Bog Body, Cryonic Crevasse Cult (Profound Lore 2022)

Bog Body brings forth their first full-length album, Cryonic Crevasse Cult.

Not your typical death metal band, Bog Body is made up entirely of vocals, bass, and percussion generated from two musicians. Putting out a demo in 2018, Through the Burial Bog, and a split with Primitive Warfare in 2020, The Gate Of Grief, you might wonder if they have anything else to say. It turns out that’s a yes.

Think about it for a minute. Bass and drums and vocals. Is that enough? It is certainly a lane, and the limiting choice of instruments narrows the avenues for expression. Then again, it requires the composers to be especially creative if they are to achieve anything fans want to hear. I think they have done it.

The music is death metal, heavy on the sludge, and it leans toward black metal sentience, metered down a bit. The bass lines are doing some heavy lifting here, as you might expect. Speed comes from the percussion first in the absence of guitar, and the bass line keeps up. The vocals exist in a muted blackened doom metal realm.

There is a welcome variety in the music as we roll through. “Ice Stained Kurgan” has a deep, mysterious formulation to it, while songs like the title track are high velocity poundings. The set opens on “Paralytic Pit of Swallowed Graves” and closes with “The Graveyard Of Dead Cratons,” two songs that, musically, stand well apart. Indeed, while “Paralytic” is a mood-setter and serves to orient expectations for the rest of the album, “Graveyard” is my favorite track for its firm stance on its own identity. The commitment to heavy music is present throughout, and I can say no other band sounds quite like Bog Body. Recommended.

Cryonic Crevasse Cult is out on Friday, May 20th through Profound Lore Records in digital and on CD.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://bog-body.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/bogbodyofficial

Profound Lore Records, https://profoundlorerecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Bog Body, Cryonic Crevasse Cult (Profound Lore 2022)

Blasphematory, The Lower Catacombs (Nuclear Winter 2022)

New Jersey death metal band Blasphematory drive up the demons on their second album, The Lower Catacombs.

Blasphematory came together by happenstance, the story goes. After compiling a demo, they released the full-length Depths of the Obscurity as a duo in 2019. Expanding the line-up by fifty percent, the sound honed in to what we hear today on the new album. It is classic death metal with notable doom leanings and an ear for perpetuity. The band includes veteran musicians Joe Aversario (bass, guitar, vocals), Chris Warhead (drums), and Tom Deceiver (guitar).

Seven savage tracks make up the new set. “Cruciform Shadows” begins with what sounds like a warning – a creepy, warbling ramp that peels off to reveal the shaggy darkness behind the veil. “Unclean Eulogies” is transportative, welling up in deliberation and with purpose, and slow-stomping the black earth with massive musical paws. “Key to the Furnace” steps back a touch, lays in on the grind then ramps up the tempo. This opening triad shows clearly the world you have ventured into by dropping the needle.

There is much to admire in every corner of this record. “Perpetual Despair” is heavy doom, sounding very much like it indeed comes from the lower catacombs. It is my favorite track on the album, the crushing hopelessness is what appeals to me. “Flooded Graves” has a feeling of deep mystery to it in the melody and in the rumbling percussion. And then there is the title song. “The Lower Catacombs” is the longest track and the anchor to the set. You feel the weight of the world – and the underworld – descend upon you from the very beginning. New looks and perpetrations roll over you as the music continues, and you want it all to happen. The guitars are mournful and unrepentant. The vocals deep and unwelcoming. The music is murky dank darkness. Recommended.

The Lower Catacombs came out on Friday the 13th through Nuclear Winter Records on digital, CD, and vinyl. You can get it now.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://blasphematory.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/blasphematory

Nuclear Winter Records, https://nuclearwinterrecords.com/shop/

© Wayne Edwards

Blasphematory, The Lower Catacombs (Nuclear Winter 2022)

Cauchemar, Rosa Mystica (Temple Of Mystery 2022)

Canadian heavy metal band Cauchemar release their third full-length album, Rosa Mystica.

Cauchemar is from Québec and have been together since 2007. They have a very traditional metal approach to their music that works as a starting point. From there they steep their work in doom and manifest fascinating creations. They released an EP in 2010, La vierge noire, followed by two long-players, Tenebrario (2013) and Chapelle ardente (2016). Each new album is a step toward the vanishing point as the band hones its sound and compositional constitution through comparative gradation. The new album is their best so far. Cauchemar is Annick Giroux (vocals), François Patry (guitar), Andres Arango (bass), and Joël Ladouceur (drums).

There are eight tracks on Rosa Mystica, beginning with “Jour de colère.” The opening bars are menacing, turning toward the mysterious. About one minute in, the guitars kick in, lifting the discourse to pursuit, and now we are on an adventure. Giroux, singing in French, facilitates a dark mood in a misty wood. “Rouge sang” follows and is ambitious at the jump, with immediate accelerant in the tempo and urgency in the vocals. “Notre–Dame–sous–Terre” is ponderous, accentuating the doom aspects and elements Cauchemar does so well. It is a beautiful, dark treatise.

Listening to the first few songs, I had Fates Warning flashbacks, and maybe Omen, from the 1980s. Also Demon. That is good for me because I love that music. What is particularly different about Cauchemar’s music that lifts it beyond homage is the integration of doom and their unique compositional perspective, as in the title track, for example. Juxtapose those ideas with more active and ranging songs such as “Le tombeau de l’aube” and then the album, taken as a whole, has a more profound impact. Recommended.

Rosa Mystica is out today, Monday, May 16th through Temple Of Mystery Records. You can pick it up at Bandcamp or through the label’s website. Links below.

Band photo by Chany Pilote.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://cauchemar.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/cauchemarmetal

Temple Of Mystery Records, https://templeofmystery.ca/product-category/cauchemar/

© Wayne Edwards

Cauchemar, Rosa Mystica (Temple Of Mystery 2022)

Testament at The Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio, May 11th

The Bay Strikes Back Tour is in full force. An article I wrote and photo gallery of my images is going up soon at Ghost Cult Magazine. For now, I am posting a few photos that are not in that article, taken at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio on May 11, 2022. Death Angel first, then Exodus the next day, then Testament. A link to the Ghost Cult article will be added when it is published.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Ghost Cult Magazine Full Article, https://www.ghostcultmag.com/concert-review-the-bay-strikes-back-tour-testament-exodus-death-angel-live-at-newport-music-hall/

Exodus, https://exodusattack.com/site/

Newport Music Hall, https://promowestlive.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Testament at The Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio, May 11th

Exodus at The Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio, May 11th

The Bay Strikes Back Tour is in full force. An article I wrote and photo gallery of my images is going up soon at Ghost Cult Magazine. For now, I am posting a few photos that are not in that article, taken at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio on May 11, 2022. Death Angel first, then Exodus the next day, then Testament. A link to the Ghost Cult article will be added when it is published.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Ghost Cult Magazine Full Article, https://www.ghostcultmag.com/concert-review-the-bay-strikes-back-tour-testament-exodus-death-angel-live-at-newport-music-hall/

Exodus, https://exodusattack.com/site/

Newport Music Hall, https://promowestlive.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Exodus at The Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio, May 11th

Death Angel at The Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio, May 11th

The Bay Strikes Back Tour is in full force. There is an article I wrote and photo gallery of my images that is going up soon at Ghost Cult Magazine. For now, I am posting a few photos that are not in that article, taken at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio on May 11, 2022. Death Angel first, then Exodus the next day, then Testament. A link to the Ghost Cult article will be added when it is published.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Ghost Cult Magazine Full Article, https://www.ghostcultmag.com/concert-review-the-bay-strikes-back-tour-testament-exodus-death-angel-live-at-newport-music-hall/

Death Angel, https://www.deathangel.us/

Newport Music Hall, https://promowestlive.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Death Angel at The Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio, May 11th

Skaven, Flowers Of Flesh And Blood (Carbonized 2022)

The last recordings of famed Oakland crust band Skaven get a new release.

The new The Flowers of Flesh and Blood “commemorates the 25th anniversary of the final recordings of acclaimed Oakland Crust band, Skaven.” This music was originally released in two pieces, but here it is now altogether. Some remastering has been done on these tracks, setting them apart from previous releases and compilations. Skaven was Zebediah Gammack (vocals), Mike Matusio (bass), Shane O’Gallagher (bass), Geoff Evans (guitar), and Ross Vogelsong (drums).

Skaven was only around for a couple years, really, but during that time they laid down some unforgettable music and haunted Bay Area venues in an aggressive circumlocution. Their music was a long drift away from radio-friendly intimations that were more popular at the time, and the band did not seem to care at all about that. They did what they wanted to do and that was the whole story.

There are three songs included in the new collection. “Severed” and “Flowers of Flesh and Blood” were originally released together on an EP with the same title as the one at hand. “The Swarm” comes from a latter day split with Stormcrow. The music is raw and howling, with a charging rhythm section, as you might expect. For all the urgency and vigor there is a noticeable confidence in the constructions – they are not hurried or slap-dash. They have a monumental presence, which explains why, twenty five years later, fans still want to hear it.

Conjure your memories or, if you are unfamiliar with Skaven, consume the history of this significant lane of music. When you hear it you will know why it is important. Recommended.

Flowers Of Flesh And Blood is out now through Carbonized Records. Check out the options at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://carbonizedrecords.bandcamp.com/album/flowers-of-flesh-and-blood

Carbonized Records, https://carbonized-records.myshopify.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Skaven, Flowers Of Flesh And Blood (Carbonized 2022)

Woorms, Fatalismo (SuperNova Records 2022)

Sludge metal maestros Woorms order a reckoning on their new album Fatalismo.

Woorms is a fairly new band, having started about five years ago. Being centered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, might have had something to do with the sound that emerged from them – after all, just think of the list of bands that have come from the area. Whatever led them to the path they are on now, let’s just be glad they are making music for us hear. The musicians are Joey Carbo (guitar, vocals, keys), John Robinson (bass), and Aaron Polk (drums).

There is an overriding sense of unsettledness and generalized tension that verily beams throughout this album. Each song is an individual instantiation of the overarching idea, telling a specific, but not always transparent, story.

As an example, in its first half “This Is Nothing Short of Character Assassination” is a delightful soundtrack piece you might expect to hear when a particularly complicated part of a heist movie is underway on the screen. That set-up puts you in a particular frame of mind. The second half of the song is soliloquy, and what a story there is in it. Strife, struggle, and ultimately a solution. But exactly who is the narrator? You know what I mean – is this something someone is saying to you or is it a story about somebody else. Hard to say.

Then think about this one, “Mezzo Mort,” which is an amazing expression of frustration, at least that’s the way I hear it. The percussion and bass line are incredible, and the lyrics are words to live by. Maybe. Or maybe not. To where do these observed actions take us? Where would following along lead us? Exactly.

The music is sludge in its origins but it exists in a broader realm. More than usual, I feel I am projecting when I think I hear influences of Primus and the Melvins in there. What do I know? I like the music I am hearing. It is heavy, sometimes complex and sometimes simple and sometimes both at the same time. This new one has got me looking in all directions for Woorms. Recommended.

Fatalismo is out on Friday, May 13th through SuperNova Records on digital, with physical formats to follow directly. Scoop them up at Bandcamp or your other favorite places.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://woorms.bandcamp.com/music

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/WOORMSband

SuperNova Records, https://supernovarecordsusa.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Woorms, Fatalismo (SuperNova Records 2022)

Morgue Supplier, Inevitability (Transcending Obscurity 2022)

Grindcore vaporizers Morgue Supplier hit back hard on their new album, Inevitability.

Paul Gillis (guitar, vocals) founded Morgue Supplier more than twenty years ago. Joined by Stephen Reichelt (bass), the pair assemble brutal death metal and grindcore designed to disturb your sense of self. Both are also in Drug Honkey, but the music here is off in a different direction. Over the years, Morgue Supplier has issued two previous long-players and a host of EPs. It has been six years since their last full-length, the aptly titled Morgue Supplier, so we have been standing at the barricade for a while now. It was worth the wait.

The album begins in chaos with “Absurd Identity.” The opening bars are scrabbling madness. A beat and riff becomes discernable eventually, then it comes and goes. The vocals are the howls of a gored bull and the hiss of a diabolical serpent that is being crushed to death. The music is sorrow and suffering juxtaposed with active violent aggression and surrounded by confusion. “Closing In” comes next and is more linear, at least to begin with. It does its own share of twisting and curling amidst the screams, miasm, and turpitudes. “Empty Vacant Shell” completes the first triplet with a strangling odyssey of retribution.

An ominous transition piece brings us to the second triplet. “My Path to Hell” has a fairly clear narrative and “Existence Collapsed” lowers the doom on doleful listeners. The most impressive song on the record for me is “Thoughts of Only Darkness.” Clocking in at over eight minutes, the epic nature of the track allows for more development of musical ideas. It is a journey, but not a labyrinth – you begin to feel how it is going to unfold as you progress and you become part of the darkness. The title track is the cooldown piece at the end, offering closure but no hope. This album is loud and noisy metal that will leave you bruised. Recommended.

Inevitability is out on Friday, May 13th through the irrepressible Transcending Obscurity Records. Have a look at all the related merch and variants available for this release and I am sure you will be satisfied. Links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://morguesupplierband.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/morguesupplier

Transcending Obscurity Records, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Morgue Supplier, Inevitability (Transcending Obscurity 2022)

Halestorm, Back From The Dead (Atlantic 2022)

The new album from Halestorm will help you shake off ghosts of the past: Back From The Dead.

Halestorm is a hard rock band with an alt rock approach that includes elements of metal, grunge, and beyond. Their self-titled album came out more than ten years ago and aroused immediate widespread interest. Growing in popularity steadily over the years, their most recent album, Vicious (2018), set the high water at the time. For me, Back From The Dead is even better. Halestorm is Lzzy Hale (vocals, guitar), Arejay Hale (drums), Joe Hottinger (guitar), and Josh Smith (bass).

Any chance to see Halestorm is one you can’t let go by. I last saw them at Aftershock just before the pandemic and they were absolutely great. They are all energy, intensity, and fun in a hard-edge rock setting. There might be a couple other bands in this lane but there is only one Halestorm.

The title track kicks things off and it is a heavy player. Powerful guitars and Lzzy Hale’s soulful voice combine for rock and roll perfection. I am expecting to hear this one a lot as summer comes on. It is an excellent set opener for live shows and a good radio call as well. “Wicked Ways” seesaws in next with a gruffer leading edge. “Strange Girl” has a sinisterly playful tinge to it with an effervescent aggression that cannot be ignored.

The harder rock songs are the ones I think of first but of course there are a lot of different things to hear on the album. “The Steeple” is the second single from the record, and it is filled with stadium vibes and an eminently singable chorus, and “Terrible Things” is a thought-provoking ballad. “I Come First” is a gritty declaration and “Psycho Crazy” is a ferocious pushback. And then there is “Raise Your Horns,” which, from the title, sounds like it would speaks for itself, but it is not what you might expect.

Fans of Halestrom are going to be glad for this new one. It compares well to their earlier albums, and this one is more fervent, I would say, very vibrant. Recommended.

Out now through Atlantic Records, you can get Back From The Dead anywhere. And you should. Links below.

Live photos by Wayne Edwards at Aftershock 2019.

Links.

Halestorm Store, https://store.halestormrocks.com/

Halestorm Website, https://www.halestormrocks.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/halestormrocks

Atlantic Records, https://www.atlanticrecords.com/halestorm

© Wayne Edwards

Halestorm, Back From The Dead (Atlantic 2022)