Spanish death metal band ETERNAL STORM have created a mesmerizing album full of elegant riffs and soul-piercing melodies. After releasing a very well received EP and a split release, they’ve come up with their debut full length which sets new standards for bands playing in this style. Everything is immaculately executed, right from the artwork to the production, ensuring that their much awaited release doesn’t leave anything to be desired. The music is breathtaking and takes influences from several styles to create a sound that is at once emotive and striking. Most bands lean excessively towards either side but ETERNAL STORM exemplify the perfect balance of melody and heaviness in death metal music. Nothing on the album is forced but flows naturally, almost intuitively, and transports you to a tumultuous place where you take in the beauty as well as the wrath – a place akin to the one featured on the album cover.
Line up –
Mateo Novati – Drums, additional vocals (growls)
Daniel Maganto – Guitars, additional vocals (growls), keyboard composition
Kheryon – Bass, lead vocals
Jaime Torres – Guitars, additional vocals (clean/growls), keyboard composition
Monolithic UK death/sludge metal band WARCRAB return with a brand new release of unbelievable heaviness and groove. Carrying on where they last left with their unique blend of down-tuned sludge and ponderous death metal, ‘Damned in Endless Night’ is where they flesh it out and leave no room for doubt on the efficacy of this powerful and cohesive fusion of underground styles. Equipped with three guitarists emphasizing on mostly heaviness, the music is not only soul-crushing but also brilliantly composed and memorable. Each song adds its own value to the album and is irreplaceable and multiple listens, however devastating, will only attest to that fact. This long-awaited full length from the band is arguably the band’s best release to date. The juggernaut is in motion and unstoppable.
Line up –
Martyn Grant – Vocals
Rich Parker – Drums
Paul “Budgie” Garbett – Guitar
Leigh Jones – Guitar
Geoff Holmes – Lead Guitar
Dave “Guppy” Simmonds – Bass
One of the most highly awaited albums on the label this year is of TRENCH WARFARE who shocked listeners with their raging blend of black and death metal. They’re not holding anything back and vomiting forth their vile music with all the force they can muster. It’s a diabolical concoction of all that what makes this style work while adding an element of darkness and unpredictability to make them stand apart from their ilk. With a brilliant artwork from Misanthropic Art, the vision of the band is made clear and their ill-feelings towards major religions without discrimination are palpable through their music. Witness the sonic devastation that this new band is capable of and cower in fear at its overarching intent.
Album line up –
Tony Goyang Jr. – Guitars, bass
Lee Fisher – Drums
Jay Gorania – Vocals
Artwork – Misanthropic Art (UADA, SARGEIST)
Logo – Timothy Grieco (TRIUMVIR FOUL, MITOCHONDRION)
Layout and art direction – Francesco Gemelli (MASTER, PAGANIZER)
ROGGA JOHANSSON is the eponymous band of the unheralded death metal legend who’s responsible for masterminding other bands such as PAGANIZER, REVOLTING, THE GROTESQUERY, NECROGOD and many others. This here is his solo project and he’s created some of the best music you’ll hear where classic Swedish death metal goes. He’s found a way to incorporate searing melodies without compromising on the trademark heaviness, and it’s a balance that few have managed to pull off in recent times. With a magnificent artwork by Mariusz Lewandowski (EREMIT, BELL WITCH, JUPITERIAN) bringing to life Rogga’s glorious vision of pristine death metal that disregards all trends and pays homage to the genre’s progenitors, ‘Entrance to the Otherwhere’ is immaculately put together and promises to linger in the minds of listeners long after the album is over. There is little doubt that this is Rogga Johansson’s finest hour.
Line up –
Rogga Johansson – All music and lyrics
Session drums – Brynjar Helgetun (THE GROTESQUERY)
Cover artwork – Mariusz Lewandowski (EREMIT, JUPITERIAN, BELL WITCH)
Logo – Christophe Szpajdel (EMPEROR)
Layout – T.G. Rantanen (DEMIGOD)
One of the most promising old school death metal bands with members of FLESHCRAWL, GRIM FATE, etc. give us their debut full length titled ‘Trinity of Deception’. Mixed and mastered by Jonny Pettersson of WOMBBATH, HEADS FOR THE DEAD and more, with guest vocals by none other than Ralf Hauber of REVEL IN FLESH, HEADS FOR THE DEAD, this is one death metal release that will send out shock waves in the underground. With phenomenal artwork from Mortuus Art of SADISTIK FOREST fame, every little aspect of this release has been taken care of by known professionals. Musically, this is a devastating slab of old school death metal that is worthy of being mentioned alongside the genre’s greats such as CARNAGE, DISMEMBER, ENTOMBED and GRAVE, with the difference being that these guys are faster, hungrier, and play with maniacal energy. It’s a breath of fresh air when most bands are trying to play safe and these guys are just rampaging through everything in their path.
Sven – Vocals (FLESHCRAWL)
Wim – Guitar (GRIM FATE, BOAL)
Philippus – Guitar and bass (DIMAEON, BOAL)
Danny – Drums (DISINTEGRATE, DIMAEON)
Vocals on Burn With Me – Ralf Hauber (REVEL IN FLESH, HEADS FOR THE DEAD)
Artwork – Mortuus Art (SADISTIK FOREST)
Spain’s best kept secret, HEX, return with a pummelling new full length of death/doom metal music with unconventional riffing and delivery. This is mid-paced death/doom metal that is reminiscent of early RUNEMAGICK, BOLT THROWER, PARADISE LOST, HYPOCRISY and UNLEASHED. But there’s more than meets the eye, as the music is interspersed with exotic riffing, female vocals, interludes and even breakdowns. There’s a certain appeal to their music that makes it stand out from the derivative lot as this doesn’t owe too much to any particular style or band. It’s a cohesive fusion of various influences melded into a sound that Hex can now call their own. With members of experienced bands in the lineup such as VIRULENCY, TOMB, INCURSED, to name a few, the outcome is simply phenomenal. The fiercely titled release ‘God Has No Name’ will go down as the breakthrough album for the band and perhaps even the whole of the current death/doom style with the band’s innovative and thoughtful approach towards it.
Line up –
Adolfo WB – Guitars
Jon – Guitars
Asier – Drums
Jonathan – Vocals
Endika – Bass
German band TEMPLE KOLUDRA are merging their fascination with Indian spirituality with black/death metal music and the results are astounding. The fusion has happened on an intrinsic level, imbuing the music with extraordinary qualities that make their music stand out from the rest of the bands. The vision has remained fierce and the execution flawless, as members of this enigmatic band use all their experience in other bands to create something that will stand the test of time, warranting multiple listens and unearthing of multiple facets buried in their music. This is the band’s first full length and easily their most accomplished material yet, encompassing various sounds and instruments in order to make the experience intense and haunting, and quite simply put, unforgettable. This is otherworldly, mystical black/death metal of the highest order.
Death metal/crust maniacs GOREGӒNG have worked hard on their first full length album after causing a bit of a stir with their short debut. With members of reputed bands like VENOM INC., RIBSPREADER, SOILWORK (live), etc. in their lineup, everything is top-notch and well-thought right down to the Mark Riddick logo, the jaw-dropping Juanjo Castellano artwork, not to mention the impeccable production and execution of the music that can be summed up as a perfect amalgamation of death metal with a lethal dose of crust/grind. There’s added menace in the vocal delivery, with Kling mixing it all up and pacing it beautifully to the undulating music. There’s an undeniable charm to the proceedings as the songs chug along with maniacal glee, breaking into faster punkish parts and rampaging till the end. It’s an album littered with so many variations that you’ll need to get back to it to keep track of it all. It’s a rare album that eschews the standard template and does things its own way to keep it entertaining and yes, brutal.
Line up –
Jeramie Kling – Vocals, Guitars (VENOM INC., RIBSPREADER, ex-WOMBBATH)
Taylor Nordberg – Drums, Guitars (RIBSPREADER, ex-SOILWORK [live], ex-WOMBBATH)
Artwork – Juanjo Castellano (NATTRAVNEN, REVEL IN FLESH)
Logo – Mark Riddick (FETID ZOMBIE)
Layout – Turkka Rantanen (RIBSPREADER, ROGGA JOHANSSON)
US band CHALICE OF SUFFERING put out a remarkable debut that was very well received the world over and they’ve followed it up with what’s possibly one of the best albums in the doom/death metal style. Where this kind of style goes, it’s more about the emotions than the heaviness, and that’s where this band excels. ‘Lost Eternally’ perfectly encapsulates the grief, the stinging loneliness and its bleak outlook. It’s a well-rounded album that exudes the right feelings and it’s something that’s perfect for this time of the year, while being strangely palpable. The album plods on powerfully despite the weight, showing moments of melodic respite and even contributions from several guest musicians and vocalists to further enhance the proceedings. This is as genuine as it gets right from the underground. Delve into this heart-wrenching slab of doleful, atmospheric death/doom metal music and experience life at its cruelest.
Line up –
John McGovern – Vocals
Will Maravelas – Guitars/Keyboards
Aaron Lanik – Drums
Nikoley Velev – Guitars/Keys/Drums (on The Hurt, Lost Eternally, Emancipation of Pain)
Neal Pruett – Bass
Kevin Murphy – Bagpipes (on In the Mist of Once Was)
Guest vocals –
Danny Woe of (WOEBEGONE OBSCURED)
Demonstealer of (DEMONIC RESURRECTION)
Giovanni Antonio Vigliotti of (SOMNENT)
Justin Buller of (WOLVENGUARD/IN OBLIVION)
Artwork – Ohrwurm (SLOW)
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