Diamond Head, Lightning To The Nations 2020 review (Silver Lining Music 2020)

For the 40th anniversary of the seminal album Lightning To The Nations, Diamond Head has re-recorded it in its entirety.

It is hard to overstate the impact of Diamond Head on heavy music. The album in question came out in 1980 on the vanguard of the New Wave OF British Heavy Metal, inspiring many bands, including, famously, Metallica. They released three full length albums in the 1980s, had a short resurrection in the 1990s, and since 2005 have been producing new music regularly, including last year’s The Coffin Train. Founding member Brian Tatler (guitar) is joined by Rasmus Bom Andersen (vocals), Karl Wilcox (drums), Andrew “Abbz” Abberley (guitar), and Dean Ashton (bass, organ) for the new recording.

Lightning To The Nations 2020 sounds amazing, and comparing it to the original is challenging unless you grabbed and held onto one of those early LPs. There was a remastered version of this album released in 2011 and it is on Spotify, so you can track-by-track those two, if you like. There are noticeable differences, but all my money is on this year’s release as it is crisp and deep, and it is the newest incarnation of the music presented the way Brian Tatler wants it to be. The two songs that get most of the attention are “Am I Evil” and “It’s Electric” – deservedly so because they are outstanding. Still, there are big riffs and fantastic lead work throughout the entirety of the recording, so don’t skip the others.

Besides revitalizing the seven original songs, there are also four covers: “No Remorse” (Metallica), “Immigrant Song” (Led Zepplin), “Sinner” (Judas Priest), and “Rat Bat Blue” (Deep Purple). My favorite is the Deep Purple cover. If I had been asked which Deep Purple song Diamond Head would cover having such a rich catalog to choose from, “Rat Bat Blue” would not have been very high on my list, but it is absolutely fantastic. Guitars stand in for the crazy keyboards of the original, and this new one cracks.

Additional info and links below. If you are a fan of this classic music, it is time to start debating which version you like best. If you are hearing it all for the first time, just sit back and enjoy. Recommended.

Band photo by Nic Gaunt.


Wesbite, http://www.diamondheadofficial.com

Band Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/DiamondHeadOfficial/

Silver Lining Music, http://sl-music.net

SLM Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/Silver.Lining.Music.Ltd

Diamond Head, Lightning To The Nations 2020 review (Silver Lining Music 2020)

Scour, Black review (Housecore Records 2020)

The trilogy is now complete as Scour releases the final EP in the cycle, Black.

The band Scour is the stuff of dark dreams: Philip H. Anselmo (lead vocals), Derek Engemann (guitar, vocals), John Jarvis (bass, vocals), Mark Kloeppel (guitar, vocals), and Adam Jarvis (drums). These musicians came together in 2015 and started a musical project to be released in three parts. First was Grey (2016), and then Red (2017), and now the final installment has arrived, Black.

The music has a ravaging brutality about it, a dedication to Black Metal and Grindcore principles. “Doom” breaks the silence with sirens, fair warning and a sign that the onslaught is underway. The music is a massive, pulverizing force, directed along by the drums and liberated through vocals and a piercing, succinct lead break. “Nail,” “Propaganda,” and “Flames” pile drive new legendary pillars into the heavy landscape as Anselmo’s voice is joined in chorus, flanked by guitar and with underlay of bass and drum. “Microbes” is a beautiful instrumental track with melancholy violins and a disturbing, increasingly destabilizing piano. The menace builds with bigger strokes and added vocals, leading at the end to “Subprime” – the closer and the final hammer down on the shattering granite.

The band brought in guests Pat O’Brien, Erik Rutan, and, improbably, Jason Momoa for the recording of the last piece of the puzzle. Every element came together in synchrony and synergy. Black is the best end to the trilogy I could imagine. Recommended.

The music is available now at the links below in many forms. Listen to the earlier installments first, then dive into Black.

Band photo by Joseph P. Dorignak IV.


Bandcamp, https://scourhc.bandcamp.com/album/black-ep

Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/scourband

Label, http://www.thehousecorerecords.com

Label Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/housecorerecords

Scour, Black review (Housecore Records 2020)

Revolting, The Shadow At The World’s End review (Transcending Obscurity 2020)

The next episode in the Revolting saga is another Old School Death Metal juggernaut.

Rogga Johansson is the driving force in Revolting. Joined by Tobias and Martin on the new album, they play in the Swedish Death Metal vein, old school style. That means a fast tempo, razor sharp, tight lead shreds, and the classic invader/dominator commanding coarse vocals. The band released a demo in 2008, and since then has issued an EP, a split with Morbid Ossuary, and six full length albums, the most recent being Monolith Of Madness in 2018. The Shadow At The World’s End, then, is their seventh LP, and if anything it is more creative and energetic than the ones that have come before.

There are nine songs on the new album, all at radio length and every one a ripping sonic roar. “Defleshed” is the opener, and from the first note it is like coming in on the middle of a high speed car chase. The vocals are gruff yet decipherable, and the riffs are layered. “1888” is next with a clompy rhythm up front for a short breather before the title track throws sparks and kicks it up a notch. There are a few somewhat down-tempo paced tracks, like “Daggers That Mimic Life’s Pain,” and there the power goes into the heavy so “slow” is not really a good way to describe the music. The whirring pace of songs like “To The Bitter Bleeding End” keep you on your feet all the way through, and the relative brevity of the compositions allows no attention drift. This is another excellent set from Revolting. Recommended.

The Shadow At The World’s End is available now. You can get the digital at Bandcamp. You can also order any of the amazing bundles offered by Transcending Obscurity through Bandcamp or through the labels’ US store.


Revolting Bandcamp, https://revoltingdeath.bandcamp.com/album/the-shadow-at-the-worlds-end-death-metal

Revolting Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/revoltingdeathmetal

Label website, https://tometal.com/

Label Bandcamp, https://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/

Label US Store, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/search/?q=revolting

Revolting, The Shadow At The World’s End review (Transcending Obscurity 2020)

Obscurae, To Walk The Path Of Sorrows review (American Decline 2020)

Obscurae returns with a heavy blanket of atmospheric Black Metal: To Walk The Path Of Sorrows.

Chad Davis is the mastermind behind Obscurae. He is the composer, singer, and he plays all of the musical instruments in the production (Matt Davis plays bass on some tracks). The music is a saturating assault that aims to find a way to stay with you, haunting you long after the external sound has subsided. It is Black Metal that incorporates symphonic and hyper-ambient synergies to inculcate a destabilizing paradigm of tenebrosity in the psyche of the listener.

“Upon The Shadowthrone Of Night” separates you from the silence with a gentle urging invocation for the first two minutes as it opens the album. Then the onslaught begins. A barrage of sound bowls you over, pinning you down while the ghostly shrieking vocals penetrate you with their dark spell. Discerning the individual elements of the music takes concentration as it rushes together in an aural tsunami.

Each subsequent piece is an alternate take on gloom and sorrow, another story on the path to sinister ends. The choral sections are most noticeable to me in “Into Fullmoon Descent” and “Eerie Freezing Winds,” but they are with you much of the time. The cumulative effect of the oppressive sound is overwhelming. The curtain closes with “Stillheten,” four minutes of funereal keys that match the opening of the set. Hearing it at the end feels like a coffin being lowered into the ground.

Available on November 27th at the American Dreams shop link below and on Bandcamp (where two bonus tracks are included), To Walk The Path Of Sorrows is a long stare into darkness.

Photo from the Metal Archives website.


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

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

Shop, https://american-dreams.zone/product-category/american-decline-release/

Obscurae, To Walk The Path Of Sorrows review (American Decline 2020)

Clutch, Weathermaker Vault 1 review (Weathermaker Music 2020)

Clutch collects the singles they have been releasing over the past several months in Weathermaker Vault Series, Volume 1.

The idea behind doing this at all is to release fan favorites and songs that the band has played live a lot over the years because they have evolved as time has passed. These new studio versions are closer to the way you hear the songs when you see Clutch in concert, and several of the songs are covers that were not released on studio albums. In some cases, they differences on the re-records are small, but in others the comparison between the original recordings and the new ones show that the differences really stand out.

The album has ten songs on it, nine of which has already been released as digital singles: 1. Passive Restraints, 2. Electric Worry, 3. Run, John Barleycorn, Run, 4. Evil, 5. Fortunate Son, 6. Algo Ha Cambiado, 7. Spacegrass, 8. Precious and Grace, 9. Smoke Banshee, and 10. Willie Nelson.

On “Passive Restraints,” Randy Blythe of Lamb of God joins the band and creates an amazing synergy. “Electric Worry” has a slightly more stripped down sound here (and no harmonica) like, again, it is on concert – always one of my favorites. “Run, John Barleycorn, Run” was only previously available on a split from some years back. “Evil” and “Fortunate Son” are fantastic covers of those legendary songs, and “Algo Ha Cambiado” is a briefer version than the one that appears on Strange Cousins from the West. “Spacegrass” gets an extended treatment, and “Precious and Grace” is a ZZ Top cover. “Smoke Banshee,” another one of my personal favorites (that is a long list when we are talking about Clutch songs), never sounded better, and on “Willie Nelson,” we find out he “only smokes killer weed.”

Should you buy this? Of course. If you are a Clutch fan, you want all these songs together, even if the singles are floating out there separately somewhere. If you are a collector, you will want to look for the vinyl (or even the CD) as it’ll be a hot sold out item almost immediately. And if you like music, this is great music. C’mon. It’s Clutch.

The full album drops on Friday, November 27th. You can order the CD all over, at Amazon and whatnot, and the digital in the usual places. There is a vinyl version at the Clutch merch site (link below) that should be available soon to order. Highly recommended.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clutchband

website: https://www.pro-rock.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

Clutch merch: https://www.clutchmerch.com/

Clutch, Weathermaker Vault 1 review (Weathermaker Music 2020)

Cell Press review (No Funeral Records 2020)

Montreal [*]core band Cell Press venture out with their first EP.

The band Cell Press is only about a year old, but the musicians it is comprised of have been plying their trade for some time. The band is Sean Arsenian, Joey Cormier, Mark McGee, and PQ. If I had to label the music on the self-titled EP, I would call it Punk, but the band does not embrace a particular label and writers are calling them everything from Grindcore to Metalcore to Sludge to Noise so I am going to go with [*]core. Fast, loud, guitar-driven music, sometimes discordant.

There are four songs and a longer track that is referred to as a “noise” piece in the press materials. “Piss Police” is up first and it begins tentatively with thrilling drumming and progressively coagulating guitar riffing, joined later by shouting. “Desert Breath” is like a person running down the street in a flaming halter top who seems to be more concerned about being late than being on fire. “Blacked Out in Verdun” – more great drumming and pensive guitar riffs to twist up the personal cataclysm. “Dead at OACI.” I assume this refers to the Metro Station (but it might not), and it goes from linear, certain riffs to pure mayhem, especially as the end nears. The long track is “My Son Will No the Truth,” clocking in at 11:40 and appearing at the end of the set. It is almost as long as the other for pieces combined. It is the sort of thing you have to just listen to and let happen. Describing it wouldn’t really get us anywhere.

Noisy and enjoyable, I give this Cell Press effort high marks. I am a Punk fan from the beginning, and I hear those roots here, certainly in the attitude, even if the category is technically off. The disenfranchisement is very appealing. Recommended.

You can buy the digital at Bandcamp, No Funeral Records has a cassette and T-shirt, and Ancient Temple Recordings will also be carrying products. Links below. The official release date is this Friday, November 27.


Bandcamp, https://cellpress.bandcamp.com/releases

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

Ancient Temple Recordings, https://ancienttemplerecordings.bigcartel.com/

No Funeral Shop, https://store.nofuneral.ca/product/cell-press-t-shirt-t-shirt-cassette-bundle

Cell Press review (No Funeral Records 2020)

Iron Flesh, Summoning The Putrid review (Great Dane Records 2020)

Back for the attack with their second full-length album, Iron Flesh storms the gate with thundering old school Death Metal.

Hailing from France, Iron Flesh has been active in the heavy music scene since 2017. They have released two EPs, Worship The Necrogod (2017) and Scourge Of Demonic Incantations (2018), as well as last year’s LP Forged Faith Bleeding. In May this year they also released a live album, A Necro Dead One, and now there is Summoning The Putrid. You can’t say they are not dedicated to the craft.

Their sound is stone crushing Death Metal, with infused Black Metal influences. No quiet songs, no clean singing. The band sticks to traditional implements of musical creation: guitar, bass, voice, and drums. The new album is nine songs of shattering sonic disturbance.

After a few conciliatory seconds, “Servants of Oblivion” flies off into a rage of straightforward metal aggression, getting the set going with a big push. The compositions overall are riff heavy on this album and light on the lead breaks, putting more pressure on writing creative combinations and tempo shifts. Solo guitar expressions in songs like “Purify Through Blasphemy” occur in unusual places, giving them added emphasis. Longer pieces such as “Death and the Reaper’s Scythe” express fundamental Doom elements with aplomb and execute them with precision. And immediately following this long track, the blistering “Incursion of Evil” resets the pace and energy to overdrive. The closer is “Convicted Faith,” and it establishes an ominous message at its onset, signaling an eldritch threat. It sounds like the speaking of dark incantations over the bodies of the fallen after a tumult. It is an excellent lid to a fine album. Recommended.

Summoning The Putrid is out this Friday, November 27. Look no further than the Bandcamp links below. If you preorder it now you get two tracks immediately – “Relinquished Flesh” and “Demonic Enn” – and the rest when the full album drops in a few days.


Band Bandcamp, https://ironflesh.bandcamp.com/

Band Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/IronFlesh

Label website, http://www.greatdanerecs.com

Label Bandcamp, http://greatdanerecords.bandcamp.com/

Label Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/GreatDaneRecords

Iron Flesh, Summoning The Putrid review (Great Dane Records 2020)

Empress, Wait ’Til Night review (Brilliant Emperor 2020)

Following up on their first album, Empress walks even deeper into the darkness.

In 2017, the Australian band Empress released their self-titled exploratory record. Their second, Wait ’Til Night, was recorded in 2018-2019 and is appearing now in the perfect historical setting for the mood the music establishes. The band is Chloe Cox (vocals and keys), Julian Currie (guitar), Jackson Tuchscherer (guitar), Shaun Allen (bass), and Ben Smith (drums and percussion).

There is a long list of tags associated with Empress including doom, shoegaze, alternative, indie, post-rock … and they all fit. The songs on the new album are mostly very quiet and subdued, and entirely infused with darkness. The recurring themes I hear are sadness and regret written into a variety of settings.

“Golden Orb” opens with a single guitar accompanying Chloe Cox’s pleading voice, joined in time by slightly off center rhythm and pace. The most aggressive vocals appear in this song, and here the music lives up to the band’s own description that its work is “a clash of emotional and musical contradictions, soft and harsh, calm and hysterical.” The next two songs – “Wait ’Til Night” and “Scorpio Moon” – share a sourness, a sort of clashing twinge in the composition that ties them together in my head. “Back To The Ground” is eerie, like a slow murder in the mist. “Void Share Void” is a study of emptiness where the sorrow eases quietly along, occasionally interrupted by punctuating bursts. “Curse” feels like a story of fate being imposed on you and “Where No Light Remains” has an ambient soft roar underlying the gentle singing and sympathetic piano that removes all resistance from your mind.

The album ends with “I Let You In,” which is the loudest in the set, beginning as it does with coarse, crossing instruments. Cox’s voice moves from its quietude to straining against the recurring theme of regret. The first song and the last song together create an ethereal border that holds all the music in the set together. I find this album to be solemn and darkly soothing. Recommended.

Wait ’Til Night is available now. The digital is an easy get at Bandcamp, and Brilliant Emperor has released a vinyl version as well as a merch bundle (shop link below).


Empress Bandcamp, https://empressempress.bandcamp.com

Empress Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/empress.band.empress

Label Shop, https://brilliantemperor.bigcartel.com

Label Bandcamp, https://brilliantemperor.bandcamp.com

Empress, Wait ’Til Night review (Brilliant Emperor 2020)

My Dying Bride, Macabre Cabaret review (Nuclear Blast 2020)

Hot on the heels of The Ghost Of Orion released earlier this year, My Dying Bride issues even more new music with Macabre Cabaret.

My Dying Bride is a storied band. A pioneer of Doom Metal and atmospheric Death Metal, not to mention Gothic Metal, they have been a mainstay in heavy music for thirty years. The band is Andrew Craighan (guitars, keyboards, and bass), Aaron Stainthorpe (vocals), Lena Abé (bass), Shaun Macgowan (keyboards and violin), Jeff Singer (drums), and Neil Blanchett (guitars). Macabre Cabaret includes three songs.

The title track is a ten minute long expression of dark beauty. It is solemn and ethereal, with movements of quiet reflection seamlessly transforming into forceful, surrounding dread. “A Secret Kiss” echoes like a seafaring nightmare told on a dark rocking ocean after the sun goes down. It is the essence of sinister. “A Purse Of Gold And Stars” is a plea to unseen universal forces. A quiet piano and softly spoken lyrics glide atop a churning malevolence of sound and, as the song progresses, a ghostly accompaniment of violin and disembodied choir. The final simple singular notes are piercingly haunting.

Macabre Cabaret is out now and available at the links below. The CD reportedly has an additional track, “Orchestral Shores (Buiksloterkerk Cathedral Mix).” Fans of the band will immediately embrace this album, and it is an excellent introduction for newcomers as well. Recommended.

Photo by John Steel.


Website, http://www.mydyingbride.net/

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

Nuclear Blast, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/cd/mini-cd/my-dying-bride-macabre-cabaret.html

My Dying Bride, Macabre Cabaret review (Nuclear Blast 2020)

Fuming Mouth, Beyond The Tomb notice (Nuclear Blast 2020)

Following up on their impressive debut full-length from last year, Fuming Mouth has released a new EP.

Since 2013, Fuming Mouth has been releasing demos, splits, and EPs, leading up to The Grand Descent (2019). That was a big album with twelve crushing tracks. The new one is three songs, and they are just as ferocious.

“Beyond The Tomb” is a dark curse thrown at your spirit that cannot be escaped. “Master Of Extremity” is a steam roller headed straight for you. “Road To Odessa” is a heavy hammer of doom. Three things stand out to me about this release: the attack vector of the music which I hear as multidirectional, the massive bass lines, and the originality of the clever elements that are integral to the music, not merely ancillary. It is not easy to make a place for yourself in the heavy music scene, but Fuming Mouth is doing just that. This is a band to watch.

The new EP is out now from Nuclear Blast Records. Gather it unto you, in digital or physical incarnations. Either way, consider it highly recommended.

Photo by Gabe Becerra.


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

Website, https://www.fumingmouth.com/

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

Nuclear Blast, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/vinyl/lp/fuming-mouth-beyond-the-tomb.html

Fuming Mouth, Beyond The Tomb notice (Nuclear Blast 2020)