Review: Uerberos – “Tormented by Faith”

Posted in Reviews on March 29th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery
Uerberos

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. Read more »

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Album review: Ulcerate – “Shrines of Paralysis”

Posted in Reviews on November 2nd, 2016 by Matthew Lowery
Ulcerate

Ulcerate‘s brand of technical death metal is compelling precisely because it challenges so many of the established tropes that have emerged in the genre over the last decade. This New Zealand group are certainly incredibly gifted musicians, and the technicality and complexity of their music more than proves this. But more than this, Ulcerate understand the importance of the raw feeling of an album, and of atmosphere and songwriting. The heaviness has to serve some kind of end: Sheer technicality, speed or brutality can never compensate if an album lacks in these departments.  Shrines of Paralysis is a majestic, haunting record encapsulating vitriolic misanthropy redeemed through violent, decadent beauty.

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Scarab – Serpents of the Nile

Posted in Reviews on April 30th, 2015 by Matthew Lowery

I do love a bit of Egyptian-themed death metal. This is Scarab’s second-full length album following 2010’s ’Blinding the Masses’, their sound is what you might  get if Italy’s Hour of Penance had the same Egyptian/middle-eastern influences as technical death metal heavyweights Nile, or perhaps a slightly slower, more nuanced Demigod-era Behemoth. While this is not the most original  death metal album of 2015, and this Egyptian band clearly wear their  influences (both musical and cultural) Scarab have a lot to offer  here for fans of death metal.

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Ingested – The Architect of Extinction

Posted in Reviews on January 13th, 2015 by Matthew Lowery

The Architect of Extinction is utterly destructive. This fourth full-length album from the Mancunian brutal death metal crew Ingested manages to strike that fine balance between punishing heaviness, ferocious technicality, and still staying fresh and interesting. Albums in this genre often suffer from monotony, but this album is pretty much all killer, no filler, setting the standard for brutal death metal for the rest of this year.

To be quite clear, Ingested do not aim to pull at your heartstrings, they aim to put you six feet under with an all-out assault on your senses. That assault has five prongs: The first, and perhaps the single most devastating, is vocalist Jay Evans. On The Architect of Extinction, I would argue Evans makes a strong case for being the single best vocalist in the brutal death metal scene right now.  The reason for that is not only the fact that he has great variety, effortlessly pulling off seriously impressive gutturals, as well as some terrifying screams; but that the lyrics are very comprehensible. Evans spearheads this assault, but the rest of the band  are of course no less valuable.

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Hour of Penance – Regicide

Posted in Reviews on May 8th, 2014 by Matthew Lowery

Hour of Penance are a technical death metal band from Italy that have been around for about 15 years now, forming back in 1999. For a decade and a half this band has been refining and perfecting its brand of death metal largely in the shadows, being better associated with consistency and iteration rather than dramatic changes in sound. After Fleshgod Apocalypse’s album ‘The Agony’ they gained a wave of fans who rejected that new, symphonic sound, and wanted more of what they got on Oracles, which HoP deliver in spades. On their sixth full-length album, Hour of Penance continue down the path of technical death metal but seem to move more in the direction of Behemoth or Immolation’s brand of blistering brutality.

Part of the success of Hour of Penance is a result of their ability to pile catchy riff upon catchy riff into a single song while sacrificing neither the overall structure of the song nor the overall ‘heavy’ factor that might be somewhat weakened the more melody you introduce. The riffs are technical and very tightly performed, and the benefit of having both a rhythm guitarist (/vocalist) and a lead guitarist is made clear on this album. Addictive riffs almost blend in with the powerful lead guitar, often blending with the riffs before taking off in its own direction, throwing in an astonishing solo before pummeling you over the head with some other crushing riff.

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