ALBUM REVIEW: Okkultokrati – La Ilden Lyse

Most reviews and articles concerning Norwegian dark hearts Okkultokrati seem to contain slightly differing classifications of the band’s sound. I’m no different: if you’re going to mould the likes of Motörhead, Emperor, and Sex Pistols into a ball of spewing hate, you’re playing Punk / Black ‘n’ Roll as far as I’m concerned. Anyone care? Of course not. More interesting is the decision of certain band members to change their stage names in a move that seems purely designed for new album La Ilden Lyse (Southern Lord Recordings), and which corresponds with a further evolution of the sextet’s direction. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Forgotten Tomb – Nihilistic Estrangement

I’m just going to come right out and say it: Italy’s Forgotten Tomb is one of the most criminally underrated bands in the Harsh Doom arena, most probably because its early fanbase still feels aggrieved at its reinvention from a Black metal band. Get over it: it’s been that way for the last seventeen years and eight albums. With a solid unit existing throughout that period, it’s also safe to say that this is more than Herr Morbid‘s project, and new album Nihilistic Estrangement (Agonia Records) continues to display the trio’s ever-strengthening unity with expansions on the core sound. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Green Carnation – Leaves of Yesteryear

When Green Carnation, the progressive Norwegian sextet that gave birth to avant-Black pioneers In The Woods, split for the second time in 2007, no-one gave it a cat in hell’s chance of reformation. Yet the green (ahem) shots of recovery spawned with 2018’s live album Last Day of Darkness (Prophecy Productions), and here we are with the band’s sixth album Leaves of Yesteryear (Season of Mist), in what is the 30th anniversary of its formation. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Voodoo Gods – The Divinity of Blood

Just over a decade ago, the supergroup Voodoo Gods was created. Though the birthplace is in Florida, the lineup consists of international musicians from around the globe. The diversely skilled and experienced members came together under one banner to generate some very heavy and very hostile music. In 2014, the band exchanged one epic vocalist for another. Seasoned frontman George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher from Cannibal Corpse replaced Adam “Nergal” Darski from Behemoth as the co-vocalist and soon the group released their first full-length, Anticipation For Blood Leveled in Darkness (Saturnal Records). Though it’s been six years since their last record, the band’s heat and hatred has not cooled down. Their recently released second album, The Divinity of Blood (Reaper Entertainment) wreaks havoc in a forceful, yet slightly monotonous way. Continue reading

EP REVIEW: Wretched Empires – Bloom EP

I hadn’t registered so much as a whisper of St Louis trio Wretched Empires…until I learned that vocalist Tom Ballard was also the frontman for UK Sludge-Doomers Allfather. THEN my ears pricked up. Debut EP Bloom (Independent Release) shows the new outfit to be of a Blackened persuasion, which is even more of a surprise upon realising that the other two members of the unit were formerly part of Alt-Indie sextet Redbait. Curious indeed… Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Hyborian – Volume II

In some hypercritical sections of the Stoner world, it was suggested that Hyborian, Volume I (The Company), the debut album from Kansas City heavies Hyborian, was rescued from a certain monotony merely by some lighter, synthetic nuances. Whereas it may seem an indicator of a lack of imagination to see the follow-up named Volume II (Season of Mist), it’s an all-too-common error to assume that the content will follow the same path. Continue reading

Hospital Of Death Reissues Their Classic Albums

At a time when most of the world is in quarantine or enforcing some form of lockdown, where the most commonly used phrases are “self-isolation”, “social distancing”, and “what the actual fuck is Trump saying now?”, the currently disbanded, but appropriately named Hospital of Death are aiming to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 infection by increasing the dosage of thrash metal into your ears. Continue reading

CLASSIC ALBUMS REVISITED: Def Leppard – “On Through The Night” was Released 40 Years Ago

The 1980s was a transition time for Rock and Heavy Metal. Led Zeppelin would disband soon after a loss. AC/DC would lose a leader but gain new life. Ozzy was out of Sabbath, they had yet to unleash the Dio era, and Ozzy had yet to deliver his solo début. Michael Schenker quit UFO. Uriah Heap was changing key members left and right. Queen, Thin Lizzy, and Ultravox were adding new sounds and weirding out core fans. Only Judas Priest and Iron Maiden seemed to be ruling over the upper echelon and pioneering the New Wave of British Heavy Metal Sound. A young band the strength of an impressive demo (The Getcha Rocks Off E.P.), Sheffield UK’s best export, Def Leppard, debuted a début album full of ass-kicking music, the influence of the masters, few pretentious trappings, wizard guitar work, and amazing vocals. On Through The Night (Vertigo/Mercury) broke through as major-league début release in a year that later would be remembered for greatness. Continue reading

REVIEW: Dragonforce and Lovebites: Live at Manchester Academy 2

 

When thinking of the power metal scene in general, you would be forgiven for not necessarily considering Britain an institution of it. Considering that Germany has offered the worldwide scene the likes of Helloween and Blind Guardian, and Finnish groups such as Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica, it is unsurprising that power metal shows in the UK come few and far between, despite the country’s roots in the highly influential NWOBHM genre. Continue reading

SOS Fest XII – Part II – The Longfield Suite, Prestwich UK

The third and final day of SOS is more of a classic rock day, although it features fewer bands for me that I was aware of than yesterday. Today is more of an adventure day, and I’m hoping for some discoveries. Continue reading