If ever two bands were put together in order to aurally depict the turgid, depressing slog that is Life In Northern England Under An Elitist Bunch Of Fascists, it’s Liverpool’s Bodies on Everest and their Newcastle-based touring chums Lump Hammer. As joint release Whelmed (Inverted Grim-Mill Recordings) is a “split”, one would expect around half-an-hour of bile and Sludgy hostility: but as if to ram home the belief that There Is No Hope, this thing grinds along morbidly, relentlessly, for a full hour and forty minutes. Continue reading
Union Pool is a short train ride from my spot in Brooklyn, but admittedly I don’t get there often. I am not super cool and Ghost Cult is not “hipster important” enough in the Brooklyn music scene to have any kind of clout to get us invited to stuff there. Still, when a band as important as Immortal Bird comes through town, I get my ass to the place on time. Not only that the band is touring behind their amazing recent album Thrive On Neglect, out now on one of the premier labels in 2019, 20 Buck Spin. Coupled with the strong openers Glorious Depravity and Concussion, it meant it was going to be a sick time in an intimate venue. Continue reading
You’ve got to hand it to Poland’s Arkona, flying their black metal freak flag for over twenty-five years, weathering changes in tastes, technology, and personnel without wandering a smidge from their original Mephistophelian masterplan. Their unique blend of earthy black metal and fancypants symphonic trappings has corrupted many a vulnerable mind over the last couple of decades, leaving their victims humming wicked hooks long after the chaos has ended. The combination of beaut and brute still can’t be slowed by conventional weapons, despite their mix of Polish/ English lyrics and their release history of obscure splits and full-lengths on tiny labels – this is a band fighting the good (bad) fight. Continue reading
It used to be easy, doing the devil’s good work. A pentagram here or there, maybe an inverted cross on the forehead, and audiences would cower at your brimstone-summoning bravura. But the competition for our evil-seeking dollar and download has grown to unspeakable proportions. Just ask Sam Astaroth, vocalist for Toronto-based death metal gurus Astaroth Incarnate about the demands of wickedness in 2019. A Mephisto-summoning moniker doesn’t go far enough, even housed in a thorny, nigh-unreadable font. Add a few bullet-belted warlocks crawling from the backwoods with pointy guitars, not to mention Sam’s own demon warpaint. Yet, these hellacious Canadians are still restless and wild. Continue reading
Seattle’s BlackQueen have, in all official communication, always described their music as Witch Metal, a sonic amalgamation of Black Metal, Death Metal, Hardcore, post-Metal, and everything possible in between. This stylistic mash-up is housed within a cocoon of horror soundtrack-esque atmosphere and spiritually and thematically based around whatever founding member Pete Jay happens to be delving into at the time of writing. With their new album, The Destructive Cycle (Roman Numeral Records), they look deeply into the Taoist five element theory and how it relates to the human condition, from creation to destruction and ultimate rebirth. Sounds a bit heavy, I know, but the music offsets the deep concept with kickass riffs and general headbangery.
God bless – or Satan, we don’t discriminate here – Ken “Sorceron” Bergeron because despite all the lineup, location and style changes, Abigail Williams is still a functioning outfit. Walk Beyond the Dark (Blood Music) is the follow-up to 2015’s The Accuser which caught many by surprise considering that 2012’s Becoming was supposed to be the last hurrah after another band implosion. Abigail Williams has had more members drift in and out than the Church of Scientology and yet it still stands.
And that’s without counting Bergeron’s brief stint as vocalist for another lineup chewer, Michael Keene‘s The Faceless.
Twenty-one years ago, way back in 1998 when their star was on the ascendancy and the average metal fan was wondering whether they were Black Metal, Gothic Metal or That’s Not Metal, five years after the infamous ‘Jesus is a Cunt’ T-shirt made them a household name for a variety of reasons, Cradle of Filth release their third album Cruelty and the Beast on Music for Nations. A much-acclaimed tribute to non-vegan Ribena fanatic Elizabeth Bathory. It was a milestone in their developing sound and at the time, I absolutely loved it. Continue reading