The Munsens – Unhanded

Home to the likes of Khemmis and the sickening might of Primitive Man, Denver Colorado has carved out a significant Metal niche in the last few years, and rag-tag trio The Munsens intend to mean more than a jagged splinter in that hole. Formed from a background of Hardcore, Punk and Black Metal, this particular identity offers an exciting amalgamation of the three disciplines with a huge dollop of gravity thrown into the mix. Continue reading

Fister – No Spirit Within

US miserabilists Fister reside in a dank, filthy corner of Doom, with a sound that is downright evil. It should come as no surprise that their touring buddies include the monstrous Primitive Man, peddling as they do a similarly hate-filled, toxic crawl. Continue reading

Cape of Bats – Violent Occultism

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Having stolen the best band name a gothic metal vampire act had never thought to use yet, Cape Of Bats have spent the last six years belching out a slew of independent releases and splits; fully espousing a DIY ethic and ethos before arriving at Violent Occultism (Broken Limbs), their debut full-length, a thirty-six minute speedball chaser of blackened punk.

On first impression, Violent Occultism is like being forced to endure a series of particularly noxious bottom burps in a small enclosed space, caught, every two minutes, in the ever-regurgitating waves of the putridity. At first it’s hilarious and more than a little impressive, but it doesn’t take many occasions before the joke, unlike the air, begins to wear a little thin and things turn a little stale.

But just when you feel you need a change of scenery and to get some cleaner air in your lungs, Cape of Bats drop another air biscuit of horrid proportions, but this time including some surprising flavours such as the Kveltertak-getting-done-over-with-studded-maces-in-the-car-park ‘Ultimate Evil’, or ‘Follow Me (To Death)’ with its early second wave of Black Metal riffs and atmosphere; the former followed up with the 37 second punk-blast of ‘Blue Hands’ as if to get things back on track, and the latter by the manic start of ‘Buckets of Blood’.

Cape of Bats deal in sloppy, aggressive raw music with black metal, crust and loose thrash permeating their riffs. Add in Francis Kano’s deranged yelps and throat-rips, Cassidy McGinlay’s drumming switching from D-beats to gakked out surf rock grooves, Matthew Geary’s B-movie  carnivalesque keys sporadically appearing and some speed metal frantic soloing and Cape of Bats prove an uncompromising and coarse outfit who are particularly effective when they flirt with the more black metal side of their arsenal, and songs like ‘Damned To Sands’ and ‘Grand Evocation Of War’.

Cape of Bats take raw to other side of the lathe, sinking their filed teeth into still breathing vermin carcasses and expectorating abrasive, unrefined, spiky stabs of punky black metal. A fucking mess of chaos and feral as all hell, nonetheless, there’s something worthwhile in their uncultured savagery.

 

6.5/10

 

STEVE TOVEY

Man The Machetes – Av Nag

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With bright, trebly intent ‘De Sier Nie!’ brashly hurtles out of the speakers before Christopher Iversen’s  raspy shouts pick up the intensity, kicking off Av Nag (Indie Recordings),  Man The Machete’s second enthusiastic blast of slapping you round the face with blackened punk n’ roll.

While their debut Ideokrati (Indie) drew accurate comparisons to fellow countrymen Kvelertak, it was nonetheless a well-received bundle of energy and brattishness. In terms of their continued similarity to the Stavanger sextet, differences are starting to emerge, though this is more due to the ‘tak’s own progression and development than any deviation on the part of Man The Machetes, whose open chord attack and full-throat abrasiveness continues unabated and in similar vein.

And Av Nag is certainly a vibrant and vigorous beast, with the Machetes aware that to maintain interest on an album where most songs do sound remarkably similar that they have to pump the six-strings with diesel powered strumming arms, keep the energy and belligerence high, and each hell-for-denim magic carpet ride short and not-so-sweet.

The triple axe attack of Morten Dischington Carlsson, Erlend Sætren and Markus Lind Aase provide plenty of melody, with leads and licks swirling in and out of the maelstrom molten chord battery that powers tracks like ‘Mennesketrapp’, while the rhythm section of Per Christian Holm (drums) and Erik Fossmo (bass) bring a nautical swing to standout tune ‘Tung Luft’ and a stoner fuzz and bounce to ‘Ørkenmarsj’.

Av Nag is an album that abounds with melodic aggression; short and sharp, but providing no shock as it competently rides the Kvelertak coat-tail train. A capable, proficient and enjoyable roll in the knives.

 

6.5/10

 

STEVE TOVEY

Mortals / Repellers – Mortals / Repellers

Brooklyn trio Mortals garnered much-deserved attention with the visceral Sludge of last year’s second full-length Cursed to See the Future (Relapse Records), and hot on its heels comes the dark horror of their single-track contribution to this ‘split’ with Philly nasties Repellers (Broken Limbs). Led in by the sound of a rabid werewolf coming in for the kill and terrifying the shit out of the listener, ’10 Years of Filth’ is nevertheless a cleaner sound than one would imagine, but that and the quickened, Occult Doom-style pace still fails to lift the omen of the terrifying vocal scour.

There’s a melodic, NWOBHM sound to the riff at times, yet, when the defiling power of Caryn Havlik’s drums kicks in at the two-third mark, the resonance is electrifying. With leadwork and closing riffs possessing elements of Blackened Punk, this is a pulverising yet complex and occasionally emotional rollercoaster which further enhances the ladies’ collective reputation.

Every aspect of the Low End seems present in the sound of Crusty trio Repellers: from the morose, ‘spaghetti western’ feel of the intro to opener ‘Descend’, through the rampaging Stoner-Death intensity of its riff and rhythms, to the downright filthy croak which is as evil as it gets and the most hoarse rasp you’ll hear this side of hell’s frozen wastes. At times the speed of ‘Descend’ clean rips by, the band right on the edge of keeping time, the scything riff and pounding drums of the coda vicious and seething. A sinister opening to ‘From Jericho to Ai’ sees a terrifying, ponderous pace given a fulminating power by flashing, savage breaks and the expiring roars of the track’s second half. The initial melancholy of ‘False Solace’, rising to the band’s more familiar Blackened Thrash crush, closes an intriguing, mauling set with a paradoxical twist of emotion.

An interesting tussle then, full of twists and turns. Overall the spoils must go to Mortals, but their lesser-known partners offer up plenty of atmospheric brutality and many talking points.

 

7.0/10

Mortals on Facebook

Repellers on Facebook

 

PAUL QUINN

Dodsferd – The Parasitic Survival Of The Human Race

 

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Having different bows to your musical string can both hinder and help a band, with fresh directions often urging new people to turn on, while sometimes causing older followers to turn off. Dodsferd are a quartet from Greece whose motto appears to be the bleaker the better, their extreme black metal shrouded in both musical and lyrical darkness. Their latest output, The Parasitic Survival of the Human Race (Moribund), however shows a more punk aspect to the DBSM lovers and it’s a side that is both hit and miss.

 

Made up of only five songs, the album feels more like an EP than a full-length release and while the execution of The Parasitic… is great throughout, most songs feel a few too many minutes long. Each starting with a sample from the Greek riots in 2012, many of the tracks grab your attention early on, only to lose it halfway through. Opener ‘Breeding Chaos’ is a prime example of this as its blistering start immediately pricks up your ears, only for them to start to wain towards the repetitive end.

 

The most creative part of the album comes in the form of second track ‘Creator of Disease,’ which couples initial fast-paced punk-esque tones with a slower, melodic metal ending. ‘Stupid Worthless Sheep’ once again though seems to outstay its welcome by one or two minutes, while ‘Doubting Your Worth’ brings a little more black metal to proceedings, creating a mid-tempo track of early enjoyable angst but later bouts of tedium. A cover of Misfits ‘We Are 138’ rounds the album off, bringing with it some impressive vocal screams that suit their version of the song well.

 

The Parasitic Survival of the Human Race doesn’t quite feature the bleak tones of Dodsferd releases gone by and for anyone looking for that side of the band this album isn’t where to find it. Instead what you will find is a relatively decent punk/black metal affair that has a little too much quantity and not enough quality.

 

5/10

Dodsferd on Facebook

 

EMMA QUINLAN