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LIVE RECAP: One Master at The Bancroft Bar

Stuffed between a car lot and a liquor store, The Bancroft Bar in Spring Valley is roomier than it looks on the outside. Its L-shaped interior leads its patronage nicely along a path to maximum enjoyment — booths for socializing at the starting leg of the L, a cozy bar located in the bend, and finally a long yet wide hall leading to the back of the stage. Bands brought in their gear and set it on each side of the floor in front of the stage, but it’s still a big space to fill. The local presence seemed solid for a Sunday night, and more groups shuffled in as showtime neared — metalheads making the mecca for friendly support or dedication to the out-of-towners.

San Diego's Greenskull at the Bancroft Bar.

By the Power of Greenskull

I’d first seen Greenskull (San Diego) years ago by way of a few mutual high school friends. But seeing them set up at the Bancroft Bar, none of the members looked like who I remembered all those years ago (having a strong social media presence didn’t mean shit back then). As the lights went down and the fog machine went up, it was anybody’s guess whether this was even the same band.

As Greenskull tore into their first song, the band I’d known seemed to have left behind their blackened death trappings along with their old members. Left in its wake was a more derivative, albeit strong, traditionally black metal band. Tremolo guitars and blast beats drove their songs forward, aided by harsh, rasping vocals, as well as the occasional band-backed gutturals. Although I didn’t find their music particularly inventive, they had enough standout moments (good melodies, full dynamic stops) that came across powerfully in a live setting. Greenskull might not be the band I remember, but I’m still proud to support them today.

Oceanside's Xantam, playing live at the Bancroft Bar.

If You Can’t Beat ’em, Xantam

A big dude who had spent the previous set stumbling around in a drunken one-man mosh pit had somehow leapt backward (?) off the stage and popped his knee. Paramedics arrived, and the poor guy was wheeled out to a chorus of cheers and claps from the smokers who’d gathered outside. “It wouldn’t be a metal show unless someone broke something,” I overheard time and again.

A quick Facebook search revealed the second act, Xantam, as a one-man death metal band from my very own city. He brought a full lineup with him tonight, wearing bullet belts and wielding Jacksons. An unfortunate series of technical difficulties for the stage right guitar led to the downsize of their half-stack cab to an amp a third its size (all the while shaving precious minutes off their set time). I recognized that they weren’t a touring band from some faraway location, but having driven all the way out here like I did… I felt for them.

Once they got going, Xantam delivered decent-sized songs pieced together by too-long, yet triumphant, Mesarthim-esque synth intros. The way the intros gave way to clashing, cacophonous attacks brought to mind a more cosmic, space-y QrixkuorXantam wielded a similar kind of whirlwind tremolo and constant blasting style that was never lacking in energy. I thought that the drummer could have benefited greatly from a metronome, especially for landing his fills, but other than that the band was pretty solid — the other members did a serviceable job picking up wherever he brought them (a telltale sign, to me at least, of a group that plays often together and compensates for each other’s mistakes).

Xantam had to call their set early (an unfortunate result of having spent too much time getting their gear going), but I had enjoyed what they played. Overall, a bit rough around the edges, but not at all so much that I wouldn’t see them again. Gotta represent the local scene.

Maledict (Los Angeles) at the Bancroft Bar.

The Glamour and the Grim

Run to the Hills had the drinking crowd in the back of the bar screaming with ‘ol Bruce, showing that even at 11 PM the Bancroft still had enough energy for a couple more bands.

Up next was Maledict (Los Angeles), a three-piece decked out in heavy corpse paint and silver-studded bondage — but I knew from Icon of Phobos a month earlier not to judge by appearances. Good thing, too — Maledict served up a cool, old-school kind of speedy black metal that seemed almost black ‘n roll (if not in performance than certainly in spirit). Their glitzy outfits felt fitting for a band from LA, as well as their stage presence; their grimacing was as camera-hungry as their strong performance. Vocals switched between the bassist on stage left and the drummer, who was able to keep in time while belting out a few hellfire-fueled incantations. Maledict is a perfect example of the kind of band I wouldn’t necessarily seek out but whose memorable live show will stick with me for a long, long time.

One Master (New York) at the Bancroft Bar.

In Service to The ‘Master

12:30 was fast approaching — I was definitely not making it home until 2ish. The bar had mostly cleared out in the face of the impending start of the work week, but I knew my loyalties lay what the late night had to offer.

One Master (New York) blew through their four-song setlist with blistering precision. A four-piece consisting of vocals, guitars, bass, and drums, they pulled off their live sound in a way that was every bit as minimalist and effective as their recordings — oppressive and organic, without a hint of sterility. When not screeching maledictions into the mic, the vocalist/guitarist was staring indifferently toward the back of the bar, his guitar playing almost robotic. Some might be turned off by that lack of stage presence, but sometimes what you get out of that is what you put in. I was up front by the bassist, whipping my head and feeling my soul lashed by Will of the Shadow, and that’s what I came for. And the drummer — someone give that guy a medal, he was working harder than anyone the entire night. Each of One Master’s songs were filled with nonstop, mid-tempo blast beats; I thought by the closer, Erosion, that his right arm was going to fall off.

East Coast bands with the kind of cult status One Master has don’t often bother to come this far west, but I felt truly grateful I stuck around to see them. It’s also rare that all the bands of the night would more or less land in my preferred genres, and you can bet I’ll be returning to the Bancroft Bar sooner than later for more of that.

SONG PREMIERE+ALBUM REVIEW: U.S. Black Metal Band Necrolytic Goat Converter

Necrolytic Goat Converter- Isolated Evolution

When it comes to band names in the metal genre, oftentimes the more outlandish a group is named the more attention they get.  This could certainly work in Necrolytic Goat Converter’s favor, as the one-man project from New York caught my attention for that reason.  On debut full length ‘Isolated Evolution’ (due out August 18th as an independent release), founder Chris Voss blurs the lines between old-school black metal and depressive black metal while adding in a number of other influences.  Today we’re premiering the third song The Dark Within, which showcases a rock/punk swagger mixed in with the abrasive black metal tone.  But don’t just take my word for it, as we have a full review of the album below courtesy of Shrivatsan.  ~Chris Dahlberg


INTERVIEW: UAE Death metal band Nervecell

Nervecell are stalwarts of the Middle East metal scene. The UAE based death metal band have released 2 full length albums, toured across Europe and performed alongside legendary metal acts like Metallica and recently Nile.

Next week the band release their third album Past, Present…Torture via Lifeforce Records (US/Europe) and Metal East Records (Middle East). The band have premiered 3 tracks from the album so far, a peek into their heaviest material yet. A few listens of the album was all it took for me to get convinced that Nervecell had topped their previous album Pscyhogencide.

I spoke to guitarist Barney Ribeiro about Past, Present…Torture, death metal in 2017 and also performing in India.



Transcending Obscurity (Peter K): Your third album Past, Present…Torture releases this month. How does it feel now that the album is going to be released?

Nervecell (Barney): Pretty damn good, we were in Lyon, France exactly around this same time last year (July 2016) tracking drums with Kevin. After which we brought the drum tracks back with us to Dubai and immediately went into Haven Studios to track the guitars, bass and vocal tracks. So even though the album is new to the rest of the world, those songs have actually been with us for the better half of the last 2 years that we’ve been working on and crafting. If anything it just amazes me how fast time flies. I’m just really glad we’re finally going to release this thing, the fans have been very patient waiting for new music from us and their going to get what they’ve been waiting for.

TO: The album has a post apocalyptic theme. What was the inspiration behind it?

Nervecell: Honestly it’s something we came up with very gradually as the song titles started to come in one after the other. The music has this post apocalyptic vibe in a lot of the songs and the subject matter of the lyrics that James was singing about too was resonating with us quite a lot during the writing stage, which had to do with past events and the dark ages. There is still so much of untold information out there from the past that people do not necessarily know about, and that is only until recently being brought into the limelight. One would expect we live in a modern civilized world today but the future has so much of unpredictability ahead of us that it will inevitably lead to the fall of the human race. The present basically represents us trying to do our bit and alarm everyone to start taking action before it gets too late, hence why you see the Nervecell Emblem arising from the grounds on the album artwork to resemble a sense of warning and symbolism to act now, so take matters in our own hands so to speak, before it’s too late.

TO: You’ve have upped the ante on the production of the album. Did you try anything different this time around with the recording process?

Nervecell: Thanks! Well we played around with loads of stuff. We’ve always been a band that is heavily involved throughout the entire recording process. I mean we used our own Engl guitar amp heads for starters. Basically what we use live, we wanted the very same sound we deliver live to be used in the studio. So we had Rami and my guitar tones intentionally set out differently in that aspect while recording each of our songs. We also have songs on the album that Rami wrote individually and songs that I wrote individually as well, which is different this time around as we used to always merge our ideas together in our songs on previous releases. There are only 2 songs on this album that the entire band contributed to as a whole. We also wrote almost all the drum parts on this record and got Kevin to basically perform / record our ideas while doing the drum tracking. Unlike the first 2 albums, where we pretty much left Dave Haley with a lot of freedom you can say. So all of that together with that fact that we utilized some atmospheric elements into the songs, very faint stuff but you do here these minor details that add that extra element that helps emphasize the mood of certain tracks. Also we’ve recorded the entire album on a different tuning in comparison to our older releases, which gave a different edge on how our songs sounded this time around. We just went into making this record knowing we wanted a brutal more technical sounding record and to keep it as organic as possible.


TO: Kevin Foley (One life All-in, Benigthed) has recorded the drums on the album. How did he become a part of the album?

Nervecell: Kevin has always been a guy we’ve been very close with. We’ve worked with various drummers over the years but you know not everyone is necessarily the same. Kevin honestly reminds me of us, he’s extremely down to earth, extremely talented, very versatile by the way in his playing style, completely drama free, real fun to hang with and also has loads of recording experience in him as well! I mean there is more to just being a good drummer that we look for when selecting who we want to have been a part of our band and perform on our songs. Chemistry is so very important to me and I make sure there is that chemistry that we get along with all the drummers we work with more that anything else I’d say. He just had it all man and like I said, a very good friend to the band. Don’t forget he’s toured with us all over Asia and Europe for a good 2 to 3 years so all that counts too.

TO: What are your thoughts on the current state of death metal?

Nervecell: It’s coming back like a fucking tsumani, I mean we’ve got all the iconic death metal bands either releasing/released or working on new albums this year like ourselves, it’s ridiculous. Morbid Angel, Deicide, Suffocation, Decapitated, Cannibal Corpse, Broken Hope, Origin, Decrepit Birth, Obituary and a shit load of newer extreme metal bands too of course…I can keep naming them but anyway. I put up a post about this earlier this year on my Facebook stating how if there was anyone out there who claims Death Metal is dead or going nowhere in 2017 can seriously F#*k off! There are a lot more players now in the genre and the competition is getting real hot. I love it because we coming from the Middle East are used to the heat (and by heat I mean more of those who are envious and jealous of others success – especially in this region), so we are sooo super stoked to kick the shit out of all the non-believers with this new record and let the music speak for itself. “Past, Present…Torture” is going to seal the deal that we aren’t stopping anytime soon, and we are going out there proudly representing the Middle East for Extreme Metal in general.

TO: What have you been listening to lately (metal and non-metal)? Are there any acts that have inspired you of late?

Nervecell: Honestly I haven’t been inspired for the last 4 to 5 years musically. Even in Metal there hasn’t really been anything that really does it for me anymore. There is this whole new wave of Death core bands that I just really can’t get into man. I mean I get it, it’s brutal, break-downs, crisp production etc. but they have like 20 laptops on stage playing backing tracks man…I’m sorry I don’t give in to that shit! Part of me liking metal is that raw, unpredictable and spontaneous energy you get when performing live that keeps this genre pure and different from the rest for me personally. I can’t stand these bands with their choreographed performances. I always keep an open ear for new music though, but really if there is anything I’ve been listening to lately it’s just the classic Thrash and Death metal bands I grew up to man. There just don’t make good old-school quality music like that anymore, the closest to that sound I can relate to today is probably Bloodbath, although that last album they did with Nick Holmes was rather disappointing. If I want to just chill and mellow out I’ll pop in some Sithu Aye, Plini, God is an Astronaut, Massive Attack, Anathema, Leprous…and perhaps even some Extol too, another very underrated band.

TO: You did a short tour of India in 2010. What are your memories from then?

Nervecell: I’ll keep this one short. That Blue Frog venue we played in Mumbai, India was one of the best live shows I’ve ever played with Nervecell. Dudes in the crowd went absolute nuts! I have no idea why the hell we haven’t been back there again since… I mean we almost sold out that venue and it was only our first time in Mumbai. Apart from that, we enjoyed the food and came back home to Dubai humbled, cause every time you feel you have something to complain about in your life, one must go visit India, shit will wake you the fuck up there and make you appreciate every little thing you got going. I’m just grateful we got fans there!

TO: You recently performed with Nile in Dubai. How did the show go?

Nervecell: It was excellent, we haven’t played in Dubai for almost 3 years, so it was nice to come back and perform at home again one last time before we release the new album officially. As always there were a lot of new faces in the audience, but that’s something we are used to being based here through out our entire career. We will probably look at playing Dubai again and other neighboring countries in the Middle East once the new album is released later this month.

TO: Do you have any more shows/tours planned this year?

Nervecell: Nothing as of now, but we sure as hell plan on touring a lot for the better half of next year in support of our new album “Past, Present…Torture”.

TO: Thanks for doing this interview. Do you have any final words?

Nervecell: Well thank you for having me here Peter. Nervecell fans, don’t forget the new album “Past, Present…Torture” comes out on August 25th around the world. Fans in the Middle East can pick it up on shelves post August 25th via Metal East Records and fans from North America / Europe can pick it up from your local music stores via Lifeforce Records. We can’t wait to hear all of your feedback and we definitely look forward to playing in your cities very soon. Cheers!


INTERVIEW+ALBUM PREMIERE: Finnish Death Metal Band Desecresy

Desecresy- The Mortal Horizon

Tommi Grönqvist has been responsible for quite a bit of quality Finnish death metal over the years, as he spent over a decade with Slugathor before forming Desecresy with vocalist Jarno Nurmi.  Desecresy has put out albums at a steady pace, and even though this has amounted to four full-lengths over the span of five years each one has explored different elements of the death metal genre.  This year’s ‘The Mortal Horizon’ represents the biggest change for the band, as Jarno Nurmi left the band and now Grönqvist has stepped up to do vocals in addition to continuing to write all of the instrumentation.


LIVE RECAP: Numenorean, Wormwitch at the Brick by Brick

It’s been my quest this year to bear witness to as many live underground metal shows as possible. I’ve seen so many I’d forgotten what it was like to go to an actual music venue instead of an endearingly homely dive bar. San Diego’s Brick by Brick is the real deal — a regal layout of bar, merch/waiting area, and a monstrous stage and show floor. Posters of upcoming entertainment cover the walls; I could pick out a handful of shows I’d be returning to the Brick by Brick to see in the months to come.

Much to my puzzlement, tonight was a free show with a killer lineup — I bought a vodka and Redbull to make up for it and assumed a spot on the floor near the stage. It was the day before a national holiday, so less than a handful of patrons occupied various parts of the bar area — band members or roadies, I couldn’t really tell. All I knew is I was there for one thing: my patriotism to metal.

Witches of God's two guitarists, performing.

Burnin’ for the Witches

I was feeling properly liquored up for Witches of God (Los Angeles — or so they say), a doom-heavy rock quartet sporting ‘70s and ’80s flair. With their tight dual-guitar instrumentation and occult/overtly Satanic lyrics, they reminded me of Blue Öyster Cult, Thin Lizzy, and other good stuff of that era. But they were that much and more — their punker bass player (clad in bandana, sunglasses, and sleeveless tee emblazoned with a yellow radioactive symbol) proved they accepted more influences than their first few songs hinted at. A couple punk-fueled cuts warmed me up to the Witches considerably, and that, in addition to their unified presentation, made for a worthy opener.

Members of Canada's Wormwitch, shrouded in blue light and fog.

Worming Their Way In

A handful of people had crawled in since I’d last turned around, but oh, yeah — holiday, Monday. The anathema to crowds. I knew not everyone shared the same dedication I had, but I sincerely wish they had because up next was a band I’d been looking forward to seeing for months.

I’d been sold on Wormwitch (Canada) after several spins of their first full-length album, “Strike Mortal Soil.” I’m always sniffing around for bands that unleash a death/black deliverance that’s anywhere on a level of Skeletonwitch (and the fact that both bands share a suffix was music to my ears). As for their performance, a fog machine began rolling a hefty amount their way, casting the trio in hazy light. The poor attendance didn’t seem to affect Wormwitch’s delivery — they spent the set amping up the largely absent crowd with effortless playing. Guitarist Colby Hink brought plenty of black-rocking riffs that, surprisingly, I thought came across as more punky than another trio I’d had the pleasure of seeing the night before. Energetic bass player/vocalist Robin Harris spat and roared with unhinged aggression, but I’ve got to give it to drummer Cam Saunders, whose inventiveness was highlighted by the live setting. Seeing his fills performed up close was a real treat. I’d recommend Wormwitch to anyone who like a little rock ‘n’ roll with their grim spiked gauntlets.

Guitarist/vocalist for Sierra (Canada).

Which Witches Were These, Again?

I’d grabbed myself a tallboy PBR (happy holidays, America) and watched, perplexed, as the same gear of the first band, Witches of God, was wheeled back onto the stage. Several of the same members returned as well, although gone was the heavy rock garb (as well as the punker bass player) in favor of more modest duds. The lead singer/guitarist was now on drums, the drummer was on bass, and the mostly-rhythm-now-sole guitarist had taken on vocal duties. Rechristened Sierra (Canada), my first thought as they began their set was if they would get paid twice…

Sierra had been added last minute onto the bill, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. At first they reminded me of Filter, although that was mostly in the low croon of the vocals. Their music became more assuredly doom metal as time went on, which didn’t endear me to the genre any more than usual — but what they were doing was tight (I could see how playing in two bands every night would have that effect on one’s musicianship). The drummer seemed a little stiff — the tubs didn’t seem to be his instrument du jour — but his playing was perfectly acceptable and solid, and the other members seemed natural in their roles. To sum, Sierra wasn’t really my jam, but damned if they didn’t do it well.

Canada's Numenorean, performing at the Brick by Brick in San Diego.

Tolkien ’bout Black Metal

It was almost 11 PM — it’d be a relatively early night for me if the headliner, Numenorean (Canada), finished in a reasonable amount of time. Then again, they played a depressive sort of post- black metal, which as you know tends to gravitate toward longer songs (the better to swirl in the sadness, my dear). I’d been listening to their debut album “Home,” which favored songs in the 10-minute range — not a bad thing by any means, but I was curious if they’d fare similar to another recent black metal band I’d seen.

I’ll be frank — Numenorean is a phenomenal live band. Their excellent sound that night (courtesy in part by the Brick by Brick’s commendably affable sound guy) was achieved where each member contributed to colossal, sweeping waves of grief-stricken melodies and painful, pummeling rhythms. Multiple mics appointed to several band members gave voice to the songs they performed, which were all (as far as I could tell) from “Home.” From the cacophonous intro to the cathartic closer, Numenorean’s set was unified by thematic melodic motifs; it felt like a cohesive package rather than the usual disjointed, song a la carte setlists most bands prefer. Overall, a powerful performance and one I’ll be remembering as a gold standard for live black metal.

Laying a Future Foundation

As a (mostly) lifelong San Diegan, my first visit to the lauded Brick by Brick was as stellar as I could have hoped. Four great bands, two of which were right up my dark, morbid alley (get your head out of the gutter), and a chance to support my local music venues — you know, the ones NOT charging $30 bucks for parking. I’ll be visiting the Brick by Brick a lot over the next few months. Witches of God, Wormwitch, Sierra, and Numenorean each are relatively young bands — only having been around for several years each — yet they all performed like seasoned vets. I wish all of them long, healthy careers and can’t wait to catch ’em again.

July 2017 Highlights – TO Staff

It turned out to be quite a mix at the month end list this time around. With equal parts big releases (Relapse, Prosthetic, Season of Mist etc) and independent outputs, there’s something here for everyone. Many of the releases highlighted here have a ‘name your price’ offer on their Bandcamps, so make sure to check out the music and buy the release if they please you. ~ Shrivatsan R

Abhorrent Decimation (UK) – The Pardoner (Death Metal, Prosthetic Records)

Abhorrent Decimation


INTERVIEW: Australian Death Metal Band Psycroptic

Death metal band Psycroptic are one of the well-known extreme metal acts from Australia. They have made a mark with their 6 full length albums, the latest one self titled was released in 2015. This month the band embark on their first tour of India, covering 7 cities across the country.

I spoke to drummer Dave Haley about touring Europe and North America, their upcoming album and also what to expect from their India tour.

Transcending Obscurity (Peter K): You are embarking on your first tour of India. How does it feel?

Psycroptic: It’s quite exciting to be heading to India for the first time. It’s a country that we have wanted to perform in for a long time so it’s going to be very special for us.

TO: Your 6th full length album, a self titled release, was considered by many to be among the best releases in 2015. Tell us a bit more about it.

Psycroptic: I think it’s the best album we have done – it’s still our ‘sound’ but a lot more focused and better written songs. As usual, it was produced and recorded by Joe our guitarist; each album he gets better and better at what he does. We are very proud with how it all came out.

TO: For those who have not heard your music before, which of your albums would you recommend they listen to first and Why?

Psycroptic: I would say listen to our self titled album – as that would be the most balanced and catchy album to first get into. All the albums sound a lot different from each other, but the S/T is a good starting point.

TO: What have you been listening to lately (metal and non-metal)? Are there any acts that have inspired you of late?

Psycroptic: My listening changes all the time, especially with the discover music option on Spotify. We live in a pretty crazy time for easy access to new and different music with so much ease – we are very lucky in that sense. I listen to everything from brutal death metal, to synth wave to ambient…so it’s hard to really single out any one artist. There are too many!

TO: Dave and Joe are also a part of black metal band Ruins. How do you manage between both bands?

Psycroptic: Its pretty easy – Ruins isn’t particularly active on the live front, so nothing clashes. We are all friends between both bands, and communicate a lot, so it really isn’t an issue at all.

TO: What are your thoughts on the current state of death metal?

Psycroptic: There are a lot of killer bands out there, but of course with any scene there are a lot of very average bands. This has always been the way with every kind of music of course – metal is no different. I’m still a big fan of the style after all these years playing it, but now I’m a little more selective with what I listen to.

TO: It’s been a couple of years since your self titled release. When can we expect a new album from you?

Psycroptic: We are actually in the studio at the moment working on the new album – so there will be a new album from us in 2018 for sure. We are always working on new material, and thus far the new songs are sounding very cool. I’m looking forward to playing them live!

TO: You’ve toured across North America and Europe. What similarities and differences have you noticed in the audiences in both continents.

Psycroptic: There are some many similarities, and so many differences between both of them. Europe has a lot more cultural differences in a close proximity – with every country having a unique culture and sometimes a different language – all within very close drives. But North America and Europe are both within the ‘1st World’ so in terms of technology, infrastructure, etc, they are quite similar. European tours for us are a little more comfortable, as we share a bus with other bands and travel that way.

TO: What has been your favourite city/venue to perform in so far?

Psycroptic: Haha, that is too hard to answer, as there have been so many cool shows we have done…as well as a lot of not cool shows. Playing in our home town of Hobart is always pretty damn sick though. We are very fortunate to have been able to travel and tour so much.

TO: Later this year, you will be supporting Dying Fetus on their European tour alongside Beyond Creation and Disentomb. How did the tour come about?

Psycroptic: Our booking agent in Europe asked if we would like to do it, and of course we said yes! It’s an insane lineup, and we’re very honoured to be apart of it. DF are one of my all time favourite bands, so to I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve toured with both Beyond Creation and Disentomb a few times and they are great friends of ours, so it’s going to be a fun one.

TO: Joe mixed and mastered the Godless EP Centuries of Decadence. What other Indian bands have you heard?

Psycroptic: To be honest, not that many! It will be really cool to check out new bands from India while we are there. From what I hear the Indian scene is small, but growing very rapidly with a lot of excellent bands developing.

TO: What are you looking forward to at your shows in India? Do you have any pre show rituals?

Psycroptic: The fact that we have never played their before is the main thing we are looking forward to. New country, new people, new experiences. Pre show we just make sure we are all warmed up and ready to play as the music is quite demanding, and requires preparation.

TO: As these are your first shows in India, what can fans expect from your set?

Psycroptic: We’ll be playing a wide range of material from all our albums. We haven’t fully settled on what we are playing, but it will definitely be a mix of material from us. It will be a lot of fun.

TO: Thanks for answering all our questions. Do you have any final words?

Psycroptic: Thanks for the interview, and we look forward to coming to your amazing country.

Indian metalheads, don’t miss Psycroptic when they play in your city, dates and venues below

SPECIAL FEATURE: Doom/Sludge Round-Up

One of the great things about the sludge and doom genres is how much variation can be found.  While there are plenty of bands out there beating the same old riffs to death, there are even more putting their own spin on the styles and adding in different influences.  The TO staff has compiled a list of recent releases that stand out, and you’ll find that each one is able to bring something different to the table.  ~Chris Dahlberg



It’s not often that we get requests for acts such as these. And that’s more than welcome. Anything out of the ordinary is. Like MRTVI and their 2017 album where they take what can be barely called black metal to different extremes, TELE.S.THERION are doing it on a different plane altogether – eschewing noise or anything that’s sonically harsh on paper in favour of atmospheric, subliminal, near-subconscious noise/music that’s meant for a select few. Here’s the full album premiere of this stubbornly obscure band that has provided us with different band pictures which are but completely black and incomprehensible.

‘Luzifers Abschied’ which translates to ‘Lucifer’s Farewell’ serves more as a soundtrack to a horror movie than music from an ostensible black metal band. There are hardly any intense parts unless you describe the severity of the overall mood, which made me think that the preliminary track is but an intro, when in fact, the entire album wafts through your mind turning its contents upside down. There are creepy vocal lines, drawling voices that fade in and out, with multiple instruments such as saxophone, waterphone and whatnot making a fleeting appearance every now and then. There is indeed a semblance of a structure to it all but it requires a mind that is capable of withstanding what might not otherwise pass off as metal music. It’s dark ambient with black metal ideology to an extent, and those who’re remotely into it will probably feel rewarded after listening to even one of their tracks. The first two tracks itself consume half an hour but they get shorter from there on, and probably easier to endure too. There are noticeable albeit not drastic changes in the mood and rhythm and that’s what makes this fascinating. So plunge right in if you want to experiment with music that will most likely end up giving you nightmares – and I mean that in a good way, of course.

Minotauro Records 


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