ALBUM REVIEW: My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion

Hot on the heels of ex-bandmate Hamish Glencross’s latest effort with new band Godthrymm comes The Ghost Of Orion (Nuclear Blast), the fourteenth full-length from Yorkshire Gothic Doom royalty My Dying Bride. This year celebrating 30 years as an entity, any pressure the band may have felt is counteracted by an expectedly assured, emotionally raw performance that comes with such craftsmanship and experience. Continue reading

Age Of The Wolf – Ouroboric Trances

In further proof of Metal’s worldwide appeal, dropped-out troupe Age Of The Wolf hail from Costa Rica. There’s pedigree in the ranks too, with ex-Corpse Garden six-stringer Christopher de Haan at the forefront of their sound, and the Extreme Metal experience of the quartet lends a seriously hard edge to Stoner-flavoured debut Ouroboric Trances (Aural Music). Continue reading

Inter Arma – Sulphur English

Despite third album Paradise Gallows (Relapse Records) establishing Virginian quintet Inter Arma as one of the World’s premier exponents of Harsh Progressive Metal, it’s nevertheless arguable as to whether or not the band remains in the shadow of 2014’s staggering opus The Cavern (Relapse Records). Fourth full-length Sulphur English (also Relapse), surely their most brutal yet, will lay such doubts to rest. Continue reading

Blind Monarch – What Is Imposed Must Be Endured

From the first recording session through to the present day, it’s taken almost eighteen months for What Is Imposed Must Be Endured (Black Bow Records), the debut album from Sheffield-based quartet Blind Monarch, to see the light of day. In that time the band has shared stages with leading lights of the UK Death-Doom scene so it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to suggest that this album is eagerly awaited. Continue reading

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

Swallow The Sun – Lumina Aurea

As their legion of fans will attest to, Swallow The Sun is not your average Death-Doom band. The inventiveness and melancholy melodies lift the Finnish outfit to another plain and, after 2015’s lauded triple album Songs From the North, any release from the sextet is anticipated with a relish akin to hero-worship. Single Lumina Aurea, all fourteen minutes of it, is a precursor to next year’s album When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light (all Century Media) and, although not a track from that album, is an eerie, monumental aperitif – a gateway to the full product. Continue reading

High Priestess – High Priestess

Serious praise has been heaped on LA trio High Priestess and judging by the majesty of this self-titled debut album (Ripple), much more is coming. As the name implies, the band peddles a mystical, dark yet melodious slow crush, but there’s a joyous inventiveness here that sets it apart from its peers. Continue reading

Grave Lines – Welcome to Nothing

 

grave-lines-welcome-to-nothing-cover-ghostcultmag

Formed by members of Sea Bastard, Landskap, Dead Existence and Throne, Grave Lines could be regarded as some form of UK underground supergroup. That pedigree should also give one an idea what to expect from début album Welcome to Nothing (Black Reaper Records), but there are elements of surprise.  Continue reading

King Goat – Conduit

 

king goat conduit album cover ghostcultmag

Brighton-based quintet King Goat has been gathering plaudits for a couple of years now. While their brace of EPs has been highly regarded, however, debut album Conduit (Self-Release) rips up that benchmark and propels the band’s reputation skywards.

It’s the Progressive, Eastern influence within their Low-end metal that has held listeners in thrall, and right from album opener ‘Flight of the Deviants’ that blends with a quirky, Karnivool-esque base and some Gary Moore-flavoured leadplay. The whole is given vivid colour by the alarmingly powerful voice of Anthony ‘Trim’ Trimming, Averill-like in its tone and versatility and just occasionally touching on Ozzy Osbourne’s high notes.

Each track here is a story in its own right, ‘…Deviants’ switching pace in segments, the spoken elements rivalling the scene-setting qualities of this year’s debut from The King Is Blind. The instruments swirl and swell around the vicious rasp of the three-quarter section before dropping into a Trad Metal-tinged coda, the leads howling their agonies after being a hidden star throughout.

‘Trim’ reaches new heights on the ensuing ‘Feral King’ yet, while his staggering power and range is undoubtedly the lead factor here, the contorting body of the track shows all five protagonists to be stars of this pulsating show. Its winding, crushing centrepiece still retains delicacy in the incredible harmonising of harsh vocals, whilst the ominous drama of the close is a joy to witness.

The title track, a paradox of complexity and simplicity, sees the seamless blend of hulking melody and crushing brutality reach its apex, whilst rarely breaking a slowly skipping tempo. The heartfelt melancholy mixes sublimely with those soaring eastern patterns, its choir-assisted third quarter a soaring triumph leading to emotional euphoria and a roaring coda. That barrelling force segues into ‘Revenants’, the guitars dancing tremolo patterns through steady yet intricate rhythmic pummel; yet the gradual drop to the gentle, sinister interlude is a thing of moving beauty.

Closer ‘Sanguine Path’ is an Occult-tinged Death-Doom workout somewhat at odds with the rest of the album, yet no less striking and fully conveying the resigned despair. Quite simply this is the kind of accomplished, intuitive greatness most bands hope to reach by the third or fourth album of their careers, yet rarely do. The UK has provided the Metal world with one bona fide classic already this year: here is another piece of staggering magnificence to rival and possibly surpass it.

9.0/10.0

PAUL QUINN

[amazon asin=B01CE4I92U&template=iframe image1]