Thrash

Prosper or Perish – Shroud of Serpents Review

Prosper or Perish – Shroud of Serpents Review

“It’s been a good, long time since I’ve reviewed a melodic death metal album. Once upon a time, it was the only genre of music I would listen to, as it acted as a gateway portal between the classic style of heavy metal we all know and love, and the heavier, more extreme sounds that most of us flock to in droves after a while. Just like both extremes of the spectrum, the genre I’m focusing on definitely has its place, but unlike those extremes, it paints itself into a corner after a while, not looking to branch out or adapt without catastrophic results. Philadelphia’s Prosper or Perish hope to break out of that comfort zone with their third album, Shroud of Serpents.” Snake or swim.

Kvaen – The Great Below Review

Kvaen – The Great Below Review

“What’s there left to say about Kvaen beyond five little words, four of which are “fire?” Back in early 2020, Jakob Björnfot came out of seeming nowhere with a fully formed meloblack/speed metal aesthetic and a keen songwriting ear to deliver one of the the most vital sounding throwback records of the year. The Funeral Pyre had something going for it that a lot of good, even great records don’t. Beyond technical musicianship—which Björnfot most certainly has—beyond reverence for a genre’s history, that record was fun. As. Hell. It didn’t matter that no new ground was being broken, it only mattered that Björnfot was driving it like it was stolen.” Hell Alone 2: Electric Burning You.

Extinction A.D. – Culture of Violence Review

Extinction A.D. – Culture of Violence Review

“The only issues you’re likely to hear about in a metal song are those involving Satan, Vikings, or, in certain cases, giant cosmic slugs. The genre generally avoids engaging directly with current events–even an oldie like “War Pigs” gussies up its anti-war themes with spooky tropes. Metal is happy to borrow techniques and attitude from hardcore and punk, but for the most part it leaves the explicit protesting to its cousins and fellow outsiders. Long Island thrashers Extinction A.D. whip up a chant of “hell no” to all that, waving the equivalent of ten hand-markered cardboard signs at you for the duration of Culture of Violence.” Thrashing the news.

Vicious Knights – Alteration Through Possession Review

Vicious Knights – Alteration Through Possession Review

“‘Vicious’ can be defined as deliberately cruel or violent. Not a term one naturally associates with the popular image of the gallant knight, enduring all sorts of perils and dragons to save—and, if he’s lucky, fondle—the princess. But in what, I suppose, is an effort to invert or undermine conventional images, Vicious Knights is the chosen moniker of this thrash trio from Thessaloniki, Greece. Formed in 2016 and with a demo and an EP under their belt, they scored a deal with German label, Dying Victim Productions, and are now ready to unleash their debut LP.” Knight moves.

The Absence – Coffinized Review

The Absence – Coffinized Review

“Everyone likes an underdog, and I am no exception. Garnering a solid profile over the years, Florida’s The Absence remain underappreciated purveyors of Scandinavian inspired melodic death, with a twist of Americanized thrash aggression mixed into the equation. Early albums, From the Grave and Riders of the Plague set a high standard, before a lengthy recording hiatus occurred between 2011’s Enemy Unbound and 2018’s comeback opus A Gift for the Obsessed, marking a solid return. Never ones to push the envelope, The Absence have managed to insert enough of their own character into a well worn style to escape stylistic limitations.” We all get Coffinized eventually, kid.

Demiser – Through the Gate Eternal Review

Demiser – Through the Gate Eternal Review

“It’s spring in Minnesota. Given the harshness of our winters, these longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures always feel transformative, but after these past 12 months of hell, and with vaccination rates climbing and new Covid cases dropping, one can almost imagine normal life emerging from the pandemic like the landscape emerges as the snow disappears. In physical terms, this means the compulsion to go outside is strong. Absorb some sunlight, smell the mild air, watch things grow. In metal terms, it’s time to put down the doom and dsbm and reach for something fun, fast and filthy. South Carolina’s blackened thrash band Demiser have spent pandemic isolation crafting their debut full-length, Through the Gate Eternal.” Reports of Demiser are not greatly exaggerated.

Dark Zodiak – Ophiuchus Review

Dark Zodiak – Ophiuchus Review

Dark Zodiak borrow bits of the chunky, militaristic rhythms of Sodom, the scratchy grooves of Kreator and the progressive wanderings of Metallica. The push into heavier death-thrash territory is almost entirely due to a grotesque performance from vocalist Simone Schwarz, who commands the record with guttural roars, dry rasps, sinister narration, and even the occasional pig squeal.” Sign stealing.

Terrordome – Straight Outta Smogtown Review

Terrordome – Straight Outta Smogtown Review

“What, I ask myself as I embark on my fifth or sixth listen of Straight Outta Smogtown, is the point of guest vocals. Guest vocals that work best are those that allow a band to deliver something markedly different from what they would otherwise do. Look at the two recent collaborations between Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle, for a recent example, or, going back a quite a long way now, look at Dave Grohl’s Probot. Although Probot was a far from a perfect album, the way the numerous vocalists were used, delivered a very different character for each track. So what have Polish thrashers Terrordome fashioned with a number of additional vocalists who guest on their third full-length, Straight Outta Smogtown?” The smog of war.

Brave the Cold – Scarcity Review

Brave the Cold – Scarcity Review

“When it was announced that guitarist Mitch Harris and drummer Dirk Verbeuren were collaborating for some kind of death metal project, I was unsure exactly what to expect. Mr. Harris is a grand progenitor of grind, starting out with Righteous Pigs before joining Napalm Death in 1989. Since then he’s helped define an entire genre and dabbled in weirdness on the side, as with Meathook Seed. On the other hand, Dirk Verbeuren has played with Megadeth, Soilwork, Devin Townsend, Warrel Dane, and any number of black and death metal acts. With such a widely traveled duo, the options seem limitless.” Frost grinding.