ALBUM REVIEW: Hellripper – The Affair of the Poisons

The reignited interest in distinctly eighties-sounding metal styles, and more specifically, the thrash revival of the 2000s, has brought with it a handful of blistering new acts, alongside a slew of respectable releases from its originators. However, as a general scene, it has also suffered from a lack of innovation and compositional creativity. Often bands of this scene are perfectly content to just emulate classic sounds long-established by Sodom, Kreator, Venom, Bathory, and Slayer. Oftentimes, I find it a dull guessing game of which thrash bands are being ripped off whenever I listen to these bands. But there are nevertheless a handful of acts that in addition to paying tribute to the old guard’s sound manage to capture that fury, excitement, and blasphemous spirit of heavy music during the proto-extreme metal era. James McBain, the singular creative force behind Hellripper, clearly loves the style of first wave black metal and Teutonic thrash but is also creative enough to blend them to create something that sounds completely fresh. The result here is The Affair of the Poisons (Peaceville Records), a sophomore effort to the more straightforward Coagulating Darkness, and a release of blackened thrash/speed metal fury that will leave you yearning even more for a destructive live experience in 2020.Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Eternal Champion – Ravening Iron

It”s been four years since Eternal Champion unleashed The Armor Of Ire in 2016, but the hype has only intensified with their sophomore full-length. Ravening Iron (No Remorse Records) continues the Austin group”s Epic Metal aspirations as the coarse but melodic guitar work casts a dungeon friendly atmosphere and the vocals forever echo Manilla Road”s Mark Shelton (RIP) with their nasally yet bombastic character. Thankfully, there are enough alternate approaches explored that keep this album from feeling like a retread. Continue reading

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

3TEETH – Metawar

One of the best parts about reviewing albums is getting to deconstruct the music on the album and expose the soft squishy underbelly that the band hides deep within the tracks. The newest release from 3TEETH, Metawar(RED Music), is a case in point. The third studio album from the Los Angeles-based band is a cataclysmic master stroke pregnant with thinly veiled innuendo and tightly coiled enigma. Let me break that down for you in Skullgurl terms, this album is fanfuckingtastical.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

Contrarian – Their Worm Never Dies

Progressive Death Metal is all the rage in Metal at the moment. It seems to have exploded in the past decade with bands like Opeth, Gojira and Between The Buried And Me being the crème de la crème. However, with today’s focus on spotless production and mechanical quantization, some of the primal energy from the genre’s roots in the nineties has been lost in the pursuit of sonic ear candy. Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE ALBUM STREAM: Black Mass – “Warlust”

 

Late last year we shared the news that Massachusetts Blackened Thrash band Black Mass was dropping a new album this winter, and now the time is nigh! Their sophomore album Warlust arrives later this week, February 15th via Iron Shield Records/Timeworn Records. We’ve heard it already and it is nothing but bangers! The band draws influences from classic Thrash, NWOBHM Trad-style bands, old-school Death Metal, and enough modern kvlt metal references in their songs to spin your head around and make you praise the great Satan. Ghost Cult is proud to share the full album stream with you now, and you can pre-order Warlust at the link below! Continue reading

Cancer – Shadow Gripped

It is interesting to see how a band who has not released new material for a significant period of time – twenty-four years in the case of Midlands (UK) Death Metallers Cancer – will react to the task. As we know, Carcass, the test case, was an overwhelming success as Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast) refined their previous styles into a singular, focused direction of travel with added bite. Subsequently, At The Gates also returned with a show of strength, albeit with a more reflective tone to this year’s output; once again, an alteration to previous ideas was the way forward for that troupe. Both acts showed deference to their seminal works, choosing not to take them head-on, referring to their past with respect, while carving a newer niche. Continue reading

RAISE YOUR FIST! Heavy Metal Album Reviews Round up: Royal Hunt, Satan, Beyond The Black, Cauldron, and more

As summer swings round towards autumn, there are no shortage of odes and tributes to the Gods of power and glory that brought us traditional and classic Heavy Metal. Ghost Cult dives in amongst the raised fists and studded wristbands to round-up the latest album releases.

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