Jul18

Mule Skinner – Airstrike Review

Mule Skinner – Airstrike Review

“Through my obsession with Acid Bath, I developed a taste for other trailblazing NOLA bands, from Soilent Green, Eyehategod, Down and Crowbar, to lesser known acts, like underrated grind maestros Flesh Parade and Mule Skinner. The latter act released a gem of a lone LP in 1996 called Abuse that I snagged a CD copy of many moons ago.” Skin to win.

Sear Bliss – Letters from the Edge Review

Sear Bliss – Letters from the Edge Review

“In my mental compendium of underappreciated metal treasures, Hungary’s Sear Bliss holds a somewhat unique position. Though they’ve only released one truly great album in my eyes (2007’s The Arcane Odyssey), they have a relatively extensive back catalog of solid records, making them an easy selection whenever I want to throw on an uncomplicated black metal album that offers a few unique instrumental twists. The band’s incorporation of trombone had always delivered a distinct sense of heavy, brassy atmosphere that effectively combined second wave tropes with Summoning-esque majesty. With Letters from the Edge, the latter has stayed intact, but the former has fallen to the wayside in favor of something a bit more absorbing and melancholic.” Blackened trombone.

Cryonic Temple – Deliverance Review

Cryonic Temple – Deliverance Review

“As a fan of power metal for almost as long as I’ve been a metalhead in general, there are a few things about it that set my teeth on edge. Pitchy, squealy tenors a la Stratovarius, for instance, or shameless poppiness, like Amaranthe. It’s in the latter camp that we find the once-respectable Swedish band Cryonic Temple. Having arisen from the early 2000s power metal boom, Cryonic Temple managed to carve out their own niche, but apparently lost steam in the back-half of that decade.” Seal the temple!

Invocation Spells – Spread Cruelty in the Abyss Review

Invocation Spells – Spread Cruelty in the Abyss Review

“Two years ago, I passed on a little Chilean black/thrash band named Invocation Spells. Not because they, or their third full-length record, The Flame of Hate, sucked, but because I already had a handful of promos to prepare for review. So, when I saw their name pop up on the Almighty AMG Promo Sheet again, I knew I’d have to check them out. Though this little two-piece outfit ain’t the next generation of black/thrash, their Aura Noir-meets-Darkthrone approach—with the aggression of a second-wave black metal outfit—is a good fit for the genre.” Chile and means.

Shed the Skin – We of Scorn Review

Shed the Skin – We of Scorn Review

“The music on the sophomore release by Cleveland’s death metal quintet Shed the Skin is deceptively simple. In its core, the band’s possessed, groove-laden death metal is propelled steadily forward at medium pace and with a certain brutality characteristic for Hells Headbangers’ roster. Around these straightforward and conventional structures, floating somewhere between thrash, old school, and modern death metal, the group cultivates an abundance of flair and an aura of tight frolic.” Frolic through the grave park.

Motorowl – Atlas Review

Motorowl – Atlas Review

“In 2016, The Underground yielded a cool troupe of hard rockers hailing from Eastern Germany called Motorowl. Their debut, Om Generator (“OG”), was an accomplished and mature outing for such a fresh group and they naturally caught my eye when they reappeared in our promo bin, replete with Century Media record deal intact and spacey new artwork. I like exposing small bands even if signed to (relatively) big labels so permit me 600 words or so to explore Atlas.” Who??

Phantom – Death Epic Review

Phantom – Death Epic Review

Phantom are plagued by the morbid. The macabre and grotesque are fused together in Death Epic, the spectral second record by this Danish four-piece. Death Epic — similar to Carach Angren, though less melodramatic — tells isolated stories of vengeful and malignant spirits tormenting the living, a ‘little book of horrors in audial form.’ Tales of car crashes, child murder, ghostly home invasions, and battlefield slaughter merge with ghastly reflections on life and the afterlife. All of this is framed within a peculiar black metal vehicle.” Boo-urns.

Khanus – Flammarion Review

Khanus – Flammarion Review

“Deep within a pock-marked chapel with cracked and occluded windowpanes / Withered ivy breaches the façade like consuming, pestilent varicose veins / Corpulent roots tear mottled floorboards and entangle with glee decaying pews / As spluttering light in copper braziers illuminate bodies in sallow hues / The congregation moan and shuffle, clutching their hands against their chest / While acrid smoke from burning censers coils in pools at the priest’s behest / An eerie thrum begins to vibrate, its violence smothering the crowd’s sharp cries / As shadowy figures approach the pulpit with fanaticism burning in their eyes / Khanus are here, robed and feverous, a rictus grin creases their face…” Death smiles at all of us.

Finnr’s Cane – Elegy Review

Finnr’s Cane – Elegy Review

“Canada’s Finnr’s Cane are much more than their limiting label might suggest. Inspired by the rugged beauty of their country, third album, Elegy, draws great gasps of atmosphere and exhales somber doom with every breath, adding some much-needed weight to the genre. But, as Finnr’s Cane‘s music is often improvisational, and considering their penchant for rambling ephemera, I am left to wonder if the band can steer their vehicle in the appropriate direction.” Citizen Caning.