Having reviewed Grave Pleasures‘ Plagueboys for Ghost Cult earlier this year, as a Mat McNerney fan I was excited to see he had another record out, this time via his folk-orientated project Hexvessel.
Okay, so it was decided that Bestial Devastation and Morbid Visions (Nuclear Blast) were to be plucked from the Sepultura catalog for re-recording by founding members Max and Igor Cavalera. Can we all agree on that? Great. Now legions of fans will pound and holler about “we already have those available on CD and on streaming.” Then the other side of the audience moans about the Cavalera siblings being greedy or some such shit.
No matter the time of year, it’s always winter for Norwegian black metal legends Immortal. Feeling nice and warm and looking forward to summer? Don’t be silly. Just one listen to the latest album War Against All (Nuclear Blast) will have you pining for the fjords and wishing the world was a dark, grim, and frostbitten kingdom of cryptic winter storms.
Flying the Viking flag since 1995, Swedish folk/black metallers Månegarm return with their tenth full-length studio album, Ynglingaättens Öde (Napalm Records). Loosely translated as “the fate of the Ynglinga kin” and based on an old Norse poem entitled Ynglingatal, the band keeps with their tradition of songs recalling paganism, ancient myths, warriors, and kings, their latest offering telling the story of the house of Ynglinga, an old Nordic dynasty.Continue reading
Neither a sequel to Tiger King nor a thrash metal act usually associated with the region, Californian act Wolf King blasts their way out of the Bay Area with some seriously sick and abrasive blackened hardcore on their second album, The Path of Wrath (Prosthetic Records).
The reignited interest in distinctly eighties-sounding metal styles, and more specifically, the thrash revival of the 2000s, has brought with it a handful of blistering new acts, alongside a slew of respectable releases from its originators. However, as a general scene, it has also suffered from a lack of innovation and compositional creativity. Often bands of this scene are perfectly content to just emulate classic sounds long-established by Sodom, Kreator, Venom, Bathory, and Slayer. Oftentimes, I find it a dull guessing game of which thrash bands are being ripped off whenever I listen to these bands. But there are nevertheless a handful of acts that in addition to paying tribute to the old guard’s sound manage to capture that fury, excitement, and blasphemous spirit of heavy music during the proto-extreme metal era. James McBain, the singular creative force behind Hellripper, clearly loves the style of first wave black metal and Teutonic thrash but is also creative enough to blend them to create something that sounds completely fresh. The result here is The Affair of the Poisons (Peaceville Records), a sophomore effort to the more straightforward Coagulating Darkness, and a release of blackened thrash/speed metal fury that will leave you yearning even more for a destructive live experience in 2020.Continue reading
Stygian Crown’s full-length debut sits comfortably within the Epic Doom Metal niche, but their particular style comes from a more aggressive mindset than many of their peers. This is especially apparent with the guitar work, which exhibits a grainy tone and bulldozing riff patterns that are chunkier than the Classic Metal-derived fare of more conventional outfits. It never goes full-on Death/Doom but the band’s declaration of a Candlemass meets Bolt Thrower sound certainly makes sense when viewed through this lens.
For metal fans, the subject of Vikings is nothing new. From wondering why no-one seems to like ‘Invaders’ by Iron Maiden, or suddenly bursting into a frighteningly loud rendition of Led Zeppelin‘s ‘Immigrant Song’ at the merest mention of Thor: Ragnarok, those hairy little pillagers have been part and parcel of our music scene for decades.Continue reading
Much in the same way that Hip Hop is fine as long as you don’t mind blokes who can’t sing and lots of rhyming couplets, so Metal in all its forms is just as fine as long as you don’t mind the… ahem, special vocals. Continue reading
Formed in 2002, Swiss Folk Metal act Eluveitie were thrust almost immediately towards the front line of the burgeoning, so-called Viking Metal/Battle Metal scene as it erupted around them during the middle of that decade. Metal inspired by Vikings and Folk music can be traced back to the likes of Bathory and Skyclad, if not before, but such was the explosion of bands around this time, you couldn’t get out of bed for tripping over accordions, fiddles, animal skins and antlers.Continue reading