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Muertissima – Inquisition Review

Muertissima – Inquisition Review

“I’m a fairly open-minded primate. Ask anyone on the approved asking list and they’ll tell you. This aforementioned open mind inspired me to take a chance on unknown French death metal act Muertissma and their full-length debut Inquisition. The promo bluster promised “dynamic death metal” with thrash and death elements and a willingness to embrace open and adventurous song structures. Some of that is in fact delivered over the nearly 50 minutes of Inquisition, and in some instances, it was a mistake to do so.” No one expects the French Inquisition.

Alkuharmonian Kantaja – Shadowy Peripherals Review

Alkuharmonian Kantaja – Shadowy Peripherals Review

“I like my music weird. It’s a problem, and it’s great. You see, I don’t think there’s really a lot of truly “weird” in metal. Weird musicians, sure. Weird concepts, absolutely—how about those guys who write about mollusks?—but actual, genuine, weirdness? I don’t know. So when I see the fabled “avant-garde black metal” tag floating about in our pile o’ promos, I tend to take first and ask questions later.” Undue diligence done dirt cheap.

Waldgeflüster – Dahoam Review

Waldgeflüster – Dahoam Review

“Sometimes, an album seems to come along at just the right time, as if the capricious gods of the promo bin have taken a break and their serendipitous cousins, briefly, have the run of the joint. I recently went back to my homeland for a visit after a Covid-induced absence of nearly two years. When you return home after being away for so long, the earth feels more earthy, the sky deeper, the sea icier and fresher. It’s a sensation that’s hard to describe to anyone who has never left. But German band Waldgeflüster know. Their sixth album, Dahoam (“At Home”) is all about rediscovering the beauty of the familiar through wiser, more traveled eyes.” Homely.

Manfrea – Noire Review

Manfrea – Noire Review

“Novel genre mixes are always fun. I thought I had one of those when I grabbed Noire, sophomore effort from Moscow musicians Manfrea, from the bin. Blackened metalcore, it said. Russia seems to have developed a penchant for experimental, envelope-pushing metal, so it’s only natural my thoughts went to bizarre concoctions of Trivium and Darkthrone and the question how two such disparate genres could possibly mix. My esteemed colleagues immediately shot down such ruminations when I pondered these questions aloud, by proposing the suspicious half of this amalgamation might be more along the original, non-melodic metalcore line, which would make the figurative distance between genres considerable shorter.” Near and Noire.

Vulvodynia – Praenuntius Infiniti Review

Vulvodynia – Praenuntius Infiniti Review

“When Vulvodynia put out Psychosadistic Design all the way back in 2016, it served as an intro to slam for a great number of people. It was up there with Ingested’s Surpassing the Boundaries of Human Suffering for entry-level stuff that would eventually lead the listener to bands like Ecchymosis, Gorevent, and Kraanium. It had a modern sheen, plenty of obvious hooks, and an obnoxious sense of humor, but it also had enough in common with slam to draw the listener down the rabbit hole.” Death, where is thy slam?

Criminal – Sacrificio Review

Criminal – Sacrificio Review

“What do you do when you’re determined to review a death metal album but the only one floating in the festering AMG promo pile is from an established band with eight prior albums? Why, you throw caution to the wind of course. You make a boastful promise to no one in particular that you’ll listen to each previous release before taking the latest for a spin. At least, that’s the road less traveled that I chose when I encountered Sacrificio, the upcoming LP from Chilean thrash/death group Criminal.” Criminal punishment.

Claymorean – Eulogy for the Gods Review

Claymorean – Eulogy for the Gods Review

“Serbia isn’t a big hitter for metal. Controversial movies perhaps. A geographically-unlikely affinity for basketball. Even war crimes in the early 90s. Yet despite a lack of internationally recognized metal acts, it clearly has a love for the trvest, classic metal of the 80s. Claymorean’s fifth full-length album entitled Eulogy for the Gods was written as an homage to Mark ‘The Shark’ Shelton of Manilla Road, to Virgin Steele and to the 80s generally.” Hail, hail to 80s.

Whyzdom – Of Wonders and Wars Review

Whyzdom – Of Wonders and Wars Review

“The time has come for this young(ish) sponge to return to his roots—bombastic, cheesy symphonic metal helmed by a classically trained soprano. This genre of metal used to be my absolute favorite for many of the same reasons people lambast it today, up to and including the extreme lactose concentration, countless layers of orchestration, and the wall of sound production that so easily overwhelms the neurally frail. I craved the feeling of my entire brain lighting up, desperate to keep up with the immense amount of stimuli bombarding it at once. Now on their fifth full-length album entitled Of Wonders and Wars, France’s Whyzdom attempt to recreate that same firework exhibit inside my nervous system.” Wonder wail.

Billy Boy in Poison – Umbra Review

Billy Boy in Poison – Umbra Review

“Over the years, I find it difficult to look into the promo bin and not find myself becoming jaded with the biographical fluffery that accompanies each and every album that we review. For every one (and usually just one) album that nonchalantly flips the entire genre we all love on its head, there are literally thousands of bands that lay claim to boundaries being pushed, subgenres being blended, and new ideas being brought forth in a storm of creative energy when, in reality, it’s just the same damn thing we’ve been fed over and over again. So, when Danish quintet Billy Boy in Poison proclaims that they’ve created “a unique take on death metal with a modern, razor-sharp sound and even some metalcore vibes,” my eyebrows furrow.” Poison, hype, and delusion.

Summoner’s Circle – Chaos Vector Review

Summoner’s Circle – Chaos Vector Review

“Describing themselves as “theatrical metal,” Summoner’s Circle is a swirling morass of influences that, peculiarly, leaves little lasting impression. Chaos Vector takes the most accessible parts of mainstream death metal and mainstream black metal and mixes them with the accessible melodies of modern progressive metal. Given that the vocals are largely blackened rasps a la Rimfrost, the guitars pull double duty in trying to make the proceedings overtly heavy and melodic. Progressive is definitely used in the catch-all way here.” Chaos and design theory.