Destruction, Live Attack (Napalm Records 2021)

Legendary German thrash band Destruction release a massive double live album, Live Attack.

Destruction began in the early 1980s and went through a number of stylist and line-up changes over the years. To me and their legions of fans they are a thrash band. If you take a look at their discography it is a little overwhelming. So many long-players, splits, and live albums. Destruction has been a fundamental metal force for decades and they never experienced much of a lull that they didn’t bounce right back from with renewed energy.

Recently, founding guitarist Mike Sifringer left Destruction suddenly and was replaced by Martin Furia, who appears on the newly released single “State of Apathy.” As earth-shaking as this development was, there was never any question about Destruction continuing as a band because they still have a lot of metal in them waiting to come out. The musicians now are Schmier, Randy Black, Damir, and Martin Furia.

Live Attack has twenty rampaging tracks from their livestream performance recorded at Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland. They play classics like “Mad Butcher” alongside newer songs such as “Born To Perish” from the recent studio album of the same name. This concert is distinct from last year’s Born To Thrash live album which was taken from a 2019 show. Both are great sets, but the big advantage to the new album is its more comprehensive scope and expansive set list. The playing is crisp and sharp, as always, and the recording capture is top-notch. I have been a thrash fan since thrash began, and I have followed Destruction all along so this new release is a must-listen for the likes for me. Recommended.

The digital version of Live Attack is out now and the vinyl will be shipping in the coming weeks. There is also a CD/Blu Ray set if you want to witness the performance.

Links.

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

Band website, https://www.destruction.de/

Napalm Records, https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/destruction-live-attack-black-3lp.html

Destruction, Live Attack (Napalm 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)

Bloodbeat, Process of Extinction (Inverse Records 2021)

German Death Metal band Bloodbeat conjure pulverizing musical notions for their second album.

Relatively new to the game, Bloodbeat released their first full-length album in 2016, Murderous Art. The style of heavy music they play is rooted in an old school 1990s approach and they hang the lead and vocal work on a solid frame of bass, rhythm guitar, and drums. The music is up-tempo, straight-forward, and formidable.

On Process of Extinction, Bloodbeat has crafted eight tracks. Generally the music is turned up to brutal, with ravaging guitars and break-neck pace. The vocals are gruff and coarse while still be understandable. Lead breaks lean toward the furious and are bristling complements in the music.

The concepts behind the songs can be quite complex and carefully thought-out. Here is what the band has to say about the story for one of their tracks. “The song ‘Rigor Mortis’ is not only explicitly about the so-called ‘cadaveric rigidity.’ Among other things, the scene is set in the world between life and the afterlife. It is about a psychopath who has already done all the atrocities in his miserable life. However, he did not start the bad acts on his own. His body is controlled by a demon. He tries to chase the demon out of himself by massacring himself. In doing so, the evil within him continues to try to seduce him and take him over. His goal is to get rid of him in some way. Only his death can defeat him and at some point the huge suffering has a dark end.” That’s a lot packed into less than four minutes, but it does all come through.

For Death Metal fans, this album will hit all the right notes. Recommended.

Process of Extinction is out on Friday, June 18th through Inverse Records. The easy way to pick it up in the US is through Bandcamp.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://bloodbeat.bandcamp.com/album/process-of-extinction

Bloodbeat website, https://bloodbeat.de/

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

Inverse Records, https://bloodbeat.de/

Bloodbeat, Process of Extinction (Inverse Records 2021)

Eremit, Bearer Of Many Names (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

German Doom Metal trio Eremit offer their second full-length album, Bearer Of Many Names, to the multitudes.

Eremit’s first album, Carrier of Weight, came out in 2018 and it started something big. It had three songs, the short one being eleven minutes long and the long one covering thirty three minutes. Even for a doom band, this is epic-length work and in conveys a commitment to concept and idea that would become a hallmark of the band’s approach. The line-up is Marco Baecker (drums), Pascal Sommer (guitar), and Moritz Fabian (vocals and guitar).

Desert Of Ghouls is an EP that was released last year – two songs, twenty minutes – and it was a welcome transitional release for the new album. It is not necessary to listen to the earlier releases to become immersed in the latest one, but I do recommended it because there is an arc here from the beginning to the now and beyond. Like Carrier Of Weight, there are three tracks on Bearer Of Many Names.

“Enshrined in Indissoluble Chains and Enlightened Darkness” (29:22) opens with six quiet minutes of uneasiness then explodes suddenly with a Black-Metal-esque eruption to show you the trepidation was in order. The doom approach is slow and fatally heavy, punctuated by the tectonic shifts in the percussion, guitar, and voice.

“Secret Powers Entrenched in an Ancient Artefact” (18:36) is a bit more funereal to my ear than the first track and “Unmapped Territories of Clans without Names” (18:27) is the eeriest, pressing against the edges of ethereal and ritual music. Everything about the music on this album is absolutely mesmerizing. Listening to any track by itself is a welcome a welcome journey. Even so, listening to all three in order is worthwhile enhancement.

I have been following Eremit through its brief career and I have enjoyed the first two releases. The new one is the best so far and it sets a higher standard for Doom Metal in this vein. Highly recommended.

Bearer Of Many Names is out now from Transcending Obscurity, one of the very best heavy labels around – if you are into variants, bundles, and merch, they always deliver. Look over the links below and dive in.

Links.

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

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

Eremit store, http://eremit.limitedrun.com/

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

Eremit, Bearer Of Many Names (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Desaster, Churches Without Saints (Metal Blade Records 2021)

German Blackened Thrash Metal band Desaster add a new set of high-speed adrenaline-infused metal to their history.

Desaster started in the late 1980s and really got kicking in the 1990s. Along with releasing eight previous full-length albums, there has also been a slew of EPs, splits, compilations, and three live albums. It has been five years since their last studio album, The Oath Of An Iron Ritual, so the time is definitely right for some new music.

The musical style on Churches Without Saints is what we have come to expect from the band: high speed Blackened Thrash that visits themes of darkness and aggression. They have an old school four-piece set-up that pummels and pounds and rakes over the universal constant in search of conflict and despair.

There are eleven tracks on the album, including an intro and an outro. Most are set at high speed, like the opening cut, “Learn To Love The Void.” There are a few that have a scaled back pace, like the title track itself, which is more about threat and menace than acceleration.

Other stand-out tracks include “Hellputa” which is best described as an explosion with its roaring energy and dueling lead break. “Sadistic Salvation,” too, is a break-neck killer up front but it steps back in the middle to survey the ruin it has sown. The longest track, “Endless Awakening,” comes just before the outro. It has an acoustic opening to begin the journey that takes to you to all the corners of the kingdom. There are parts of this song that remind me most of the old school standard and in other places there are turns to raging dimensions and ethereal planes previously unseen. Desaster is wide open on this album, delivering the goods. Recommended.

Churches Without Saints is out now from Metal Blade Records. Have a look at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://desaster.bandcamp.com/album/churches-without-saints

Desaster website, http://www.total-desaster.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/666Desaster666

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

Desaster, Churches Without Saints (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Soul Grinder, Lifeless Obsession (MDD Records 2021)

Germany’s speedy Death Metal band Soul Grinder hands down another slab of pitiless heavy music.

Last year’s Chronicles Of Decay was the initial foray for the band into long-player territory. Following on the heels of the Sadistic Parasite (2018) EP, Chronicles delivered on that earlier insinuation. And now here is another taste to hold fans over until tours start. Soul Grinder is Mathias Junge (bass and vocals), Matè “Balrogh” Balogh (drums), and Jan Resmer (guitar).

There are five tracks on Lifeless Obsession. The music is characterized by rolling riffs that push against the groovy lane on the regular, cruising alongside ravaging percussion. Junge’s vocals are coarse and harsh while still being decipherable. The regulated manner of the musical construction is an effective platform to launch surprises and unexpected swerves. For example, in “Terradeformer” the pace and style changes enough to make your neck ache. Rollicking riffs followed by blast beat percussion pitched against a solemn choir.

The highlights for me are “Worm’s Repast” and “Mercyful Fate.” The former is sinister and dramatic with an explosive lead break while the latter is broader in its scope and has a thoughtful homage in its bones. High marks to the closer as well, the title track, which walks in unassuming then drops the hammer hard enough to crack the anvil. There is a lot to admire here. Recommended.

Lifeless Obsession appears this week, Friday, June 4th on MDD Records. Links below for the gathering.

Links.

Soul Grinder website, https://www.soulgrinder.de/

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

MDD Records, https://mdd-records.de/

Soul Grinder, Lifeless Obsession (MDD Records 2021)

Vulture, Dealin’ Death (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Vulture comes raging back with more speed and thrash on Dealin’ Death.

It is easy to think that the best days of Thrash Metal are behind us because so many iconic albums came out all those years ago. If you look around at the music back then you find that there is a lot of bands you did not know about that made high-speed, solid, and aggressive music that somehow slipped past you. Similarly, new thrash has come out consistently over the years, and, if anything, there has been a resurgence in past lustrum or two. Vulture is a good example of new Thrash Metal that absolutely kills.

Hailing from Germany, Vulture formed only a few years ago in 2016. The demo they released in that first year was well received by fans and since then the band has issued two full-length albums, making Dealin’ Death the third long-player. Set up in the classic style of bass, drums, two guitars, and vocals, the music they create can clock in to legitimate speed freak territory whenever they feel the need.

After a nice short intro that could have been for a demonic toy movie, the thrash kicks up. In some of the songs, a rampaging juggernaut is on display while on others the tempo is not quite so frantic and the composition stretches in other directions. The narrative themes tend toward horror and mythology. When you match these ideas up with fast music the result is high-energy entertainment. Clever twists and turns lead to compositional diversity and add to the experience. This is good, fast metal that makes no massive demands of you and gives you what you want to hear.

Dealin’ Death is out this week on Metal Blade Records. Recommended.

Links.

Vulture Kills store, https://vulturekills.bigcartel.com/

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

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

Bandcamp, https://vulturekills.bandcamp.com/album/dealin-death

Vulture, Dealin’ Death (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Endseeker, Mount Carcass (Metal Blade 2021)

Mount Carcass is Endseeker’s monumental follow-up to the previous high water mark of The Harvest.

Endseeker is from Hamburg, Germany. They released their first EP in 2015 and their first long-player, Flesh Hammer Prophecy, in 2017. The Harvest came out in 2019 and showed that a firm foundation had been set by this five-piece act. They make good use of the two-guitar approach to creating a big sound and the heft comes from the strong rhythm grounding of the compositions.

This is heavy metal, power metal. The music at times has a feel that reminds me a little of Rob Halford’s band Fight on their A Small Deadly Space album – it has that relentless rolling metal insistence. The themes are in the death metal constellation, with a deep and deliberate cast of darkness.

Nine radio-length songs populate the set. The song structure often features a lead guitar pairing with the vocals and then continuing the melody, set upon steady pounding percussion that rolls out the occasional blast. If I pointed only to one song it would be “Cult.” It showcases all these elements and houses an eerie story in lyrics. When you hear it you know you want more.

I can’t leave off without mentioning the surprising closing song, an instrumental cover of John Carpenter’s theme to his movie Escape From New York. I would never have thought to put this together in a metal version but man does it work. It obviously transports the listener back to the movie and it also reminds us of how great Carpenter was at setting a dramatic tone in the soundtracks he wrote. It is a monster track and a most excellent way to wrap this album up. Recommended.

Mount Carcass is out now so there is no reason to be without it. Metal Blade has a lot of varieties to select from at the label link below.

Links.

Label, https://metalblade.com/endseeker/

Website, http://endseeker.de/

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

Endseeker, Mount Carcass (Metal Blade 2021)

Wheel, Preserved In Time (Cruz Del Sur Music 2021)

The third album from Germany’s Wheel is a new epistle in their Epic Doom story.

The band started in 2006 as Eternal Sleep, changing over to the current name three years later. The self-titled album came out in 2010, followed by Icarus in 2013 and a live album the next year. The new record then is the first in eight years and as such it is the culmination of an extended formative process. After a brief lineup shuffle, the band has returned to its early roster: Arkadius Kurek (vocals), Benjamin Homberger (guitar), Marcus Grabowski (bass), and Carsten Jercke (drums).

The music is Doom Metal, leaning toward the Epic Metal thematic arena. The big riff is the primary structure as we might expect, and the speed lurks around mid-tempo (on the doom scale). The tones are heavy and the vocals enlarged creating an expanding sense of scope in the dark landscape of the compositions.

“At Night They Came Upon Us” is the first song and as an introduction to the set it does the job – everything that is to come is signaled from the beginning. There are clever melodies in the guitar lines and vocal harmonies meant to deepen the delivery. There is a reflective slow-down toward the middle and compelling lead guitar instantiations. A charge is mounted near the end before the song finishes as it began. A very satisfying and complete structure.

My favorite tracks are “Aeon of Darkness” and the big closer “Daedalus” because they represent best to my ear the essence of the album. Picking out a couple tracks, however, is not the best way to hear Wheel. The impact is greater if you listen straight through from beginning to end.

Preserved In Time is out now. Gather it up at Bandcamp.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://wheeldoom.bandcamp.com/album/preserved-in-time

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

Label, https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/blog/

Wheel, Preserved In Time (Cruz Del Sur Music 2021)

Abigorum, Vergessene Stille (Void Wanderer 2021)

The Melodic Black Metal duo Abigorum have finished their second full-length album, Vergessene Stille.

The band is Aleksey Korolyov from Russia and Tino Thiele of Germany. Their previous album, Exaltatus Mechanism, came out in 2019 (with former bandmate Sandra Batsch in the mix). While the music contains many styles, the primary elements are Black Metal and Doom, tied together with ambient intentions.

There are five tracks on the album, four long pieces and a short wind-down at the end. The opener is “Erhebt eure mit Blut gefüllten Hörner” and it is the perfect example of the overarching trajectory of the music with its clear Black Metal persuasion casting about in the Doom and dread. “Der geheimnisvolle Käfig” has a more up-tempo, almost peppy opening segment, but it quickly takes a dark turn, showing you something menacing in the shadows before the bright-light distraction kicks back in. When it comes back, though, there is a demon in there. This song is sinister, and it is the one I remember most.

The title track leads Side 2, followed by “Zerbrechlicher kleiner Geist.” The former brings a maddening warbling drone that transforms into deep Doom and a weighty feeling of sorrow, while the latter has a more theatrical feel to it, painting dark images in penetrating tones. The final word is “Rast und Abschied.” At first it sounds like a storm rumbling up from the void, but then it turns into a curse, and maybe an unsettling prediction. Taken together, the music from Abigorum on this album is a unique and fluid combination of ideas expressed in a captivating theater. Recommended.

Vergessene Stille is out on April 13th in a variety of forms. Duplicate Records will release an LP version, Satanath Records and Black Blood Records will have CD versions, and Void Wanderer Productions is producing a cassette version. There is also always the digital download.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://abigorum.bandcamp.com/album/vergessene-stille

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

Void Wanderer, https://voidwanderer.com/

Duplicate Records, https://duplicaterecords.no/

Satanath Records, http://satanath.com/

Black Blood Records, https://www.blackbloodrecords.de/html/01-news.html

Abigorum, Vergessene Stille (Void Wanderer 2021)