4.5

Cryptic Shift – Visitations from Enceladus Review

Cryptic Shift – Visitations from Enceladus Review

“While I’ve traditionally identified as a basic black metal bitch, my listening habits of late have hovered firmly above death metal territory. The art of the Big Dumb Riff has held absolute command of my Spotify search bar, and it’s all thanks to the diversity the genre pool has spawned in over three decades of evolution. Just as I finish my most recent round of dick flattening at the hands of something as unflinchingly savage as Black Curse, I know I can hop to the opposite end of the technical axis to enjoy similarly aggressive highs in a fresh context. Cryptic Shift‘s debut is about as far from something like Black Curse as you can imagine on the caveman riff spectrum, but those same thrills are all here.” Up Shift’s creek.

Panzerfaust – The Suns of Perdition – Chapter II: Render unto Eden Review

Panzerfaust – The Suns of Perdition – Chapter II: Render unto Eden Review

“To prepare myself for the much-anticipated The Suns of Perdition – Chapter II: Render unto Eden, I had to commit an act of Contrition, upgrading my review of The Suns of Perdition – Chapter I: War, Horrid War to a 4.0. The fact that it has only taken this quartet of Canadians a smidge over a year to pen the follow-up to that rampaging, brvtal beast of an album was, I’ll admit, concerning. War, Horrid War combined raw intensity and crvshing riffs with moments of beauty and fragility to such stunning effect that, while I desperately wanted to get my hands on the follow-up, I wondered if Panzerfaust shouldn’t take just a bit more time to pen a worthy successor.” Burning paradise.

Faceless Burial – Speciation Review

Faceless Burial – Speciation Review

“Sometimes you know within seconds that an album is going to absolutely rule. I knew it when I heard the chimes in Desolate Endscape. I knew it when I heard the first riff of “Cognitive Sedation Butchery.” This time I knew it when I heard three notes – guitar, bass, and snare – and fell into a tetanic stupor, fists clenched in ecstasy, tongue projected out to the state line. Faceless Burial just made a modern classic in old school death metal.” Endangering species.

Valdrin – Effigy of Nightmares Review

Valdrin – Effigy of Nightmares Review

“I’m just now becoming aware of the fact that reviewing previously unknown (to me), established black metal bands with solid discographies has become one of my favorite hobbies. Last fall brought me Germany’s Krater, with their well-produced and varied venomous assault. Last month saw me covering Finland’s …and Oceans, a band that blasted onto the scene again after nearly twenty years of silence with an album that effectively displayed the band’s evolutionary past. And now I’ve spent the last several weeks spinning Effigy of Nightmares from Cincinnati band Valdrin.” Effigy of the unforgotten.

Ulthar – Providence Review

Ulthar – Providence Review

“Their debut in 2018 was received poorly by the respective probationary writer, noting that it suffered from “conflating incomprehensible fury and aimless blasting with gripping riffs and relentless aggression.” While it was slightly underrated, and this at least demonstrates that not all of the probationary writers were overrating bastards (though all the ones who made the cut are), it was far from essential and hardly suggested that there were great things to come. Enter 2020 and Providence.” New year, new gear.

Alestorm – Curse of the Crystal Coconut Review

Alestorm – Curse of the Crystal Coconut Review

“Figuring out what a band sounds like is akin to writing a biography: look first to the influences. Alestorm’s biography would need chapters devoted to a beloved and trve band named Bal-Sagoth. Early Alestorm material is based around the idea that it would be fun if Bal-Sagoth were Scottish, got drunk, played sea shanties, and kept the keyboard heroics.” Who ordered the Ale with Bals?

Black Curse – Endless Wound Review

Black Curse – Endless Wound Review

Endless Wound is so singular in its focus, so confident in its ability to do one thing extremely fucking well, that any convoluted preamble would be far too indulgent. So, convoluted, indulgent preamble aside, I will simply say this: Endless Wound feels like a future death metal classic.” Black curse, bold words.

Earth Rot – Black Tides of Obscurity Review

Earth Rot – Black Tides of Obscurity Review

“Last month I sampled an advance track for Earth Rot‘s third full-length album, Black Tides of Obscurity, and I rather enjoyed what I heard. And now that I’ve spent some significant time with the full record, I have to say that I’m completely blown away. Black Tides of Obscurity is the sound of a band that believes the answer to the question “Should we play old school Swedish death metal or true Norwegian black metal?” is an emphatic “YES!”” Rot n’ roll.