El Cuervo

I'm not deliberately contrary.
Scolopendra – Those of the Catacombs [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Scolopendra – Those of the Catacombs [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“If you frequent these parts, you may have been aware that 2020 has been death metal’s year. What you may not have been aware of is that some of the year’s best come from Italy. While you may think of ancient empires, Renaissance classicism or pizza when Italy comes to mind, Padua’s Scolopendra adopts a rather different approach on their debut called Those of the Catacombs.” Death in Venice.

Dark Psychosis – The Edge of Nowhere Review

Dark Psychosis – The Edge of Nowhere Review

“In my year-end haze of short days, lockdown and work-related torpor, I peered nervously into the promo pool for something which may re-energize my sedentary life. An intriguing “experimental black metal” tag caught my eye and it was with this that I embarked on a review of the new album by Michigan’s Dark Psychosis. The Edge of Nowhere represents only their third full-length release since forming in 1999, and it’s a far cry from those black/thrash early days.” Nowhere fast?

Dismal – Quinta Essentia Review

Dismal – Quinta Essentia Review

“It’s very satisfying that in a location where I’ve worked for over 6 years I can still enjoy new experiences. Italy’s Dismal and their new record called Quinta Essentia (Quintessence) represents a number of firsts for me. First time hearing this band; first dual review with a n00b; first album where different resources conflicted as to label; first album where different resources conflicted as to number of releases by the band; first album where my first listen resulted in 3 reviews’ worth of notes. It was all very intriguing to me, least of all the music produced here. The greatest challenge was narrowing my thoughts into a reasonable article. Where to begin?” First rodeos.

Pallbearer – Forgotten Days Review

Pallbearer – Forgotten Days Review

“Spear-heading the surge of American doom metal in the 2010s, Arkansas’s Pallbearer were the saddest and slowest of the cohort which also includes the likes of Khemmis and Spirit Adrift. With a simmering melancholy and towering doom-laden riffs, they were simultaneously the most traditional but most fresh of these acts. 2017’s Heartless saw them leaning into progressive territory (and copping them the ‘Progbearer’ nickname) as it strove for expansive soundscapes and used dynamic song-writing. 2020 has been an especially sad year which would seemingly provide plenty of days to be forgotten; how fares Forgotten Days in this context?” Pall of shame.

Hellripper – The Affair of the Poisons Review

Hellripper – The Affair of the Poisons Review

“Despite enjoying metal my whole life, I used to struggle with thrash beyond the biggest names. I found it bland, chugging and neanderthalic. 2017 was a watershed time for my enjoyment of the thrashing style, and part of that watershed was Coagulating Darkness by Hellripper. Bridging black, speed and thrash, James McBain’s solo project did what so many others (including the ‘classics’) previously had not and opened the doors to the genre. Though I never got round to a write-up, it’s one of the premium speedy albums of the 2010s and Hellripper shot up my list of favorite bands.” Return of the Ripper.

Uada – Djinn Review

Uada – Djinn Review

Uada have captured the hearts of many fans searching for plenty of melody with their fury or Mgła without the controversy. I was (and remain) a huge fan of the tight, energetic debut, but 2018’s Cult of a Dying Sun left me colder. I felt that the band were going through the motions, which concerned me given it was but a sophomore release. Take the essential formula of these two albums, ladle on more melody and add a few pinches of Mgła controversy and you have Djinn.” Djinn and juice.

Regardless of Me – Black Flowers Blossom Review

Regardless of Me – Black Flowers Blossom Review

“Six years into this gig, and I still largely choose albums from the promo pool by name and/or genre tag. While I like to review a diverse array of sub-genres, it’s tough for me to not pick the low hanging fruit of obscure tags. The prospect of “trance metal” was an enticing one indeed, and it was from this that I selected Italy’s Regardless of Me.” No regard.