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SONG PREMIERE: Paraguayan death metal band Verthebral

I wouldn’t consider Paraguay one of the more well-known sources of death metal, but Verthebral seems ready to change that. This fearsome four-piece has been stewing 10 songs for their full-length debut, “Regeneration,” and it’ll be ready to serve on June 29th via Satanath Records. To whet your appetite, we’ve got a sizzling new song premiere for you — introducing Old Man’s Memories.

Band photo for Verthebral (Paraguay).

An aggressive palm-muted assault opens up the song, clearing space for double bass to thunder by, bolstered by powerful bass clanking in the background. An uptick in tempo takes the verse to a neck-breaking pace before winding back to the intro/chorus, which with the addition of repugnant vocals has taken on an anthemic (if still pleasantly putrid) quality. We’re then treated to two solos, both of which have their own distinct personality while maintaining the level of antagonistic energy. The odd-time bridge that follows is death metal perfection — I feel guilty admitting that something so brutal could be so catchy, but there you have it. A final short sprint aided by double bass downbeats and a unified guitar attack takes us to a final chorus and catastrophic outro.

Old Man’s Memories is but one meaty slice of “Regeneration,” but I’m already hungry for the whole thing. Verthebral proves they’ve got the chops and songwriting skills to put their country on the map. We’re betting the final result will be a real treat.

“Regeneration” will release June 29th via Satanath Records.

Verthebral | Satanath Records | Pre-Order

SONG PREMIERE: Persian black metal band Zurvan

Rabid, hateful, with a penchant for nihilism — that’s how we’d describe Persian black metal duo Zurvan. With their second full-length album, entitled “Gorge of Blood,” creeping closer toward its June 28th release via Satanath Records, we’re pleased to reinforce their bleak outlook on life with a brand new song premiere. It’s called Filthy Calendar of the Time, and it’s an abusive slab of black metal that hits like a rusty steel shovel. Listen up — this one’s gonna bury you.

Persian black metal duo Zurvan.

Zurvan rips from the crypt with a fiery expulsion of thrashy, blackened riffing and red-hot leads. Things pick up quickly — a quarter-note downbeat over a flurry of 32nd double bass notes carries the track forward into a spiraling, blackened abyss. Around the halfway mark, the drums slow to a 6/8 time signature, the rhythm guitar activates its clean channel, and a frenzied solo rises up like a smoldering effigy, a permanent scornful look sewn onto its face that etches itself in your mind through the remainder of the song.

Filthy Calendar of the Time is simple songwriting at its best — vicious verse, caustic chorus, and a sufferingly bleak bridge section/outro. The vocals are potent, yet not overly present — Zurvan is content to let their instruments do the talking, and like any solid nihilistic black metal act, the conversation turns violent fast. The good news is you only have to wait a few more days until you’ve got the whole album, so try to hold out until then, okay?

“Gorge of Blood” releases June 28th via Satanath Records.

Zurvan | Satanath Records | Pre-Order

SONG PREMIERE: UK Black Metal Band Kassad

Kassad- Faces Turn Away

Black metal is one of those genres that does its best to overwhelm the listener, though how a particular band reaches that point varies wildly.  In the case of London based Kassad, the one man project achieves this through dense layers of instrumentation that have a warlike feel and cold industrial undertone alongside sprawling introspective soundscapes.  Kassad is a relatively new project, having released a three song EP ‘Humans’ last year before composing the seven track full length ‘Faces Turn Away’.  Originally released in an extremely limited run of cassettes a few months ago, Hypnotic Dirge Records is set to give the album a CD and digital release on July 6th.   Today we’re premiering the fifth song from ‘Faces Turn Away’, Broken.

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SONG PREMIERE: U.S. Sludge/Post Metal Band Atonement Theory

Atonement Theory- Illumination

Chicago’s Atonement Theory is the solo project of Jay Jancetic, who also plays guitar in Harm’s Way and has been involved with a slew of other bands in the past.  While Harm’s Way stuck with the heavy and aggressive side of the spectrum, Jancetic’s goal with Atonement Theory is to strike a balance between the heavy and melodic and he’s accomplished that through drum machine driven sludge/post metal.  The project’s debut EP ‘Illumination’ came out in vinyl last year, but it’s now getting a digital deluxe version with a new bonus track on July 28th.  In advance of the upcoming re-release we’re excited to offer a stream of the EP’s title track, which starts off the five song effort.

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SONG PREMIERE: Belarusian black/death band Ljosazabojstwa

Ljosazabojstwa’s aggressive take on black/death metal turned heads in late 2015 with a rip-roaring three-track demo. Now, with new EP “Sychodžańnie” in the chamber and ready to fire on June 30th via Hellthrasher Productions, it’s clear these Belarusian brawlers will take no prisoners. Take a listen to our premiere of the second track off “Sychodžańnie,” entitled Zhuba.

Album art for Ljosazabojstwa's upcoming EP, Sychodžańnie.

The midtempo intro/verse alone is enough to get anyone’s noggin nodding in rhythmic fashion, but it’s the following bridge section that shows how capable Ljosazabojstwa has become at shifting genres in such a short time. The sound of a funeral knell halts the assault of the guitars, slowing them down into a trudge with grinding bass and doom-y hammer-ons. The accompaniment of transcendent organs suggest you’re plodding toward a fate that’s at once terrible, majestic, and inevitable, before breaking away with speedy thrash riffing and blackened heaviness. Ljosazabojstwa switches gears into a 6/4 rhythm, followed up by a less-intense (though no-less powerful) slower beat reminiscent of the intro — then it’s back to neck-breaking brutality before a punchy end.

Ljosazabojstwa is able to cram oodles of metal goodness into their songs without making them feel overstuffed. Although not much is known about them as a band, Zhuba proves they have the energy and aggression to be a formidable black/death act to watch this year.

“Sychodžańnie” releases June 30th via Hellthrasher Productions. Read our past interview with Ljosazabojstwa here.

LjosazabojstwaHellthrasher Productions

SONG PREMIERE: U.S. Black Metal Band Wreche

Wreche- Wreche

When it comes to black metal, there are plenty of bands offering their own take on different variations of the genre but it’s a bit rarer to find groups that feel truly unique. Some have done this through complicated song structures and atmospherics, while others have accomplished a different sound by using unconventional instruments.  Los Angeles’ Wreche is the latter, as the duo has written black metal with piano and drums as the only instruments.  Piano has often played a role in this genre, particularly when it comes to the symphonic variants, but the way it’s used on this group’s self-titled full length feels genuinely different and delivers a rollercoaster ride of emotions.  With the album set for release on May 26th from Fragile Branch Recordings, today we’re excited to bring you a premiere of the song Fata Morgana.

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SONG PREMIERE: Canadian Metal Veterans BISON

Album art for BISON's You Are Not The Ocean You Are The Patient.

Three years have passed since we last heard from Vancouver’s BISON with their 2014 EP “1000 Needles.” In that time, these stoner/sludge metal veterans have made a few notable changes, including recruiting ex-3 Inches of Blood lead guitarist Shane Clark to handle bass duties, as well as deciding to record new material in their hometown instead of abroad. This introspective decision has resulted in a natural progression of their sound that doesn’t undermine what they do best. Now, with the band all set to release their fifth album, “YOU ARE NOT THE OCEAN YOU ARE THE PATIENT” via Pelagic Records, we are pleased to present the album’s walloping opening track, Until The Earth Is Empty.

Until The Earth Is Empty kicks off with a melodic stoner-doom hook that pulls you in like a swiftly ebbing tide. The melody repeats, following up with a meatier version that’s complemented by a midtempo backbeat. Thick, muscular riffs carry you forward through a headbanging verse, as dry shouts shift to hoarse, bestial roars for the chorus — a surging storm of crash cymbals and guitar-hammering quarter notes like boats crashing into jagged rocks. You’ll hear variations on subsequent repeated parts, adding flavor and replayability, ensuring you’ll find something new with each listen of Until The Earth Is Empty, like when the guitars pull back at the start of the second verse in order to let the bass shine. BISON knows how to write a song with stunning momentum, proven by an aggressive palm-muted bridge that leaps into a thundering downbeat solo section that crackles with retro fuzz. The chorus crests up again — all riffs, no vocals, seeming even more primal in its power — before crashing into you with an energetic downbeat version of the mammoth intro melody. Whew!

Promo shot for Vancouver's BISON.

Until The Earth Is Empty shows that BISON’s return home was not misguided, as it’s shaping up to be among their strongest releases yet. You’ll still get vibes of U.S. stoner/sludge titans High on Fire or even early Mastodon, but these young bucks (calves?) aren’t content to simply imitate — BISON’s honest, authentic songwriting approach has enough inherent heaviness to crush cars into cubes without being reliant on the genre’s tropes. As the release of their fifth album comes ever closer, BISON will be charging full-speed ahead toward what’s sure to be a landmark release for the genre this year.

“YOU ARE NOT THE OCEAN YOU ARE THE PATIENT” releases June 23rd in Europe and July 7th in North America via Pelagic Records.

BISON | Pelagic Records | CD Pre-Order | Vinyl Pre-Order

SONG PREMIERE: U.S. Atmospheric Black Metal Band Vials of Wrath

Vials of Wrath- Days Without Names

Vials of Wrath’s second full length ‘Days Without Names’ first saw release independently on CD and digital formats in September of 15th, but Fragile Branch Recordings has decided to give the atmospheric black metal album a cassette version with modified artwork and a bonus track.  Based out of Maryville, Tennessee, this one-man project has been releasing material since 2011 that has incorporated the atmospheric and melodic influences of bands like Agalloch and Panopticon aside some of the more traditional black metal styles.  In advance of the cassette reissue, today we’re excited to run an exclusive stream of the bonus track Within the Grey to give you an idea of everything this project has to offer.

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SONG PREMIERE: U.S. Thrash/Heavy Metal Band Death of Kings

Death of Kings- Kneel Before None

Atlanta’s Death of Kings has had plenty of time to perfect their blend of thrash and heavy metal, as they’ve focused on short form releases like demos and EP’s since forming in 2009.  Last month the group released the single ‘Hell Comes to Life’, and now they’re finally set to put out their debut full length ‘Kneel Before None’.  Set for release June 2nd via Boris Records, it’s clear that the amount of time Death of Kings has spent honing their craft has been put to good use, as the album is full of blisteringly intense riffs and soaring vocals that blur the lines between abrasive thrash screaming/singing and falsetto heavy metal singing.  Today we’re premiering the album opener Shadow of the Reaper so you can hear just why these guys are one of the more promising bands to come out of Atlanta in recent memory.

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