Hellfire Deathcult, Al Nombre De La Muerte (Regain 2022)

The new album from Hellfire Deathcult screams from a deep void, Al Nombre De La Muerte.

Hellfire Deathcult is a black metal band from Chicago that perpetrates death and doom metal as well as part of the heavy music they create. Their first EP came out in 2014, Ave Mors, followed by their debut long-player two years later, Culto A La Muerte. The sophomore album was the well-received Black Death Terroristic Onslaught (2018). Fans of the black metal trio have had their longest wait yet for new music, and they are rewarded with a voracious, pillaging record of blight.

After the mood-setting introductory song “Grand Invocation Ov Black Death,” there are ten searing tracks on the album. First up, “Consumed By The Eternal Darkness Ov Death,” a song that delivers on the promise of its title. Dripping with blood, pain, and black ichor from the deepest realms, this music intends ill. Black metal indeed. “Devoted To The Order Ov The Black Light” continues the ideas, fostering no hope and no regard for the well-being of the universe. Here the cosmos faces relentless blackgrind metal and can do nothing to stop it.

Other tracks to look out for include “Divinities Damnation,” which starts on deep notes of doom (and I always appreciate that), and “Beneath The Black Moons Incantation” that pairs slower moments with the raking black metal speed so prevalent on other songs. As I think back on it now, “Ritualistic Sacrifice Ov Sacred Blood” might even have the edge over these two in my mind. The music is sinister, filled with fear-inducing chaos and dreary, soaking moments of gloom. Recommended.

Al Nombre De La Muerte is out on June 30th from Helter Skelter Productions through Regain Records. A vinyl version will follow later in the year.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://regainrecords.bandcamp.com/album/al-nombre-de-la-muerte

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

Regain Records, https://regainrecords.bandcamp.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Hellfire Deathcult, Al Nombre De La Muerte (Regain 2022)

Goatwhore at Higher Ground, Burlington, Vermont, June 15th 2022

Goatwhore is on tour with Gwar right now – I caught up with them in Burlington, Vermont.

Goatwhore is a New Orleans death/black/thrash metal band that has been roaming the earth for twenty-five years. I have listened to them for much of that time, but I didn’t get a chance to see them live until Psycho Las Vegas in 2019. I was completely blown away. They played their set in the House of Blues and that place absolutely melted down. Ever since then, I have been on a quest to see them again and maybe get a couple of photos.

I saw Gwar at the very first stop on their current tour, but Goatwhore wasn’t at the show because they were playing somewhere else. Damn and blast. I tracked them to the North Country and found them at Higher Ground, one of my favorite music venues in all the world. Here are a few photos from that show. Go see them on their co-headlining tour in August with Incantation – and any other time you can.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Goatwhore, http://www.goatwhore.net/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/thegoat666

Higher Ground, https://highergroundmusic.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Goatwhore at Higher Ground, Burlington, Vermont, June 15th 2022

The Eating Cave, Ingurgitate (2022)

Newly minted death metal band The Eating Cave rumbles the underground with Ingurgitate.

From Virginia Beach, The Eating Cave has been releasing singles for a couple years leading up to their first long-player. Their music is a solid reign of death metal terror. The style is on the technical (and tech) side of the field and the sonic images tend toward the disturbing. The band is Thiago Campanhol (vocals), Evan Hope (guitars), Chris Basham (engineering), and Tyler Boylan (guitars).

Ingurgitate gathers four songs previously released as singles and adds four new ones to the bunch. The opening track, “An Aura of Terror,” is upsetting. If you are going to listen to this album you should be ready for more of that. Mad percussion, hissing black metal vocals tag-teaming with devouring death metal vocals, and raking guitar riffs that take you down and kick you on the ground. Don’t worry, though, because the next song, “Sadistic Entanglement,” is even harsher with entirely disorienting lead guitar work.

If you have been following along with the singles as they came out, then you already heard “Aggregate Vanity I – Heretical Hypotheses.” With the new album you get to hear the finish, “Aggregate Vanity II – Periodic Absolution,” in case the initial battering of the first part was not enough for you. My favorite track on the album is “Inherited Extinction” for both its ideas and the execution of them. The guitar work caused my brain to lock up.

This music takes a lot out of you, and it is not the sort of thing I listen to all day every day – I don’t have the stamina. When I need to burn off some excess energy or anger or anxiety, this is exactly what I want to hear, and The Eating Cave may be setting a new standard in this lane. Recommended.

Ingurgitate is out now. Look in on it at Bandcamp or your favorite other portal for music.

Links.

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

The Eating Cave website, https://the-eating-cave.creator-spring.com/

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

© Wayne Edwards

The Eating Cave, Ingurgitate (2022)

Kardashev, Liminal Rite (Metal Blade 2022)

The second full-length album from Arizona deathgaze band Kardashev is Liminal Rite.

Breaking ground in 2012, Karadshev is peopled by founders Nico Mirolla (guitar) and Mark Garrett (vocals), along with Alex Rieth (bass) and Sean Lang (drums), who both joined in 2019. With three EPs and the full-length album Peripety (2015) under their collective belt, the band now ventures forth on Liminal Rite. The style of music they play has received a variety of labels ranging from progressive metal to atmospheric deathcore and on to the catch-all post-metal. Most recently, deathgaze has been frequently leveraged as a description. As with most successful bands, the music of Kardashev has been growing and evolving with the passage of time.

There are eight principal tracks, an intro, and two interstitials on the new album. The story is spoken by drummer Sean Lang, and the music surrounds these establishing ideas. Talking about the narrative, Nico Mirolla says, “Liminal Rite explores how the past can both wound and seduce, leading us down a path of self-destruction. It’s an anecdotal tale from a fictional man’s perspective late in life on how perception and reality do not always coalesce. His experience tells a larger message of how our minds often create a false view of the past. Sean’s narration is him expressing the man’s perception and recollection of life. The failure of his memory, the nature of dementia, and how it plays into his experience are all encapsulated by the narrative sections.”

The music has a serious air about it, a sense that it is the result of a preponderance of manifest ideas that could not be contained. The spoken word passages begin on the first track, a short ramp into the blistering “Silvered Shadows” where percussion blasts and riffs rail against it all. Melodic vocals sweeten the harsh realities that are made solid by the growling, croaking singing that follows. The mixture is the paradigm throughout.

Stand-out tracks for me are “Lavender Calligraphy,” which is hopeful sounding and “Compost Grave-song,” which is the opposite. The final two tracks together run over twenty minutes, “A Vagabond’s Lament” and “Beyond The Passage Of Embers.” Taken together they lift my respect for this album, which was already climbing with each song that came before. The music here is challenging and exceptional, and not to be missed. Recommended.

Liminal Rite is out on Saturday, June 11th through Metal Blade Records. Examine the many varieties of physicals at the links below.

Links.

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

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

Kardashev website, https://kardashevband.com/

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

© Wayne Edwards

Kardashev, Liminal Rite (Metal Blade 2022)

Black Void, Antithesis (Nuclear Blast 2022)

The flipped coin lands on the Black Void side with Antithesis.

Norwegian band White Void plays a luxurious sort of heavy music; bright and melodic. Black Void is looking at the world from a different perspective. Not like Janus, not to me anyway. These two forces exist together. I read this description of Black Void: “a musical equivalent of a punk with a Mohawk fighting a dude in corpse paint.” I’ll take that one, too. White Void put out a successful album last year, and now we have this alternate look on the world from Black Void, Antithesis. The band is Jostein Thomassen (guitar), Tobias Øymo Solbakk (drums), and Lars Are Nedland (vocals, bass).

The music is described more formally as a combination of black metal and punk. Whenever I hear those two mentioned together my mind immediately skips to Venom, but that is not where Black Void goes. There is a punk sensibility throughout, and you can hear black metal twinges, but they are much more subdued. There are many hooks and catchy moments, and there are also frequent melodic passages. The perfect example is “Tenebrism Of Life,” which has gruff vocals and an aggressive guitar attack. I also offers singable moments and toys with pop-punk catchiness. It is an excellent hard-edged song that gets right in your head.

Top picks for me on the album are “It’s Not Surgery, It’s A Knife Fight” and “Void.” Both of these have the kind of punkitude that brightened me up and made me want to punch the air. The final two songs on the set are heavy hitters, too: “Nihil” and “Dadaist Disgust.” The band has talked about the nihilist aspects (Nietzsche) and the influence of Dadaism on this set. If you are looking for it, go to the end and work your way back toward the beginning. You will not be disappointed. I don’t know what White Void fans will think of Black Void, but I think this record is great. Recommended.

Antithesis is out on Friday, May 27th through Nuclear Blast Records. More info at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://blckvod.bandcamp.com/album/antithesis

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

Nuclear Blast, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/cd/cd/black-void-antithesis.html

© Wayne Edwards

Black Void, Antithesis (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Predatory Light, Death And The Twilight Hours (20 Buck Spin 2022)

The second full-length album from Predatory Light will shatter your expectations about technical blackened doom: Death And The Twilight Hours.

It has been six years since Predatory Light released their self-titled debut long-player. That is a tough wait for fans, but they have truly come through on the new one, which is one of the best albums I have heard so far this year. The musicians in the band seem to prefer going by initials alone, so we don’t know that much about them, except what we can discern by listening to their compositions. When we do we find elements of black metal, doom, and technical expressions that cannot be achieved by just anyone. The alchemy they practice is rare indeed.

“The Three Living And The Three Dead” is like a walk through a deadly carnival. Bright lights and dark delights splash at you at first, but eventually you see deeper in and the doom descends. The metal does not relent despite the nearly fourteen minute running time. This is a decadent suite of sinister wonders. The next track, “Wracked By Sacred Fires,” is very different in tone and execution, even though the first bars seemed like a callback. It is more explicitly in the black metal mold, and still the differences that Predatory Light own are astonishing. The music is aggressively engaging, but not with hooks or even riffs, really. Still, it is the construction of the guitar parts that pushes the songs to the next level.

“Death And The Twilight Hours” rolls out the doom at the front with sweeping, lead-heavy riffs and ponderous percussion. A minute and a half deep, the growling comes in and that indefatigable guitar, asserting and claiming new ground. The doom does return but does not overtake the established reality for long. And then there is the final track, “To Plead Like Angels,” which commits at the jump to pace and ingenuity. This exceptional album surprised me at every turn, on each and every one of its four tracks. Excellent. Highly recommended.

Death And The Twilight Hours is out today, Friday, May 20th through 20 Buck Spin. The quick snap is Bandcamp, and you can also get it at the label’s website. Links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/death-and-the-twilight-hours

20 Buck Spin, https://www.20buckspin.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Predatory Light, Death And The Twilight Hours (20 Buck Spin 2022)

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)

Haunter, Discarnate Ails (Profound Lore 2022)

Texas death metal band Haunter pull out the stops on their new album, Discarnate Ails.

Centered in Austin, Haunter came together in 2013. The music they make is a fusion of black and death metal elevated by progressive percolations. Combining subgenres is not new, of course, but the level of success achieved depends on the way the mixing is done. Haunter always gets it right, and they are top-of-the-line experts if their last record, Sacramental Death Qualia (2019), is any measure. There is an arc to the band’s career that, given Discarnate Ails, appears to be heading upward. Listed musicians on the new album are Bradley Tiffin (vocals, guitar), Enrique Bonilla (guitar), and Cole Tucker (bass).

There are three long tracks on the album. “Overgrown With The Moss” opens the set with gentle discovery. It is as if you are wandering through a forest that slowly turns darkly magical as you pass through it. You notice a raised placed in the earth. You go over to investigate and, brushing aside the overgrowth, you unleash something unimaginable. The black metal is there, and the wonder of progressive ingenuity is too – that is what supports the ten-minute-plus running time and maintains your interest through all the valleys and crypts and plains.

“Spiritual Illness” clangs out brusquely, and has the feeling of an attack. “Chained At The Helm Of The Eschaton,” on the other hand, is filled with mystery and wonder in its opening melody and has a resonating cooldown that is beautiful to hear. All three tracks have their own unique postures and progressions, and they all are mesmerizing. Recommended.

Discarnate Ails is out on Friday, May 6th through Profound Lore Records. Take note also that Haunter is scheduled to perform at Fire In The Mountains this year, a unique music festival held at the Heart Six Ranch in the Tetons. If you can get there, definitely do it because it will be an experience like no other. Links to the record and the festival appear below.

Band photo by Oscar Moreno.

Links.

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

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

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

Fire In The Mountains Festival, https://fitmfest.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Haunter, Discarnate Ails (Profound Lore 2022)

Watain, The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Notorious black metal band Watain release their seventh studio album on an unsuspecting world, The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain.

It has been almost twenty-five years that Watain has stalked the earth now. This black metal band from Sweden has a reputation like no other, building loyal fans from all over the world by creating unique dark music with no compromises. Their first full-length album, Rabid Death’s Curse (2000), was a sign to anyone who wanted to read it, and the promises made then are fulfilled with every new set.

Anyone who has seen Watain live surely has a story about the experience. It is a journey bathed in darkness. The band has found a way to capture the live experience more essentially than ever before with the new album, which was itself recorded live in the studio, where founding members Erik Danielsson, Håkan Jonsson, and Pelle Forsberg, were joined by Alvaro Lillo, Hampus Eriksson, and Emil Forcas.

“Ecstasies In Night Infinite” breaks through the veil first with an unrelenting, monstrous assault. The combination of the roaring speed with cascading riffs overlaid by a black lace of cogent lyrical hooks is a structure that stands up to the many twists and turns presented. The vocals are coarse and intimately discernable; the lead breaks are savage and crackling. Watain stands alone in the way they combine dark, heavy elements into music that is approachable in the groove and complex on every individual layer as well as in the spaces between them. Just listen and you will hear it in every song.

“The Howling” is next, and it offers us more of everything from other angles we hadn’t contemplated before. The groove is seductive and black metal is razor sharp. “Serimosa” shows a down-shifted tempo perspective with theatrical balancing, further demonstrating the variety and complexity of the music Watain presents on this album. “Leper’s Grace” is another example of the unexpected in rhythm and pace – it is one of my favorites from the set as it left me tipsy by the halfway mark.

“Before The Cataclysm” is especially eerie, and that is saying something in the context of this music. Here again, it is the fascinating combination of elements that are themselves individually stunning and somehow, in their amalgamation, rise to another place altogether. “Septentrion” brings the curtain down in a grand fashion, hearkening to the mystery and wonder of the spaces in the cold dark north. It is an enduring culmination.

This music is not meant for the weak of heart or mind. The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain is out through Nuclear Blast Records on Friday, April 29th. Recommended.

Live photos by Wayne Edwards, Webster Theater, Hartford, 2019.

Links.

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

Bandcamp, https://watainsom.bandcamp.com/album/the-agony-ecstasy-of-watain

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

Nuclear Blast Records, https://www.nuclearblast.com/eu/band/watain

© Wayne Edwards

Watain, The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Grimtone, Polaris (Void Wanderer 2022)

Darkness convenes on the new Grimtone album, Polaris.

With origins marked in 2015, Sweden’s black metal maelstrom Grimtone plies a regimen of oblique, inky metal. The band is Michael Lang, who broke out of the gates in a flurry of recording, with three full-length albums between 2017 and 2019: Memento Mori, Morte in Vitam, and Hymner till döden. Just last year Grimtone appeared on the five-way split Mourning in Autumn and also released an EP, The Awakening. And now there is Polaris – he must have a lot to say. After all, it is not just Grimtone, is it? There is also Arsonists of Lucifer, Dommedag, etc. Prolificity by thy name.

The standard is set by the first track, “Creed Of Hate.” A rapid, raking riff sets up a steady percussive entry and the gloomy, distanced vocals. It is a murky affair, with a solid hook. The order is more apparent here than the chaos in this black metal statement. “Streams Of Polaris” waken slumbering denizens with a callous affront that is curiously salved in the coming bars, creating a salubrious avenue for mental ingestion. It is a surprising choice that works exceptionally well.

There is no pivot to look out for as the music flows over you. Certainly there is variation and there are angular takes, as in the elegance of the opening of “Burning The Rye” and the furtive ending to “Calls Of The Bells.” Even with these textures in the landscape, the dedication to evoked principles never wanes. My favorite track is perhaps “Haunt The Realm” as it makes me feel chased and at risk, but every track has a culminating insight. This my first experience with Grimtone, and I am impressed. Recommended.

Polaris is out now. Void Wanderer Productions has the cassette (limited to 50) and digital. War Productions has a CD version (limited to 100).

Links.

Bandcamp, https://voidwandererproductions.bandcamp.com/album/polaris

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

Void Wanderer Productions, https://voidwanderer.com/product/grimtone-polaris-mc/

War Productions, https://war-productions.org/warproductions/

© Wayne Edwards

Grimtone, Polaris (Void Wanderer 2022)