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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Negligence - Coordinates of Confusion

Artist: Negligence
Release Title: Coordinates of Confusion
Year: 2010
Label: Metal Blade Records
Genre: Thrash Metal
1. Mind Decay
2. Screaming Fear
3. Addicted to Aggression
4. Disharmony
5. The Way To...
6. Insane Asylum
7. The Q Box
8. Sickened
9. Shark Attack
10. Coordinates of Confusion

The second full-length from Slovenian thrashers Negligence offers a fairly engaging and enjoyable mixture of thrash throughout here that makes for a pleasing and engaging listen. Essentially taking the cue from most modern thrash acts in utilizing the basic riff-work and driving drumming from the classic Bay-Area scene, at it’s core this is a steady revival act intent on focusing more on driving the rhythms along rather than flashy riffing or complex patterns. Instead, it tends to save that flash for their explosive soloing throughout the album, offering up plenty of engaging work with the additional use of light power metal-styled rhythms that give off sparkling bits of melodic flurries alongside the tight thrash. Offering a nice groove alongside the raging thrash riff-work, it gives this one a steady, straightforward series of rhythms that make for an overall enjoyable time here without much really holding this back beyond this one singular attack-pattern. This one doesn’t really change up much beyond the straightforward attack, keeping this one locked into a more one-note than initially expected as the variation is more centered around tempo and pacing rather than in terms of dexterous riff-work which gives this a bland feel on the second half. As well, the epic ten-minute closer is a bit out-of-place with the band clearly uncomfortable stretching their style out to that distance when their other songs were tighter and more concise which isn’t the case with that one particular track and sticking out quite obviously. Beyond these two factors, there’s not much else wrong here.

The first half here nicely sets up the album’s qualities from the beginning. Intro ‘Mind Decay’ takes immediate rumbling drumming and scorching intense riffing with plenty of dynamic rhythms pounding long to the melodic leads running alongside the explosive drumming driving the charging mid-tempo paces through the solo section and into the charging finale for an explosive, highlight-effort opening blast. ‘Screaming Fear’ features charging riff-work and thumping rhythms driving along blistering paces with melodic leads bringing along tight, pounding rhythms scattered with the melodic runs driving the solo section on through the charging final half for another exciting and ripping thrasher. ‘Addicted to Aggression’ takes rumbling rhythms and tight patterns with scores of heavy mid-tempo patterns charging along at a straightforward chug and plenty of pounding drumming carrying through the solo section and taking the scalding rhythms through the finale for a decent enough effort. ‘Disharmony’ uses a scalding grooving chug riff with pounding drumming along a dynamic stylish mid-tempo charge with plenty of heavy rhythms keeping the straightforward crunchy patterns through the scalding solo section on through the final half for another stellar highlight. The mid-album instrumental breather ‘The Way To…’ uses harmonious middle-eastern melodies over swirling guitar-work makes for a fine interlude that doesn’t really damage this one way or another.

The second half isn’t all that bad but doesn’t have as much enjoyable aspects as the first half. ‘Insane Asylum’ uses a stylish series of swirling rhythms over a galloping mid-tempo charge with plenty of thumping, driving drumming bringing along more intense patterns driving the charging rhythms along with the raging riff-work throughout the blistering solo section and on through the explosive finale for an exciting highlight. ‘The Q Box’ takes strong swirling riff-work and plenty of pounding rhythms alongside the stellar mid-tempo crunch offered with the heavy, thumping rhythms holding off the sprawling chug-riffing through the blazing solo section and charging throughout the final half into another strong effort. ‘Sickened’ uses a steady, mid-tempo charge with the pounding drumming keeping the intense rhythms along throughout the melodic early solo section and into a sprawling mid-tempo charge featuring plenty of driving riff-work with pounding drum-patterns keeping this driving into the secondary solo section finale for a decent enough offering overshadowed by the other great tracks elsewhere here. ‘Shark Attack’ settles nicely from a gradual lead-in to a steady series of charging mid-tempo riffing with plenty of pounding drumming and a strong series of chugging grooves leading into the solo section and through the finale for another strong effort overall. Lastly, the album-closing epic title track takes rattling drumming and a steady series of swirling riffing charging along at a steady pace with strong pounding drumming and a variety of extended varied sections offering tight, sprawling patterns and dexterous drumming leading into an extended acoustic guitar fade-out for the finale to end this on a decent-if-unsatisfactory note.

Though it’s somewhat undone by a few middling areas that in the grand scheme of things aren’t all that detrimental, this one more than holds itself up as a solid, engaging listen with plenty to like about it and earning itself a listen from those who cannot get enough revival-flavored thrash or are simply curious what other countries have to offer the market.

Score: 91/100

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Maze of Terror - Ready to Kill

Artist: Maze of Terror
Release Title: Ready to Kill
Year: 2016
Label: Empire Records
Genre: Thrash Metal
1. Rotting Force
2. Lycanthropes
3. There Will Be Blood
4. Violent Mind of Hate
5. World's Dead Side
6. Bringer of Torture
7. Protectors
8. Executio Bestialis
9. Blooded Past, Burning Future
10. Gilles de Rais

The debut album from Peruvian thrashers Maze of Terror features quite a wide amount of work here to give this one of the most impressive and engaging debuts in the genre in a long time. From the start this one manages to feature the kind of ravenous, swarming thrash that’s built on the revivalist trends of aping the bay-area attacks from the past, leading to utterly stellar riffing dripping with speed, taking the sort of frantic rhythms and pounding drum-work carrying the kind of arrangements expected to be found in that style. There’s a savage serie sof riffing on display that comes from the swirling, up-tempo patterns here where this one really brings up some imaginative and varied attacks to the table that enables this speed-driven style to stick out even better by being surrounded by the dynamic change-ups offered. It enables a far more intensive effort here with this one creating such an infectious and ultimately appealing when it thrashes away with reckless abandon while still offering the kind of dynamic and varied approaches to the craft that it manages to keep from being a one-trick affair. Though it still manages to keep the same rhythms running throughout here when it is thrashing along lending to some tracks bleeding together it’s such a minor detriment as to be almost completely useless and overdrawn here.

The first half here provides an engaging and enjoyable start to this one. Intro ‘Rotting Force’ uses howling winds and a sampled countdown to turn into an utterly frantic and raging series of swirling rhythm alongside pounding drumming keeping the utterly dynamic patterns racing at full-throttle speeds into the chaotic solo section and carries through the final half for an explosive and enjoyable opener. The utterly frantic ‘Lycanthropes’ features swirling riff-work and fiery rhythms charging along through a frantic mid-tempo series of rhythms with steady riff-work bringing the charging intense paces along through the intense paces charging along with plenty of blistering drumming in the fiery solo section into the charging final half for an utterly enjoyable highlight track. The brutal ‘There Will Be Blood’ uses thumping intense rhythms and pounding drumming into a frantic mid-tempo series of thrashing riff-work buzzing along to the utterly frantic drumming blasting through the utterly frantic and chaotic rhythms twisting through the solo section into the finale for a truly frantic and enjoyable effort. ‘Violent Mind of Hate’ takes a thumping mid-tempo drumming intro into a thrashing mid-tempo series of tight thrashing riff-work and pounding drumming charging along on a fairly steady pace that launches into the molten solo section on though the charging final half for a decidedly decent effort. ‘World's Dead Side’ uses a swirling series of riffing building to a frantic charging pace with plenty of thumping rhythms buzzing along with the twisting riff-work blazing along with the fiery solo section and extended instrumental interludes leading through to the extended second half on through the finale for an over-the-top and explosive highlight.

The second half carries on the good-will from the first half. ‘Bringer of Torture’ uses a droning bass-line intro that settles into a fine mid-tempo pace with steady riffing and plodding drumming that keeps the same rhythms charging along throughout the same mid-tempo pace leading into the fiery and frantic thrashing through the blistering solo section on into the final half for an awesome finish to a bland beginning of this one. ‘Protectors’ features thumping stylized riffing swirling through a steady up-tempo pace with pounding drumming and frantic blasting chugging throughout the steady patterns along the sprawling mid-section rhythms as the frantic rhythms fire through the solo section into the finale for an enjoyable if not spectacular effort. ‘Executio Bestialis’ features a tight mid-tempo series of buzzing riff-work blazing away into scorching up-tempo rhythms thumping along to utterly blistering patterns charging along through utterly infectious riff-work dripping with plenty of speed into the blazing solo section and on through the chaotic final half for another engaging highlight. ‘Blooded Past, Burning Future’ blasts through explosive, tight rhythms laced with blistering drumming and explosive buzzing riff-work through utterly frenzied patterns leading through the solo section and continuing on into the frantic finale for a fun, engaging short bruiser. Lastly, the epic album-closer ‘Gilles de Rais’ takes a slow-building twist through the steady rhythms and mid-tempo churning riff-work that explodes into the raging series of thrashing riff-work that keeps the insane blistering speed continuing on throughout the extended mid-section patterns carrying on into the chaotic solo section and keeping the extended speed driving throughout the elongated final half to truly end this on a spectacular ending note highlighting the grandness of this one in fine fashion.

This here is a near-perfect assault of blistering, finely-formed thrash that plays with such conviction and enthusiasm that it can win over any audience out there and perfectly paves the way for the band to set out on their career, leaving this one to obviously settle in so well for revival thrash fanatics or fans of the old-guard looking for the young generation to make an impression.

Score: 99/100

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tankist - Be Offended EP

Artist: Tankist
Release Title: Be Offended EP
Year: 2015
Label: Self-Released/Independent
Genre: Thrash Metal
1. Politically Incorrect
2. Mortuary
3. Deadeye
4. At the Gate
5. God Delusion
6. Sinister 6

The new EP from Estonian thrashers Tankist is a somewhat enjoyable and appealing effort if not exactly a stand-out piece of thrash metal for the most part. Based around lively, mid-tempo riffing with a heavy, thumping drum-based backbone, by-and-large this one comes off rather nicely here without really generating much else along the way here as the majority of the tracks simply plod along at overall pretty bland arrangements. It does manage to get to a few rather engaging elements along the way here when the band picks up the tempo and delivers some fire in their work, but for the most part the group isn’t too concerned with the bigger rhythms or even attempting to go for the revivalist school of arranging which keeps the work far too slow and plodding to really get going out of second gear.  Along with the light production that manages to keep this one feeling a little too muddied and one-dimensional by keeping the instruments way too jumbled together to really stick out further, it’s got some decent elements but has some pretty big flaws to it.

The tracks here aren’t all that bad and do have some enjoyable features here. Opener ‘Politically Incorrect’ slowly weaves a droning riff into a thumping, thrashing mid-tempo charge dripping with fiery rhythms as the start/stop patterns continually churn through the mid-tempo melodies throughout with the driving solo section leading into the finale for a fine opening effort. ‘Mortuary’ offers a droning bass-intro which turns into a galloping mid-tempo plod with a kick into fine mid-tempo riffing and pounding drumming with a dynamic and engaging series of rhythms through the lively solo section and carrying through the final half for a mostly bland effort with one real appealing section. ‘Deadeye’ features a strong series of swirling riffing with a strong series of thumping drumming running through the sprawling patterns as the mid section with a strong series of lively, energetic riff-work swarming through the solo section and on through the finale for for another rather disappointing effort.‘At the Gate’ uses immediate thumping and tight riffing alongside dynamic drumming and rather frantic patterns that continually charge along through the lively mid-tempo series of rhythms through the solo section and continuing for the final half for easily the best track here. ‘God Delusion’ features a charging build-up to a solid mid-tempo riff with galloping drumming that winds through a series of plodding start/stop rhythms plodding along with plenty of fiery and lively riff-work carrying through the solo section and on through the finale for another enjoyable effort. Lastly, ‘Sinister 6’ uses a slow-building series of choppy drumming and charging riff-work to settle in a plodding pace with flashes of lively rhythms throughout while generating far more engaging and dynamic riffing through an extended thrashing section holding through the final half for a slightly disappointing lasting note.

Though there’s certainly moments throughout here where the band is certainly onto something in their sound, it’s mostly surrounded by bland, plodding material keeping it down for the most part and really only leaving this one for the least discerning thrash fanatics or those who prefer something outside the normal revival acts populating the scene.

Score: 68/100

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Krigere Wolf - Sacrifice to Valaskjàlf

Artist: Krigere Wolf
Release Title: Sacrifice to Valaskjàlf
Year: 2014
Label: Fallen-Angel Productions
Genre: Black/Death Metal
1. Whispers of the End
2. Towards the Black Mass
3. Disciples of Sacred Fire
4. Sacrifice to Valaskjàlf
5. Blood to the Wolves
6. Impaled Slaves
7. The End Has a Beginning
8. Vision of Death
9. At Open Gates

The second full-length from Italian black/death metallers Krigere Wolf features a host of impressive elements on display making for a really explosive and engaging effort here. This is mostly centered around chaotic and utterly unrelenting old-school styled black metal based on the kind of swirling tremolo riff-work that’s been the basis for so many bands over the years sparking off a swarm of intense and chaotic arrangements littered with ferocious speed and energy as it races along throughout the tracks. The deeper, heavier rhythms found in death metal do leave this one with a stylish backbone to build off of, generating some impressive speed and overall leave the riffing with a lot to like, though it’s most certainly also generating a lot of impressive elements here from the utterly crushing and pummeling drumming. Whipping through clattering, overpowering double-bass blastbeats and fills, there’s just so much utterly devastating work there that this alone generates so much chaotic fun blasting through the tracks that it comes off all the more devastating and powerful. It does seem a little lopsided in terms of songs as the first half is so much fun while the back-end is weighed down with two useless instrumentals, which along with the intro lowers the original tracks down to six, but overall there’s plenty on offer to like elsewhere that it’s a momentary distraction rather than a debilitating detriment.

The first half here gives a strong impression of what’s on offer here. Instrumental intro ‘Whispers of the End’ features a haunting ambient note with grandiose patterns and atmospheric sounds leading into proper first track ‘Towards the Black Mass’ building into a thumping series of driving drum-work and ferocious tremolo riffing filled with explosive patterns and utterly pummeling drumming with the dynamic rhythms keeping the ambient notes to a minimum with the chaotic patterns of the finale making for an engaging and enjoyable opening blast. ‘Disciples of Sacred Fire’ uses a stylish series of swarming riff-work leading into an explosive mid-tempo blast as the utterly pummeling drumming and frantic tremolo riffing swirl through a series of dynamic rhythms keeping the charging atmospheres and heavy riffing intact through the final half for another enjoyable effort. The title track features blasting drumming amid chaotic tremolo riff-work that settles into a frantic up-tempo series of rhythms with charging patterns and scorching riffing filled with blazing chaotic tremolo melodies leading through the frantic finale making for a truly enjoyable highlight. ‘Blood to the Wolves’ takes an extended ambient intro before exploding through utterly charging rhythms with chaotic tremolo riffing alongside fully-driving drumming filled with chaotic, frenetic fills filled with unrelenting blastbeats as the tremolo riffing carries through the melodic solo section and driving through the final half for another strong highlight.

The second half is a little lighter compared to the opening but does have some engaging moments.‘Impaled Slaves’ takes a steady mid-paced series of rhythms with driving riffing alongside driving drum-work that allows for the occasional blast of scorching tremolo patterns kicking along into high-gear with the blasting energy and frantic rhythms charging along through the chaotic finale for a third strong highlight. Things take a sullen turn with the bland ‘The End Has a Beginning’ being a strumming bass-line and spoken-word interlude that feels completely out-of-place on the album and is wholly unnecessary overall here/ It picks back up with ‘Vision of Death’ bringing back ferocious drumming and scorching up-tempo tremolo riff-work with the energy keeping this one surging along with the frenetic rhythms surging through the chaotic pattern riffing as the tremolo riffing leads into the solo section while the chaotic patterns continue blasting through the final half for another strong effort. Lastly, album-closer ‘At Open Gates’ features ambient nature sounds and hushed voices over a crackling fire that effectively gives this a nice calming feeling leading into the finish which isn’t a bad outro track but highlights the other efforts as well.

An overall pummeling and dynamic release, there’s so much fun throughout here that this one manages to get a lot of it’s impressive natures out through these impressive arrangements, leaving this one to readily appeal to those more on the extreme end who appreciate this kind of style, while those looking for more melodious work in the genre will find this one somewhat challenging.

Score: 92/100

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Angelcide - Hunting Astral Pray

Artist: Angelcide
Release Title: Hunting Astral Prey
Year: 2016
Label: Elegy Records
Genre: Black/Death Metal
1. Sadistic Astral Skullfuck
2. Lurker
3. Hunting Astral Prey
4. Grotesque Mass of Tentacles and Eyes
5. Raped Celestial Body
6. Mauler
7. Dark Matter

The second full-length from US black/death metallers Angelcide makes for a wholly impressive and dynamic effort here that manages to contain a lot to like overall  Utilizing a heavy-handed form of raw black/death metal for it’s main weapon of attack, this one here gets plenty of mileage out of these two tactics here with the  focus on the tremolo-picked rhythms that are so common to the scene whipping up a high-speed ferocious assault throughout here, alternating nicely with brief, concise efforts or more traditional rhythms.  Alongside these fiery black metal segments there’s a hard-charging series of death metal rhythms keeping this one from going full-on black metal as there’s a raw edge generated here with these placed alongside the tremolo riffing, giving this a much more dynamic and impressive attack.  While these here give this one a rather enjoyable attack,it’s all quite too easy to spot the flaw of this one as it’s mostly centered on the album’s final track which has a rather obvious problem about it. Not only does it by itself take up a third of the album’s overall running time doing nothing more than just incessantly beeping away, by itself a big problem but also going for so long that the album feels a little too short without much else placed on the album in order to keep that track on here. Otherwise this one isn’t all that bad.

The first half shows off the album’s strengths quite nicely. Album-opener ‘Sadistic Astral Skullfuck’ features a strong, chaotic series of blasting drumming and tight rhythms through primal, hellish patterns full of blazing speed and flowing ravenous rhythms with a chaotic bent throughout the finale for a strong, blistering opener. ‘Lurker’ takes a steady mid-tempo realm through tough, steady riffing with galloping death metal charge augmented by the hellfire-tinged rhythms blasting along the steady tempo throughout as the fiery rhythms keep the savage attacks and blistering tremolo patterns along throughout the chaotic final half for a strong highlight. The title track features swirling tremolo riff-work and pounding drumming continuing along through the series f mid-tempo rhythms as the blasting drumming and furious riff-work weave a series of steady chaotic rhythms around the fiery tremolo patterns in the blasting full-throttle final half for another wholly impressive effort. Instrumental ‘Grotesque Mass of Tentacles and Eyes’ takes a steady mid-tempo series of swirling riffing and simplistic drumming gradually turns into explosive tremolo riffing swirling around dynamic drumming and plenty of speed-driven rhythms as the blasting takes over for a decidedly decent mid-album break.

The second half here is decidedly weaker with a few problematic areas but still is enjoyable enough. ‘Raped Celestial Body’ takes a steady, sprawling series of riffing with a light series of tremolo riffing full of plodding, lethargic tempos augmented with tight, chaotic rhythms and plenty of frantic drumming with a steady stream of thrashing up-tempo rhythms leading into the finale for a somewhat enjoyable effort if too bland and boring at times. ‘Mauler’ begins with blasting drumming and tight, ferocious riff-work full of ravenous death metal patterns accented with fiery tremolo-pattern riffing through a series of chaotic mid-tempo blasts as the thunderous drumming blasting along through the galloping tempos along the final half for a certainly enjoyable effort. Lastly, the monolithic epic-closer ‘Dark Matter’ takes a sampled beeping button against crushing celestial soundscapes for the duration of the track which gets tiresome and utterly irritating with the incessant beeping for as long as it goes and really ends this one on a sour note.

Despite one big flaw overall here that does seem to hinder this one somewhat, the rest of the album offers up plenty of ravenous and raw black/death metal that’s enjoyable enough to make for an appealing time for all fans of the style or can put up with that flaw to enjoy some savage extreme metal.

Score: 80/100

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Atrocious Abnormality - Formed in Disgust

Artist: Atrocious Abnormality
Release Title: Formed in Disgust
Year: 2016
Label: Comatose Music
Genre: Brutal Death Metal
1. Failed Apocalypse
2. Exterminate the Apostles
3. Storm of Ash
4. Erotic Tales of Disembowelment
5. Formed in Disgust
6. Bound for Damnation
7. The Inevitable Undoing
8. Echoes of the Rotting
9. Incestry

The second full-length from North Carolina brutal death metallers Atrocious Abnormality offer such a wide array of influences spanning the entire gamut of elements popular within the brutal death realm it become wholly enjoyable. Straight from the beginning here, this one manages to feature such a varied and completely over-the-top attack that features a wide range of work throughout here. Nominally under most brutal death metal there comes all the tight, ferocious riffing that contains all sorts of shredding, flesh-ripping patterns and ripping speed-driven rhythms that offer up the most pulverizing beats and riffs possible, all of which comes through quite nicely in the genre as this is among the fastest bands in this particular style. Alongside this explosive series of riff-work, there’s a large amount of spindly, technical rhythms at these dizzying speeds that are complex not only for the different arrangements as well as the manner of changing from the different styles and paces with expert precision, catapulting this one even further along the range with a dynamic style all wrapped together. Coupled together with a few explosive slams brought in with ‘Erotic Tales of Disembowelment’ as well, the wide array of work here makes for a completely varied and complete look that makes for a dynamic attack.

The first half gives this one plenty to enjoy about it. Opener ‘Failed Apocalypse’ uses the sampled speech to set up the slowly-unfolding onslaught of spindly technical riffing and battering bass-lines slamming together through the staggered mid-tempo paces leading nicely into proper first track ‘Exterminate the Apostles’ featuring battering drumming and inhuman blasting alongside charging up-tempo series of technical riff-work full of tight, speed-driven rhythms and battering drumming charging along into the heavy slams featured in the spindly riffing of the final half for a dynamic, blistering effort. ‘Storm of Ash’ takes a steady stream of blasting drumming and tight chugging rhythms building into a slew of frantic, technical riffs slowly taking the frenetic rhythms along faster speeds with charging intensity erupting through blistering speeds slamming into the finale for a truly spectacular highlight. ‘Erotic Tales of Disembowelment’ weaves a strong series of spindly technical riffing and blasting drumming alongside a tight, thumping series of slams chugging through the series of frantic, mid-tempo segments full of dexterous, diving technicality in the riffing carrying through into the final half for another spectacular effort. The title track takes on blistering spindly riff-work and frantic blasting alongside the tight, blazing speed-driven rhythms charging along through the choppy rhythms carrying into the utterly relentless drumming bringing the frantic speeds along the finale for a strong overall effort.

Likewise, the second half here follows the first half rather nicely. ‘Bound for Damnation’ uses the lengthy sampled storyline intro that turns into blistering drum-work alongside dexterous riffing change-ups and tight, charging paces throughout with a series of blistering razor-wire rhythms savagely razing through the occasional slam blasting through the final half for a highly enjoyable track. ‘The Inevitable Undoing’ utilizes choppy drumming blasting throughout the series of spindly riffing full of tight, frenzied sections providing the blistering speed and choppy rhythms blazing throughout the series of scattered patterns dripping with the frenzied slamming through the finale making for another strong highlight effort. ‘Echoes of the Rotting’ blazes through a series of strong choppy technical riffs with the thumping rhythms taking the tight, frenetic riffs alongside the furious blasting drum-work full of dexterous pacing changes with the dynamic riffing covering the changes throughout the final half for overall-back-to-back highlights. Finally, album-closer ‘Incestry’ starts with a bluegrass-banjo intro before diving into a pummeling series of tight rhythms and utterly dexterous technical patterns filled with varying tempo changes with the riffing flowing through a series of utterly blistering rhythms alongside the dive-bombing patterns throughout the finale for a truly explosive finishing note here.

As there’s not a whole lot of overall flaws here and plenty to enjoy from the varied and comprehensive attack featured here that has so much to enjoy containing nearly everything possible in terms of brutal death metal that this one is completely appealing for any and all fans of the style or those that simply enjoy good, heavy extreme metal.

Score: 95/100

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Stillborn (Pol) - Testimonio de Bautismo

Artist: Stillborn (Pol)
Release Title: Testimonio de Bautismo
Year: 2016
Label: Godz ov War Productions
Genre: Death/Black Metal
1. Martwo urodzony - rozdział trzeci
2. Ancykryst
3. Upiór
4. Człowiekowstręt
5. Odezwa
6. Obłęd
7. Modlitwa poganina
8. Burst Command til War (Sodom cover)
9. Apocalyptic Hymn of Satanic Warriors

The fifth full-length from Polish death/black metallers Stillborn is a truly enjoyable and full-throttle effort that really offers a lot of enjoyable elements present from their career. Blasting away with dynamic black metal-styled tremolo pattern riff-work that adds a darkened, hell-fire-and-brimstone atmosphere to the proceedings, the fact that these rhythms all offer the kind of full-throttle tempos throughout here really makes these quite enjoyable with their full-throttle and openly dynamic paces that makes for quite a fun time amidst all the blackened riffing. Still, the death metal segments here are even better with the kind of blasting, brutal form of riffing that makes for a truly killer framework here that keeps things rolling along with the kind of twisting, varied rhythm styles here as this offers up several impressive stylings. Ranging from the intense, buzzing rhythms full of frantic speed-driven stylings to a more relaxed mid-tempo thrash-style pace and a sprawling, chugging variant as well, which is all tied together with their tremolo-styled riff-work, this one has plenty of truly enjoyable elements that come from a wide variety of influences which makes them all the better overall. With each of the songs quite enjoyable and not really featuring too many negatives overall, this is a truly scorching effort with a lot to like about it.

The first half here really sets this up as a fun, seething blast of metal. Album-opener ‘Martwo urodzony - rozdział trzeci’ features ravenous blasting among swirling tremolo pattern riff-work with tight, frantic rhythms bringing the entire speed-driven rhythms along with plenty of rapid-fire dexterous riffing and the tight, pounding drumming thumping along to the raging final half for an outstanding opening blast. The incendiary ‘Ancykryst’ utilizes the bleed-through riff-work raging through blasting thrash-fueled rhythms and scorching brimstone-scented tremolo patterns with frenzied drumming and utterly frantic blasting taking the raging rhythms along through the frenzied riffing with the chaotic energy of the finale for the album’s highlight offering. ‘Upiór’takes a steady stream of swirling mid-tempo riff-tempo that quickly turns into raging, thumping rhythms with a steady, plodding rhythms fueled with intense double-bass blasting which leads into the frantic, pummeling drum-work and raging tremolo riffing of the final half for an enjoyable enough track. ‘Człowiekowstręt’ blasts through with frenetic tremolo riff-work and stellar blasting drumming charging through the frantic up-tempo paces with unrelenting drum-work bringing the mid-section through plodding rhythms and chugging riffs that returns to the swirling tremolo patterns in the finale for a varied and enjoyable effort. ‘Odezwa’ starts with swirling razor-wire riffing plenty of furious pounding drumming along with the frenetic riffing taking on a series of diving, technical rhythms with the tremolo-picked patterns alongside full-throttle blasting drumming into the final half for a short, sweet enjoyable blaster.

The second half here is just as much fun with a lot to like about it. ‘Obłęd’ takes on frantic, tight riffing with intense buzzing tremolo patterns and furious blasting drumming through varied, dynamic rhythms with dizzying speed-driven paces swirling around throughout the choppy mid-tempo section that carries the speed on through the swirling finale for a rather frantic and enjoyable highlight. ‘Modlitwa poganina’ uses pounding, dynamic drumming and dizzying tremolo-picked riff-work with plenty of varied rhythms taking on the plodding mid-tempo rhythms alongside the sprawling riff-work throughout the mid-section as the charging drumming brings the intensity throughout the final half for a fine and enjoyable effort. Their cover of Sodom’s ‘Burst Command til War’ manages to effectively carry the speed-driven rhythms nicely while allowing the intensity of the original to carry through as it blasts away as an enjoyable and faithful cover version. Lastly, instrumental album-closer ‘Apocalyptic Hymn of Satanic Warriors’ brings out a studio-jam session with simplistic rhythms, loosely-connected patterns and a much more chaotic and over-the-rails feeling than their other material which is still fun enough to end this on a high note with all the other positive work here.

For the most part this is yet another strong, immaculate collection of snarling blackened death metal from one of the best groups in a scene utterly loaded with talent and offers forth another sure-to-be-classic recording for the Polish death/black metal scene which makes this an easy choice for aficionados of the scene or simply high-quality death metal in general.

Score: 95/100

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Night Viper - Night Viper

Artist: Night Viper
Release Title: Night Viper
Year: 2015
Label: Svart Records
Genre: Heavy Metal
1. Night Viper
2. The Hammer
3. Curse of a Thousand Deaths
4. Run for Cover
5. Warrior Woman
6. Faces in the Mirror
7. Never Be Enslaved
8. Dagger in Hand
9. The Wolverine

The self-titled debut from Swedish metallers Night Viper features such a distinctive and overwhelming old-school influence that it’s impossible not to get sucked into the band’s energy and enthusiasm. Almost immediately here there’s such a distinctive and overwhelming old-school influence that it’s impossible not to get sucked into the band’s energy and enthusiasm. Instead of going for the current trend in revival metal acts of the more melodic-based riffing, this group is far European in design by choosing harder-hitting themes and riff-work which gives off an overall darker vibe here even amongst all the simplicity and straightforward rhythms featured. It’s mostly notable for the way they weave impressive old-school rhythms into a heavier edge, forsaking melodic spindling for a heavy mid-tempo march that’s quite enjoyable with it taking the mainly European-style crunch of the guitars through some engaging moments with plenty to like about them all. While the band seemingly has their up-tempo numbers down pat, there’s one area here that shows the band’s inexperience and younger nature. The fact remains here that their epics are quite bland and unappealing, obviously a case of a band unaware of how to stretch out their work past a comfort zone that they’ve established elsewhere. They make it a decent showing keeping the tracks at respectable lengths, but when it ventures into the lengthier pieces this one stumbles slightly with each one getting different problems, one being half of a great traditional song but the other half being bland while the other epic is just too meandering and repetitive. Still, otherwise this one is quite enjoyable.

The first half here is a solid start to things. Opener ‘Night Viper’ slowly fades out into a steady mid-tempo series of riffing with strong, crunchy riffing and steady drumming that brings along a fine mid-tempo pace with a series of fiery, thumping rhythms through the solo section and carrying the energetic paces through the final half for a solid opening blast. ‘The Hammer’ takes strong mid-tempo riff-work and a steady thumping series of drum-works through the fine mid-tempo series of toughened riffing with plenty of energetic rhythms carrying this through the steady, toughened riff-work into the finale for a decent enough effort. Their epic ‘Curse of a Thousand Deaths’ takes an extended series of droning guitars and soft vocals through an endless, lifeless sea of bland riffing lilting on before finally mid-way through turning into a more traditional mid-tempo crunch with energetic rhythms and lively guitars flowing through into the final half for a decidedly and remarkably split song. ‘Run for Cover’ features thumping drumming and straightforward riff-work offering plenty of tight, crunchy patterns alongside the more energetic outbursts that run alongside the explosive rhythms of the solo section and continuing through the crunchy riff-driven finale for a fun highlight. A far better epic in ‘Warrior Woman’ features a lengthy droning intro running through a sluggish pace that nicely turns into a solid series of crunchy mid-tempo riffing and energetic drumming that keeps the solid paces driving along with the pounding drumming and stylish rhythms run along through the solo section into the final half that’s a bit more traditional-sounding but still somewhat too long.

The second half here is an enjoyable and breezy part without the epics weighing it down. ‘Faces in the Mirror’ rages through a blistering series of up-tempo drumming thumping along to the tight, full-throttle tempo riffing keeping this one on-track and firing along to the generous energetic rhythms of the fiery solo section and carrying along through the blazing finale for a fun, fiery offering. ‘Never Be Enslaved’ utilizes rolling drumming and a solid mid-tempo charge with sterling melodic rhythms running throughout the tight crunchy riffing leading into the energetic solo section and flowing throughout the tight crunch in the finale for an engaging overall effort. ‘Dagger in Hand’ takes a thumping bass-line and a steady drum-beat into a tight mid-tempo crunch with plenty of sprawling melodies throughout as the steady mid-tempo paces feature along into the solo section with the steady rhythms continuing through the final half for a lackluster effort overall. Finally, ‘The Wolverine’ features a steady mid-tempo rhythm with tight riffing and pounding drumming that continue on through the the steady rhythms alongside the nice series of up-tempo rhythms with plenty  of energetic rhythms into the solo section and on through the finale for a fine ending note here.

Despite a few small areas featured within that showcase a band’s beginnings and how they’re coming up in the genre, this is a pretty enjoyable straightforward blast of energetic old-school heavy metal that is all the more enjoyable for displaying a somewhat and slightly darker edge than their contemporaries and leaving this a fine band to look into for revivalists or those with a fondness for classic heavy metal.

Score: 83/100

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Reencarnación (Col) - Reencarnación (888 Metal)

Artist: Reencarnación (Col)
Release Title: Reencarnación (reissue named 888 Metal)
Year: 1987 (reissued in 2015)
Label: Originally self-released/independent (reissue on Nuclear War Now! Productions)
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal
Original release
1. Reencarnación (888 Metal)
2. Nexus Universalis
3. Armageddon
4. El Canto de los Sepulcros
5. Puta Religión
6. A la Diestra del Mesías
7. Funeral del Norte
8. Reencarnación (II Parte)

Reissue release:
1. Reencarnación (888 Metal)
2. Nexus Universalis
3. Armageddon
4. El Canto de los Sepulcros
5. Puta Religión
6. A la Diestra del Mesías
7. Funeral del Norte
8. Reencarnación (II Parte)
9. Reencarnación (III Parte)
10. Un Minuto de Vida y un Siglo de Muerte
11. Acompáñame a la Tumba
12. Reencarnación (888 Metal)
13. El Canto de los Sepulcros
14. Armageddon
15. Puta Religión
16. A la Diestra del Mesías
17. Funeral del Norte
18. Acompáñame a la Tumba

The debut full-length from Colombian black/thrashers Reencarnación is certainly an album more renown for it’s historical significance and importance rather than the actual content of the music within. Sloppy, discordant and simply amateurish riffing is the hallmark here all given a raw edge with the low production values in place that really gives the whole affair a ivibe of a garage-level demo recorded without professional equipment in place. There’s no real consistent arrangements on display regardless of how badly-produced it sounds, tending to alter the kind of patterns and paces here into discordant affairs with a choppy structure that radically starts and stops at various points throughout the tracks which makes it seem like they’re conceived right on the spot improvisationally. Other forms of discordant patterns emerge through the use of obscure arrangements and segments placed here that slow the material down into a series of sprawling tempos that are just lethargic and plodding or featuring unusual instrumentation with classical violin pieces from that are just out-of-place and wholly disjointed against the thrashing elsewhere. On the whole the music here is not that good being too sloppy or amateurish to really make an impression.

The first half here demonstrates what’s on display here nicely, even if the songs generally aren’t. Intro ‘Reencarnación (888 Metal)’ takes a stuttering series of start/stop riffing and pounding drum-work into a fine series of sloppy raging rhythms full of discordant riffing over clattering drumming and frequent tempo changes full of schizophrenic patterns raging along into the final half for a decent enough opener. ‘Nexus Universalis’ features a staggering, discordant series of riffing into a loose series of blackened thrashing with plenty of loose, sprawling riffing alongside the raging drumming taking along a steady mid-tempo attack featuring lethargic rhythms and discordant notes through the finale for an overall disappointing and bland effort. ‘Armageddon’ uses a stuttering series of discordant riffing with a series of bland plodding drumming over sampled effects dragging the pacing down with sprawling, droning riff-work leading into the series of frantic riff-work and urgent blasting drumming coming through the final half for a wasted first part yet enjoyable second part. ‘El Canto de los Sepulcros’ features a series of swirling riffing and clattering rhythms slowly galloping along into a series of discordant rhythms featuring wild schizophrenic patterns charging along with the swirling riffs churning throughout the extended thrashing of the final half makes this the album’s highlight without much difficulty.

The second half is again a rather weak and overall disappointing part of the album. The minute-long instrumental ‘Puta Religión’ features simple drumming and celestial keyboards creating a localized, haunting landscape over the tolling bell-strikes and monster growls for a totally useless mid-album breather. ‘A la Diestra del Mesías’ features stuttering and discordant riffing along with plenty of pounding drumming into a series of blasting drum-work and plenty of sloppy riffing thrashing through stuttering tempos littered with savage, choppy drumming leading into the final half for a decent-enough if rather problematic effort. ‘Funeral del Norte’ uses a sharp series of swirling thrashing riff-work and clattering drumming working through a series of stuttering tempos and discordant pattern riffing with the raw rhythms taking the chaotic energy along with more choppy, stuttering rhythms along through the finale for another somewhat enjoyable effort. Lastly, the epic album-closer ‘Reencarnación (II Parte)’ uses classical violins alongside rattling drumming and stuttering riffing with plenty of staggered rhythms and plodding paces that bring the utterly sloppy rhythms along through the violin pieces and the extended, sprawling tempos full of clattering rhythms for another disappointing effort that ends this on a rather disappointing note.

Even though it’s one of the most important and respected album in the South American extreme metal scene, there’s just not a whole lot on display here that’s really appealing and ends up leaving this one only for the most devout and impassioned fans of that style with this particular version of the release being the one to get should that be desired.

Score: 35/100

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Invocation Spells - Descendant the Black Throne

Artist: Invocation Spells
Release Title: Descendant the Black Throne
Year: 2015
Label: Metal Command Records
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal
1. The Betrayal of Bastard
2. Lust to Death
3. The Black Rite
4. Occult
5. Under Shadows of Pentagram
6. Revenge of the Serpents
7. Descendent the Black Throne
8. The End of Time

The second full-length from Chilean black/thrashers Invocation Spells manages to get some enjoyable elements featured within here with the old-school tone mixed alongside blazing thrash rhythms. For the most part here, this one is simply based on blazing old-school black metal with a raw edge here that makes the band sound that much more darker and primitive than expected. Firing off volleys of impressive tremolo-picked patterns that pack that brimstone-scented touch so heavily present in the Norwegian scene, this here is mixed with a generous dollop of South American primeval-sounding production that helps add to the general air of dirty old-school flair here which ends up making this one so much fun throughout here. With this old-school style played nicely alongside thrashing patterns with that kind of up-tempo pace from the thrash rhythms, there’s a whole lot to really enjoy here.  While there’s some good here in keeping the tracks short with that punk-ish attitude with their compactness, it does lower the second half somewhat as the simplicity sticks out somewhat from the first half and making the album come off a little  unevenly here, but that’s of minor consequence.

The first half gives this a strong hit of what’s to come. First up ‘The Betrayal of Bastard’ features swirling riff-work and steady rhythms along through the mid-tempo rhythms featured with the rattling old-school thrashing carrying along through the vigorous up-tempo riffing running along throughout the steady final half for an engaging opener. ‘Lust to Death’ uses immediate thrashing riffs with plenty of fiery mid-tempo tremolo patterns charging alongside pounding drumming carrying the bouncy up-tempo paces carrying the dirty thrashing riffs into the finale for a decent enough shorter thrasher. ‘The Black Rite’ uses sparkling tremolo riffing and explosive drumming through a savage up-tempo thrashing paces with the swirling, razor-wire tremolo riff-work keeping the fiery tempos going along through the pounding drumming charging through the final half for a much more enjoyable shorter effort. ‘Occult’ blasts through buzzing tremolo patterns and rocking up-tempo thrashing rhythms featured into a steady mid-tempo pace with hard-hitting riffing throughout as the furious rhythms alongside the charging finale which makes for another enjoyable effort.

The second half here is a slightly lower but still enjoyable part of the album. ‘Under Shadows of Pentagram’ features a stylish tremolo riff thrashing through the charging up-tempo paces as the blasting drumming and rocking energetic rhythms carrying the simplistic arrangements through the up-tempo final half for a rather enjoyable offering. ‘Revenge of the Serpents’ utilizes a simple, rocking thrash riff with fiery tremolo patterns pounding away with scores of dynamic drumming keeping the charging energy throughout leading into the raucous, dirty riff-work in the finale for an impressive and enjoyable punk-laced thrasher. The title track rages through a soaring series of tremolo-picked rhythms and dynamic pounding drumming taking the simplistic energies throughout the utterly frantic rhythms featured throughout the charging, raucous rhythms in the final half for another strong effort. Finally, ‘The End of Time’ brings along the horror-film sampled intro that slowly turns into a series of buzzing tremolo riffing and pounding, simplistic drumming that continually races through the series of frenetic rhythms through the blazing tremolo riffing that thrashes along into the finale for an impressive lasting impression here.

Though there’s some rather enjoyable fun to be had from their old-school black metal styled thrash that comes off nicely, the weaker sections here do stick out enough to make this seem a little more likely for those only interested in this kind of ravenous South American style of extreme metal or those looking for some new form of black/thrash metal.

Score: 80/100

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Lethal Steel - Legion of the Night

Artist: Lethal Steel
Release Title: Legion of the Night
Year: 2016
Label: High Roller Records
Genre: Heavy Metal
1. Sirius
2. Nattsvart
3. Rosier
4. Warrior
5. Night of the Witch
6. Into the Void of Lucifer
7. Nocturnal Seductress
8. Demon from the Past

The debut full-length from Swedish metallers Lethal Steel manages to incorporate plenty of enjoyable elements together into a strong and dynamic offering of old-school heavy metal. Employing a rather simplistic and straightforward approach, there’s a steady rumbling blast of mid-tempo traditional heavy metal running throughout here in either mid-tempo charges or up-tempo gallops. Augmented by a pounding drum-attack and a powerful old-school production job that makes for a truly inviting atmosphere here full of melodic rhythm runs and toughened riffs which makes this a rather enjoyable old-school affair. That there’s a fine energy throughout here keeps things running smoothly enough for a heavy feel here where the few melodic runs along the way make this become all the more listenable. Though there’s plenty to like here with this one’s core sound, there’s a few rookie mistakes to be found here. The fact that the band is clearly much more adept at the quicker, more brooding and simplistic efforts is quite on display here where the bands’ better efforts are the shorter tracks while they haven’t figured out how to make the longer tracks more interesting. This is clearly a band more at home in the three-to-four minute range as those are clearly the best tracks on display while the few longer tracks that clock in over five minutes tend to just ramble on and meander to their finish which takes a lot of the stead out out of their rhythm-work. As well, the same-sounding paces are featured quite liberally here which makes for some pretty bland times where the songs end up sounding the same.

The first half here gets this off to a strong start. Opener ‘Sirius’ features a droning series of swirling riffing rampaging metal pace with mid-tempo drumming and strong melodic riffing throughout with plenty of fiery rhythms and rumbling bass-lines leading into the strong solo section that leads into the charging final half for an intriguing and enjoyable opener. ‘Nattsvart’ takes a steady thumping drum-beat into a volley of galloping riff-work and pounding drumming alongside powerful melodic rhythms taking plenty of fiery patterns and charging tempos along through the rumbling solo section with plenty of fiery riffing into the finale for a highly enjoyable highlight. ‘Rosier’ features thumping mid-tempo rhythms and volley of mid-tempo riffing settling into a fine pace offering a strong series of sturdy riff-work with plenty of tough rhythms and steady drumming that keeps this rumbling along through the solo section into the final half for a fine effort overall. ‘Warrior’ features swirling tremolo-picked patterns and tight, thunderous drumming building into a thumping up-tempo gallop offering plenty of tight, thumping rhythms from the stellar riff-work offering plenty of furious melodies alongside the fine solo section leading into the strong charging finale for the album’s best overall track.

While slightly lower, the second half is still a decent enough series of tracks. ‘Night of the Witch’ offers a droning intro with simple, melancholy riffing and plodding drumming turns into a fine mid-tempo gallop with tight rhythms plenty of melodic flurries coming through the sturdy riff-work with the extended solo section carrying through to the final half for a decent enough effort. ‘Into the Void of Lucifer’ features a simple, rocking riff working into a fine mid-tempo gallop with plenty of pounding drumming carrying the tight riff-work and strong rhythms along through a series of explosive melodic flurries into the sturdy solo section and on through the finale to make for a rather enjoyable effort. ‘Nocturnal Seductress’ uses a steady rocking mid-tempo rhythm with plenty of stellar up-tempo riffing and pounding drumming that brings the tough, sturdy rhythms along into the galloping paces along the fiery solo section and on through the final half for another rocking effort. Album-closer ‘Demon from the Past’ takes a charging up-tempo gallop with strong melodic riffing and plenty of  stellar melodic rhythms rumbling along with the tight patterns and rock-solid drumming keeping the mid-tempo gallop along through the solo section and carrying into the fiery finale for a solid enough ending note.

Though there’s some rookie mistakes to be made here, they’re certainly elements than can be fixed in the future as the band carries on here as there’s plenty of enjoyment to be found with their enjoyable old-school style, making this certainly a band to watch for fans of traditional metal or those looking for classic, appealing music.

Score: 82/100

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Valgaldr - Østenfor sol

Artist: Valgaldr
Release Title: Østenfor sol
Year: 2015
Label: Fallen-Angels Productions
Genre: Black Metal
1. Tusen steiner
2. Et slott i skogen
3. Taakenatt
4. Aske til aske
5. Vargnatt
6. Over fjellheimen
7. Slagmark
8. Begravelsesferd

The debut effort from Norwegian black metallers Valgaldr offers a wholly appealing if entirely cliche and unoriginal take on traditional Norwegian black metal. It’s all eerily familiar work throughout here, with the brimstone-soaked tremolo pattern riff-work giving this a decidedly strong touch of atmospheric flavor that comes from the old-school style of black metal being played and blastbeat-driven drumming that allows for the utterly dexterous and smooth tempo changes from utterly frantic and chaotic driving rhythms to the more prominent mid-tempo gallops that are featured here which allows the riffing to vary according to those rhythms. The idea even of going with alternating tempos where it features a faster track, then a slower, more mid-tempo one keeps this from really overselling the kind of overexposure it really could’ve come off with. It’s all quite expected to be featured here in these kinds of acts, though that tends to be quite easily overlooked here as this is pulled off with a conviction and energy that’s quite lacking in many similar acts who run through the motions. The songwriting dynamics on display of allowing these pretty lengthy and absorbed tracks to remain consistently enjoyable and engaging with the kind of varied tempo shifts and variations to be found here that makes for a much more enjoyable listen. It’s still pretty cliche, but there’s a lot more to like here which does raise this somewhat.

The first half here makes for a wholly enjoyable start to this one. Opening track ‘Tusen steiner’ opens with rattling up-tempo tremolo riffing and pounding drumming through a dynamic and explosive series of dynamic riffing with the pounding drumming keeping this one blazing along at a steady pace with the sprawling md-tempo patterns thumping along into the finale for a dynamic and enjoyable opener. ‘Et slott i skogen’ uses a sharp swirling mid-tempo pattern with stylish drumming working along a steady pace that keeps the heavy tremolo riff-work continuing along through the sprawling, atmospheric rhythms along the mid-section with the swirling riffing leading into the final half for a decent if unimpressive effort.’ Taakenatt’ features rattling drumming with plenty of swirling tremolo-picked patterns through a frantic series of rhythms keeping the pounding drum-work driving the urgent tempos along with the darkened atmospheres swirling through the riffing leading into the blasting finale for a truly impressive highlight offering. ‘Aske til aske’ uses a dark, swirling series of gloomy riffing slowly plodding along into a fine series of howling rhythm patterns and steady drumming as the sprawling tempo matches the atmospheric tone and overall arrangements leading into the blistering traditional rhythms of the final half for a fine and enjoyable effort.

The second half here is much like the first half. ‘Vargnatt’  takes swirling up-tempo tremolo patterns and a rather steady series of drumming whipping throughout the steady rhythms keeping the rather dynamic and impressive mid-tempo gallop throughout with the steady sprawling rhythms carrying throughout the finale for a decent enough offering. ‘Over fjellheimen’ brings along dynamic swirling tremolo patterns and steady galloping drum-work that blasts away through a strong series of classic tremolo rhythms and full-on speed-driven rhythms as the blasting patterns continue on with the fiery tremolo patterns of the final half for another strong highlight offering. ‘Slagmark’ utilizes blazing drumming among the chaotic tremolo patterns with plenty of tight riffing keeping the buzzing tremolo riffs into the sprawling sections as the mid-tempo riffing slows the energy down with the intense tremolo patterns continuing on in the battering finale for a somewhat decent enough effort. Lastly, ‘Begravelsesferd’ uses a plodding series of swirling tremolo patterns to slowly build into an eerie, atmospheric style of riffing with a droning pace carrying the simple rhythms dripping with the darkened, brimstone-scented riffing with plenty of charging mid-tempo patterns carrying through the final half for a decent if unimpressive lasting impression.

Overall this here is pretty much typical second-wave Norwegian worship that doesn’t really bring anything new to the genre but offers such a welcoming and enjoyable listening experience that there’s plenty of fun to be had from this regardless of originality and makes for a stand-out release for stalwart aficionados of the scene or Norwegian black metal in general.

Score: 87/100

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Hi-GH - Till Death and After

Artist: Hi-GH
Release Title: Till Death and After
Year: 2014
Label: Metal-on-Metal Records
Genre: Speed/Heavy Metal
1. We Are the End of All
2. Till Death and After
3. The Russian Border
4. Sex Machine
5. Drug Your Destiny
6. Devil's Fire
7. Born Under Evil Defence
8. Your Bloody Face
9. White Car Fever
10. Deal of Death
11. Forged in Hell
12. German Metal Attack (Hastighed cover)

The second full-length from Italian heavy metallers Hi-GH is a certainly strong and rocking effort that really gives their speed-driven anthems quite a bit of flair. In contrast to a lot of the written material for the band, the general air here is decidedly classic heavy metal with an admittedly prevalent punk-rock leaning in the simplistic, energetic manner of their rhythm work throughout this, making for a toughened, airy atmosphere throughout here being fueled by simple, repetitive riffing that generates a strong sense of speed for the tracks as a whole. This does drift slightly towards a melodic power metal scenario with the classic rhythms melded onto a speed-metal framework, but the general influx of truer heavy metal patterns does manage to keep this aimed more along that pathway. The biggest issue here is the fact that the strong punk influence here does manage to keep the tracks here pretty solidly and firmly one-dimensional without too many variations or stand-out moments of deviation within their arrangements here, only offered in a few small sections of the tracks which comes more from their traditional metal baseline anyway and really dropping the punk elements out of focus for the most part.

The first half here is a solid-enough start to this one. Opening storytelling intro ‘We Are the End of All’ features a sampled droning effect and a distorted speech that all sets the stage for proper first track as the title track fires off tight, raging speed metal riffing and pounding drumming augmented with the constant volley of galloping up-tempo riffing taking the rumbling rhythms and tight drumming through the solo section and on through the charging finale for an overall impressive offering. ‘The Russian Border’ uses a warfare-themed sample before firing into a steady, thumping series of tight riffing buzzing along to the rumbling bass-lines and pounding drumming charging throughout the solo section with the tight speed metal riffing carrying into the final half for another enjoyable track. ‘Sex Machine’ features an extended droning intro with rumbling riffing, frantic speeds and pounding drumming through the raging up-tempo paces through the rumbling, extended solo section filled with tight raging rhythms that carry on through the blazing finale for a less-enjoyable-if-still-entertaining effort. ‘Drug Your Destiny’ uses a steady swirling mid-tempo plodding rhythm with tight drumming that turns into a steady, rocking up-tempo gallop full of rocking rhythms and speed metal rhythms leading into the explosive solo section with plenty of driving riffing into the final half for another strong and enjoyable offering. The short rocker ‘Devil's Fire’ uses blaring punk-ish bass-lines and rolling drumming kicking into a stellar up-tempo pace with simplistic rocking punk rhythms raging along to the simple riffs thumping along with the rattling rhythms coming along with the strong finale for an enjoyable offering.

The second half here is certainly enjoyable enough with a few minor missteps. ‘Born Under Evil Defence’ brings a moody, atmospheric intro into a strong mid-tempo gallop with swirling riffing and charging energetic drumming racing through the blistering tempos with the stylish mid-tempo patterns continuing through the final half for another solid overall effort. ‘Your Bloody Face’ features a blaring bass-line rhythm and tight, frantic punk riff-work through the blazing up-tempo rhythms continuing throughout the finale for an even more impressive shorter thrasher. ‘White Car Fever’ slowly fades in from a steady speed-metal riffing pattern into a steady speed-driven series of rhythms as the thrashing punk energies are focused into the barreling tempos leading into the first solo section and sprawling through the second section as it leads to the pummeling final half for a highly enjoyable highlight. ‘Deal of Death’ takes thumping up-tempo rhythms and pounding drumming along the steady riff-work with plenty of tight patterns keeping this blazing along with a drop into fiery-but-more melodic rhythms leading into the solo section with the furious, charging rhythms continuing through the finale for strong back-to-back highlights. ‘Forged in Hell’ features a simple, charging riff firing through a blazing up-tempo pace with rocking energetic drumming carrying the frantic, off-the-rails intensity along through the simplistic rhythms with the blazing solo section and keeping the rattling tempos throughout the final half for a rocking, enjoyable track. Lastly, ending with their cover of Hastighed’s ‘German Metal Attack’ keeps the simplistic, driving intent of the original with a thumping, driving attitude from the pounding drum-work that continues on throughout the track here for a fine if non-essential listen to close this out.

This here is a highly enjoyable blast of speed-influenced traditional metal that contains enough dynamics and enjoyable moments to really work a lot of different facets into this one that gives it a lot of overall appeal to those firmly entrenched in the classic old-school metal style or fans of more energetic offerings overall.

Score: 87/100

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