71TonMan, Of End Times (Transcending Obscurity 2023)

The title of 71TonMan’s new album is no exaggeration: Of End Times.

I got on board with 71TonMan late, with their EP from 2021, War Is Peace // Peace Is Slavery. Hearing it, I quickly went back and consumed everything else they had released – two full-length albums, 71TonMan (2013) and Earthwreck (2017), and a split. Doom is heavy by nature, of course, but this doom will sink you. The band is from Poland and its members are Daniel Jakub Kida (vocals), Tomasz Gardecki (guitar), Michał Zieleniewski (guitar), Jędrzej Wroński (bass), and Jakub Jankowski (drums).

There are four long tracks on the new record, each running about ten minutes. “Conquest” starts off with a sour squeal, leading into clanking percussion. Crushing funeral doom-paced riffs smash down and take over, withering any hope of escape. “Plague” takes a more rolling thunder kind of approach, a crashing waves sort of manifestation. It is a marching menace that brings the plague with it and spreads it to every corner of the land surveyed. This music cannot me negotiated with – it is going to do what it does.

Side two brings “War” and “Famine.” These two clearly go together, musically and in reality. Because you won’t have one without the other, which comes first is a matter of happenstance or intention … it doesn’t really matter. The vocals are like a choir that does not soothe, opting instead for grim truth. The final ten minutes of the set are the darkest and most dangerous, clawing away any comfort that somehow still remained. The music that came before sat on the event horizon and these final minutes are when you fall into the black hole where there is no escape. Highly recommended.

End Of Times is out on Friday, March 3rd through Transcending Obscurity Records. Touch the links below to explore the options.


Bandcamp, https://71tonmanband.bandcamp.com/album/of-end-times-sludge-doom-metal

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/71TonMan

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

FFMB review of previous 71TonMan EP, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2021/07/09/71tonman-war-is-peace-peace-is-slavery-transcending-obscurity-2021/

© Wayne Edwards

71TonMan, Of End Times (Transcending Obscurity 2023)

Nuclear Holocaust, Sailing The Seas Of Nuclear Waste (Selfmadegod 2023)

Sailing The Seas Of Nuclear Waste is a fitting return to full-length form for Poland’s Nuclear Holocaust.

It all started 2015 when the grindcore first started to percolate in Poland as Nuclear Holocaust. To me, it is the thrash punk elements that stand out brightest on their newest work, but in it and in their music from the past you will find a variety of styles and essences. They have so far released two long-players and splits with Leb Prosiaka, Expurgo, and Straight Hate (among others) to go along with their live record and a compilation in 2020. The band is Bloodseeker (vocals), XXX-Bomber (guitar), Overkiller (drums), and Doomtrigger (bass).

There are sixteen tracks on the new album ranging in length from fifty one seconds to one hundred twenty eight seconds. So, in every case, we could say these are sharp punches to the throat, a loud battering to your ears. For example, the first track, “The Last Day of Serenity,” is those things in spades. It is a menacing blender, with gruesome, croaking vocals and belligerent rhythm. The very next song has those underlying qualities in general, too, but it is lighter in aural spirit, despite its title: “Mutant Blitzkrieg.” It is almost pop punk in its clippiness. “The Finishing Blow” has the harder edge of the first song and takes that idea even farther and darker. So, no, the music does not all sound the same even when fundamental similarities are present – each son has its own festering essence.

If you are listening to this album, you are looking for thrashy punk metal, and you’ve found the motherlode. “Undead Hordes Special Forces” is a beautiful spout of horrendous menace with killer riffage, and “Suicidal Paranoia” has a fine crackle to, like a good draw on a water pipe and what comes after that. I also appreciate the aggressive determination of “Like Lambs to the Slaughter,” and the unlikely pace of “Synthetic Sea.” In all, this hard-edged set is ultimately endearing in a black hearted kind of way. Recommended.

Sailing The Seas Of Nuclear Waste is out on Friday, March 3rd through Selfmadegod Records. Peruse the links below.


Bandcamp, https://selfmadegod.bandcamp.com/album/sailing-the-seas-of-nuclear-waste

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

Selfmadegod Records, https://selfmadegod.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Nuclear Holocaust, Sailing The Seas Of Nuclear Waste (Selfmadegod 2023)

Müut, Made Me Do It (2023)

Warsaw stoner rock band Müut lets loose on their debut long-player, Made Me Do It.

Müut began just a couple of years ago. Initially inspired and informed by punk and hardcore music, the compositional direction of the band eventually shifted toward a hard rock version of stoner rock, with big nods to classic forms. The result is a cracking set of rock and roll with exotic undertones. Müut is Vlad Guzmán (vocals, bass), Mateusz Pacholczyk (drums), Krzysztof Geryk (guitar), and Szymon Kaim (guitar).

“Another Bill To Pay” is a hard-charging rock song, up-tempo and loaded with catchiness. The lead break is designed for broad appeal as well, not taking up too much space. A very good, rollicking beginning. “Graso” seeks to keep the energy high, but in a very different way. The opening lyrics have a stabbing quality to them, like an attack on the listener. They mellow as the song continues, but you never forget the opening peal, which is itself repeated for good measure. “Fight The Müutonegro” offers a nostalgic appeal to old school tropes, and so does “Braindead,” in many ways, although different ones. These familiar bits a remolded and integrated into modern settings, giving them new life. Side one ends on “Enter Thy Name,” a pensive, reflective number that is an effective cooldown.

The back half continues with the premise establish by the early songs. I especially like “Last Tattoo,” which has a dominating presence and is a genuine battering. The tone changes midway, and the song transforms somewhat, making it all the more appealing. The final track stands out as well, “Salvation Fix.” It is a gruff way to exit, and I like it a lot. This record is good hard-edged rock and roll. Give it a spin.

Made Me Do It is out now. In the US, Bandcamp is a good place to pick it up.


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

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/muut.band/

© Wayne Edwards

Müut, Made Me Do It (2023)

Funeral Mass, Shadow Of The Raventhrone (2022)

Shadow Of The Raventhrone is the third studio album from black metal band Funeral Mass.

Funeral Mass started in Poland in 2018. I thought from the name we might be dealing with a doom band here, but their music is black metal through and through, with melodic touches for depth and highlight. The have released two previous full-length albums and an EP in the few years of their existence, each one a step further down the path. The band is Kamil Żerański (guitar, vocals), Dmytro Kvashnin (guitar), Jerzy Wieliński (bass), and Ignacy Macikowski (drums).

“With Sinister Spell” is the first of seven songs on the album. The black metal framework is in place, firm and unquestioned. The vocals maintain the genre’s style and tone, modulated in a way that makes them more approachable to alternate practitioners. The hammering rhythm is there, alongside a melodic thread that gives the music a dramatic, almost theatrical, cast in fact. The title track follows, and it has a bounty of energy upfront, steady and unrepentant. The initial movement is repeated, instilling the impression of a quest that will demand sacrifice. “Nocturnal Eclipse” opens with obliterating black metal, taking no prisoners and offering no mercy. It is the most rugged song on the record.

Throughout the story told on the album, the many looks given are all draped in deep shadow. “Riders Of Nebulous Lands” stands out in this regard, while other tracks like “Epitaphium” have a lighter opening, nevertheless drawing fully on black smoke. “Everlasting Pagan Flame,” the band’s first single and a song that originally appeared on their album Cold Winds Of Desolation (2018), is redone here at the end of the album. It is a treat for the band’s fans and a fine way to sign off. Recommended.

Shadow Of The Raventhrone is out on Friday, December 2nd. Bandcamp is the way to go in the US for digital and other formats. Links below.


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

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

© Wayne Edwards

Funeral Mass, Shadow Of The Raventhrone (2022)

Behemoth, Opvs Contra Natvram (Nuclear Blast 2022)

The twelfth album from Behemoth is a milestone in the band’s historic career: Opvs Contra Natvram.

For more than thirty years, Polish black metal band Behemoth has been one the leading bands in heavy music. They are known for black metal, but their music is more of a combination of black and death metal, and traditional metal as well, in combination with dramatic and complex arrangements. Often imitated but never equaled, Behemoth does truly stand apart from its contemporaries. The band is Nergal, Inferno, and Orion.

It took me a long time to finally catch up with Behemoth live. I saw them on Slayer’s final tour a few years back, and I remember thinking at the time that they were the best act on the card. I have been looking forward to this new album for a while.

Talking about the album, Nergal has this to say … “The album title means going against the current. It’s the negative of the values and morals and ethics that I stand against. I’ve seriously been wrestling with destructive tendencies in pop culture – cancel culture, social media, and tools which I feel are very dangerous weapons in the hands of people who are not competent to judge others. That’s something which I find very destructive and disturbing and extremely limiting coming from an artists’ perspective. This is my middle finger to that.” That’s a fairly positive message for such a villainized band, huh.

“Post-God Nirvana” is the first of ten tracks on the album, and it functions as an effective introduction to the experience. Loaded with effects and production, the vocals dig deep in your psyche and the growing guitar punches land harder and harder as the song progresses. “Malaria Vulgata” is a more contained song. In its brief two-minute run, the well-defined boundaries are filled to breaking. “The Deathless Sun” is more of a campaign by comparison. The guitar breaks are the sound of a charging weapon, and Nergal’s vocals are commands. The meshed death and black metal is a towering monument that cannot be ignored once it comes into your life, and that ideal is epitomized in this song.

The music continues the story and depth of expression in variety and in encouraged reinforcement throughout the entire set. “Neo-Spartacus” uses dissonance melodically, if you can imagine that. “Once Upon A Pale Horse” is among the most dramatic songs, and its theatrical nature is extremely engaging. The closer, “Versus Christus,” begins melodically, with growing urgency. The music is quite dramatic, and in a way gathers and restates the thesis of the entire work in a new package. Excellent. I recommend this album for Behemoth fans and newcomers alike.

Opvs Contra Natvram is out now through Nuclear Blast Records. Investigate the possibilities at the links below.


Behemoth. website, https://www.behemoth.pl/

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

Nuclear Blast Records, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

© Wayne Edwards

Behemoth, Opvs Contra Natvram (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Monasterium, Cold Are The Graves (Nine Records 2022)

Cold Are The Graves is the new album from doom powerhouse Monasterium.

Hailing from Kraków, Poland, Monasterium is an epic doom band that formed in 2014. Up to now they have released two full-length albums, including their self-titled debut in 2016 and Church Of Bones in 2019. Known for grand and sweepingly dramatic doom metal compositions, Monasterium walks the world revealing dark secrets in a shroud of arcane mystery. The band is Michał Strzelecki (vocals), Tomasz Gurgul (guitars), Filip Malinowski (bass), and Maciej Berniak (drums).

There are eight compelling songs on the new album, beginning with “The Stigmatic.” Strzelecki’s voice is the pillar the guitar riffs surround, establishing an emblematic insistence that is returned to frequently throughout the record. The pace is measured and the rhythm is sturdy, granular. It is a bit like a doom version of a combination of Ronnie James Dio and King Diamond, told in a lower tone. “Cimmeria” follows and the pace accelerates. This song puts me in mind of 1980s era dark fantasy metal, reminiscent in some ways of early Fates Warning in its slower tempo moments. Excellent, pushing and surging metal.

“The Great Plague” brings us back to darker times, and structures its composition in a somber theatrical stance. “Seven Swords of Wayland,” on the other hand, has the feel of an adventure tale to it even as it retains a serious menace, rather in the manner of Iron Maiden, you might say, in their extended pieces. And then “Remembered” is completely different, with a sorrowful gentleness and the pervasive worry of loss.

“The Siege” marches out and “Necronomicon” angles the fear of eternal torment toward our visage. The danger seems very real in the listening, and the lead guitar work here is the most compelling so far. The album ends on the title track, the longest and most musically diverse piece of the set. The elements that define the band really come together here, from the solid doom to the elegant lead guitar to the stalwart vocals. This final song closes the curtain with a memorable flourish. Recommended.

Cold Are The Graves is out on Nine Records on Friday, June 10th. Check it out at the links below.


Bandcamp, https://ninerecords.bandcamp.com/album/cold-are-the-graves

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

Nine Records, http://shop.nine-records.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Monasterium, Cold Are The Graves (Nine Records 2022)

Death Denied, Through Waters, Through Flames (Sarcophagus Records 2022)

Polish metal band Death Denied release their third long-player this week, Through Waters, Through Flames.

Originating in Łódź, Poland in 2009, Death Denied plays a grungy form of Southern-tinted Metal. That is not what you usually expect to hear from a Polish metal band, is it? These guys do it right, hitting all the grooves with an expert touch, along with plenty of blues-infused melodies and engaging change-ups. After putting out an EP in 2011, they released their first full-length set in 2014, Transfuse the Booze, following up with their sophomore effort four years later: A Prayer to the Carrion Kind. The new one is a high water mark, I think, and a great listen all the way through.

The set opens with “The Apostate Soul,” which has a very doom-feeling few bars at the front. A peppier groovy hook sets in quickly to take you through the rest of the tune. “High Priestess Of Down Low” is next, and here the band flashes its thrash teeth a little with a few rapid flourishes. These high energy cracks are juxtaposed with a reflective cooldown and unexpected syncopation. This song is a cooking cauldron. “Lesser Daemons” rolls up extra bluesy and walks you down a dark alley. The seductive lead break toward the end is a beautiful thing.

Other stand-out tracks for me include “The Machine,” which has an irresistible charging quality that is unrelenting, even with a tempo change. I also gravitated toward “Behind The Surreal” for its dark and dingy feel that put me in mind of grunge bands of old. Fantastic song. And if you are looking for the Southern Metal sound, “Concrete Cathedrals” is the tune for you. The album goes out on the eight-minute thrummer “Nocturnal,” and that has to be on the hit list, too. The saxophone is a bold choice and it is absolutely stunning in this song. I really like this album – I am putting it in the queue so I can hear it again. Recommended.

Through Waters, Through Flames is out on Friday, April 7th, and you can hear it on the usual streaming platforms. Bandcamp will have the digital for download. You can also listen to Death Denied’s other albums there.


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

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

© Wayne Edwards.

Death Denied, Through Waters, Through Flames (Sarcophagus Records 2022)

Thy Worshiper, Bajki o Staruchu (Pagan Records 2021)

Innovative metal band Thy Worshiper unleash their fifth long-player, Bajki o Staruchu.

Stationed in Dublin, Thy Worshiper originated in Poland in the early 1990s. Their music is in the line of black folk metal, with heavy death metal vibes occasionally blinking in and out. Pagan themes and mysticism are infused throughout resulting in both an apparent lightening and a clear sinister deepening. The band is Monika Lubas (vocals), Marcin Gasiorowski (vocals and guitar), Dariusz Kubala (vocals and guitar), Krystian Mazur (bass), Marcin Pazera (drums), and Tomasz Grzesik (vocals and percussion).

I read that Bajki o Staruchu translates into English as “Fairytales about an old man.” Further, the album is “a concept with eight new tracks based on fairy tales that are held together by the main character of the album title, the Old Man.” That adds up for a folk metal set.

The compositions have some familiar elements found in many folk metal constructions. The unique aspects are the placements of traditional-sounding instruments and interplay of the more modern black (and even death) metal workings in the context of folk tellings unfamiliar to many who will listen to them. The metal elements are not as scritchy as they would be in metal-only music and the folk entries are moreso than you typically hear in blended musical paradigms. It is an intoxicating combination.

The beautiful voice of Monika Lubas contributes immeasurably to the cohesiveness of the music. Lovely, lilting singing engages you in parts of the songs and macabre whispers or chants appear elsewhere. The hypnotic nature of much of the music is the set stone to the experience. You are pulled in and brought along by the rhythm and the voices, even when you do not understand the language the words are sung in. I can see how playing this album could become a ritual for me. Recommended.

Bajki o Staruchu is out now from Pagan Records.


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

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

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

Pagan Records, https://pagan-records.com/

Thy Worshiper, Bajki o Staruchu (Pagan Records 2021)

Hate, Rugia (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Blackened death metal band Hate releases their twelfth full-length album, Rugia.

Since the mid-1990s, Polish band Hate has been has been issuing rock solid death metal. Their style has evolved somewhat over the years, moving from a strictly death metal approach toward an amalgam of black and death metal. Their lyrical themes have changed, too, concentrating in more recent years on mysticism and esoteric perambulations. Armed with a new drummer, the latest album is “a refreshing new chapter to our discography, composing nine truly sinister onslaughts of pure rage,” according to the band.

The set opens with the title track, offering an engaging percussion/riff combination before settling in with a thrumming death metal standard. The music is dramatic, even theatrical toward the end, dressing the stage for the deeper shades of dark to come. The question of where to place the title track (when there is one) has always fascinated me. It could be anywhere – the anchor position, sorted in the middle, or right up front. I think starting with “Rugia” is a blatant display of confidence, one that is well deserved.

Most tracks are relatively brief for this type of music, keeping the focus razor-sharp. Watch (listen) for “Exiles of Pantheon” especially, and “Resurgence,” for pummeling rhythm enhanced by unexpected turns in the harmony. “Sun Of Extinction” is a stand-out track for me because of its challenging, almost prog-ish, opening and determined follow-through. And “Awakening The Gods Within” has a cliff dropping shift from the doom laden opening to the savage assault that follows. These are all thrilling for their own reasons.

All the stops are pulled for the final track, “Sacred Dnieper.” It is a consolidated fury that sounds for all the world as if it spewed directly from the blackest void. This album is a roving, unrelenting menace that will dislodge your peace of mind. Recommended.

Rugia is available now through Metal Blade Records. Examine the varieties at the label link below.

Band photo by Daniel Rusilowicz.


Bandcamp, https://hate.bandcamp.com/album/rugia

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

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

Hate, Rugia (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Wingless, Nonconform (Selfmadegod Records 2021)

Polish metal trio Wingless let loose with their fourth album, Nonconform.

Nearly a decade ago, Wingless came together as a group of seasoned musicians playing heavy metal from a modern angle. As time passed, the music solidified into a more classic death and doom sound, and that is what we hear on Nonconform. The band is comprised of the newest member, Michał “Xaay” Loranc (vocals), founder Grzegorz Luzar (guitar and bass), and Piotr Wójcik (drums), who has been with the group since 2018.

The nine-track album starts with “Imperceptible,” which opens like waking up with the house on fire – heavy and loud from the first note. After the first movement, there is a slowed-down spoken word segment then a return to the bestial pummeling. The pace shifts are a regular feature of the landscape on Nonconform.

The songs are often a negotiated truce between Death Metal elements and Doom Metal presence. And frequently a mixture of the two, like in “Separated From All Life” where we have doom guitars and vocals with a more peppery percussion. Some of the tracks do start out with a slower pace at the gate – “Sadness Filled With Silence” and “Nyctophilia,” for example – and maintain it throughout. Shifting tempo is more common, however.

Standout tracks for me are “Constellations” and the sinister title track, both of which, in their own ways, highlight the strengths of the band. The final track is “When You Are Short Of Tears,” a solemn song with a powerful arc that resolves in quietude. The classic influences from two metal lineages coalesce in a fulfilling heavy music experience. This is the best album I have heard from Wingless. Recommended.

Digital and CD formats are available from Selfmadegod Records on the first Friday in October, the 1st.


Wingless Bandcamp, https://wingless.bandcamp.com/

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

Selfmadegod Store, https://selfmadegod-store.com/

Wingless, Nonconform (Selfmadegod Records 2021)