Review: SPARROWMILK – ‘Articles of Separation’ [Album Stream]

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Clevelanders Sparrowmilk are a three piece atmospheric instrumental doom rock band with ample amounts of sludge a la carte. Founded in 2014 the band features members of Venomin James, Doomstress and Ancient VVisdom. They have quickly gelled and captivated listeners both near and far with their instrumental stylings. Though the band has no vocalist they certainly aren’t speechless. Their music speaks to you in ways that traditional lyrics could never do. Their influences range from fellow instrumentalists Pelican and Karma To Burn, then to Celtic Frost, Electric Wizard, Black Sabbath and even noting The Cure as well. While this seems like a broad range of influences the band’s sound isn’t scattered or all over the place, their music is refined and maintains cohesiveness. Sparrowmilk has recently released ‘Articles of Separation’ on February 15th 2017 via Kultland Recordings. This marks the bands debut, and has previously only released demo material. Their dominance of the instrumental metal genre begins now! Continue reading

WOUNDED GIANT Review & Exclusive Stream Of ‘Vae Victis’ [Album Stream]

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Formed in late 2011 as an outlet for the winter blues, Seattle trio WOUNDED GIANT jams on all things heavy, psychedelic and dark. They are unapologetically influenced by icons from Thin Lizzy and Hawkwind to Motorhead and The StoogesWounded Giant knocked out an early demo with Tad Doyle (Brothers of the Sonic Cloth), then followed it with debut album ‘Lightning Medicine’ on Black Mess Records. Their third offering, a split LP with Goya, sold out its first pressing on the day of its release. Things were on the up and up for the band. While most bands would ride that wave Wounded Giant turned things up and raised the bar yet again with their new release ‘Vae Victis’. The new album ‘Vae Victis’ arrives April 1st, 2017 with the Billy Anderson production stamp. If you are not familiar with Billy Anderson by name you have surely heard his production work with bands like   Neurosis, Swans, Melvins, Sleep, Brutal Truth, Buzzoven and Cattle Decapitation. The deluxe multi-edition treatment of the album is compliments of STB Records to commemorate its raging majesty. It only adds to the greatness of this album that Russia’s infamous “Mad Monk” Rasputin makes a cameo on the cover art. He also made the cover of Type O Negative’s 2007 album ‘Dead Again’. If you are unfamiliar with Rasputin I suggest you get acquainted with his historic tale. Continue reading

Review: Palmless – ‘The Nine Exits’ [Select Tracks Streaming]

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Palmless is an experimental metal band from Malmoe, Sweden. The thing that brought them to my attention was Jonas Pedersen’s former band Black Temple; who’s debut album I awarded the best album of 2015. When Jonas departed Black Temple I was first let down, then quickly finding out he had a band in waiting which was Palmless. These two bands differ greatly. Palmless is much more experimental and sometimes fitting more closely in the black metal genre. Jonas trades in his bass for guitar duties with this band. Vocalist Niklas Olsson has a vivid approach as the frontman, voice shines within this band. Ulf Blomberg brings the low end thunder on bass and drummer Daniél rounds out the band with his hard hitting stylings and cymbal crashes. Combined the members give the band an all-around sound that is full of varying elements and groundbreaking techniques. Palmless has relinquished their debut album ‘The Nine Exits’ on January 13, 2017. It was recorded and mixed by Jonas Pedersen at his studio Kryptan IV, in Malmö, Sweden. Continue reading

REVIEW: Malkavian’s Second Full Length “Annihilating the Shades” [Lyric Video]

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I had a flashback, some deja vu of sorts, when I first saw the name Malkavian come across my screen.  A little synapse in the back of my head lit up, screaming about how familiar that name was.  After some ponderance, my brain finally hit upon the source while listening to the band’s latest release: the Malkavian were a race of vampires in the popular role playing game Vampire: The Masquerade, most notably known for being insane.  Whether or not this is the true source of their name, French thrash metal spiked with technical groove maestros Malkavian certainly play to the chaotic nature that is a key feature of the species.  Originally formed in 2008, Malkavian released their first EP in early 2009.  After hitting the road to make a name for themselves in France’s metal scene, the band worked through 2010, making some tweaks to what would be their finalized lineup around 2011, and eventually got the chance to open for well known deathcore act Suicide Silence come 2012. Their first full length,  “The Worshipping Mass“,  saw its biggest distribution in 2014 under current label Finistrian Dead End.  Ever since, Malkavian has kept busy by working the dual grind of festival and tv appearances, and are ready to drop their 2nd full length on March 31st. 

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Review: WITHIN SHADOWS – ‘Mind = Enemy’ [Album Stream]

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Photo Credit: Jess Lynne

WITHIN SHADOWS was originally a solo project started by Sean Farias (Vocals, Guitar), starting in 2012 . The Canadian band then started to morph from a solo project into more of a band. The project became a two-piece band once drummer Jordan Heffernan joined in 2014. At the end of Summer 2015, they began to collaborate with Jordan’s very good friend Brad Tiessen. Brad and Jordan are lifelong friends, which provided WITHIN SHADOWS with a perfect fit to have him in the band shredding guitar. They recently added latest member, bassist Jacob Bailey nearing the end of Summer 2016. They finished and released their debut EP ‘Release The Disease’ in November 2015. This is where this band sets themselves apart from others in the music industry. The profits made from CD sales went directly to the Harrow Food Bank as a donation from the band. They band also mentions that the donation was made possible by the fans, friends and family who supported the album. The band now has a brand new LP that released December 21, 2016 titled ‘Mind = Enemy’. The band truly prides themselves on creating a variation of different styles within their music. The songs range from easycore, to heavy metal, to hardcore, to light metal, to pop punk to ballad instrumental, to djent and more. After reading that you probably think this album is scatterbrained and all over the place but it’s a truly cohesive album that works.  Continue reading

Review: MEMORIAM – ‘For The Fallen’

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Following the death of drummer Martin “Kiddie” Kearns, old school death metal band Bolt Thrower came to its end in 2016. A few weeks later, Frank Healy’s (Benediction) father passed away. Since then, Bolt Thrower vocalist Karl Willets and Healy have joined forces to create a new project featuring members of Benediction, Life Denied, and Bolt Thrower. Memoriam is in a similar vein to Bolt Thrower boasting their brutal death metal sound and super heavy guitar tone. Their main focuses in their songs are on themes like death, loss, and war. The UK band formed in 2016 and has since released two demos. The first full length album, ‘For the Fallen’ is set to be released via Nuclear Blast Records on March 24th. The album was recorded in about two weeks at Hellfire Studios but took four weeks to get the mix finished exactly as they wanted it done. ‘For the Fallen’ was produced by Ajeet Gill (Hellbastard, Dark Forest, Element) and artwork was created by Dan Seagrave (Benediction, Dismember, Hypocrisy, Suffocation). You can pre-order the album here.    Continue reading

Review: NEO NOIRE – ‘Element’ [Lyric Video Included]

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NEO NOIRE is a brand new band formed by rock and metal masterminds Vocal/Guitarist Frederyk Rotter (Zatokrev, The Leaving, Crown) and Vocalist/Guitarist Thomas Baumgartner (Ex-GurD, Erotic Jesus, Undergod). The lineup of the swiss rock outfit is completed by bassist Franky Kalwies (Ex-Disgroove) and drummer David Burger (Ex-Slag In Cullet). It was in the autumn of 2016 that the band played their first live show and put the finishing touches on their debut album ‘Element’ which is set to release worldwide on May 5th, 2017 via Czar Of Revelations. The album was recorded at MyRoom Studios with Raphael Bovey. ‘Element’ has already drawn mass attention from fans as well as the media. NEO NOIRE mix a variation of styles on their debut outing including alternative, post/psychedelic rock and metal. They don’t only include these styles but they bridge the gap between them. NEO NOIRE want to truly bring back the golden age of music and have been at times compared to Smashing Pumpkins and Jane’s Addiction without the gaudiness these bands were trapped in. Continue reading

Review: VIBRANT HEELS – ‘Driven’ [Album Stream]

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Photo Credit: Catherine Pelchat

Vibrant Heels hasn’t been around all that long, and you’d never know that from hearing their music. The Alt rock / Metal band hails from Canada and formed in 2015. They claim they are the band that just doesn’t fit in. They blend catch lyrical melodies, heaviness & groove filled rhythms all at the same time. They are like the guys next door really, just normal guys trying to create their own niche in music and they are truly headed in the right direction. The bands latest release ‘Driven’ released on February 10, 2017. The album was recorded at Broil Audio by Raphael Malenfant & Michael Fontaine (Frequance Production) and also mixed by Raphael Malenfant and mastered by François C. Fortin. Vibrant Heels truly blends a variation of sounds, and upon the first listen of the album it may seem a little obscure, but as you continue down the rabbit whole of music they have created it becomes more and more addictive.  Continue reading

CONDEMNED – His Divine Shadow LP Review (+Stream!)

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I’m no expert in brutality, but I do enjoy the occasional brutal death metal album. With that said – when I happen to be in the brutal mood per se, I REALLY enjoy the blast beats and guttural-infested vocals that are such distinguishing staples of the subgenre. So enough about my white belt in all things gore; let’s plunge head first into Unique Leader Records’ latest offering of death in Condemned’s third full length, His Divine Shadow. Founding member, Steve Crow, delivers some of the sickest riffs I’ve heard all year on this wooly mammoth of an album. Plus, His Divine Shadow is Condemned’s first LP to feature newer members – bassist Ryan Tyler, vocalist Sam Townsley, and drummer Tyson Jupin.  Continue reading

Manchester’s COLD FELL Offer Up Full Length Debut [Album Review] [Album Stream]

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Manchester, England, a city that exploded around the turn of the Industrial Revolution, has served as a backdrop and inspiration of metal musicians of all ranges.  No small wonder, either, given the social issues created once the trappings of the industrial exploitation machinations were set into play. Workers were often forced into inhumane working conditions and eventually, periods of civil unrest between the working poor and the bourgeois erupted, leaving behind inauspiciousness in it’s wake. From these circumstances, and similar in cities such as Birmingham, the bubblings of metal sprung forth to unleash upon the world an especially dreadful perspective.  The natives Cold Fell (so named for a mountain in the North Pennines, a spine, if you will, that weaves throughout northwestern English countryside) have finally gotten the opportunity to add their own voice to the offerings, four years after the release of their first EP. Comprised of Laurence Taylor (of Caina) on vox, Karl Sveinsson and Giovanni Infantino on lead and rhythm guitar, Callum Cox pounding on the drums, and Oliver Edward Turner on bass, Cold Fell evidently put the gap time after their initial EP to good use as 2017 has been gifted with one smoking full length debut. 

“Irwell” is both the name that christens their Argento Records release and a river valley nestled in (you guessed it) northwestern England.  Coming in with eight tracks, “Irwell” is a solid monster of a proper debut which bares it’s teeth from the opening, snapping fierce jaws within instrumental passages so you, the listener, do not escape it’s mighty grasp.  The band members here have an excellent chemistry which is evident in the ways in which each track has been composed.  There’s not a superfluous time change, solo or angry vocal howl throughout the album that I could find; these guys were on a mission of craft and on “Irwell” they absolutely bring the pain.  Peppered throughout each of the songs, one can easily see the influence that classic black metal and contemporary bands of the same genre have had on the members, and rather than setting out to exploit those genres or relying on a more avant garde/experimental approach, CF pay homage to those before and current in black metal by efficiently utilizing the core sounds, topped with their own personal flavor. Take, for instance, ‘Folly (Health & the Glory)’  which opens with a nicely fat bass thrum underlying the assault unleashed by the typical frontrunners of guitar and drums.  Densely atmospheric in the right places, the track pummels along, punctuated with howling guitar shrieks that eerily mimic a female’s screams in places, while ‘Bone Ceiling’ bites and snarls in its own right, featuring a nice addition of fist pump worthy chants that will surely be as appreciated during a live performance as it is on record. My overall album pick, though (and it’s surely a close call to make), is narrowly the doom and gloom served up by ‘The Whip (Armed to the Teeth): furious skin work where appropriate with some nicely bitter slower tempo drops, some skillful lead guitar that helps pull the beat back from the mire and cohesive and spot on instrumental passages.  The album closer, ‘Dream of Seppuku’, is a wholly appropriate one that fits like a glove.  Seppuku refers to the Japanese act of suicide by disembowelment, and this track moves in thematically appropriate ways until it fades into a more somber tone sprinkled with some piano keys.  While not necessarily a game changer (and not that it had such ambitions in the first place), “Irwell” delivers a solid album sure to catch the attentions of the black metal scene, and gives just enough to keep us wanting more.

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