Null Cell – Nemesis

Nemesis Album Cover Art

Null Cell – Nemesis
Machineman Records
Release Date: 31.12.21
Running Time: 47:05
Review by Dark Juan

9/10

Hello, dear friends. It is I, Dark Juan, and you may be very surprised to know that I am feeling somewhat subdued. Normally I am to be found bursting with explosive bonhomie, and replete with witty bon mots and all round cheerful good humour. Instead I feel like shite and can’t even rouse myself to masturbate furiously over a picture of Euronymous burning down a church. That’s death’s door kind of business. Fuck knows what’s wrong with me, because all the tests I am doing for COLIN-19 appear to be negative. Mrs Dark Juan is currently sparked out on the sofa with two Smellhounds and I have a gently snoring (and extremely flatulent) General Sir Zeusington Zeus KCVG, VC, DFC and bar, Croix de Guerre and Order Of The Red Banner next to me whilst I contemplate my mortality, and what the response from Mrs Dark Juan would be if I woke her to demand tea. As the second point would probably directly influence the first, I feel it would be beneficial to my lifespan if I just went and fetched my own cup of tea.

I don’t even feel like drinking, even though I know there’s a very acceptable bottle of 15-year-old single malt Scotch whisky in the kitchen with my name on it. Is this what old age and senescence is?

Also, it’s near Christmas, and I promised Mrs Dark Juan I wouldn’t ruin it for her this year by being miserable. However, seeing as she has no control over the vitriolic vomiting of my metaphorical pen (he sez as he types this on Word) I can confidently share with you the fact that I despise Christmas with a passion. I hate all the false bonhomie, the commercial shitstorm that starts in fucking SEPTEMBER, the awful music, and most of all the fact that I am OBLIGED to like it for the sake of society as a whole. Why? Why the fuck should I accept the Christians (fucking imported Middle Eastern death cults do my fucking head in too) having stolen a perfectly acceptable pagan festival, and their capitalist lackeys using it as an excuse to drag ever more profit out of our miserable and increasingly less well-off lives? And more to the point, swallow it all down like a good little boy for the sake of other people’s happiness? Commercial shitstorms do my fucking head in. Next the supermarkets will have fucking Easter eggs in in February. Right after the supermarkets try to relieve me of money and increase my already beyond Catholic levels of assumed guilt with Valentine’s Day and all the pink frothy bullshit that comes with it. Mrs Dark Juan would fucking adore it if I bought her a raven, not a fucking lovebird, you money grabbing twats…

You might be wondering just what the fuck I am listening to that has caused me to rant in such a disgracefully self-indulgent fashion. It’s “Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)” by The Darkness.

No, it isn’t. I’m lying to you again. By kind permission of Machineman Records, I have in my sweated and greasy hands an advance copy of Nebraska native Isabella Chains’ latest offering as Null Cell – “Nemesis”.

You will no doubt, as regular readers of this gobbledegook masquerading as factual information, know that I am something of a Null Cell fan, having reviewed the debut album (https://ever-metal.com/2021/02/20/null-cell-eternally-ill/, if you’re interested) and found the listening experience not unlike being incarcerated in an industrial meat packing plant populated by heavily armed sadists who all have anger management issues and severe inferiority complexes. You will be pleased to note that “Nemesis” is considerably more schizophrenic, ‘Chemical Haze’ having a bizarre, calliope like carnival quality, and a vocal that for some outré (and probably drug-fuelled) reason has me thinking of the tongue in cheek humour and delivery of Lux Interior, with a strange middle and end section of spoken word parts that also remind me of Satanic doo-wop titans Twin Temple. A very strange and engaging mix of psychobilly and industrial… This having exploded out of the end of a rather more industrial piece of noise called ‘The Void’, which spasmodically jerks from a droning electronic noise to the sound of orgasm over pounding sequenced drums.

In general, though, the sound of Null Cell is still an amalgam of Skinny Puppy, early Ministry, KMFDM, Die Krupps and Front Line Assembly. Chopped up guitars underpin machine-made, pounding beats and vocals that still remind me of a mightily pissed off Nivek Ogre. All good on the influence front then, eh? 

Fear not, because “Nemesis” has more variety than “Eternally Ill” did. Isabella Chains has increased her musical influences and a distinct hip-hop vibe has crept into the music – ‘South-O Sleaze’ having hip-hop beats fused with choppy metal guitars and a Trent Reznor-channeling vocal and lyrical performance, and ‘Psychic Slave’ enjoying more rap beats and a sample from 90s R&B superstars En Vogue (don’t think I didn’t notice, you cheeky little monkey!), as well as it being the most removed song from Null Cell’s actual grinding, percussive assault upon the senses.

Null Cell still have the same “problem” as they did with their debut record. It might not be metal enough for a metal fan to truly enjoy. Whilst, I, as a massive fan of EBM and Futurepop and Aggrotech and Synthwave and Power Electronics and especially Industrial, can find much to enjoy and to appreciate the coldness and the alienation that Null Cell’s music conjures up in my poor abused brain, a metal fan unwilling to be convinced by the righteous path of Industrial might consider it lightweight poppy bollocks. However, I am prepared to ignore this when I score the record because I think it’s fucking brilliant. My favourite song is ‘Mechanesia’, which has an emotional, scarred vocal overlaid by closely tracked guitars and keyboards and a real feeling of melancholy attached to it.

Being a one-person project means absolutely no need to compromise on your musical vision, and Isabella Chains is to be praised for forging her own Industrial path and creating another fine album that is a reflection of her personality. It mirrors my own obsidian take on the universe, and the lyrical content relates stories of losing control of yourself, and going through depression and possibly failing to come back out of it again unscarred, or (and this, with you all knowing I wrangle young gentlemen in the care of local authorities for an actual living when I am not deflowering the children of religion, and frequently the followers of them makes it DEEPLY personal) the abuse suffered by young people in all its forms. This song (‘Blade’s Edge’) is a deeply unpleasant listening experience for me in that regard, but is relevant, timely and sharper than a rapier thrust to the eyeball.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (they speak a strange and bastardised version of English over in them there United States of America, so no amusingly incorrect translations into foreign languages today) awards Null Cell 9/10, because their cyberpunk mix of Skinny Puppy, Front 242 and Ministry with added metal is right up my perverted little alley.

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Return To Oz
02. Nemesis
03. Breaking The Code
04. Dream Emulator
05. Over The Top
06. Psychic Slave
07. Blade’s Edge
08. The Void
09. Chemical Haze
10. Judgement Pays (Good Cop)
11. South-O Sleaze
12. Twitching Alive
13. Mechanesia

LINE-UP:

Isabella Chains – Vocals, synths, programming, guitar, production and all instrumentation where noted. There’s no need for this level of talent. No need at all!

LINKS:

Null Cell Promo Pic

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.

Dead – You’ll Never Know Pleasure… (25th Anniversary Remaster)

You'll Never Know The Pleasure... Album Cover Art

Dead – You’ll Never Know Pleasure… Until You’ve Tasted Pain (25th Anniversary Remaster)
XENOCORP Kvlt Series
Release Date: 10.12.21
Running Time: 48:09
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

This is the review that all of Ever Metal Towers has been dreading. They have dared to let me loose on Dead’s 25th anniversary reissue of “You’ll Never Know Pleasure…” If you don’t know who Dead are, well… you’re Dead to me! See what I did there?

It is well known that Dark Juan is a libertine of the first degree and has a special fascination with deflowering the sweet, innocent products of families with clergymen of all faiths at their heads. Especially for desecrating altars in the houses of the False Gods with them (in the case of Christians by lying the crucified Christ on the altar and letting their clits grind against his beard as they are defiled) and turning them onto the righteous path of The One Who Walks Backwards by the simple expedient of awakening their previously unknown tendencies to submission or domination, whatever their bent will be. Dark Juan does not discriminate in these matters, as long as there’s blood, screaming and an orgasm or three at the end of it. In fact, it is indeed a special pleasure to subvert the pious and the religious and awaken them to darker, more extreme pleasures than the body and blood of Christ and transubstantiation and all that bollocks. Combine this with the belief that Shaitan has rather more to do with what goes on on the Earth, and you can surely see the appeal of torturing people in the filthiest ways possible… 

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

Love (apparently, and somewhat contradicting the above statement) is also the law. Love under will. Satanists can be sometimes confused. It’s because of the laudanum and the constant orgies. You can get quite tired…

Cast your minds back, if you would be so kind, to 1995 if you’re old enough to. If you’re not, you’re in for a fucking surprise, ladies, gentlemen and gentlepersons, because all the way back in the mists of musical prehistory there was a sudden explosion in the popularity of really extreme Metal. Napalm Death had invented Grindcore. Carcass were the progenitors of Goregrind, Death Metal in the form of the Morrisound era and Deicide, Morbid Angel, Death and Autopsy were absolutely huge, and then in Germany something quite strange happened. Three young Germans took the Gore/Grind sound and decided in their infinite wisdom to write about kinky and unpleasant (to some, not I!) sexual deviancy, instead of cannibalism and slaughter and Satan. Yes, Dead invented Pornogrind and the young and frequently tumescent Dark Juan was fucking instantly SOLD!!! Dead were a formative and deeply worrying influence (the parents were particularly perturbed by “Delicious Taste Of Vaginal Excrements”) when I was 15, hence it is with a very large shit eating grin I am listening to this 25th anniversary reissue aged 47 and still being just as childish as I was then, and giggling like a madman. Mrs Dark Juan is not amused… I still have the original on vinyl somewhere in storage on my vast estates, I believe…

So what do Dead sound like, I heard literally no-one ask? Imagine “Reek Of Putrefaction” by Carcass, but with a production job that wasn’t done by a YTS trainee with zero competent supervision remotely from a different fucking city with equipment made of Lego, Marmite jars and bits of plywood, and lyrics that border on criminal levels of perverse sexual deviancy and completed by the same three levels of vocal styling that the Scouse grind pioneers employed to such notable effect – high pitched growling, deep-chested roaring and congested vomitory splurging. However, behind the frankly concerning sexual deviancy and the demented speed, there’s actually a fucking good band. The music is not unlike an unholy and very dirty coupling between Napalm Death (buzzing, homicidal bass and insane tempos) and Carcass (absolutely razor sharp, predatory riffing and complex arrangements) with a large thrash element (especially in the guitar solos) and the whole aural experience is not unlike being roughly penetrated up the chutney ferret with a 12 inch black ribbed knobbler. Sans lubrication. Or advance warning. There’s also a notable punk edge throughout the record, not least on ‘Highest Power’ and ‘Die When You Die’, being as they are both covers of the unique, deeply disturbed and shockingly coprophilic GG Allin. ‘Hey Baby, Why Don’t You Love Me?’ also apes punk icon Adam Ant in his “Dirk Wears White Sox” early days, and displays a sense of abstruse humour that is peculiarly German. Apart from that, the music is pretty standard Grind, with influences that indicate a love of Dying Fetus and Pig Destroyer as well as the aforementioned Scousers and Brummies. 

The reissue is cleanly produced and remastered, without any of the woolliness of the original release, and it makes a change (also pioneered by Carcass) to hear lyrics delivered in an extreme fashion with clean enunciation. Every instrument is clearly and cleanly heard and even the drumming remains distinct, even during the hyperspeed passages. This is an added bonus, because the arrangements of the music are excellent and very competently performed. The sheer impishness of the band’s mental sense of humour comes through in the cheerful desire to shock on ‘XXL Cunt’ and in some the spoken word samples that start and finish songs, ‘Journey To Extasy’ (sic) amply demonstrating this with a woman begging to be fucked before being told that no-one wants to (in a most jocular fashion) before the band literally crashes in and levels the fucking place.

However, I am in a quandary, because this record is very much a creation of its time and ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT tie in with my politics regarding the rights of women, misogyny and equality (my views on these issues are well known and frequently trumpeted), especially with recent events surrounding a well-known UK pirate metal band’s WhatsApp messages. Therefore, I don’t know whether marks should be deducted for misogynistic pigheadedness, but then I remind myself that Dead are clearly just having a fucking laugh and are not being serious and sometimes I should get off my soapbox and just enjoy a band I took a great deal of pleasure in torturing my poor old mum and dad with when I was but a young bairn. They were just as worried about “Reek Of Putrefaction” to be fair and no-one ever accused Carcass of ACTUALLY microwaving babies or excreting mucopurulence for real did they?

Oh – I just remembered the headlines from a popular UK red top when “Reek” was released:

“BAN THIS SICK, SATANIC SEX RECORD NOW!!”

Nah, silly editor. Let’s use it as a soundtrack to the vile, cocaine fuelled perversions I am going to perpetrate upon your lovely daughters. And your wife. No tears, please. It’s a waste of good suffering. I’ve even warmed the electric cattle prod because it will be their first time.

Right, I’ve decided on that matter. I am disregarding it because it is a band trying to shock, in the classic manner, and not a bunch of women hating dickheads. That’s sorted that out then. 

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Das patentierte Dark Juan Blutspritzer-Bewertungssystem) thinks you should all be very very grateful indeed that half the shit I wanted to write on this review didn’t make it past my internal editor, because you would have all been traumatized (or horrifically turned on, as the case may be) and instead leaves the majority of the kink contained within my sewer-like cranium to your imaginations and Dead’s lyrics, while simultaneously awarding Dead 10/10 for what is a superb Grind album back from when Grindcore in all its forms was revolutionary and fucking exciting. Also, I quite like the Ever Metal team and wouldn’t want to scare them. Especially Sheri.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Rectal Punishment (Me? Or some other unaccounted for third party? Oh well, prostate massage for the win!)
02. Receive My Golden Shower (No. Point it over there and give your Johnson a good wash afterwards.)
03. Penicide (Otherwise known as a number of my ex-girlfriends.)
04. You’ll Never Know Pleasure… (If you’re a Puritan. Or from Salford.)
05. Highest Power (a googleplex?)
06. XXL Cunt (Otherwise known as a number of my ex-girlfriends.)
07. Delicious Taste of Vaginal Excrements (Especially good in a Vichysoisse.)
08. Body Fluids Are My Favorite Fetish (Which ones? I like precision. This is as bad as the pronoun game in films!) 
09.Slaves to Abysmal Perversity (Otherwise known as a number of my ex-girlfriends.) 
10. Thrusted to the Limit of All Delights (Otherwise known… I’ll stop now.) 
11. Journey to Extasy (The grammar Nazi inside me right now is raging from my mental and grammatical equivalent of the Wolfsschanze.) 
12. Die When You Die (No. I’m living forever and doing unspeakable things to your corpse.)
13. Hey Baby, Why Don’t You Love Me? (Because you’re so fundamentally unlovable, you freaky twat!)
14. Skin Deep Between Her Tights (Is this a paean to the skin of her creamy inner thighs beneath the nylon, or is the protagonist chewing his way through them to get to the sweet meat within, or is it a descriptive term? Enquiring minds want to know.)
15. Recognize: Spread Your Legs, Whore (Part 1) (Lazy)
16. Recognize: Spread Your Legs, Whore (Part 2) (Quasi-Industrial)
17. Recognize: Spread Your Legs, Whore (Part 3) (Droning.)
18. Recognize: Spread Your Legs, Whore (Part 4) (Repeated samples)
19. Recognize: Spread Your Legs, Whore (Part 5) (Eventually stop)
20. Recognize: Spread Your Legs, Whore (Part 6) (And there’s blessed silence.)

LINE-UP:
Dany Dead – Guitars & Vocals
Uwe Dead – Bass & Vocals
Peter Dead – Drums & Vocals

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.

Dark Juan’s Top 10 releases of 2021

Dark Juan’s Top Ten Releases Of This, The Year Of Our Lord 2021 (Otherwise Known As The Year Of The Fucking Plague, But At Least Donald Trump Fucked Off, Innit?)
Unsurprisingly Written by Dark Juan (who Appears To Be On One Today!)

(Beth here… Hold onto your hats people! Here’s Dark Juan’s thought on the year and music…)

Hello, boys, girls and young people of all other genders. And Otherkin too, although I don’t see how you could possibly identify as say, a weather system, and expect to be taken seriously. Ditto that girl who was interviewed a while ago who identified as a cat. I would have had more respect if she didn’t use human language, have a boyfriend (which really does make me wonder just WHAT his ACTUAL desires were, indicating to me he was after pussy of an ENTIRELY different kind), ate from a bowl on the floor and shat in a box full of sawdust. Clearly she liked to pretend to be a cat occasionally, which is absolutely fine, but saying, “I am a cat and everyone should help me perpetrate my delusion” is not right. If you look like a human, talk like a human, are not covered in fur and are shaped like a human, you’re fucking human. You can’t lick your own arse. Or if you can, message me! You don’t get wildly stoned on catnip. You don’t climb up the curtains and sleep on the rail. You don’t go and cause fights that wake up entire neighbourhoods with your screaming at 3am. You don’t bring back little eviscerated presents for your owners because they are shit hunters and you have taken pity on them. YOU ARE NOT A CAT.

Yes, 2021. A year that has been most unusual because the full horror of Brexit has dropped upon our unsuspecting Great British heads and caused great misery and mayhem for millions, both at home and abroad, (regardless of what that bunch of posh, untrustworthy, lying motherfuckers and their class traitor apologists say in Westminster), COVID-19 has caused an indelible stain on history, causing us Brits to lose some liberty (temporarily) in order to make sure people didn’t die in even greater numbers, yet there was a lunatic bastard fringe out there who yelped (and still are) pitifully that wearing their mask infringed on their rights (Wrongly. They have the right to not wear masks, but refuse to understand everyone else has the right to not serve them, or help them or anything, for fear of infection), and that vaccinations variously made you a walking 5G transmitter (how come I can only still get 4G in Yorkshire, you fucking dribbling twatmonkeys?), enabled Microsoft (I’m sure the evil overlord that is Bill Gates is enjoying controlling the wheelchair bound Mrs Gladys Pendragon, 87, of Myrthyr Tydfyl) to control you and make you buy £47 million worth of Amazon products, or would make you grow twenty-seven heads and fifteen arms and that you would devolve into a pile of steaming, gently rippling slime 17 minutes after having it administered, and that it’s all a huge conspiracy to control you and that some drooling, half-insane fuckwits on Twitter, YouTube and Telegram know more than the worldwide scientific community, the World Health Organisation, medical experts and virologists, and that we should listen to their crackpot shitbuggery rather than actual fucking authorities who have planned for this sort of business, whereas two minutes on a search engine of your choice will tell you everything you need to know about vaccination programmes and recombinant DNA, and you’ll be both educated and edified. Also, try being socially fucking responsible instead of a selfish bastard, right? And you’ll see the clickbait generating cockwombles for what they are… I’ll give you a clue. They are not truth-tellers.

Sorry. I REALLY needed to get that off my chest.

And now, for your edification, here are what I consider to be the top ten finest musical releases of the year. It has, because of the rather inconvenient virus that has tanked entire economies, been what can only be described as a renaissance for extreme music and metal. Bands, not able to perform live, have developed an absolute laser focus on honing their sounds, their concepts and their recordings, and this has been an utterly VINTAGE year for releases. I have never awarded so many high marks and full scores, and I am a right picky bastard when it comes to music because that’s my job.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

10. Fractal Generator – “Macrocosmos”

Faceless Canadian-based intergalactic wanderers master human instruments and proceed to record something that just rips the faces off anyone within a five mile radius. Released all the way back in January, this album takes the idea of Technical Death Metal, rips it wide open, stuffs it full of solid-state alien electronics, fires the fucker back up, and just watches it rampage through the unsuspecting ears of writers and critics. Speedy, clinical, science fiction meets metal that took a moribund genre and turned it on its head and into something new, vibrant, and exciting. And probably poisonous too.

Macrocosmos Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/fractalgeneratorofficial

9. Dead – “You’ll Never Know Pleasure… 25th Anniversary Reissue”

The soundtrack to a lost youth of punishing the parents who forced you to listen to country and reggae throughout your formative years with a) superior wattage and b) pornogrind. Still surprisingly uncompromising and raw today, and an essential listen for anyone who wishes to explore the genesis of grindcore and goregrind with added (distinctly unsexy) sexy times from a trio of seriously sexually disturbed German men. Would probably make a superb soundtrack for a sojourn into the darkest recesses of someone’s BDSM torture chamber for a bit of genital interaction with added pain, suffering, and some girlish squealing.

You'll Never Know The Pleasure... Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/deadofficial

8. Lair Of The White Worm – “EP1”

Uninspiring titling does nothing to detract from the Extreme Blackened Industrial output from Napalm Deathster John Cooke’s one-man musical project. Heavier than a pair of plutonium knickers, as dangerous as trying to remove said knickers from an unwilling nubile young lady trained in martial arts, and as dirty and filthy and smoke belchingly polluting as an endless military parade of armoured vehicles and missile transporters, this is Industrial as it should be. No polished, shiny metal here, just grinding, harsh, painful noise. And it is wonderful.

EP1 Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/LOTWW/

7. Schysma – “Schysma”

Absolutely and gloriously batshit Italian Gothic Metal with a vocalist who appears to have decided that all singing should be done at outrageous pitches and tones, and sounds like she is only just on the right side of controlling her egregious pipes. The rest of the band have clearly agreed with the “nothing is too big or overblown” concept and proceed to hammer you senseless with an overwhelming barrage of complex Gothic Metal played at the kind of speed that would make even Yngwie Malmsteen think twice about attempting the solos. Spectacularly unhinged, utterly demented, and possessed of a killer instinct not normally associated with goffiks.

Schysma Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/schysma

6. In Veil – “Lunatic”

Canada gives birth to an insane mix of schlock horror, KMFDM, Zombie Girl (the electronic industrial one) and Rob Zombie and animates it with electric shocks and sends it stumbling forth to both beguile and horrify in equal measure. In turns savage and sexy and frequently both at the same time, In Veil serve Industrial Rock and Roll in industrial quantities for us all to slake our collective thirst on. Imbued with a keen sense of humour and more than a little bizarre carnival and burlesque leanings, In Veil are the calliope soundtrack to serial killers in clown makeup butchering innocents in brightly striped tents.

Lunatic Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/inveilmusic/

5. Darkthrone – “Eternal Hails…”

Seemingly immortal Scandinavian Black Metal legends Fenriz and Nocturno Culto serve up another ultra cold, ultra heavy slab of Blackened Doom Metal that is a world away from the primal Black Metal Darkthrone initially played, yet somehow, despite being much slower and even more bleak, manages to exude the same sense of menace and danger. Long songs (all over 7 minutes in length) allow for exploration and extrapolation of themes in a way that classic, hyperspeed black metal would never permit, and Darkthrone are all the better for it.

Eternal Hails Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/Darkthrone-101075189934422

4. Send More Paramedics – “The Final Feast”

The final studio release for these Leeds based zombie flesh eating Thrashers is a real pleaser. The fastest and bounciest Thrash Metal is welded to an ineffable sense of humour as they cavort on one final recording rammed to the rafters with magnificent riffs and rapid fire, punchy songs before all their limbs fall off and they can’t play anymore. Or something. Fast, fun and frequently furious, Send More Paramedics would love it if they could “kick your ass, and then eat your brain”. I’d love it if they would tour just one more time because my young gentlemen wrangling got in the way of it last time.

The Final Feast Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/sendmoreparamedicsuk

3. Epoch Of Chirality – “Nucleosynthesis”

Science fiction instrumental metal. With cinematic, soaring keyboards that easily cause your imagination to run riot with imagery involving large space battles or James Bond-esque night runs through the Italian Alps being chased by shitloads of baddies. When neon and blacklight tinged Synthwave slams into primal, muscle bound Heavy Metal at ridiculous velocities, Epoch Of Chirality are the chimeric result that strides purposefully from the wreckage. Without even a mark on its impeccable Gieves and Hawkes suit.

Nucleosynthesis Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/EpochOfChirality/

2. Baron Crâne – “Les Beaux Jours”

Demented and uber-talented French trio of Jazz-infused Heavy Progsters bring the instrumental noise. OK, there’s occasional vocals, but Baron Crâne brought an uncommon sense of melody and timing to record that is chock-full of Very Good Things. Supremely intelligently arranged and played with a rare mix of both precision and passion, this is heavy music for the seasoned listener. Rabid tempo changes and syncopations abound as these French masters take you on a rocket-fuelled ride of exploration. Baron Crâne ran The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara close for record of the year. It’s that good.

Les Beaux Jours Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/baroncrane

1. The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara – “Full Spectrum”

Record of the year for the sheer scale and inventiveness of it all. TCOMAS delivered a tour de force of music transmuted into something magical. Taking elements from all over the musical spectrum (from Industrial, Djent, Metal, Ambient and Electronic) and welding it to poetry, Daphne Ang and Andrea Papi transcended genre gatekeeping and gameplaying with names to create a meisterwerk of Extreme Music, with a strong socio-political component and a glorious disregard for any musical convention whatsoever. Simply breathtaking in scope and execution.

Full Spectrum Album Cover Art

https://www.facebook.com/tcomasmusic/

So there you have it. A fine selection of some incredible music. It has been an extremely tough choice with some very notable mentions this year – Lament Cityscape and Null Cell brought back old school Industrial and made it special again, Lucid Sins played superb Blues-tinged Psychedelic Rock and Roll that had a tendency to wander off and turn the middle eight into a middle thirty-two, and Duncan Evans, both solo and with WaxWorm. A fine gentleman and a superb songwriter and performer, who misses out on the top ten releases by not quite being heavy enough for a metal website, but for whom I hold a deep and lasting regard as a songwriter.

Bring on 2022 and let’s hope it is plague-free, this time. Have a drink for me. I’m going to walk Hodgson. I may be some time…

Read Dark Juan’s original album reviews here:

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 said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Fleischkrieg – Herzblut

Herzblut Album Cover Art

Fleischkrieg – Herzblut
Self-Released
Release Date: 05.11.21
Running Time: 39:30
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

I greet thee, my faithful ones. May you be blessed in everything you do and be delighted in everything from the opening of a spring flower to the frantic scramble of succeeding in your panic buying for the upcoming festive time and your ungrateful offspring. May you be blessed with the Sacred Gravy Jug of Valhalla (which is a real thing, just ask Kids In Cages’ Fin Davey, being as he and I are Brothers in this august arrangement) and also with the Hallowed Potent Bottle Of Spirits Granting Sweet Oblivion In The Mid-Afternoon. I mean I would be trolleyed right now as there is champers and whisky in the house and I am not in work, but I’m still feeling rough as a bird’s arse.  Tis the season to be fucked up, clearly, and not in the way I would prefer to be either…

Still, there’s booze in the house which is always a bonus.

In the meantime, I have retired into the world of music because a) I haven’t written anything for almost three weeks, b) the Smellhounds are being more irritating than usual, and c) Mrs Dark Juan is watching a short man with an amusingly shaped head and even more hilarious haircut talk about building his own house and composting toilet. I happened to look up and the strange Hobbit like being was standing next to a small shed of his own scratch construction, and as I am not very well and not paying total attention, I asked Mrs Dark Juan whether that was his house. 

Cue much laughter.  Mrs Dark Juan has not yet stopped taking the piss out of me. Several hours have passed. I want a drink.

I am consoling myself with the latest album from Fleischkrieg (Fleshwar or Meatwar in jolly old German) who are surprisingly not from Germany. Neither are they Swiss, Austrian, or from that tiny part of Belgium that speaks German. Or from Liechtenstein (where they also speak Schweizerdeutsch). Fleischkrieg are American, and more specifically from Los Angeles, California and they play what they call brutalwave. I can detect Neue Deutsche Härte with a larger than normal electronic component, a smattering of Neue Deutsche Todeskunst, a nod towards the cinematics of the current synthwave explosion and English language lyrics. In fact, with the extremely production heavy values of the whole album, the effect is not unlike Rammstein, Megaherz, Eisbrecher and Oomph! forcing themselves on Garbage and Evanescence (two bands who share the same almost overly produced ideal. I’ll explain later). Otherwise, Fleischkreig share the same martial industrial ideal of pounding mid tempos (just right to march to), extremely thick and forward in the mix guitars underpinned by lots and lots of keyboards and electronics with the German NDH vanguard and then we have the schizophrenic vocal stylings of Der Eismann himself, Richard Cranor, a man who, according to the EMQs segment he was a part of in 2020 does not know what a Jaffa Cake is. The shame, Richard. The unrelenting shame… (https://ever-metal.com/2021/08/20/emqs-with-fleischkrieg/ should you choose to peruse it) 

“If Hell hosted a dance party – Fleischkrieg would be the headliner.”

Bold claim from your own blurb, gentlemen and lady. Let us see whether it holds any water, or whether or not I’m going to have to be unkind to you all.

So what do you get for your hard-earned? You get 11 tracks of punishing, super heavy gothic industrial, in the highly polished, highly produced American style. The record opens with a haunting gothic electronic intro and a very polite guten tag, before launching into waves of building industrial electronics from Kaylie Cortez (Nuda) on ‘Doros’, until the guitar of Thomas Crawford (Ceraphym) crunches in. His sound is extremely heavily produced and is meaty as fuck, mate. The drums of Nick Mason (Living Dead Drummer, also, no. Not that one) are rather further back in the mix than I would like, whereas his cymbals are far too far forward for my august tastes. When I say the sound of the vocals are somewhat schizophrenic, ‘Brawler’ is a classic example. Richard starts off with all lascivious, mirror shaded, sinuous Andrew Eldritch inspired baritone crooning, before switching to visceral, sweat and adrenaline fuelled mid-pitched roaring. On my first listen I found it jarring as fuck but as I got used to it on repeated spins, I found that it fitted the music rather well and added a rather human quality to a very technology driven record, which could have become a very very robotic record quite easily. The rawness of the vocal adds to the experience and gives the record depth and interest. Richard’s voice reminds me on occasion of Andy LaPlegua, when he’s doing his Panzer AG and Icon Of Coil stuff rather than Combichrist. ‘Parasite’ melds speedy metal drumming, shimmering keyboards and some seriously choppy riffing. In fact, the drumming on the record is a pretty neat amalgam of nu-metal and industrial technique, and to be fair the more I listen the more I become beguiled. ‘Owllight’ switches between baritone muttering, shouting, and impassioned howling over supremely heavy guitars and the kind of power noise that Combichrist employ to such devastating effect.

To explain the production values – everything is so heavily produced it sounds artificial. This is not really a demerit for this style of metal though. This is what it shares with Garbage (the band, not actual rubbish), and Evanescence’s first album – their music was never an organic sounding beast. Everything was produced to the nth degree, down to individual cymbal strikes, the guitar sound sequenced to within an inch of its life, and the only truly human sounding element being the voice. It is the same with Fleischkrieg on “Herzblut”. Again I will point out that this is not necessarily a criticism, because if you’re doing a Metal /Gothic Industrial/ Electronic Industrial/ Synthwave chimera it HAS to sound machinelike and precise.

Hey, Fleischkrieg! Maschinenklang would be a better descriptor for your style of music! Just thought I’d tell you. You can thank me later!

I have to mention that there is a cover version here, too. I’m not telling you what it is, but it is a bit of a belter, as long as you have a sense of fun, and turns a gay anthem right on it’s head.

Everything about Fleischkrieg warms my twisted little black heart. This album, man. It has power, it has feeling, it has that indefinable je ne sais quoi that changes a great band into a superb one. It has a subtle sense of humour running throughout it, an engaging and amusing frontman and it melds two of my favourite forms of extreme music to devastating effect. It will be blowing the fuck out of the speakers in the Schweres Gothikpanzer on the way to work on Saturday!

I think I’m in love.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is being a picky bastard tonight. It awards these American Industrial madheads 9/10, deducting one mark for a production job that has put the drums too far in the mix. Otherwise, a magnificent beastie and one that will be being played to death. I’ll be humming this fucker in my grave.

TRACKLISTING:
01. G-M-D-H
02. Doros
03. Brawler
04. Bloody Prophets
05. Parasite
06. Owllight
07. Reach
08. Gib Mir Deine Herzblut
09. Saunting Eyes
10. Fool’s Folly
11. Relax

LINE-UP:
Richard “Der Eismann” Cranor – Vocals
Thomas “Ceraphym” Crawford – Guitars
Kaylie “Nuda” Cortez – Synths
Nick “Living Dead Drummer” Mason – Drums. No, not THAT Nick Mason. No, he doesn’t play for Saucerful Of Secrets or Pink Floyd.

LINKS:

FleischKrieg Promo Pic

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.

The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara – The Prophet (Single)

The Prophet Single Cover Art

The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara – The Prophet (Single)
Self-Released
Release Date: 26.11.21
Running Time: 3:25
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Greetings, younglings! It is I, the puissant and mighty Dark Juan, and I have been busily doing man stuff, now that the rib that one of the young gentlemen I wrangle broke has now finally started healing properly. To be fair I did compound the healing time by falling down the main staircase in Dark Juan Terrace, and laid in the hall cursing every single manifestation of deity in humankind’s galactic eyeblink of existence whilst being trampled by the Smellhounds. Such is the banality of life in wintery Yorkshire. Tomorrow will be composed of mainly watching YouTube videos on how to fix the mechanism for toilet flushes, because I am that fucking metal.

Also, fucking £17 for a hinge cutting drill bit?!? If I wanted to be fucked that hard I’d head to Canal Street in Manchester in a spangly frock and no pants.

Thankfully, we have London-based prog master and mistress, Andrea Papi and Daphne Ang, otherwise known as The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara, to distract me from my Northern tight-arse outrage at the cost of DIY equipment,  with their very latest single ‘The Prophet.’ And they have managed to shoehorn an entire story into three minutes and twenty-five seconds…

Neatly conflating the Sylvia Plath penned (of particular note to this Northern herbert, as she was married to Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate, of Mytholmroyd, not twenty minutes away from where I am currently ensconced, and she is buried at Heptonstall, in company with King David, the Cragg Vale coiner) poem “Lady Lazarus”, and the current enthusiasm of first world militaries for unmanned and optionally-manned weapons platforms (read as, “Send in the fucking robots controlled by the PlayStation generation to wipe out populations…”) ‘The Prophet’ recounts the tale of an advanced A.I. robot who is “resurrected”, like the biblical Lazarus (through its own eyes), but this time with a destructive super-intelligence, wreaking havoc upon her human creators.

The song starts with gentle guitar, chiming simply, as Daphne Ang’s mellifluous poetry weaves its way sinuously into your consciousness, the stridency and urgency of her voice increasing throughout the verse until the chorus – the impression I take from it is akin to the Artificial Intelligence being activated, and then running through startup routines, and performing system checks upon the body it inhabits. Then the music becomes clinical yet savage, distorted yet complex, as the rage-fuelled roar of Andrea Papi cuts through the spell that has just been weaved – again, I can picture the character of the lyrics testing her onboard combat systems by the simple, logical expedient of slaughtering the laboratory staff around her with absolute machine detachment.

The second verse returns to the simple guitar, yet with the added urgency of bass, denoting the growing power and control the machine has over her weapons and body, as she thinks about how she has been manipulated and touched by the hands of humans, and made aesthetically beautiful when she is destined to destroy everyone on the planet. She ruminates on the fear she sees in the eyes of the lab techs and troopers as she slays them all.

“Gods have mercy, but not I” is a profound line indeed, Daphne delivering it with pathos and an almost machine-like detachment, mirroring the absolute lack of feelings, morals, or any kind of emotion of the A.I. And even the abrupt fade of the song (fading out some superb technical riffing, Tool-like and nodding towards Tesseract with a pulverising, almost martial drumbeat) serves a purpose, to my mind, recalling the rapidly diminishing sounds of combat, as the A.I. methodically exterminates every person in her path whilst escaping from the facility she has been created in, and releasing herself out into the world, to begin her great task.

Yet again, The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara take the idea of extreme music, turn it inside out, dismantle it, and rebuild it into performance art that is as excoriatingly savage in heaviness as it is in political criticism. This level of intelligence in heavy music is terrifying and gives TCOMAS’ music even more power. With the increase in autonomous and optionally-manned war machines (think MQ-9 Predators and the like, raining undetected, high explosive death from above, while their operators use them via satellite links an entire continent away), TCOMAS deliver another spectacularly timely warning about just how precarious human life is right now, and how Artificial Intelligence is growing in sophistication all the time.

Perhaps we deserve to be snuffed out by a malevolence of our own creation.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has been sat here processing this song for nearly an hour now and is desperately trying to find some kind of flaw with it, because every review I have written about The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara has resulted in a full on 10/10 score. Fuck it. This one has too. TCOMAS are THE most important British-based band of the past ten years. Their uniqueness is unparalleled, and their power unquestionable.

LINE-UP:
Daphne Ang (Samara) – Vocals, Lyrics, Piano
Andrea Papi (Manimal) – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals

LINKS:

TCOMAS Promo Pic

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.

Baron Crâne – Les Beaux Jours

Baron Crâne – Les Beaux Jours Album Cover Art

Baron Crâne – Les Beaux Jours
Mrs Red Sound
Release Date: 15.10.21
Running Time: 48:01
Review by Dark Juan
Score: 10/10

Good afternoon, mes amis! I trust you are all carving your gourds, pumpkins, and turnips ready for the celebration of All Hallow’s Eve? I hope you all have your sexy, SEXY witch and warlock outfits and that your pet dogs and cats will hate you for the duration of it as you have dressed them up as bats or spiders, or some other outré outfit. Mrs Dark Juan and I are contemplating dressing up the Dread Lord Sir Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover as Pinhead and calling him the Heckraiser. Either that or it will be the matching sequinned pumpkin jumpers for him and Hodgson Biological-Warfare again. Never let it be said that I don’t allow the Smellhounds to enjoy Halloween as much as I do…

Which won’t be very much this year, as I have broken a fucking rib, having been rugby tackled by one of my young gentlemen at work. This bit of wrangling gone disastrously wrong was not (surprisingly) the result of said hulking young tough launching himself fists first at your correspondent (which, to be honest, is a fairly regular occurrence upon meeting me for the first time – just ask Admiral Of The Blue Beth “I’ve Got One Fist Of Iron, And One Made Of Steel, If The Left One Doesn’t Get You, The Right One Will” Jones, who had to sit on her hands to restrain herself from egregious levels of violence upon our first encounter. It is also the INSTANT response of young ladies when clapping their eyes upon my beauteous countenance, and hard, toned physique in order to control themselves, and the subsequent involuntary shedding of their panties. One of these scenarios is almost accurate and the other is a complete fabrication. I shall let you all decide which) and rather more because we were demonstrating different tackles on each other, and therefore it was a complete accident. Thusly, I have flung myself (gingerly and with considerable theatre) upon my chaise longue of abject pain and suffering, and am currently throwing the kinds of tantrums seen only by watchers of Axl Rose, and the parents of toddlers denied their millionth rerun of the fucking bastard furry (and therefore VERY confusing/ arousing to a certain demographic of their viewers. Also, Toyah voiced the yellow one. Toyah was my very first celebrity crush. This made me EXTREMELY confused about Laa-Laa and her watering can) terrorist multi-coloured handbag botherers that were the Teletubbies (NB: Actual autobiographical event from when the delightful progeny of my loins were growing up) and demanding vegetarian bacon sandwiches from Mrs Dark Juan every time she walked past. In response, Mrs Dark Juan has told me to “Fuck off because you’ve broken a rib, not lost your bloody leg, you ABSOLUTE drama queen” and retired to her craft eyrie, at the very top of Dark Juan Terrace, where she knows it will cause me pain to reach her, and I have been left to moulder in the First Reception Room with the hounds and absolutely no chance of a cup of tea.

It is, therefore, through the haze of agonising pain, that I bring you this finely crafted review of the latest album from French genre-bending mâitres Baron Crâne. You will all no doubt recall that I reviewed “Commotions” last year and enjoyed it very much indeed. “Les Beaux Jours” (“The Good Days” en Anglais) has a lot to live up to…

The immediate impression you get from the opening seconds of ‘Danjouer’ is that this album is a much more muscular record than the preceding “Commotions”, with some extremely punchy guitar work, and absolutely powerhouse drumming from guest tubthumper Simon Lemonnier (Wolve), after a droning opening, which leads to an almost pop punk slam into the song proper, which is a massively building, unstoppable juggernaut of Very Good Things all happening at once. This song stands as a rather intense statement of intent from this eclectic French trio. Influences combine and merge themselves into multi-coloured, fizzing new forms throughout the album, on which it appears that Baron Crâne have given up the overarching jazz-rock fusion of “Commotions” in favour of psychedelia, fuzz rock, and the kind of classic guitar sounds, and extended jams, that only come from colossal levels of drug abuse with added jazz abuse.

There are still lovely little jazz touches here and there though, not least on the title track, which, as well as being an almost ten minute epic, effortlessly stretches itself between Hawkwind style power electronics, jazz beats, languid, liquid bass work, and a VERY French Café Chanson vocal on the verse, and Tool-like dynamics and vocal (albeit in French) throughout the song, before it sheds its skin and morphs into its final form of mind-fucking psychedelic reality shifter. It really is a quite, QUITE breathtaking piece of musical perfection for the far-seeing fan of music. And that’s what I am. If you’re a prog metal fan, you’ll dig it big time, brothers and sisters. Stoners, too, will get it and be transported on mescaline fuelled voyages of discovery.

This is the story of the whole record. The jazziest song is ‘Mercury’ (featuring the midnight sex horn…. Sorry, I mean the saxophone talents of Gillaume Perret) which is a fiendishly complicated piece of music, and admirably showcases a band at the absolute peak of their talents. Everything on the record appears to have hit perfection. The song arrangements are sublime. The production is one of the best I have ever heard – pin sharp, with extraordinary clarity and magnificent power from the bass guitar especially, which rumbles and thumps its way through the sound in a meaty and satisfying fashion. Everything is very easy to discern, and when vocals are employed (Baron Crâne are an instrumental band) they are employed superbly and with power. From the point of view of a (a very very shit) musician, this record is notable for the sheer accuracy of the players, all of whom are frankly fucking astonishing – the musical interplay between guitar, bass and drums is just…. Well it’s fucking perfect, mate.

The second track, ‘Larry’s Journey’, amply demonstrates this as it switches from post-rock drone, to jazz fuelled metal guitar abuse, bass led shoegaze, and slowly building gothic menace, before the drummer crashes in in a very unusual time signature, and the whole band follow effortlessly and are tighter than a duck’s arsehole throughout. ‘Quarantine’ features the voice of Cyril Bodin, who offers the listener a superb, slightly gravelly hard rock delivery that the band build on with aplomb before taking a hard left turn into the misty hinterlands of prog for the middle part of the song, before his howl reminds us of Robert Plant, and the music and the chorus drags the listener back to the funky hard rock the song started with.

I cannot tell you how much I adore Baron Crâne’s music. This is metal (and it is metal, fact fans!!!) for intelligent people. The kind of metal fan who thinks that Avenged Sevenfold are super technical, or the fan stuck in 1986, and claims that metal died after “Master Of Puppets”, isn’t going to get this record. You have to have an understanding of music to fully engage with this album otherwise you’re just going to dismiss it as jazz-fuelled poncery. Which it really isn’t. It is jaw-droppingly stunning and vast in concept and execution. With influences from diverse sources (King Crimson, Tool, Air, Hawkwind and Led Zeppelin were some of the more obvious ones). It transcends the mere thought of music, and turns it into art you can hear. “Les Beaux Jours” is synesthetic perfection.

There I said it. The Chronicles Of Manimal And Sahara have a challenger for my favourite band of 2021. Sheer magnificence.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (le système breveté d’évaluation des éclaboussures de sang Dark Juan) awards Baron Crâne la crème entière dix sur dix. Full marks. Ten out of ten if you can’t speak French. Anything else would be a travesty, and I should know because I am one today.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Danjouer (feat. Simon Lemonnier on drums)
02. Larry’s Journey
03. Quarantine (feat. Cyril Bodin on vocals)
04. Mercury (feat. Guillaume Perret on saxophone)
05. Inner Chasm
06. Merinos (feat. Robby Marshal on flute)
07. Les Beaux Jours

LINE-UP:
Léo Pinon-Chaby – Guitar, vocals on “Les Beaux Jours”
Léo Goizet – Drums, percussion
Olivier Pain – Bass

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.

Pharmacist – Carnal Pollution EP

Carnal Pollution EP Cover Art

Pharmacist – Carnal Pollution EP
Black Hole Productions
Release Date: 10.10.21
Running Time: 19:39

Review by ‘Dark Juan’
8/10

What is it about dogs? I am finding it extremely challenging to write interesting and informative stuff for you today, due to the fact that the Smellhounds are variously having me up and down faster than a whore’s panties, demanding food even though there are still TWO hours to go before tea time, and creating the kind of sepulchral stench that only used to come out of mediaeval charnel houses during a long hot summer, even though the Smellhounds AREN’T ACTUALLY DEAD. Although Sir Zeusington Zeus KCVG, VC, MM, DFC and Bar, Croix de Guerre appears to be immortal, due to the amount of near death experiences he has (very expensively) survived over the past couple of years. Add to that the Dread Lord Sir Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover, who is currently favouring me with the kind of attention and closeness that would get another human a fucking restraining order, and has his head on my left hand (making me edit my review on the fly because every time he moves, I inadvertently type 47 Ds), and you get a frustrating creative experience. He is only doing this, however, because top notch Tyke totty, Mrs Dark Juan, has gone out with our friend Leigh (who is as misanthropic as I am, and therefore the BEST FRIEND EVER, because we never need to speak much to each other, and telephone conversations last less than one minute) to view some fashion gubbins I have absolutely no interest in. Normally, he’d be bothering Hodgson Biological-Warfare by the simple expedient of chewing his back leg until Hodgson fights him. Igor loves a good old fashioned straightener.

Judging by what I have just heard, Pharmacist don’t have dogs. Probably because they would have fashioned them into garments, or pies, or meat sculptures, or something. Yes, this Japanese duo play the kind of classic goregrind that only Olivia Neutered John (still the best band name in the history of music) have come close to, since I have been drivelling at you all on behalf of Ever-Metal.com and The First Lady of Wrexham, Lieutenant-General Dame Beth “Seventh Circle Of Hell, Bitch” Jones. This pair of demented Japanese impromptu surgery enthusiasts appear to have been listening to “Necroeroticism – Descanting The Insalubrious” by Scouse vegan corpse-worriers, Carcass, on repeat for several years, before recording this four tracker. The similarities are striking. So, are Pharmacist copying morgue-bothering Liverpudlians like for like, or does Japanese engineering supremacy come to the fore? Let us find out…

Opening cut “Disintegration” hits you with all the subtlety of fifteen gallons of bloody, stinking offal being chucked in your face by a gleeful and sadistic slaughterhouse worker. Blastbeats compete for the attention of the listener, with sawtooth guitars, and the kind of “singing” that really should reduce the vocal chords to wobbly and useless jelly. The vocals are extremely reminiscent of Carcass – the sepulchral grunt of Bill Steer, the highly pitched visceral snarl of Jeff Walker, and the snotty, congested vomitory of Ken Owen, are all faithfully replicated. However, there the similarity ends, as the music, which obviously will have Carcass as a major influence, seeing as they invented goregrind, also brings in elements of classic death metal (especially in the breaks and the tempo of the songs, which are all speedy, to say the least), and not a little technical ability. The second track, “Carnal Pollution”, ramps up the Carcass vocal influence dangerously close to copyism, although the music skirts Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, and Pathologist, to pretty grand effect. 

“Obsequial Orchestra” however is an out and out Carcass song. There is nothing to differentiate it from the style that the feral Scousers have made their own. From vocal phrasing, to smart-ass lyrics and titling, to guitar lines, and staccato riffing and multitracking, to the mid-tempo beat on the break, to the searing, tortured vocal delivery. I wouldn’t be surprised, judging by the sound of this song, if Pharmacist and Therapeutist (guitar, bass and drums respectively) had been found boozing in The Swan in Liverpool city centre fairly recently. Even the soloing (courtesy of Andrew Lee of Ripped To Shreds) is absolutely reminiscent of the legendary Bill Steer’s work.

“Oral Consuming” (fnarr, fnarr) closes out this EP, and is by far the most inventive and challenging song on here. Having rid themselves of their Carcass obsession on the previous track, this is a pointy, twisty beast of a song, that doesn’t let up on the brutality for a second, and switches time signatures and riff patterns with an easy grace that isn’t always obvious in death metal or goregrind. The vocal again references Jeff Walker’s visceral bark, but this song is much more original. Think Six Feet Under (with a competent vocalist and not a death metal clown fronting them) and Autopsy, busily butchering corpses with Carcass and you have an idea of the sound of the last song.

The production is weird as fuck, man. While everything is cleanly produced, the drums overpower everything to a ridiculous degree. They are way too far forward in the mix and the guitar solos especially far too far back in it. The drumming, especially in the faster sections, overwhelms the whole (perhaps Therapeutist hits them harder when he’s going mental?) and leads to death metal overload.

All in all, though, I am the world’s biggest Carcass fan, so I enjoyed the fuck out of this EP, simply because it sounds ridiculously like Carcass. As Pharmacist grow, as they are still a very young band, I should like to see them develop an identity of their own, and develop their sound in a more original fashion. Still a decent EP and well worth blowing your yen on…

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (特許取得済みのダークファンブラッドスプラッター評価システム for our Japanese friends, please correct it if it is wrong or offensive for fuck’s sake!) awards Pharmacist a suitably gory and flesh dripping 8/10 for a work that borders of plagiarism in parts, but is also bloody good!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Disintegration (If you’re expecting The Cure, you’re in for an unpleasant and uncomfortable surprise!)
02. Carnal Pollution (Goregrind for orgasm? Dirty DIRTY boys!)
03. Obsequial Orchestra
04. Oral Consuming (Does this tie in neatly with carnal pollution?)

LINE-UP:

Pharmacist – Guitar, vocals, bass
Therapeutist – 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.

Lair Of The White Worm – EP1

Lair Of The White Worm EP1 Cover Art

Lair Of The White Worm – EP1
APF Records / Trepanation Recordings
Release Date: 15.10.21
Running Time: 21:25
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
10/10

Alright, my lovelies? It is Dark Juan here, and as I write this, I am being stared at by two moon-eyed, transforming witch-hares, who are in their turn surrounded by a taxidermied crow, and a goat skull. These are still in the house after I cheerfully conveyed Mrs Dark Juan, a cat familiar call Rutterkin, Black Shuck (that hound just don’t give a fuck! Yes, I know it is a lyric from The Darkness, and no, I couldn’t give a fuck either), and yet another mid-transformation witch hare, (Mrs Dark Juan appears to have found an untapped worldwide gap in the market for disturbing, bouncy, possessed animals) to the populous and august conurbation that is known as Scunthorpe! It will be accompanying us on our jollies to lovely old Whitby, to be given to the nice people who have permitted us to take the Smellhounds to the cottage we are renting from them for a week. They will probably regret this mightily after we depart. In the meantime, I am quite unwell (and am writing this while ensconced upon my sofa of abject agony, and probably death) and have managed to successfully not utter the cry frequently heard from Grimsby, “Who put the cunt in Scunthorpe?”

Obviously, this is a disgraceful state of affairs, and one that is not condoned by Dark Juan AT ALL. Even when the good burghers of Bury, Lancashire have historically referred to the town I grew up in, being Radcliffe, as “Dog Shit Valley”. Even though it is depressingly accurate. Thank whichever deity of you choose for Yorkshire, I say. Anyway, Mrs Dark Juan has pieces being displayed in an exhibition of Lincolnshire folklore and witchcraft at the North Lincolnshire Museum in Scunthorpe at the end of October until March 2022 and I really think if you’re nearby you should possibly attend. You can gain entrance for free, gratis, and for nothing, to quote Terry “The Metal Bastard” Wogan. Gratuitous plug over…

As you have no doubt deduced from the title of this thing I laughingly call a journalistic article, I am listening to the thoughtfully named “EP1” from Lair Of The White Worm, being the musical project of Napalm Death’s (as well as Malevolent Creation, Corrupt Moral Altar, and Venomous Concept) John Cooke. Clearly, this is a man who does not like sitting still and being quiet, as he has created a work of superior industrial malevolence. The mix and production of the record backs this up, being not so much a production job as a head-mashing maschinenklang of hyperbolic proportions. There are times when roaring, greasy metallic noise overwhelms everything else, but this EP is an object lesson of music being power, and power being delivered rather more like a steam-powered jackhammer breaking up concrete, as opposed to a seamless application of precision like a lathe. Precise this record isn’t. It’s the musical equivalent of smoke belching diesel engines, groaning and clanking tank tracks, and field guns lobbing 40-pound shells over your head.

Imagine, if you will, a machine composed of parts of Godflesh, P.H.O.B.O.S, Lament Cityscape, early Pitch Shifter (when they were good and when they weren’t trying to turn themselves into a shitty version of the already shitty Spineshank), Pigface, The Berzerker, Meathook Seed, and Killing Joke. Now imagine the unholy racket that combination would produce. Congratulations! You are now traumatised! And probably in need of psychological help! But you also now know what Lair Of The White Worm sound like. 

The opening track, ‘Virtu’, actually hurts to listen to loud, such is the puissance of the blackened industrial music it employs, and especially the vocal of Corrupt Moral Altar’s Chris Reese (John Cooke is a band mate) which shriek and howl above the sonic corruption like some kind of demented banshee overseer in a Satanic steel mill. The music throughout the EP encompasses every guitar effect known to man, e-bows being used on ultrafuzzy bass guitar, samples of insane gabbling, Presidential addresses and news reports, and everything in between.

The music is all downtuned to B, and is soupy and cloying and oily and greasy. It is the antithesis of the super polished American sounds of Ministry, Fear Factory and their ilk. Lair Of The White Worm are the matt black, rusty, and noisy equivalent to the shiny, streamlined, and chromed American industrial blueprint, and are far better for it. There is a palpable sense of menace and sheer mechanical murder around Lair Of The White Worm that I haven’t heard in the British music since The Machinist, and have never heard in American Industrial at all.

The whole record is an aural assault on the senses. Played in a live setting, Lair Of The White Worm’s music would plaster the entire audience against the back wall, to collapse bonelessly on the floor, weeping and broken. This doesn’t mean there aren’t changes of dynamic on the record, however. The last song on the EP (‘Waster’) is a chimeric mix of Killing Joke style dynamics, and P.H.O.B.O.S’ lo-fi, ultra-percussive assault, and is absolutely fucking superb. An echoey vocal gives way to a primal roar and the music switches from “gentle”, lazy chords to comprehensive sonic destruction. I listened to this with cans on, and Mrs Dark Juan had to ask what I was listening to, and to turn it down because she could hear it across the room. She is not a fan…

Based on my listening over the past few weeks, pandemic isolation has brought us a fucking colossal seam of magnificent metal music. There simply is no excuse, based on the quality of the releases I have chosen to review recently, for ANYONE to be releasing an average or sub-par record. The bar has been lifted impossibly high and it’s up to everyone to keep fucking pushing. Metal, in all its myriad forms, has never been so healthy or vibrant or interesting, and Lair Of The White Worm have released a fucking industrial classic!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has been sitting quietly for around 20 minutes now, trying to unpick bits of his brain matter from the tapestry behind him. It is yet another 10/10 for Lair Of The White Worm and their unadulterated aural Armageddon. I’m getting bored of having to be nice to everyone. Is it time for a Warrior Soul release yet?!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Virtu
02. Isolation
03. Bankrupt Morality
04. Into Ludes
05. Misery Box
06. Waster

LINE-UP:
John Cooke 

With help from:
Tom Dring 
Chris Reese

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.

Leiþa – Sisyphus

Sisyphus Album Cover Art

Leiþa – Sisyphus
Noisebringer Records
Released on: 25.06.21
Running Time: 38:28
Review by Dark Juan
Score – 10/10

Good afternoon, my nihilistic horde of bitches, bastards, and buggers! It is I, Dark Juan, once more obliging you to read a whole load of fucking nonsense masquerading as a) a record review, and b) wisdom, with shit that only I find amusing thrown in for good measure. I trust you are all grafting merrily away at whatever coalface represents your career, now we are finally out of COVID prison, with joy and carefree abandon bursting out of your grateful, hardworking and God-fearing hearts? Excellent. All is not well at Dark Juan Terrace. The Mighty Gothikpanzer has decided that it should reduce the wiper mechanism down to its component parts. In the rain, at 70mph, on the M62 just near the Little House On The Prairie. This, as you can imagine, caused me to utterly ruin my trousers with an entirely different substance than sex wee, and an imprecation or two MAY have been uttered while I was busily shitting myself. The upshot is I have borrowed the car of my daughter in law, which has been christened the Leichtes Gothikpanzer because it is small and black, until I can fit a new wiper mechanism to the Mighty Gothikpanzer. This has put me in a somewhat dark frame of mind…

Which is a bonus for you lot, as it puts me in just the right mode to appreciate the album entitled “Sisyphus”, by German band Leiþa. Leiþa is apparently the old Germanic word that equates to suffering, and the album is about that. In the words of Leiþa mastermind, Noise, “This album came to life as a result of doubt and self-loathing. That pale face that stares right back at you morning after morning from the reflection of your mirror as it displays the miserable outcome of your own existence onto yourself. The bitter taste of bile and cigarette ash you inherit following yet another day trapped in the eternal vicious circle of a worthless existence.

It is those moments certainty spits you in the face with a blend of disgust and resistance.

In moments exactly like that be sure of just one thing: You are not the only one.”

Truly a man after my own heart, then. He makes depressive, jazz and prog influenced, black metal, I write banal shite that I fool myself is popular. Kindred fucking spirits then! Both of us feel the need to perform to exorcise demons…

The record is a very strange beast indeed. The sound is unusual, insofar as it sounds like a black metal record, yet it doesn’t have the usual homegrown, recorded three miles away from a microphone made out of a fucking cucumber and baling twine sound, that BM usually employs. The sound is clear, the instruments all distinct and easy to hear, and the drumming speedy and precise (ably provided by session drummer Noderra, according to the blurb I have in front of me). The band appear to have taken Emperor’s “IX Equilibrium” as a starting point for their sound and to be honest, it’s all a bit samey. The record starts with a few black metal insane speed songs, but then settles down into a kind of mid-tempo plod, where Noise can show off his admittedly supreme guitar skills, but imagine “The Loss And Curse Of Reverence” slowed down by a third, and given a proper production, and with vocals by Shagrath instead of Ihsahn, and you have ably grasped the sound of Leiþa. It does have a strong emotional component, though, this record, that drips throughout the music, and it is primarily ultra-misanthropic hatred. It oozes from the pores of the album and it is bitter and foul-tasting and stinks of loneliness and sorrow and endless, black misery, punctuated by bouts of either naked, atavistic savagery or hysterical, tear-streaked, screaming emotional agony. The opening song (and title track) “Sisyphus” sets the store for the record by offering some choppy, chiming riffing before the song explodes into a full-bore assault upon the senses. The second track “Endlos” has a brief intro, which actually had me giggling because it quite remarkably resembles the start of “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors, no doubt unintentionally. Actually, I kind of do hope that it was on purpose, because it would accurately resemble that stage of sorrow and pain where something insignificant just starts you laughing hysterically, and you have no idea why, and can’t stop, and you know that it’s stupid, but the laughing just keeps on coming, and you’re making an arse of yourself, and you can feel the SHAME AND RAGE GROWING YET STILL YOU LAUGH LIKE A DEMENTED FREAK UNTIL YOUR NERVE SNAPS, and you run from the room hiding your shame-filled and tear streaked face, and seek solace in the darkest room in your home, away from all of the jeering, judgmental bastards out there…

You know what? First impressions don’t count for shit with this record. Remember up there when I said it was all a bit samey? It appears I may have been wrong. Leiþa have provoked a very strong emotional reaction in me. This is an album of many shades of black, from the washed out black of old t-shirts and worn drapery, to the luxuriousness and opulence of black velvet hangings and gorgeous goth gowns on equally gorgeous goth ladies, eventually to the pure black, absolute-zero waste that is space, the one place in the universe where all hope is gone. This record is musical entropy in action, and it is also far more brilliant than I thought it was on the first listen. I just wish I could understand what Noise is howling about, as it is a German language release, and the black metal banshee vocal style makes it difficult to hear any discernible syllabification. It doesn’t really help that all the German I know has been taught to me by Rammstein and Laibach.

Alrighty then – The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Das patentierte Dark Juan Blutspritzer-Bewertungssystem) can’t help itself and awards Leiþa the full cream, full fat 10/10 for a record that really, truly rewards repeated listens, such is the delicacy of some of the songwriting and music. There are some staggering moments of bleak beauty on this record.

TRACKLISTING: (With helpful translations courtesy of Google Translate, so they are probably wrong)
01. Sisyphus
02. Endlos (Endless)
03. Sterben um zu sterben (To Die, To Die)
04. Gib mir Heimat (Give Me Home)
05. Mühsal (Hardship)
06. Prometheus
07. Der Feind lebt in mir (The Enemy Lives In Me)
08. Töte dich (Kill You)

LINE-UP:
Noise – Everything apart from the drums
Noderra – Session 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.