Redefining Darkness Records

Black Mass – Feast at the Forbidden Tree Review

Black Mass – Feast at the Forbidden Tree Review

“Is it just me, or is Redefining Darkness Records on somewhat of a tear lately? We’ve covered thirteen of the label’s releases since late 2018, and all thirteen have received a score of 3.0 or better. I’ve handled three of those reviews in 2021, and I’ve found them to be good, very good, and fucking awesome. So when the promo for Redefining Darkness act Black Mass came along with its epically sinuous artwork, I threw my head back, cursed the sky, and feasted upon its forbidden fruit.” Rise of the Tree Eaters.

Oxygen Destroyer – Sinister Monstrosities Spawned by the Unfathomable Ignorance of Humankind Review

Oxygen Destroyer – Sinister Monstrosities Spawned by the Unfathomable Ignorance of Humankind Review

Oxygen Destroyer is devoted to spreading the terrible gospel of the Kaiju — giant monsters who lay waste to cities, and often, each other — and their music matches that mission perfectly. Blending death metal and thrash metal in their many forms, the band paints with a varied influence palette, ranging from the deathened thrash of Morbid Saint, to the thrashened death of Morbid Angel, to the groovy violence of Demolition Hammer.” R U morbid?

Alchemy of Flesh – Ageless Abominations Review

Alchemy of Flesh – Ageless Abominations Review

“I love video games. I may be a firefighter, powerlifter, former college football player, and two-time high school shot put state champion, but none of that has prevented me from also being a (literally and figuratively) huge nerd. I’ve spent countless hours questing through Hyrule, Cyrodil, Skyrim, and other Forgotten Realms, and I’ve conquered the world dozens of times thanks to the Civilization franchise. Heavy metal and video games are a match made in heaven and hell, so I was immediately intrigued by the promo for Alchemy of Flesh. The brainchild of one Tim Rowland, Alchemy of Flesh is a one-man death metal project devoted to gaming, movies, and nerdy literature.” Hammer smashed Fortnite.

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.