In October Agatus released their third album ‘The Eternalist, their first full length in nearly fourteen years. The interim period saw two limited EP released in 2011 and 2012, with the title track of 2012’s ‘Gilgamesh’ finding its way onto ‘The Eternalist’. While earlier incarnations of the band explored elements of black metal that were reminiscent of some of their other Greek counterparts, over the years Agatus has gravitated towards heavy metal and progressive rock to create a sound that’s epic in scale yet warm and inviting at all the right moments. Traces of black metal remain, but this is a very different effort when compared to the group’s back catalog and it finds them reaching new heights. ‘The Eternalist’ draws you in with bombastic riffing that has traces of early progressive rock and traditional heavy metal wrapped in a black metal esthetic, revealing more nuances with each listen.
As many modern metal bands are striving to play it technical and make metal more intricate and complicated, bands like Colombia’s Witchtrap are proudly waving the old school flag. Having released 3 full lengths and a series of EP’s and splits, Witchtrap’s music has some not so subtle nods to the old guards like Venom, Motorhead, Sodom etc. The band’s most recent full length effort ‘Trap the Witch‘ originally came out last year through the band’s very own Dirty Sounds Records. This album is now being given a wider release courtesy of Hells Headbangers who will be releasing CD, Vinyl and Tape formats of the album on the 11th of November.
Impressed by the denim and leather based old school metal attack, we talked to the band’s drummer Witchhammer about the band’s history and the metal scene in their native land of Colombia. Also, we have ‘Trap the Witch’ streaming in it’s entirety below! So put on your battle jackets, crack open a beer and get lost in the old school charm of Witchtrap.
It has been a few years since we last heard from Cleveland death/thrash band Crucified Mortals. Though the group out a single and two splits in 2013, it has been over five years since their self-titled full length in 2011. In the time that passed, the band went from a full lineup to a duo. Reaper brought in Ash Thomas (Shed the Skin, FaithXtractor) on drums in 2012, and began to work on what would ultimately end up becoming ‘Psalms of the Dead Choir’. With the release of the album on digital and CD formats approaching on October 28th via Hells Headbangers (vinyl is in the works but won’t be out until January 27th), we’re excited to give you an exclusive stream of the record alongside an extensive interview with Reaper. This is some of the finest death/thrash you’ll come across in 2016 for sure!
When you think of Finnish metal, death and black metal tends to be what comes to mind more frequently than some of the other sub-genres. But there are groups out there flying the old-school speed metal and thrash flags as high as possible. Excuse is a perfect example, as the band formed in 2009 and has released a demo and EP that put their own spin on aggressive, blistering thrash/speed metal. Three years after the ‘Path to Extinction’ EP Excuse is back with a new four-song EP titled ‘Goddess Injustice’, which will see a vinyl release from Hells Headbangers and Shadow Kingdom Records on September 30th. With the release date so close, we’re excited to have the opportunity to present you with a full stream of the EP alongside an interview with three of the members of the band.
Poland’s Throneum has been a regular contributor to the country’s death metal output, having formed as Throne in 1996 before changing their name in 2000. Since that time the band’s been releasing material at a frantic pace, with EP’s and splits regularly filling the gaps between full lengths. Since 2011’s ‘Death Throne Entities’ they’ve put out eight shorter releases, and now it’s finally time for another long player with ‘Morbid Death Tales’. Due out October 14th via Hells Headbangers, who previously did a vinyl reissue of 2007’s ‘Deathmass of the Gravedancer’, this is thirty two and a half minute onslaught of blasting death metal and slower, mysterious riffing. Today we’re bringing you an exclusive premiere of the song Cacus, which is one of the slower, lengthier pieces the album has to offer. It’s a style that Throneum has experimented with before, but here it seems more fully realized and foreboding.
One of the things that this group has always excelled at is their ability to utilize a raw, analog recording without it sounding like complete garbage. It probably helps that Throneum has been around since this type of sound was common for death metal, and they’ve retained that feeling throughout the course of ‘Morbid Death Tales’. When they’re not blasting away with a blitzkrieg style attack, the drums have this warmer feel to them that serves as a base for the rest of the instrumentals to expand over. Cacus is a perfect example, as the drums plod along slowly while the guitars weave ominous sounding patterns together that sound like fog drawing you into a mysterious crypt. There are equal parts black and death metal to this track, and the way that the atmosphere expands and the guitar leads send chills down your spine are quite enticing. The band brought in Mark of the Devil from Cultes des Ghoules on this track and the album’s closer, letting the raspier screams from The Great Executor give way to chanted passages that have a ritualistic feel. It’s a bit of a reprieve from the fast paced attack that Throneum offers on the majority of ‘Morbid Death Tales’ but it’s just as foreboding and capable of getting under your skin.
Throneum may be known for their blasting attack and raw production values, but their ability to slow things down and capture that truly occult, ominous feel gives their material some versatility. Turn the lights off and let Cacus suck you into a foggy crypt as you step closer to death. ‘Morbid Death Tales’ is out October 14th on Hells Headbangers.
Shed the Skin’s debut record is something that has been highly anticipated, ever since the release of their EP ‘Rebirth Through Brimstone’. Following an almost two year wait, the band is all set to unleash their full length titled ‘Harrowing Faith’ through Hells Headbangers Records. Dark, Satanic and absolutely vicious, Shed the Skin play death metal in its most fiendish form, with no pandering to one particular sub-genre of this style. Incorporating elements of styles like brutal and melodic death metal, ‘Harrowing Faith’ is a well rounded affair that should come as a treat to any death metal aficionado worth his salt.
Ahead of their 24th June release date, we managed to have a word with the band’s drummer Kyle Severn (who also plays for bands like Incantation and Wolfen Society) the details of which can be read below. Also, we have a brand new song (the title track) streaming to give you a taste of what the album has in store.
Coffin Lust may be a new name to some, but the Australian death metal band is comprised of members whose other projects you’ve likely come across before. The duo of J.R. (Nocturnal Graves, Impious Baptism) and P.W. (ex-Denouncement Pyre) first came together in 2010 and released a demo titled ‘Beyond the Dark’ in 2012. While the other groups these two are known for have skewed towards the black/thrash and black/death sides of the spectrum, Coffin Lust is a bit more straightforward in their exploration of a dark, mysterious death metal sound.
It has been nearly four years since ‘Beyond the Dark’ originally came out, but it should be evident the first time through the band’s debut full length ‘Manifestation of Inner Darkness’ that this span of time has been put to good use. Today we’re excited to offer you a stream of the entire record, so you can soak in the dark, ugly tonality and mysterious atmosphere that makes it feel like you’re hearing emanations from beyond the grave. It’s another strong showing from Hells Headbangers, who continue to be one of the main labels releasing material from the Australian underground.
What makes ‘Manifestation of Inner Darkness’ so appealing is Coffin Lust’s ability to channel that raw, otherworldly death metal style without falling too closely into either the Swedish or American sound. You’ll often see bands mention being influenced by the late 80s/early 90s time period and then proceed to write songs that fall just a bit too closely to the sound of one particular group. But this is avoided throughout each of the eight songs, with the instrumentals channeling elements of both and weaving them together in a way that doesn’t feel like a mere rehash of the past.
Coffin Lust likes to stretch their ideas out, with quite a few of the eight songs running past the six minute mark. With this emphasis on longer song lengths comes songwriting that’s able to sustain it, as the band has a tendency to slow things down and build a thick, mysterious layer of atmosphere while saving the attacks for key moments. The title track is a perfect example of this, as it begins with a slower, lumbering riff that is drenched in filth and darkness before hitting the listener with a well-timed blast of aggression. Production wise there’s a bit more clarity when compared to some of the demos and albums the group is clearly influenced by, but this clarity hasn’t sacrificed any of the rawness or gnarly tonality.
Alongside the grittier tonality of the guitar and bass, the vocals help to fill out the bottom end of the sound with a lower growl that reverberates over the rest of the sound. This isn’t one of those albums where the vocals have been buried in the mix and have to force their way through, as Coffin Lust has instead chosen to given them plenty of breathing room. It’s an element that works to their advantage, as the screams and growls benefit from the thick tonality and seem to tower over them, getting deeper and fuller as each song move forward.
‘Manifestation of Inner Darkness’ showcases a devotion to the grittier, dark sound of death metal from decades past without falling into a pattern too close to that of one particular band. Coffin Lust has showcased themselves as a group capable of delivering longer, drawn out pieces with the songwriting to sustain it, and their devotion to the core tenets of death metal shows.
Coffin Lust | Hells Headbangers
Lexington, KY’s Tombstalker released their debut full length ‘Black Crusades’ last year and it completely blew me away. This was an album that hit hard, with tonality that came in somewhere between the Swedish buzzsaw sound and Bolt Thrower with hints of melodic death metal, thrash, and black metal added in at key moments. Though this type of razor sharp tonality is the starting point for quite a few death metal bands, the songwriting is what makes Tombstalker worth paying attention to as each track heads in a fairly different direction. Whether they’re letting a chilling melody fill the air over a slower, rumbling bass or attacking you with fast, jagged riffs there’s a lot to like about the approach these guys take to their death metal.
‘Black Crusades’ originally came out on CD and cassette last year via Shadow Kingdom Records, but this year it’s been given the vinyl treatment. It seems like the album may have slipped through the cracks for some listeners that would normally be all over this type of stuff, and if you haven’t heard it for yourself it’s time to change that. Below we have a full album stream from the band’s Bandcamp, along with an interview with guitarist/vocalist Conqueror Horus where he discusses the band’s writing style, upcoming plans, and much more. The vinyl is available to order now from Shadow Kingdom, Hells Headbangers, or direct from the band.