Section H8 – Phase One

White noise feeds back into the listener’s ears. An overwhelming feeling of discomfort sets the stage for Phase One (Flatspot Records) to begin in riotous fashion. ‘A. D. (Anno Diabolus)’ starts with a slow, brooding bass and excerpts of a voice talking about “the demon” that “feeds on your hate”, before the screaming starts. As the band kick in underneath the yelped vocals, there’s a carnal urge to flip tables and spin kick like your life depends on it. In a mere forty seconds, Section H8 are able to tap into the base urges of humanity’s inherently violent nature and get your adrenaline pumping like a shot to the heart. Continue reading

Totaled – Lament

Blackened Hardcore is beginning to have its day in the sun. This is, relatively speaking, of course,  as the amalgamative subgenre still firmly lives and breathes in the underground, but the likes of Svalbard and KEN Mode have been making serious waves with their critically acclaimed latest releases.

Exhaling from the ashes of acrimony, Totaled formed in 2017 and bring us their debut album, Lament (Profound Lore) and their take on Blackened Hardcore. Continue reading

Moros – Weapon

An effects-heavy floor tom pounds and reverberates sinisterly sounding like an unholy sub drop as a layer of distortion grows from the aether. Various squalls of feedback and twisted auditory hallucinations wrap their way around the percussion making ‘(vortexwound)’ a fittingly unsettling opening to Weapon (Hidden Deity). This segues into the first track proper, ‘We Don’t Deserve Death’, a creeping, sanguine number that evolves into a Rock paced rager. The instrumentation is crisp and bass heavy, perfect for the Sludge/Doom hybrid Moros are seeking to evoke. Continue reading

Sermon – Birth Of The Marvellous

In times of upheaval is partisanship the answer? In a world of divisive political opinions and warring religious ideology, where should one stand? Hate cannot be combated with hate, it can only be effectively defeated with love and unity. Theologically and spiritually seeking balance in the world is the main aim of UK anonymous mystic merchants, Sermon, and they do so with their debut album, Birth Of The Marvellous (Prosthetic Records). Continue reading

Zeal & Ardor – Live In London

For many people a live album is hardly worth bothering with. The performances can vary from being exact replicas of the studio recordings to blandly and barely played. However, a great live album is a thing of beauty, and any naysayers of the format are hard pressed to deny the electricity that jumps out of one’s speakers or headphones. Think of how enthralling Slipknot’s live material sounds, or how well crafted an Iron Maiden set-list can be and you’ll find the value in live recordings. Continue reading

11PARANOIAS – Asterismal

Drone, much like Djent, is a wonderfully onomatopoeic genre. Say “droooone” out loud and you get somewhere close to the guitar tone that makes up this subset of noise music. It’s also a rather impenetrable genre, taking vast amounts of time to learn the ins and outs of a band’s oeuvre. Drone isn’t music for casual listeners, it requires dedication. When combined with swirling psychedelia and a deluge of Doom you get Asterismal, the latest album from experimental merchants, 11PARANOIAS. Continue reading

Holding Absence – Holding Absence

A debut album should stand as a bold statement of intent. Some bands absolutely nail the formula that they will rigidly stick to for their illustrious careers like Slayer did with Show No Mercy (Metal Blade Records). For others, it can be the start of a journey that is a mystery yet to unfold as they explore their own sounds and find comfort in their own abilities, see Undertow (Zoo Entertainment) by Prog Metal maestros, Tool. With their first full-length and self-titled effort (Sharptone), where do Holding Absence sit? Continue reading

Climate of Fear – The Onset of Eternal Darkness

In the early to mid-nineties a particular form of Death Metal emerged. Pioneered by Carcass in the UK, and At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity and In Flames in Sweden, this more melodic style of deathened music was crowned the Gothenburg Metal Scene. Through the advent of the information age, the predominantly Scandinavian style found itself a global influence on the world of underground Metal, and in this school of thought we find fledgling UK act Climate of Fear. Continue reading

Mark Morton – Anesthetic

Solo projects are notoriously difficult. Sometimes they are born of internal conflict within a band leading to splintering factions looking to pave their own way. More often than not it proves that a part is not greater than the sum of the whole: who can honestly say they prefer Serj Tankian’s solo work to the output of System of a Down? They can also be the result of an ego attack, a misplaced sense of superiority with often disastrous results. Lamb Of God’s Mark Morton, however, seems to fall into neither category, so his debut solo release, Anesthetic (WPP/Spinefarm Records) can only be viewed as a long-awaited labour of love. Continue reading

SAOR – Forgotten Paths

Folk Metal is a curious genre. Oftentimes it can be undeservingly treated with ridicule; when a pair of violins and a flute appear onstage alongside a BC Rich plenty of jeers can come the way of the performers. Sometimes the ridicule is fully deserved as the folk influence can become painfully twee affair: see Eluveitie or Turisas at times. On rare occasions, however, a traditional sway can produce truly beautiful results; see, in this case, SAOR. Continue reading