L. Saunders

Suffering Hour – The Cyclic Reckoning Review

Suffering Hour – The Cyclic Reckoning Review

“The dreaded sophomore slump is always a concern after a band bursts out of the blocks with a stellar debut. Expectation and pressure mounts, at least from a fan perspective. In the case of the mysterious Suffering Hour, 2017’s debut LP, In Passing Ascension, created a deserved underground buzz and well and truly placed Suffering Hour on the map as a band to keep a close eye on. With just the intervening Dwell EP in 2019, Suffering Hour took their time in fine tuning and honing their signature sound in preparation of unleashing The Cyclic Reckoning.” Vicious cyclic.

Colossus – Degenesis Review

Colossus – Degenesis Review

“The year is in full swing and the flood of metal releases continues to overflow in the AMG promo portal. Of course there’s always an element of risk in blindly plucking albums from the portal. Unless I am feeling in a particularly risky or adventurous mood, I scout for releases that fall into my genre wheelhouse, and death metal tends to attract me like moth to flame. Especially after such a splendid year for the genre in 2020, the hope is for at least a handful of review assignments will throw up something special in 2021. The trio of musicians comprising freshly minted death metal outfit Colossus are equipped with background experience in the metal underground, via acts such as Lividity, Cryptic Fog, and Cereviscera. Despite being a new entity, basically the members are seasoned in the game, unleashing a debut album of brutal, technically proficient death.” The Colossus of Woes.

Altered Dead – Returned to Life Review

Altered Dead – Returned to Life Review

“After the overwhelmingly putrid scent of sweet death delighted the senses of genre enthusiasts in 2020, can death metal in 2021 piggyback off the momentum of a banner year for the genre and keep the brutality rolling in 2021 with similar levels of quality? Canada’s Altered Dead¬†throw their bones in the ring of death on the follow-up to their self-titled debut from back in 2016.” Reanimatdead.

Intellect Devourer – Demons of the Skull [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Intellect Devourer – Demons of the Skull [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“Here’s a heartwarming tale of perseverance in the Aussie death metal underground. Intellect Devourer formed way back in 1991, and after releasing a couple of demos, enduring splits, hiatuses and reformations, finally recorded their full-length debut, entitled Demons of the Skull, in 2020. Featuring members from various other bands, including Mournful Congregation and StarGazer, Intellect Devourer bring a wealth of battle hardened experience into an inspired batch of old school technical death songs.” Mind monsters.

Contrarian – Only Time Will Tell Review

Contrarian – Only Time Will Tell Review

“My first exposure to American progressive death outfit Contrarian was on their third LP, 2019’s Their Worm Never Dies. Despite impressing with their technical skills and old school soul, the material never quite hit loftier heights, resulting in an enjoyable, talent-laden album of the solid variety. Only Time Will Tell is a relatively speedy turnaround and comes with some line-up changes in tow.” Prog after Death.

Countless Skies – Glow Review

Countless Skies – Glow Review

“UK melodic death crew Countless Skies impressed on their 2016 debut, New Dawn. Although in hindsight I was perhaps a little too generous with my final evaluation, the album signaled a rising voice worth keeping close track of. Some four years later, Countless Skies return rejuvenated, and with the backing of none other than Willowtip Records, a slightly left field label for the band’s rich, layered melodeath tapestry. The intervening years have treated Countless Skies well, and sophomore platter Glow, sounds like a band more comfortable and confident with their lush blend of gorgeous melody, progressive arrangements, and dynamic shifts into heavier realms.” Glow and steady.

Mr Bungle – The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo Review

Mr Bungle – The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo Review

“In a year of surprises, mostly of the nasty variety, a new album from Californian experimental legends Mr Bungle seemed an unlikely scenario. Yet here we are, but not as many would have expected. As has been well publicized, rather than pen an album of fresh tunes, the band has continued their streak for delivering the unexpected, revisiting their earliest teenage musical roots, and 1986 cult demo, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny.” Bunny or die.

Gargoyl – Gargoyl Review

Gargoyl – Gargoyl Review

“Ever since the early seeds of the Gargoyl project came to public light, I have been anticipating a debut album. Lo and behold, the band, featuring Revocation‘s Dave Davidson (guitars) and Luke Roberts (vocals/guitars) from the underrated Ayahuasca, has arrived with their self-titled LP. Blending dark, brooding, unsettling atmospheres, Gargoyl play off-kilter progressive metal with avant garde tendencies and a strong ’90s grunge vibe, most notably drawing influence from Seattle rock legends Alice in Chains. On paper the combination has a hell of a lot going for it, however, nailing the execution and establishing a strong identity are challenges to overcome.” Super groups, man…

Madrost – Charring the Rotting Earth Review

Madrost – Charring the Rotting Earth Review

“California’s Madrost have cultivated a solid track record of high octane thrash, spiced with deathly impulses and technical flair. The band’s last couple of efforts have made for solidly entertaining platters, packed with energy, riffs and lofty ambition. Kicking round the traps for some time now, Madrost is an underrated and confident band, continuing to improve.” Prog-rot.

Skeletal Remains – The Entombment of Chaos Review

Skeletal Remains – The Entombment of Chaos Review

“Old school death has bucked the dreary trend of a wretched 2020 thus far with a stellar supply of quality albums to help keep the blues away. Now the unfashionable but dependably solid Californian crew Skeletal Remains emerge from their dank and dusty crypt with their bludgeoning brand of no-frills death on latest platter of destruction, The Entombment of Chaos.” Bone entombers unite!