Eye Of Purgatory, The Lighthouse (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

The sophomore album from Eye Of Purgatory achieves new levels of breadth and captivation.

The band’s first album, The Rotting Enigma, came out in 2018. Helmed by the indefatigable Rogga Johansson, that inaugural issue was a fiery burst of Death Metal remembered especially for the ten minute opus “The Hause on the Edge of Hell.” The new album is more expansive in its compositional idiom while staying true to the old school metal framework. Johansson is joined in the studio by Taylor Nordberg (drums, guitar, keys) and Jeramie Kling (bass).

There are eight tracks on The Lighthouse after the intro instrumental bit, most of them punching in at the four minute interval – they could all be singles. It is mid- and up-tempo work, notable and marked by the generous use of keyboards which, let’s face it, are not a Death Metal standard. On this album the keys fit right in and would be sorely missed if absent.

The roughened voice is a dominant force in every piece, sharing space and prominence on a revolving basis with the other instruments. Clever twiddles abound, always surround and bolstered by solid guitar riffs.

The narrative elements on the new album are more dark fantasy in origin compared to the earlier release which focused narrowly on horror ideas. I think the myth and mysteries fits the music a bit better and that makes me like this set even more. From the opening “The Lighthouse” to the final notes of the closer “Rebirth,” there is a constantly maneuvering maelstrom of metal that blends the wizened old school sensibility with a Melodic Death Metal tincture to produce a literary-lace musical theater. Rogga Johansson strikes again. Recommended.

The Lighthouse is out now from Transcending Obscurity. Bandcamp is the place to get it in all its forms.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://eyeofpurgatory.bandcamp.com/album/the-lighthouse-death-metal

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

Transcending Obscurity Records, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/band/eye-of-purgatory

Eye Of Purgatory, The Lighthouse (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Heavy Temple, Lupi Amoris (Magnetic Eye Records 2021)

The first long-player from Philadelphia Psychedelic Doom band Heavy Temple is a rumbling juggernaut that will roll you flat.

Heavy Temple is a trio that creates memorable and full-bodied music for your mind. Working with guitar, bass, and drum, they are able to establish and pursue complex ideas in a way that soaks into the listener in the most appealing ways. Lupi Amoris is their first full-length album, and they have also released two EPs in the last few years, Heavy Temple (2014) and Chassit (2017), as well as a split with Wolf Blood. The music and performance are languid, and Heavy Temple is a band you will surely be hearing a lot more about in the months and years to come.

The first song is “A Desert Through The Trees” and it starts up with a penetrating pulse that is soon joined into a rollicking jaunt that turns toward heavy burbling psychedelica. “The Wolf” has a way of being spacier while still bringing forth the big, heavy guitar sounds. “The Maiden” closes the half with a rambunctious telling.

Side B is “Isabella (with Unrelenting Fangs)” and “Howling of a Prothalamion.” The first song is the longest, nuzzling up to ten minutes. It unfolds slowly and surely and walks the earth with power and care. The lead guitar parts to me are the most memorable, particular the dual approach. “Howling” has a broad range with some segments that are rolling, rambling riffs and others that are ethereal and quirky. It is an unexpected and very strong closer.

Over the course of these five tracks told in about thirty-three minutes there is an enveloping experience few other bands could create. It’s a trip. Recommended.

Lupi Amoris is out tomorrow, Friday June 18th from Magnetic Eye Records. Explore the possibilities at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://heavytemple.bandcamp.com/album/lupi-amoris

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

Magnetic Eye Records, https://us.merhq.spkr.media/magnetic-eye-records/heavy-temple-lupi-amoris.html

Heavy Temple, Lupi Amoris (Magnetic Eye 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)

Blazon Rite, Endless Halls Of Golden Totem (Gates Of Hell Records 2021)

Philadelphia metal molders Blazon Rite keep the campaign going with their new long-player, Endless Halls Of Golden Totem.

Last year’s EP Dulce Bellum Inexpertis was filled with portents and promise. It showed an approach to Epic Metal that was solid and expansive, a wall of sound built to the top. The new album not only continues the ideas signaled in the earlier work but also expands on them. Blazon Rite is James Kirn (guitar), Johnny Halladay (vocals), Pierson Roe (bass, synth, and guitar), Kay Hamacher (guitar), and Ryan Haley (drums).

There are eight tracks on the new album, and they display a greater narrative variety compared to the earlier release because Endless Halls Of Golden Totem is not a themed album. “Legends of Time and Eidolon” starts the boulder rolling with a commanding guitar riff that is quickly surrounded by the rhythm section and a synth line. Johnny Halladay’s voice rises, sounding like a traveling mage delivering the harrowing tale from village to village. The lead guitar skips in trippingly with bright colors highlighting the deepening story and completing it.

Every song on the album is constructed with the same thoughtful complexity and earnest roundedness. The styles vary from one to the next offering a rich listening environment. The music has roots in classic metal while pushing grand stories and power metal appreciations. The opening bars of “Put Down Your Steel” reminded me a little of Judas Priest but the rest of the song didn’t. “The Executioner’s Woe” made me instantly – and only for an instant – remember Rainbow’s Long Live Rock ’n’ Roll before moving off in other directions.

The title track alternates between power metal pronouncements and quieter moments while “Alchemist’s Brute” offers a light-hearted eeriness. The final song is “Into Shores Of Blood” and it is somber and sorrowful to begin with but turns up the tension and volume after a couple minutes to deliver a colossal sound. Blazon Rite made a good decision to create this kind of album in all its variety that nevertheless preserves in each song the band’s core principles. Recommended.

Endless Halls Of Golden Totem is out from Gates Of Hell Records this Friday, June 18th, in digital, CD, and vinyl forms.

Links.

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

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

Gates of Hell Records, http://www.gatesofhellrecords.com/

Review of Dulce Bellum Inexpertis, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2020/09/22/blazon-rite-dulce-bellum-inexpertis-review-gates-of-hell-records-2020/

Blazon Rite, Endless Halls Of Golden Totem (Gates Of Hell Records 2021)

Crypta, Echoes Of The Soul (Napalm Records 2021)

Crypta, a metal band reaching across the globe from Brazil to the Netherlands, release their first full-length album, Echoes Of The Soul.

Composed of former members of Nervosa, Burning Witches, and Hagbard, Crypta brings forth the Death Metal like no other. The band is Fernanda Lira (bass and vocals), Sonia Anubis (guitar), Tainá Bergamaschi (guitar), and Luana Dametto (drums). Together they form a whomping juggernaut fit to crack your bones.

You don’t hear a lot of female vocalists in heavy music, especially ones rolling out coarse deliveries. An obvious example is Butcher Babies, of course, and Dopethrone, but thinking of others requires some reflection. Crypta leans more toward the Black Metal hiss side of Death Metal vocalizations, hailing the dark and menacing.

There are nine songs and an into bit on Echoes Of The Soul. “Starvation” starts off at a full sprint. The percussion is insidious, the riffs contentious, and the vocals are threatening. That is a good combination. The lead break runs the range of steady to hyper in a display of possibilities. “Possessed” follows and is more theatrical in a Phantom of the Opera kind of way. Wicked and eerie, it is, with a sorrowful lead.

“Under The Black Wings” stands out to me for the heaviness and darkness of its composition. You have a real sense of witnessing an inevitable calamity when you hear it. I really like “Dark Night Of The Soul” as well for its incredible lead guitar work and the closer, “From The Ashes” might be the song to either open or end the show on tour because it has a burning energy that can work at both perspectives. This is a different kind of Death Metal and well worth your attention. Recommended.

Echoes Of The Soul is out now and available all around.

Links.

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

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

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

Napalm Records, https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/crypta

Crypta, Echoes Of The Soul (Napalm Records 2021)

Exsanguination, Spectral Hymns (HPGD 2021)

Massachusetts Death Metal act Exsanguination presents Spectral Hymns, the band’s first long-player.

Not much is known about Exsanguination – at least not much yet in the usual places. The band’s first EP came out last year, and there have been several singles as well. The new one is the first full-length album to hit the streets. The music is Death Metal, and it lies on the groove and riffy side of the street. There are many clever twists and quirks that make Exsanguination’s style easily recognizable.

The Spectral Hymns album includes four new tracks and gathers six previously issued ones as well. The new tracks are “Martyred,” “Mortal Wounds,” “Revenant,” and “Blasphemous.” It is convenient to have the singles and music from the earlier EP collected here, and naturally it is the new music that is the big sell.

“Martyred” has a nearly two minute instrumental lead in that bangs well and good before the vocal growls show themselves. It is the perfect way to kick off the set, highlighting the musical style and song-writing approach. Vocals are a smaller part of the compositions for Exsanguination than they are for many bands that might otherwise seem similar. “Mortal Wounds” is instrumental in its entirety, and “Revenant” has another long lead-in, as does “Blasphemous.”

If you have been following the band in its new career you might have already heard the compiled tracks, but if not here is another chance. Stand-outs are “Lords Without Thrones,” “Tombs of the Blind Dead,” and “Blood Ocean.” The more I listen the deeper this music sinks in. The slowdowns and accelerations are planned to turn your attention rather than shock you, and the doom-heavy moments are perfectly compatible with the up-tempo segments for this reason. Everything comes together like perfectly fit stones of an ancient wall built by a lost civilization. This is a great album. Highly recommended.

Spectral Hymns is out on Friday, June 11th. CDs and digital are available at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/spectral-hymns

HPGD, http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/index.html

Exsanguination, Spectral Hymns (HPGD 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)

Void Tripper, Dopefiend (Abraxas Records 2021)

Brazilian Doom Metal band Void Tripper release their first full-length album, Dopefiend.

In the first five years the band has released a couple of singles, a demo, an EP, and a full-length live album, all setting the stage for Dopefiend, their first studio long-player. The music is straight-up stoner doom with heavy and crushing riffs to go along with the narrative delirium. According to the Metal Archives, the line-up is Gabriel Mota (drums), Mário Fonteles (guitar and vocals), Anastácio Júnior (guitar and vocals), and Jonatas Monte (bass).

There are five tracks on the album, four of which run over seven minutes long. The influence of Black Sabbath runs deep and rich in this earth-rattling music. “Devil’s Reject” opens the set with splashy percussion, weighty bass, and a rolling guitar riff. The vocals are gruff enough to push the dark ideas and clear enough to be understandable. The lead break toward the end of the song is a howling wolf filled with warning and sorrow. An auspicious beginning.

“Burning Woods” conveys surety in its confident deployment. The music is a dark warming syrup too thick to escape. Once you are captured the guitars rage around you. “Hollow” leads with a distorted audio capture then veers off at a harrowing pace on a rollicking, sinister riff. By the end the music slows to a grinding stone-on-stone eminence.

“Satan and Drugs” is the shortest piece and it shakes you up with its warbling threats, setting the stage for the closer, “Comatose.” A massively distorted bass line joins the clipping drums to usher in an intoxicatingly inviting guitar and insinuating vocal enticement. The second half of the song slows to a tense almost funeral doom level over which a mystical guitar lead hypnotizes you to an inevitable and thoroughly satisfying end. The album is an excellent set of doom that beguiles you from start to finish. Recommended.

Dopefiend is out on Friday, June 11th, and you can find it at the Bandcamp link below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://voidtripperdoom.bandcamp.com/album/dopefiend

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

Void Tripper, Dopefiend (Abraxas Records 2021)

Flotsam and Jetsam, Blood In The Water (AFM Records 2021)

The fourteenth studio album from Flotsam and Jetsam is filled with surging power cranked up and delivered at a relentless pace.

Thirty-five years in, Flotsam and Jetsam are still on the rise. In 2019 the band released The End of Chaos, an album that was bursting with intensity. Blood In The Water is every bit as ambitious and has an even bigger payoff. This is a band that keeps getting better with each passing album. The current line-up is originators Eric AK (vocals) and Michael Gilbert (guitar) who are joined by Steve Conley (guitar), William Bodily (bass), and Ken Mary (drums).

The first Flotsam and Jetsam album I heard was Drift (1995), arriving almost ten years late to the show. I have no explanation for this missing the early signals but I can say that Drift had a big impact on me. Since then I have been an avid follower, addicted to the speed and adrenaline the music conveys. Blood In The Water offers up more of what I have come to expect.

There are twelve songs on the album, starting with the title track, a ferocious eruption that wastes no time on niceties. Each successive track is a new discovery, another step up. “Brace For Impact,” for example, has a soaring lead break setting up a contemplative movement that transitions back into furious metal. “The Wicked Hour” is a speeding car hurtling out of control down a dark desert road and “Reaggression” is dedicated to pummeling your sensibilities flat.

Even when the music has a slow start on songs like “Cry For The Dead” there is still an unmistakable passion and power to them. The closer is “Seven Seconds ’Til the End Of The World,” and it is filled with dire descriptions and warnings – and high-speed metal carried away on impossible percussion. It is incredible that Flotsam and Jetsam and still creating such exciting new music. Don’t miss out. Recommended.

Blood In The Water is out now. The AFM Records shop is a good place to go, and the band has a shop as well with more music and merch.

Links.

F&J website, https://www.flotstildeath.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/flotsamandjetsam.official

AFM Records, https://shop.afm-records.de/flotsam-and-jetsam/

Flotsam and Jetsam, Blood In The Water (AFM Records 2021)

Red Fang, Arrows (Relapse Records 2021)

The fourth studio album from Portland, Oregon irregulars Red Fang is a grungy cavalcade of heavy music idiosyncrasies and discoveries.

I started listening to Red Fang closely with their self-titled compilation (c. 2009) that put the earlier two tour EPs together and added a new song. The spirited swagger comes through in the multiplicity of influences and outputs you hear. Murder The Mountains (2011) was like that, too, and so is the new one. You never know what the next song will be like. The last studio album from Red Fang was in 2016: Only Ghosts. Fans have been on the edge for this one and they are going to be pumped when they hear it.

There are thirteen tracks on the album including an on-ramp and two shorter bits. Want to know what the album is like? Here is a summary. From “Two High” we get: “Whatever you think I am / think again / whatever you thought I’d be / ain’t me.” That is the guiding principle at work on Arrows.

There are noisy transitions and peculiar wobbles here and there mixed in with the more linear compositions. The music pushes hard on tracks like “Anodyne” and on songs like “Fonzi Scheme” the construction is more laid back – still heavy, of course, but told at more of a stoner pace. “Why” is solemn and creepy while “Funeral Coach” is unexpectedly light hearted and “Dr. Owl” is more gruff than wise. I think you see what I mean. Be ready for anything and that is what you’ll get. They’re not coasting on this album. Recommended.

Arrows is out now and available everywhere. Red Fang has a big tour coming up including a stop at Psycho Las Vegas in August.

Links.

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

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

Relapse Records, http://relapse.com/red-fang-arrows/

Red Fang, Arrows (Relapse Records 2021)