British Metal

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.

Crippled Black Phoenix – Ellengæst Review

Crippled Black Phoenix – Ellengæst Review

“I’ll open this review with the sentence I used to close my last Crippled Black Phoenix review: Crippled Black Phoenix are a band I want to like more, but the material continues to fall short of their potential. And with that thought the band’s latest album, Ellengæst, was bestowed upon me, giving me several weeks to think about how I’d be going in with high expectations and coming out feeling like I’d only eaten half a meal. A quick scan of the promo material did raise an eyebrow: the size of the band has been cut in half (CBP have always been immersed in drama), and there are a number of interesting guest vocalists as a result.” Crippled but dangerous.

Scordatura – Mass Failure Review

Scordatura – Mass Failure Review

“Traditional death metal has, to my ears, endured more strongly than the base forms of other metal subgenres. Second wave idolizers have me regularly convinced that options for tremolo riffs dried up around the time Darkthrone released Panzerfaust, while modern practitioners of power metal infinitely scrawl tally marks on the tomb of Helloween‘s “Eagle Fly Free.” But something about classic death metal has proven impossibly recyclable; from Blood Incantation to Necrot, many of the best bands keep the style fresh by doing hardly anything new at all. Enter Scordatura, who do little to break this trend.” Failure is not an option.

Monsterworks – Malignment Review

Monsterworks – Malignment Review

“It seems like I just finished writing about Monsterworks a short time ago – or did I? I mean, their last album came out two and a half years ago – or did it? Was that the last we heard of these guys? It feels like it wasn’t. Normally they’re on an album a year release schedule, so this is a big gap for them. Makes me wonder if they were up to something else during that time. In fact, I’m rather bullish on that idea. I’m also very confused.” Monsters, Inc.

Synthetic – Clepsydra: Time Against Infinity Review

Synthetic – Clepsydra: Time Against Infinity Review

“Well, the promo claimed Clepsydra to be symphonic progressive metal, which did not fill me with hope. Thankfully, this claim was wrong. It’s not very symphonic; it just overuses keyboards a lot. It admittedly has that in common with actual symphonic bands, but at least the synths in Synthetic are more earnest in their synthetic sound rather than trying and failing to imitate an actual orchestra. Nor is this record very progressive at all; most of the songs have a basic verse-chorus structure and rely on direct hooks of a pretty tried and true style. The style in question is more along the lines of metalcore and melodic death, winding up somewhere in between Killswitch Engage, Soilwork and In Flames, just with a lot more keyboards.” Corephobia.

Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment Review

Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment Review

“Normally, an introductory paragraph would see a reviewer (me, in this case) make a witty or deep observation that somehow, someway pertains to the album in question. That’s not happening today for two reasons. One, trying to come up with something witty or playful during such a shit time in everyone’s lives, week in and week out, becomes draining when I possess about as much joy to throw at you as the creative team at WWE possesses the ability to write captivating, enthralling television. And two, today’s subject isn’t about joy. Or happiness. Or humor. Rather, Anaal Nathrakh‘s eleventh album, Endarkenment encapsulates in roughly 41 minutes just what an absolute clusterfuck this year has been to everyone and everything.” Here’s pig cock in your eye.

Napalm Death – Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism Review

Napalm Death – Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism Review

“It’s genuinely hard for me to comprehend someone taking a strong dislike to Napalm Death because, above all else, they represent a seal of quality. At this point in their career the band have managed to command their blast-happy frenzy and deathly breakdowns with the kind of fluidity most acts can only imagine. But experimentation has never been far from their arsenal, and new album Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism is no exception. In a career that spans excellent to reliable, the only real question is: which category does this sixteenth record belong to?” Death throes.

Raven – Metal City Review

Raven – Metal City Review

“Ah, Raven. Lovable goofballs from the dawn of the NWoBHM, perhaps best known for having a drummer who wore hockey equipment and their rather exuberant brand of “athletic rock.” Having been a teen during the dawn of this bygone era, I ate up most of Raven’s discography through the eighties, and played my All for One cassette to the point of it being worn out. Sadly, the band’s attempt to join the ranks of the hair metal bands with 1986’s The Pack is Back was a bad move that alienated the band’s fanbase, and they never really recovered.” Metal City. The city by the bay.

Self Hypnosis – Contagion of Despair Review

Self Hypnosis – Contagion of Despair Review

“What do you get when two stalwarts of the British stoner and doom scenes come together to make a record they felt was too experimental for their existing projects? Self Hypnosis is the brainchild of Camel of Doom main man Kris Clayton, partnering with Esoteric’s vocalist, guitarist and occasional keyboardist Greg Chandler. The trio is rounded out by drummer Tom Valleley. Combining elements of Clayton and Chandler’s other projects, Self Hypnosis are now ready to drop their avant-garde debut, Contagion of Despair.” Doom trancers.