Celtic Frost

Kontinuum – Earth Blood Magic Review

Kontinuum – Earth Blood Magic Review

Kontinuum’s eclectic style threw me slightly off balance when the first track started up and truthfully my first thought was – is this an indie band, lost in a metal club improvising to not get the crap kicked out of them by a bunch of angry metal heads. Rest assured this is not the case, Earth Blood Magic is a crazy, kick-ass mix of what feels like a range of different influences that just somehow melts together as if by… dare I say it… magic?

Opera IX – Strix Maledictae in Aeternum Review

Opera IX – Strix Maledictae in Aeternum Review

To say that Italian symphonic black metallers Opera IX have been keeping a low profile would be an understatement. The last time I even heard their name mentioned was back in the days of Napster and the Y2K virus. At the time, their mix of black metal with gothic imagery and female vocals was pretty rare in the scene [Yeah, if you had never heard of Cradle of Filth, I guess. – AMG], and it seemed like the band was poised to do great things. Now, they have returned in 2012 with Strix Maledictae in Aeternum, their first album in 7 long years.

Vallenfyre – A Fragile King Review

Vallenfyre – A Fragile King Review

2011 might as well be dubbed the year of Swedish Retro Death. Band after loathsome band has burst from the underground to pay rancid homage to genre legends like Entombed, Dismember and Grave. Despite the sheer volume of the stuff, Steel Druhm has remained supportive and for the most part, the trend hasn’t worn out its welcome. Now we get Vallenfyre’s debut full length from a veritable death metal super group featuring members of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Cradle of Filth. With such a pedigree, it shouldn’t be too surprising when A Fragile King has everything you would reasonably expect from a Swedish death album. It’s chunky, thick, nasty and vile. It’s an ode to all things Entombed with a sizeable injection of Celtic Frosty goodness as well. At times, its so much like the immortal Left Hand Path it’s uncanny, yet it also brings in plenty of dire dirges to shake things up. This MOFO was conceived in unholy sin, birthed in ungodly filth and raised on bloody carnage. There’s a guitar sound heavy enough to fracture your vertebrae and vocals so grisly they’ll disturb the deranged. But, you rightly ask, is it actually good? Oh yes, it’s really good! This is unapologetically retro and doesn’t strive for innovation but it nails home the tried-and-true Swedish sound with the subtlety of a Panzer division. How this will sit with you depends entirely on your tolerance for more Swedish death. If 2011 has fed you all the old-time death you can stomach, move along and I won’t think less of you. If not, belly up to the death buffet and chow down on this meatloaf of the damned.

Raventale – Bringer of Heartsore Review

Raventale – Bringer of Heartsore Review

Ukrainian black metal? With doom and viking elements? By a one man band? Sounds good to me! While Steel Druhm must sheepishly admit to being late to the Raventale party, now that I’m here, I’m a happy fucking camper indeed. That’s because one Astaroth Merc has single-handedly spewed out a very entertaining and enjoyable platter of contemplative, brooding, atmospheric and doomy black metal on his fifth album, Bringer of Heartsore. So good is the material here, I’m willing to overlook that awful, AWFUL album title (plus, I’m assuming English is like his fifth language so mistakes will be made). So what will a listener be treated to on a Raventale album? A composite of Moonsorrow, Helrunar and SIG:AR:TYR (minus the folk acoustics). That means big, sweeping musical pieces, alternatively epic, melancholy and brutal. Sometimes hollow like a dark, empty void, other times ice-cold like Nordic winters, Astaroth weaves many a mood over this relatively short but sweet blackened sojourn. I find myself impressed enough to begin immediate excavation of their back catalog for more rich doomy, blackened goodness. To decide if you might feel the same, read all the fine words below, in order.

Morbid Angel – Illud Divinum Insanus Review

Morbid Angel – Illud Divinum Insanus Review

Morbid Angel is elite death metal and has been the standard for as long as I can remember. They have defined death metal for listeners of the genre for decades, influenced all of the great bands to come out of the genre after them, and have been away for 8 long years. 2003’s Heretic was not the best record they’d ever produced, this is most certainly true. But there was no reason not to believe after hearing “Nevermore,” the single that was released ahead of time, that the return of David Vincent would usher in the kind of catastrophic reaction that has ensued. I make it my business to never read reviews of any record before I write my own review, hell, I haven’t even read Steel Druhm’s (which is below this one) of this record. But it was hard to miss the fury, anger and disappointment that has been floating around the ether. I had to ask myself “could it really possibly be this bad?” You see, I’m a stalwart defender of some pretty hated records (most notably Iron Maiden’s The X Factor and Mayhem’s Grand Declaration of War), and I try to listen to every record with a clean slate. And I attempted to do so with this record, as well.

Autopsy – Macabre Eternal Review

Autopsy – Macabre Eternal Review

A brand new Autopsy album? Well tickle me Hellmo! Now, THESE guys are the very definition of old school death metal and founder, drummer and chief gurgler Chris Reifert got his start with the legendary band Death way, way back in 86′. After playing on the Death debut, Reifert went off to launch Autopsy and they were one of the first bands to market themselves as death metal. After several classic albums loaded with crusty death mixed with grinding doom riffs, Reifert called it a day so he could pursue his other band Abscess full time. After reuniting for their The Tomb Within EP in 2010, Reifert decided to fold Abscess and resurrect the mighty Autopsy and hence, we get Macabre Eternal, their first new album in fifteen long years. So, does it live up to their legendary status in the genre? Can it ever meet the huge expectations of long time fans? Is Rhapsody of Fire entirely made of cheese? Of course! It’s an instant classic and so, so fucking sick, you just have to hear it to understand.

Steel Druhm’s Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time 20-11

Steel Druhm’s Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time 20-11

OK boys and ghouls, we’ve officially reached the meaty epicenter of heavy metal excellence. After thirty warm ups (50-41, 40-31, 30-21 | And here’s AMG’s: 50-41, 40-31, 31-20), these are the brightest of gems, the most gleaming of chromes. Here begins the twenty songs that define all that is heavy, all that is metal. Bow down then get the hell up and HAIL as the True Masters enter the building. Steel Druhm roll please.

Acid Witch – Stoned Review

Acid Witch – Stoned Review

Toward the back of the Big Book of Metal Ingredients there is a little known concoction. It calls for one part Saint Vitus, one part Cathedral and one part Necrophagia. To that mix, add creepy church organs, horror movie samples and trippy/psychedelic flourishes. Finish by generously seasoning with magic weed, baking heavily and voila! You get Acid Witch and Stoned is an apt title indeed since this will give you a sore neck and a serious case of the munchies. This is the second album by these death/doom/stoner weirdos from Michigan and they stay true to the odd sound pioneered on their 2008’s debut Witchtanic Hallucinations and provide another wack0, tongue-in-cheek trip through metal and reefer madness. While I highly doubt this will find a very big audience, it’s a pretty entertaining, heavy yet silly slab o death/doom and unlike anything else out there.