Dead Label – Anthology EP

Anthology Album Cover Art

Dead Label – Anthology EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 25:35
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

Irish Metalcore four-piece, Dead Label, first popped onto my radar several years back, after seeing them perform, and interviewing them, at Hammerfest in 2018, when they were three-piece. Their groove laden, heavy as hell style really impressed me, and pre-covid, they were in full swing, performing with big names, and getting ready for spots at major festivals. But, as with everything, the pandemic put the brakes on. However, it has given them time to work on new material for their next full-length release (with their new addition, Mick Hynes), and compile their new EP, “Anthology”, which sees a collection of their singles, and two previously unreleased tracks, brought together for the first time.

The EP kicks off with ‘Deadweight’, one of the unreleased tracks. It’s furiously paced, angry, and sees the band channeling negativity into a blisteringly violent track. I imagine that the pit when this is performed live next will be complete mayhem! It features chunky guitar riffs, hard hitting drums, and superb growling, screaming vocals. A great way to start.

‘Pure Chaos’ follows, which, although not as pacey and frenetic, still offers a tormented edge, thanks to the low crunching guitars, and the tortured vocals of Dan O’Grady. There’s also a great downtuned bass break part way through the song, which sounds dirty as hell.

It’s back to the frenetic next, with ‘Triggered’. Another ultimate pit song me thinks (note to self, if you ever decide to pit to Dead Label, remove glasses, for they will not survive). This track is a little more groove based than ‘Deadweight’ but still packs just as much of a powerful punch.

Claire Percival’s thumping metronomic rhythms are given a great chance to shine in ‘Flux’, the second of the two previously unreleased tracks, which opens with drums and guitars, pulsing out a heavy marching beat like a call to arms. ‘False Messiah’ sees a number of rhythm changes, giving it a more progressive feel, but still undeniably exhibiting the Dead Label sound.

And that brings us nicely to the final track, ‘Dystopian Complex’, which closes out the EP in banging style. Sound wise, this is probably the fullest track on the EP, and the heaviness of the bass sounds really thumps into your head. While not as frenetic as some of the other tracks, this still delivers one heck of a punch.

Production wise, there are occasions where the guitar sits a little too far forward in the mix, and I would like more bass, on a similar level to the final track. But aside from that, this is a superb EP, and I’m looking forward to the album very much.

‘Flux’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Deadweight
02. Pure Chaos
03. Triggered
04. Flux
05. False Messiah
06. Dystopian Complex

LINE-UP:
Clair Percival – Drums
Danny Hall – Guitar/ Backing Vocals
Danny O’Grady – Vocals/ Bass
Mick Hynes – Guitar

LINKS:

Dead Label Promo Pic

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

Venomous – Tribus EP

Tribus EP Cover Art

Venomous – Tribus EP
Brutal Records
Release Date: 19/02/2021
Running Time: 21:38
Review by Victor Augusto
9/10

Is this a review of a Melodic Death Metal band?!? No, no, no, my friends. It would be so unfair to call this Brazilian band just by that genre, at least for us, the ever-amazing readers of Ever Metal. I hope you are all good and safe today as we have a paradoxical EP to talk about. Paradoxical due to the complexity of the compositions whilst being catchy at the same time. I can say that in front of us are an intriguing band musically and thematically. Of course, the melody and Death Metal are very present in their music, but Venomous are a blend of many things that are hard to explain.

First, it is obvious that Venomous are honouring the old days of Brazilian Power Metal band Angra, from the “Holy Land” album, released in 1996. Sometimes we can hear structures that sounds like Angra being played by a Death Metal band. There is also the Piano! Those who are fans of the master conductor Andre Matos, know how he put incredible classical piano in Angra’s music (also in Shaman and his solo band). Even the solos reminded me of the structures and beautiful work between Kiko Loureiro (yes, Kiko from Megadeth) and Rafael Bittencourt, from the 90’s. This is just one, very important, element apparent from Venomous. So let me summarize and talk about the songs to enlighten the readers who, like myself, have never heard of this amazing Brazilian group before (…bad Victor).

“And the hope only dies if we stop believing”. This lyric is from the opening track ‘Eerie Land’ and it carries a positive message amongst all the chaos illustrated. The piano intro that appears is typical of the regional music played in the northeast of Brazil, similar to Baião*, but arranged into Heavy Metal. It brings the sensation of those whose lives are surrounded by beautiful nature, but also cursed by the corruption and killing that has occurred due to political desires to exploit these lands. A Brazilian picture of suffering, but with a message to stay strong.

When I looked at the name of the others three songs; ‘Trinity’, ‘Duality’ and ‘Unity’; I thought that there must be some theory about the numbers three, two and one. I used all of my efforts to try and understand it and here is what I suspect could be the mystery surrounding it or what it could, maybe, be related to.

‘Trinity’ – “No Religion, nor politics. Cause races and cultures are all the same”. Universe, Sun and our planet are the three things that I saw as trinity, within the lyrics. All the energy that comes from them reflect on us because we are supposed to have no fight or division amongst ourselves, as politics and religion used to, and still, do. Our source of power and faith are out there on these three elements!

‘Duality’ – “We walk around oblivious and tamed”. Titans and Satan’s, in the lyrics, could be connected to what make people oblivious and tamed. The duality that, mentally or physically, enslaves all of us. The lovely dancing percussion right after the independent guitar riffs at the beginning of this song, alongside the melodies, are so beautiful and taken from Brazilian musicality.

‘Unity’ – “And together we’ll see better days”. In the end, we must all act and stay united to become a powerful unity. The two previous songs navigate throughout issues of humanity to show how we can overcome them and it ends with this song. The darkest atmosphere of the EP is present here. It is, probably, the most Death Metal track and what a delightful way to finish, with all the heaviness fading out, resting on just beautiful sequences of notes from the piano.

If you are thinking that I am mad with this analysis (by the way, I agree with you), you must look to the EP cover. Maybe it is just art, but maybe it has some subliminal messages too. Broken chains, a snake swallowing itself and three (Tribus) different stages of our planet. The beginning (birth), the world as we know nowadays and then the breaking of it in two parts, after so many disgraces. Have a look and tell us what you think?

Among all these ups and downs of the thematic, the band has used elements of typical Melodic Death Metal with Metalcore breakdowns. The already mentioned “Angra and Baião elements” just increase the complexity of the band. The sonority is heavy and dense, also very remarkable and catchy. If I could mention any highlight, it would probably be the way that Venomous have united so many different elements to create superb music.

This is the first time I have heard Venomous and I have immediately become a fan of them. “Tribus” perpetuates the legends that started the Heavy Metal Scene in Brazil, but also shows unique identity for the band.

Amazing EP! Parabéns!

‘Eerie Land’ (Official Video)

*Baião is a very popular and famous genre of music from the northeast side of Brazil. This area has a unique culture, not only in music, but also with their way of life and how the population handle all the issues in those states.

Here is a video entitled “Luiz Gonzaga – Baião” so that you can understand and learn about this music.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Eerie Land
02. Trinity
03. Duality
04. Unity

LINE-UP:
Thiago Pereira – Vocals
Gui Calegari – Guitars
Ivan Landgraf – Guitars
Renato Castro – Bass
Lucas Prado – Drums

LINKS:

Venomous Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto 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.

mvsic2mvrder2 – BlakGoD EP

BlakGod EP Cover Art

mvsic2mvrder2 – BlakGoD EP
Self-Released
Released On 22/02/2021
Running Time: 14:40
Review By Dark Juan
9/10

Hello, ladies, gentlemen, gentlepersons of all other genders and germ-free adolescents! It is I, Dark Juan and I have returned from my bed of pain and suffering to bring you this freshly minted piece of absolute nonsense masquerading as knowledgeable writing! Age appears to be catching up with your favourite pseudo-Satanic metal hack and I have been laid up with a spasming back. Now, it’s fun when you have applied a bullwhip to the back of some whimpering Neophyte for a considerable and tiring length of time and you watch their blood soaked back twitching and spasming in anticipation of another lick or two, but not so much when your old assed back cries enough when you have mainly been sat down swilling gallons of Yorkshire tea and barking orders at your “pack” (I use the term loosely as far as my bunch of misshapen misfits goes) of dogs. Except in the case of the Dread Lord Sir Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover, who appears to be trans-species, seeing as he variously barks, meows, moos and on one memorable occasion chirped. He is one confused creature. Anyhow, I have mainly been mainlining diazepam and reclining on my chaise longue in my Fourth Incantation Robes (Spring Weight) and being fed vegetarian burgers by the estimable and formidable Mrs. Dark Juan, who has finally insisted in the strongest possible terms (by means of threatening me with a number of weapons including the Dread Lord Sir Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover and the towel rail that I HAVE STILL NOT REPAIRED after the last Ever-Metal online group shenanigans. If you are a regular reader of my bullshit, you will be aware that I got so profoundly drunk that my memory is one long blank after half past eleven. Apparently, according to the gentlemanly and erudite Simon “I Take No Perverse Glee In Telling You This WHATSOEVER” Black, the picture of me went sideways and then faded to black and stayed that way. Our erstwhile and surprisingly large mentor and leader General Sir Richard “I Run A Tight Ship But Frankly I’m That Sick Of Telling Dark Juan Off Because It Happens So Often That My Mouth Does It On Automatic Nowadays” Tilley commented thus, “It’s just like his personality.” Fuck you very much, gentlemen!) that I finally register with the local doctor. Which I have duly done on pain of a savage and meaningless death at the hands of Mrs. Dark Juan. If she says she can murder you with just a spoon, you may rest assured there is a trail of corpses and unsolved murders somewhere where the weapon was a simple teaspoon.

Where were we and what am I actually supposed to be doing?

For my delectation today I have been provided with an EP from a Bulgarian madman who is resident in Belgium called mvsic2mvrder2. As a grammar Nazi of the highest possible calibre, (if you don’t know what third person indicative is, then we are going to have problems) you cannot even BEGIN to imagine the amount of pain it has caused me to type that. Therefore, for the remainder of this increasingly wordy and long winded review, he shall be referred to as m2m2. The lowercase M in place of the correct capital hurts my eyes and my soul grievously yet I shall push on for you, dear friends and readers of twaddle. I am listening to “BlakGoD” (This being a reference to Chernobog, a Slavic black god) and it is a five track EP (although the last song is a remix of the previous song, so technically it’s a four track EP with a bonus tune.)

As this is an EP, I am going to follow my usual format and talk about each song in turn. First up is ‘KvltLeader’ and if you are expecting some pure heavy metal you are going to be very much mistaken, considering the ravening howling mad bastard who has recorded this. Instead, we have a particularly vicious mélange of black metal lo-fi guitar, terror EBM vocals in the vein of God Module and Grendel and gabba techno and electronic industrial. Think Mayhem fucking Combichrist and Suicide Commando until The Berzerker, Throbbing Gristle and Unter Null burst in and throw themselves into the meat triangle and turn it into a meat sexagon (sic) with viscera and bodily fluids being flung everywhere during this most uncongenial congeniality. Yes, it is a particularly savage coupling, this one. This is to be applauded.

This sound (or wall thereof) continues on the second song, ‘Coffinwhispers’, which has an especially virulent sound composed of chopped up guitars, re-sequenced into something possibly illegal and the kind of industrial beat that causes sex wee to erupt in colossal quantities from the fucked up specimen writing this. The flood sirens are blaring and my neighbours are looking balefully at me as they are forced to evacuate AGAIN. This is a Very Good Thing and the sex wee tanks off the coast of Alaska are rapidly filling, due to the well-built and capacious nature of the Dark Juan Sex Wee Extraction System that has been built on to the end of Dark Juan Terrace.

Track three is ‘Fällsilent (EP Version)’ which is slightly less demented and takes a (very slightly) more relaxed form reminiscent of Ministry around their “Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste” era with more modern electronics overlaying an 80’s beat and some less savage guitar work, being rather more slow burning than the mental maelstrom that the first two songs were. Still, it is a very uncompromising slab of…whatever the fuck it is, and I commend it to your august attention.

‘BlöD (EP Version)’ (no, it is not a typo) is the final track, and this is where the savagery of hardcore techno comes to the fore, being the mutant love child of “Come To Daddy (Pappy Mix)” Aphex Twin and Johnny Violent and Ultraviolence’s insanely pounding beats overlaying the kind of demented riffing you would find on a Misery Loves Company record. Squeals, squelches and machine gun percussion combine to just stave your fucking crust in whilst the vocals roar and coruscate around your head and the guitars approximate the sound of an approaching main battle tank that will pass mere inches from your helpless head…

Then it’s the bonus track ‘BlöD (Video Edit)’ which is a much more relaxed and a lot more electronic state of affairs. Sheer, unutterable sonic murder is traded in for something approaching musicality as the beats approximate early Nine Inch Nails and Die Krupps instead of the sound of high revving diesel engines and it makes for a far more sedate listening experience. All in all, I prefer the manic one although as far as remixes go, this is perfectly enjoyable.

So, there you have it. Four songs and one remix version of sheer sonic horror. Purists of heavy metal will be fucking appalled at the (as they will see it) desecration of metal with extensive electronics and a wilful disregard for convention that would test even the most sainted of temperaments. However, if you’re into extreme music like what I am (extreme is not just metal, boys, girls and all other genders) then you’ll fucking love the single minded desire displayed by m2m2 to just remove your fucking head and dance all over your blood-soaked and battered corpse as he grins like a loon and paints his face with your arterial splatter. Assuming it’s a him. Yes, I have just assumed someone’s gender. You can shoot me once I have cleared my review backlog. Rick will be most relieved.

Savage doesn’t even begin to cover it.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Le système breveté d’évaluation des éclaboussures de sang Dark Juan – Sorry, other Belgians. Google Translate doesn’t do Flemish and I can only speak French. Патентованата система за оценка на пръски от тъмно Хуан – Google Translate does happily do Bulgarian though!) awards mvsic2mvrder2 (sigh… I’m going to have to read a lot of Colin Dexter to get over this mangling of the English language and rules of grammar) 9/10 for an absolutely uncompromising bit of sheer ravening madness. I deducted a mark because I wanted more and there were not enough songs to satisfy my craving and this is entirely unacceptable. An album of this music would have garnered a score of several trillion out of ten and a right bollocking for me, as, “We have a scoring system out of ten for a reason, you absolute twonk.”

I may have paraphrased.

TRACKLISTING:
01. KvltLeader
02. Coffinwhispers
03. Fällsilent (EP Version)
04. BlöD (EP Version)
05. BlöD (Video Edit)

LINE-UP:
mvsic2mvrder2 – Does fucking everything. What a bastard. I hate talented people because I’m not. Also, a significant amount of internet trawling has not enabled me to find out m2m2’s identity, so he shall forevermore be known as Dave, as is my wont.

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.

Juliet Ruin – Dark Water EP

Dark Water EP Cover Art

Juliet Ruin – Dark Water EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/03/2021
Running Time: 18:06
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

I’ve been in the mood for something on the heavier side recently. So, when I saw ‘For fans of Killswitch Engage’, who I bloody love, on the EPK for the new EP from Juliet Ruin, my ears pricked up. They were a name that I’d not come across before, but I decided to give it a listen, hoping and praying that it would appease the alternative cravings. Well, my friends, appease them it did, and then some!

The “Dark Water” EP is billed as ‘A step into a heavier domain for the band.’ It’s full of downtuned guitars, and some epically perfected screams and super clean vocals from Jess Fleming. And, as it’s only 4 tracks, and I’m in a wordy kind of mood, I’m going to give you the blow-by-blow for each!

Opening with the title track, we’re greeted with pacey and staccato guitar, joined swiftly by bass, and drums, to build into the song. A mixture of floating clean vocals and guttural screams deliver the melody, along with the technical crunching guitars. It’s dark and edgy, and instantly made me listen.

‘Cosmic Vertigo’ crashes in next. If anything, this track has more of a frantic feel to it, and Jess’s twisted vocals add to this. This needs to be listened to loud. The one thing I will say is that, no matter how tortured the sound, this track has a hell of a catchy hook, and never loses the sense of melody. That can actually be said for the whole EP, though.

‘Fake Stigmata’ is driven by bass licks. Clean verses are followed by guttural pre choruses, and then soring choruses, where the riffs and instrumentation reach their fullest. The kick drum in this song takes on a machine-gun like property, which is echoed in the staccato rhythm guitar. It also builds from stripped out single-toned sounds, to expansiveness at each chorus, making it pleasingly worrying!

The final track, ‘Might,’ is more of a lilting tune, with a change of rhythm to 6/8 in the verses. This gives it a slightly softer feel at first. But the chorus soon puts pay to that! And those damn screams fill your ears in the chorus too. I’m pretty jealous to be fair. They’re awesome. I wish I could scream like that, and then drop back into perfectly clean, sweet vocals! Towards the end of this track, there’s a section that almost sounds like the accompaniment to a modern Western – a duelling guitars piece almost. It shouldn’t work, given the style that everything else has taken, but it does.

What a cracking little EP this is. I was totally surprised by it. The best way I can describe it is Killswitch meets Chasing Dragons (god I miss those guys so much. So sad they’re not still making music) which really ticks all the boxes for me. I love surprises like this. Now I’m ready for more. Note for my dearly beloved, our editor Mr Tilley – I’m bagsying their next album, whenever it comes out! It will be mine! What a cracking way to brighten may day this has been! So, to sum up. Bloody love it! One of the best EPs I’ve heard this year so far.

‘Dark Water’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Dark Water
02. Cosmic Vertigo
03. Fake Stigmata
04. Might

LINE-UP:
Jess Fleming – Vocals
Kent Geislinger – Guitar
Wesley Rands – Guitar
Cody Reid – Bass
Jesse Bauman – Drums

LINKS:

Juliet Ruin Promo Pic

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

Skinflick – Self Harm Smiley Face EP

Self Harm Smiley Face EP Cover Art

Skinflick – Self Harm Smiley Face EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 27/03/2021
Running Time: 26:02
Review by Beth Jones
9/10

You know those days where your brain falls into the blackness, and you need a soundtrack to accompany your trip down the rabbit hole. Well, that soundtrack is here, in the shape of another EP from the dangerously seedy uncle of Industrial Electronica, Skinflick. The deprived brainchild of Lullaby for a Unicorn’s frontman, Justin Williams, “Self Harm Smiley Face” is another trip into the night, where the depraved do play. Littered with noises, echoes, and part-whispered, part-growling vocals, it will create an uncomfortable fear in the sane, and manic appreciation in everyone else.

Opening with the title track, this 6 track EP’s ambient sounds and pulsing beats take your mind’s eye on a journey of debauchery and filth. You’ll find yourself instantly transported through a beaded curtain into a musty back room, the air acrid with thick, sickly-sweet smoke, lit only by a malfunctioning pink neon light, with some dubious stains on the wall, and a fraying couch that’s gone even further than seeing better days. It’s a dangerously exciting place, the world of the depraved, right?

Musically, this is by far and away my favourite release from Skinflick to date. It’s catchy, well structured, and ominous. It creates a presence, which melds heavy sounds with floating violins, and ethereal synth, layered with ambient effects, and synth backing vocals that give it an extra chill factor. And, as I’ve now come to expect from Justin’s solo work, it’s very well produced. There’s some brilliant panning early on, which acclimatize you to the new surroundings you find your mind in. And the positioning of each sound gives it a massive depth, which adds to the horror of it. Like staring into the void. It’s clever, and I simply can’t stop listening to it. I’ve had it on repeat for days. Proceed with caution into the world of Skinflick because it’s very addictive.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Self Harm Smiley Face
02. The Thin White Puke
03. Cock Botox
04. Puritanical Satanical
05. Rise Of The Incels
06. Fat Fleshlight

LINE-UP:
Justin Williams – Synths/ Vocals/ Depravity

LINKS:

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

Flood Peak – Fixed Ritual EP

Fixed Ritual EP Cover Art

Flood Peak – Fixed Ritual EP
Anima Recordings
Release Date: 22/01/2021
Running Time: 30:15
Review by Steven Hooke
7/10

Seemingly forged in despair and emanating from a budding hardcore/post-metal scene in Portland, Oregon, Flood Peak offer a punishing follow-up to their 2018 debut “Plagued By Sufferers”. Converging from various bands in-and-around the aforementioned scene, the band’s somewhat modest three-piece appearance does nothing to prepare you for the incoming barrage of grim, doomy sludge metal waiting in the winds.

Straight from the moment you press play on opener ‘Urnfield’, “Fixed Ritual” is a heavy barrage of reverberating bass riffs, clever drum lines and shearing guitar parts, all backed by the raw, guttural vocals of frontman Peter Layman. The trio do an amazing job of filling any would-be gaps in their sound, with a production job sounding as if the band are enveloping you like a rising tide and–ohhhh, the name makes a lot more sense now.

Flood Peak do personify everything sludge metal has come to represent; this EP is downright filthy in its sound. Yes, it’s been mentioned how the production makes the band sound twice as big, but the general tone of their instruments plus the mix position of the drums, it is a snarling, gritty affair, topped off with its methodical doom influences as well. Many bands have tried something similar before, only to fall short and sound like a blown-out speaker.

Flood Peak do tinker with some outside elements as well, ‘Feral Wraiths’ has a hideously gorgeous black metal hue over the top whilst closing duo ‘Way Of The Sea” and ‘Sectarian Hilt’ veer more towards the realms of post-metal. Implementing or embracing a genre so left-field of your current working environment has the potential to be so creatively fruitful for a band. While post-metal and sludge are certainly no strangers to each other in this day and age, contradicting the fast-pace and higher tone of black metal should be something Flood Peak explores further, it’s worked wonderfully here and on debut album track ‘Mire’, and can be used in breaking up a release and stopping it feeling too linear.

This is a release that the doom/sludge crowds will salivate over, ultimately the feeling of a slow-motion car crash, but actually getting to sit in the car. Flood Peak in their short time of being a band have already shown signs that they can branch out their sound to something very interesting, á la a Conjurer or Inter Arma.

Inevitably though, you’ll come for the doom, stay for the gloom.

‘Urnfield’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Urnfield
02. Salve Curator
03. Feral Wraiths
04. Way Of The Sea
05. Sectarian Hilt

LINE-UP:
Peter Layman – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Pierre Carbuccia Abbott – Bass
David Fylstra – Drums

LINKS:

Flood Peak Promo Pic

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

Lament Cityscape – The Old Wet EP

The Old Wet EP Cover Art

Lament Cityscape – The Old Wet EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 21/12/2020
Running Time: 16:43
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Good evening, you fine people out there. I trust you are all well and not tearing at each other’s flesh with nails and knives because your significant other has been breathing too loudly and in a deliberately antagonistic fashion? Well, if the annoying bastard or bitch you married has ceased their foul respiration, I request and require that you remove your teeth from the ragged, reddened ruin that is the remains of their throat and go and give your face a bit of a wash. You might wanna brush your teeth too. You look like you’ve been eating raw beefburgers and there are dangly bits of flesh between them and it is a singularly unattractive look. Flossing after using your organic mouth knives to remove voiceboxes is vitally important for good oral health.

After that extremely timely public information message I wish to share with you my views about Buffalo, Wyoming, USA based industrialists Lament Cityscape. “The Old Wet” is the last in a three EP cycle, comprised of “The New Wet” and “The Pulsing Wet” and is the record that that accepts change is occurring and that fighting against it is futile, when the previous two EPs in this adventurous concept cycle examined the fight against change and transformation. This is a three track EP, so because it’s so short I’ll briefly describe each musical piece (there is a good reason I haven’t used the word song…)

The first track is entitled ‘A Rusting Moth’ and encompasses a slowly and malignantly building soundscape from a deceptively simple and gentle sounding piano riff before there feeds in a heavily distorted and engineered animalistic roar and the biggest drums I have ever heard – all supremely destructive bass drum and floor toms rattling my skull, with a bassline that has been transformed by distortion and fuzz into some kind of sinuously weaving poisonous killing machine and keyboards, guitar, bass and voice combining into one massively unstoppable juggernaut of pure sound that is aimed squarely between your immobilized, staring eyes. There are lyrics to this, but I’m fucked if I can hear them through the industrial degeneracy on display here. Rather splendid, actually.

The second piece is called ‘Among The Dead’ and is the most song-like entity on this recording, being as there are discernible lyrics and vocals among the utterly dour electronic sounds and drums used in exactly the same way Godflesh used to use them, not as rhythm instruments, but as the base propulsive force for the madness to build and for the music to assail your senses. Fucking hell, I have missed this style of industrial so bad – the style that sits squarely between metal and electronic music, gleefully raking in influences with both greedy robotic arms and shoving it into the titanium edged maw of its furnace and smelting and recasting them both into something that is shiny and new and ever closer to machinelike perfection. Hang on. The Borg. Lament Cityscape are the fucking Borg. You can’t fool me; you bunch of half-human drone scunners. I’ve set my weapons on a rotating modular frequency. Where’s your disturbingly pale and slippery yet still worryingly desirable Queen?

The final track is called ‘Coagulant’ and immediately reminds this jaded old hack and pretend music journalist of Nine Inch Nails as it combines more electronically enhanced vocal jabbering over a simplistic keyboard line (quite reminiscent of ‘La Mer’ by Trent and his bunch of strangely coiffed misfits, and the drums reminded me somewhat of “Industrial Complex”-era Nitzer Ebb) that repeats throughout the entire song overlaid with more of those propulsive, martial, organic drums and the seemingly omnipresent wall of sound that skirts the absolute edge of what could be considered music.

This EP is an extremely  truncated Very Good Thing. I feel cheated because the three pieces on the EP are so fucking good I need more and I am prepared to open my fucking veins to make it happen. Musically, I detect Nine Inch Nails (very obviously the version of NIN around “The Downward Spiral” when Reznor was at his most drug-fuelled, insane and violent) mixed with the sheer percussive overload and power of Godflesh in their “Streetcleaner” incarnation, fused with the avant-garde drone of Swans and finally combined with the hard-edged version of “Land Of Rape And Honey”-era Ministry.

This record is not electronic industrial. It is not industrial rock. It is not industrial metal. It is not industrial mixed with anything. It is simply INDUSTRIAL. It is pure and it is fucking good and I am literally signing off this review and going on Lament Cityscape’s Bandcamp and buying all their records within the next twenty fucking seconds.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has picked its jaw back up off the floor and wired the fucker shut. It also awards Lament Cityscape 9/10 for a bloody good EP, although a mark is deducted simply because there was not enough music on the record to sate my desire for their industrial aural hellscapes. That’ll teach ‘em to give me more next time. Ha!

“The Old Wet” (Full EP)

TRACKLISTING:
01. A Rusting Moth
02. Among The Dead
03. Coagulant

LINE-UP FOR THIS RECORDING:

Mike McClatchey
Seanan McCullough
David Small
Peter Layman
Lee Bartow
Live Drums, Additional Percussion And Additional Vocals by Ben Hirschfield

LINKS:

Lament Cityscape 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.

Zebadiah Crowe – The Cloven Hand EP

The Cloven Hand EP Cover Art

Zebadiah Crowe – The Cloven Hand EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 02/12/2020
Running Time: 11:47
Review by Steven Hooke
6/10

Zebadiah Crowe are a hardcore-influenced black metal duo based in Hertfordshire, UK who returned to the music scene in 2020 following a 7-year break with the album “Host Rider”. With a hefty amount of momentum behind them, they would soon follow-up with this EP, featuring experiments into the realms of *checks notes* industrial, 90’s house and dubstep. Hmm…

An electro element is no stranger to the strict world of black metal with the likes of Anaal Nathrakh, The Axis of Perdition and Aborym all making names for themselves by sounding like a Tamagotchi caught in a chemical fire. Zebadiah Crowe themselves have dabbled with the ol’ keyboard before, delicately dabbling with some atmospheric synths before their hiatus in 2013, bringing them back in a more pronounced fashion for “Host Rider”, leering over the barrelling ruckus of The Horrid and Forrrthen. But the boys go one (massive) step further by enlisting the dutiful hands of Portsmouth electro nu metal outfit Seething Akira, and underground Hitchin-based industrial metal troupe Gods of Ruin, to add some profound beeps and boops to their particular brand of black metal.

Despite the 2-on-1 handicap, it is Seething Akira that pulls out the bigger and better result. Dubstep enjoyed a short spell of being a metal fan’s guilty pleasure and the genre’s confidant in the late 2000’s, thanks to bass-breaking modulation (colloquially known as “wubs”) and heavy bass drops invoking the same response as a hearty metal breakdown. Seething Akira tap into those tropes almost a little too well, veering a reorganised Zebadiah Crowe into an electronicore sound that could rival Crossfaith, whilst giving vocalist “The Horrid” the Al Jourgensen-esque through-the-radio overlay, retains ZC’s sinister edge in the song.

That is not to say Gods of Ruin have done a particularly bad job. Their first track ‘Barrens Forge’ is a slower-paced affair built on the back of the looping trio of samples – a classic house drum clash, a scaling synth line, and a hearty guitar power chord – later joined by someone leaning on the E key. It accomplishes its job perfectly fine, although it’s hard to see the line between this and Linkin Park’s “Reanimation” album.

Their second attempt, ‘Skull Shank’, is a much better effort, bringing forth images of the 90’s rave scene of dodgy goatees, bucket hats, short pigtails, and so many PVC vests. Whilst thematically, it is further away from Zebadiah Crowe’s sound than any other track on the release, it resonates with the band’s core sound the most sonically; a high-tempo and vicious delivery of music that should’ve been what they danced to in the cave scene in ‘Matrix: Reloaded’.

All power to everyone involved who were willing to take such an alternative approach to a genre so prone to gatekeeping. Personal preferences will likely differ based on the era you grew up in (and shocker, the filthy millennial likes the dubstep wub-wub parts) but the energy and aggression on display certainly sits soundly in the Zebadiah Crowe camp.

“The Cloven Hand” was part one of two post-“Host Rider” EPs to be released by Zebadiah Crowe, the second EP “LychMilk” is also available now and is an evolution of the industrial influence in the band’s sound, sounding more akin to the industrial black metal stalwarts mentioned at the top of the review.

TRACKLISTING:
01. House Of Worms (Seething Akira Remix)
02. Barrens Forge (Gods Of Ruin Remix)
03. Skull Shank (Gods Of Ruin Remix)

LINE-UP:
The Horrid – Vocals, Bass, Drum Programming
Forrrthen – Guitars

LINKS:

Zebadiah Crowe Promo Pic

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

Skyhammer – The Skyhammer EP

The Skyhammer EP Cover Art

Skyhammer – The Skyhammer EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 12/02/2021
Running Time: 26:01
Review by Simon Black
7/10

Adelaide-based Metallers Skyhammer have been around in one form or another for a decade, but this rebranded and renamed release is effectively a fresh start – at least under this moniker. Although they brand themselves as Traditional Metal, there’s a little more to it than that. For a start it’s got a quite modern and heavy sound mix and the technical skills of the players have more than a little nod in the direction of the more European Progressive and Power camps, but without being intrusively showy. It’s definitely more down-tuned than most of these genres usually deliver (at least in Europe) and that brings with it a hell of a lot of atmosphere. One of the big clichés in Power or Prog is the instrumental intro track, usually there for the benefit of giving the guys time to get on stage, and in this instance placed as an interlude mid-way on the disk before the thunderingly heavy title track, appropriately enough for something called ‘The Skyhammer’. It’s also the track with the most instrumentally overt progressive sounds, duration, time changes and chord progressions and again is another high point of the release.

There’s a good energy and cohesion with this band, which feels like a fully functioning unit with no-one player given too much focus in the mix, and a wonderfully heavy and relentless feeling to that mix which really suits the band’s name. I also find myself quite impressed with Steve Labadi’s vocals, as although for the most part he stays in the gruffer rougher end of the range and follows the riff melody lines, he also has the ability to jump up a few octaves with some sustained and effective screaming – for example ‘It Rises’, which is probably the strongest track on this EP. Also tucked onto the end of the EP is the obligatory cover, in this case Kenny Logan’s ‘Danger Zone’ (if you haven’t seen Top Gun, this will mean nothing to you), which is sound wise the most up-beat and almost major key sounding track, but again it showcases them well. Definitely a promising start.

‘Beyond The Walls’ (Visualizer)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Beyond The Walls
02. It Rises
03. Chains Of Life
04. Into The Chamber
05. The Skyhammer
06. Danger Zone (Cover)

LINE-UP:
Steve Labadi – Lead Vocals
Andrew Cutting – Guitar
Rory Amoy – Drums
Matthew Zipeto – Guitar & Backing Vocals
Rich Booth – Bass & Backing Vocals

LINKS:

Skyhammer Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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 Carta – Step Into The Plague EP

Step Into The Plague EP Cover Art

Baron Carta – Step Into The Plague EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 27/01/2021
Running Time: 22:00
Review by Simon Black
7/10

Please indulge me as for a four track EP this is going to be quite a lengthy piece, because for a variety of reasons this unobtrusive little recording may prove to be representative of a significant turning point in the music industry (albeit one that’s been looming for a while). Two factors are at play here – Coronavirus and the deplorable state of affairs for musicians before that.

Pandemic driven lockdown has fundamentally altered the way music is created and consumed, perhaps forever. Whilst the vast majority of workers in the live entertainment industry are waiting in desperate hope that the live side of things will restart soon so they can eat something other than rice, feed their children something nice or move out of cardboard city, musicians have fundamentally recognised that a change of approach was needed. If you are an established band, it’s perhaps been easier – take an unplanned break, dust off a few live recordings to keep the labels off your back contractually, crank out a live stream to remind people you exist and flog the old stock of T-shirts at a discount. New(er) bands though have a completely different challenge, especially those who have released debut recordings during this period that they cannot get out on the road to promote, which is absolutely the only way to shift your number of regular listeners on (insert streaming platform of choice here) from a few hundred hard won locals, to a wider audience who is going to allow you to eat occasionally. Or is it?

Enter Baron Carta, which is a new project from some old hands who with time on their hands and who have nothing to lose from challenging the industry status quo. If you have come across Severed Fifth, you will be aware that its progenitor Jono Bacon is no stranger to taking a solo project and bringing in top tier names to extend the project and the same methodology has been employed here. Supporting him on vocals are the great Ralf Scheepers from Primal Fear and drummer Morten Gade Sørensen (Pyramaze and Anubis Gate).

Another fact about Bacon – if you Google him, you quickly discover that his day job is working as a strategy consultant with an interest in the power of communities to change the world (both dimensions are on his web site and make interesting reading). He will be acutely aware that technology enabled disruption was turning the world upside down long before Covid-19, which has thrown an incendiary accelerant over an already fast pace of change, and that the brands of the future are the ones that can identify a gap, create a cause (rather than a product), mobilise a movement to support it and build a community to embrace it.

Streaming disrupted physical media sales in the last decade, but the labels quickly got into bed with the platforms to keep the cash flowing, whilst the poor musicians’ incomes got cut further to the bone. No wonder then that Bacon and his music projects ignore the industry and focus on the musicians in a changing world. Live streams have been a part of this recently, but this feels like the next logical step as no label is involved in this band, but the content and platform have been very professionally crafted and assembled. Also don’t expect a full album any time soon – the intention is to release a number of more frequent shorter content packages in the future, with a nice sweetener to get you interested.

For a start you, the reader can right now head over to the band’s web site and claim your own free copy of this recording, independent of any streaming platform by signing up for their club. It also entitles you to some bonus content and at some point access to the next phase of Bacon’s disruptor plan. If nothing else this looks like an opportunity to claw back revenue from an entire industry that makes an enormous amount of money from music, whilst seeming to give very little of that to the actual musicians upon whom the whole thing depends.

And then there’s the tunes, which are an eclectic bag musically, but when you have a singer of Scheeper’s calibre and experience to carry it through with confidence and panache that’s perhaps less of an issue. There’s Heavy and Power Metal high in the mix here and whilst you can’t escape the Primal Fear comparisons, particularly for opener ‘Out of Time’ or second track ‘Devil To Send’, which is a much darker and heavier beast. ‘Truth To Power’ is much more up tempo and easily the strongest song in this batch, but I also like the lengthier closer ‘Act 1: Duty’ which lulls you into thinking it’s going to be a more experimental ballad, before speeding things up again to hold the attention.

All four tracks lean in slightly different directions and it very much feels like an experimental taster of what might come rather than a full formed statement of musical intent. I would not be at all surprised to find that this is all part of Bacon’s plan – throw four different styles out there and see which works best in a flexible experimental way, without having to deal with the pressure of a label on your back. The music is strong enough, and if we can get more material of the calibre of ‘Truth To Power’ then a fan base will follow. Let’s see how this story and experiment unfolds.

‘Truth To Power’ (Official Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Out Of Time
02. Devil To Send
03. Truth To Power
04. Act 1: Duty

LINE-UP:
Ralf Scheepers – Vocals
Jono Bacon – Guitar
Morten Gade Sørensen: Drums

LINKS:

Baron Carta Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.