Planet of the Dead, Pilgrims (2021)

The sophomore release from New Zealand space stoner doom band Planet of the Dead should definitely be on your radar.

Four musicians from Wellington make up Planet of the Dead, Mark Mundell (vocals), Malcolm McKenzie (guitar), Kees Hengst (bass), and Josh Hussey (drums). Their debut album came out last year, Fear of a Dead Planet. The new release is a fresh adventure with a familiar crew.

It is hard to think of a better summary of the band’s music than this, from the press release: Hurtling towards the forever yawning void within their busted-up space freighter, they draw inspiration from classic science fiction and horror, and push supermassive and megalithic riffs to the outer limits.

There are eight tracks on the album, and I starred every one of them on my media player as I listened, one by one. The music is heavy fuzzy doom set in the limitless expanse of the collective mind (space, that is). Utterly irresistible.

“Escape from Smith’s Grove” stood out for me with the shifts it takes from heavy doom to a more urgent agenda. “Pilgrim” is a set-stone artifact as well, and you cannot set aside the leviathan that is the closer, “The Great Wave.” This album will be on heavy rotation for the summer desert road trip ahead. Highly recommended.

Pilgrims is out on Friday, July 23rd – get more info at the band’s website and pick up the music and Bandcamp.

Links,

Bandcamp, https://planetofthedead.bandcamp.com/album/pilgrims

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

Website, https://planetofthedead.band/

Planet of the Dead, Pilgrims (2021)

Necrogod, In Extremis (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Musicians from Sweden and Costa Rica join forces to create a pummeling Death Metal assault on your senses.

The music for Necrogod is composed by Rogga Johansson who also executes all the instruments except voice, which comes from The Master Butcher. Previously, Necrogod released an EP in 2015, The Inexorable Death Reign, and a split with Morbid Stench two years later, The Bifid Tongue of Doom & Death. The new album, In Extremis, is another thunderous step toward heavy music eminence.

There are nine tight tracks on the new album, all in the three to four minute range, making them approachable and ripe for relistening. From the very first song, “Bringers of Blasphemy,” you can tell there is something different in the approach Rogga has taken this time. The music has a groove quality to it combined with unlikely elements, like a discordant lead break followed by a rollicking rhythm reminiscent of Motörhead culminating in a growling drift-out. This album will appeal to metal fans along a broad spectrum.

This approach follows through, and still he variety is impressive. It is fascinating and engaging to experience one iteration after another. The combination of crushing metal with affable hook and snag catchalls is a powerful push. Along with the opener, I especially admire “The Obsessive and the Deranged” and “When Madness Has Taken Control.” OSDM elements regenerated in previously unconsidered ways are welcome additions to the music in my head. Recommended.

In Extremis has a street date of Friday, July 23rd and preorders are available now through Transcending Obscurity’s store or Bandcamp.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://necrogod.bandcamp.com/album/in-extremis-death-metal

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

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/search/?q=necrogod

Necrogod, In Extremis (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Band of Bastards, Delete. Repeat. (Redacted Records / SilverDoor Music 2021)

Texas-style hardcore/punk unit Band of Bastards throws down a big sound in a tight package.

Based in Austin, this new operation is peopled by stage-worn emissaries bearing ferocious tidings. The band is Jason Reece (vocals), Andrew Leeper (guitar), Sam Rich (drums), and Erick Sanger (bass).

Most of the dozen songs included on the album are less than two minutes long with a couple on the bubble and only a rare excursion past 180 seconds. High energy and high speed is what you can expect. “False Idols” is a little bit of a downshift in the tempo area while still being very clippy so there aren’t any breaks in the whole set. Full tilt all the way.

Every song is a clap on the back and I wouldn’t skip any of them, even the second time through or the third. This music gets under your skin and when it does you are glad to have it there. This is on the conversational edge of hardcore, the broad side. There is a lot of crossover potential here. Recommended.

Delete. Repeat. is out on Friday July 23rd. Get in line now.

Links.

Pre-save, https://backl.ink/147339121

SilverDoor Music, http://www.silverdoormusic.com/

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

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG-tqDUjsvisj-xKFpEGXng

Band of Bastards, Delete. Repeat. (Redacted Records / SilverDoor Music 2021)

Mask Of Satan, Underneath The Mire (Iron, Blood, and Death 2021)

The death metal band from Finland, Mask of Satan, is back with a second serving of Lovecraftian menace.

Formed just a few years back, Mask of Satan released a demo in 2015 followed by the long-player Silent Servants: Chants of Lovecraftian Horror two years later. The new album continues exploring the themes opened in the earlier releases and pushes forth with the winning combination of groove and death metal their fans like so much.

There are nine high-energy tracks on the album, all swinging and stretching old school death metal ideas in clever ways. They tend to run about radio length, and the best example of the album overall is perhaps “Bloodpact,” with its hooky opening, growling vocals, and occasional spastic wobble. The way the song is put together really is intriguing.

“Corpsewitch” is tied for my favorite track with “The Black Goat.” The former has exactly the tempo and push I wanted to hear when I heard it, and latter is a sinister festival of dread at the front end with a pummeling middle and madness on its way out. I enjoyed this album all the way through. It is highly entertaining death metal. Recommended.

Underneath The Mire is out now and you can get all the varieties at Bandcamp.

Links,

Bandcamp, https://ironbloodanddeath.bandcamp.com/album/underneath-the-mire

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Mask-Of-Satan-1592079117747406/

Iron, Blood, and Death Corp., https://ibdclabel666.bigcartel.com/

Mask Of Satan, Underneath The Mire (Iron, Blood, and Death 2021)

Snogard, Moral Presence, Corrupt Misdeeds (HPGD 2021)

Dark fantasy black metal shines on the first lap by North Carolina duo Snogard.

On their Bandcamp page, the musicians are listed this way: Froglin (vocals) and Gorf Drakolisk (all instruments). The two released this EP independently last year and now Horror Pain Gore Death is giving it a boost with a fresh incarnation.

There are five tracks, each one set thematically in a dark fantasy realm ranging from Tolkien to The Dark Crystal and to all around the raging seas. The music certainly takes black metal tropes as a starting point – you can hear that lane clearly in the vocals and the rhythm and percussion, particularly.

On some songs there is a nice doom element, and in other places you are treated to what could be the lyrical emanations of a traveling mage. They are all surrounded, one way or another, by the sinister realm of black metal.

The album is described, again on the original Bandcamp page, as “Quarantine bedroom 4-month album.” If that’s how they did this, then it is pretty impressive. These are solid compositions that are effectively executed. Definitely worth a listen.

The new Horror Pain Gore Death release of Moral Presence, Corrupt Misdeeds hits the streets Friday, July 16th and you can get all the varieties at Bandcamp.

Links,

Bandcamp, https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/moral-presence-corrupt-misdeeds

HPGD, https://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/

Snogard, Moral Presence, Corrupt Misdeeds (HPGD 2021)

Paradise Lost, At The Mill (Nuclear Blast 2021)

Paradise Lost release their second live album of 2021, At The Mill.

The importance of Paradise Lost to the heavy music community is difficult to overstate. They are pioneers in transformative doom metal and are founders, really, of what became gothic doom. Since forming in 1988 they have released sixteen studio albums, including 2020’s Obsidian. Their place is permanent in the history of metal and they continue to create and innovate with each passing year.

This new album is a recording of the livestream the band did last fall at The Mill Nightclub in Yorkshire, England, their hometown. It follows Gothic – Live at Roadburn 2016 that came out earlier this year. Both are complete sets but there is almost no overlap between them. The set list for At The Mill is “Widow,” “Fall from Grace,” “Blood and Chaos,” “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us,” “Gothic,” “Shadowkings,” “One Second,” “Ghosts,” “The Enemy,” “As I Die,” “Requiem,” “No Hope in Sight,” “Embers Fire,” “Beneath Broken Earth,” “So Much Is Lost,” and “Darker Thoughts.”

If you are a fan you will know all the songs. The melodic metal tinted with dark, gothic themes and enriched by the lyrical lead guitar work is nectar to your ears. Paradise Lost has always been known for its compelling live performances and they are holding nothing back on At The Mill. While the band already has many live albums in their catalogue, I recommend this one as well to hear their current state of excellence.

At The Mill is out this Friday, July 16th, through Nuclear Blast Records. You can get the digital at Bandcamp and the vinyl or CD/Blu Ray combo at the Nuclear Blast shop. The Blu Ray is a good option if you missed the original livestream.

Links,

Bandcamp, https://paradiselostofficial.bandcamp.com/album/at-the-mill

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

Nuclear Blast, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sonstiges/paradise-lost-at-the-mill-cd-blu-ray-.html

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/user/paradiselostuk

Paradise Lost, At The Mill (Nuclear Blast 2021)

Towards Atlantis Lights, When The Ashes Devoured The Sun (Melancholic Realm Productions 2021)

The musicians in Towards Atlantis Lights are Ivan Zara (guitar), Kostas Panagiotou (vocals, keys), Riccardo Veronese (bass), and Ivano Olivieri (drums). Their music is often described as funeral doom, and they label it this way: Arcane Doom Metal. The band’s first album, Dust of Aeons, was released in 2018 by Transcending Obscurity. This follow-up album is both a continuation and expansion of the ideas and sound from their inaugural record, this new one being more active and aggressive.

There are six tracks on the album including a fairly short intro piece, “Alpha & Omega,” that wanders the listener in. The narrative themes concern civilizations in the distant past, and that is an excellent framework for the music of the band. “The Minoan Tragedy” is the first full song, and it is a fifteen-minute heavy doom rumination with mostly clean vocals punctuated by coarse growls and rapid guitar cataracts, most memorable near the end.

“The Forgotten Tribes” is even eerie and heavier – it is my personal favorite for the way the vocals and guitars work together. “The Bull and the Serpent” starts off at a high-tempo sprint while “Mad Prophetess” soaks you with heaviness up front before lashing out in sudden bursts. “Pelasgian Tales” features ethereal guitars and voiceover to tell the tale.

If you liked the first album, this one will appeal to you as well. It is full-throated doom that surrounds you completely and takes you away. Recommended.

When the Ashes Devoured the Sun has a street date of Friday, July 16th. You can pick up the digital or CD through Bandcamp.

Links,

Bandcamp, https://pantheistuk.bandcamp.com/album/when-the-ashes-devoured-the-sun

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

Towards Atlantis Lights, When The Ashes Devoured The Sun (Melancholic Realm Productions 2021)

Dungeon Serpent, World of Sorrows (Nameless Grave Records 2021)

Generated in a singularity, Dungeon Serpent’s new album World Of Sorrows is executed with aplomb.

The soul member of the band is Arawn, and he has to do it all from vocals to guitars to drum programming. That is a lot to ask and there are many examples of one-man-bands out there. Arawn, and Dungeon Serpent, is the exception, operating at the high end of the spectrum in composition and performance. World of Sorrows is the first album from the solo act, following an earlier two-song demo.

“Necroscope” starts the set off with a straight up death metal attack. Heavy and driving, this song should be the single. Fittingly, there is a YouTube video to go along with it and that makes sense because it is an excellent introduction to the album. “Decay” is next and it starts aggressively, too, but by the end the first melodic elements appear, and the ending is light and ethereal.

There is not much of a break as “Immortal Incubation” is a wild ride, while “Cosmic Sorcery,” my favorite track, offers moments of respite as part of the broader heavy. The closer is the longest song, the title track, “World of Sorrows.” It has an epic metal feel to it, big in its ideas and full in its production. The progression runs through the edge of doom to straight-up death metal to those gentler and spare melodic elements. In many ways it is like a suite, as we might expect in a long piece. It is just the right finale and nightcap.

World of Sorrows is out on Friday, July 16th through the ever-reliable Bandcamp as well as the Nameless Grave Records store. Recommended.

Links,

Bandcamp, https://dungeonserpentmdm.bandcamp.com/album/world-of-sorrows

Nameless Grave Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/NamelessGraveRecords

Nameless Grave Records, https://namelessgraverecords.com/

Dungeon Serpent YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChdc80haQRpzS_T4RXL92Rg

Dungeon Serpent, World of Sorrows (Nameless Grave Records 2021)

Space Chaser, Give Us Life (Metal Blade Records 2021)

The third album from Space Chaser is an absolute rampage of blistering thrash.

Formed in Germany in 2011, Space Chaser has promulgated some the most memorable thrash music out there. This five-piece metal machine has released two previous full-length albums, the most recent being Dead Sun Rising in 2016. The new album has all the velocity and ingenuity fans have come to expect. The band is Siegfried Rudzynski (vocals), Leo Schacht (guitar), Martin Hochsattel (guitar), Sebastian Kerlikowski (bass), and Matthias Scheuerer (drums).

If you look at the cover art you will get a pretty good idea about the thematic perspective for Give Us Life. It ranges from techlife to rampaging killing machines to the evolution of a star, as in the title track the band describes this way: “It’s always an act of violence, birth and death. When a star sheds its hull and collapses into a white dwarf it soon will perish like all life, biological or non-biological. If a star goes supernova it explodes and spreads all the elements needed to create life, and the whole process begins anew. Thousands of worlds have to perish, to create new worlds and life of its own.” I am always up for a good story. Still, it is the music that is the most important thing to me.

There are ten tracks on the new album, mostly running at radio length and all of them glistening with speed and power. There are fascinating crooks and turns in nearly every song. I am impressed when a band can find a way to create a pattern I have never heard before, and there are many examples of that very thing in this music.

“Cryoshock” is a stand-out for me – I love the lead work – and the title track is a monster, too. The final track, “Dark Descent,” also captured my imagination with its big build and tempo changes. The laid-out lead guitar toward the end, I can still hear it. I am on board with thrash most of the time and this album ticks that box but it also adds so much more. Recommended.

The street date for Give Us Life is Friday, July 16th and you can get it at the Metal Blade shop or Bandcamp.

Links,

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

Bandcamp, https://spacechaser.bandcamp.com/album/give-us-life

Metal Blade Records, https://www.metalblade.com/spacechaser/

Space Chaser, Give Us Life (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Ripplefest Texas, August 7, 2021

Taking place at the Texas Ski Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas, Ripplefest is going to be a day of crushing music.

The line-up will eat you alive: Mothership, Wino, Freedom Hawk, Howling Giant, Void Vator, Bone Church, Witchcryer, Holy Death Trio, Thunderhorse, Switchblade Jesus, Forming the Void, High Desert Queen, Mr Plow, and Fostermother.

We have reviewed many of these bands in the past year or two and this will surely be a festival to remember. Get ready for some of the best desert, doom, heavy music there is.

At this writing there were still tickets available. Hit the link below before it is too late.

Ripplefest Texas Tickets, http://www.outhousetickets.com/Event/17387-Ripplefest_Texas/

Ripple Music, https://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/products

Ripplefest Texas, August 7, 2021