Inhalement, Eternally Stoned review (Horror Pain Death Gore Productions 2020)

The smoke is rising out of Boston and a barrage of metal aggression follows it with the new EP from Inhalement.

There is not a lot of widely dispersed information about Inhalement. They have a Facebook page (link below). They (most of the band, at least) performed as Toke previously and released Fifty Ton Nug in 2016. As Inhalement, they released Grotesque Inhalement last year (you can hear it on Spotify). One thing you should know is that, even though the name of the band and the title of the new CD make you think this is stoner/sludge music, it is not – this is death metal. On the riffy side of the street, sure, but it is grisly.

There are four songs on Eternally Stoned, averaging in the three minute range. “MJ Ultra” is the eye opener, with a few seconds of a misleading whisper at the start followed by a wall of charging metal sound. It plays like a conquering army overwhelming an inferior opponent, then looking back to gloat. The piercing lead break is the planted flag. “Unsmokeable” is, if anything, even more searching and urgent. “Drowning In Reclaim” starts with a deep draw and lays out a few homages to classic metal tropes. The title track closes, and it is a banger with big riffs and a dramatic wind-down. It all happens fast, but you can always light up and listen to it again. Good times. Recommended.

Out this Friday, July 17, you can pre-order the digital album and physicals at Bandcamp (the HPGD link below). You can even get a t-shirt.

Band photo snagged from Bandcamp.




Inhalement, Eternally Stoned review (Horror Pain Death Gore Productions 2020)

Lantern, Dimensions review (Dark Descent 2020)

The new release from death metal purveyors Lantern is a twist on a tale and voyage into inner space.

A veteran band from Kuopio, Finland – the interior – Lantern (using their stage names) is Cruciatus on guitars and bass, Necrophilos singing, J. Poussu on percussion, and St. Belial playing guitar. Formed in 2007 after the earlier band Cacodaemon ended its existence, the death metal regulars are now into their third full-length release.

The album starts off surprisingly melodic and even a little hooky with the opening pleadings of “Strange Nebula.” It is a eerie vibe with a Savatage montage feel at first, then the vocals begin – they are coarse but decipherable and are carefully cocooned by the swirling hornets of guitars. Slightly past the middle, there is a Venomesque change followed by a crunchy riff and an ethereal guitar transition. There is a lot going on in this song and it keeps you off balance. It also keeps you listening.

There are epic moments of soaring themes juxtaposed with nasty punk bursts and generously spaced blistering guitar peels. The arc of the album is to plant a stake at the beginning, accelerate toward the center and then launch into the epic closer. “Monolithic Abyssal Dimensions” is a fourteen minute journey into darkness for the purpose of excavating the darkened terrain of schizophrenic psyche. It chips away at your brain like a madman with a rock hammer attacking an ancient cliff searching for meaning. There is a sustained insistence and at the same time an active musical ratcheting and clutch-pop shifts that make you spin. The song is unsettling in every way, and when it is over you want to listen again because Lantern has clawed its way under your skin. Recommended.

You can get Dimensions right now directly from Dark Decent Records (Shop tab) or through Bandcamp (links below).


Lantern, Dimensions review (Dark Descent 2020)

Skeleton, Skeleton review (20 Buck Spin 2020)

Loud and clanging, Skeleton’s their first album is gruff metal music with a punk attitude and a flare for the menacing.

This band from Austin, Texas is populated by David Skeleton (guitar), Victor Skeleton (drums and vocals), Cody Combs (bass), and Alex Guzman (guitar). I first listened to this set on a mountain in the Rockies and it fit right in with the granite surroundings. It is hard crushing metal in one hand and a slicing knife in the other.

The songs are short, typically under three minutes, and they are catchy in a ruinous sort of way. Every song is fast and battering with a transparent intention to bludgeon. From “Mark of Death” to “Toad” to “Taste of Blood” and particularly on the eponymous track, there is violence and damage in the vocals and all the other instruments, a general invitation to malefaction. Even in the transitional element “Victory,” which has a slow tempo, there is an insistent echoing threat that matches it perfectly with the rest of the album.

The exception to the short song rule is “Catacombs,” the closer, which clips along for coming up on five minutes. It winds its way around you, easing into your psyche with a quiet start. One minute in, you are hit by a barrage of machine gun fire guitars, followed by laments of the suffering damned. This song wraps it up, but the entire album is filled with foreboding and woe, and feels at times like the musical instantiation of a twisting knife. Absolutely drenched in the personified dark, it is the kind of haunt you want to have. Recommended.

Skeleton is out July 10 from 20 Buck Spin on CD, vinyl, and cassette. It will be streaming and downloadable too, of course, and you catch those versions at Bandcamp, amongst other places.

Band photo by Nark Garcia.


Skeleton, Skeleton review (20 Buck Spin 2020)

Northern Crown, In A Pallid Shadow review (2020)

Another exploration is launched with Northern Crown’s third full-length album, In A Pallid Shadow.

The band is a little bit hard to pin down if you are looking to label them in a category. I have most often seen them called a doom metal act, but that isn’t quite right. Elements are there, it is true, but that is not their overarching vibe, at least not to me. Prog, too, I’ve seen quite a bit. That category is broad enough to encompass a wide array of bands, but I wouldn’t call Northern Crown prog, either. A hybrid band, then, a crossover, or maybe just a category all their own. One thing is certain: every album sounds different.

The credits listed in the press materials make no reference to anyone playing keyboards, but they are a prominent feature of the music, literally in every song. Maybe it is more mysterious that way. The album begins with “Leprosarium,” which has a very grungy sound to it. I kept expecting Eddie Vedder to jump off a balcony. That’s it for the grunge, though, because in the next song, “The Last Snowfall,” the music turns to campfire storytelling with the non-vocal instruments playing supporting roles. That is true in the first half. Past the midpoint, the music fills in the story and the playful lead break has something to say as well.

A solo piano line opens “A Vivid Monochrome.” Appropriate. Slow and quiet in the first half of the song, electrified strings muscle some of the placidity out in their roll toward the end. “8 Hours” has a quiet beginning too but it is a tease. Heavy riffs and dramatic vocals insist the song in a theatrical direction. The closer, “Observing,” pops on like a heavy metal Kansas song with Point of Know Return keyboards and guitars. Not for long – the rest of the song has more in common with a Dio anthem than with the 1970s pre-prog masters. There is much to appreciate in this new album, and it comes at you from many different angles.

Available on July 3, make it a point to catch up with Northern Crown and see where they are on their journey.


Northern Crown, In A Pallid Shadow review (2020)

T-Shirt Inventory, Ebb Tide

The T-Shirt Inventory Project 2020 has been a lot of fun. There are still other shirts lying around here that didn’t catch a wave. I wouldn’t call them a wave, exactly. Let’s call them a tide. An ebb tide. Here are a few shirts that did not appear in the eight waves that came before.

And just in case you are interested, here are direct links to each wave so you can check out the shirts that rolled ashore.

First Wave

Second Wave

Third Wave

Fourth Wave

Fifth Wave

Sixth Wave

Seventh Wave

Eighth Wave

© Wayne Edwards.

T-Shirt Inventory, Ebb Tide