Australian Metal

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.

Portal – Hagbulbia Review

Portal – Hagbulbia Review

“There are a number of cool things about Hagbulbia, but on my first listen, I figured the coolest was that Portal won’t ever have to make it again. By my fifth, I was convinced that they should. After two decades muddling death metal and noise, the release of thirty-eight minutes heavily skewed towards the latter is not just obvious; it’s almost required. As such, Hagbulbia is a burning distillation of Portal’s less musical humors, but the band have chosen a canny strategy for its release. As an unannounced companion to the more traditional Avow, it can be at worst a novelty rather than nuisance for fans, who may be far more receptive to the cocktail than a shot.” There may be cake.

The Plague – Within Death Review

The Plague – Within Death Review

“I’m not exactly sure why, but I’ve been spinning Black Breath‘s Sentenced to Life a lot recently. Maybe it was the epic face-kicking that I received from the recent Enforced release, but something made me seek out even more crossover bludgeonry by which to flagellate myself. Sentenced to Life saw the Seattle band blending crossover thrash with the rumbling HM-2 Swedish death metal of Entombed and Dismember, and the results were pretty glorious, earning the coveted 5.0 from my predecessor in unbridled optimism, Happy Metal Guy himself. Well, between this preparation and my recent Entombed kick following the passing of L.G. Petrov, I was primed to reach for the next buzzsaw promo I found. It sounds distasteful to say at a time like this, but bring on The Plague!” Get down with it.

Plasmodium – Towers of Silence Review

Plasmodium – Towers of Silence Review

Plasmodium is described by Metal Archives as “psychedelic black/death metal,” and that is definitely appropriate. Formed in 2016, the Melbourne, Australia, sextet features veteran blood, particularly drummer Matt “Skitz” Sanders of Damaged fame, and Aretstikapha of Mazikeen. Releasing Entheognosis in 2016 to underground interest, it introduced this highly atmospheric breed that doesn’t quite land in death metal or black metal, but somehow fills the dead air between. Featuring blackened vocals and drumming, sophomore effort Towers of Silence features some of the strangest soundscapes of 2021 thanks to its deranged string attack and cosmic ambiance.” Enjoy for silence.

Midnight Odyssey – Biolume Part 2: The Golden Orb Review

Midnight Odyssey – Biolume Part 2: The Golden Orb Review

“In November 2019, I picked up the Midnight Odyssey-reviewing baton from a tired and broken Dr A.N.Grier, who had aged a number of cat years during his time with the 160-minute beast, Shards of Silver Fade. By contrast, I was able to listen to its successor, and first episode in a planned trilogy, Biolume Part 1: In Tartarean Chains, twice through and still have time for a 15-minute power nap, in the time it took poor Grier to labor his way through Shards. For anyone who thought this was a sign that Australian gloomster and one-man Odyssey, Dis Pater, had learned to curb his more expansive tendencies, however, Pater has all 102 minutes of Biolume Part 2: The Golden Orb to tell you otherwise.” Maximum adventures.

Butterfly – Doorways of Time Review

Butterfly – Doorways of Time Review

“It seems odd reviewing an album I’ve had since last year, but stranger things have happened. For Australian antique-rockers Butterfly, what appears to have taken place is that they have been picked up by Petrichor, a new label also responsible for releasing last year’s superb Empress album. I mean, Doorways of Time was available last summer, and some of the folks I like to hang out with were raving about it, so it’s been on rotation at Chez Huck for a number of months now.” Butterfly effect.

The Amenta – Revelator Review

The Amenta – Revelator Review

The Amenta is a bit of a strange beast. Formed in the late 90’s in Sydney as Crucible of Agony, they released 4 albums after transferring to their new moniker before finally going underground in 2013 after the release of Flesh is Heir. Now the Aussies have reunited under a new label, hoping to stoke the fire anew. But is Revelator a revelation?” Tell me, who’s that writing?

Pestis Cultus – Pestis Cultus Review

Pestis Cultus – Pestis Cultus Review

“Raw black metal is not typically my thing. I like my black atmospheric or symphonic, as a rule. Normally, if you’re after the lo-fi stuff, you’d wanna talk to Messrs of Doom and in Muzaka. But, that said, I rather enjoyed my time with Funeral Fullmoon, so here I am, back in the dark, icy depths of … well, this time, Western Australia.” Lo-fi down under.

StarGazer – Psychic Secretions Review

StarGazer – Psychic Secretions Review

StarGazer are an odd duck in today’s metal scene. Emerging from the primordial deserts of Australia in the late 90s with a buzzing, energetic take on death metal, they have bubbled beneath the surface of metal’s mainstream, honing their craft and deliberately stepping away from the old school and further towards something unique with each release. They haven’t had that single killer entry into their discography which would catapult them into the faster current of metal fandom but they are consistently one of the most interesting bands in the subgenre.” Mental goo.

Intellect Devourer – Demons of the Skull [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Intellect Devourer – Demons of the Skull [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“Here’s a heartwarming tale of perseverance in the Aussie death metal underground. Intellect Devourer formed way back in 1991, and after releasing a couple of demos, enduring splits, hiatuses and reformations, finally recorded their full-length debut, entitled Demons of the Skull, in 2020. Featuring members from various other bands, including Mournful Congregation and StarGazer, Intellect Devourer bring a wealth of battle hardened experience into an inspired batch of old school technical death songs.” Mind monsters.