Before true winter besets us and the deep darks of midwinters eve are upon us, in early December I visited a darkness even stranger and deeper than the longest night of the year. In Rotterdam, there was a delectable lineup, granted us mostly by the formidable Season of Mist. So of to the cold harbor, I went to see the dark strangeness that this eve on black metals fringes had to offer. Continue reading
Pause for a moment, dearly beloved, and check out THAT COVER. See it, feel it, breathe it in. It is Ian Miller at his gothic grotesque best like someone crossed a lurid creepy crawly with a bad trip in a fin de siècle opium den. It’s got one of Lovecraft’s Elder Thing exploding with mouths, beaks, eyes and profane wind instruments, striding through a cancerous landscape full of writhing horror and grandeur. It is also my laptop’s Christmas wallpaper. Continue reading
It may have taken thirteen years to follow-up their sole release, but with a cast that includes Misery Index, Cattle Decapitation and Scour alumni, the trials of time can be forgiven with Cast The Stone, and new EP release Empyrean Atrophy (Agonia) shows that this band has a lot more worth than simply being a side dabbling for them. Continue reading
As we previously reported, death metal wizards Revocation are dropping their new album The Outer Ones, next month on September 28 via Metal Blade Records. We got to hear the new album recently at the bands’ listening party at Saint Vitus Bar in New York, and it is absolutely brutal. Jam the title track right now! Continue reading
Portal are one of the most important Death Metal bands in the world.
In a genre as conservative as Heavy Metal it is no surprise that lists of influential bands generally don’t go beyond a pre-approved set of “classics”, but Portal have earned their place among the Deaths and Morbid Angels. Over four albums and nearly fifteen years, they took Death Metal apart and reassembled the pieces into nightmarish, abstract shapes that for the first time managed to sound how the artwork looked. Like most innovators, it took time for their impact to sink in, but over the last few years they have – quite against their will, it seems – triggered a mini-trend of impersonators and left Death Metal in quite a different place than it was in 2013 when Vexovoid (Profound Lore), was released. Continue reading
Very few pairings can channel and embrace the art of compelling and near inaudible noise as an art form as Stephen O’Malley and Atilla Csihar of SunnO))) (and Mayhem in the latter’s case). A partnership formed with SunnO))), they have proven to be champions of incredibly dissident and daunting soundscapes within Drone and experimental Ambient musci, in as close to pigeonholing as is possible. Following on from 2007’s debut of alternative project Gravetemple, Impassable Fear (Svart Records) offers yet another snapshot into their striking vision. Continue reading
It’s a bit hard to fathom that Nile guitarist and mastermind Karl Sanders is still creating some of the unholy sounds in extreme metal at the age of 52. Other musicians at that age are releasing Lou Reed collaborations that only serve to undermine their legacies. Not Nile.
The Nile modus operandi on eighth studio album What Should Not Be Unearthed (Nuclear Blast) remains the same. Healthy doses of Egyptian mysticism and history (sample: “We must cut off the head of the Spinx. Timeless guardian of the ancient pharaohs”) with the occasional dash of Lovecraftian imagery set to the kind of searing death metal that recalls prime Morbid Angel. Maybe that’s why I have such an affinity for Sanders and his art, he was there to pick up the pieces when Morbid Angel was losing creative steam being dogged down by unsuccessful experimentation.
Experimentation is kept a very base minimum here as the album opens to aural punishment that is ‘Call to Destruction.’ We are then hit with the swift hyperblast one-two of ‘Negating the Abominable Coils of Apep’ and ‘Liber Stellae – Rubaeae.’ This is the kind of fiery death metal that hurts so good like Dying Fetus or early Gorguts. Also for the real tech heavy crowd check the finger cramping opening riff in ‘Evil To Cast Out Evil.’
But it’s not all fire and brimstone as death jams like ‘In the Name of Amun’ and ‘Age of Famine’ give way to breadth and dizzying tempo changes. Title track ‘What Should Not Be Unearthed’ also follows this pattern and allows for a real nice low and slow breakdown. And even when operating at a more gradual cadence, human drum machine George Kolias makes sure to load up the double-bass pummel.
In a genre where many of their peers are still spewing out murder fantasies and are fascinated with the undead, Nile stands out with a mix of intellectual lyrics and musical proficiency. If the prog fans and metal elitists can get past the death grunts and learn to love the blast beat they may just find a band fawn over other than Dream Theater.