Review: Time Lurker – “Time Lurker”

Posted in Reviews on June 4th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery
Time Lurker

Time Lurker is a one-man atmospheric black metal project that came to life in Strasbourg, France in 2014. Though it is technically a solo project, a number of other musicians contributed to this record, including members of ParamnesiaPyrecult, and Le Mal des Ardents. Their debut full-length album, the eponymous Time Lurker, channels charts a course that explores the nature of the human condition through the medium of introspective, atmospheric black metal. Stylistically it reminds me of Mare Cognitum, Aureole, or Spectral Lore. The sheer scale and ambition of the compositions contained within is as impressive as it is daunting, the intensity of the emotions and the consequential catharsis exhausting. While it very occasionally bites off more than it can chew, Time Lurker is an exhilarating, emotionally draining record from start to finish. Read more »

Tags: , , ,

Review: Au-Dessus – “End of Chapter”

Posted in Reviews on May 4th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery
Au-Dessus

Lithuania’s Au-Dessus‘s debut album “End of Chapter” is a haunting, moving piece of post-black metal mastery. Conceptualised as both sequel and conclusion to their 2015 self-titled EP, “End of Chapter” sees Au-Dessus push deeper into the realms of dissonant, unsettling extreme metal. Comparisons with bands such as Blut Aus NordDeathspell Omega, and Schammasch are natural and appropriate, but Au-Dessus more than do enough to carve out their own niche in this flourishing style of black metal. Jarring, dissonant guitar riffs metamorphose into crushing passages of atmospheric sludge metal brutality; inhuman, tortured howls give way to melodic, passionate singing. Make no mistake about it: Despite the sleek visual aesthetic, this is challenging, harsh music that requires patience and careful attention to appreciate and come to grips with. With “End of Chapter”, Au-Dessus have crafted one of the most fascinating and powerful metal records in recent memory.  Read more »

Tags: , , , , ,

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

Posted in Live reviews on April 25th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery
Zhrine

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. Read more »

Tags: , , , , , ,

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

Posted in Reviews on April 24th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery
Sarcasm

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. Read more »

Tags: , , , , ,

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

Posted in Interviews on April 18th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery
Sathamel

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. Read more »

Tags: , , , ,

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

Posted in Reviews on April 12th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery
Demo Roundup Vol 1

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! Read more »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Review: Rebirth of Nefast – “Tabernaculum”

Posted in Reviews on April 7th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery

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. Read more »

Tags: , , , ,

Interview: Devouring Star on Antihedron, Satanism, and Death

Posted in Interviews on March 30th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery
Devouring Star

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. Read more »

Tags: , , , ,

Review: Draugsól – “Volaða Land”

Posted in Reviews on March 28th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery
Draugsól

Volaða Land is the debut record from the recently-formed Icelandic group Draugsól. The band describe themselves as black metal, and by and large that’s accurate, but to my ears there’s a whole lot of death metal influence going on here as well, with a prominent low-end sound, heavy palm-muted guitar riffs, and guttural vocals. In some ways the texture of influences on this album almost reminds me of a way heavier, more death metal-influenced Enslaved. The tremolo-picked guitar passages and aggressive percussion are here as well of course, but Draugsól venture well beyond these conventional genre boundaries. The songs are constructed around powerful melodies, rhythms and motifs, with some incredibly tasteful, understated guitar solos and jazzy, varied percussion. Read more »

Tags: , , , ,

Review: Deitus – “Acta Non Verba”

Posted in Reviews on March 27th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery
Deitus

It’s always a delight to discover new local talent that remind you that your nation’s metal scene has plenty to offer the world. London-based black metal group Deitus gave me just such a reminder recently. Truth be told, I actually first became aware of them some months ago when they opened for Dead Congregation in Manchester alongside Incarceration and Wode, and while I came away impressed with their live performance, it was only recently that I really gave their 2016 debut album “Acta Non Verba” a proper listen. The album title translates to “Deeds not words”, and should be understood as a statement of intent: Deitus sound absolutely bloodthirsty, hungry to leave their mark on the world with their melodic, aggressive style of black metal. Read more »

Tags: , ,