4.5

Ataraxie – L’Être et la Nausée Review

Ataraxie – L’Être et la Nausée Review

“Jesus fucking Christ. From the moment the teaser came up on the YouTube showcasing some of the most foreboding death/doom I’ve heard in recent memory, I knew this album would be good; no question about that. Dealing with the subject of insanity and sickness, there really is no better genre of metal to match it — the crushing weight of sound along with the jarring shifts in tempo make it the perfect medium for some seriously skin-crawling material. The potential for this album was huge, especially knowing the track record this band has for great releases; Slow Transcending Agony being one of my go-to death/doom records. But it posed risks, the biggest being the length — keeping one’s attention for a double album.” Noctus isn’t afraid of a double album of hostile funeral doom/death, but should you be?

Cerekloth – In the Midst of Life We are in Death Review

Cerekloth – In the Midst of Life We are in Death Review

“Edvard Munch’s series of paintings, The Scream, has long held a fascination for me, from Munch’s depiction of the blood red sky to the raw emotion and suffering in the screamers eyes, as images they’re almost stifling to look at. Cerekloth have taken The Scream a step further. They’ve intensified the colors, honed in on the screamer, they’ve given you a passage into where this torture is coming from and they’ve added a bone chilling soundtrack – life meets art? Bursting onto the scene back in 2008 after putting blackened death outfit Church Bizarre temporarily on ice, the release of the debut EP Pandemonium Prayers saw Cerekloth added to Hells Headbangers for the release of a demo and an additional EP Halo of Syringes. And now a full 5 years later, Denmark based Cerekloth return with the Reaper in toe driving it home that death is a part of life, putting death and darkness back into death metal with In the Midst of Life We are in Death. Color me embarrassed for letting this devastating collaboration of aggression and chilling sensations slip through the cracks and go unnoticed!” Madam X gets extra dark and scary as she examines the painful and tortured death metal of Cerekloth. You wouldn’t like her when she’s super scary!

Locrian – Return to Annihilation Review

Locrian – Return to Annihilation Review

“Have you ever wondered what happens to the music nobody listens to? It implodes. It does not even make any noise. It simply withers unnoticed, forgotten, unwanted. Then there is the music that stays: that particular strain of artistic endeavor that appeals to the masses and (sometimes) the niches and that we are taught not to live without. Locrian are the natural evolution (some may say ‘consequence’) of the Chicago scene of the late 90s where acts like Tortoise, Isotope 217, and Gastr Del Sol flourished and kept the territory safe from the dying throes of grunge.” Alex thinks this album shouldn’t be left to implode into a black hole of apathy. In fact, he seems quite taken with this experimental fusion of drone, blackness and the kitchen sink.

Author & Punisher – Women & Children Review

Author & Punisher – Women & Children Review

“There’s a moment in time, at a certain point and it doesn’t even matter where, when one starts to wonder: how big is this machine? Does it have thoughts of its own? Where does the medium start and the human mind end? But does it matter, after all? Author & Punisher is a true son of post-industrial America: one of those people who may end up living their entire lives without having to turn the handles of a proper mechanical apparatus, smell the iron, wonder why its aroma is so similar to that of human blood and confuse form with substance. Machines – greasy joints dripping oil as if sweat – belong to zoos together with those strange animals (cows, goats, donkeys, etc.) young kids rarely see.” I for one would love to visit a mechanical zoo! Anywho, Alex provides us with more of his thoughtful musings on life, machinery and metal as he examines the new Author & Punisher opus.

Svart Crown – Profane Review

Svart Crown – Profane Review

“Cast your mind back to Feb 2011 when Steel Druhm came across what he referred to as a particularly ‘insane, claustrophobia inducing, vicious, ugly, hateful’ blackened death album by brutal French metallers, Svart Crown. Witnessing the Fall quickly worked its filthy, sharp claws into Steel Druhm’s brain, battering and shredding his grey matter in a way that Behemoth and Belphegor have rarely done.” Can Svart Crown top their 2011 release? Join Madam X as she opens her mind up to a whole lot of evil to find out!

Summoning – Old Mornings Dawn Review

Summoning – Old Mornings Dawn Review

“It was seven years ago that I purchased my very first CD as a teenager who knew nothing about music other than the fact I absolutely loved it and wanted to find something completely different and obscure. I opened up a metal magazine and was instantly pulled in by the mysterious description and album cover to Summoning‘s Oath Bound. The nature-influenced album cover, the Austrian black metal description, all of it seemed incredibly alluring so I bought it blindly — my first ever musical purchase. Needless to say, Oath Bound arrived and floored me.” Noctus has a heartfelt history with this group of Tolkien-obsessed black metal maven, but does their new album live up to his lofty (and insanely fanboyish) expectations?

Satan – Life Sentence Review

Satan – Life Sentence Review

“For a lot of bands, the album title Life Sentence would be a clever moniker, a reference to the penal system with the potential for lots of imprisonment imagery, but it might not say anything significant about the band’s core identity. For Satan, Life Sentence effectively portrays every band member’s relationship to heavy metal. Satan were founded in Newcastle, U.K. In 1979 and were instrumental in establishing the movement that has come to be known as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Though they languished in obscurity for much of their early career, their style, which exhibited aspects of very early thrash and speed metal, would go on to help define both genres.” Old timers Satan are back with more court themed metal. Put on your lawsuit and check your briefs as Natalie serves as judge and jury.

Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury Review

Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury Review

“I may as well skip describing anything and just post a video of me attempting to eat my own hat. Yes, I was 100% convinced this album would be awful. When the album cover was released and the music video with a black metal interpretive dance was revealed, all I could think about was that they were trying too hard to be “artsy.” Not that I was against the idea of a departure from old themes, mind you — because I was one of the few who couldn’t understand why everyone liked Mammal so much.” While we all wait anxiously for Noctus to record his hat eating videos, he’ll explain why the new Altar of Plagues is much better than their last outing. Did I mention Noctus usually sports a sombrero? Yeah, this is gonna be fun!

Shade Empire – Omega Arcane Review

Shade Empire – Omega Arcane Review

“When you hail from Finland, a country teaming with metal giants (cast your mind along the lines of Finntroll, Amorphis and Ghost Brigade to name but a few), you have two choices: Option 1, you up your game, you mature as a band and you write epic tracks. Option 2, you keep on keeping on, you join the unknown masses and you sink into obscurity. On this their fourth release and a solid five years in the making, Shade Empire went with option 1.” Madam X is big on lists, notations and options, so find out where she ranks the new Shade Empire in her arcane filing system. She’s like Conan the Librarian.

Black Boned Angel – The End Review

Black Boned Angel – The End Review

“There’s no point in dancing around it – doom/drone is about as niche as niche gets. Unless you’re a serious enthusiast of bands like Earth (early material) and Sunn O))), it’s very likely that Black Boned Angel haven’t been a band on your radar, and with their latest (and last) opus, that isn’t very likely to change.” Drone is a mighty tough sell, but Noctus has his sales pitch ready and he wants to tell you why this is something special. Hell, this guy could sell spit to Geoff Tate!