Reviews

Record reviews

Wyrms – Sarkhral Lumænor – La Lueur Contre les Fléaux Review

Wyrms – Sarkhral Lumænor – La Lueur Contre les Fléaux Review

“Let’s get one thing straight with these guys: avant-garde, avant-schmard. Unlike many French compatriots, wacky innovation is not the name of the game here. Wyrms stick rigidly to the melodic template which has been honed to a fine sheen since Dissection and Sacramentum first did their thing. Sarkhral Lumænor is about as modern as a jousting contest, and as subtle and flexible as chain-mail armor.” The wyrm you know.

Gutvoid – Durance of Lightless Horizons Review

Gutvoid – Durance of Lightless Horizons Review

“A young act’s debut full-length can be exciting on many levels. You are there at the birth of something, the leaping off point for a career of unknown fortunes. Sometimes you can smell greatness even on the earliest works, and other times humble beginnings offer no hint of the great things to come. The promo material for Toronto’s Gutvoid aren’t shy about promising big things for this upstart death metal outfit. Words like “titanic” and “stellar” are dropped and much hype is created for Durance of Lightless Horizons. And there is some truth in the PR puffery (for once).” Durance of elevated expectations.

Live Burial – Curse of the Forlorn Review

Live Burial – Curse of the Forlorn Review

“It’s not often that I get accused of underrating an album, but when I covered Live Burial’s 2020 release Unending Futility, a handful of citizens with torches and pitchforks came after me. Even our own El Cuervo said, ‘All the shit you give a 4.0, and you 3.5 this? This record is incredible.’ Now, it’s easy to see why people were up in arms, because Live Burial is an insanely talented bunch of musicians. Their brand of old-school death metal is heavily influenced by the almighty Death, and their technical ability is not far below Chuck Schuldiner and his cast of virtuosos. But while I found Unending Futility to be incredibly well made—the production was almost as impressive as the performances—there was some intangible part of the songwriting that held me back from being more enthusiastic about the record overall.” Death and unsatisfied readers.

Kings of Mercia – Kings of Mercia Review

Kings of Mercia – Kings of Mercia Review

“Here we are for Round 2 of Battle of the Bands. Round 1 took place back on August 12, when Ray Alder and Mark Zonder conspired to release their exceptionally strong A-Z album. Now we’ve got the response from Jim Matheos and Joey Vera, another eponymous debut, by their new band Kings of Mercia.” Fates be warned.

Celestial Grave – Vitriolic Atonement Review

Celestial Grave – Vitriolic Atonement Review

“Three years ago, I covered Finnish black metal mourners Celestial Grave‘s debut record, Secular Flesh. At that time, the album was released under a label which today gives me pause. That label isn’t a friendly place, for several reasons upon which I won’t elaborate here. However, Celestial Grave is now releasing their sophomore album, Vitriolic Atonement, under the much smaller and less problematic (for now, anyway) The Sinister Flame. And thus, I picked it up to give it the full treatment. I’m glad I did, too.” Welcome is a grave.

Razor – Cycle of Contempt Review

Razor – Cycle of Contempt Review

“As a drunken teen in the 80s, it was easy to root for Razor. The fiesty Canadian speed/thrash outfit was full of piss, cheap beer, and rabid underdog enthusiasm. When I first heard their timeless cut “Evil Invaders” courtesy of a public access cable station’s metal video hour, it was love at first sound. They were rough, raw, unrefined, and pugnacious – all the things a Long Island teen aspires to be. And so a love affair was born.” Old blades and broken cycles.

Kill Division – Peace Through Tyranny Review

Kill Division – Peace Through Tyranny Review

“2022 may just go down as a banner year for grind, peppered with quality releases. Although it can be overlooked, grind can also be deceptively diverse, illustrated by the shifting styles of some of the genre’s big hitters in 2022. The debut album from Kill Division tackles grind from an old school perspective, delivered by a seasoned group of musicians, including members of Gruesome, Inhuman Condition, those who have logged time in Malevolent Creation, and former Soilwork and current Megadeth drummer, Dirk Verbeuren. Quite a pedigree of well-established and respected metal musicians.” Grindfire of the vanities.

Holy Fawn – Dimensional Bleed Review

Holy Fawn – Dimensional Bleed Review

Death Spells was something special. Introducing us to the beautiful and devastating world of Holy Fawn, it showcased stunning restraint for an act with everything to prove. While undeniably built upon the foundation of My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive with saturated shoegaze drenching every movement, don’t be surprised if you’re surprised with swaths of electronica, climactic metal crunch, and a knack for heart-wrenching melody. Holy Fawn is undeniably metal, and like good metal, labyrinthine.” What is metal?

Algebra – Chiroptera Review

Algebra – Chiroptera Review

“Ask most folks around the world to describe Swiss culture in a word, and I’d bet that “precise” ends up in the top ten most common responses. Switzerland is known for producing precision-made watches, cutlery, and chocolates, and thanks to Coroner’s technical version of the genre, we can probably add precision-made thrash metal to the list. And if we want to emphasize that last point, we need look no further than Swiss thrashers Algebra.” Fast maths.