Friday, 8 November 2013

Dungeön Hammer / Rust - Frozen Wasteland / Summon the Burning (Split 7" EP, 2012)

The Dungeön Hammer side starts with an almost Celtic Frost-like riff, full of menace and supplemented with rolls on the tupperware drums. The sound is dripping with hall-like reverb that sounds very natural, and the only downside to the production is the lack of stand-out bass. A little more audible attack and the songs would have a bit more punch. However, the two songs are well crafted and have a swaggering black-core vibe that is hard to do well. Hellwolves is a mid-tempo song with two interesting solos. Bloodkult is a little more like a romp through Tom G. Warrior's riff box, with foot-stomping goodness aplenty. There's plenty of cymbal in there. I like cymbal. Lots of grim utterances from vocalist "R." in his powerful voice, sounding like a Fenriz who's had too much whiskey. All in all, a heavy and inviting concoction of cavernous black metal crossover.

Rust have a more traditional black metal sound, kicking off their side like a mixture of Darkthrone and Marduk, blasting their way through opener Hellsaw in what seems like no time at all (but is actually three and a half minutes). The riff is quite generic, but is played well, and the song is thoroughly enjoyable. Second song Death's Curse is fantastic. There is energy in abundance and one can almost hear the heavy breathing of the band as they rip through riffs like there's no tomorrow. There are stop-start moments that showcase the band's excellent timing and sense of rhythm, before they pummel their way to an abrupt and punky ending.

If you like your black metal raw and savage, you can't go wrong with this split EP.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Prophets of Saturn - Prophets of Saturn (2013)

Prophets of Saturn is the self-titled debut album by this English, psychadelic doom band. Recording it onto 1" tape gives this album a warm and fuzzy sound that just begs to be turned up loud, and when you do, oh my is there a lot of bass! Stomping stoner riffs cut through the haze and pull you into the prophetic visions conjured by this four-piece. A couple ambient fuzz and feedback sections are incorporated to great effect, building tension before the riffs return. Most of the songs appear to based around the repetition of a central riff, winding its way through the fog a fulfilling destination.

The opener, Belief in Magick is probably the best track on the album, but no track lets the album down at all. My only criticism is that the album is not quite long enough, at 33.51. That's pretty short for a doom album, but hopefully there is more to come from an exciting new band.

Prophets of Saturn are not quite heirs to Electric Wizard's throne, but they should certainly expect an invite to court.

Out now as a download at
and on tape at


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Týr - Valkyrja

 Týr's have progressed steadily since their debut album, How Far to Asgaard, and that is key to their monumental current success. Valkyrja is a very different platter to How Far to Asgaard, or 2nd album Eric the Red for that matter, and had they jumped from that sound to this, I think a few of their fans might have found it hard to take (I know I would have), but they've made little steps towards it, gradually creting a bigger sound, incorporating more guitar solos and duets and increasing the tempo (Hold the Heathen Hammer High, from the previous album, is particularly quick!) I have to say that I prefer the original sound - I think it was more unique and 'viking'. Okay, I'm aware that vikings didn't play any kind of metal, but the atmosphere in those songs makes me think of vikings more that that found in the current songs. Týr now sound more like the result of vikings banding together with some valkyries and the resident Valhalla musicians to create a symphony of praise to Odin, and that's no bad thing at all. In fact, new Týr might just be a better band because of it.

Valkyrja is an upbeat album, full of meandering melodies and pummelling rhythms. Most of the songs are in English (for better or worse) and most of them are fast. I was particularly impressed with 'The Lay of Our Love', featuring some beautiful female vocals, for the first time. The song has a nice swing to it, harking back to earlier material such as Sand in the Wind.

Other stand-out tracks are Nation, with its nice use of pinch harmonics in the riff, and  Lady of the Slain, which opens with a riff that could have come from a black metal song were it not so joyous sounding. There are a lot of different vibes in here, some progressive, some retro, but all combined in a way that is unique to Týr.

Týr might not be the same anymore, but they are still a mighty viking horde, serving up originality, bravado and, most importantly, riffs.

release dates:
Europe: 13th September
UK: 16th September
North America: 17th September

Thanks to Metal Blade.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Eibon la Furies - The Immoral Compass (2013)

The Immoral Compass by British band Eibon la Furies opens with a brooding mixture of bass and drums that builds to a moment of suspense... then it fades out and the first song proper starts in a completely unrelated manner. So much for the intro, but what are the songs like?

First song, Immoral Compass to the World, has a stuttering, progressive feel to it, with moments of trippy madness and furious guitar work, meandering through melodies and vocals like a snake entwining a column of sound.

Astronomy in Absences begins with ambient sounds that make me feel like I'm floating on a lake, and that's no bad thing, before launching into a prog-black metal dirge reminiscent of Prometheus by Emperor.

Flames 1918 provides a gentle moment amongst the fury and sounds like a mixture of Ancient Rites and Cradle of Filth (certainly with regard to the vocals) and has fantastic drumming, courtesy of James 'Battalion' Batt that add drama and tension to the delicate piano melody.

There are some great riffs, particularly on An Enigma in Space and Time and The End of Everything, but these are sparse, and songs are dominated by more ethereal elements and lead guitar.

Paul D. 'Lord Eibon' Sims provides excellent vocals that are used appropriately, adding bite where needed. There are some excellent progressive moments with stuttering guitars and call-and-answer play between music and vocals. The Iron Maiden-like solos are gripping and not boring, although they do all seem to be similar. Not to be missed by fans of Arcturus!

 The Immoral Compass is out now on Code666 Records.

Monday, 24 June 2013

From the Vastland - Kamarikan (2013)

One-man Iranian black metal band From the Vastland has produced an exceptional work with Kamarikan. This follow-up to 2011's debut Darkness vs. Light, The Perpetual Battle has sole member Sina on top form in producing some brutal riffs and atmosphere. The album kicks off at pace with The Ahriman Wizard, featuring some classic black metal arpeggio work, with some creative drumming that lends plenty of originality to a song that might otherwise sound rather like Marduk. Mind you, standing alongside the mighty Marduk as a one-man band is no mean feat! The second track, Call of the Mountain Battle, has an unusual start, with deep murmuring voices, before an unholy demon of a riff blasts into action. The song alternates slow and fast passages to build tension.

The album continues in a similar vein throughout, with some interesting spoken passages and acoustic noodling providing contrast with the intense blastbeats and arpeggios. The final two tracks stand out somewhat, with the brutality of Realm of Cadaver Sovereign all too apparent after the earlier mellow passages, and the closing song is a fast and mesmerising one, reminiscent of Moonblood.

Check it out now! Out on Indie Recordings.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Psychotic Pulse - Psychotic Pulse (2013)

Psychotic Pulse's self-titled album starts gently, with a mix of acoustic guitar and an electric solo, before gradually building to an explosion of riffs and blastbeats that grab you by the scruff of the neck and throw you around the room like a rag doll! The style is a mixture of deathcore and djent, with industrial elements and a hell of a lot of groove.

The drumming in this Toronto-based band really stands out, with a clear snare sound that cuts right through the mix to lead the sound, Fear Factory style. The songs are agressive slabs of downtuned palm-muted riffs, with angular grooves and rapidly changing drumbeats. Vocal-wise, I can hear Devin Townsend's Strapping Young lad style mixed with some Misery Index-like growls, in typical North American style. The album never gets boring, and the stand-out 'Dichotomy of Rage', complete with lead guitar/blastbeat breakdown is well worth waiting for.

For fans of Strapping Young Lad, DevilDriver and The Berzerker.

Inside the Sun - Demo (2013)

Insidethsun are a creative three-piece from California, USA who pump out fuzzy riffs in a modern stoner style. So far, their only output has been this 2-track demo and a single track, entitled 'Lich' (which is well worth a listen), but do not mistake lack of quantity for lack of quality. This demo is well recorded, with a beefy and hazy sound in the vain of Down or Electric Wizard. The riffs are energetic, progressing through the songs in a focused way. The first song 'Smoke Creep' starts with a cool 70s lick, then launches into some agressive riffs. The vocals are growled with menace and used sparingly, to give the tracks a jam session feel.

This band have the makings of something special, and I await their next release with excitement!