Kalt Vindur – …And Nothing Is Endless

Kalt Vindur – …And Nothing Is Endless
Witching Hour Productions
Release Date: 07/08/2020
Running Time: 34:31
Review by Rick Eaglestone
8.5/10

It’s currently cold, bleak and icy right now – I have two choices, turn up the heating to make it hotter than the flames in hell or tough it out with some Subcarpathian Black Metal from Southern Poland and as I am fan of the cold I’ve gone for the second option with “…And Nothing is Endless” by Kalt Vindur who were kind enough to provide me with a physical copy for review purposes.

The intro track ‘Solar Cross’ may be short but  its full of foreboding urgency and is a speculator build up to ‘Inner War’, which itself, is probably my highlight track of the entire album. It’s frostbitten to its very core – the bass sound that rings throughout is great with tempo changes aplenty.

Acoustic guitars in black metal is something that needs to be used more – case in point, the introduction to ‘The Blind Sin Hunter’ as it sets up the track brilliantly and really suits the aesthetic of the album – particularly the artwork from Maciej Kamuda.

The very well-balanced melodies the band collectively put forward are encapsulated in ‘Eyes Ov Gods’ before the straight up fury once again takes hold with ‘Dirty Yields’. At this point I would like to point out that the album, so far, has thrown up some really nice surprises which to be honest has only made my listening experience, thus far, a pleasant one.

‘Red Glow’ thunders through into title track ‘…And Nothing Is Endless’ which for me is the most atmospheric track of the release with some great guitar work once again. Although I have my highlight track, if I had to pick a track to recommend the band to someone it would have to be ‘The Golden Age’. This is why I love black metal – this track in particular really reminds of Black Dawn.

Just as the album began, so to, does it end with instrumental outro “Crescent Moon Of Chors” which for me didn’t have the same impact as the start of the album.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Solar Cross
02. Inner War
03. The Blind Sin Hunter
04. Eyes Ov Gods
05. Dirty Yields
06. Red Glow
07. …And Nothing Is Endless
08. The Golden Age
09 Crescent Moon Of Chors

LINE-UP:
Celsus – Vocals
Svart – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Additional Vocals.
Ver – Electric Guitars
S – Bass
Xakhariash – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Fractal Generator – Macrocosmos

Fractal Generator – Macrocosmos
Everlasting Spew Records
Release Date: 15/01/2021
Running Time: 42:18
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Greetings and salutations, dear friends! I trust I find you busily subverting the Church of lies and its nefarious teachings? Yes, yes, I know it is Sunday evening and ‘I’m A Celebrity’ is on and if you’re from Gogledd Cymru you’re very excited because its being filmed at Gwrych Castle and you might get a glimpse of those two tiny Geordie psychopaths PJ and Duncan or Liz off of Coronation Street. That’s no excuse. Myself, I prefer to flagellate myself with twigs of gorse whilst looking at pictures of Saoirse Ronan and tighten my Satanic cilice around my thigh a couple more notches rather than watch that lowest common denominator shite. I like it when the red water comes out…

And I have appeared to happily happen (pleasingly alliterative) upon an album that is a mightily satisfying soundtrack to all manner of self-punishment for the Devil’s benefit. Yes, I am currently blasting my brain to jelly with Fractal Generator’s latest offering and it is a jolly splendid piece of experimental death metal with the odd tinge of black and industrial just for shits and giggles. Hailing from fuck knows where because their Facebook “About” section is in binary (subsequent investigation says they are from Sudbury, Ontario so they are based in Canada. Allegedly – This could be deliberate misinformation and they are really a bunch of extraterrestrial robot assassins) and this already has my antennae quivering. It is well known that I am a big fat sucker for showmanship and gimmickry and performance and Fractal Generator do not disappoint in this regard, being mere numbers with a visual aesthetic not unlike Watchmen’s Looking Glass character, being faceless and masked in mirrored fabric. All’s going well so far then. How’s the music?

Fuck me, this music is savage. FG appear to have harnessed the sheer violence of The Berzerker, toned down the sheer insanity of those worthy Australian nutters and formed some kind of mesmerising new hybrid of death metal and atmospherics. You have all the elements of classic DM – earthshaking guttural vocals, the kind of drumming that should not be physically possible by a human drummer and some spiky as fuck riffing, but added to this there are electronic passages, strange little guitar parts that add a quality of uneasiness (discordant notes and strange chords) to the music and quite frankly the most fucking demented piece of cello playing I have ever heard and will ever likely be played. Cello played at death metal speed? FUCK YEAH, BABY!

The opening offering on this possibly magnum opus is also the title track and begins (briefly) with the sound of Leviathan (if you’ve watched Hellbound: Hellraiser II you’ll know what I’m on about) before dispensing with the pleasantries and just launching itself teeth first at your throat and hanging the fuck on in there for the next 42 minutes, ripping and tearing at breakneck speed with mechanical servo noises whining as it struggles for purchase on your blood soaked body. This is not a record that is in any way subtle, even though there are some quite sublime moments on it. The ultraviolence of the opening song and title track is staggering, with keyboard and industrial noise overlaying the kind of classic death metal not heard since Deicide were still good. Add into that some interesting key changes and the vocal interplay between 040118180514 and 102119200914 (no, this is not some of the usual stream of consciousness bullshit that masquerades as my sense of humour. This is actually the given names of twin vocalists and bassist and guitarist respectively. The drummer is called 040114090512, fact fans. There will be a test later.) Nine songs in (‘Ethereal’) there is a step change from sheer battering speed and a more mid tempo grind comes into play, with an intro that is very reminiscent of Emperor in their later days, until the middle eight after the solo where the band have clearly downed a shit load more billy and decided to get on with it again and the speed builds to some utterly magnificent death metal riffing over single piano notes, which ends the album in an excellent fashion. My personal highlight though, is track two, entitled ‘Aeon’, which isn’t so much a song as a musical journey through all manners of extreme metal from proggy Emperor style riffing to pure unadulterated death metal, to some of the heaviest industrial I have heard to almost romantic black metal. To pull that off without it sounding like four songs in one is fucking staggering, technically speaking and as a really, REALLY shit guitarist it just makes me want to cry like a little baby because it is absolutely fucking insane and I would lop off testicles to have written and played it. And it is faster than a trip to the lavatory after eating California Reapers too. And possibly equally as painful. ‘Contagion’, four tracks in, is another fine song with echoes of “Chapel Of Ghouls” era Morbid Angel in the keyboards and a little proggy guitar riff just to get your attention.

Both vocalists also go straight for the jugular. Each appear to have a throat made out of gravel, pitch and barbed wire and both emit tarry, sepulchral grunts capable of removing faces at three hundred yards. There’s no fucking about from either of them and this is to their credit, because I have missed the absolute war and thunder of a proper death metal vocal. However, the one demerit I can find on this record is the production, which is best described as “rudimentary”. The bass is extremely difficult to hear, even while wearing cans, and the guitar is sometimes a bit choppy. The drums are ok though even though I could only really hear the crash cymbal properly and sometimes the more experimental sounds overwhelm the rest of the music. Funnily enough, though, I cannot say it is a bad thing because Fractal Generator and their music have made me develop this idea of them and their music in my mind, which is some kind of amorphous biomech hellbeast, rotating slowly through forms, sometimes organic, sometimes mechanical and sometimes both but always absolutely lethal and supremely dangerous. And this idea has come about because of the visceral nature of the production as well as the different musical styles welded together on this most mighty of records.

It’s safe to say I’m a bit of a fan. This is extreme metal as it should be played. Crushingly, stupendously heavy, ballcrushingly intense, staringly demented and savage and absolutely fucking unmissable. To see Fractal Generator and The Berzerker on the same bill would be sex wee central. Luckily for the Hounds of Smell and Mrs. Dark Juan and the good burghers of Elland, this time I have rigged up a sex wee extraction system and underground pipeline to large storage tanks off the coast of Kodiak, Alaska. I had a feeling that there might be floods.  Yet another band have utterly fucked up my top ten of the year and now I’ll have to do it AGAIN. Thanks, numbers. You’re fucked if you

think I am typing those again in this review, boys. Assuming you are boys. There’s no way of telling with those masks. Anyway, well done, assumed gentlemen. Well done.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Le système breveté d’évaluation des éclaboussures de sang Dark Juan pour les Canadiens Francaises. De rien) awards Fractal Generator a humungous 10/10 for a record that has excited it as very few records do. It would have been hundreds of millions out of ten but Esteemed Editor, Metal God, and Mighty Smiter Of Dickhead Record Reviewers Rick “Fists Of Steel” Tilley said I’m not allowed to do that anymore.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Macrocosmos
02. Aeon
03. Serpentine
04. Contagion
05. Chaosphere
06. Shadows Of Infinity
07. Pendulum
08. Primordial
09. Ethereal

LINE-UP:
040118180514 – Bass, vocals
102119200914 – Guitar, vocals
040114090512 – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Putrid Offal – Live at Hellfest 2017

Putrid Offal – Live at Hellfest 2017
Xenokorp
Release Date: 13/11/2020
Running Time: 28:15
Review by Rick Eaglestone
7/10

It doesn’t need me to point out the obvious reasons why there hasn’t been much live music year and I know that I’m not the only one who marked up their calendar in 2019, ready for all the festivals this year, only to either cross them off or forget to do that and when the time comes to reveal the next month seeing the reminder of what could’ve been…

Yes, there’s been livestreams, but even then they haven’t been entirely straight forward so when I threw my hat into the pot to join the Ever Metal family I was very pleased indeed to learn the band I had chosen to review have a newly released live album as I had only been playing their latest studio album “Sickness Obsessions” last month. In fact, the latest studio album contains a DVD with the full set of this show.

It is highly fitting that Putrid Offal chose this show as it their home country after all. The album wastes no time starting, it is straight in with the frenzied ‘Livor Mortis’ and the gut wrenching ‘Purulent Cold’.

The lead single from latest album ‘Let There Be Rot’ slices back into 2015 and revisits the track ‘From Plasma To Embalming’.

The absolute highlight for me is hearing ‘Repulsive Corpse’ I love the guitar work on this track it’s been my favourite track of theirs since I first heard it, and nothing has changed.

Skull Pounding alert here for ‘Necrotic Mutilation’ which is followed by shortest track of the album ‘Gurgling Prey’ which has drumming very reminiscent of incredibly early Slayer and both ‘Rotted Flesh’ and ‘Organic Excavation’ have a great death gore throwback feel to them. Finally, the set ends with a short savage attack in the form of ‘Suffering’.

For a live album “Live At Hellfest 2017” is incredibly short but having watched the actual live performance it is the full set, as it was performed. This is a shame as I would’ve liked to hear a few tracks from the early splits, in particular ‘Obscurum Per Obscurius’ and maybe a little more crowd noise/interaction for the real live feel.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Livor Mortis
2. Purulent Cold
3. Let There Be Rot
4. From Plasma to Embalming
5. Repulsive Corpse 2:51
6. Necrotic Mutilation
7. Gurgling Prey
8. Rotted Flesh
9. Organic Excavation
10. Suffering

LINE-UP:
Franck Peiffer – Vocals
Philippe Reinhalter – Guitars
Frédéric Houriez – Bass
Laye Louhenapessy – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Monolith – Sentience

Monolith – Sentience
Self-Released
Release Date: 13/11/2020
Running Time: 53:10
Review by Beth Jones
7/10

Hands up who likes Progressive/Tech/Djent/Industrial/Electro Metal??!!! Ah good!! Me too! Well I’ve got a little something you might like.

Monolith is a one-man project that’s got all that and more. It’s the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, and an old friend of mine, Nathan Hughes. And his debut album, “Sentience” has just landed. Formed as a project for his university degree in 2018, Monolith has grown into his ‘passion project’, culminating in this release. It’s a meld of everything, like one big metal caravan filled with whatever the hell you want, ready to set off on a trek to wherever the hell you want, down all the twisty and turny A roads and dirt tracks you can find! Metaphorically speaking!

The album explores a myriad of soundscapes, infusing synth effects with more traditional metal instrumentation. It starts with ‘Sentience I – Awakening’. The opening couple of bars sound like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, which I thought was pretty fitting for the direction this album is aiming to take. But it quickly becomes a guitar and drum driven track full of darkness and intrigue, as well as a myriad of complex rhythms and interlocking sections. A great start.

‘Lucid’ is up next. Groove funk central!! It starts off with drums and some pretty nifty bass licks, and then tumbles into groove laden guitar. But don’t get too comfortable, as some crazy synth then drills into your brain followed by a ridiculously complex rhythm section, then some full-on thrash! It’s impossible not to move to, but do NOT try to bang you’re head, as you will either a) get annoyed at yourself for going off beat, or b) look like you’re having some kind of episode.

‘Departure’ takes you on a much floatier and more calming journey to start with. Massive reverb on a solo guitar, with wave sound effects in the background, lead into bass synths, and a Pink Floyd style guitar solo that’s indulgent, but not to the point of it becoming tacky. It’s just peaceful. I likey. ‘Skyline’ comes next. This takes the crazy djent prog madness of the first two tracks, and the mellowness of ‘Departure’, and chucks them both together, purely because it can. It also has synth sax, again, because it can. Although, I’m a bit of an old fuddy duddy when it comes to wind instruments, because I was brought up in a house full of very proficient sax players, and synth versions of them grind my gears. They just sound corny. Sorry.

Anyway, moving on! In the middle of the album, at track 6, ‘The Elusion’ we’re introduced to some more new sounds. An almost 90’s grunge feel, cloaking, but not completely obscuring, the crazy proggy madness that we have been gifted with so far. Given the point in the album, and the track name, I think this is very cleverly thought out bit of placement. Possibly a metaphor for the ‘more socially acceptable’ version of ourselves that a lot of us over here in metal corner have to create in our day to day lives, in order to be accepted within ‘normal’ circles.

The next tracks, starting with ‘The Price Of Reality’, are a much darker journey. Slower than what has gone before, and with more trepidation. ‘The Price Of Reality’ using sludgy doom inspired sections, and ‘Lost’ making use of a minor key, an altogether slower tempo, and synth strings, giving it a stark and overarching feeling of sadness. Being a melancholy soul, this is my favourite track on the album. The musicality in the instrumentation really is superb here, and the progressions and cadences almost send it into the realms of a classical composition.

‘Cmd_Shutd0wn’ sees us heading swiftly back into Electro/Djent, and is hugely Gojira inspired. It’s only a small track, but it’s no less technical. It also marks the beginning of the reverse, which will bring us full circle to the sounds that opened this album. This is more noticeable however in the penultimate track, ‘Transcend’ which draws influence from everything that has already been introduced, and neatly packages it into a little under 4 minutes. ‘Sentience II – The Neon Dreamscape’, closes the album in much the same way, ending with the same synth sounds that we were first met with in the opening bars of the album.

Musically, this album displays the undeniable talents that Nathan has, as both a musician and a composer. It’s also superbly mixed and mastered, given that the sound is huge, but was basically put together in his bedroom. But, there is a fairly large elephant in the room, that I haven’t addressed as yet. This album, in its current form, is purely instrumental, and is crying out for vocals. While every track is masterfully constructed and played, there is a vocal shaped hole in them all, that needs filling to take this album to the next level. Maybe I’m biased as vocals are my thing, but for me, with vocals, this album would be a solid 10.

That said, if you like any of the aforementioned musical styles, you really should check out “Sentience”. With Monolith, and this release, Nathan has taken a really great step onto the metal project ladder.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Sentience I – Awakening
02. Lucid
03. Departure
04. Skyline
05. Overseer
06. The Elusion
07. The Price of Reality
08. Lost
09. Cmd_Shutd0wn
10. Transcend
11. Sentience II – The Neon Dreamscape

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Various Artists – Brown Acid: The Eleventh Trip

Various Artists – Brown Acid: The Eleventh Trip
RidingEasy Records
Release Date: 31/10/2020
Running Time: 32:42
Review by Alun Jones
8/10

One of the best things about the Brown Acid series is imagining the alternate reality where these songs, long forgotten in the mists of rock’n’roll legend, actually attained the success so many of them deserve. A world where these long-lost bands are as equally revered as BÖC, Grand Funk or the MC5. The same world, probably, where Lemmy’s still alive, Trump never got near the White House and the last Star Wars film came out in 1983.

But maybe that’s just me. What I do know, is that the Brown Acid series from RidingEasy Records offers up another batch of ten proto heavy rockers that have been excavated from the depths of memory and given new purpose. Lovingly curated and nursed back to life; then unleashed upon a musical landscape that didn’t know it needed the songs, but by Jimi – we’re thankful for them.

The first track on this compilation, ‘Something Else’ by Adam Wind, didn’t flip my switch much at first. After a couple of plays, however, the Hendrix style guitar frenzy did the trick. Then the marvellously named Grump rock out with ‘I’ll Give You Love’, reminiscent of the mighty Steppenwolf with skronky organs and scratchy guitar.

‘Diamond Lady’ from Larry Lynn is a fantastic punchy, psychedelic number. Then midway through the album, we get ‘In Wyrd’ by Renaissance Fare. This track sounds like the Doors being particularly annoying when they’re on the wrong drugs. Thankfully, at under 3 minutes, it avoids some of Jimbo and pals’ lengthier exasperations; it’s the only challenge on an otherwise album of rock’n’roll killers.

My highlight of the collection is ‘Just Can’t Say’ by Day Break – a boogie influenced groover with desert rock swagger. Debb Johnson contribute ‘Dancing In The Ruin’, which packs Stax style brass to great effect, and finally Crazy Jerry rounds things off with the riff-tastic ‘Every Girl Gets One’.

The Eleventh Trip in this series continues to surprise and entertain. It’s a compilation that’s so solid you’d need a forklift to move it. Dig out your flares and love beads, heat up the lava lamp – it’s party time again!

By the way, I invented the term “skronky organs” and I’m trademarking it.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Adam Wind – Something Else
02. Grump – I’ll Give You Love
03. Bagshot Row – Turtle Wax Blues
04. Larry Lynn – Diamond Lady
05. Renaissance Fair – In Wyrd
06. Zendik – Mom’s Apple Pie Boy
07. Day Break – Just Can’t Say
08. West Minist’r – I Want You
09. Debb Johnson – Dancing in the Ruin
10. Crazy Jerry – Every Girl Gets One

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Volkihar – Blood Magik Ritual

Volkihar – Blood Magik Ritual
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/10/2020
Running Time: 27:01
Review by Emma Torkington
7/10

Volkihar is a Vampiric Black Metal project that has taken influence from the popular game series Elder Scrolls.

“Blood Magik Ritual” is a 10 track, debut release, and is exactly what you expect from a second wave Black Metal band, it’s heavy, with deep growling vocals and some killer guitar. The first song, which is also the title track, sets the scene perfectly for what awaits you! It starts with hard drum beats and shredding guitar riffs then the deep vocals hit you hard and, overall, it’s a great track to start off with. ‘Struggle For Survival’, takes you on a slightly faster journey but remains very much guitar heavy and, with those growling vocals, you feel yourself nodding along without even realising it. The seamless transition between tracks has not gone unnoticed! The ease of listening to this album is really a credit to Volkihar!

Half way through ‘The Shaken Lamb Bleats’, which is an interlude, is a great melodic break between the heavier tracks and I, for one, was not expecting it. ‘Thrall’s Blood is up next and after that beautiful interlude this slams you back into the heavy, gut punching riffs you expect. As with all the tracks so far, I’m still nodding along and even as the track comes to a close, with the guitar notes fading out, you leave the end of that song with a smile. My favourite track is ‘Slay The Dawnguard’. For me, this song provides everything I love about this genre. You immediately sit up and pay attention to what you are listening to, and are present and in the moment with it!

As you reach the end of the album you think you have gotten to know this band/project and their signature sound…then Volkihar drop the last track, ‘Bathing In Moonlight’ which contains a beautiful chorus of voices and harmonies. It is an unexpected, yet somehow fitting end to the debut album.

However, there was one thing that did let this album down. I feel that the drums could have been louder and the vocals turned up a little as it can be a struggle to hear them over the guitars. This was a key factor in the rating I have given.

Overall, though, if you are a fan of Black Metal and have a love for Elder Scrolls then I do suggest you check out Volkihar! “Blood Magik Ritual” is out now and ready to download. For all their information see below.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Blood Magik Ritual
02. Struggle For Survival
03. March For Blood
04. Feast On The Herd
05. The Shaken Lamb Bleats (Interlude)
06. Thrall’s Blood
07. The Machinations Of Court
08. Slay The Dawnguard
09. Onwards To A Blackened Son
10. Bathing In Moonlight (Outro)

LINE-UP:
Lord Malice – All Instruments
Normakk – Second Guitar, Vocals and Lyrics on ‘Slay The Dawnguard’

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Emma Torkington and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Satanica- Resurrection Of Devil’s Spirit

Satanica- Resurrection Of Devil’s Spirit
Iron Shield Records
Release Date: 24/07/2020
Running Time: 38:48
Review by Tsarina Wilson
8/10

Well, this is just the thing to wake you on a Sunday morning, Satanica, from Japan, are brilliantly loud and full on from the start. These guys endorse everything you want and expect from a Heavy Metal band.

Satanica were founded in 2002, “Resurrection Of Devil’s Spirit” is their fourth album and it’s been 10 years since “We Are Satan’s Preacher” which was the third!! It has been a long time coming but we have been given a combination of songs and epic production which all make for a very strong album.

With main-man Ritti Danger, formerly of 80’s band Witch’s Kiss, being in charge of drums and vocals, you get the feeling of someone who puts everything into every track, there is passion and emotion from start to finish, this is a total romp of an album.

With a definite feeling of classic Heavy Metal/NWOBHM about Satanica, it’s like being transported back to the early days of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden or Saxon and definitely in a good way (especially for those of us who grew up back in those days)! Satanica take you on a Heavy Metal ride of pure nostalgia and talented showmanship. Instrumental track ‘Kamikaze’ shows this in abundance and it also gives us the proof, if ever it was needed, that Metal is not always about the vocals, Satanica certainly have a lot to give musically! However, the vocals are 100% headbanging fun and you seriously cannot help loving hem, especially on tracks like ‘Thunderstorm’. Add in thrilling guitar work and drumming and it all combines into one seriously crazy track.

Will “Resurrection Of Devil’s Spirit” appeal to everyone? No, probably not, but I would suggest listening to it a few times before giving it your verdict. it’s very much one of those releases that you will either take to or not, but with the intensity and passion Satanica provide, it grows on you and it’s very hard not to really get into!

One thing though guys, please don’t make us wait another 10 years for album number five!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Resurrection
02. Bloodthirsty
03. Liar
04. Black Widow
05. Kamikaze (Instrumental)
06. Thunderstorm
07. Dark Star
08. Like A Fire
09. Deal With The Devil

LINE-UP:
Ritti Danger – Vocals/Drums
Ozzie Alastor – Guitar/Vocals
Shee Lipps – Guitar
K.Z. Behemoth – Bass/Vocals

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Concede – Indoctrinate

Concede – Indoctrinate
Petrichor Records
Release Date: 23/06/2020
Running Time: 22:44
Review by Steven Hooke
7/10

After a succession of EP’s and splits under the Concede moniker, multi-instrumentalist and project leader Jay Huxtable enlists the talents of End It All frontman Peter Emms for the debut album from the Australian powerviolence troop.

The terms “laid-back” and “relaxed” need not apply here.

“Indoctrinate” is a viperous, angry vortex of punishing pace, bleak nihilism, and a multitude of riffs that would make Scott Hull proud. The album doesn’t even bother with a dedicated intro track of static noise or a spooky man telling you you’re gonna die or something, it’s just a bit of feedback and boom, you’re in. Strap in for nearly 23 minutes of getting your head kicked in.

The album rarely – if ever – allows you time to catch your breath, bounding from one bite-sized burst of intensity to another, with only one song out of the 15 breaking two minutes. In those little blasts though, the one thing that can be consistently identified is the quality of the guitar work on show. Many a grind/powerviolence group come and go and sacrifice creativity and ideas in the name of speed, resulting in a drab mess that’s only exciting for the first two minutes. Cheaper than getting married I suppose…

But dem riffs bound their way through the tortured screams and sodomised snare to add a little depth to the proceedings. First major highlight on the album ‘Through The Teeth’ seems to have taken inspiration from Napalm Death’s ‘Time Waits For No Slave’ whilst ‘Misgiven’ has a definite air of Nails about it, and ‘Bottom Feeder’ doesn’t immediately sound like any particular grind/powerviolence royalty, but it does slap real fucking hard.

On the musical side of things, “Indoctrinate” does hold itself up pretty well. The guitars as mentioned go hard, Emms sounds wickedly marvellous in his delivery and the overall production handles itself pretty damn well. There’s never a moment when a particular layer sounds washed out or too overzealous.

But the biggest thing holding Concede back in these early stages is that they’re already pigeon-holing themselves. That constant barrage of sound with no deferring to a slower pace, experimental idea or even a different drum beat makes the album drag at times even with its short run time. Every song even starts the same with a squeal of feedback.

Taking Nail’s 2016 album “You Will Never Be One Of Us” as an example, on track one, the focus is more on the groove and the vocal hook, track two is the frenetic blast, three is an almost portmanteau of the previous tracks, four is back to the intense blast beast and then five almost becomes a metal song with how much it leans on that riff. With “Indoctrinate”, the only step outside the comfort zone comes right at the very end with final track ‘One With The Earth’, a five minute plus track that is basically Dream Theater compared to the rest of the album. But, with the diversity in the song – slower, groovier pace, and multiple, more elaborate riffs – shows that Concede have the mettle to pull something more substantial off and incorporate it more into future releases.

23 minutes of Concede is as cathartic a release as they come. While some will like the zero-reprieve approach to “Indoctrinate”, others will want that brief pause to dust themselves off and pick up their teeth. But the performances from Emms’ vocals and Huxtable’s guitar and production are not to be sniffed, nor too his lyrical writings. A nice, plump serving of white-hot anger, nihilism and anti-government if you don’t mind.

But Hell, even the bleep test has a rest period.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Indoctrinate
02. Through The Teeth
03. Brainwash
04. Burn In Your Own Hell
05. You Ruin Me
06. Proselytize
07. Misgiven
08. No Certainty
09. Influence
10. Baited
11. Deliver
12. Bottom Feeder
13. Conditioned
14. Plagued
15. One With The Earth

LINE-UP:
Peter Emms – Lead Vocals
Jay Huxtable – All Instruments, Additional Vocals

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Ashen Reach – Homecoming

Ashen Reach – Homecoming
Self-Released
Release Date: 16/11/2020
Running Time: 56:17
Review by Beth Jones
8.5/10

Liverpool based Ashen Reach have been a firm favourite with us here at ever metal since discovering them in their previous guise at a Twisted Illusion gig in Manchester. Recently, they’ve had some ups and downs. The dizzy heights of playing to vast audiences in Russia, to the disruption of a line-up change. Considering their young age, they’ve shown a lot of balls to stand up to the challenge, and now they’re a solid 5 piece again, the time has come to unleash their debut album, “Homecoming” into the world of hard rock. This has pleased us a lot here at EMHQ, because they’re a super talented bunch of musicians who have been working their asses off for the last couple of years.

“Homecoming” is an album that explores many current themes, from mental health and domestic abuse, to love and determination. Their unique sound does this in a way that sets each song apart from the next, and explores mood through the dynamics of music.

The album kicks off with ‘Fighting For My Life’ – a riff heavy, chunky, classic hard rock track, which really gets your foot tapping. The powerful vocals of Kyle Martyn Stanley cut through over the top of thumping riffs and drums, and we get treated to a guitar solo towards the end of the song, which is rich and full in terms of tone, making this a great start to the album.

The next two tracks, ‘Epiphany’, and ‘Tear It Down’ follow the same style, providing a very upbeat first ten minutes of the album. Then things take a turn for the heavier with, ‘Heir to The Throne’. It starts with drums and guitar, similar to the sounds we’ve already heard. But this then gets joined by some down-tuned bass and builds into an expansive chorus that wouldn’t be out of place in a symphonic metal band. We also get a middle section with some screams and growls thrown into the mix, at a low enough level to make them not too intrusive, but enough to give this song a distinctly heavier edge. Kyle also has more of a rasp in his vocals throughout this song.

‘Alive Again’ and ‘Prey’ continue with the slightly heavier sound, but also add in some progressive exploration, with more experimental sections. The use of reverb in these adds a haunting and lilting feel to the acoustics. This provides a great contrast between the full on, in your face, and the more stripped back elements. I really like the opening to ‘Prey’ – Kyle’s unusual vocals work really well for the quiet elements, as he has an interesting tone, and is still able to deliver a powerful sound at a softer dynamic. This track builds throughout, to a crescendo of sound towards the end, giving the sense that the ‘prey’ has been trapped.

An element of calm is then thrown into the mix, with a Pink Floyd-esque soundscape in the form of ‘Ether’. Gentle guitar and synth effects float for around a minute and a half, creating a beautiful and peaceful serenity. Like sitting in a summer meadow, watching the pollen and insects float on the warm breeze.

‘Here I Go’, continues this theme, but with the addition of some lovely vocal harmonies. Then it bursts into a full-on progressive rock ballad, complete with cross rhythm sections, epic soloing, and plenty of moments where, in the good old days, any crowd would have been stood with lighters aloft creating a twinkling sea of swaying fire! I think this is one of my favourite tracks on the album actually.

Then we get to the business end of the album. The final three tracks, ‘Hole In The Sky’, ‘Broken Column’, and the title track ‘Homecoming’, really make this album for me. They feel like a bit of a level-up. They’re intricately put together, with interesting rhythms, brilliant vocals and harmonies, and real power. I also feel that the balance of sound in these final tracks has really had attention paid to it. At some points earlier in the album, there are times when I think things are too mid- heavy. The guitar riffs almost take over and obscure the rest of the sound. But here, it’s much easier to pick out individual sounds. These three tracks also have an insatiable groove to them, which really connects you to the sound. I would still like a little more bass and drums in the mix for ‘Broken Columns’ and ‘Homecoming’ though. I think that would have really helped drive the tracks. But then I’m a sucker for bass heavy stuff, so this is, off course, purely my opinion!

All in all, this is a very solid and accomplished debut album, from a very exciting young band, who I believe have a whole ton more to give. And it is well worth investing 56 minutes of your time to listen to it!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Fighting For My Life
02. Epiphany
03. Tear It Down
04. Heir To The Throne
05. Alive Again
06. Prey
07. Ether
08. Here I Go
09. Hole In the Sky
10.Broken Column
11. Homecoming

LINE-UP:
Kyle Martyn Stanley – Vocals
Paddy Cummins – Lead Guitar/ Backing Vocals
Joe O’Sullivan – Rhythm Guitar
Mike McCarroll – Bass/ Backing Vocals
Jess Stanley – Drums

LINKS:


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Various Artists – Fangs: Volume 2

Various Artists – Fangs: Volume 2
Mongrel Records
Release Date: 25/09/2020
Running Time 71:41
Review by Chris Galea
6/10

Unfailingly ubiquitous and adaptable, Metal always finds a way to reach every part of the planet, but some areas’ contributions tend to get overlooked. “Fangs: Volume 2” is an attempt to address that transgression by shining some light on a few Metal bands from Africa. Most of the bands in this sampler are from South Africa (which is where its label, Mongrel Records, is based) but there are also tracks from the opposite extremity of the continent.

Here’s a quick rundown of the album’s contents…

Facing The Gallows is a Hardcore band from South Africa and ‘Small Hands’ sounds furious if a tad unimaginative.

Papang are from Réunion, a small volcanic island in the Indian Ocean. I didn’t quite like the singing style and guitar solos in ‘My Engine Burns’ but the track contains some great Stoner Metal riffs.

Dividing The Element are a Nu Metal band from Zimbabwe. The band’s track has Limp Bizkit written all over it. Some hand percussion sounds give the song a nice touch. Despite straining my ears, I couldn’t understand the lyrics – then I discovered that Dividing The Element sing in a native Shona language.

Next are Ill System, from South Africa, who keep the Nu Metal vibes flowing but in a creative and original way.

We remain in South Africa with the next track, ‘Shadow Beast’ from Monstroid. I’m hearing some catchy Fuzz in the footsteps of Kyuss and Fireball Ministry. Decent stuff.

State Dependency, from South Africa, ply a sort of generic Groove Metal with occasional atmospheric spells.

Albinobeach are an instrumental band from South Africa…the band provides the music and as a listener you let your mind provide the lyrics. Groovy, sometimes psychedelic, ‘Jugga’ hovers back and forth between Progressive and Alternative Rock.

Vielikan seem to have their own brand of Black Metal. The vocals sound intense and the band says they’re inspired by Russian and Slavic folklore, which is odd coming from a band based in Tunisia.

Next door to Tunisia at the Northernmost regions of Africa is Algeria, which is where Lelahell are from. Lelahell was the only band in this compilation whose existence I was already aware of. The band plays classic and brutal Death Metal. A technical, well-recorded and incisive track.

It’s back to South Africa with Demogoroth Satanum, whose Black Metal sounds raw and chaotic with weak riffs often overshadowing the vocals and other instruments.

We remain in South Africa next with Ethyl Ether and there‘s a significant difference in style. Is this Psychedelic Blues, Stoner Rock or Alternative Rock? I’m undecided where to pigeon-hole this music but the band calls their style Agro-Pop so Agro-Pop it is. To be honest it’s not something I’d usually be caught listening to, but all instruments are well-played and the songwriting is pretty decent too.

Vulvodynia, from South Africa, play a Death Metal that is brutal, filthy and visceral. Apparently ‘vulvodynia’ is a chronic, severe vaginal pain with no identifiable cause. Charming.

Kishi are from Angola…a Portuguese-speaking country on the South West coast of Africa. The band describe themselves as Stoner Rock but what I’m actually hearing is a soul-crushing atmospheric Doom Death. I sense that Kishi really seem to grasp the essence of Doom.

Rounding off this sampler are Scarab and with a moniker like that the band can only come from Egypt. It’s hard to compartmentalise the band’s music but Dimmu Borgir comparisons probably wouldn’t be too far off the mark. Dramatic, intense and epic Death Metal with great guitar melodies and a very professional sound.

I know that Metal in the African continent is much richer and more diverse than this compilation might suggest. Nevertheless, “Fangs…” provides a useful insight for Metal communities beyond Africa. So, Kudos to Mongrel Records for putting it out.

My overall impressions are that some bands seem intent on doing what standards require but need to inject more freshness into the music. Others have interesting ideas but haven’t yet developed them well. A couple of bands are already on their way to greatness. Of course, it’s hard to be objective by listening to just 1 track. So, head over to the bands’ sites, check out anything that has piqued your fancy and make up your own minds. Links are provided.

“Fangs Volume 2” official sampler promo:

TRACKLISTING:
01. Facing The Gallows – Small Hands
02. Papang – My Engine Burns
03. Dividing The Element – Pakaipa
04. Ill System – Ego Check
05. Monstroid – Shadow Beast
06. State Dependency – Bridges
07. Albinobeach – Jugga
08. Vielikan – God(s), Love And Life
09. Lelahell – Adam The First
10. Demogoroth Satanum – The Apostate
11. Ethyl Ether – Ode
12. Vulvodynia – Anthropophagus
13. Kishi – Kianda
14. Scarab – Coffin Texts

LINKS:
FACING THE GALLOWS:
www.facingthegallows.com/

PAPANG:
www.facebook.com/papangmusic/

DIVIDING THE ELEMENT:
www.facebook.com/DividingTheElement/

ILL SYSTEM:
www.facebook.com/illsystem/

MONSTROID:
www.facebook.com/monstroidfuzz/

STATE DEPENDENCY:
www.facebook.com/StateDependency/

ALBINOBEACH:
www.facebook.com/albinobeach/

VIELIKAN:
www.facebook.com/Vielikan/

LELAHELL:
www.facebook.com/Lelahell/

DEMOGOROTH SATANUM:
www.facebook.com/Demogoroth.legion/

ETHYL ETHER:
www.facebook.com/ethyletherSA/

VULVODYNIA:
www.facebook.com/vulvodyniaslam

KISHI:
www.facebook.com/Kishistoner/

SCARAB:
www.facebook.com/Scarabegypt

MONGREL RECORDS:
www.facebook.com/mongrelrecords/

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.