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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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: 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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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 »

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TERRA: Interview and Album Review

Posted in Features, Interviews, Reviews on December 14th, 2016 by Matthew Lowery

That Cambridgeshire simply didn’t have any good metal bands was a sad fact I’d come to accept. When I’m not at university here in York, I live in the small cathedral-city of Ely, a short drive from the county’s namesake and hub of Cambridge. Musically, it’s an utterly desolate landscape. Friends of mine who live and study in Cambridge have confirmed as much. So when I learned that Cambridge was now the home of TERRA, an atmospheric black metal band along the lines of Wolves in the Throne Room or Ash Borer, my heart leapt. And while TERRA certainly do draw on these bands, they forge their own path on their second full-length album ‘Mors Secunda’. Read more »

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Cruciamentum – Charnel Passages

Posted in Reviews on September 3rd, 2015 by Matthew Lowery

Cruciamentum are a UK-based death metal act who’ve been around the UK metal scene for a good while now, forming back in 2008 and sharing band-members with a number of bands over their lifespan, including Grave Miasma, Deströyer 666, Crom Dubh, and Sarpanitum. Despite this, their last release was the ‘Engulfed in Desolation’ EP back in 2011, after they went on a kind of hiatus in 2013 to work on other projects, before rising from the ashes this year to show us how death metal is done.

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Sorrow Plagues – An Eternity of Solitude

Posted in Reviews on June 10th, 2015 by Matthew Lowery

Much of black metal is a dreary, somber affair: dark, often self-destructive lyrical subjects and aggressive and often deliberately depressive music that doesn’t really leave much room for positivity; Not so with UK one-man black metal project Sorrow Plagues: like many recent atmospheric/post-black metal artists such as Deafheaven, Woods of Desolation, and others, Sorrow Plagues intends on challenging much of the genre’s long-held assumptions about what black metal can or should sound like.

The hazy, shoegazey atmosphere on this EP combined with the raw and  noisy production style are a very evocative combination, and under other
circumstances might have sounded totally at home in a far less extreme genre of music. Yet these mask the true feelings this music seeks to channel. It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to describe ‘An Eternity of Solitude’ as a positive album, yet the feelings it evokes are far from the often nihilistic, aggressive ones that black metal artists have traditionally sought to channel. It might be more accurate to say that An Eternity of Solitude channels feelings of hope, despair, and longing for something beyond reach. This is speculation of course, as the lyrics have not been published, but I am speaking to what the emotions this music draw out in me, and what I feel Sorrow Plagues is trying to communicate.

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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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