Review

Reverend Hound – Deal in Steel Review

Reverend Hound – Deal in Steel Review

“Sometimes a promo cover or title compels me to take a chance and grab it though I know nothing about the band. Such was the case when I spotted Reverend Hound bobbing about in the sump. With a name like that, art like that, and a title like Deal in Steel, how could I move on without fully investigating the pedigree of this altered beasty? These little-known German mongrels play a style of metal that owes a great debt to Accept, Grave Digger, and Primal Fear, and on their third album, they aim for a slick, ear-cropping blend of classic Germanic metal, NWoBHM, and aggressive speed.” Adopt or die.

Vale of Pnath – Between the Worlds of Life and Death Review

Vale of Pnath – Between the Worlds of Life and Death Review

“When a band leaves a long time between releases, the questions of whether, how much, and in which direction their sound will have evolved hang portentously. Between the Worlds of Life and Death, Vale of Pnath’s third LP, comes almost eight full years after sophomore II, and five years after their last EP, Accursed. That latter release provided at least a clue to the direction the originally bonafide tech-death crew were set to go in, and Between the Worlds of Life and Death stays true to this promise.” Lift the Vale.

Kati Rán – Sála Review

Kati Rán – Sála Review

“Neofolk is a special style of art. It encompasses the achingly simple to portray stunning complexity. Everything is done with earnest emotion, and often the onus is on the artist not to simply entertain, but to transport the listener, through time, through places, and through very states of being. When I first learned of Kati Rán and her debut full-length release Sála, I was heartened by a single line in its promo copy: “Recorded in a barn in Húsafell, Iceland”—and I didn’t read further.” Barn razing.

Tzompantli – Beating the Drums of Ancestral Force Review

Tzompantli – Beating the Drums of Ancestral Force Review

“Art is culture. Culture needs representation. These two things often align with metal in ways we don’t realize, whether it’s the new death metal band that wants to play old-school death metal to continue to push for the representation of simpler times in death metal, or the cinephile who longs to see their niche amongst the swarms of various niche interest metal bands out there. Everyone wants to be seen and accepted for who they are, and the majesty of this metal realm we inhabit is such that artists can do just that. In the case of Tzompantli and their sophomore release Beating the Drums of Ancestral Force, this collective of California-based musicians—a pool of eleven performers from bands of all extremities, including Xibalba, Teeth, Civerous—wishes to express their reverence for the brutal nature worship of the Aztec/Mexica people and history.” Don’t worry until the drums stop…

Mortal Wound – The Anus of the World Review

Mortal Wound – The Anus of the World Review

“The Vietnam War era was a grim chapter in United States history. The wildly unpopular conflict was fought with questionable ideological justifications in a half-hearted manner, dictated by murky political considerations instead of a desire to achieve real victory. In the end, nothing good came from it and the horrors of the war’s excesses left a stain on the nation. This bleak, bloody conflagration has become potent fodder for nihilistic films and literature, and it makes sense that it serves as the backdrop for the full-length debut by Los Angeles death metal mob Mortal Wound.” Terminate with extreme prejudice.

Cutterred Flesh – Love at First Bite Review

Cutterred Flesh – Love at First Bite Review

“Czech brutal tech hash-slinging slashers Cutterred Flesh ought to hold a seminar on pairing cheeky artwork with equally cheeky album names. Three years ago, the five-banger released the whimsically titled Sharing is Caring and paired it with imagery befitting its title and the brutality it contained. Today, Cutterred Flesh prepare their sixth assault, entitled Love at First Bite, and with it another gruesome but tongue-in-cheek slab of paint. Needless to say, just like before, this combo instantly makes this artwork one of my favorites of the year so far. The question remains, then, whether the album’s content can enamor me the same way as does its cover.” We always bite the ones we love.

The Last of Lucy – Godform Review

The Last of Lucy – Godform Review

“Transcending Obscurity’s rise amongst the underground metal label ranks has been rapid, swelling in recent years as they house an increasingly powerful staple of killer bands, with the quality factor generally of a high standard across a packed roster of talented and unique artists. Taking around a decade from band conception to debut LP release, California’s The Last of Lucy have built underground momentum and refined their sound, arriving at their third LP, and second for Transcending Obscurity, entitled Godform. Aside from taste testing some of their previous work, in particular 2022’s Moksha, I largely divulge in this latest endeavor with fresh ears. Residing in the crowded, head-spinning realms of modern technical and brutal death, how does The Last of Lucy fare?” Lucy in the sky with noodles.

Vredehammer – God Slayer Review

Vredehammer – God Slayer Review

Vredehammer’s sophomore album, Violator, was released almost 8 years ago. The deadly blackened death record made it onto my very first top 10 list for AMG on account of the electrifying energy and excellent hooks. Successor Viperous slithered into my HM’s, and I may have underrated it at that. It increased the density of sound and used synths for a slick, neon battering ram. So when Steel waved the gorgeous-looking new promo over the writer’s pit, I leapt for it so fast and violently, three Melvins are still in intensive care. Is Vredehammer going three for three on my end-year list?” Re-arming the Hammers.

Red Rot – Borders of Mania Review

Red Rot – Borders of Mania Review

“Depression comes in waves. If you—or anyone you know and love—have ever witnessed or experienced its grip, you know that it’s a battle. Davide Tiso, the slippery Italian guitarist responsible for the jazzy hardcore machinations of Ephel Duath, and the jangling progressive excursions of Howling Sycamore, seems to know this fight all too well. Two years ago Tiso unearthed Red Rot as a heart-on-sleeve death metal journey that both reunited him with his old friend and vocalist Luciano George Lorusso (ex-Ephel Duath) and explored the darkest corners of his psyche with crashing riffs and scathing, hypnotic melodies. Here in 2024, I’m not too sure that Tiso is any better, but his axe remains sharp and thrilling as ever.” Shredding despair.