Yellow Eyes – Rare Field Ceiling

Ah, yes, Yellow Eye’s Rare Field Ceiling (Gilead Media), the kind of metal album that asks its listeners if they’ve ever wondered what it would be like to clean out their ears with steel wool. It’s the type of gritty and unhinged music that one plays when you really want to let your neighbors and relatives know that you are indeed collaborating with the dark ones. What would it feel like to have a rabid wolverine give you a back massage? Probably a bit like Rare Field Ceiling. Continue reading

Sinners Bleed – Absolution

The Death, Thrash Metal act, Sinners Bleed caused a stir in the scene when they started out in the late nineties. Hailing from Berlin, this group of guys conjured a unique combination of speed and melody. Though they perked a lot of ears, life happened and the band had to take a step back from their fiery work. After a lengthy hiatus, they are now back and ready to release their second full-length album, Absolution (War Anthem Records). Even after being away for a while, Sinners Bleed has not missed a beat in their noteworthy, aggressive sound. Continue reading

Vader – Thy Messenger

Ok, laying my cards down on the table. I, Hans Lopez, fully admit that I don’t think I’ve encountered a Vader release that I didn’t enjoy. The way they combine brutal riffs, mind-flaying solos, and Nürburgring speeds just totally speaks my musical language. It’s the reason I’m willing to die on the sword for Slayer or will always go to bat for classic Sepultura. I’m a man of simple tastes. Continue reading

Theories – Vessel

I can’t help but wonder if Theories’ practice room is to be treated like a hard hat area. The bleak album art for Vessel (Corpse Flower Records) should’ve been enough to alert me of what awaited, but I had to hit that play button. After the initial pummeling of ‘Human Vessel Cell’ I clearly understood that everything Theories does is designed with lethal intentions in mind. If you’re looking for melody, clean guitars or strict adherence to speed limits you can show yourself the door right about now. What Theories is serving up is not for the fair-weather Hard Rock fan. Continue reading

Sisters Of Suffocation – Humans Are Broken

The Dutch Death Metal act, Sisters Of Suffocation stirred the scene when they released their EP, Brutal Queen (Hammerheart Records) back in 2014. Young and female, SoS was determined to defy stereotypes by making their sound ruthless and unique. Their sophomore album, Humans Are Broken (Napalm Records) continues to carry this conviction and delivers something rather riveting. Continue reading

A Forest Of Stars – Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes

It has been a decade now since I first saw A Forest Of Stars at their debut gig in Leeds, and they’ve always occupied a special place for me in music since then. They mash-up progressive Black Metal with a folky presence and wrap it up within a steampunk inspired Victorian based package. What results from this can sometimes be a little hit and miss, but generally contains many objects of wonder. Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes, marks their third full length released on Prophecy Productions. Continue reading

The Stone – Nekroza

The Stone - Nekroza - Artwork

On paper, The Stone aren’t particularly cult. They hail from Belgrade, Serbia, not the frozen mountains of Norway, they mix elements of Death and Thrash metal into their sound and worst of all, their new album Nekroza (Folter), the Serbian quintet’s 7th album (8th including one under Stone to Flesh moniker) has decent production values. Clocking in at around 55 minutes, it is a solid piece of modern black metal. As well as the genre necessities of blast beats, punk riffs and guttural screams, The Stone mix it up with other influences. There’s traces of thrash, death metal reminiscent of Behemoth, and moments even bring to mind early Motörhead records.

Opener ‘Kamenolom’ begins with an ominous soundtrack of horns before the blast beats burst in. But this isn’t a relentless dirge, there are constant subtle shifts in the riffs and tempo. It’s still raw, heavy and oppressive in a way that only Black metal can be, but has a real energy permeating throughout every track. There’s plenty of hammering brutality, but it’s tempered with more intricate and ambitious rhythms.

Vocalist Nefas’ throaty screams combine with ominous yet aggressive guitar work from Kozeljnik & Demonetras. One of the most surprising elements of the band’s sound are the excellent solos dotted throughout the record; ‘Košmar,’ ‘Sunovrat’ and ‘Crno Zrno’ are all graced with some searing and melodic guitar flourishes.

While there’s plenty of variety in terms of pace, there’s nary a dull moment. The likes of ‘Pesimizam’, ‘Dani Crni’ and ‘Lov na veštice’ are all quality, while the epic, thudding ‘Mrak’ slowly builds from a snail’s piece to all out thunder, complete with melodic solos. But the seven-minute title track is probably the highlight, bringing together the different elements of the band’s sound into one melting pot.

The Stone may not be regarded on the same level as Dimmu Borgir or Satyricon, but on the strength of this record they should be. Mixing the crushing with the melodic in a way you don’t often hear, Nekroza is easily one of the most enjoyably Black metal albums of the year.

8.0/10

The Stone on Facebook

 

DAN SWINHOE

 

Blood Of Kingu – Dark Star on the Right Horn of the Crescent Moon

BOKalbumcover

Ukrainian Black metallers Blood of Kingu are back with a new album, Dark Star on the Right Horn of the Crescent Moon (Season of Mist). It’s the third full length from the Babylonian-themed quintet, and continues in a similar vein to their previous efforts; black, bleak and unrelenting.

Led by Drudkh’s Roman Saenko, Blood of Kingu follow all the expectations of a proper black metal band; long song titles, blast beat, indecipherable lyrics and buzzsaw riffing. It’s pretty relentless stuff, full of dark atmosphere. And, unlike many records in the genre, Dark Star on the Right Horn of the Crescent Moon boasts some decent production values.

Opening with ‘Crowned Scarlet Moon Is Waiting for Eclipse,’ we’re given five minutes of pure blast beat fury, demonic vocals and endless abrasive riffing. It’s a good opening, managing to summon some really bleak and grim sounds. However, despite the promising opening, the album never really goes anywhere interesting. All the songs are samey and repetitive and there’s never any deviation from tried and tested formulas. The two ambient interludes really add to the eeriness of it all, before it returns to the standard blast beating fare.

For those who like their metal as Kvlt as possible, Blood of Kingu offer all the right genre tropes. For anyone who likes to see Black metal pushing the boundaries however, Dark Star on the Right Horn of the Crescent Moon offers little fresh or interesting.

 

5.5/10.0

Blood of Kingu on Facebook

 

DAN SWINHOE