EP REVIEW: Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle – The Helm of Sorrow

Having established a successful collaboration with 2020″s May Our Chambers Be Full (Sacred Bones Records, review here), Thou & Emma Ruth Rundle flesh things out further with The Helm Of Sorrow (Sacred Bones Records). The four songs on this EP are more or less cut from the same cloth. A blend of Sludge, Grunge, and Shoegaze serves as a stylistic backdrop for the dynamic synthesis and occasional clashes between Rundle’s harrowing restraint and Thou’s distorted violence.

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EP REVIEW: Mother Of Graves – In Somber Dreams

Based out of Indianapolis and featuring a who’s who of veterans from such bands as Obscene, Harakiri, and Bulletwolf, Mother Of Graves makes a strong first impression with their debut EP. The group’s melodic approach to Death/Doom makes no bones about the influence from Paradise Lost and Katatonia, mixing the former’s mournful leads with the latter’s mid-tempo pacing. One can also detect traces of Novembers Doom in the vocals and Dan Swano’s signature touches on the mastering.

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EP REVIEW: High Command – Everlasting Torment

Formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 2016, five-piece thrash outfit High Command follow up their 2017 debut full length Beyond the Wall of Desolation with digitally released single Everlasting Torment(both Southern Lord). Continue reading

EP REVIEW: Carcass – Despicable – Nuclear Blast Records

Over thirty years ago, England’s own Carcass came to the scene and shared their glorification of grind and gore. The unhinged and manic sound they conjured found an audience and quickly gained popularity, along with their contemporaries Napalm Death and Godflesh. The surge of the extreme had its time in the sun, but after their 10 year hiatus, Carcass came back in a slightly different mood. In 2013, the group took their well-known viciousness and molded it in with more melody on their sixth full-length, Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast). They married Grindcore and Melodic Death Metal on that record which got a lot of attention and reminded everyone why these guys are such an original act. After seven years, the band is back again with their EP, Despicable (Nuclear Blast). In just four songs, Carcass takes their significant union of sounds and exemplifies them with new levels of pandemonium. Continue reading

EP REVIEW: Four Stroke Baron – Monoqueen

When I first heard Four Stroke Baron, I had no idea they were going to be one of my favorite finds of the year. “What kind of a name is that?” I thought, bracing for the worst. Man, was I floored by what I found. A pummeling barrage of progressive metal with crushing riffs and a blazing 1980’s synth crescendos that just don’t quit, yet really lit my fire was the vocals. Bucking the metal cliche of trying to come off as heavy and bröötal as possible, vocalist Kirk Witt delivers powerful lyrics in a meek and almost anxious style that puts you on edge and adds a sense of forlorn urgency to many of the tracks.

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EP REVIEW: Midnight Dice – Hypnotized – Underground Power Records

Coming off a self-titled demo in 2019, Midnight Dice’s first EP, Hypnotized(Underground Power Records/Hoove Child Records), sees the Chicagoans continuing to build their momentum. Comparisons to the musicians’ previous band Satan’s Hallow remain inevitable as Hypnotized rides on a similarly anthemic Classic Metal style. However, there are also developments that show the band beginning to carve out a more distinct identity.Continue reading

SPLIT RELEASE: Shrieking / Puddleglum Split

2020 has already been a busy year for San Diego electronic darkheart Shrieking. Debut album Let the Galaxy Burn (Self-Release) was released in January; a single, Truth About Demons (Self-Release) appeared at the beginning of May, and is closely followed by this Split (Self-Release) with St. Louis Dungeon Synth project Puddleglum. It’s a curious and enticing prospect, enhanced by both bands weighing in with a healthy representation of the material.Continue reading

Joyous Wolf – A Place In Time

Once in a blue moon does a band come barreling onto the music scene that makes every person who hears them go, “If Heaven had an in house band, it would be these guys”. Joyous Wolf is a once in a blue moon band, no-foolin’. The band’s debut EP, A Place In Time (Roadrunner Records), is proof positive that Rock and Roll is not just alive and well, it is kicking ass and taking names. Continue reading

Hamferð – Ódn

Apart from being a staple of the UK shipping forecast and consistently failing to progress from the qualifying stages of the World Cup, the Faroe Islands are still a relatively unknown quantity for many people. However, proving that Metal really does occupy some of the least charted territories of the globe, the little archipelago located 200 miles north of mainland Scotland is actually home to several bands, most of whom are located within the walls of its capital, Tórshavn.Continue reading

Manowar – The Final Battle I

Seven years after their last (original) studio release, the irrepressible Manowar returns to the hall (well, two original members and two new guys anyway) atop their mighty steeds, gripping a new EP firmly in their gloves of Metal, and celebrating their latest epic touring adventure.Continue reading