Dysgnostic, Scar Echoes (Transcending Obscurity 2022)

Defilementory undergoes a transformation into Dysgnostic on Scar Echoes.

Dysgnostic is a band from Roskilde, Denmark that was known as Defilementory from 2008 until last year. Under the former name, the band released an EP and a well-received long-player, The Dismal Ascension (2014). Under the earlier name, the band had a primary focus on technical death metal, and they delivered it with dedication and sincerity. The transformation into Dysgnostic has led to somewhat different perspective. The musicians now accentuate dissonance in the context of death metal, black metal, and even doom. The band is Thomas Fischer (bass, vocals), Simon Klem Kannegard (guitar, backing vocals), and Richardt Olsen (drums, guitar).

There are eight fierce tracks on Scar Echoes. The opening movement is the band’s namesake, “Dysgnostic,” and it leans heavily into the dissonance architecture. It is the shortest piece on the record and still in it the premise is firmly established. “Silvery Tongues” is frantic and bewildering, by contrast, working in the mystifying elements later in the song. “Beneath Abyssal Plains” takes more of a black metal tone for its initial banner, twisting soon enough to prey on your insecurities and hold a mirror up to your most closely guarded fears. It is a truly disturbing piece of music.

“Oceans of Grey” resonated with me and stands out as one of the most effective instantiations of the form. It is particularly unbalancing. “Nothing’s Embrace” offers a sweet, subtly off-kilter opening that transmogrifies into a beautiful dooming ramp toward oblivion. The journey comes to rest with “Darkest Muse,” a deeply sinister track that is, fittingly, the song most likely to haunt you beyond the initial listening. Recommended.

Scar Echoes is out on Friday, November 11th through Transcending Obscurity Records. Check out the many variants, formats, and merch available at the links below.


Bandcamp, https://dysgnostic.bandcamp.com/album/scar-echoes-dissonant-death-metal

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

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

© Wayne Edwards

Dysgnostic, Scar Echoes (Transcending Obscurity 2022)

Mercyful Fate at The Andrew J. Brady Music Center, November 4, 2022

Mercyful Fate, Kreator, and Midnight took the stage in Cincinnati down by the river at the Andrew J. Brady Music Center last Friday night, and the place might never be the same.

Mercyful Fate

One of my earliest European metal fascinations was Mercyful Fate. I jumped on with the Melissa (1983) album. At the time, you could still get the even earlier self-titled EP, so I did that – wish I still had it. Those two records and the almost-equally engaging Don’t Break The Oath (1984) kept me company in my formative years. Vocalist King Diamond left the band and it split up right afterward. A decade later, Mercyful Fate was at it again. During the nineties, several more albums came, and the sound was a little different. I always thought that King Diamond’s solo albums were more like the original Mercyful Fate than the nineties albums. In any case, there hasn’t been anything from Mercyful Fate since before the new millennium.

For these reasons and many more, I was thrilled to go to Psycho Las Vegas this year and see Mercyful Fate together again. Michael Denner is not with the band now, but Hank Shermann is, and, of course, King Diamond. It is Mercyful Fate.

The night started with the masked trio, Midnight. In the studio, Midnight is the one-man band Jamie Althenar Walters. Live they play a speedy brand of black metal that fits right in with Kreator and Mercyful Fate. I have really liked the last two records from Midnight, so it was great to see him and them live.


The middle slot was held by the German thrash band Kreator. The legend of the band stretches back forty years. Here we have another example of a band I have listened to for decades but somehow never saw live. I have been on their trail for some time and finally caught up with them. Their performance smoked, and I was especially glad to hear the title track from their new album Hate Über Alles.


As I mentioned, I saw Mercyful Fate a couple months ago in Las Vegas and, of course, it was basically the same set and show in Cincinnati. In other words, it was mind-blowingly incredible. If I could, I would be at every stop on the tour because I am a long-time fan, but also because the performance is just so good.

King Diamond
Mercyful Fate

King Diamond, Hank Shermann, Mike Mead, Bjarne T. Holm, and, filling in on bass for the tour, Becky Baldwin, laid down the law for an hour and a half. They played my absolute favorites “A Corpse Without A Soul,” Curse of the Pharaohs,” and “Black Funeral,” and a half a dozen other songs from the early albums that were instantly recognizable. They also performed a new piece, “The Jackal of Salzburg,” reinforcing the word on the street that another album is in the works.

Mercyful Fate
Mercyful Fate

There is still time to catch the tour. There are not very many dates on this leg, but there are (at this writing) still six more chances to see the show. Check out the tour poster below for details and grab your tickets if any remain. There is no knowing whether there will ever be another Mercyful Fate tour so don’t put this one off because once you see it, it will live with you for the rest of your time.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.


Mercyful Fate, https://mercyfulfatecoven.com/

Kreator, https://www.kreator-terrorzone.de/

Midnight, https://totalmidnight.webs.com/

The Andrew J. Brady Music Center, https://bradymusiccenter.com/

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

Photo Galleries.

Mercyful Fate, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/11/08/photo-gallery-mercyful-fate-cincinnati-november-4-2022/

Kreator, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/11/08/photo-gallery-kreator-cincinnati-november-4-2022/

Midnight, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/11/08/photo-gallery-midnight-cincinnati-november-4-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Mercyful Fate at The Andrew J. Brady Music Center, November 4, 2022

Strychnos, A Mother’s Curse (Dark Descent 2022)

Danish blackened metal band Strychnos devastate the seen and unseen worlds on their first full-length album, A Mother’s Curse.

Lurking in the dark corners of Denmark, Strychnos animated in 1997. Over the past two and a half decades, they have released a couple of demos and the EP Undead Unsouls Unbound (2011). The new full-length album is absolutely incredible, and, listening to it, I tried not to think ahead but I was overcome by greed, wanting to hear even more. The music is a kind of active doom metal that is deeply tinge with blackening and is usually described as blackened death metal. The band is Martin Leth Andersen (bass, vocals), Nis Rode Larsen (drums), and Andreas Lynge (guitars).

“Traumer” wakes the slumbering demons with grinding mysticism from the opening notes. It is like being ground down under a rolling granite sequoia. Genuinely monstrous riffs and rugged rhythm insist on your devastation. The vocals sound like they are coming from a hopeless and hateful carnival barker at the gates of hell. “Blessed Be The Bastard Reign” is a steady-on heavy metal killer that has a catch that will leave none behind. These two songs set up the early placement of the title track, which carries on the depredation and adds exceptional lead guitar work to accelerate the blood letting.

The sound in my ears is doom – that is only one of the elements present, but it is the one I naturally gravitate toward and pull out. Black metal fans will perhaps hear the darkened lines first, and the old-school metallers will be entranced by the structure and the riff. There is a broad range here that the musicians pull together to forge their own sound. Every band would like to claim they do this, but most really don’t – Strychnos is the authentic outlier in this regard.

There are so many outstanding tracks on this record that you might as well pick them at random if you are sampling to see what is there. Whatever you do, don’t miss “Horror Sacred Torture Divine” to go along with the first three and, on the second side, “Regiments of the Betrayed” is the doom lever that will deliver your darkest dreams. I am glad I heard this record now because I am making out my year-end top twenty list at the moment and this album has made the cut. Highly recommended.

A Mother’s Curse is out on Friday, November 4th through Dark Descent Records in the usual forms. Press the links below for more info and access.


Bandcamp, https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/a-mothers-curse

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

Dark Descent Records, https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/shop/

© Wayne Edwards

Strychnos, A Mother’s Curse (Dark Descent 2022)

Cabal, Magno Interitus (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Danish deathcore band Cabal release their darkly charmed album Magno Interitus.

Springing up not long ago in Copenhagen, Denmark, Cabal is a relatively new band. Their two previous long-players, Mark Of Rot (2018) and Drag Me Down (2020), had all the signs anyone would need to see that Cabal was a rising force and that it had the potential to erupt. The new album, it turns out, is as deadly as spewing lava.

The show starts with an excellent sentiment, “If I Hang, Let Me Swing.” It is noisy, and loud, and sounds a little like what might happen if Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin were smashed together in an industrial hardcore press. There is a lot of shouting and screaming. Clanging abounds, and spacy warbles enter and exit. It’s a situation. “Insidious” leans at first toward the black metal domain before crooking a groove. The title track, next, is a sinister whisper, a dark insinuation, that turns brutal fast and lifts your hide away. The pace is down shifted a bit even as the sentiment harshens and penetrates. This album is a raking.

If you are in the proper frame of mind, this music will affect you. Watch out for “Blod af Mit” because it has a strong industrial stance and a plying energy. Listening to “Like Vultures” is a lot like taking a beating. “Plague Bringer” might be the clearest statement of musical intent on the record, and, in any case, it is the final word so it carries weight. This is not a casual album. It is not something you can take lightly. If you have darkness inside you that needs getting out, this music might be your catalyst. Recommended.

Magno Interitus hits the street on Friday, October 21st through Nuclear Blast Records.


Cabal website, https://cabalcult.com/

Bandcamp, https://cabalcph.bandcamp.com/album/magno-interitus

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

Nuclear Blast Records, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/cd/cd/cabal-magno-interitus.html

© Wayne Edwards

Cabal, Magno Interitus (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Dead Void, Volatile Forms (Dark Descent 2022)

Danish doom band Dead Void bring their debut album to the surface, Volatile Forms.

Dead Void is a band of mystery. There is virtually nothing about the personnel in the press materials. The band appears to be a trio – guitar, bass, drums – who started off at some indeterminate time in the past. The Metal Archives does list three demos from them having been released in 2017, 2018, and 2021, respectively. And now we have the new one, a full-length album that is probably the band’s long-player debut. Let’s give it a blind listen.

There are five thunderous tracks on the new album. “Atrophy” takes off with a slow, ominous strum, matched in time by bass and percussion. It is a dark, heavy doom that turns into funeral doom, deepened by treacherous vocals. The song is a warning of an eventual, slow-moving catastrophe. The strum does pick up and the music turns fast and fierce, almost avant-garde at times. Then it winds down and fades out. Contrariwise, “The Entrails of Chaos” starts like a hail of missiles with savage intensity. The doom comes in later, and a kind of groove walks in and out.

“Sadistic Mind” plays like slowed-down Black Sabbath. Absolutely crushing. Death metal tags in toward the middle then bows out. Similarly, “The Reptilian Drive” has a familiar overall arc, but no guiderails at all. Again, the groove in the middle is killer, and it offers a look you almost never get in this manner of music. The final track is “Perpetually Circling the Void.” How’s that for a title? Oh, this eleven-minute opus delivers on its titular promise, have no fear.

This album is excellent. I am a doom fan, and so I appreciate how well those elements are executed in the music. The additional layers of death and groove are what raises the compositions to the next level. Recommended.

Volatile Forms hits the streets through Dark Descent Records on September 15th in CD form, with vinyl provided by Me Saco Un Ojo.


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

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

Dark Descent Records, https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/shop/product/dead-void-volatile-forms-cd/

Me Saco Un Ojo Records, https://www.mesacounojo.com/shop/dead-void-volatile-forms-lp/

© Wayne Edwards

Dead Void, Volatile Forms (Dark Descent 2022)

Lucid Grave, Cosmic Mountain (Electric Valley 2022)

Stoner doom band Lucid Grave release their debut long-player, Cosmic Mountain.

Situated in Copenhagen, Denmark, Lucid Grave has been haunting stages for a few years. After a demo and an EP, they have now put together an impressive full-length album for their ever-expanding fan base to groove on. Heavy psych, doom, ritual, and stoner vibes infiltrate every nook in this music. The band is Malene (vocals), Jon (drums), Alex (bass), Casper (guitar and synth), and Kriller (guitar and synth).

There are six tracks on the new album, three long ones and three very long ones. The title track kicks the set off with opening ambient tones and an eerie, emotive vocal. The voice is mesmerizing, having the effect of a chant in this context, rather like ritual metal. It is nearly three minutes in before the first big guitar riff lands, and when it does the impact is titanic. The pace is slow but determined and meaningful. “Old Spirit” follows in a completely different way, reminding me at times of a Nina Hagen – digging in with punk attitudes and contemporary sentimentiation [I made that word up just now]. The lead break toward the end is very trippy.

The differential existence of both faster-paced and slow-paced songs works exceptionally well on this record. “I’m Still High” is next and it has an arc the other songs largely avoid. “I Feel The Fire” is somber and not at all sober. “Stay Away” is a Pink Floyd tonic and the closer, “Curse Of the Crow,” digs in deep. The massive natural musical weight of the composition gains access to your deepest inner self if you have prepared for it properly and if you are open to the experience. The ramp out could be effective in an Ayahuasca exploration. This song, and this album, could change you. Recommended.

Cosmic Mountain is out on Friday, July 15th through Electric Valley Records.


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

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

Electric Valley Records, https://www.electricvalleyrecords.com/category/electric-valley-records-releases

© Wayne Edwards

Lucid Grave, Cosmic Mountain (Electric Valley 2022)

Chaotian, Effigies Of Obsolescence (Dark Descent 2022)

Death metal trio Chaotian renders their first full-length album from the depths, Effigies Of Obsolescence.

From Denmark, Chaotian is a fairly new band having come together in 2017. They released a couple of demos in the ensuing years, and fans have been on edge for a long-player as time has passed along. And now here it is: Effigies Of Obsolescence. This is death metal music turned up past ten. Prepare yourself before dropping the needle because this band leaves nothing on the stage. Chaotian is Søren Willatzen (guitar, vocals), Jonas Grønborg (bass), and Andreas Nordgreen (drums, vocals).

There are seven tracks on the album, each one a new revelation. A sense of suffering and hopelessness is established immediately with “Gangrene Dream.” The feeling of chaos hits hard on “Into Megatopheth” with the unpredictable guitar injections ripping into the status quo. The title track seals the tomb with its irrepressible growling vocals and crushing guitar riffs, its pulverizing percussion. If you are a death metal fan and you hear this song you know you have reached a pinnacle. It is stunning.

“Adipocere Feast” inveigles you with its speed and misdirection, its stabbing guitars. “Etched Shadows” plays a longer game in a deadly slow pace at the front that gets paired with breakneck speed that sends you over the edge of the abyss. “Fustuarium” and “Festering Carcinolith” are the final two turns on this wheel of devastation. The presentation and combination of elements are delivered with expert hands, ultimately leaving you without breath.

I have not enjoyed an album this much since the last Tomb Mold record. Chaotian has changed my expectations for death metal, ratcheting the bar up. Highly recommended.

Effigies Of Obsolescence is out on Friday, June 24th through Dark Descent Records and Me Saco Un Ojo Records.


Bandcamp, https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/effigies-of-obsolescence

Chaotian store, https://chaotian.storenvy.com/

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

Dark Descent Records, https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/shop/

© Wayne Edwards

Chaotian, Effigies Of Obsolescence (Dark Descent 2022)

Volbeat, Servant Of The Mind (Republic Records 2021)

Danish heavy groove metal band Volbeat shows creativity and ingenuity with their new album, Servant Of The Mind.

With twenty years of rock and roll under their belt, Danish band Volbeat is known far and wide in the heavy music world. Their music is usually described as groove metal because it is heavy while being loaded with catchy riffs and choruses. Servant Of The Mind is their eighth studio album. The band is Michael Poulsen (vocals, guitar), Jon Larsen (drums), Rob Caggiano (guitar), and Kaspar Boye Larsen (bass).

I have seen Volbeat many times live and I have listened to all their albums. Musically, you hear strong Rockabilly influences and, as the years have rolled on, there are more pop-oriented songs, too. Poulsen’s unique and powerful voice is a mainstay throughout it all. When the vocals are combined with memorable riffs and a persistent theatrical flair, the band consistently produces music with a lasting impact.

There are thirteen songs on the new album and the set displays the band’s customary dedication to variety. The opener is a big fantasy anthem, “Temple of Ekur,” with riffs big enough to reach the clouds. The second song is short, just over two minutes, and has a single feel to it: “Wait A Minute My Girl.” It is super hooky and lays on a heavy REO Speedwagon homage. And then there is another sharp turn with “The Sacred Stones,” an eerie, doomy piece with carefully allocated rhythm and an unsettling presence.

All along this ride canyons and plains and mountains appear offering new and different vistas with enough familiar callbacks to remind you what train you are on. There are pop-leaning ballads like “Dagen Før” that preserves excellent guitar moments, and there are heavier stompers like “Shotgun Blues” and pushy punchers such as “Becoming.” Volbeat has put together another album their fans are going to love because it is everything they are looking for. Recommended.

There is a deluxe version of the new album with four bonus tracks on it: “”Return To None” and “Domino” plus alternate takes on “Shotgun Blues,” and “Dagen Før.” It is definitely worth it to upgrade in order to capture these. More music is better.

Servant Of The Mind is out now and available everywhere.

Live photo by Wayne Edwards from the Louder Than Life festival in 2021.


Website, https://www.volbeat.dk/us/

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

Republic Records, https://www.republicrecords.com/artists/volbeat

Volbeat, Servant Of The Mind (Republic Records 2021)

Funeral Chasm, Omniversal Existence (Aesthetic Death 2021)

The first full-length album from Danish Funeral Doom duo Funeral Chasm is a rueful contemplation.

Funeral Chasm is Morten Lund and Danny Woe. The two have known each other for many years but this new band was created only last year. Omniversal Existence follows an EP from 2020, I, and lays the groundwork for future self-reflective excavations. Unlike most bands in this subgenre of doom, Funeral Chasm finds its lyrical content in contemporary questions and personal issues rather than having a preponderant emphasis on death.

There are eight tracks on the debut album, averaging in the six minute range. Each song is inspired by, or discovered through, Psilocybe cubensis, or a closely related cousin. Danny Woe describes it this way, discussing the way he deals with the symptoms of chronic insomnia…

“When those emotions are peaking, I have learned that the most effective way to break that thought loop is to visit my forest cabin with a friend and eat some magic mushrooms, which help me from spiralling further down into the abyss. I have tried to describe these monumental trips in every song, and what I’ve learned through them. Sometimes you just get a nice relaxing visit into another dimension, but other times you can experience deeper knowledge about yourself (often referred to as a ‘bad trip’ or ‘ego-death’), and that is the moment where you listen and get the opportunity to evolve.”

This makes sense when you listen to the album because it is so immersive. Consider the first song “Embellishment Of Inception.” There is a clear progression through a journey – a trip – which has many stages. The slow, dire music accompanied by both clean and coarse vocals can be experienced as revelatory. There are spacey moments and frightening ones. “The Truth That Nevers Was” is like a dark, forbidding tale of excruciating suffering that is elevated toward the end, rising out of complete hopelessness. Then the very next track, “Mesmerising Clarity,” has a lighter touch while still being dramatic. There is nuance and fully-formed, complex ideas at every turn.

In the land of Funeral Doom, Funeral Chasm has created a unique place that clearly belongs while it simultaneously stands apart. Recommended.

Omniversal Existence is out on Friday, July 2nd through Aesthetic Death.


Bandcamp, https://funeralchasm.bandcamp.com/album/omniversal-existence

Facebook, https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Musician/Funeral-Chasm-103662204549338/

Aesthetic Death, https://www.aestheticdeath.com/

Funeral Chasm, Omniversal Existence (Aesthetic Death 2021)