Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Luminescence of Stains...

Leechfeast - Neon Crosses (2018)

Aiming big with their sophomore album, the Slovenian group of Leechfeast have put together four tracks, each one at least eight minutes long. It's their first album release since 2012, though they've put together material for splits in that time, and the atmosphere they build over the course of the new LP's two sides is one of smothering dread, making the lengthy wait for the follow-up something quickly forgiven as it plays.
The album leads with “Sacrosanct”, which quickly establishes the nasty tone and gritty textures which persist from there 'til the end, a lo-fi spoken sample providing a nicely disorienting blare of detached reference before the bass and drums come in to set a pace like a stoned sloth with razors in its paws. “Halogen” follows, bringing a more concentrated throbbing to the bass-beam swinging, plus a tasty melodic nod to a classic piece of heaviness (cast your mind back about half a century when you hear it yourself), and “Tar” leads the way into the second half by diving head-first into a morass of grime you can practically feel on your skin. “Tar” is also the longest track of the LP, and its time is well-spent by the band as they grimly take hold of the riffs and twist them into lethal configurations.
By the time “Razor Nest” comes about to usher in the end, the album's already taken a compelling journey through its soundscape of pits and pains, but the band doesn't let up with the final track. Instead, they push on into even more massive sound ranges, lending a grandeur to the suffering that's almost symphonic in the way it stretches up and out, though the music stays well-grounded with its instrumentation. As the last of it rattles to a close, the band takes a minute to linger on some stripped-down echoing, providing a care to it that neatly captures the effort taken to make the album as a whole fit together in sludgy glory. And they succeeded, pretty damn well at that.
Sludgers who want it truly dirty and despairing, don't let this one slip by you. It's out March 30th, dually released by Dry Cough Records and Rope Or Guillotine, with a later cassette version from Hellas Records, and a string of European live dates through April in various countries. Damn, I envy those of you who get to catch those shows.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Dead Existence, Meth Drinker, Mudbath, O.D.R.A., Zeppheroin


Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Fleshless Abode...

Evil Spirit - The Imageless Mirror (2018)

Performed by just two members (Marcelo Aguirre on vocals and percussion, Ari Almeida on guitars and bass), this mini-album bridges the gap between the German group's first album, Cauldron Messiah, and their second LP, which is still cooking. Over the course of this release's five songs, the duo brew a mean atmosphere of low tones, strained strings, fierce wailings, and malefic attitude, bringing slow doom slogs and sludgy burners together with panache and a startlingly large-scale vibe. Heavy slams and gnarly riffs are in plentiful supply, there's a hefty Death SS cover which Evil Spirit does a great job of making into their own thing, and the music includes several creative surprises that are rather neatly worked into the flow. If you're like me, and haven't yet heard the group's first LP, this is a great introduction to the band's style and capabilities, and should leave you wanting to check out more of their catalog. Of course, that'll mean you'll end up hungering for that second album to show up, but that's an acceptable price to pay for music this stimulating.
~ Gabriel
For Fans Of; Brume, Heavydeath, Narcosatanicos, Sunken, Uroboros


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Nations Of Corpses...

Gnaw Their Tongues - Genocidal Majesty (2018)

Gnaw Their Tongues are pretty damn prolific for a one-man group, having put out a dozen albums (not including splits and side-projects) since self-releasing his first LP back in 2006. Keeping up that pace, GTT's first album for 2018 launches out from its start with howls, monstrous bass, and an enveloping sense of doom, compressing the massive-feeling music into just a little over half an hour of material. Electronics augment the nasty vibes, generating unstable fields of disturbance and high-speed percussion that ramp upwards into harder and harsher power. Industrial strength solvent for the nerves, high-pressure doom, nightmare factory recordings, and a big dose of unhinged, unrestrained maddened outpouring come together with fantastic results, while titles like “The Doctrine of Paranoid Seraphims” lure in unsuspecting listeners expecting something symphonic.
Not something which will appeal to everyone (thank goodness), Genocidal Majesty finds GTT continuing to experiment, but doing so with the confidence and dependable underlying technique that comes from having been at this for over a decade, with no signs of compromising the effort or earnestness of the various approaches he's taken in that time. The demonic passion which consumes GM at times (during “Cold Oven”, for instance) puts a long list of extreme metal groups to shame with how fiercely it comes at the listener, and the coatings of programming do nothing to get in the way of that assault. High-grade audio pain, intense and superb.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Boyd Rice, Iron Justice, Skin Chamber, Sunken, White Darkness


Saturday, February 03, 2018

Life In The Graveyard...

Burning Saviours - Death (2018)

With albums in their catalog dating back to 2005, there's no question that the Swedish group of Burning Saviours have a firm handle on the hard rock they play. With this latest album, they pay homage to some of the forebears who made the links between original doom metal and hard rock stand out most clearly, keeping the songs of Death heavy and theatrically menacing while emphasizing chuggy riffs, burnishing thick bass slabs, and singing about (what else?) the inevitable cessation of life.
Though there's a lot of homage filling the music, it also stands strong as a solid batch of old-school doom pulled off in fine form. Head-banging beats and hooky riffs are supplied in ample measure, the amping sounds warm (and pretty close to period-accurate for the style they're working), and refusing to stay small when there's a chance to go big with the rocking add up to an album which comes in without a trace of fear and does everything it sets out to do. Really, the music explains it better than I could, so as soon as the album drops (March 9th, through the good people at Transubstans Records), grab yourself a copy and get ready to ride a time-traveling train of heavy riffs back to the days when every piece of metal cover art would look good on the side of a van.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Black Knight, Candlemass, Pentagram, Saint Vitus, Salem Mass