Live report: Zhrine / Auðn / Hubris (23/04/2017)

The prospect of seeing two of Iceland’s very best black metal bands performing at a free-entry show in a small pub in London was simply too much for me to resist, so I caught a coach down from York in eager anticipation. Since the release of their album Unortheta (probably my favourite album of all time), Zhrine have secured spots at major festivals around Europe and North America, and even toured the US with Ulcerate and Phobocosm last year. Self-described ‘outsiders’ to Iceland’s black metal scene, Auðn are truly one of Iceland’s underrated gems. Atmospheric and evocative, bleak and tortured by melancholy, with throat-shredding shrieks and howls. Their side-project Hubris rounded off the stellar lineup, delivering brutal death metal aggression with malicious black metal influences. The stellar lineup delivered a spectacular show for all present, reaffirming the strength of Iceland’s metal scene. Continue reading “Live report: Zhrine / Auðn / Hubris (23/04/2017)”

Review: Sarcasm – “Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds”

Sweden’s Sarcasm have had a tumultuous history. Formed in Uppsala in 1990, the band released a string of melodic death metal demos, culminating in the 1994 EP  “A Touch of the Burning Red Sunset”. The fascinating fact about the band is that in 1994, before they broke up, they actually recorded a debut full-length album titled “Burial Dimensions”. But the album was never released, lying in a slumber until it finally saw the light of day as part of a vinyl compilation in 2011, and finally given a proper release in 2015 on Dark Descent Records, coinciding with the band’s reformation. Complicated stuff, but here we are in 2017, and Sarcasm have returned with their second full-length album “Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds”. This is presumably the band’s first new material since 1994, and yet it feels like the band haven’t missed a beat. Their melodic but aggressive style of death metal is every bit as catchy and intense as ever, harking back to a time when melodic death metal meant something quite different to the kind of streamlined and accessible sound we’ve become accustomed to. Continue reading “Review: Sarcasm – “Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds””

Live review: Chelsea Wolfe / True Widow / King Woman (17/04/2017)

I’ve wanted to see Chelsea Wolfe live for a long time. I’ve been a fan of her music for a couple of years now, and when she performed in Leeds last year I incomprehensibly decided I wasn’t able to make it. Well, when this fantastic lineup was announced for a short UK tour with a stop in Manchester’s excellent venue Gorilla, I was determined to rectify my mistake. Touring with fellow American acts True Widow and King Woman, the bands all play gripping, dark music that overlaps and diverges in different respects; but as a tour lineup, this is one of the most gripping and cohesive I’ve ever witnessed.  Continue reading “Live review: Chelsea Wolfe / True Widow / King Woman (17/04/2017)”

Interview: Sathamel on death metal, touring, and their upcoming album

Sathamel are one of the most exciting extreme metal acts to come out of Yorkshire in years. Known for their blackened death metal and blistering live performances, Sathamel have honed their craft touring across the UK for the past several years. Their performance at Northern Extremity XI at the Fulford Arms in York was a ferocious assault and a rousing success, so I sat down with them to talk about their music, the UK’s metal scene and York. Continue reading “Interview: Sathamel on death metal, touring, and their upcoming album”

Demo Roundup vol. 1 (Hex Morbidity, Dragkhar, Disincarnation)

There are a handful of excellent demos that I’ve stumbled across or been directed towards recently that I want to bring to your attention as worthy of your time and support. Hex Morbidity hark back to earlier times with evocative, old-school black metal on their self-titled EP. Draghkar spew forth cavernous, morbid death-doom metal, and Disincarnation wield aggressive, surprisingly melodic death metal in the vein of At the Gates. Read on for links and more! Continue reading “Demo Roundup vol. 1 (Hex Morbidity, Dragkhar, Disincarnation)”

Interview: Abhorrent Decimation on death metal, religion, and their upcoming second album

Abhorrent Decimation are a technical death metal band from London. After releasing their demo Infected Celestial Utopia in 2013, they unleashed their debut album Miasmic Mutation in 2015 to critical acclaim. Railing against religion, the band’s unreservedly brutal, surgically precise flavour of technical death metal is equal parts abrasive and catchy. The catchy riffs reel you in before the crushing grooves eviscerate and oppress. They’ve recently signed a three-album contract with Prosthetic Records, been announced to play at Bloodstock Festival, and confirmed that they have wrapped up recording on their upcoming second full-length album. In the interview that follows we discuss all these things and more. Continue reading “Interview: Abhorrent Decimation on death metal, religion, and their upcoming second album”

Review: Rebirth of Nefast – “Tabernaculum”

It has been nine long years since Rebirth of Nefast‘s last record, Ex Nihilio, a split album with fellow Irish black metal group Slidhr. A lot has changed since then. The black metal project’s mastermind, Irish-born Wann (aka Stephen Lockhart), has since moved to Reykjavik, Iceland and set up the Studio Emissary recording studio, founded the Oration Records label, and put on two successive and successful extreme metal festivals in the heart of Iceland’s capital. He’s been responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering some of the most exciting names in contemporary black metal: Svartidauði, Sinmara, Zhrine, Abominor, Almyrkvi, Mannveira, and Draugsól, as well as Mortuus Umbra, Dysangelium, and Slidhr. He’s also recorded and performed live with Sinmara and Slidhr. The resplendent full-length album Tabernaculum is the culmination of nine years of hard graft; of writing, recording, and producing some of the best extreme metal around, and learning and growing as a writer and a musician. Continue reading “Review: Rebirth of Nefast – “Tabernaculum””

Review: Venom Prison – “Animus”

Hailing from South Wales, Venom Prison combine death metal brutality and hardcore aggression in a way that is both completely unlike ‘deathcore’ as we’ve come to know it, and completely fucking awesome. Their debut album ‘Animus’ was released in October of last year, but it’s never too late to recommend good music.  The sturdy death metal core of this band’s sound is complimented by a serious dose of hardcore punk, thus the result is perhaps comparable to what might occur if Power Trip played death metal instead of thrash. Rage permeates every layer of this record, but it’s a directed fury that knows its target. An earth-shaking statement of intent, the album art features a castrated rapist being force-fed his own genitals, and over the album’s half-hour runtime vocalist Larissa Stupar tackles religion, sexism, and humanity’s treatment of animals. Venom Prison invert death metal’s tropes, weaponising the gore and violence and turning them against oppressors. Continue reading “Review: Venom Prison – “Animus””

Interview: Devouring Star on Antihedron, Satanism, and Death

In the process of writing my recent review of Devouring Star‘s fantastic new EP ‘Antihedron’, I came to realise that there was a rare depth and maturity to the record, both musically and conceptually. They recently published brief explanations of some of the themes and meanings behind both their debut album ‘Through Lung and Heart’ and ‘Antihedron‘. But there are yet further depths to be explored. The band are cloaked in anonymity, however I was lucky enough to speak with JL who was kind enough to expound upon the concepts and themes at work within ‘Antihedron’, and the motivations and beliefs that inspire Devouring Star‘s music more generally. The answers shed new light on the impenetrable darkness of these records. Read on for the full interview. Continue reading “Interview: Devouring Star on Antihedron, Satanism, and Death”

Review: Uerberos – “Tormented by Faith”

The brutal death metal unleashed on Polish band Uerberos‘ debut album Tormented by Faith is as merciless as it is calculated. The technical frenzy of this piece of death metal is performed with perfect precision, aimed at the utter annihilation of all that stands in their way. Stylistically there is some overlap with their Polish brethren in Vader, but the sheer blistering aggression of their craft also reminds me of Hour of Penance, Desecravity, and Aborted at times. Guttural bellows rail against organised religion and the hypocrisy of so-called Christians: Not a new topic for death metal perhaps, but one that is particularly powerful and important for a band from the deeply Catholic nation of Poland. Their debut album Tormented By Faith is an astonishingly technical accomplishment, visceral and unforgiving, violent and grim. Continue reading “Review: Uerberos – “Tormented by Faith””