Album review: Incantation – “Profane Nexus”

Posted in Reviews on August 19th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery
Incantation

Profane Nexus is yet another superb offering from one of the most consistent bands in death metal. Rather than seeking to reinvent the wheel, Incantation have been focusing on polishing and refining their genre-defining sound and honing their song-writing chops. Recent years have seen a surge in bands inspired by Incantation‘s cavernous, morbid approach to doom-drenched death metal, but Profane Nexus proves that Incantation are still the reigning kings, as they return with a vengeance. Read more »

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Interview: Cryptic Shift on death metal, worm-holes, and H.P. Lovecraft

Posted in Interviews on June 5th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery
Cryptic Shift

Cryptic Shift are a technical thrash/death group from Leeds, Yorkshire. After encountering them opening for the legendary Exodus in 2016, I was instantly won over with their aggressive, technical brand of sci-fi metal. They’ve toured and performed with bands such as VektorLost SocietyMithrasIngested, and will soon be opening for the death American metal juggernauts Suffocation in Leeds. After their monstrous 2016 EP ‘Beyond the Celestial Realms’, in April they released their new digital single ‘Cosmic Dreams’ through UKEM Records. Read on for an interview with their guitarist and vocalist Xander on death metal, sci-fi, and touring with Vektor.

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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

Posted in Interviews on April 8th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery
Abhorrent Decimation

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. Read more »

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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 »

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Review: Venom Prison – “Animus”

Posted in Reviews on April 6th, 2017 by Matthew Lowery
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. Read more »

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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 »

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