Antlers – A Gaze into the Abyss (2015)

Band: Antlers

Release: A Gaze into the Abyss

Label: Independent

Reviewer: Crono

Antlers describes themselves as atmospheric black metal, and of course, they are named Antlers. So when I turned on this debut album from the German band, I was expecting something along the lines of an Addaura or Wolves in the Throne Room, or perhaps similar to their fellow Germans, Dämmerfarben. It’s not an odd assumption to make, but it was completely off the mark. Continue reading

Demo Roundup #1

Instead of a normal one album review, I’ve decided to show off some demos from earlier in the year I feel went undeservedly unnoticed

Bands: The Death Wheelers, Phrenelith, Axis of Light

Releases: See below

Reviewer: Goldensundown

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Altar – Un Lugar Sin Nombre (2015)

Band: Altar

Album: Un Lugar Sin Nombre

Label: Independent

Reviewer: Dave

Altar is a power metal band hailing from Costa Rica whose career spans many years but with relatively little output. Un Lugar Sin Nombre (English: “A Place without a Name”) is their sophomore full-length album coming six years after their debut. As far as power metal goes, Altar have a wider range than most bands in that some tracks are more aggressive and raw than most, where the sound more closely aligns with the USPM scene from the eighties than it does with any of the European bands that have come and gone aping the Nightfall-era Blind Guardian. Then you have songs with the more typical European sound, complete with the heavy emphasis on synthesizers and keyboards. And then you have a couple slow ballads on top of that, along with a couple longer progressive Dream Theater-like compositions. So reviewing this album is more like reviewing a collection of songs as opposed to reviewing an album as a whole. Continue reading

Iwrestledabearonce – Hail Mary (2015)

Artist: iwrestledabearonce

Album: Hail Mary

Label: Artery Recordings

Author: Bloodshot Grub

iwrestledabearonce is not a well-respected band, but I picked up this review because really enjoyed one of their prior albums enough that I wanted to see what they were up to. IWABO seem to be known more for their schtick than their music, and while that perception is not entirely unjustified, Ruining It for Everybody was a surprisingly good album with numerous poignantly sentimental moments that were actually somehow reinforced by the juvenile humor. Yes, they’ve always been gimmicky pop-metalcore, but they’re also a band that went for something different and, at times, pulled it off. Even when they weren’t that great, they were at least interesting. Now it seems they’ve decided to stay interesting by subverting expectations of being interesting… by being less interesting. They’ve dropped the schtick on this one and are aiming to be taken seriously, to be judged on their musical merits alone. Continue reading

Nocturnal Depression – Spleen Black Metal (2015)

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Artist: Nocturnal Depression
Album: Spleen Black Metal
Label: Avantgarde Music

Finally, after many reviews that skirt around it, we are getting to the meat of the music that I truly enjoy. I’m a black metal guy, and I love the more thought-provoking styles of black metal, including atmospheric black and depressive/suicidal black. So when I took on reviewing Nocturnal Depression’s latest album, I decided that just listening to Spleen Black Metal was not good enough. Nocturnal Depression has been around for a long time, and has released a lot of albums. Hailing from France, like so many other amazing black metal bands, they began making their skin-crawling, gut-wrenching music back in 2004. While this may not sound like it’s that long ago, this is their sixth full length album in 11 years. I wanted to respect Nocturnal Depression, so I went back in time and listened to a few of their older albums. Not that I am completely new to them, but I wanted to have their older sound fresh in my ears when I reviewed Spleen Black Metal.
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Ahna – Perpetual Warfare EP (2015)

Band: Ahna

Album: Perpetual Warfare EP

Label: Choking Hazard Records

Reviewer: Brandon (Guest Reviewer)

Hailing from Canada, Ahna formed in 2008 and started putting out material in the vein of extremely slow doom with heavy crust and black metal influence. After an LP in that style and a string of demos, splits, and EPs, Ahna has moved towards something that I’m infinitely more interested in: a mix of thrash, death metal, and crust. With a mixture lower pitched growls, higher pitched growls, yelled “clean” vocals that immediate remind one of Sacrilege, and a guitar tone (and a fair amount of riffs) hailing to the same band as well as to early Bolt Thrower, Ahna, on Perpetual Warfare, has created something that is, if not completely unique, is incredibly interesting and definitely moving towards there; in just over seventeen minutes, they provide a mixture between fast nonstop riffage based around groovy one-string melodies and occasional slower breakdowns that work incredibly well with the music and don’t at all detract from the high energy, headbanging groove that Ahna puts out whenever they’re not slowing down. Continue reading

Drudkh – Борозна обірвалася (A Furrow Cut Short) (2015)

Band: Drudkh

Album: Борозна обірвалася (A Furrow Cut Short)

Label: Season of Mist

Reviewer: Gabriel

Releasing a total of ten full-length albums since their formation in 2002, Ukraine’s Drudkh has established themselves as one of modern black metal’s most prominent bands. Their latest, Борозна обірвалася (A Furrow Cut Short) doesn’t stray very far from what one would expect from Drudkh – namely lengthy songs that feature mystical riffs and lyrics based around Ukrainian folklore and poetry. This album exhibits what Drudkh does best, however nothing new is really brought to the table.

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