Reviews

Record reviews

Grief Collector – En Delirium Review

Grief Collector – En Delirium Review

“I don’t consider myself to be a serious fan of doom metal because my love of the genre is fairly limited. So you may be surprised to see that I picked up En Delirium, the debut full-length from Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Grief Collector. Well, I’m a sucker for doom metal of the epic variety, so when I saw that former Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus, vocalist Rob Lowe was fronting this relatively new project, I snatched it up without hesitation, marveling that the release had passed through the Steel filter on its way into the promo bin as I did so. Add to that the satisfaction of knowing that I’d stolen some Minneapolis doom right out from under Cherd of Doom‘s nose, and I simply couldn’t wipe the dumb smile off my dumb face.” Where’s the grief?!

Starlight Ritual – Sealed in Starlight Review

Starlight Ritual – Sealed in Starlight Review

Sponge Boy(d) and I don’t exactly have well aligned worldviews or musical tastes, but for whatever reason we both laid claim to the debut by Canadian classic metal act Starlight Ritual. Instead of fussin’ and feudin’, we decided to do a double review of Sealed in Starlight instead. See? People of different opinions can work together! Hailing from Quebec, this crew rocks a heavy metal sound steeped in the 80s. They cite influences ranging from Mötörhead, Rainbow and Judas Priest.” Sealed in the 80s.

Winter Eternal – Land of Darkness

Winter Eternal – Land of Darkness

“Greek black metal is a well-established scene in one of metal’s most extreme subgenres, and for me personally, none more so than Winter Eternal. Although they may have relocated from Attica to Scotland, I’m still happy to bundle 2019’s Realm of the Bleeding Shadows with that enclave given its excellence. It was a low-key release which now sits in my top 5 melodic black metal records of the 2010s. Its key qualities include its crisp tone, strong melodies and brevity which it wrapped into a compelling package which almost seems over before it’s begun. Clearly the band was unhappy with just realms, so they’re now branching out into a Land of Darkness. Is this a land you should visit?” Dark tourism.

Red Fang – Arrows Review

Red Fang – Arrows Review

“Ever wanted to spend your afternoon crafting a suit of armor from empty beer cans to go make drunken, bloody war on the D&D nerds at the local park? Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang got you. Ever been in the shower, sipping on a beer, when two, large hairy and, it has to be said, naked stoners apparate to invite you to an air guitar contest, before disappearing (with your tinny)? This four-piece stoner outfit understands. After a five-year hiatus, Red Fang is back with fifth full-length, Arrows, and in reassuringly generous mood.” Pay as you slow.

Portal – Avow Review

Portal – Avow Review

“Before Ion, we thought we had Portal figured out. The kings of murk would release another album of slogging dissonance, just like Swarth or Vexovoid. However, taking the path of least resistance or going with ol’ reliable has never been the esoteric Australian collective’s way, and we were greeted with Ion, a big obscure middle finger to the masses in their abruptly clearest and most pristine listen. In spite of the almost complete abandonment of murk, Ion adhered to their signature impenetrability, creating one of the most challenging listens in recent memory and showcasing that they weren’t just some disso-death one-trick pony. Avow reminds us that Portal is still king.” There will be cake.

Eremit – Bearer of Many Names Review

Eremit – Bearer of Many Names Review

“Two years ago, German then-duo Eremit trudged onto the scene with a 68-minute, three-song mammoth, Carrier of Weight, an album that contained a foreboding atmosphere, a production that could crush an elephant like it was an empty aluminum can, and about six or seven total riffs between all three gargantuan-length songs. It was a bit much for me, but even then, I could sense the potential for these sludge-bearers to smother the masses and climb to the top of the heap where witches with bells sit upon oaken (Lewandowski-painted) thrones, surveying the wastelands forevermore. If there was something that the shitstorm that was 2020 and parts of 2021 taught me, it’s that patience is most certainly a welcome virtue, and time can soften an old fuddy-duddy like yours truly. As such, the now-trio-again have seen fit to unleash their newest beast, Bearer of Many Names, with a sleeker, heavier disposition.” Names with weight.

Atrium – Ancient Spells Review

Atrium – Ancient Spells Review

“Wolves are neat critters, but their portrayals have gotten a bad rap. The gift shop t-shirt of choice for angsty teenagers who listen to Five Finger Death Punch‘s “Jekyll & Hyde” and convince their friends that they have a “dark side,” the symbol has lost its teeth. Toss in that one individual who identifies as a wolf and barks at a lake, these canines have often become a symbol of try-hards rather than the courageous and loyal representation with which it is traditionally associated. Gazing upon the howling wolf that graces the cover of Ancient Spells, does Atrium offer strength and courage or is it upended by its own insecurities?” Eyes bigger than your belly, Wolfie?

Inhuman Condition – Rat°God Review

Inhuman Condition – Rat°God Review

“As an elderly gent who was already big into heavy metal long before genres like death and black arose and split off to maraud and pillage, I remember the early days of death fondly. Those seminal 80s albums by Death, Necrophagia, and Pestilence were simple, elemental and loads of unholy fun. When Massacre‘s long-delayed From Beyond debut hit the streets in 1991, it was like a capstone on that original sound, which was already mutating and evolving into nastier, more abhorrent entities. I’m still very fond of those early platters, and was especially annoyed that Massacre never managed a decent follow up to their classic release. Fast-forward 30 years and Death / Massacre alumnus Terry Butler teamed up with some well-traveled younger guns to release what is essentially a continuation of Massacre with the name Inhuman Condition.” Vermin Supreme.

Seputus – Phantom Indigo Review

Seputus – Phantom Indigo Review

“If tasked to write a glib introduction for Seputus, one could hardly do better than “Pyrrhon with 25% less Pyrrhon.” With a lineup entirely drawn from the noise-death icon (missing only the inimitable Dylan DiLella), that’s mathematically true, and with their second record, it’s likewise stylistically accurate. With Phantom Indigo drummer/guitarist Stephen Schwegler, bassist Erik Malave, and vocalist Doug Moore give in to their experimental instincts, livening their dense deathgrind with nauseous psychedelia and stretching their compositions to the breaking point.” Colors of the Septrum.

Wooden Veins – In Finitude Review

Wooden Veins – In Finitude Review

“In recent weeks, I’ve been making an effort to embrace an ideology readily encouraged by some of my fellow writers here at Angry Metal Guy – namely, that you should pick out your reviews, at least some of the time, without sampling available singles or excerpts. When I saw In Finitude resting in the Promo Pit, I made no exception. I know it’s the debut full-length release from a Chilean band called Wooden Veins, whose members have credits involving Chilean doom metal bands like Mourning Sun, and that the band labels itself is an avant-garde force in the scene. I also know what the cover looks like, and that was it.” Expect the unexpected.