It’s been well documented that the road to Aggression Continuum (Nuclear Blast Records), the latest album from Californian cyber-metallers Fear Factory, has been strewn with obstacles, challenges, and all manner of highly publicised internal disputes. Since its recording, the band has endured a lengthy legal battle which concluded with the departure of vocalist Burton C Bell, and saw guitarist, songwriter, and current studio bassist Dino Cazares winning the rights to the Fear Factory name via auction.
The concept of metal without electric guitars might feel like an oxymoron. After all, guitar riffs of one type or another have been the key bedrock of the genre ever since Black Sabbath. But Wreche is different. John Steven Morgan, the multi-instrumentalist and vocalist behind the band, makes a kind of experimental black metal using acoustic piano as the lead instrument. All My Dreams Came True (Handmade / Acephale Winter Productions) is the second Wreche album and the first on which Morgan operates Wreche as a one-man-band (aside from two guest appearances), providing synthesizers, drums, and vocals as well as what the press release describes as an “88 key, 700lb behemoth running hot on distortion and space echo.” Morgan also recorded, mixed, and mastered the album himself.
Black metal connoisseurs rejoice!
The latest Vreid record is an homage to the classic black metal sound the members helped create way back in the days of Windir while simultaneously experimenting with bold new soundscapes and storytelling. Wild North West (Season of Mist) is a pounding cataclysm of power and fury, yet it does so with a style and panache in a way that only these Norwegian black metal stalwarts could deliver. They offer a fresh take on the traditional black metal tropes while cutting the growls and blast beats with a melody that keeps your head banging and your mind racing, like on the hypnotic “Dazed and Reduced” and the ominous tone-setting title track.
London Extreme Metallers Cult Burial is streaming their new self-titled album in full over at Decibel Magazine before you can buy it tonight. The doom/death band has been racking up props for their nonsense approach to heaviness. Stream the album now.
2015 proved to be a productive year for the Russian/Welsh act, Venom Prison when they released not one, but two EPs. Their ambition has continued to grow since then by deftly demonstrating the cunning and extreme of their Modern Death Metal sound. This budding band made noticeable waves in the scene when they released their second full-length, Samsara (Prosthetic Records) last year. Vocalist Larissa Stupar presented this rare rage that she and the whole band developed into a massive, contagious fury. Now, these guys are ready to exhibit how much they’ve grown in the last five years. Primeval (Prosthetic Records) is a compilation of their first two Eps re-recorded and reinvigorated.
Even though the two main members of Anaal Nathrakh – Mick “Irrumator” Kenney, and vocalist Dave “V.I.T.R.I.O.L.” Hunt – haven’t actually recorded in the same studio together for around ten years, the pair have still managed to spew more bitterness and agonized rage than can surely be healthy. With over 5,000 miles between them for latest album Endarkenment (Metal Blade), Kenney pushed buttons and twiddled knobs in his California studio, while Hunt recorded his vocals in far less sunny English climes, cathartically venting his spleen a few rooms down from where an S&M porn film was being shot.Continue reading
Napalm Death choosing to drop Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism (Century Media) is the definition of perfect timing. For those not keeping score at home, the current leader of the free world is an ass-clown who smears his face daily with greasy self-tanner and fancies white supremacists and McDonald’s food. Oh, and there’s a bit of a global pandemic that has paused the world and crippled economies.
Incantation is one of those bands that every metalhead knows about. Hailing from the East Coast, these guys have been around for over thirty years and have always made their presence known in the scene. From consistent album releases to endless touring, Incantation is an act that has dedicated everything to their craft. These veteran players continue to carry the banner for old school American Death Metal on their eleventh full-length, Sect of Vile Divinities (Relapse Records). Released last month, their grim and gruesome sounds gurgle to the top of the scuzzy cesspool of heaviness that they have created.Continue reading
While Nevermore never quite broke into the mainstream, they always seemed to be just under the radar ready to make an impression. The band’s signature combination of proggy rhythms, gothic vocals, groovy chugs, extreme drums, and shredding solos seemed to have something for everyone in the Metal sphere, but their eccentric execution also meant they never found belonging in any single demographic. That all seemed like it was poised to change with their sixth album, 2005’s This Godless Endeavor (Century Media Records), which saw them gain greater exposure compared to their earlier efforts and more unanimous acclaim.
Many times in music journalism, we writers are given to hyperbole, often because it is the low hanging fruit of the field to gush about the classics with a torrent of compliments. You often read words like genre-defying, and frankly, a lot of the time they don’t land as they are meant to. However, in the case of the entire career of Fear Factory and certainty of the album Demanufacture (Roadrunner Records), the words can never do proper justice to the music. Simply stated, Deamnfacture is one of the most important, unique, and unapologetically brutal albums in heavy metal history. Continue reading