Celtic Frost

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.

Helrunar – Sol Review

Helrunar – Sol Review

Well, we’re certainly off to a great start for black metal in this shiny new year. First we get a righteously good release from Belphegor and now the unheralded German unit Helrunar erupts from relative obscurity with a double album of masterfully grim, bleak blackness. Yep, you read that right, a DOUBLE ALBUM of massive black metal clocking in at ninety minutes! So, you might be asking, who do they think they are? How dare they release a double album? Well, the short answer is, they’re Helrunar and a whole lot more people are going to know them REAL soon because Sol is going to stamp them firmly on the black metal map.

Crucifyre – Infernal Earthly Divine Review

Crucifyre – Infernal Earthly Divine Review

The late 2000s have seen a resurrection of the old school Swedish death metal that Sweden became so well known for in the underground before the Gothenburg sound took the world by storm. In the last year we’ve had releases by tons of bands waving the flag of true Swedish death metal, and it’s been fun as hell to hear! Crucifyre is another band that is doing something that I would definitely not describe as new, but something I would describe as ultimately ridiculously entertaining and worth a listen if for no other reason than to experience this “all star group’s” vision of the old school.

Necronomicon – The Return of the Witch Review

Necronomicon – The Return of the Witch Review

There was a time where I loved all death metal and I mean all of it! When the death metal explosion started up in the mid to late 80s, I couldn’t get enough of the stuff whether good, bad or really awful. I just loved those Cookie Monster vocals. Over time however, as more and more bands glommed onto the style, my tastes refined and I steered toward those bands that were trying something different or unique within the genre. Canada’s little known death metal three piece Necronomicon (not to be confused with German thrashers of the same name) was always a band that did things a little differently and always earned my respect. In fact, Necronomicon helped jump start the whole “Egyptian themed death metal” style alongside Nile with their debut album Pharaoh of the Gods in 1999. Happily, their efforts to create unique death metal continue on their third album The Return of the Witch.

Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones Review

Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones Review

There are some musicians that are capable of making a sound, no matter how simple, but always make it sound distinctive to the composer. In the same way, all of Thomas Gabriel Warrior’s creations have a distinct feeling and mark to them, which is why I’m so glad we have this new band on the scene. Warrior has teamed up with three young musicians to continue his creation through the new name, and judging by this record, Triptykon is a name we’ll he hearing more of in the not so distant future.

Warrior had stressed before that this CD would be Monotheist part two, which to me is a relief. After the brilliant Monotheist, I was left wanting much, much more. I’m not saying that Monotheist was too short or unsubstantial, Monotheist had the stamp of Warrior plastered over every sound that was put on the record. If you were in love with Monotheist, like me, you would have had nowhere else to turn to get a similar experience. The terrifyingly gripping feeling just couldn’t be found anywhere else in the metal scene.