Nov18

Décembre Noir – Autumn Kings Review

Décembre Noir – Autumn Kings Review

“Week 2 of Madam X Month sees the Huckster taking on one of X’s favorites from years gone by, Décembre Noir. Our esteemed headmistress reviewed their debut back in 2014, and was impressed enough by A Discouraged Believer that she managed to twist the untwistable arm of Steel Druhm and have the album declared a runner up in the May 2014 Record(s) o’ the Month column—not to mention including it in her own Top Ten(ish) list that year. We somehow missed their follow-up, 2016’s Forsaken Earth, but we are not about to make the same mistake with Autumn Kings. The question is, four years on from their debut, what do Décembre Noir bring to the table that they didn’t on their debut?” Season’s feelz beatings.

Vuohi – Witchcraft Warfare Review

Vuohi – Witchcraft Warfare Review

“It’s 6:50 PM on a cold Saturday night. I’m tapping my foot impatiently, waiting for my lovely girlfriend — a few months my elder, and perhaps a bit slower moving, therefore — to come out from her room. ‘Come on, darling,’ I say, double-checking my tie in the mirror, ‘we’ll be late if we don’t leave soon.’ I hear the door open, and expect to be floored; she always looks so good in dresses, and this is a formal event. I turn around and do a triple-take — she’s wearing a strawberry onesie. I’m left confused as to what her intentions were, and I may perhaps never figure it out. May as well make the most of it, right? This ethos permeated my listening time with the Finnish band Vuohi’s debut full-length Witchcraft Warfare.” Kitchen sink-core.

Flageladör – Predileção pelo Macabro Review

Flageladör – Predileção pelo Macabro Review

“‘You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.’ These words were shared with me years ago by a mentor at work and have since served as my rationalization for a host of questionable words and deeds. For example, I blamed this penchant for adolescent humor when I mispronounced this band’s name as ‘Flatulator’ upon receiving the promo. I also blamed it for the involuntary giggling that followed this mistake. I sincerely apologize to the band for all of this, but after hearing their music, I’m confident that they would heartily agree with my mentor’s nugget of wisdom.” Beer, beer!

Evoken – Hypnagogia Review

Evoken – Hypnagogia Review

“My history with Evoken handily mirrors my relationship with the genre these funereal leviathans so masterfully craft. If I’m not entirely of a mind to wallow in the brand of doom that lurches with the gait of mountains, then I struggle to fully commit. But funeral doom has never been for the casual listener, and rightly so. Evoken are ever the reliable constant and have returned to once again divide traditionalists with another morose mass of glacial grief. Hypnagogia is the Americans’ sixth album and arrives secure in its ability to fill some sizable shoes.” Death to joy.

Septagon – Apocalyptic Rhymes Review

Septagon – Apocalyptic Rhymes Review

“When a band drops a successful debut, the weight off their shoulders must be akin to cracking the top level of a pro sport. A million and one obstacles overcome, plus proving to the world that your shit doesn’t totally stink? Must feel nice. Not that I have firsthand experience—producing these bad boys is more a nice can sesh than a cold, rainy night in Stoke. But like writing, music needs to have consistency. Reviewing their 2016 debut, Jean-Luc Ricard suggested that Septagon might have a modern classic in them, but Deadhead Syndicate wasn’t it. Compared to Apocalyptic Rhymes, Deadhead Syndicate is Rust in Peace.” Thrash pile.

Third Storm – The Grand Manifestation Review

Third Storm – The Grand Manifestation Review

“Despite originally forming in 1986, The Grand Manifestation is the first full-length offering from Swedish five-piece Third Storm. After just two years and a handful of shows, Third Storm’s original line-up disbanded. It was not until 2014 that founding member, Heval Bozarslan, gathered a new band around him, releasing the Taritiya Me EP a year later. “Despite its Mayhem-inspired cover and the howling winds and distant siren that open the EP, it is not a black metal offering. Some promising-sounding death groove is short-lived and gives way to medium-paced, funeral doom, which dominates most of the 25-minute runtime. Which Third Stormwould be on display on The Grand Manifestation—the anticipated black metal, the groove-laden death that made a brief cameo or the sludgy doom that predominated?” Precious metals sampler.

Totenmesse – To Review

Totenmesse – To Review

To was advertised to me as “dark ambient” and it felt mightily appropriate to absorb something subtle and atmospheric considering the (finally) dropping temperatures here in Western Europe. Alas, it was immediately apparent to me that it is, in fact, black metal of the Polish ilk and while it may be dark, it most certainly demanded my attention more directly than ambient. In many ways, it’s typical of the Polish scene to draw on death metal in the formulation of its black metal. But is there more to say beyond this?” Come for the genre mislabeling, stay for the Polish hospitality.

Nanowar of Steel – Stairway to Valhalla Review

Nanowar of Steel – Stairway to Valhalla Review

“For the first three years of their existence, Nanowar of Steel operated under the shortened moniker of Nanowar, adding the of Steel subtitle through a hasty MS Paint logo re-work in 2006. As NoS’s Facebook page states, this was done “not in order to spoof Rhapsody of Fire, but for REAL and TRUE copyright issues.” There’s some serious power metal in-jokage going on with the title alone, an infectious cheekiness that has spread to every corner of Stairway to Valhalla’s musical and lyrical execution.” Sign of the Humor.

Hank Von Hell – Egomania Review

Hank Von Hell – Egomania Review

“November: the time of year when Madam X rules the roost with her iron fist. Meaning, this month I’m taking my orders from her, and the first order of business is this Hank Von Hell record. Name ring a bell? It does if you were (or for some reason still are) a Turbonegro fan. Von Hell, then known as Hank Von Helvete, sang for those punky fellows for seventeen years and six records, then stepped away for a variety of reasons both sordid and domestic. His short-lived band, Doctor Midnight & the Mercy Cult, put out an album in 2011, and then he faded away again until now, where we are presented with Egomania.” Turbo ego.

Ulthar – Cosmovore Review

Ulthar – Cosmovore Review

“I have a long history with thrash metal, dating back to the very first time I heard a metal song (“Dyer’s Eve”) at the tender age of nine. My exposure to black metal is much more limited as I only discovered this site and the many flavors of extreme metal three years ago. Ulthar’s debut Cosmovore bills itself as equal parts black and thrash metal, with a healthy dose of death metal swagger in its step as well. I’m intimately familiar with the thrash portion and merely acquainted with the blackened component, so I approached Cosmovore with curiosity, trepidation, and excitement in equal measure.” Speed and loathing in Cosmovore.