Redefining Darkness Records

Celestial Sanctuary – Soul Diminished Review

Celestial Sanctuary – Soul Diminished Review

“There’s little I enjoy more than boastful, vain-glorious chest thumping in a young band’s promo package, and the U.K.’s Celestial Sanctuary delivered just that, proudly proclaiming themselves the forerunner of a New Wave of British Death Metal. Strong words for such a young act with nary but a demo and single to their name, but can they back it up on their full-length debut, Soul Diminished?” Diminishing soul returns?

Paranorm – Empyrean Review

Paranorm – Empyrean Review

“This may be their debut full-length, but Uppsala’s Paranorm are no spring chickens in the thrash game. According to legend — and the band’s social media accounts — Paranorm was formed by three high school friends on a hot summer night in 2007 to the sound of Megadeth‘s Rust in Peace blasting from the stereo. After an initial run of a demo and a couple EPs, the band has been quiet for the last seven years. What could they possibly have been doing during such a long break from writing? If Empyrean is any indication, they spent the time searching for, discovering, and studying some powerful relic that confers ancient, arcane knowledge of the five magics of metal mastery, because this record is a progressive thrash metal monster.” Paranormal ratings.

Plague – Portraits of Mind [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Plague – Portraits of Mind [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“I suppose there’s a certain dark irony to the fact that death metal had one of its best years during a global pandemic. It’s a double irony that in a year fraught with so much outstanding death metal, it’s Plague‘s unsung debut Portraits of Mind that keeps drawing me back as the days (and plague) drag on.” Portraits of 2020.

Akurion – Come Forth to Me [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Akurion – Come Forth to Me [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

“I’ll spare you the introductory remarks: Akurion continues in earnest what was started on Cryptopsy’s Whisper Supremacy by expanding smartly upon that foundation. It’s not that it directly lifts ideas, but there’s a certain energy, an essence, a je ne sais quois to None So Vile’s successor that I’ve just never again heard until I heard Come Forth to Me.” One for the Vile files.

Väki – Kuolleen Maan Omaksi Review

Väki – Kuolleen Maan Omaksi Review

“I enjoy a rather hesitant dance with black metal. It doesn’t take a whole lot to turn me off to a sampling of the style – I’d say I’m pretty picky here. But I just can’t help myself trying. Väki, who hail from Finland and purport a strong fascination with death, are the latest to pique my interest, and I couldn’t initially put my finger on why.” Embrace the grave.

Skam – Sounds of a Disease Review

Skam – Sounds of a Disease Review

“The sounds of Skam‘s disease can be somewhat approximated by imagining the destructive Swedeath of Left Hand Path accelerated to the speed of Nasum and infused with the unhinged pandemonium of Anaal Nathrakh. Sounds of a Disease is a psychological pressure relief valve in the form of 13 tracks and 29 minutes of ferocious grooves, blasts, and screams.” Ill tidings.

Nocturnal Departure – Cathartic Black Rituals [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Nocturnal Departure – Cathartic Black Rituals [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

“With a purple, black, and white/grey color scheme, Cathartic Black Rituals immediately calls Mayhem’s Live in Leipzig—metal’s best live record—to mind. It screams second wave black metal, and as a fan of that little niche I heeded the call.” Running into the Nocturnal.

Detherous – Hacked to Death Review

Detherous – Hacked to Death Review

“I think I’m finally coming around on this whole death metal thing. The gore and violence subject matter of the genre has been difficult for me to get used to. I started my life as a religious prude and possess a Constitution ability score that has me literally passing out whenever I give blood, so I’ve never gotten into horror films or their musical equivalents. Add to that the fact that I’ve responded to three “hammer smashed faces” in my relatively short EMT career, and the novelty of songs with such titles is somewhat lost on me.” A metalhead with a split personality. Chopping spree.

Gravefields – Embrace the Void Review

Gravefields – Embrace the Void Review

“Life kinda sucks. Or, I suppose more accurately, the realization that I have no control over how everything changes despite my every last effort to keep things stable kinda sucks. Unexpected alterations to my goals and plans abound. I question decisions I once thought sound, only to later circle back after realizing the alternatives were ill-fitting. Those close to me change in ways I fail to anticipate. Introducing further complications, I change and impact others in ways they can’t anticipate. It is because of the relentless fickleness of life that I appreciate the things that remain consistent. Thank the abyssal lords who art burning in the depths of hell, death metal is often one of those things. And Gravefields, an Irish/French/Egyptian (respectively, one guy from Ireland, one guy from France, and the band as a unit operating/recording mostly out of Cairo) death metal band supply ample evidence supporting this claim.” Death adds life.

1914 – The Blind Leading the Blind Review

1914 – The Blind Leading the Blind Review

“Let’s get this part out of the way. 1914 is a Ukrainian metal band that plays songs about German stormtroopers. What could go wrong? It didn’t take much effort to find an interview with founder and vocalist Ditmar Kumar in which he mentions that he’s often asked if 1914 is a Nazi band and drops this quote: “Fuck Nazis and all kind of totalitarian shitheads.” Subtle, but I think we can move on.” Remember the fallen.