a chance to suckle from the Iommi teat. I admit that I, too, often find myself craving the Almighty Riff, desperately scouring the blogosphere in search of the satisfying crunch of a particularly well-crafted set of power chords. But there’s the occasional black day when I want something more. Something abusive. Bludgeoning. Something that will yank me into a dark room and beat me up, Hellraiser-style,1 until all I want is a Shamrock Shake and some Blood Command to ease me back into reality. When sadomasochism is the name of the game, Revenge and other ‘war metal’ acts fit the bill quite nicely. But what happens when you get both the clobbering abuse and the riffs? That, my friends, is when you get Necroblood. Memorable songs. Decipherabl..

Medico Peste – Herzogian Darkness EP Review

In the 14th century, the Black Death shaved roughly 20% of the world’s population off the map and your average medico della peste watched it happen. These plague doctors treated the disease when possible, but all the while bolstered their grim understanding of its contraction, its progression, and its corpses. Medico Peste tapped this horrific lineage with ?: Tremendum et Fascinatio. Terrifying and entrancing indeed, the debut opened a festering wound in the hearts of listeners. With follow-up EP Herzogian Darkness, the Poles convincingly bolster a black-hearted résumé that is quickly becoming one to watch. Whereas ? burned slowly at times, Herzogian Darkness states its intent from the start. The distinctive riffs of its titular opener slither atop throbbing rhythmic compulsions, equal parts discomfiting and attractive. Thundering charges summon the spirit of Mg?a, unabashed in influence but still capable of ripping limb from limb. At natural exhaust points, Medico Peste simply recede..

The Vicious Head Society – Abject Tomorrow Review

Gun to my head, I’d have to say that no metal sub-genre tickles my fancy as much as progressive metal. It’s hardly a fully independent genre, though, because how often do you call a band straight-up progressive metal? Well, sometimes, but usually it’s progressive death metal, or progressive power metal, or any of the other combinations. This is because while other sub-genres are more about a certain sound or atmosphere, progressive is almost exclusively about the structure of the songs, freeing the band from their verse-chorus shackles. This allows for longer songs with more room to explore, and the pull of a narrative structure leads to concept albums more than any other genre. Which brings us to Abject Tomorrow, the debut of The Vicious Head Society (was “The Feral Blowjob Club” taken?), a concept album with many long tracks and winner of Worst Album Cover 2017 a full 9 months in advance. Abject Tomorrow is the baby of Graham Keane, guitarist of Clare, and sure enough, there are ple..

Vangough – Warpaint Review

One of my favorite bands is Tool, and for the love of all that’s good and pure put an album out already, boys! Okay, we know it isn’t happening soon, so we must clutch and grab at every band that shows up flying the Tool flag. Last year Source surprised us with a great record, loved by our own Zephyrus. Vangough strides forth this month with similar aspirations. Warpaint is the trio’s fourth studio album, and third overall to feature a rabbit on the cover. I mention that only because rabbit covers are weird. I mean, what normal band uses rabbits? But I digress. Let’s get to it, and see what these rabbit-lovers can pull out of their hats. “Morphine” starts Warpaint off in a rather odd fashion, with a meandering, discordant intro leading into a fuzz-drenched, lurching riff. Is this prog metal or sludgy doom? Two minutes into the track it grinds to a halt, replaced with airy vocals and wispy guitars. Vocalist/guitarist Clay Withrow seems to be heavily influenced by Maynard James Keenan a..

Ascended Dead – Abhorrent Manifestation Review

Why, many of us are often asked, do we listen to such angry and violent music? The best answer is because we like it, but more defensive types will jump to justifications like complex song structures, musical talent, and the sheer physical endurance of the artists. Fine and dandy, but those are hardly sufficient arguments that miss the flaw contained in the question: you can certainly judge a man by the company he keeps, but not what keeps him company on his headphones. Why, many reviewers often ask themselves, should I recommend or trash this record? I’ve asked this question of myself about Ascended Dead’s Abhorrent Manifestation repeatedly, and my truthful answer to that is “I have no idea.” To borrow a line from the ever-impressive Grymm, Abhorrent Manifestation sounds like what all death metal must sound like to people with no experience of the genre. It’s a largely unceasing barrage of indecipherable vocals, murky riffs that sound fast and intricate, and drums that are inconceiva..

Locust Leaves – A Subtler Kind of Light Review

If you’ve been reading my reviews on a regular basis, you’ve probably noticed that I’ll take on pretty much anything under the sun. You could pin that on me as having no taste (and you might have a case), but I prefer to think of myself as open minded. Even the most stigmatized genres within the metal canon were born out of an earnest desire to innovate, and as such I’m willing to give any style — or in this case, a combination of styles — a fair shake. Enter Greece’s Locust Leaves, a band I was rather eager to cover due to their proclaimed fusion of prog, black, thrash, and doom metal. Locust Leaves does indeed cover all of these styles (and more!) in the span of just thirty-six minutes on their long-gestating debut A Subtler Kind of Light, but is the end product a work of bonkers brilliance or the metal equivalent of a budget buffet? While not outright amazing, Locust Leaves certainly falls closer to the former camp. A Subtler Kind of Light is split into four tracks that feel like f..

Lantern – II: Morphosis Review

There are a few bands, of late, grasping abundances of classic death metal in one hand and, with a fistful of innovation in the other, slamming the two together like some kind of malignant Large Hadron Collider®, letting that resulting abomination billow into our collective unsuspecting consciousness. Finland’s Lantern are such augurs of unrest, mixing a witches brew of black and death metal to trouble the mind and fray the nerves. Debut album Below brimmed with pulses of an alien Celtic Frost whilst hosting a virulent vein of dissonant black. Now, follow up Morphosis has arrived to further worry the feeble. Building on the heady dissonance of the previous record, Morphosis elevates and escalates everything that made that album great, but also further evolves their sound, perhaps even forging something entirely their own. Lantern‘s character is actually quite tricky to presume. The band takes a classic example of death metal and bleeds it through a black metal filter with the occasion..

Lubricant – Swallow This Review

One of death metal’s weirdest phenomenon was the so-called “death ‘n’ roll” movement. First popularized by albums like Entombed’s Wolverine Blues and Carcass’s Swansong, death ‘n’ roll is kind of like your weird older cousin at the family reunion. On one hand, you have to love him because he’s family — but at the same time, nobody really talks about him or seems to be totally comfortable in his presence. Point is, death ‘n’ roll is one of those genres that most people seem to tolerate rather than actually enjoy, and maybe that’s why bands like Lubricant are so often overlooked. Formed in 1988 as O.V.D., the Finnish quartet changed their name to Lubricant in 1990, switching from speed metal to a rockier version of early Carcass in the process. Sadly, the group disbanded before internet bloggers ever had a chance to make jokes about their sexually suggestive moniker, leaving in their wake only a handful of demos and 1993’s Nookleptia EP. After reforming and rejoining the live circuit in..

The Furor – Cavalries of the Occult Review

The patriot in me gets a little warm and fuzzy when contemplating the healthy state of the Australian metal scene. Whether it be divisive big guns Ne Obliviscaris and King Parrot, head-scratching experimental acts like Portal and Hope Drone, the thrashy old-school goodness of Hobbs’ Angel of Death and Deströyer 666, cutting edge modern tearaways Départe and Deadspace, or reliable tech death stalwarts Psycroptic, there’s a hugely satisfying selection of Aussie metal to satiate a wide variety of extreme tastes. Inevitably, in any well populated and healthy metal scene, certain bands ply away admirably at their chosen craft while flying under the radar. Hailing from the far western realms of Perth, veteran act The Furor are one such entity, unleashing their own brand of thrashing, blackened hell for over a decade. Now the trio return with another scorching album of charred and seriously pissed off blackened death-thrash on their fifth full length platter, entitled Cavalries of the Occult...

Atlas Pain – What the Oak Left Review

I like folk metal. It’s best when it takes the form of black metal infused with instrumentation and arrangements native to its respective country. Saor, Panopticon, and Nechochwen are truly great examples of this. The upbeat frolics of Finntroll, Korpiklaani, and their ilk are not merely average by comparison but actively annoying. I find their attempts at inducing happiness grating and vapid. There are logically two conclusions which I would likely reach following my random selection of Atlas Pain‘s What the Oak Left: delight or irritation. Which was it? I’m afraid you’ll have to read on because otherwise, I’ll have wasted my time writing 500 further words. Folk metal is broad descriptor so I’ll first attempt to capture the essence of these fervent Italians. The best starting point is the compositions and density of Wintersun but with less black metal, more power metal and an ear for cheeriness above grandiosity. What the Oak Left is buoyant and nimble but thankfully avoids the bounc..

Rozamov – This Mortal Road Review

While I (im)patiently wait for Pallbearer to drop their next tour de force upon us, I find myself digging through the promo bins looking for other angst-ridden doom to while away the days. Thus I stumbled upon the first full-length effort from Boston’s Rozamov. The band recorded a number of EPs and splits over the past five years, but This Mortal Road is their first full-length album, and even as such only contains five songs spanning 41 minutes — and one of those cuts is a two-minute interlude. That means the other four songs are long — something we here at Angry Metal Guy can sometimes take offense with. The band boasts an intriguing mix of doom, sludge, and post-metal, but boasting is one thing and pulling it off is another. The title track gets things off to a deliciously heavy start. There’s no pretentious buildup: the curtain rises and Rozamov lurch directly into crushing doom, as if delivering body blows with a maul. Heavy and plodding, yes, but with a distinct sense of melody ..

Junius – Eternal Rituals for the Accretion of Light Review

Here’s a little-known fact about Angry Metal Guy: we love triple LPs. There’s something to be said for the sheer audacity, the pretentiousness that goes into even thinking of releasing something so ludicrous. Such events, therefore, deserve our complete attention. This latest opus from Junius, Eternal Rituals for the Accretion of Light (or ERAL because I’m lazy), isn’t a triple LP, per se, but it is part three of a trilogy of conceptual albums, and that’s the next best thing. Three concept albums of emo-tinged post-metal: what could possibly go wrong? And does ERAL leave our voracious triple-LP appetite sated, or are we left with a sour taste in our mouths? This is Junius’ first full-length output in six years, since the second of the aforementioned trio of albums, Reports from the Threshold of Death, an album that cemented the band’s status as unique amongst post-metallers. Think of a cross between Neurosis and Tears for Fears, with the lyrics all based on the life and death of contr..
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