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)

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)

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)

Cirith Ungol, Half Past Human (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Cirith Ungol reimagines music that was long thought forgotten for their new EP.

The California metal band Cirith Ungol released four albums in the 1980s to early 1990s, most notably (for me anyway), King Of The Dead (1984). Big dark fantasy themes, wailing guitars, and the unique and unforgettable voice of Tim Baker helped write the band’s name in the book of eternity. They passed into the mist only to return in 2019 with a live album and in 2020 with their first studio release in decades, the earth shaking Forever Black. Cirith Ungol was definitely back. The band is Tim Baker (vocals), Greg Lindstrom (guitar), Robert Garven (drums), Jim Barraza (guitar), and Jarvis Leatherby (bass).

Half Past Human contains four songs from the vaults – songs that were written but never released during earlier sessions. These pieces have been re-worked and newly invigorated for fans to hold them over until the touring starts up again.

“Route 666” revs to life with a roaring engine and hits the road with pelting goodtime riffs and pops. Dual complementary lead guitars are the highlight. “Shelob’s Lair” sends us on a trek through the darkness and lifts us up with an energetic and impassioned lead break and outro. “Brutish Manchild” is the shortest track and could function well as a single or a rousing live standard to whip the crowd into a frenzy at just the right moment.

The closer is “Half Past Human,” and it is more on the epic side than the others. The song starts out quietly, forlornly, then builds steadily to a louder, fuller sound. The composition has a sweeping production with extended elements that highlight the best aspects of the band and never overstay their welcome. It is just the right nightcap, and it is good to have these songs finally released. Fans will be delighted that they are seeing the light of day. Recommended.

Half Past Human is out on Friday, May 28th, and can be accessed through the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://cirithungol.bandcamp.com/album/half-past-human

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

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

FFMB review of Forever Black, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2020/04/25/cirith-ungol-forever-black-review-metal-blade-records-2020/

Cirith Ungol, Half Past Human (Metal Blade 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)

Led To The Grave, Pray For Death (HPGD 2021)

Massachusetts Death Metallers Led To The Grave come out swinging on their first Horror Pain Gore Death Productions release.

Led To The Grave’s origins stretch back to at least 2007 with their self-titled demo. Since then there have been many more recorded artifacts, including two full-length albums, most recently Bane of Existence (2017). They have signed with HPGD now and metal fans will be glad for the easier access to the band’s music, which is a smash of Death Metal and Thrash that would melt a stone cold hunk of iron.

There are two songs on the EP. First up is “Pray For Death,” a rousing ripper with a catchy, progressing riff that opens up space for the growling vocals and peppering drums. The song is fast but not super-speedy and it ends with a bang.

“No Salvation” spins at you like an expertly thrown bladed weapon. There is a siesta in the middle that walks you right into the charging second half. It is a savage ride that will raise your blood pressure and get your fists punching in the air. These two songs are an inspired metal pairing. Recommended.

Pray For Death is out today. Look on the Bandcamp page or at HPGD’s website to order cassettes, digital, CDs, t-shirts, and all. After you hear these two songs you are going to want more. While you’re waiting for future music releases to materialize, check out the band’s Bandcamp page where you can get the earlier music to hold you over.

Links.

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

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

HPGD website, http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/

Led To The Grave, Pray For Death (HPGD 2021)

Artillery, X (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Danish thrash masters Artillery come back for another round with their tenth full-length album, X.

1982 is the place in history when the formative machinations coalesced into a recognizable construct for Artillery. The released a number of demos in the next couple of years, leading up to the first full album, Fear Of Tomorrow, in 1985. They have been rumbling and shaking the metal world ever since. After a slow period in the 1990s and aughts, Artillery has been cranking out skull-rattling thrash on the regular for the past twelve years. The current lineup is Michael Bastholm Dahl (vocals), Michael Stützer (guitar), Kræn Meier (guitar), Peter Thorslund (bass), and Josua Madsen (drums).

There are eleven tracks on X, starting with “The Devil’s Symphony” and ending with “Beggars In Black Suits.” Better bookends would be hard to find. Dahl’s theatrical, soaring vocals are juxtaposed against the relentless riffery and ripping leads in a synergy that produces amazing results.

Most songs have a short lead-in bit before setting the guitars on attack, but then it is all metal and thrash. The vocals are the feature (as in Dio, say) while the fortress is the guitars and they are also the musical weapons. Catchy hooks and riffs and technically expert light-speed leads are the hallmarks of this band. This is exactly the kind of construction that has appealed to me since the very beginning.

There is one slower piece, “The Ghost Of Me,” but the album is mainly a study in adrenaline. In every song I can find something that really stands out, like the dizzying lead in “Varg I Veum” or the very complex but somehow still memorable lead-in guitar on the very next song, “Mors Ontologica.” There are mystical moments, tongue-in-cheek passages, and lines of aggression, all told in heavy metal. This is one to save so you can hear it over and over. Recommended.

The album drops on Friday, May 7th and you can snap it up everywhere. Hit the Metal Blade Records link below to see the varieties available.

Links.

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

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ARTILLERY.DK

Artillery Website, http://www.artillery.dk/home.php

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

Artillery, X (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Evile, Hell Unleashed (Napalm Records 2021)

Returning with their first album in eight years, Evile lands hard and hits the ground running.

The band’s first full-length album came out in 2007, Enter The Grave. From the initial riffs of the title track you could tell you were in for some heads-down thrash. There was a new album every couple of years after that until 2013 when Skull came out. A few line-up changes have occurred over the years and the band is now Ol Drake (vocals and guitar), Ben Carter (drums), Joel Graham (bass), and Adam Smith (guitar).

There are nine big tracks on the album beginning with the blistering “Paralysed.” This is exactly what I was hoping for – high speed attack in guitars and percussion, ravaging vocals, and a maniacal lead break. Ah, thrash. “Gore” is next and it is another blasting ripper. “Incarcerated” gives a short breather at its front but it does not hold a quiet line. These front three make an excellent impression.

My favorite songs are probably the title track, which anchors the album, and “The Thing (1982).” These both hit me on a fundamental level and played directly into my earliest love of heavy music, which is straight-up thrash. In addition to the speed and technical acumen that flows freely from the songs, they both also have additional depths and turns that sink the metal in deep.

The album has a couple of surprises. There is a guest appearance by Brian Posehn who is best known as a comedian and has in recent years been getting involved in heavy music because of his lifelong love of metal. Then there is the cover of the Mortician song “Zombie Apocalypse.” That’s something different for Evile. This new set has the craft and style fans have embraced over the years. It delivers savage thrash on every level. Recommended.

Hell Unleashed is out now. In the UK hit the band’s website. For EU, Napalm Records’ site works great and Bandcamp is the best bet in the US.

Links.

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

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

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

Napalm Records, https://napalmrecords.com/english/evile

Evile, Hell Unleashed (Napalm Records 2021)

Sleepless, Blood Libel (Necromantic Press Records 2021)

The inaugural EP from newly molded metal band Sleepless has something for every stripe of heavy metal fan.

Eric Dorsett and Eric Detablan are two musicians who were original members of the thrash band Dead Conspiracy which formed in the late 1980s and then reformed a few years back. They have come together now with Kevin Hahn to create Sleepless, a metal amalgam of classic takes on heavy music.

There are four tracks on the album and the whole business in done in a little over a quarter of an hour. The vocals have that soaring, epic metal quality – very theatrical. The guitar work is crisp with catchy riffs and good lead wielding. The arrangement of the order of the tracks is interesting: longest to shortest in a straight line. It creates a sense of urgency as you work your way through with an increasing rapidity.

“The Man Who Could Not Sleep” is a tour through metal attributes with sidetracks to lands unknown. There is a lot going on in the song, and all of it is good in each of the separate ways. It is a nudge off balance with its sharp corners and its subterfuge, a sort of environmental enrichment, you might say.

“Host Desecration” is more straight forward in its approach, as is “Deluded Hordes,” the latter being my favorite song on the EP for its whirling lead guitar and the combination of thrashy elements with a grinding lowdown-ness. The closer is the title track, and it was released as a single late last year.

Blood Libel is out this Friday, March 12th. Right now the single is active at the Bandcamp link. The entire EP should pop up on release day. It is a snappy quadratic and a good way to shake up your smoke break. Recommended.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://sleeplessmetal.bandcamp.com/releases

Sleepless, Blood Libel (Necromantic Press Records 2021)

Maudiir, La Part du Diable (2021)

Black Metal one man band Maudiir is out with a new EP filled with sinister menacing.

Following up on last year’s release Le Temps Peste, the new set continues the sentiment and drives the dark spike further, leaning in on speed and prog to unveil a broader musical spectrum. Maudiir is comprised entirely of a single musician, F, or Frédéric Bergeron, according to the Metal Archives. Everything you hear on the album is him.

There are five songs, beginning with “Fracture,” which has a head fake up front followed by walloping riffs. The vocals are very much Black Metal in style, with the slider moved toward the middle. And there is a tasty lead guitar passage, too, putting a ribbon on the song. More up-beat and catchy than your typical music in this vein, Maudiir is creating a unique space for the musical brew he stirs up.

“The Slumber” is next, and while it has high concept guitar layers to it, the track does not give up on the melody. The complexity starts to deepen. “The Fortunate Few” has a more death-metal-like opening but rolls quickly  into a rollick then shifts toward prog. “Spirit Of Sulfur” is frantic at every turn, while the closer, “The Crowning Hour,” settles back into the blue collar riff and pushes in Mercyful Fate / King Diamond style storytelling and musical theatrics. A lot of ground is covered on this EP, and it is an excellent continuation and escalation of the groundwork in last year’s album. Recommended.

La Part du Diable drops on Friday, February 19th and the Bandcamp link below is the place to get it.

Links.

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

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Maudiir-100174698189554/

Maudiir, La Part du Diable (2021)