Phobetor – When Life Falls Silent

Phobetor – When Life Falls Silent
Black Jasper Records
Release Date: 17/07/2020
Running Time: 40:10
Review by Steven Hooke
6/10

For as long as time has been a follow-able construct in the eyes of man, there has been a constant battle between generations. From music to money, business, politics, how to properly cut the grass and everything in between, the old guard stands firm in their belief in that back in their day, peace and tranquility roamed the land, whilst the new kids on the block offered up new ideas and alternatives. Following into this extremely prolonged metaphor is London-based trio Phobetor and their seeming attempts to blend the duelling generations together through the medium of death metal. A genre definitely not drenched in creative misalignment.

The debut album features vocalist Debora Conserva and guitarist Mitch Revy, flanked by new drummer Marc Dyos from the symphonic power metal band Pythia. Together, the trio forge their own path into the world of death metal, combining the songwriting tropes of today with delivery and presence of classic DM. The modern-day elements unsurprisingly hold up pretty well, Revy’s guitar work and the constant churning of riff after riff after riff is amongst the highlights of the album, with particular mentions going to ‘Blind Widow’ and ‘Bury My Name’, and their respective incorporations of groove metal and the Gothenburg metal scene in at the highest tier. However, these riffs are difficult to spot in the first few listens due to the old school death metal durge-sounding production style.

Now, far be it for me – a self-confessed production snob – to criticize the production of a debut death metal album. But this goes beyond me wanting every album to sound as crisp as a Devin Townsend-directed Pringles advert. There is a strong argument that a strong debut is trapped behind questionable production choices. It takes decent headphones and a little concentration to truly hear the ideas Revy has conjured up, and they simply just don’t crunch in the way they’re meant to.

The album, as a whole, is drenched in modern creative ideas. From the dark orchestral opening of ‘Merging Infinity’, to Conserva’s albeit rare dabbles with clean vocals, Dyos’ more progressive rolls and fills, and the frequent tempo changes, it’s all so far removed from the old school days of “play fast, be heavy”.

Whether it was a stylistic decision, a financial wall, or if Conserva and Revy had a particular idea for the album before the introduction and experience of Dyos (as well as session bassist Richard Hunter from Maelstrom) came into play, remains to be seen. But something that they definitely should be holding on to for the follow-up is the range of their frontwoman. Conserva combines the low-end, bassy gruff of Angela Gossow, with the strong, unwavering screams of Dani Filth, resulting in a dynamic warcry performance that greatly succeeds, in spite of the noted turn-offs. Focus on any of her screams throughout the album and they are pristine, razor-sharp, and often the most commanding part of a song.

While we have been spoiled over the past few years with near-perfect debuts (Conjurer, Fvneral Fvkk, Møl) it’s often missed that it’s possibly the hardest album to get right, being the starting block for a band’s image and their presence in their respective musical community. Will “When Life Falls Silentset the death metal world on fire? In its current state, my guess would be no. But, that is not to say there’s nothing here. Individual components of this outfit are there itching to break out, but some serious consistency needs to be established to really define what kind of band Phobetor wants to be.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Merging Infinity
02. A Toxic Lie
03. Whispers of Dissonance
04. Blind Widow
05. Psychopathy
06. Bury My Name
07. Harmony of Solitude
08. Dysmorphia
09. When Life Falls Silent

LINE-UP:
Debora Conserva – Vocals
Mitch Revy – Guitar
Marc Dyos – Drums
Richard Hunter – Bass (Session)

LINKS:

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

Bloodyard – Orchard Of Corpses

Bloodyard – Orchard Of Corpses
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/05/2020
Running Time: 42.27
Review by Dark Juan
8/10

Hello, my mischievous little munchkins and pixies. I trust you have all been cavorting around ancient forests like the good little misanthropic spirits you are and terrifying small children? Capital, my pernicious little piskies, capital. It seems that you are now allowed to go and get a haircut, but you aren’t yet allowed to adorn your skin with art. Because tattoo studios aren’t some of the most hygienic places in the world are they? I normally avoid politics because it’s a) Boring as fuck for you lot to read, b) I’m right and you’re wrong (TRUST ME ON THIS!) and c) the art of debate appears to have died a grisly and unpleasant death because we are all apparently snowflakes repeating fake news, regardless of which point of view we have. Suffice it to say that the current parasite inhabiting Number 10 appears to be hell bent on killing off our entire scene and I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT! Apparently the choleric Mrs. Phillips from number 42, Saddleworth Road can now toddle off and get her fucking blue rinse sorted out and gossip with her equally unhealthy friends at a 1 metre distance in a hair salon full of hair clippings but we can’t get fucking tattoos or piercings and go and watch some heavy fucking metal played live in a sweaty, salty club somewhere. Even the mop topped fuckwits have their beloved fucking football back. It is not right and Boris is a right pigfucking cunt.  I’d like to curse the entire planet but that would leave me no virgins to defile and that would not be a good thing. I get testy when I am not able to perpetrate horrors on the wildly resisting bodies of nubile young victims. I’d like to say that that is my rant over but it probably is only the beginning… For the record, Dark Juan does not like football – if I want to shout myself hoarse for 90 minutes at people who aren’t listening and don’t give a fuck anyway I’ll just go to work as normal and I don’t have to pay investment groups gajillions of pounds for a season ticket to go and be wet, poor, cold and deafened.

Well, this is thrilling. I have, clenched in my sweaty and considerably sexually aroused hands the debut album from Lancaster death metal speedsters Bloodyard. Led by Amazonian, and not in the least bit frightening, frontwoman Donna Hurd, who appears to have been doing unspeakable things with acid, broken glass and large amounts of gravel to her voice, they have unleashed a record that would have done a very well established act justice. This is an excellent debut. My arousal only increases. You lucky things. I must note that it appears, from my past couple of reviews, the UK is undergoing a rather splendid wave of British death metal at the moment. And especially fronted by the fairer sex. This is not me being misogynist (although the darker ideas I have about ladies absolutely are…) this is me commenting that I find it gratifying that women are standing up in a genre that has not been historically populated by women and making it their own. Both Basement Torture Killings’ Beryl and Bloodyard’s Donna are as good as the classic male vocalists of the genre and actually better than the David Vincents of the world. I’m conflicted about the past couple of sentences because I’m not trying to draw comparisons. I’m all about equal rights (rites?) and I am a feminist, and to my sensibilities I have just been tremendously sexist, where all I was trying to say was that Donna is a great DM vocalist. Fuck’s sake. Being woke is hard sometimes. It’s staying in the review because I do think it a great thing that more extreme genres are starting to be populated by women and I believe in being honest with all you good folk out there. Extreme metal has been a sausage fest for too long.

Let’s move to less deep water where I can’t get myself in trouble any more, shall we? The music is excellent. The guitar sound is rather more crisp and legible than most death metal and there is an undercurrent of more traditional metal underpinning Bloodyard’s sound that proves to be an advantage, as it manages to break the unrelenting brutality up and makes “Orchard Of Corpses” something greater than the sum of its parts. There are also little thrash touches – on “Antithesis” especially there is an extremely Slayerish moment… I’ll let you all find out what that is. The fact that the band hail from the Historic County Palatine of Lancashire is another point in their favour considering your favourite Satanic shock rock hack is a Lancastrian boy too (apart from Donna, who is very obviously Scottish, but she does count as Northern and therefore brilliant!) The drumming on the record is tighter than a gnat’s chuff, the bass happily vibrates your nethers into a state of priapic excitement, the guitar work incisive and sharp, and the vocals facemeltingly intense. What’s not to love?

There are a couple of negative points I’ll quickly address because they are minor and don’t really impact on my enjoyment of the record – there is a slight case of musical schizophrenia as Bloodyard do appear to have moments of being unsure as to whether they want to be full bore death metal or add some groove in there, and a couple of the songs do feel to be a bit overlong, “Antithesis” (that song again!) could comfortably have had a minute shaved off the end of it and no one would have been the wiser. But, and this is a BIG FUCKING BUT, it is a debut album and a very, very good one. Everyone has to start somewhere and hopefully quality control will become better as Bloodyard continue their hopefully meteoric rise.

Standout tracks are “All Hail The Crimson King” which is just meaty as fuck, “Antithesis” which combines death, groove and thrash in a fashion that can only be described as sexual and the title track, which is old school DM of the highest calibre. Hopefully we are seeing a NWOBDM forming with Bloodyard in the vanguard.

To summarise – Bloodyard’s battlewagon is combat ready and devastatingly lethal, but the engine is missing a beat or two. Otherwise it’s a matt black, lead belching death machine razing everything, and butchering everyone around it. Just the kind of thing that gets my lust murdering tendencies fired up. Well done, you beautiful bunch of axe murdering bastards.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Bloodyard a blistering 8/10 for a first class debut. Can’t wait to make them the soundtrack to my own personal apocalypse.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Blood Begets Blood
02. Mortem
03. Rupture The Mask
04. Orchard Of Corpses
05. All Hail The Crimson King
06. Stack The Pyre
07. Choke
08. Purge The Rot
09. Antithesis

LINE-UP:
Donna Hurd – Vocals
Nick Adamson – Guitar
Dave Cowley – Bass (Proof of my theory that all bands have a hidden Dave! There is ALWAYS A DAVE!)
Matty Lee – Drums

LINKS:
www.bloodyard.uk/
www.facebook.com/bloodyard666/
www.twitter.com/Bloodyard
www.instagram.com/bloodyard666/
www.soundcloud.com/nick-adamson-4
www.youtube.com/user/bloodyard1

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.

Blood Oath – Infernum Rex Diabolus

Blood Oath – Infernum Rex Diabolus
Self-Released
Release Date: 15/12/2019
Running Time: 41:41
Review by Sheri Bicheno
9/10

Christ, this is one fast and thumping album!! It will turn you to absolute mashed potato…

Blood Oath, from Leicester, are one of those bands that are not going to go unnoticed, they are on everyone’s lips, and if you’ve seen them rip up the stage donning (fake) blood and a killer presence, you’ll have seen why! Forming in 2015, they have been rising through the levels, reigning chaos wherever they play. In the, just over four years they have been going, they have graced the New Blood Stage of Bloodstock 2017, Uprising, Ragnarok, Unearthed Festival, HRH Metal plus many notable others. “Infernum Rex Diabolus” is an album to get your ears around if you are well into your old-school death metal and mix it with elements, which to me, are quite Slayer-esque.

We are first walloped with the track ‘Angels To Some…Demons To Others’; a slow and melodic intro riff eases us into the next five minutes which is an earthquake of thrash. It’s a powerful start and the vocals are pretty evil, however, very clear. One thing about next track ‘Obliteration Ov Mankind’, that should be noted, is Ady McGlennon’s outstanding drumming – fast paced, aggressive and top notch, keeping the momentum going, it is clearly this track’s backbone.

NOW THEN – something wicked this way comes with the track ‘Infernum Diabolus’. This has to be my favourite track on the album and it really shows what Blood Oath are fully capable of. The monster riff that introduces us to this track takes us forward into a slow but absolutely belting headbanger of a tune. It then speeds up, with twists and turns of changing pace, something I absolutely need in a good track I want to get heavy to. Mark ‘Thrax’ Johnson’s vocals here are low and growling, a pure demonic crazy train, but again very clear and well cut.

This is a track that will give you the following face of approval…

Halfway through track ‘Howling Of The Draugr’ the double-bass is UNBELIEVABLY intense and I fear if you are the headbanging sort, your head may just fall off, it’s utter whiplash. I love how this track blends that superspeed drumming with the slower riffs and bass giving it an almost doomy tone.

“Infernum Rex Diabolus” takes us through some crushing riffs from Mike Freeman and Frazer Hart and Bill Fordham’s bass blends its elements of Blackened Thrash/Death Metal and even a hint of Doom into a cocktail that just blows you away. Turn this up LOUD!

Blood Oath have achieved something pretty special, there is not one bad track and it does what it promises. No compromises. Killer album!

TRACK LISTING:

01. Angels To Some…Demons To Others
02. Obliteration Ov Mankind
03. Infernum Diabolus
04. Lycanthropic Bloodlust
05. Monuments To Our Ruin
06. Born Godless
07. Howling Of The Draugr
08. Entwined And Un-Divine
09. Solitude And The Silence

LINE-UP:

Mark Thrax Johnson – Vocals
Frazer Hart – Guitar
Mike Freeman – Guitar
Bill Fordham – Bass

Ady McGlennon – Drums

LINKS:

http://www.bloodoath666.com
https://www.facebook.com/BloodOathUK/
https://twitter.com/BLOODOATHuk
https://www.instagram.com/bloodoath_uk https://open.spotify.com/artist/6gcXkAjPfy4QoDTvOWrSa5
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCorkMmh-2BlQmzwP4pEnPIA

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