Ultra-Violence – Operation Misdirection

Ah, thrash metal, perhaps the one sub-genre within metal that garners forth the most nostalgia and good feeling. Flashback to a couple of decades ago and this little offshoot contained some of the biggest bands on the planet. Goliath-sized acts such as Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax were so highly regarded they even had their own gimmick, that being ‘The Big Four’. Continue reading

Orange Goblin – The Wolf Bites Back

I once opined on these humble pages that Motörhead didn’t do bad albums, merely good ones and great ones, and it has to be said that this proud epithet should also be bestowed upon the filthy and the few that make up Orange Goblin. It has been some twenty-one years since their debut, the still worthy Frequencies From Planet Ten (Rise Above), and for the ninth time the turbo effalunt has been charged up, the band are getting high on the bad times, and the red tide rises once more. Continue reading

Witchsorrow – Hexenhammer

Ever since Cathedral decided to hang up their Doom-encrusted boots, the UK has been dying for someone to fill the void with the same level of otherworldly mysticism and crushing heaviness. Obviously, we do have Conan making waves if you’re a fan of the weight of the world pounding you into the dust, but if you like your Doom with a touch more class and Sabbath flair, Witchsorrow should already be on your radar. Four albums in and the trio are still able to conjure some of the most infectious riffs and choruses, laden with vivid imagery and nihilistic sensibilities. Continue reading

Ihsahn – Ámr

Confession time, part one. Ihsahn has been one of those artists that I have found much easier to admire than love. Whilst that admiration has been sincere and deeply held from his time in Black Metal pioneers Emperor I know that I won’t be winning any cred points by stating that his art is not always at the top of my go-to lists. I like him, but I don’t always love him. Continue reading

Voices – Frightened

One of the saddest parts about Akercocke going on hiatus all those years ago was the fact that after Words That Go Unspoken… and Antichrist (Earache) there was a tangible feeling that they were on course to release something truly ground-breaking. Whilst their recent release Renaissance in Extremis (Peaceville) was very welcome indeed, I couldn’t help but feel that the return to an earlier sound left that potential untapped. Continue reading

Ihsahn – “Arcana Imperii” Music Video Released

Last week Ihsahn revealed that his seventh solo album, Ámr, will be released on May 4th via Candlelight/Spinefarm, and today we have our first taste of the eclectic new material. Continue reading

Shrapnel – Raised On Decay

I think it’s fair to say that Britain does not have the greatest depth of pedigree when it comes to Thrash. While there have been a couple of notable exceptions, other than the unassailable Sabbat, Xentrix (one of my favourite bands as a teen) are still, probably, the first name on anyone’s mind when asked to discuss said niche market. Twenty years after Preston’s finest slipped quietly into the ether and, an Evile or Savage Messiah aside, very little has changed in that regards. Continue reading

Ancient Ascendant – Raise The Torch

As far back as 2008, with the independently released EP The Heathen Throne, Ancient Ascendant have been very clear in their intentions. And with a couple more EPs and two very well received albums under their belts, the English Black/Death Metal quartet have raised the bar again with latest full length, Raise The Torch (Candlelight). Continue reading

Blood Red Throne – Union of Flesh and Machine

Blood Red Throne – Union of Flesh and Machine cover ghostcultmg

The criminally overlooked Blood Red Throne has been going for 18 years and 7 albums. Initially formed in 1998 by DØD (Satyricon) and Tchort (Satyricon, Emperor, Green Carnation) they are now releasing their 8th studio album Union of flesh and Machine on Spinefarm/Candlelight.

Blood Red Throne’s brand of Norwegian death metal has always been a particularly rewarding listen and Union of Flesh and Machine might just be their best album to date: Whilst tightly following their eponymous 2013 release they do raise the bar both in terms of song writing and crisper production. Right from the outset this beast of an album just hammers it home, within a few seconds of putting this on in my car I was struck with an over whelming urge to start a mosh pit, much to the annoyance of my insurance company.

Fast ultra-precise riffs, pummeling drums barking bellowing interspersed with shrill shrieks to create a dense brutal soundscape which means that even if they were content to just stick to the formula this would be a satisfying listen: they fortunately do so much more than deliver the basics.

Whilst there are most notably token similarities with the guttural stylings of perennial death metal benchmarks Cannibal Corpse, there are a lot more nuances to their sound and enough inventiveness within their rounded death metal sound to keep the listener interested through every single track, and there really isn’t a single weak track on this monster of an album.

Indeed unlike too many bands within the death metal sub-genre they don’t tie their flag to any one mast. This album much like The King is Blind’s Our Father earlier in the year this is a showcase of how great death metal can be when done properly. It encompasses much of the variants of the Floridian, Gothenburg and UK styles of death metal. It’s a celebration of Death Metal brutality with an inventiveness which prevents it from going stale which has been an issue in recent years with death metal.

From the Guttural growling groove of ‘Homicidal ecstasy’, through the proto Slayer feel of the title track, and most notably for me with the head scratching brilliance of the cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Leather Rebel’ sounding in equal parts Amon Amarth and Bolt Thrower this album just keeps delivering in a way which will keep the listener enthralled for many a listen.

9.0/10

RICH PRICE

 

 

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Guest Post: José Carlos Santos Top Ten Albums Of 2015

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As we dash towards the holidays and the end of the year Ghost Cult is feeling good about this season of giving. So we are giving our fans a chance to get to know our partners, peers, and friends  from bands in the world of music. They will chime in with some guest blogs, end of year lists, and whatever else is on their minds as we pull the plug on 2015. Today we have José Carlos Santos, who writes a lot about music, being Senior Writer for both Terrorizer and Rock-a-Rolla UK, Chief of staff for LOUD! from Portugal, shared with us his favorite 10 albums of 2015.

 

1. Solefald – World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud (Indie Recordings)

Solefald - World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud album cover 2015

 

Pushing the envelope isn’t the half of it. The first song on this truly revolutionary record is called ‘World Music With Black Edges’, and that’s exactly what it is. It should be just about all the guideline you’ll need before embarking on this journey. Black metal, electronics, Frank Zappa and African sounds, among many, many other things, are thrown into a free-flowing, astoundingly cohesive whole. In an age where having two songs that don’t sound like each other is already considered “genre-hopping”, Solefald are one of the few bands worthy of the term avant-garde.

2. Royal ThunderCrooked Doors (Relapse)

The best pure, true rock album in years, Crooked Doors sees Royal Thunder fulfill the potential they have always shown, and move up to the pantheon of the greats. It feels and sounds timeless – if you hand it to someone and say that it’s a lost 1978 classic, it’ll make the same sense as if you’ll tell them it’s 2024’s album of the year you just brought back from the future in your time machine. A great song is a great song, and they’re all great here.

 

3. My Dying BrideFeel The Misery (Peaceville)

My Dying Bride Verftet 220214-8613

My Dying Bride, by Kenneth Sporsheim

My Dying Bride are back to the masterpieces – 14 years after their last truly great record, The Dreadful Hours, Feel The Misery recaptures the tragic sorrow and the decadent grandeur we’ve always loved from them.

4. RevengeBehold.Total.Rejection (Season Of Mist)

Revenge Behold.Total.Rejection album cover

Because fuck you.

5. DødheimsgardA Umbra Omega (Peaceville)

dodheimsgard-a-umbra-omega

The other band alongside Solefald that warrants the proper use of the avant-garde tag, Dødheimsgard have given us a mysterious, shape shifting record, full of dark nuances and details that we’ll still be discovering come the time for the 2016 lists. The best thing Vicotnik’s done since ‘Written In Waters’ – and yes, I’m including ‘666 International’ in that appraisal.

 

6. Tau CrossTau Cross (Relapse)

Tau Cross 2015 band

Amebix are no more, long live Tau Cross. Not only is this the logical successor to the astounding ‘Sonic Mass’, it’s also enriched by the extra talents of Voivod’s Michel “Away” Langevin and crusty guitarists Jon Misery and Andy Lefton, all of them lead to greatness by the might of Rob Miller, who is still one of the most unique songwriters in extreme music.

 

7. Sigh – Graveward (Candlelight)

sigh

Sometimes you’ll have to pause halfway through ‘Graveward’ and wonder how is this possible – roughly five million tracks are all going in a different direction, all at once, and yet everything makes perfect sense, there is order and flow in the middle of the craziness and chaos. Alongside Solefald and Dødheimsgard, you’ve got enough insanity this year to wreck your brain for years to come.

 

8. Therapy?Disquiet (Amazing Record Company)

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Most of you might only know Therapy?’s most popular phase, but the true essence of the band has been in their last four or five fiery, adventurous and energetic records. ‘Disquiet’ is the best of them all, a mix between instant punk-ish gratification and deep, deceptively simple songwriting that’ll allow for multiple repeat plays without a hint of exhaustion. Also, closer ‘Deathstimate’ is a serious contender for song of the year, or decade, or whatever.

9. Goatsnake – Black Age Blues (Southern Lord)

goatsnake

It’s been a 15 year wait, but for each year of absence there’s a kickass bluesy riff that’ll stay in your head forever. Goatsnake just picked up where they left off, literally – the first song is called ‘Another River To Cross’, a nod to ‘Flower Of Disease’s closer ‘The River’.

10. Steve Von Till – A Life Unto Itself (Neurot)

steve von till a life unto itself

Rarely has such a subtle and generally quiet record packed such a thunderous emotional punch – the Neurosis guitarist/vocalist might present himself in the sparser, most minimalist fashion, just one man lost in the woods with an acoustic guitar, some effects and his coarse, haunting voice, but these songs will reach down into your heart and squeeze it with the force of a thousand men.