Brutal Records

Never End – The Cold and the Craving Review

Never End – The Cold and the Craving Review

“I know promo sheets are all about hyping up the band. Hyperbole is basically in the job description, and I and my esteemed colleagues are largely immune to the declarations of paradigm shifts and best things since sliced bread. But every now and then, something so ridiculous comes along that I can’t keep it from you all. If I am to believe the sheet for Never End’s The Cold and the Craving, “…they’re brutal, melodic and technical all at once without ever being too much of one thing, which is impressive. The grind remains godhead, obviously, but the entwined emanations flowing from it –thrash, match [sic] rock, prog, hardcore, metal, grunge—never felt more potently distilled, dynamic or organic. [It] weakens the boundaries between Rock, Metal, Grunge, Hardcore, Metalcore, Doom, Stoner.”” All things for all people.

Amnessia Eterna – Malditos Review

Amnessia Eterna – Malditos Review

“Since Steel‘s clammy, hairy hand forced me to write for this illustrious establishment, I’ve noticed a trend. The trend is the inconsistency of thrash releases. It’s like the entire genre gets together as one unit of foul-mouthed dinosaurs, balding dads, and pizza-hungry horror enthusiasts to decide when to release albums. They sit around chugging Mylanta, Steel Reserve, and Truly, talking their trade and comparing solos. After evaluating the recorded material at this annual meeting, they’ll make a decision. The decision this year? No releases. Who made the decision? No one really knows. At this point, everyone’s puking from overdoing it on alcohol and stomach acid. At next year’s meeting, the verdict will flip. Or, so everyone hopes.” Thrash rebels.

Leach – Lovely Light of Life Review

Leach – Lovely Light of Life Review

“In one of my very first reviews after being officially added to the Angry Metal Guy staff, my plan to preemptively punish myself with metalcore was foiled by my inability to not like metalcore. Well, “metalcore” may be a bit of a misleading label when it comes to Leach, because 2019’s Hymns for the Hollow found them employing a sound that reminded me a lot of the groovy melodic death/thrash style currently employed by their fellow Swedes in The Crown and The Haunted. That “core” label probably gets leveled at these guys because their songs tend to have more of a commercial tinge and because vocalist Markus Wikander uses hardcore shouts that can veer into “screamy” territory at times. Long story short: Hymns of the Hollow won me over with its simple-but-effective formula. But follow-up Lovely Light of Life is finding me two years older and two years wiser, and there’s no way I’ll fall for Leach‘s charms again. Right?” Love, hate, and metalcore.

Hevilan – Symphony of Good and Evil Review

Hevilan – Symphony of Good and Evil Review

“If you are one of the poor souls who’s managed to follow my pedestrian music journalism career, you know that I’m a hopeless Nevermore weenie. There’s just something about the way they combined immense, progressive, down-tuned riffing with powerful, operatic vocals that is incredibly pleasing to my ears. I was therefore absolutely defenseless against the promo blurb that touted Hevilan guitarist Johnny Moraes as having appeared in Warrel Dane’s live band, as well as on the late Nevermore singer’s posthumous solo release, Shadow Work.” Good times, bad times.

Dark Rites – The Dark Hymns Review

Dark Rites – The Dark Hymns Review

“I’m what you’d call an ardent defender of the death metal faith. But amidst my desire for music heavier than a neutron star, I’m also a sucker for melody – a firm believer in the power of a solid hook and even a mighty chorus or two. Enter The Dark Hymns, the third album from Dark Rites, a self-described “unrelenting” melodic death metal band “with an old school vibe.” With members hailing from the U.S. and U.K., my interest was piqued.” Dark as rite.

Scars – Predatory Review

Scars – Predatory Review

“Thrash albums should be an hour long. FALSE. Why do bands think that? The latest from Testament is a great example of a recent thrash album that would have been excellent if twenty minutes had been shaved off it. In fact, just last week as the AMG crew hurled insults across the six-foot barriers at each other, one thing we agreed on was that thrash albums need to aim for the 29-minute sweet spot. Also known as the Reign in Blood theorem, it is seemingly impossible for bands to get close to.” Lowering the Scar(s).

Draconis – Anthems for an Eternal Battle Review

Draconis – Anthems for an Eternal Battle Review

“There’s something special about South American death metal. I don’t know what it is, but the continent seems to have no shortage of bands that pair a raw, uncompromising, and wholly sincere approach with a strange and otherworldly mystique. Peru’s Mortem and Chile’s Atomic Aggressor, for instance, both excel at infusing the sound of old Morbid Angel with a sense of ancient and mysterious horror, while Chile’s Death Yell use less discernible influences to craft equally dark and aggressive material. Thus, I was quite excited when AMG Himself recommended I cover Draconis, an Argentinian death metal band who I’ve never heard of before.” Eternal muddle.

HellgardeN – Making Noise, Living Fast Review

HellgardeN – Making Noise, Living Fast Review

“Dime’s untouchable riffs and solos, Vinnie’s one-of-a-kind kit work, Phil’s forceful presence, and Rex (somehow) pulling it all together. Pantera was a unique beast that survived and grew more popular with their thrashing musical shift with Cowboys from Hell. And, if the local radio station has anything to say about it, they’re still popular enough to throw at least six tracks into the weekday morning mix. But why the lengthy Pantera introduction when this is clearly not a YMIO piece? Because Brazil’s HellgardeN is the closest thing to Pantera‘s reincarnation you’ll ever hear.” Vulgar display of homage.