Soulwound: The Suffering

Soulwound: The Suffering
Inverse Records.
Release Date: 11/09/2020
Running Time: 48:10
Reviewed by Tammy Lomax
9/10

Hello lovely people. Today I have the amazing privilege to review Soulwound’s new album “The Suffering” which was released in September via Inverse Records. It’s the third album from Soulwound, who formed in the 90’s, and come from a small village called Myllykoski, Kouvola, in Finland. They offer fast, brutal aggressive metal with a hint of old school.

Their motto (which I love) is “fuck what anyone else thinks”, and to be fair, it is spot on. One thing I’ve learned in my life is, it’s human error to judge. We don’t even realise we do it sometimes, but we do.

Personally, my family never really understood my passion for metal music. My mother calls it the ‘Devil’s Music’, which I accept, as it’s her opinion. Doesn’t mean I agree though! Nor will I waste energy debating to try change her mind. Instead, I’ll go sailing in my music bubble boat, ready to press play on this album.

‘The Waste Of Life’ opens the album. There’s definitely some suspense, and my instincts screamed at me that something was coming. As the track developed, I found myself waiting for the unknown. I’ve never heard any Soulwound until now, so I had no idea what to expect. Then BOOM! Absolutely crazy fast, they launch some meaty guitar solos into the mix, along with gut erupting vocals. Oh! I may not have known what to expect but by this point, I felt extremely excited.

Wasting no time at all, track ‘Ritual Cleansing’ appears. The drums made me dribble, they were so incredibly intense and fast. Wow these guys have some huge balls that’s for sure. My face felt like it had been set on fire! I was barely inside the album and had already started jumping about like a chicken who’d lost its head! This track had got me thinking, “I am unsure if I will be mentally sound after listening to this album in its entirety!”

The next track, ‘Pleasures’, is perfectly placed. I REALLY enjoyed the deep doomy gloomy vibes here. Vocalist IIkka Valkonen’s range and variations have me in absolute awe. It’s a weighty 6 min track, with some belting guitar work, especially when the solo comes flooding in. Why have I only just now heard of these fellas?! ‘The Cult Of I’ follows this, and you really feel their passion in it. They are drip feeding us bit by bit throughout the album, adding something a little extra, something a bit different, totally opposite to ramming it all in straight away.

‘Meat Puppets’ keeps the consistency going after ‘Hivemind’, however it’s more together than ‘Hivemind’. I am not lying though, when I tell you I kept running out of breath as I listened. I just kept getting smashed repeatedly, it’s absolutely relentless!

I couldn’t have begged harder for, or been happier, when ‘This Hatred’ arrived. It gave me just a moment to take everything in, because ‘Error In The System’ broke me a little. I am astounded that a band has managed to do this to me! They literally are the full pudding. Well, for a few moments anyway, before they slaughter you up all over again. You can’t deny that these guys fit their own personal mould. They are literally peeing on everything, claiming ownership.

The last tracks on this monster album are ‘Apex Parasite’ and ‘Death Of The Sun’. And they literally left me speechless, I no longer have any words! They do calm it down massively at the start of the final track, but they make it work. I actually preferred this after what I’d just gone through. I felt all sway-ey and black metal-y with ‘Death Of The Sun’. However, I got a feeling they would close the album the same way they opened it, and I wasn’t wrong! Around 6 mins in, I was getting bashed to hell again 😅 I contemplated taking a break, just to go put my face in a bucket of ice!

Well, what can I say?! That was intense. All hell broke loose in my lounge. Soulwound’s music is created and crafted by guys who know what they like and know exactly how to bring it. They mention “It will probably take repeated listens to take in all the details embedded in the songs” I see no problems with this statement, I have stored it into my playlist anyway, y’know, so I can do all that to myself again!

‘The Suffering’ seems to me to be an evolution of Soulwound’s journey. Go and check them out.

And one final thought. Let’s be more accepting of others liking different things. Don’t make anyone feel outcast because they like a particular something that you don’t. One day in the future, humanity will accept others, regardless of race, religion, likes, or dislikes. Let’s carry each other. ❤🖤

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Waste Of Life.
02. Ritual Cleansing.
03. Pleasures.
04. The Cult Of I.
05. Hivemind.
06. Meat Puppets.
07. Error In The System.
08. This Hatred.
09. Apex Parasite.
10. Death Of The Sun.

LINE – UP:
IIkka Valkonen – Vocals.
Niko Huusari – Guitars.
Mikko Huusari – Guitars.
Join Järvenmäki – Bass.
Janne Huusari – Drums.

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tammy Lomax 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 Crown – Obsolescence

Obsolescence Cover

Ashen Crown – Obsolescence
Independent
Release Date: 01/11/2019
Running Time: 42:24
Review by Sheri Bicheno
9.5/10

One thing you have to be absolutely clear about when you listen to Ashen Crown… is that you are going to get a walloping!

These guys have been going for almost three years and in that short time have taking a slice of the underground music scene like their very own hot morello cherry pie. SO! GOOD!

Their first major festival was Bloodstock’s New Blood Stage in 2017 and Ashen Crown have catapulted into both headlining and line-up shows including supports for some of the best; Obituary, Memoriam and King Parrot plus storming fests such as HRH Metal, Hammerfest, Uprising, and Manor Fest. This speaks volumes. If you haven’t seen these guys perform and want some filthy riffs to mesmerise you, then you have to give them a go.

Debut album “Obsolescence” does not disappoint.

I’m detecting tones in this album’s concept that a HUGE change will be happening in life before long… to become OBSOLETE! Faith, fate, politics, life and death or destruction! Lyrically, there are several tracks that shine a light on this.

First track ‘Unbroken Faith’ introduces the craft of Ashen Crown with ringing bells and rain, almost like something you would expect from a Black Sabbath track. Then an almost doomy riff slowly sets in… sedate, seductive…and then BAM, vocalist Kieran Scott starts off deep, gnarly and fast paced while the guitars, drums and bass come in hard, matching the vocals. It’s not very often an opening track takes you on a journey of pure onslaught and sets the bar for the rest of the album…however, ‘Unbroken Faith’ gives you tingling anticipation for what’s coming next!

On next track ‘Crimson Sea’, Mike Ellis’ drums are exceptionally fast and ever changing in direction. They absolutely batter you matching the aura of this album exactly. Guitarists Ste Fowkes, Jay Rogers and bass player Phil Milman take you down a winding path with their combination of riffs and strings. Let them take you with them…this is gonna be a hell of a journey!

What I really love is at about three minutes in the polar opposite happens… compete calm and all is quiet. Black and Grey…grieving strings and whispers which say “I wipe the ash from my eyes…, these rotting bodies burning around me!” The elements here are of an expression of loss and a fire burning dim. Use that as a metaphor however you might like. The beauty of music is that you can express it in any way you hear or feel it.
Then… we are taken upwards again through flames and utter destruction until the fade out. ‘Crimson Sea’ is going to be absolutely face-melting live!

Third track ‘Ultimatum’ hammers straight into you from the outset. This is a voyage of pure evil riffs and winding strings, fast paced and aggressive… then a third of the way through, another quiet section and a slowly rising shadow, with Kieran’s whispering growls and one heck of a build-up. The guitars here really shine and give you an utterly transdimensional space goat feel. (Rick here! I’m not quite sure what a ‘transdimensional space goat feel’ is but after listening to “Obsolescence” many times myself I can say that, whatever it is, it’s damn good!). Come away from this track with your mind set on what you should now fully expect for the rest of this album!

‘Right To Rise’ is full of riffing and hammering, the drums here are again, incredibly fast and pounding. There is no break in energy on this track and it full on pelts you. I imagine live it would suit those who like to non-stop pit throughout a song. It is absolutely chaotic and Kieran’s demonic growls are in full swing, in fact this is a very good example of how Kieran’s vocals and the rest of the band sync well with the pace. Fast vocals, riffs, bass and drums throughout… and they are perfectly in unison.

Track five is ‘Guilty Of Hatred’ and I gotta say – this reminds me more of a Thrash Metal Ashen Crown. Higher pitched vocals kick in half way through…“The voices speak to me. They tell me I am not the problem”! Say no more, the message is loud and clear!
This is a track full of energy and jump and I am envisioning a full on circle pit here in my lounge to this. I LOVE how this track is set out lyrically; sending the message of a battle of inner love and peace!

Next up is ‘Blood Beneath Us’ and, if you didn’t know, Ashen Crown have released an accompanying lyric video for this one.

This track introduces us to a suspenseful but mellow opening riff. Some hard hitting riffage and drums then come along and pull the metaphorical rug from beneath your feet for a little while. Then the chorus hits and there is a playful edge to of some of the lyrics. Pure evil tones are right here and then…Kieran’s demonic growls are beautifully accompanied and opposed by the operatic and haunting vocals of Francesca Stevens which places the perfect cherry on the cake to this track. ‘Blood Beneath Us’ is completely different to Ashen Crown’s other tracks and is a welcome change. There is a very beautiful balance apparent.

Nearing the end ‘Fall Of Thine Eyes’ gives us our last journey into that fast space rushing past you with harsh vocals and face melting riffs that get you moving like there’s a twister chasing you. This bit of chaos ironically eases us into the very last track ‘Under The Leaves’ which, shows a very raw, emotional and slightly softer, more melodic side to Ashen Crown. I think this one is one of my favourite tracks. It starts slow and spacey, taking you through the aftermath of all the chaos of the previous tracks… but still retains its own aggression and fire. I tell you what, turn off all the lights, lay down or chill out and blast this track. Let it take you places to still keep your fire burning…euphoria in the dark!

Also, it is worth mentioning that “Obsolescence” was recorded and mixed by Neil Hudson of Krysthla/Initiate Audio – hence, this beast of an album’s fantastic sound quality.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Unbroken Faith
02. Crimson Sea
03. Ultimatum
04. Right To Rise
05. Guilty Of Hatred
06. Blood Beneath Us
07 Fall Of Thine Eyes
08. Under The Leaves

LINE-UP:
Kieran Scott – Vocals
Ste Fowkes – Rhythm Guitar
Jay Rogers – Guitar
Phil Milman – Bass
Mike Ellis – Drums

Links:
http://www.facebook.com/ashencrown.uk
http://www.twitter.com/AshenCrown
FATangel PR Social Media:
F: http://www.facebook.com/fatangelpr/
T: http://www.twitter.com/fatangel_family
PR: Dan Carter dan@fatangel.co.uk

 

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno 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.

Damim – A Fine Game Of Nil

A Fine Game Of Nil Cover

Damim – A Fine Game Of Nil
Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings
Release Date: 28/06/2019
Running Time: 42:40
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
10/10

It is Saturday night in rural France. The local gossips have returned to their homes after disseminating all possible information to the entire village, and probably have been strapped back into their scold’s bridles by the husbands who are STILL covering up twenty year old affairs of the heart with the lady on the Rue de Ty Lidec. I, Dark Juan, The Gothfather, Love Commando and Sex Fuhrer to toffs and gentry, am sitting, beer in hand and having my face torn clean off by this piece of SAVAGERY masquerading as music entitled “A Fine Game Of Nil” by British neo-blackened metallers Damim – Damim being Arabic/Aramaic for bloodshed, I believe. That’s about the only useful fact you’ll get out of this stream of consciousness bollocks you’re about to read, so treasure it, ok?

First of all, I have to say the production work on this record is extremely satisfying, almost to the point of orgasm. Everything is so crystal fucking clear the band might as well be sat in my head battering the inside of my cranium with high powered amplification and pneumatic drills. However this is ultra-precise savagery, because Damim as musicians are tighter than a duck’s arse, and probably considerably more waterproof because they write huge, coruscating songs of complexity, power and depth and play them at a speed that Formula One drivers would struggle to comprehend. There are many key changes and time changes but nothing of the music, even when it’s flitting from one tempo to another, is extraneous. The musical progressions are logical and impressive and it all fits together like a particularly complex heavy fucking metal jigsaw puzzle. Special mention must also go to Nathanael Underwood for his vocals – a primeval, visceral roar that appears to have come from the bowels of some previously undiscovered hell found underneath the foundations of Satan’s bit of it, yet retaining clarity and having words that are actually discernible as they are being sung! This is a momentous feat in death and blackened metal so bonus points to you, old chap!

Normally it just sounds like bears vomiting. Not that all this talk of intelligence, complicated musicianship and socially conscious lyrics should distract you from the fact that this is the dog’s testicles from a sheer metal point of view. There’s blastbeats and brutality in spades. It’s not a battlewagon of a record, it’s a sleek and shiny supersonic jet fighter of one. It’s blindingly fast and sharp and operates precision guided weaponry, and YOU are the target. Damim are out to kill you all with laser-guided accuracy.

So, compositionally exquisite, vocally exemplary and velocity unmatched! There has to be a downside, right? Well, fucking good luck finding one, mate. Damim are a phenomenally intelligent band. The lyrics are pertinent and relevant to events in the world today and even the album title alludes to zero sum game theory. Look it up, it’s actually genuinely fascinating. I love this record so much I have ruined yet more underwear and had to pause in my libertine pursuits of alcohol, laudanum and abusing young ladies to reflect on the sheer majesty and magnificence of what I have just heard. In fact, I have finished the record and literally just pressed play again to start over. It appears I want my face to look like burger meat, considering Damim are flaying it off bit by bit. Favourite tracks on here are ‘Beyond The Call Of Emptiness’, and the hilariously named ‘Something For The Weekend’. It’s hilarious because the song title seems so out of keeping with the rest of the record, OK? I also really like ‘NecroKino’, a tune that the intro reminds me greatly of the synthwave stylings of groups like Gunship offer before pulling out hidden weapons and proceeding to skin you alive with diamond sharp guitars and drums that can cause tectonic misery. The other titles skirt perilously close to one of my favourite sources of comedy – heavy metal word salad song titles. As we shall shortly see!

In short then – if you love extreme metal you’ll fucking love this. If, on the other hand, you think metal begins and ends with Avenged Sevenfold you’ll hate it so much you’ll savagely murder your own parents. “A Fine Game Of Nil” is PROOF that metal is one of the most phenomenally complex styles of music to play and also one of the most difficult to master. Damim have fucking mastered it, made it their collective bitch and are currently beating it into further compliance with flails and chains and all manner of unspeakable other things. The thing is, I am of the opinion that this record is that good that it might win a few converts from the less extreme fans, because although it is brutal deluxe, faster than a trip to the lavatory after a dodgy curry and heavier than a neutronium sex toy, it somehow STILL remains accessible and approachable. Damim have done something remarkable. They have made music bordering on black metal interesting again (which is not easily done as there hasn’t been a proper good black metal record since “Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk”) and also made it something even a new convert could enjoy instead of just the hardened heavy metal warrior. There’s much to enjoy as parts of the music touch on other styles like djent, the odd riff progression has a whiff of nu-metal about it and there is a thrash element running throughout the whole thing. I also think having an excellent production job will also win fans considering most extreme metal sounds like it has been recording using candy floss and asbestos as filters and recorded through the wall next door.

Anyway. A splendid effort from these gentlemen! I’m serious when I say that I consider this to be the album of the year so far. I fucking love it.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System offers Damim a blood soaked and thoroughly gore coated 10/10. Extraordinarily good! I have run out of words.

TRACKLISTING:
01. In A Language They Understand
02. Descendant Of Amalek (If you don’t know, Amalek is described in the Hebrew Bible as a country that is an enemy of the Israelites It can also be referring to the nation’s founder, the grandson of Esau. You’re welcome. Just because I despise religion as social control doesn’t mean I haven’t studied the scriptures.)
03. Beyond The Call Of Emptiness (Surely emptiness can’t call? Because it’s like… empty?)
04. Something For The Weekend
05. NecroKino
06. Body Is Broken
07. Rising Of The Lights
08. Existential Epiphany Within A Waking Dream (The only existential things I get during waking dreams are crises…)
09. All I Want To Know Is (what the rest of this title is because my computer is refusing to tell me. Sorry, chaps.) – (RICK HERE, the full title is ‘All I Want To Know Is How It Ends’)

LINE-UP:
Nathanael Underwood – Vocals and guitars
Flow Toulman – Drums
Faust Perez – Bass
Edd Amos – Guitars

LINKS:
https://www.damim.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/dam.nation.uk/

https://www.instagram.com/damim_uk/

https://www.youtube.com/user/vacuusanimum

 

Damim Photo - Credit Tina Korhonen

 

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.

Photo courtesy of Tina Korhonen.

 

Kill All The Gentlemen – The Loss And The Rapture

The Loss And The Rapture Cover

Kill All The Gentlemen – The Loss And The Rapture
Sliptrick Records
Release Date: 22/11/2018
Running Time: 39:37
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
8/10

Greetings, neophytes, zelators and the mildly curious about the occult activities of the Left Hand Path. It is I, the Groove Ipssisimus Dark Juan here to give you the “benefit” of my wisdom about many things: One of them might even be what I’m supposed to be writing about, but to be honest I think you might be shit out of luck on that score today, and possibly for the rest of the week. Mainly because it has been that hot here I haven’t been able to do anything apart from lie on the cool tiled floor of the lounge, bemoan the French government for allowing this heatwave to happen and curse Satan for not shutting the back door to hell behind me after I kicked him in his nefarious big red balls and fucked off after he dared to suggest my soul belongs to him. As far as I am concerned, you have to have a soul in order for it to belong to anyone, and the twisted, foetid little black knot of unspeakable rage that lives in my chest does not qualify as a soul. More a weapon. Anyway, I am sat (sitting would be the correct grammar, according to my guest who has just left to go skiing in the Alps. He’s a lawyer and went to a very exclusive school where they taught him Latin and stuff. My Dying Bride taught me Latin – Incendere suus, damnare suus vita. Dare suus ad art ventus) in my Fourth Invocation Robes (Summer Weight (Refrigerated)) dying slowly of dehydration whilst simultaneously drinking as much alcohol as I can cram down my avid throat whilst I listen to Kill All The Gentlemen’s latest offering, entitled “The Loss And The Rapture” (Phew, we got to it in the end. Well done for sticking with me this far…) This band is based in England, more specifically Exeter in Devon, although I am privately convinced that at least two members of the band are NOT Devonian by birth. I shall leave you, dear reader, to work out who they might be.

Disclaimer – My Fourth Invocation Robes (Summer Weight) are a lie. I’m wearing green pyjama pants with Animal from the Muppets on them, black and white striped espadrilles and a not wholly unironic Spinal Tap t-shirt. This is because I have had a high concentration of supreme quality metal recently and because of sex wees, trouser explosions and sheer excitement coupled with being of a certain age I have single-handedly created a Breton underwear drought. Hence with the expectation of this being a rather splendid slab of depleted uranium heaviness, I have elected to eschew pants. No tighty whities for Dark Juan!

I am not disappointed with the heaviness. This is not music. It is an avalanche with some poor fucker on skis in front of it. It is brutality and violence in musical form. This is A VERY GOOD THING. I know I rattle on about melody and quality tunesmithing, but there are times you (I, certainly) just want to have your brain turned to soup. KATG are rather good at this, but to write them off as just a kind of fairly generic death/ extreme metal band is to not pay sufficient attention to them. The title track of this record is a FUCKING GLORIOUS THING THAT EVERY SINGLE METAL FAN SHOULD HAVE A COPY OF BY ORDER OF DARK JUAN YOU FUCKING BUNCH OF BASTARD PHILISTINES!!!!!! It is almost prog in its complexity, with light and dark and fucking loud and quiet and vocals that range from the chilling whisper you get in your ear a split second before the brandished steel blade is drawn across your throat and your lifeblood pumps from you in minutes, to the kind of open throated roar that normally emanates from a giant, radioactive lizard intent on razing Japanese cities to the ground. It is a roar you should never play at any volume in San Francisco as you will just seismically stimulate the San Andreas Fault into an early earthquake. Well done, Kill All The Gentlemen; you have turned a beautiful 1920s city by the sea into a massive fucking Lovecraftian hole simply by the power of your heavy fucking metal. This is behaviour that needs to be encouraged. Can you please do the same to the bunch of Jesus freaks and all round unpleasant cock juggling thundercunts that are the Westboro Baptist Church, please? I might have a highly illegal and possibly unstable cache of trinitrotoluene secreted somewhere nearby should you need some explosive assistance… The album as a whole is a solid and powerful piece of speedy, sharpened metal with a bass sound that reminded me greatly of the 80’s British thrash band Acid Reign. The opening cut on this record, ‘I Welcome The Horror’ has the potential to be a minor classic, starting with the kind of music that you would expect from 80’s Italian horror films before Adam Martin howls, “It’s coming…… NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWW!” and you are led down a spiky, flesh ridden, blood-soaked rabbit hole of metal brutality seldom experienced from British bands. It is a fine song and it is representative of the whole record. It is speedy and powerful and jolly good fun if you like mosh pits and losing your teeth while cannoning off other people intent on changing their own dentistry. All the songs are exciting, solid slabs of granite hard heavy metal underpinned with the prodigious roar of the estimable Mr. Martin. The title track is far and away my favourite on the record though, as it stands head and shoulders above the rest for quality, interest and ability. This is not to say that the rest of the record is bad because it really isn’t! ‘These Are Godless Times’ is another absolute stormer of a song and hopefully destined for permanent airplay on many record stations.

In short then, KATG have shaken me out of a post visit bout of existential misery, but they have also caused me to cane the gin and tonic and now I’m wankered all over again.

Thank you, gentlemen, thank you.

A fine, fine record then. Give them your readies and buy their records.

The Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has been quaffing many alcoholic beverages during the course of this album and awards it a splendidly squiffy 8/10. Well worth your effort, though. British metal is back on the up!

TRACKLISTING:
01. I Welcome The Horror
02. Sing For Me Sinner
03. Where Here Is I Know Not
(Could be the Dark Juan theme tune! We went to La Gacilly for a photographic exhibition yesterday. Got lost twice. The Volkswaffe doesn’t have sat nav, which made opportunities for deflowering virgins and subverting the Church tricky as we were on the minutes. I had to content myself with telling a nun she worshipped a false god and she needed cock…)
04. These Are Godless Times (Well, I am doing my best! Burn down a church!)
05. Death’s Very Emissary (Oh yes, that IS me…)
06. The Loss And The Rapture
07. Damnation Be My Guide
08. Once A Slave
(NEVER A FUCKING SLAVE! DARK JUAN WILL ACHIEVE DOMINION OVER ALL!!! Probably to a soundtrack of Kill All The Gentlemen.)

LINE-UP:
Adam Martin – Vocals/Guitar
Christian Axsel – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Thomas Arne Rørstad – Drums
Ben Andrew – Bass
Drums on the album recorded by Olan Parkinson

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/killallthegentlemen/

https://www.instagram.com/katgband/
https://killallthegentlemen.bigcartel.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCHlWuQVXpl8ZloY1-CXQNQ

 

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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.