2.5

Coexistence – Collateral Dimension Review

Coexistence – Collateral Dimension Review

“Technical death metal can be a fickle mistress. She can lure you away with promises of sublime virtuosity, only to bombard you with a cacophony of disjoined solos. She can entice you with the siren song of a bold sci-fi concept album, only to present you with a sub-standard Spawn of Possession clone. Despite this, there’s a lot of great tech death out there, but you have to be willing to separate the 8-string wheat from the 7-string chaff. So where does Coexistence fit in with their debut album Collateral Dimension?” All tech, no peace.

Pallbearer – Forgotten Days Review

Pallbearer – Forgotten Days Review

“Spear-heading the surge of American doom metal in the 2010s, Arkansas’s Pallbearer were the saddest and slowest of the cohort which also includes the likes of Khemmis and Spirit Adrift. With a simmering melancholy and towering doom-laden riffs, they were simultaneously the most traditional but most fresh of these acts. 2017’s Heartless saw them leaning into progressive territory (and copping them the ‘Progbearer’ nickname) as it strove for expansive soundscapes and used dynamic song-writing. 2020 has been an especially sad year which would seemingly provide plenty of days to be forgotten; how fares Forgotten Days in this context?” Pall of shame.

Infera Bruo – Rites of the Nameless Review

Infera Bruo – Rites of the Nameless Review

“In 2018 I opened my review of Infera Bruo‘s Cerement by hailing its cover art as a perfect encapsulation of the record’s sound. Examining the artwork for its follow-up, Rites of the Nameless, I feel compelled to establish this practice as a tradition when reviewing Infera Bruo‘s albums. The depiction of roots coiled around a skull is striking; not so much because of the image itself, but rather that Rites of the Nameless feels like a conscious effort to connect more deeply with black metal’s roots.” Roots, nameless roots.

Raging Speedhorn – Hard to Kill Review

Raging Speedhorn – Hard to Kill Review

Raging Speedhorn. Now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time. A long time. And to be honest, I didn’t really expect to hear it again but it would seem it’s pretty Hard to Kill this six-piece from Corby in the UK. I first came across Raging Speedhorn when they opened the main stage at Ozzfest in Milton Keynes in 2001. I am almost certain that I saw them again at some point and, after conferring with one of my best mates, I think this may have been a rather unlikely-seeming slot opening for The Dillinger Escape Plan sometime around 2002 or 2003. I hadn’t thought about them since then until a few weeks back, when Holdeneye alerted me to the fact that we had received the promo for Hard to Kill and asked whether, as the only person to ever reference Raging Speedhorn on the blog, I was interested. Hell, why not.” Can’t kill the Horn.

Benediction – Scriptures Review

Benediction – Scriptures Review

“When I first heard Benediction, it was on the indispensable Death…Is Just the Beginning II with “Dark is the Season.” I still get that opening riff stuck in my head from time to time. Many moons ago when I first discovered Anaal Nathrakh, I learned that vocalist Dave Hunt had performed on Benediction’s 2008 release Killing Music, I was rather ambivalent upon hearing it. Sometime around then I heard Bolt Thrower’s underrated Honour Valour Pride, which featured Benediction’s best-known vocalist Dave Ingram, and I loved his performance. Ingram’s stellar performance on the title track of Megascavenger’s At the Plateaus of Leng was a big factor in me picking it up. Scriptures, Benediction’s first release since Killing Music, sees Ingram return to the fold and my expectations measured.” Death… is beginning again.

Memoremains – The Cost of Greatness Review

Memoremains – The Cost of Greatness Review

“Pop metal. Sure. Why not. Sorry, hang on, I missed a crucial detail there. Finnish pop metal. Sure! Why not? Frankly, as much as I may have misgivings about the style, pop is generally meant to be a cheery style and right now I could use some cheer, because this month has seriously sucked on just about every level and, frankly, I’m getting tired of catharsis. So I’m turning away from doom for a second, turning up the speakers, loading up The Cost of Greatness, and am ready for my self-prescribed dose of artificial happiness (non-drug category). So bring it on, Memoremains. Bring. It. On.” The price of happiness.

False Gods – No Symmetry… Only Disillusion Review

False Gods – No Symmetry… Only Disillusion Review

“I’m the biggest Eyehategod fan I know, and sludge gets a bad rap. I get it: much like drone, if you just amp up the distortion to an 11/10 and know how to abuse the blues scale, you’ve got it made. Of course, there’s more nuance, like the need for facial hair, flannel, intoxicating substances, a shotgun, and some dark woods in the Deep South, but that’s just pedantic. My point is, you wouldn’t expect Crowbar-esque sludge from some dudes in New York, New York.” Empire expanding.

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…