Various Artists – C Squared Music: Underground Music Special

C Squared Underground Music Special Cover

Various Artists – C Squared Music: Underground Music Special
C Squared Music
Release Date: 17/09/2021
Running Time: 68:42
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Greetings and salutations, succubi and satyrs! I do so hope you all have been indulging your baser desires in increasingly perverse and chemically fuelled ways and that your various spouses and significant others are now laid gasping and sated upon their chaises longues, sipping fine wines and libations from jewelled goblets. I myself am enjoying a splendid mug of chai, congratulating Mrs Dark Juan upon her recent accession to and acceptance by the Oak and Ash and Thorn Art Collective (mainly because her creations are now scaring the fuck out of the RIGHT people) and trying to ignore the fact that the Dread Lord Sir Igor Egbert Brian Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover, recently christened as Beelzepup by my good friend Adam, has dropped a number of toys on my foot as a prelude to a bit of a rumble. He is utilizing the feared Paw of Doom upon my forearm and shouting wildly at me. I shall be back shortly…

Thank you for your patience. Now that the Small Evil Canine One has been sated by having what could only be described as an old-school straightener and has drawn my august blood I can return to my mission, which is to talk to all you poor fuckers who read this about the music I am listening to. Thusly, I am listening to a 14-track sampler from Canadian Rock/Metal PR & Marketing Company C-Squared Music, who are a quite musically promiscuous outfit, considering some of the bands on their roster – the music runs the gamut from the classic female-fronted gothic metal blueprint to some quite interesting and esoteric electronic music. As this is a collection by fourteen different artists, I shall not bore you with extensive descriptions of songs, merely keeping it as brief and factually interesting as possible. Neither will I be finding out the names of the members of fourteen different bands and listing them at the end of this pile of shite you’re reading. If you can wipe your own arses, you can use the power of the internet to do your own research, right?

With your permission I am going to plunge right in…

The Inferno Doll – ‘Ghost Waltz’. Very pleasingly this is in waltz time on the introduction. If it wasn’t I might have become upset and been unpleasant to the band. Ethereal female vocals soar above swirling keyboards, chunky guitars and one of the strangest mixes I have ever heard, where the vocals are waspish and clear and everything else is a muddy mess – the guitar sound is awful, but the song itself is fucking banging. With a producer who knows what they are doing, this could be magnificent.

Lutharo – ‘Will To Survive’. Power metal intro with extraordinarily clear bass line crashes into technical riffage and vocalist trying to vomit up their own lungs, however, she also has a cracking set of pipes for clean and powerful singing and an extraordinary range. The rest of the band are clearly fuelled by amphetamines and play at a breakneck pace. Try moshing to this and you’ll guarantee yourself a stay in hospital. Super clear production adds to the enjoyment of the song. An excellent effort and a good, if not exceptional, heavy metal tune.

Torn Between Two Worlds – ‘All Eyes On Me’. A song I had been waiting for with some anticipation as it is the latest effort from the legendary Sarah Jezebel Deva (ex-Cradle of Filth, ex-Angtoria) and Chris Rehn. As we know with her work with Angtoria, Sarah has pretty much cornered the market in melancholy gothic metal and Torn Between Two Worlds have not moved particularly far from that successful blueprint. A languid, relaxed vocal is underpinned by slow, poignant riffs and ubergoth keyboards. Think ‘Alone’ by Heart in a heavier, more gothic style and you have the style of this song nailed down. It’s a grower. On my first listen I was sorely disappointed, but on repeated listenings, you begin to pick out delicate little flourishes, the things that turn run of the mill into extraordinary. Not Sarah or Chris’ finest hour (that’s still “God Has A Plan For Us All”), but a fine tune to drive to in the middle of a storm.

Disconnected Souls – ‘Emergence + Divergence’. British genre-benders offer up a beguiling slice of synthwave influenced tech metal with a decided Eastern influence in the break and face melting vocal gymnastics ranging from wispy, enchanting female alto to clean male harmonies and the kind of rasping roar normally reserved for metalcore. The guitars are sharp and brutally accurate, the bass used almost as a third rhythm guitar and the drumming spectacularly demented. Punchy, original and fucking brilliant. To get an idea of the sound of this band, think about a filthy musical orgy between Within Temptation, Master Boot Record and Killswitch Engage. But not Adam D’s shorts. That would be perverse.

Lycanthro – ‘Mark Of The Wolf’. Oh, so fucking Eighties, complete with self-referencing song title, histrionic, high-pitched vocals and the kind of riffs that Accept would have found…acceptable. Fucking nice twin guitar lines throughout the song though. The bass really comes through on the song and it is nice to hear it sinuously wrapping itself around the guitar work. Also includes the kind of galloping guitar and bass playing that Iron Maiden pioneered in the middle of the song, and there’s some tasty soloing if you like that sort of thing. Apparent simplicity in arrangement is disingenuous and the song is rather splendid if you like your metal classic in nature.

Book Of Wyrms – ‘Weatherworker’. A total step change in sound and mood from the previous track. Instead, we have classic influenced (Ten Years After, Wishbone Ash) superfuzz doom, with a classically trained female vocal. Languid, relaxed grooves abound and the song oozes a palpable sense of danger with a fucking groovy middle eight and solo where the pace picks up and the band slot into a slightly higher gear. The drum sound is fucking mightily produced and takes the form of a lead instrument, being the percussive engine of the whole thing. The vocals are set a little too far back in the mix for me, but the bass is front and centre and fucking brilliant. In fact, this song is absolutely fucking excellent.

Herr Nox – ‘Where Shadows Fade’. Spikily technical intro gives way to second rate HIM worship with added industrial and metal bits welded haphazardly and ineptly on. My opinion on Herr Nox is well known, and if you don’t know it, feel free to read my review on Herr Nox’s album on Ever-Metal.com. It wasn’t complimentary. I maintain my opinion that Herr Nox has tried to meld too many influences together and his music is disjointed and jarring, which is a shame because he has a smooth and captivating voice.

In Veil – ‘Lunatic’. Rather more interesting is this Mindless Self Indulgence/Zombie Girl/Human Waste Project/Rob Zombie analogue that describes themselves as gothic industrial synth-pop. Percussive, speedy and pretty unique, keyboards, guitar and sequenced drums smoothly link together and the listening experience is not unlike being at a circus where the performers are all malformed madmen playing with chainsaws and have zero regard for the personal safety of the audience. Never have a front row of people been so trepidacious. Well worth your time and I can’t wait to review their album, which is on my review list. They had better be good though because this has whetted my appetite for In Veil very nicely.

Synesthema – ‘Apollo’s Voyage’. This is where we temporarily leave the realm of heavy metal in all its myriad forms and dive headfirst into electronic music. Synesthema are rather interesting, being a mélange of vapourwave and techno – rather like a combination of Scorn and Pertubator with a bit of Jean Michel Jarre thrown in for good measure. Out and out metal fans will not enjoy this tune. A lack of vocals leaves it to the music to hold your attention to give you an idiosyncratic listening experience that references classic 80’s electropop, VNV Nation and The Anachronist. I rather like it because it’s a step-change to what I normally listen to.

Gaia Guarda (featuring Lindsay Schoolcraft) – ‘I Didn’t Break’. Electronic gothic moodiness enhanced considerably by the august presence of the splendid Canadian multi-instrumentalist and singer, whose ethereal presence adds to the ambience of the quite sparse musicianship of the song. Her simple, lilting delivery allows the music to breathe and the whole piece is a clear case of less is more as simple lines intertwine to devastating effect. Not so much a song as an emotional journey that remarkably doesn’t overstay its welcome and leaves you wanting more.

Chalk Portraits – ‘In Flight’. Very mellow keyboards take their time to get going and it is easy to imagine yourself being suspended in warm water with headphones on and this piece of music allowing you to let go of everything and just float there, relaxed and in a universe composed entirely of you. The sound (with the same simple repeated few notes throughout) is reminiscent of Kraftwerk, but with considerably less Teutonic shiny pop and rather more emotion. For some reason I find this tune both relaxing and ineffably sad at the same time. Its problem is that it meanders about and doesn’t actually seem to go anywhere, musically speaking, which is a shame because I rarely get such an obvious emotional reaction to electronic music. I’d say it was a great record had it had some sort of musical direction.

Spacegoat – ‘Nothing’. Ah, we return to the holy grail of guitar, bass and drums after a brief sojourn elsewhere. Crunchy riffs and a wailing lead line take us to a vocal that owes as much to punk attitude as it does to gothic metal, being as it is clearly not classically trained, but you can hear the effort the vocalist is putting into her delivery. The band sound like they have recorded on classic equipment, having the kind of warmth that only valves can provide and the guitarists even use an e-bow in the middle eight. I haven’t used one of those since the mid-nineties. I do have a problem with the production of the cymbals. The crash cymbal is ever-present and overwhelming in my right ear and it detracts from what is an engaging mélange between gothic metal and math metal and an excellent, emotional vocal performance. Also, an object lesson on why you should name your band carefully. Spacegoat conjures up images of hyperstoned bearded dudes playing the same riff for ten minutes straight, not technical metal.

Art Of Departure – ‘Art Of Departure’. Ooooh, this is interesting and immediately reminds me of a band I reviewed recently called Dead Coyote, being piano and harpsichord led extragothic rock. As I am a sad old goff, I am immediately drawn to this and am enjoying being transported back to The Batcave and The Banshee, where ladies with terrifying make up and even more terrifyingly tight basques would ethereally wave their hands in front of their face after seven pints of snakebite or several Bloody Marys. Crooning male vocals overlay ghostly female backing vocals and the solo is performed by violin and violoncello rather than guitar. Pretty Damned (“Phantasmagoria” era The Damned were an obvious influence on Art Of Departure) good, actually. Not one for the metal purist, though, which is ironic as this is the solo project of the drummer from Tristania.

Duncan Evans – ‘Breathe’. We return to the world of electronic music for the final cut on this compilation of the delights of C-Squared Music, with Leeds-based WaxWorm founder Duncan Evans singing an impassioned vocal over a background of quasi-industrial synthwave. Duncan’s performance here reminds me of a more gothic Ultravox or OMD and proves more than satisfactorily that electronic music CAN have a soul and be dripping raw red emotion and stand easily up to metal for power. A short song, lasting just two minutes and forty-two seconds, ‘Breathe’ easily beguiles and draws you into a world of pain and sadness and is a fine, passionate end to this compilation.

So, there we have it, fourteen tracks ranging from gothic splendour to metal power and bleak electronic perfection. There are a couple of missteps along the way but in general this is a very, very good album indeed and more than adequately showcases a roster bursting with raw talent and promising futures. I’d have a punt on it if I were you, folks.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards C-Squared Music’s Underground Special 9/10. As an exploration of the underground of the extreme music scene, it is worth its weight in gold. As a record it has a mark deducted because I feel it could have been more carefully curated as some of the transitions between metal and electronic are quite jarring. However, that’s just me being a bit of a snobbish cunt. Bonsoir, mes petits enfants terribles!!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Ghost Waltz – The Inferno Doll
02. Will To Survive – Lutharo
03. All Eyes On Me – Torn Between Two Worlds
04. Emergence + Divergence – Disconnected Souls
05. Mark Of The Wolf – Lycanthro
06. Weatherworker – Book Of Wyrms
07. Where Shadows Fade – Herr Nox
08. Lunatic – In Veil featuring Sam Astaroth
09. Apollo’s Voyage – Synesthema
10. I Didn’t Break – Gaia Guarda featuring Lindsay Schoolcraft
11. In Flight – Chalk Portraits
12. Nothing – Spacegoat
13. Art Of Departure – Art Of Departure
14. Breath – Duncan Evans

LINKS:
The Inferno Doll
https://www.facebook.com/theinfernodoll

Lutharo
https://www.facebook.com/LutharoOfficial/

Torn Between Two Worlds
https://www.facebook.com/SarahJezebelDeva

Lycanthro
https://www.facebook.com/Lycanthrokills

Disconnected Souls
https://www.facebook.com/disconnectedsouls

Book Of Wyrms
https://www.facebook.com/Bookofwyrms/

Herr Nox
https://www.facebook.com/Herrnoxofficial/

IN Veil feat. Sam Astaroth
https://www.facebook.com/INVeil92

Synesthema
https://www.facebook.com/synesthema/

Gaia Guarda feat. Lindsay Schoolcraft
https://www.facebook.com/gaiaguardamusic
https://www.facebook.com/schoolcraftofficial/

Chalk Portraits
https://www.facebook.com/ChalkPortraits

Spacegoat
https://www.facebook.com/space.goat.band

Art Of Departure
https://www.facebook.com/artofdeparture/

Duncan Evans
https://www.facebook.com/duncanevansmusic

C Squared Music:

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.

Malice Machine – Chemical Violence

Chemical Violence Album Cover Art

Malice Machine – Chemical Violence
Self-Released
Release Date: 16/07/2021
Running Time: 63:44
Review by Dark Juan
8/10

It will no doubt surprise you all mightily, dear readers, to learn that your favourite extreme music enfant terrible sometimes suffers from mental health issues. Whilst I shan’t bother you with the minutiae of it all, there are times where my creativity and my sense of worth suffer and my writing dwindles to nothing, be it the drivel I direct at you all at the behest of my Lord and Master, the formidable (and worryingly imposing) Generalissimo Richard “Just Write Something When You Feel Like It, You Northern Gimboid, Simon Has Written 470,000 Reviews To Your One, So We Aren’t Short Anyway” Tilley (who didn’t really say that and is more than supportive of his team when they aren’t at their best), or the somewhat warped fiction that spews from my diseased imagination that I somehow never get round to tidying up and releasing. Although there are some on Ever-Metal.com. There is a point to all this nonsense. If you are suffering with issues of mental health, or are feeling like the world is better off without you, for the love of Satan go and get some help. The world is a better, more vibrant place with you in it. Write your pain down, make art out of it, use it to drive you, but never succumb. Achieve catharsis. Do whatever you need to do to mitigate your own suffering and you’ll be your own hero or heroine.

This is IMPORTANT. Too many people suffer in silence, and too many people succumb to their own personal horror. And to the friends of people who may be suffering in silence – check up on them. Be their friend in the true meaning of the word. A well-timed word, message or deed could be the difference between your friend/loved one/acquaintance topping themselves or taking the first step on their recovery or their being able to cope with or manage their emotions. Stand by, support them and forgive them if their misery causes you hurt or pain, because it comes from a horrible, black wellspring of awful, uncontrollable shit. Don’t be afraid of challenging it though. I’m perfectly aware that this is supposed to be a record review and it will become one in short order, but there are people suffering who need not be, and even Satanism tells us that love is the law. I won’t apologise for writing this missive and I am sure that Malice Machine will forgive me for proselytising…

The aforementioned Malice Machine are a duo who hail from Pennsylvania, in the jolly old US of A and the music they bring to us is some of the bleakest, arctic industrial music I have heard in a long time. Malice Machine draw influence from some of the industrial greats – I hear Skinny Puppy (especially around the “Cleanse, Fold and Manipulate” era), Front 242, “Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Taste” era Ministry, Front Line Assembly, Wumpscut, slowed down KMFDM without the glossy polish, British techno-metal bruisers Cubanate (especially in the harsher vocal performances) and Nitzer Ebb, and in the more electronic moments I can detect Suicide Commando, Funker Vogt and Christ Analogue. These are absolutely brilliant influences to have in my opinion.

It’s therefore clearly obvious that Malice Machine cover a lot of the territory of industrial music. This means that the music could go one of two ways – either it’s a colossal and messy clusterfuck of influences or it is music that is viable in itself, regardless of the broad church it springs from. Pleasingly, it is the latter. ‘Machine Hate’ references KMFDM with electronic squelches and beeps and dissonant phrasing, yet is much murkier and machinelike in tone than the highly polished, latex-and-feather clad multinational industrial rockers. ‘Nothing’ is an amalgam of Front Line Assembly influenced electronic industrial overlaid with a similar vocal to Cubanate’s Marc Heal in his quieter moments. The more I listen to Malice Machine, the more I am impressed by their melding of some quite disparate influences to form something predatory and newish. Malice Machine’s great strength is not their pure originality. The execution of their music is the overwhelming power of their sound. The band are uncompromising in their delivery and shudderingly violent sounding. Few bands with electronics in their sound are able to project power with them. Glossy and polished this battlewagon isn’t. It’s belching diesel smoke and is pitted and corroded matt black and roaring explosive death from massive cannons three feet away from your unprotected head. Malice Machine conjure up images of heavily armed cyborg warriors with no faces marching in perfect synchronicity over the ruins of the city they have just carpet-bombed, throwing plasma grenades into basements and firing laser rifles at fleeing figures.

However, I do think there is a little too much reliance on mid-tempo speeds. The songs don’t differ enough in tempo or tone. Every tune is blacker than the heart of this reviewer and shot through with rage and pain, but an over-reliance on squelches and buzzy, warped basslines rob the overall work of some of the power it could have had. I can’t fault the production of the record though. Every single sound is represented with perfect, icy clarity. When there is guitar, it sends the music into a new gear, but the guitar is quite sparse throughout the album (“Chemical Violence” being the second offering from these American industrialists) and sometimes the songs suffer from the lack of it. ‘Head’ even lifts the drum sound from NIN’s ‘Closer’ and uses it to advantage as the unifying force behind the whole song.

So, here we have a quandary. I really like this record because industrial is my jam. I love the combination of red raw vocals combined with the purity and machinelike precision of industrial. I love this mid-paced, mechanical violence and power, but not all the time. ‘Techno Pagan’ offers a welcome break from industrial marching music and speeds things up a bit though and throws us a curveball in the middle eight in the form of a massive techno break that manages to sound very like Cubanate at the same time. Another thing I am not keen on (although I can’t really count it as a demerit because you’re getting a lot of music for your money) is the fact that the record has fourteen songs, and that makes it a bit of a chore to listen to. You have to set aside considerable time to listen to it in one go.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has made a decision. Malice Machine are awarded 8/10 for a very good record indeed, with two minor flaws – it’s overly long and there’s too many mid-tempo stompalongs. An improvement in quality control would pay dividends because Malice Machine have a lot going for them and I want a lot more!

Oh, and I managed to only swear twice in this review, thereby proving that I don’t have a gob like a potty all the time.

‘Restrict’ (Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Prototype
02. Restrict
03. Corpse Painter
04. Dead Circuit
05. Lament Box
06. Machine Hate
07. Nothing
08. Decay
09. Synthetic Slave
10. Ruin
11. Head
12. Techno Pagan
13. Winter’s Dark
14. Down In The Park

LINE-UP:
Syn Thetic – Vocals, Synths, Guitar, Programming, Bass, Mixing, Production, Anger
Ammo – Drums, Percussion, Programming, Tech, chaos

LINKS:

Malice Machine 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.

IN Veil – Lunatic EP

Lunatic EP Cover Art

IN Veil – Lunatic EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 06/08/2021
Running Time: 20:27
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Greetings from a subdued Dark Juan, ladies and germs. I am subdued for several reasons – absinthe consumption has left me in doubt of my own sanity, Air Vice Marshal Sir Zeusington Zeus VC, KCVG, MM, DFC and Bar has been shitting through the eye of a needle (generally indoors) for two weeks, on the hour, every hour (it is a running joke in my household that Zeus periodically has the “70 quid shit” and then is reet for another 4 months), Mrs. Dark Juan continues to scare the living shit out of me and any visitors to Dark Juan Terrace with her creations (although she has been to chosen to EXHIBIT the damned things at the North Lincolnshire Museum in October with a commendable (or shocking, depending on your point of view) lack of foresight or restraint from the authorities there) and the wipers on the Mighty Gothikpanzer have packed up so I have to drive it when it’s dry. If you have ever experienced a British summer, you’ll immediately understand why this is somewhat annoying. Especially as I am running out of alcohol. However, in a classic case of swings and roundabouts, I found Cluedo for £2.50 and Mrs. Dark Juan has been conveyed to IKEA in Leeds with her daughter, so I am at liberty to bring to you my thoughts about the considerably unhinged In Veil, and their EP, “Lunatic”.

A preamble under three hundred words. Magnificent. Which is also a term perfectly suited to describe the madness of In Veil, being a duo composed of a Transylvanian and a Cuban, who met in the underbelly of Toronto, Canada and subsequently married. One can only imagine the devastation at the reception. Synth-heavy gothic industrial rock is the order of the day here, and you’ll notice that the previous sentence contained two of my favourite genres, so In Veil had better be worth my time, because I am feeling rather misanthropic and am likely to be quite rude if I don’t like them. “Lunatic” is In Veil’s debut EP…

…And rather splendid it is too! Opening tune “Salome” sets the tone for an album that is equal parts Zombie Girl, KMFDM, Rob Zombie and Snake River Conspiracy. Haysi Veil’s vocal performance reminds this half-drunk Northern herbert of a very engaging mix of ZG’s Renee Cooper and Tobey Torres, being seductive tones wedded to blank-eyed little girl squeals and the kind of random nonsense you’d imagine Harley Quinn babbling while she bashed your brains out. If you could imagine the sense of humour of Dead Coyote, Zombie Girl and Talking Heads with a rather more dangerous, gothic edge you’re getting the idea of just what kind of beautiful monster I’m trying to describe.

The whole record has a palpable, throbbing sense of brightly lit, technicolour peril running through it. It’s a carnival of brightly coloured tents with smiling, beautiful faces inviting you to come inside. As you pass them, you see the greying, diseased skin beneath the greasepaint and makeup, and the grins take on a slightly vulpine aspect and you glimpse sharpened incisors as the wildly gyrating lights and overpoweringly loud and speedy calliopes playing carnival music entice you further within. Within, to a hall of mirrors surrounding a chamber of horrors of eviscerated townspeople, grinning, clown-faced lunatics, whirling blades, spraying arterial blood and severed limbs with a soundtrack of screaming, giggling and carnival music. In short, fucking ideal party music for the more extreme music fan.

In Veil are not going to win any awards for power, speed or heaviness, rather more relying on that rarest of things to convey themselves – atmosphere. ‘Daddy’ is particularly schizophrenic, crunchy guitars underpinning simple piano lines that change into swirly gothic keyboards and merry go round music and a vocal that switches from school girlishly excited to ominous warning several times in the same song. ‘Slow Lane’ carries an obvious hip-hop vibe throughout the whole song, but somehow, mixing an almost-rap vocal style with Rob Zombie-lite music just fucking WORKS and I have no idea how Haysi and Ady have made this happen. All I can say is that this album is pretty much the soundtrack to what the inside of my head looks like – all grimdark, bleak horror, depersonalisation and dismemberment but easily distracted by multi-coloured neon and flashing lights and suffused with the kind of peculiar joy that only comes from discovering something wonderful.

In Veil are something wonderful. Again (and I appear to say this a lot these days), purists are going to fucking hate them, but the combination of deranged electronic fuckery, heavy metal guitars, dark lyrics and the kind of madness that normally earns you a lifelong stay at Rampton Hospital makes for a super fun listening experience. Album closer ‘Spider’ is the standout tune on the album – keyboards that would normally underpin a scene of a brave (or foolhardy) adventurer entering a mad bastard’s laboratory are ably assisted by growling bass, serrated guitar and Haysi singing about you getting in her bed and her cutting off your head while simultaneously chanting “Chick-a chick chick, chicka-chicka boom boom!” in a very strange register indeed. I’d still get in her bed though.

Did I actually say that out loud? Clearly decapitation holds no fear for me and dangerous, and possibly homicidal girls make life interesting.

There is a massive problem with this record though. And that is that it is only six songs long and that is entirely unacceptable considering how much of a rabid In Veil fan I have become over the past twenty-odd minutes or so. I am unhappy about this. It needs three more songs to slake my thirst!

I am ready to render my judgement using The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System. It’s a full on 10/10. It’s fucking claret everywhere. It’s ten-foot-tall displays of arterial spray on the walls of a killing room. It’s pools of congealing blood around raggedly detached limbs. Cheered me right up, that record has. I fucking love In Veil!

‘Lunatic’ feat. Sam Astaroth (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Salome
02. Lunatic (featuring Sam Astaroth)
03. Daddy
04. Slow Lane
05. Whatcha Got I Want
06. Spider

LINE-UP:
Haysi Veil – Vocals
Ady Cernea – Instruments

LINKS:

In Veil 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.

Anaal Nathrakh – Reissues

Anaal Nathrakh Reissues

Anaal Nathrakh – Reissues
When Fire Rains Down From The Sky Mankind Will Reap What It Has Sown/
Hell Is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 13/08/2021
Running Time: 26:03/33:52
Review by Dark Juan
10/10
10/10

Good afternoon, dear friends. You find me writing this review from the depths of my bed of pain and iniquity. Yes, I am slightly off colour, but my dramatic persona insists that these are my final fleeting moments upon this scabrous planet. However, I was well enough to go to the pictures last night so clearly whatever malaise I am currently suffering isn’t all that threatening to my existence, or indeed my output for Ever-Metal.com. Added to the already calamitous news that I am clearly at death’s door is that fact that I have run out of milk for brews. This is an absolute scandal in the North of England, and my shame is such that I have closeted myself away in my oak-panelled study with a bottle of brandy and a stiletto. My undoing is complete.

However, before I dispatch myself from this mortal coil bearing the stigma of not being able to make proper brews, I must share with you my ruminations upon the music I am listening to, which frankly is what you’re here for, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard “GET OUT OF BED, YOU BLOODY SOFTARSE, BEFORE I GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO REALLY WHINGE ABOUT. WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? BRONTE COUNTRY? ONLY THE LASSES IN THOSE CRAPPY BOOKS ARE ALLOWED TO SWOON ALL OVER THE FURNITURE AND TAKE THEMSELVES TO BED TO MOPE, YOU FUCKING MALINGERER!” Tilley has just been escorted at the point of a rapier from my bedchamber by Mrs Dark Juan and Hodgson Biological-Warfare, who had embedded his teefs in Rick’s arse and was hanging on for dear life. Such is life in Dark Juan Terrace. For reasons of verisimilitude, I must point out that Rick hasn’t been round our gaff, Hodgson doesn’t make a point of attacking visitors and Mrs Dark Juan made me a rather lovely, cooked breakfast this morning and doesn’t really know the finer points of swordplay. Rick also isn’t THAT mean and basically allows me to get away with loads considering EM is his baby, so all in all I’m winning here… (I’m glad you cleared that up – Rick)

So, without even the slightest attempt at a segue into matters musical, let me talk about the latest reissues from Metal Blade, and more specifically Anaal Nathrakh. If you don’t know who these British extreme metal legends are by now, I suggest you rectify this immediately by buying their entire back catalogue and subjecting the inside of your head to possibly the most extreme band the UK has ever had to offer. If there were ever a band that were the epitome of recorded fury, it is Anaal Nathrakh. The song ‘Never Fucking Again’ is not music. It’s several minutes of sheer, untrammelled hatred towards everything and everyone. Kim Jong fucking Un would surrender North Korea in seconds. General Noriega would have given up in Panama after about a minute of Anaal Nathrakh being blasted at him from a US Army helicopter. I’m sure if V.I.T.R.I.O.L. saw a room full of the world’s cutest puppies and kittens and had had a blow job to completion moments before seeing the cute animals, he would still write a song that sounds like him machine gunning a host of devils in a locked room until they were basically liquid, ably backed by Irrumator basically killing every musical instrument that he has ever possessed.

“When Fire Rains Down From The Sky, Mankind Will Reap What It Has Sown” is first up, and it’s still as fucking amazing as it ever was. I know I have banged on about reissues being cynical cash grabs in the past, but that’s not necessarily true in these post-COVID times, where bands are having to clutch at every single straw of funding just to survive, so everyone re-releasing stuff is getting a big fat pass, plus the quality of the vinyl that is being produced is pretty stunning. Anyway, “Fire” (it’s far too long a title to keep typing in full) is quite simply brutality distilled into musical form. It just doesn’t let up, ever. Irrumator and V.I.T.R.I.O.L have never sounded so violent. It is unapologetic hate music and it is fucking brilliant. Every single song is faster than the USS Enterprise at Warp 9 and more violent than a pack of drunken Glaswegians fighting an equally drunken pack of Russians, being egged on by a bunch of Wrexham chavs. The fallout is spectacular, and this record never fucking FAILS in taking my breath away. Still as vibrant and exciting as it ever was (I got the original on release day, thought that a number of years of listening to black metal would make it palatable, and was slightly dismissive of the power of the band. How FUCKING WRONG I WAS!) and THE benchmark for British extreme music. Not even The Machinist come close to Anaal Nathrakh for sheer sonic Armageddon. It is the perfect extreme record. The standout song (now there’s a loose description of what Anaal Nathrakh do) will always be ‘Never Fucking Again’. It is the PERFECT distillation of the sheer hatred and misanthropy I feel towards some aspects of the human condition. I fucking ADORE “When Fire Rains Down From The Sky, Mankind Will Reap As They Have Sown” and I am stoked that it has been released again, because it is absolutely one of my favourite records of all time. Buy it and have your brains cudgelled to soup.

I also have the reissue of “Hell Is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here”. Erm, chaps, they are only here because Satan let you play a gig in Hell and all the devils fucked off up here because you scared the living shit out of them and they fled. Ever seen a devil piss himself in fear? I have, and that was because of you two, Irrumator and V.I.T.R.I.O.L. You magnificent bastards. Anyhow, this record is where the blueprint of maximum attack, howling sheer bloody murder and music that is banned under the Geneva Convention as cruel and unusual punishment changes. Anaal Nathrakh discovered clean singing, industrial and tempos below 1000000bpm. Did this change the savagery level from nuclear holocaust down to fluffy bunny? Did it FUCK! The band are still just as focused and nihilistic, from the first second of ‘Solifugae’, being a minute of crushing guitar work that launches the first actual song ‘Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen’ (“Hell’s Vengeance Boils In My Heart” and the proper name of the Queen Of The Night aria in The Magic Flute opera. You’re welcome) which has a grandiose, operatic feel through V.I.T.R.I.O.L discovering that his vocal chords can be used for other things besides aural savagery and actually having a bloody good blast at actual singing. This gives the album more musical interest than previous recordings and allows the song to take you places Anaal Nathrakh have never been before. It’s fucking glorious. ‘Screaming Of The Unborn’ is also interesting, because it has mid-paced (for Anaal Nathrakh) sections and V.I.T.R.I.O.L’s usual murderous scream gives way to a sepulchral and extremely threatening roar with considerable numbers of people shitting themselves in abject, brown trousered fear. ‘Virus Bomb’ returns to the hyperspeed (and demented, homicidal howling) we all love Anaal Nathrakh for and mates this with a chorus and middle eight Emperor would have given Samoth’s testicles for with more of the same choral sounding clean singing as the first song. Purists won’t like the fact that they decided on a bit of, well, slightly less dark and obsidian, cloying black, rather than just the sound of Hell’s mechanised and armoured regiments screaming from the dark. But I do.

Both records have the kind of production that black metal does not normally employ. Anaal Nathrakh do not sound like they have been recorded in an interstellar fishbowl hurtling around Mars with equipment made from tin cans and string. Both albums have a rich, full sound that only enhances the bitter, vitriolic hatred that passes for their music and makes them a cut above 99% of most black metal releases. I never understood why black metal bands stuck to the wasp in a jam jar sound when they were much more powerful with a proper production job.

Anyway, it’s no secret I fucking love Anaal Nathrakh and I am fucking delighted to be writing about them, and I abjure thee to buy these reissues (both on vinyl of many colours as well as CD) because they are awesome.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has finally stopped the bleeding and the leakage of brain matter from the nose and awards Anaal Nathrakh 10/10 for both records. The very best that Britain has to offer. Absolutely uncompromising and irreplaceable.

TRACKLISTINGS:
When Fire Rains Down From The Sky, Mankind Will Reap What It Has Sown:
01. Cataclysmic Nihilism
02. How The Angels Fly In (We Can Never Be Forgiven)
03. Never Fucking Again
04. Genesis Of The Antichrist
05. Atavism
06. When Fire Falls From The Sky, Mankind Will Reap What It Has Sown

Hell Is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here:
01. Solifugae (Intro)
02. Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen
03. Screaming Of The Unborn
04. Virus Bomb
05. The Final Absolution
06. Shatter The Empyrean
07. Lama Sabatchthani
08. Until The World Stop Turning
09. Genetic Noose
10. Sanction Extremis (Kill Them All)
11. Castigation And Betrayal

LINE-UP:
V.I.T.R.I.O.L (Dave Hunt) – Vocals
Irrumator (Mick Kenney) – Everything Else

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.

Dead Witches/Witchthroat Serpent – Doom Sessions Vol 666 Split EP

Doom Sessions Vol.666 Dead Witches & Witchthroat Serpent EP Cover Art

Dead Witches/Witchthroat Serpent – Doom Sessions Vol 666 Split EP
Heavy Psych Sounds
Released Date 18/06/2021
Running Time: 31:41
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

The baleful, screaming yellow eye in the sky above Yorkshire is trying to kill me. It bathes me in rays that cause me to scurry for the nearest black cover I can find and cower there, helpless before its puissance and wait until it turns its ferocious gaze to another victim. I cannot glare my defiance at it as it sears my retinas with its endless hatred and neither can I offer it any physical resistance whatsoever as it burns me from afar before I can plunge my fingers into its ocular cavity and scoop out the terrible, fiery beast. Far better, then, to remain in Dark Juan Terrace and lock the door and bid defiance to the horror from without. Except the fucking smellhounds have to be walked and I have to go to the post office and I have to endure the vile, sweaty unpleasantness that comes with the three days of the sun that constitutes a British summer. Mrs. Dark Juan, however, is soaking up the diabolical radiation as she creates a model of a witch transforming into a hare (which is a thing according to Yorkshire folklore, and, fact fans, the British were-animal is in fact the werehare, thereby proving that Britain is a bit shit in most respects, not least in were-animals. I mean even a were-weasel would be better than a jumped up rabbit analogue, would it not?) and once more terrifies the neighbours and the good people of Facebook when she posts pictures of them on it.

So, in a desperate attempt to escape the pasty-legged denizens of fair Halifax wearing voluminous shorts, I have elected instead to remain indoors and listen to the heavy, heavy sounds of doom heavyweights Dead Witches (dragged screaming from the mind of the estimable, and admirably sideburned and flared trousered Mark Greening who you may know from Electric Wizard, Ramesses and With The Dead and Witchthroat Serpent, who are French doommeisters and who unaccountably have not arrested my attention before. As this is an EP, I shall follow my usual style and detail each song briefly…

Dead Witches… Now there’s a name to conjure with, especially if you are a Lancastrian like me and your home county is famous for hanging wise women and having jumped up trials in Pendle, which got people killed on the word of a disturbed child. ‘D.I.E.’ is the name of the song DW have offered to this EP, and it is a mere 14 minutes in length and it is superfuzz overload. It is riff after orgasmic riff, underpinned with what can only be described as fucking diabolical bass, such is the subterranean rumble that has turned my brain to fluid not unlike a chunky salsa, and my brain to a jellylike, pliable substance. This is Heaviness with a capital H, dear friends. This is heavier than every single one of your female relatives wearing neutronium lingerie, standing on a plutonium plinth and swinging lead handbags at your noggin. The sound of the song is a colossal, soupy, drug-fuelled and fuzzy at the edges mix that is as huge as the running time. Special mention must be made of vocalist Spring Thompson, who adds an unexpected punk edge to the proceedings with her highly charged, furious vocal delivery. In short – even though it is 14 minutes long, ‘D.I.E.’ is a supremely coherent piece of ultrasludgy doom that easily holds your interest and is riff nirvana. You can tell Mark is behind it all, being the doom megastar that he is, but reigning in the more extreme sound of Electric Wizard for something a little bit more listenable. This is very very good indeed, and the worthy French band following them have a real class act to live up to.

…And live up to them they do. Even though I have lived in France, until I started writing for Ever-Metal.com I had considered the French metal scene to barely exist, yet by God our neighbours over the water have cranked out some magnificently violent stuff in Dirge (fucking awesome), Obzson Geschopf (industrial madhead obsessed with new jack hip hop), Rostres (drone perfection), P.H.O.B.O.S (possibly the heaviest industrial record ever to exist in “Phlogiston Catharsis”), Escotrilihum (one man, utterly utterly demented black metal) and now Toulouse-based Witchthroat Serpent. The French bruisers contribute two tracks to this EP – ‘The Fall Of Whitewood’ and ‘Cyanide Laced-Flavour’ (they used the American spelling but I speak the correct form of English and therefore will also spell it correctly too) [Mr. Juan should know that if it is a song/album title or band name that shouldn’t be done so it is ‘Cyanide Laced-Flavor’. I shall take the whip to him later – Rick] and it has to be said that they are easily up to the weight of their British partners on this record. Riffs of monolithic chunkiness extend into colossal grooves and just keep on fucking going, taking you ever deeper into realms of mystical mescaline-fuelled splendour. The bass on both tracks (which are incidentally linked with close to two minutes of screaming feedback [electric alchemy – just another reason why doom is so good. They can use even the squealing of a feedbacking guitar to continue the colossal grooves] underpinned by a slowly building rhythm section) is sludgier than a day out at Davyhulme Sewage Treatment Works (if you’ve ever been over Barton Bridge on the M60 around Manchester you’ve smelled it) and has gone beyond mere fuzz into theoretical places where only hyperfuzz exists. It also has more bottom end than several dozen busloads of twerking, miniskirted pissheads in Gateshead on a Saturday night. The drumming is tight and multifaceted and the two tunes link and complement each other perfectly. The vocalist is also top notch as he wails and howls over the endless infinity groove.

All three of these songs are doom done right. None of them have any faults whatsoever. Which is annoying because I love picking holes in stuff and being rude about bands. What? Relax, I’m only joking, you muppets. I love the music and the bands and the people in them. I’m firm but fair, mate.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Le système breveté de notation des éclaboussures de sang Dark Juan pour nos amis français – de rien!) cannot help but award the full beans 10/10 to both Dead Witches (doing Blighty proud) and Witchthroat Serpent (you have won a lifelong fan in me, messieurs) for a masterclass in fucking perfect doom metal from each side of the channel. Magnifique!!

Dead Witches – ‘D.I.E.’ (Dragged Into Emptiness) (Official Video)

Witchthroat Serpent – ‘ The Fall Of Whitewood’ (Official Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Die – Dead Witches
02. The Fall Of Whitewood – Witchthroat Serpent
03. Cyanide Laced-Flavor – Witchthroat Serpent

LINE-UPS:
Dead Witches
Mark Greening – Drums & Concussion
Rab McIlrath – Guitars
Sam Cutbush – Bass
Spring Thompson – Vocals

Witchthroat Serpent
Fredrik – Vocals & Guitars
Niko – Drums
Ügo – Bass
Djé – Guitars

DEAD WITCHES LINKS:

WITCHTHROAT SERPENT LINKS:

Dead Witches & Witchthroat Serpent Promo Pics

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.

Hippie Death Cult – Circle Of Days

Circle Of Days Album Cover Art

Hippie Death Cult – Circle Of Days
Heavy Psych Sounds
Release Date: 21/05/2021
Running Time: 37:15
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Hello, dear children of the night, who, like me, are probably vastly overheated and cranky, as summer stubbornly persists over northern England, and doesn’t appear to be going away after a couple of days like it normally does, to be replaced by the iron grey skies and stair rods of driving rain that we are used to, and at the moment would frankly welcome. I have a tan! I haven’t had a fucking tan since 1996 and now my beautiful alabaster skin has a definite brown tinge to it and my goff credentials are utterly ruined forever. No more can I mock goths in hot weather, knowing that secretly I am one (for the record I am currently seated in the lounge at Dark Juan Terrace, clad in black Vans, black denim cut off shorts and black St. Pauli totenkopf t-shirt) of the pale revenants of the night. Instead, I have a “healthy glow” and I want no part of it!

I am instead consoling myself with gallons of iced cider and the latest offering to the altar of Ever-Metal.com from the excellently named Hippie Death Cult of Portland, Oregon. That is in the United States of America, if your geography is as poor as some of the young gentlemen in my charge at my other job. One of them pointed at India the other day and was absolutely convinced it was France and wouldn’t be told otherwise until I showed him the Channel fucking Tunnel and that it came out at Calais and not fucking Chennai.

In other news, briefly, Field Marshal and our Great Leader Rick “Don’t Try Sucking Up To Me, It Won’t Get You Anywhere, You Shocking Tart” Tilley fielded some enquiries about just what it is Mrs. Dark Juan creates while I write this nonsense. I sent him a picture of her latest creation and now he is traumatized (completely and utterly – Rick). However, Anabelle from Cradle Of Filth seems quite taken by it so as far as I’m concerned, it’s all gravy. Mrs. Dark Juan is now currently making fingers(!) while listening to some form of baroque ghost story. Her psyche is absolutely shot to fuck with a constant diet of horror films, M.R. James stories and the darkest imagination for creations I have ever known…

Oh yeah, music review…

Hippie Death Cult – Oregonian, as I believe I have already said. I’m sorry. I’m a bit hungover after the wicked strength lager I drank last night. HDC are really a quite interesting band who have taken the sounds and expansiveness of progressive music and melded them to a combination of the grittiness of classic rock sensibilities and the fuzz overdrive of doom and stoner. The result is rather extraordinary, being fuzzy and slow enough to please the doomsters, yet offering some absolutely incredible riffing and pounding heavy metal to entertain the mainstream crowd, and also having a lovely touch of exploratory madness to lift the music from the mundane or the repetitive. In short, It’s fair to say it’s fucking brilliant and I am a massive fan after this, their sophomore effort.

The sound is extremely cohesive, the mix solid and the production clear and legible, even if the snare drum is lacking some punch. The bass is clearly and cleanly heard and the guitar snarls and roars with a real classic rock sound. As an experiment, I bought some proper old 70’s cans from my mate Tony and played this record back-to-back through them, to compare them to the headphones I normally use. Hippie Death Cult sound absolutely fucking huge through the older phones and merely competent (production wise, this is) through the newer ones. Therefore, I am junking the newer ones immediately.

The opening song on the record is called ‘Red Meat Tricks’ and sets a tone that just begs you to listen more, melding classic rock vibes with progressive elements and some glorious coruscating riffs and solos including a scale in the middle eight that just made me wet my pants with sex wee excitement. Guitar and bass are both used as lead instruments and this offers even more interest on a song that beguiles as well as slays. The second song is entitled ‘Hornet Party’ and the chord medley at the start of the tune immediately just says ‘Seasons In The Abyss’ and Slayer to me, before blasting into the ionosphere with some speedily concussive metal, being sinuously wrapped around by that chord medley. The song as a whole reminds this metal loving idiot of a mix of Slayer and ‘Hooker With A Penis’ era Tool, and let’s be honest that’s a fucking great thing – Tool and Slayer are two of the greatest exponents of their art there are.

Track three, ‘Walk Within’, is where we diverge from the more metal elements of the music and has piano and clean, fingerpicked guitar and a dreamy, ethereal vocal line with a much more proggy sound – it kind of reminds me of a less folky Blood Ceremony throughout the song, until it ends with a huge, dissonant crash and into the fourth cut of the album – ‘Circle Of Days’’ which opens with a  superfuzzy doom riff before morphing gently into a supremely technical and complex prog metal song, but with rather more earthiness and soul than most prog and technical metal – there’s gorgeous harmonies, intertwining vocal lines, guitar that alternately wounds and bewitches, yet it maintains a relaxed and smooth groove than you can lean into and special mention must be made of vocalist Ben Jackson. The boy has a fucking amazing set of pipes on him. Equally happy performing a wail worthy of the Ozzmeister himself, to a gravelly low pitched (but still clean) sound, to a more than passable Dave Wyndorf analogue, Ben proves his versatility on every single song and is a fine, fine rock singer. The last tune on the record is called ‘Eye In The Sky’ and is by far the most psychedelic offering on here, with soft wah on the chiming, shining guitars, until four minutes in when the song takes a massive left turn and delivers a metal riff of such shining splendor (imagine Jerry Cantrell at his heaviest in Alice In Chains and make it more metal) I can’t help but fall to my knees and give thanks to the gods of meal for giving me this to listen to. And the solo. Oh, my FUCKING GOD THE SOLO!!!!!!

Yeah, it’s fair to say I am a bit of a fan and Hippie Death Cult (and others like them) are EXACTLY the reason why I trawl the underground for music – under here is where the ultraclassic live. This is where you find the most egregious talents and the greatest music. With rare exceptions, I find the underground bands more astonishing than the mainstream ones. There is NOTHING like Hippie Death Cult in the mainstream and that is to the mainstream’s detriment, because this is sheer inventiveness and music made for the sake of performance. Hippie Death Cult are truer to the soul and idea of metal than Metallica and their ilk will ever be. This record is heavy as fuck, rich, organic, chock full of feeling and absolutely fucking amazing.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has listened to this record three times back-to-back already and shows no sign of slowing down because it’s just so fantastic. 10 out of fucking 10 without a question. Buy this. Now. Don’t argue. Just buy it.

Red Meat Tricks’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Red Meat Tricks
02. Hornet Party
03. Walk Within
04. Circle of Days
05. Eye In The Sky

LINE-UP:
Ryan Moore – Drums
Eddie Brnabic – Guitar
Ben Jackson – Vocals/Keys
Laura Phillips – Bass/Vocals

LINKS:

Hippie Death Cult 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.

Epoch Of Chirality – Nucleosynthesis

Nucleosynthesis Album Cover Art

Epoch Of Chirality – Nucleosynthesis
Self-Released
Release Date: 23/07/2021
Running Time: 48:48
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Good afternoon from the hallowed lands of West Yorkshire, where pendulous skies abound, the moors brood and beguile you in their sparse and barren splendour, and where the Smellhounds are currently emitting scents that could conceivably be used for ethnic cleansing in some less salubrious regimes. Mrs. Dark Juan is currently sat across from me in the lounge, creating yet another warped objet d’art dragged from the blackest pits of her imagination whilst giggling her little head off at Joe Lycett telling stories about how he had to come downstairs while living with his parents when experiencing some tumescence after a saucy dream about Idris Elba. This scenario was indeed chortlesome.

Oh, how I laughed as I wondered what it would be like to have an erotic dream instead of the blood-soaked horrors that pass for my dreamworld. Especially as I woke this morning from dreaming of having slaughtered my way through an entire company of Russian Spetsnaz using nothing but my teeth and a combat knife. Their combat wrestling training didn’t count for anything much considering how easy it was to tear their arms off and beat them to death with the wet ends…

Such violent imagery reminds me of the slew of action movies that thrilled young Dark Juan in the Eighties – Commando, The Terminator, Predator, Cobra and the like as well as all the video nasties like Anthropophagous Beast and Cannibal Holocaust. These all shared one thing, and that was an epic soundtrack. Which, and this for once is a fucking bang tidy segue, leads us on to the music of Epoch Of Chirality, being a one-man musical project emanating from the somewhat fevered imagination of Mr. Richard How of the South-West of jolly old England.

This is EOC’s second release, after Richard’s debut EP which was entitled “Dawn Of Chirality” in 2020. As a quick aside, Chirality is a property of asymmetry important in several branches of science. The word chirality is derived from the Greek χειρ (kheir), “hand,” a familiar chiral object. Basically, it means a non-superimposable mirror image of an object. Now we have that bit of Wikipedia bothering out of the way, I can begin to describe “Nucleosynthesis”, this being the process that creates new atomic nuclei from pre-existing nucleons (protons and neutrons) and nuclei. Which is a rather fitting way to describe a second musical release then, “Dawn Of Chirality” being analogous to the Big Bang, and “Nucleosynthesis” being the creation of the Universe. Or at least Epoch Of Chirality’s universe, which operates in a kind of dark light, neon dripping Blade Runner-esque dystopian galaxy of electronic soundscapes merged with the cutting fury of heavy metal.

As regular readers of my terrible ramblings will know, I have a real soft spot for synthwave (be it Outrun, or Vapourwave (I REFUSE TO USE THE RUBBISH AMERICAN SPELLING!) or whatever) and two of my absolute favourites from this style of music are Master Boot Record (an Italian madman who identifies himself as an IBM 486 Central Processing Unit. Remember them? Oh, and he has an unhealthy obsession with ASCII) and Gunship (British, absolutely brilliant and now can be forgiven for their travesty of a former band, Fightstar, mainly because they have brought Tim fucking Capello back to the attention of a rapt audience, thankfully without the purple spandex). Both of which are big fucking boots to try and fill. Epoch Of Chirality leans more toward the cinematic soundscapes of MBR and also doesn’t employ any vocals, letting the music try to hold your interest all by itself, rather than following the electro-pop stylings and emotionally fraught singing of the worthy British combo.

Thankfully, EOC manages to stand proud with the music and is fresh and original sounding. Every song brings a different flavour and mood, ‘Maiden Voyage’ being particularly schizophrenic with 80’s tinkly bonk Bontempi keyboards meeting martial drumming, eastern sounding flurries on keys transforming into glockenspiel runs and then trumpets and gothic piano taking over with the occasional stab of electric guitar until it switches gear and tempo and turns into a rampaging metal beast. Album opener ‘Dawn Of Chirality’ beguiles with waves of soft, foamy keyboards building slowly into pure, full on metal riffing with coruscating waves of electronic sound beneath it as the drums build into a percussive, machine gun wall of sound and the oh so 80’s keyboard rises magnificently over it all and I’m just waiting for Airwolf to rise out of its secret volcano hangar dramatically through the caldera and shoot down shitloads of bad guys. ‘The Abyssal Fleet’ is pure cinema in musical form, being an Imperial march full of bombast, and easily conjuring the image of a grim and mighty fleet of battle-scarred starships slipping their moorings and travelling towards a warzone where the hellish power of their particle beam weapons and explosive gravitic lances will level the surface of an enemy planet in short and terrible order. ‘Undercity Rising’ has my imagination running riot with images of muties emerging from under Mega-City One with murder and mayhem on their minds, and only a thin line of Judges to meet them.

Every tune on the album evinces a feeling of big-screen theatrics from the age of neon-tinged dystopian nightmares. ‘Labyrinth’ could easily be the soundtrack to an epic car chase through a darkened, mirror universe Miami, scattering the shattered bodies of unwary pedestrians in the wake of speeding vehicles exchanging gunfire and grenades, while our muscle bound hero escapes all attempts on his life with witty one-liners and an assault rifle that miraculously never runs out of ammunition. Apart from the middle eight which makes it sound like you’re going to enter some kind of dark tunnel or dread fortress before the song returns to speed and chunky fucking riffing and the full-on car chase aesthetic. The last tune, ‘Paradox’, brings back memories of the more esoteric moments of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark in the intro and is so bright, shiny and Tron-like it made me weep tears of joy for a childhood lost to Satan worship, extremely perverse sexual encounters and absinthe, before turning into the most metal song on the album. There is also a magnificent guitar solo that also made me become highly excited and spasmodically jerk around the lounge and has raised the ire of at least two Smellhounds and Mrs. Dark Juan. It is a most fitting climax to an album that is utterly perfect for hitting a motorway at 3am with 200 miles to cover. You too can experience the feeling that you are fleeing hordes of heavily armed bastards in shiny black Jaguars on your work trip to Basingstoke simply by popping Epoch Of Chirality in the CD player and letting your imagination run riot.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Epoch Of Chirality and Ever-Metal will not accept any legal liability for the fact you’ll probably hit 130 mph on the M1 in your Vauxhall Corsa just outside of Luton and will have to explain to Hertfordshire Police that the music made you do it, and that there isn’t in fact a horde of heavily armed bastards racing after you in shiny black Jaguars intent on letting your brains escape through your nose via the medium of 9mm Parabellum bullets.

On that happy note, if you like Master Boot Record, Carpenter Brut, Pertubator, Gunship and the like, you’ll probably adore this. I do. If you are more a trve metal kvlt person, you’ll hate it because it has more influences than guitar, bass, drums, drugs, misogyny and alcoholism and it will fry your little brain. For everyone else, I officially declare this record fucking brilliant. You should give it a bash.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards the full 10/10 to Epoch Of Chirality and loves the magical, 80’s arcade aesthetic of it all so is off to Arcade Club in Bury in short order to go and destroy hordes of filthy alien enemies on R-Type II to a soundtrack of Epoch Of Chirality resounding through my headphones.

‘Labyrinth’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Dawn Of Chirality
02. Undercity Rising
03. Caravan To The Midnight Mountain
04. Boreal
05. Pyramid Cybergod
06. Maiden Voyage
07. The Abyssal Fleet
08. Labyrinth
09. Paradox

LINE-UP:
Richard How – Multi-instrumentalist uber-talented BASTARD!!!
(Especially because I can’t even fucking play the guitar properly, let alone anything else…)

LINKS:

Album Advert

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.

Moon Coven – Slumber Wood

Slumber Wood Album Cover Art

Moon Coven – Slumber Wood
Ripple Music
Released Date: 07/05/2021
Running Time: 41:53
Review by Dark Juan
8/10

Hey up, chaps and chapesses and people of all other genders. It is I, Dark Juan, and I am back after a brief sojourn into the darkest recesses of my sewer-like mind and you are all going to spend the next ten minutes being bored out of your tiny little minds as I follow the usual well-worn path of tortured metaphors, exuberant frothing, rage, talking about my dogs as if any of you actually cared and some wholly made-up shit about me and mine. Probably. Anyhow, you have actually taken the time to read this and for that I thank you. There’s apparently some of you out there who like reading this absolute drivel I spew out on a semi-regular basis. Weirdos…

So, here we are, ensconced comfortably in Dark Juan Terrace, with the Dread Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover doing his usual guard dog duties of shouting at EVERY SINGLE FUCKING PASSER-BY that goes past the house and trying to get me to fight with him (Igor is a French Bulldog of some 11 kilos in weight and is about as useful as a guard dog as a kettle made out of chocolate apart from the shouting and a serious case of small man syndrome, but fucking LOVES a good rumble with me) while the other two smellhounds snooze their afternoon away and Mrs. Dark Juan chortles quietly to herself while she creates some other mentally disturbing doll, or shapeshifting hare, or some other mad shit she finds cute but everyone else is justifiably scared of, and I listen to my sadly neglected review list. Today’s offering is from Swedish psychedelic doom merchants Moon Coven, a four-piece from Stockholm. For some reason I had to REALLY fight the urge to write Croydon, and I have no idea why this was a) funny as fuck to me, and b) why the urge was so powerful.

I am normally suspicious of a band describing themselves as psychedelic doom, as this normally means long drawn-out jams of a single riff for twenty minutes with lashings of fuzz and phaser wah and little in the way of actual music until the last fifteen seconds of the tune where everyone suddenly emerges from their weed-induced haze and clatters everything in sight before declaring it a wrap and proceeding to get even more baked. Thankfully, Moon Coven appear to have avoided that trap and seem to be rather more with it. Opening track ‘Further’ starts us off with a repeating riff that really doesn’t break any new stoner/doomy ground yet is still pretty fucking laid back and cool, but it is the voice of David Leban that is worthy of note. Not for this gentleman is the guttural roar or the relaxed drawl of, say, Master Charger or Thunder Horse, respectively. No, Dave (hereby yet again proving my theory that no matter where in the world a popular beat combo comes from, there has always been a Dave in a band. Even Japanese ones) comes from the school of Ozzy-esque impassioned wailing and emotive clean singing. This is to the band’s benefit because an acid-fuelled gritty growl would not work with the chilled grooves.

‘Eye Of The Night’ is probably the standout track on the record, with oodles of groove and a very cool twin guitar middle eight and the soaring voice of Dave bringing it all together in a satisfyingly complete whole. Fuck me, that sounds rude. I bet when Admiral Of The Fleet General Sir Richard “Run Out Of Things To Say Have You, You Northern Twatmonkey, So You’re Relying On Smut? Get Your Nose Back To The Grindstone Otherwise I Shall Send An Attack Beth And I’ll Only Need One” Tilley reads this there will be tea spurted everywhere from his nostrils and if there isn’t I’m going to be sorely disappointed (There was – Rick!!!). Nevertheless, let us discount my amusement at the thought of our Great Leader fountaining hot beverages from both nostrils and return to what I’m actually SUPPOSED to be doing… ‘A Tower Of Silence’ is a slow drawn-out groove, with slightly less distortion on the guitars and a more bass-led sound that borders on shoegaze with a deceptively simple riff that is slowly built on to form a complex, sinuous song that beguiles rather than bludgeons – this sense of light and dark is what sets Moon Coven apart from most of their contemporaries, who do have a tendency to just stick to the same stoner blueprint. ‘…Silence’ builds in an unhurried fashion and the phased psychedelic solo is a joy to hear, even in the shitty cans I’m wearing and leads into ‘Bahgsu Nag’ which conforms much more to the doom and stoner blueprint, with superfuzz guitar and a languid, relaxed central riff, until we hit the middle eight and then there is a dreamy, creamy, Eastern influenced part which is just gorgeous before the band crash heavily back into the central riff.

The production of the record is actually very good, considering it has a rather bass heavy sound. The cymbals have clarity and cut cleanly through the soupy, heavy guitar and bass combo and this record has an exceedingly rare thing – a snare drum sound I actually like. Snare drums normally sound like Lars Ulrich hitting upturned soup tureens (I’ll never not hate “St. Anger”) or are so far forward in the mix they rattle your fillings. The snare is perfectly placed in the mix and for this I am profoundly grateful. My only complaint is that the bass drum is almost inaudible because of the treacly thickness of the bass guitar. The fuzz appears to have run away with Moon Coven somewhat, but these are minor gripes from a shitty ex-musician who’s only really jealous, actually.

In conclusion – this is a damned fine psychedelic doom metal record, with Sabbathian vibes, mountainous riffs and a fine singer. However, it doesn’t bring anything new to what is becoming an oversaturated genre, and this is why it has dropped marks. The musicianship and songwriting are top fucking drawer though and for a long road trip on a hot summer night you could do a lot fucking worse. The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Det patenterade värderingssystemet Dark Juan blodstänk – that last word is crying out for a trad metal band to nick it) awards Moon Coven a very acceptable 8/10. A splendid effort, gentlemen.

‘Further’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Further
02. Ceremony
03. Gibekli Tepe (Potbelly Hill)
04. Eye Of The Night
05. A Tower Of Silence
06. Bahgsu Nag
07. Seagull
08. My Melting Mind

LINE-UP:
Fredrik Dahlqvist – Drums
Axel Ganhammar – Guitars
Justin Boyesen – Guitars
David Leban – Vocals, Guitars

LINKS:

Moon Coven 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.

WaxWorm – Mea Kulpa

Mea Kulpa Cover

WaxWorm – Mea Kulpa
Trepanation Recordings
Release Date: 23/07/2021
Running Time: 39:20
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Bonjour, mes amis! It is I, Dark Juan, and I am taking refuge from the big shiny fireball in the sky. Hiding within the curtain walls in the main keep of Dark Juan Terrace, trembling and tremulous, a feared of a puissance, a power greater than mine, while the smellhounds bake themselves to a furry crisp upon the stone flags outside, and Mrs. Dark Juan sits embroidering another twisted, yet beautiful creation whilst basking in the frankly terrifying radiation from an angry and vengeful star. Actually, to be fair she’s come back indoors now and is busily designing tattoos for tomorrow for she is a rather talented and excellent artiste de tatouage…There are however advantages to this – the Pimms and lemonade is freely flowing and I have achieved a state of grace and bonhomie by 1pm which is not normally attainable until the late evening at least. Seeing as I am in a state of grace and bonhomie (my liege lord and all-round good egg Admiral Of The Fleet Richard ”Aren’t you bored of these long winded introductions yet, you pompous Northern twatmonkey?” Tilley has not had to threaten me with violence to actually fucking write something this time. He just sent a photograph of himself, smiling benignly, whilst wielding a claymore which appears to be in perfect repair and VERY sharp) I have taken it upon myself to write about another record for you. Aren’t you all so extremely FORTUNATE?!?

YOU THERE! Stop your sniggering! I don’t care whether you all think I am as funny as corduroy trousers or not, but I do have an overweening sense of self-importance and I will not be denied. At least the preamble is under three hundred words this time…

WaxWorm is the creation of Antipodean Arthur Brown (no, he is not the god of hellfire, and he won’t be bringing you any either) and (considerably less exotic) Duncan Evans of Leeds (ex-A Forest Of Stars), in God’s own County (that being West Yorkshire. My being there also is neither here nor there) in jolly old Blighty. They describe their music as “dark electro-chaos” and an attempt to create something heavy without guitars and this album is the culmination of both face-to-face and remote meetings over a period of several years, where the project was shelved and revisited a number of times. To their eternal credit, they displayed much more patience than I ever could and actually finished the bloody thing so they have earned my approbation for being more driven individuals than I will ever be.

The album opens with ‘Mutus Liber’ (Latin for “Silent Book” and being an alchemical grimoire from the 17th Century, fact fans!) and it is clear that we are going to be roaming the realms of electronica and EBM. A slowly building synth wall of sound, played like Type O Negative at their most miserable speeds (or lack thereof), continues to an overlaid drone vocal and then there is a notable step change in tempo on ‘Eschaton’, the second song. Remember when Earache went a bit wrong in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, signed a load of techno artists and they did a compilation record called “Corporate Rock Wars” in 1995 and tried to tell us all that Misery Loves Co were an extreme metal band? There was a band with two tracks on that record called Scorn. They were an electronic duo and WaxWorm sound quite similar to them on ‘Eschaton’. This is not a bad thing, because Scorn were actually incredibly good, if painfully misunderstood by us metal kids at the time. ‘The Waif And Its Gun’ is much more dark ambient, sliding balefully into your subconscious and squatting there, laughing evilly while it beguiles you with images of just what horrors it plans on you perpetrating upon your significant other while you are under its control.

Vocals are sparingly employed throughout the album, most notably on ‘Raptus’ where the strained, emotional quality of the singing adds a dimension of raw emotion that can sometimes be missing from electronic industrial music and the whole song is a heart-ripping emotional hellride through your darkest fears and just why your significant other is lying silent in a pool of claret and you stand, mutely screaming with a bloodied knife in your red right hand and they are unmoving on the floor not answering your entreaties…

The record closes with ‘Klexos’, (otherwise known as the art of dwelling on the past and revisiting and reinterpreting memories the longer you look at them) which is a drippy, trippy piece of music that utilizes triphop beats and the kind of synth work that graces Trent Reznor’s less intense moments with Nine Inch Nails and is a fitting closer to the album, relaxing you down into a sense of deep dark melancholy as it fades away.

This is actually a damned fine record. It has moments of emotional power (‘Raptus’), complexity (the musicianship on the whole thing is fucking top notch, mixing synth with recordings of live instrumentation, and fucked up samples of everyday household items up to and including the kitchen sink a la Throbbing Gristle) and inventiveness (I hear bits of Whitehouse in the dissonance of power electronics, Suicide in the simplistic tempos which belie the complexity of the actual music, and Cabaret Voltaire in the emotional content of the record) and the occasional bout of Skinny Puppy-esque industrial power among the ambient grooves not unreminiscent of The Orb. A diverse set of influences, then, but ones that complement each other rather than clash. Machines and gears meshing in perfect harmony rather than the spatter of lead against armour plate.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (g’day, Aussie fans) awards WaxWorm a stonking 9/10 for a fine, predominantly instrumental industrial album with plenty to keep the listener occupied. It has a mark deducted because it MAY be of limited interest to the metal fan, but it is still heavy enough to please the more exploratory heavy metal listener as far as I am concerned. I’ll be playing this record to death. It’s fucking brilliant.

‘Klexos’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Mutus Liber
02. Eschaton
03. Rosarius
04. The Waif And Its Gun
05. Azoth
06. Raptus
07. Klexos

LINE-UP:
Arthur Brown – Fucking everything because he is a talented Australian bastard.
Duncan Evans – Fucking everything because he is a talented Yorkshire bastard.

LINKS:

WaxWorm 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.

Kids In Cages – Tired (Single)

Tired Single Cover Artwork

Kids In Cages – Tired (Single)
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/05/2021
Running Time: 04:08
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Greetings, dear friends. I’ve been away for a bit, but I am back now. There were matters that required my attention which have been dealt with. Just don’t ask where my chainsaw and my sledgehammer are, OK? It wouldn’t be worth your while knowing…Also, you have no need to know why I have burned the clothes I was wearing at the time.

So, now I’m back, I’m going to talk about this single from the excellent Kids In Cages, who are from the metal hotspot that is Liechtenstein and fronted by the estimable, impressively bearded, and Keeper Of The Favoured Mighty (Vegan) Gravy Jug Of Valhalla and arranger/founder of the important and puntastically named OpenHair metal festival held in Balzers, Finlay Davey. Kids In Cages (I’m in no doubt as to where they got the name of the band from and neither should you if you have had any eye at all on modern history during the Donald Trump era of America…) have released a very engaging, and it has to be said, EXUBERANTLY BOUNCY debut single called ‘Tired’ and Mrs. Dark Juan and myself have been bouncing equally exuberantly to it.

I must add this disclaimer for reasons of propriety: Actually, we have been moving in as exuberant as fashion as we can according to various levels of physical malady and mental illness permit us to.

Kids In Cages treat us to an excellent opening in the form of a languid metal guitar riff that segues into an electronic squelchy bass riff before Fin sets off on a breathless and speedy rap that then drops into a hardcore bark and break before a very sublime indeed chant-a-long chorus. Taking cues from Fin’s previous hardcore band experience, industrial, electronic body music, and hip hop, ‘Tired’ takes you to several different places in music simultaneously and welds them together in a way that can only be described as satisfying. Imagine the snottiness of the fuck off attitude of British 70’s punk, the political awareness and rage of hardcore, the inventiveness and vast soundscapes of electronic progressive music, the street savvy of rap (and the madness of Mindless Self Indulgence) and there you have Kids In Cages. And frankly it sounds like a fucking brilliant place to be.

Kids In Cages record in an interesting fashion as well – their electronic samples being self-created. ‘Tired’ is the first of 60 songs recorded during the pandemic and lyrically deals with the concepts of isolation and impostor syndrome. Heavy shit indeed for a band that has an almost poppy sound.

A single that is well worth your time if you are a fan of interesting and vibrant music, and not if you are some fucking purist who think that Manowar are the be all and end all of metal.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Das patentierte Dark Juan Blutspritzer-Bewertungssystem. Probably wrong in actual German and way off the mark in Schweizerdeutsch as well, but at least I tried…) awards Kids In Cages a throbbing 10/10 for a fine, bouncy single that’s both fun and interesting and really very good indeed.

‘Tired’(Audio)

LINE-UP:
Finlay – Vocals
Darius – Bass and Keyboards
Gino – Guitar and Vocals
Kevin – Drums

LINKS:

Kids In Cages 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.