2.5

The Last of Lucy – Godform Review

The Last of Lucy – Godform Review

“Transcending Obscurity’s rise amongst the underground metal label ranks has been rapid, swelling in recent years as they house an increasingly powerful staple of killer bands, with the quality factor generally of a high standard across a packed roster of talented and unique artists. Taking around a decade from band conception to debut LP release, California’s The Last of Lucy have built underground momentum and refined their sound, arriving at their third LP, and second for Transcending Obscurity, entitled Godform. Aside from taste testing some of their previous work, in particular 2022’s Moksha, I largely divulge in this latest endeavor with fresh ears. Residing in the crowded, head-spinning realms of modern technical and brutal death, how does The Last of Lucy fare?” Lucy in the sky with noodles.

Hemotoxin – When Time Becomes Loss Review

Hemotoxin – When Time Becomes Loss Review

“Over the course of two prior releases I’ve reviewed, Pittsburgh’s Hemotoxin has failed to truly wow me. Their idiosyncratic brand of deathy, thrashy metal stretches slightly towards progressive ground, but they also demonstrate an admirable willingness to eschew any bloat across their tight releases. Despite these strengths, frantic songwriting and an arguable lack of focus have hamstrung their memorability and consigned them to “probably cool live but no point to return” territory. 2024 sees their return and I was cautiously optimistic to hear whether When Time Becomes Loss would be the record to elevate their discography.” Blood and soilwork.

Goden – Vale of the Fallen Review

Goden – Vale of the Fallen Review

“New York City’s Goden embodies the spiritual successor of Winter, a quietly influential death/doom outfit who amassed a devoted cult following 1990’s acclaimed full-length Into Darkness and follow-up 1993 EP Eternal Frost. Original guitarist Stephen Flam and guest keyboardist Tony Pinnissi created the new chapter of Goden, 2020 debut Beyond Darkness (an homage to its parent act) ambushing fans and newcomers alike with mountainous riffs, frosty synths, and vicious vocals – virtually only held back by the act’s obsession with a billion synth interludes. With follow-up Vale of the Fallen, it becomes all the more crucial for Flam and company to continue its trajectory of success.” Winter is coming (back).

SYK – eartHFlesh Review

SYK – eartHFlesh Review

“Bereft of a lyric sheet or any promotional explanation, I’m unsure why SYK chose to spell the title of their fourth album like they have. eartHFlesh draws attention with more than its unusual spelling though, with a dark, provocative cover, and the fact that it marks the band’s signing with Season of Mist. The Italian collective have been steadily building on a groovy, quirky brand of progressive death metal, distinguished largely by the cleans of now ex-vocalist Dalila Kayros. With her gone, and the group pivoting to primarily unclean growls, and a further turn, if slight, towards the more extreme corners of the genre, a new form of SYK emerges for the first time. eartHFlesh is a critical turning point.” New flesh, new friends?

Flamekeeper – Flamekeeper Review

Flamekeeper – Flamekeeper Review

“We’ve covered Flamekeeper mastermind Marco S. before, under his blackened death metal project Demonomancy. It stands to reason, then, that Marco knows what black metal sounds like, but there is almost no trace of it in Flamekeeper. An occasional dalliance with quicker gallops verifies some measure of power metal heritage as well, but at the core this music is tailor-made for raising swords and pumping chests in the traditional way—think less Morgul Blade and more Manowar.” Epic flames of burnt ciders?

Baron – Beneath the Blazing Abyss Review

Baron – Beneath the Blazing Abyss Review

“Little explanation is required for why I chose Beneath the Blazing Abyss for review. From artwork and title alone I was promised a fiery, hellish heavy metal experience, while Baron’s one sheet informed me this would be of the doom/death variety. I even initially thought that the art depicted an interpretation of the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. However, closer inspection reveals a decapitated head offered to demonic spirits; altogether too X-rated for the famously conservative Christian Tolkien. While these Finns have released a smattering of EPs and demos previously, this album offers their debut full-length. What type of evil resides within?” Nobility and brutality.

High on Fire — Cometh the Storm Review

High on Fire — Cometh the Storm Review

“This site suffers from a High on Fire appreciation deficit. Staffers from the prog-and-scones salon brush them away like so much dandruff from the shoulder of their tweed blazers. The caveman contingent, meanwhile, sends no love to this sludge institution. We’ve only reviewed them one time! The oversight heaps discredit on snobs and slobs alike. With the release of their ninth slab Cometh the Storm, I, Ferox, pounced on the opportunity to acknowledge these facts and correct the record. Cometh the Storm just needs to deliver the groceries one more time so I can cram it in the face of my fellow staffers.” High on fanboying.

Tomorrow’s Rain – Ovdan Review

Tomorrow’s Rain – Ovdan Review

Tomorrow’s Rain is an interesting beast. The Israeli six-piece treads between doom and gothic metal, and made a splash with their debut Hollow in part because of the sheer number of guest musicians who participated in the album. Now, four years later, the band returns with their sophomore full-length, Ovdan (“Loss”), an album with a deeply personal backstory. This was recorded after vocalist and founding member Yishai Swartz suffered a heart attack severe enough to warrant open heart surgery.” Rain and recovery.

Balance of Power – Fresh from the Abyss Review

Balance of Power – Fresh from the Abyss Review

“It’s strange when a band you like goes into an extended period of inactivity. You miss them for the first few years and get impatient for new material. After 4-5 years though, you move on and eventually give up on hearing more from them. Stranger still is when a band that put you through all that abruptly returns some 20 years later with a very different sound. This is the experience I’ve had with the U.K.s Balance of Power.” Out of balance.