Metal Massacre XV (Metal Blade Records 2021)

The fifteenth installment of Metal Blade Records’ popular Metal Massacre compilation series takes the stage.

It all started in 1982 at the very beginning of the storied label. The first Metal Massacre compilation had some incredible artists contribute to it including Cirith Ungol, Avatar, Bitch, and Metallica. The anthology was an annual event for many years until the end of the 1980s when the new ones started to come out only sporadically. It is nice to see the fires lit again for the first time since 2016.

Here is what is on the new compilation. 01. Midnight, “Masked and Deadly” (exclusive), 02. Poison Ruïn, “Demon Wind,” 03. Fuming Mouth, “Master of Extremity,” 04. Many Suffer, “The Trees Die Standing” (exclusive), 05. Temple of Void, “Leave the Light Behind,” 06. Ripped to Shreds, “撿骨 (Bone Ritual)” (exclusive), 07. Rude, “Omega,” 08. Midnight Dice, “Starblind,” 09. Smoulder, “Warrior Witch of Hel,” and 10. Mother of Graves, “In Somber Dreams.”

As you can tell from the contributor list, there is quite a range of music here from straight up heavy metal to punk to death metal to doom and all points around and in between. It is worth noting that a few of these tracks are exclusive to this release (marked above), at least for now. That’s a good reason to check this album out along with the rest of the solid tunes.

Metal Massacre XV is out on Friday May 21st through the label at the link below. Recommended.


Metal Blade Records,

Metal Massacre XV (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Mother Of Graves, In Somber Dreams (Wise Blood Records 2021)

The new EP from Indianapolis metal band Mother Of Graves is a melancholy shovelful of crossover Doom.

The musicians are Thomas Hunt (bass), Don Curtis (drums), Ben Sandman (guitar), Chris Morrison (guitar), and Brandon Howe (vocals). They are a new band with a lot of experience and a couple of singles under their belt. In Somber Dreams is their first EP. According to their Bandcamp entry, the band is “[n]amed after a mythological Latvian protector of cemeteries (Kapu māte)[.]” Their style is along the Melodic Death metal range, and the vocalizations bring classic Swedish bands to my mind. The music is heavy and serious in tone, relying on rhythm and synchronous constituents to mold a finished product.

There are four tracks on this inaugural release. “In Somber Dreams” is an introduction to the general bleak perspective of the music you are about to hear. It sets the stage and dresses it in funeral attire. “Nameless Burial” adds a voiceover to further the narrative depth of the incantation, ultimately devolving into disorder with a tinkling off-center piano and destabilized sonic surges at the end. “The Urn” is a mood piece with undulating utterances, doleful exertions, and an undeniable gothic tailwind. Finally there is “Deliverance,” lodged into my head as a soft and twinkling, with an insisting bass line and a tempo that picks up nicely three and a half minutes in.

The band says they are working on a full-length album and I am really looking forward to that. I have listened to these four songs a couple times and they are hanging with me, telling stories and making promises. I want to see where this all goes.

In Somber Dreams is out tomorrow in digital, cassette, and CD forms. Grab one for your very own at the Wise Blood Bandcamp page. Recommended.

Photo of the band snagged from their Facebook page.




Mother Of Graves, In Somber Dreams (Wise Blood Records 2021)