Danish destroyers Phrenelith put bloody chaos into death on killer debut ‘Desolate Endcape’

It’s really easy these days to get all excited and enthusiastic about death metal, because we’re getting way more good stuff than polished garbage, and newer, younger acts are coming to the forefront. In the States, we have the intermingled Blood Incantation and Spectral Voice, as well as groups such as Gatecreeper and space demons Artificial Brain, and that’s enough good stuff before even having to venture out of this country.

Blasting in from their Danish homeland is yet another solid new addition to the underground death metal fog, that being Phrenelith, who have dropped their thunderous debut record “Desolate Endscape.” The record is being jointly released by Extremely Rotten (cassette), Me Saco un Ojo Records (vinyl), and Dark Descent (CD), and it’s a smothering, fire-breathing test of strength. Over eight songs and nearly 35 minutes, the band—guitarist/vocalist Simon Daniel, guitarist/vocalist David, bassist Jakob, and drummer Tuna—the band takes you down several paths that promise violence, power, and sometimes some outright weirdness. Through it all, they decimate the senses with this record, one you need to hear if you’re finding your hunger for death still unfulfilled.

“Conquering Divinity” starts with eerie chimes before it tears open and achieves a sickening pace. Horrid growls and a punishing pace let loose, while the drums pelt your skull. The vocals take another terrifying turn before the song hits a sludgy turn as it ends. “Deluge of Ashes” is pure death, with belchy vocals and a thrashy pace. The cut lurches along while the guitars lead the way and everything comes to a smothering finish. “Eradicated” has a mashing, gory start, as tempo punishes and clobbers, and guttural vocals gurgle grossly. The song becomes a fire flash, with the band drawing to a crushing, devastating end. The title track is an instrumental that has guitars stinging and hanging in the air, while the band takes its time building the momentum. Once the detonation button is pushed, the band thrashes and unloads their fury, with that brutality eventually disappearing into cold guitars and an acoustic outro.

“Crawling Shadows, Slithering Tongues” blisters from its first moments, engaging in a nasty death strike and lathering everything into a full fury. The band smashes bones into powder, with the growls bubbling up and poisoning the churning finish. “Defleshed in Ecstasy” has guitars slicing through the meat of the thing, as the growls burn through, and the guitars take the fiery lead. Everything is scorched to a crisp as the song fades out, leading into “Dysmorphosis” and its heavy serving of noise. The riffs massacre, as the pace rumbles dangerously downhill with no hopes of stopping. Raspy growls mix with the quaking assault, with everything rising toward the danger-filled ending that comes suddenly. Closer “Channeling a Seismic Eruption” is the longest cut at 7:16, and it has a trippy, slurry start that adds a completely different texture. As the song goes on, the speed comes, as ugly vocals turn your stomach, and the drums drop bombs. Total savagery is around every corner, as the band continues to tighten the vice around your head, squeezing until your skull gives out.

Phrenelith pay off the promise they showed on their previous demos and EP by making a devastating full-length debut with “Desolate Endscape.” This is as good a time as any to take a trip into what current underground death has to offer, or to beef up your collection, and Phrenelith is one of the groups who can take you where you need to go. Their sound pulls no punches, and this record will give you a bruising you’ll cherish well into the future.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/phrenelith/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/

Or here: http://www.mesacounojo.com/product-category/me-saco-un-ojo-releases/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/

And here: http://extremelyrotten.blogspot.com/

And here: http://www.mesacounojo.com/

LACK OF COMPREHENSION: Don’t stop believin’ … or just go ahead and stop

Yes hi. My name is John.  Most people call me Kerr.  That’s my last name.

I’ve been listening to metal music pretty much exclusively since I was a preteen.  I’m so immersed that I basically don’t think of “metal” and “music” as separate words.

Like so many others in my generation, I got into music/metal because of Metallica.  My brother would lock himself in his room listening to “Master of Puppets,” and I would sit outside his door trying to take it all in.  I hid my love for this band because I thought you weren’t allowed to like the same kind of music as your older brother.  It seemed like pretty flawless logic at the time.

A few years later, I had gotten over my brotherly fears, and my love for Metallica swelled to the point where I made my first AOL Instant Messenger screen name: MetallicaDrummer89.  I begged my mom to buy me “Ride the Lightning” and “…And Justice for All.”  I started playing “drums” along to their songs using a practice pad as a snare drum and a Tupperware box as a kick.

A couple of years later, I downloaded anything Metallica or metal I could from a thing I heard about at school. It was a thing called Napster. No, I didn’t get sued.

Metallica and Napster —unintentionally— changed the landscape of music and distribution forever, for better or worse.  Skip about a decade later, and anyone with a blogspot is suddenly receiving perfectly legal digital promo copies of upcoming albums from every label under the sun.  There are positive and negative repercussions to this. It can bring exposure weirdo bands that would be otherwise cursed with perpetual obscurity.  Similarly, kids in places where types of music are literally banned may discover their inner metalhead.

On the other hand, there’s also an overabundance of content, blindly distributed across the Internets with little regard to audience or tone.

That brings me to the point of all this.

Meat Mead Metal and practically every other music site on the internet face constant bombardment from overzealous record labels with Reply All email lists every single day. Usually these press releases and album premieres go straight to the Delete folder, but Brian and I were thinking maybe we could do something more fun than that.

I’m going to review them.

Disclaimer:  My intent here is not to bully or provoke.  I’m going into this with complete sincerity, but with the understanding that I don’t know anything about non-metal music.  Maybe this will be interesting.  Maybe it’ll be funny.  We’ll see.



Consensus is a lyricist and producer from south London.  I think that means he’s a rapper who composes the music behind the rapping.  The term “producer” in a hip hop concept has always confused me, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it means.  Yell at me in the comments if I am an ignorant shit ass.

“ConCERNed” is an album about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) with the lofty goal of conveying “particle physics and social drivers through hip hop.” I actually have a background in physics and was a professional astronomer for a number years. I’ve worked at a particle accelerator before.  Therefore, I have absolutely no idea what this means.

OK, so this is a pretty goofy-ass concept.  The first proper track “Method to the Madness” boasts that the LHC is about to shock the world with “10,000 Alan Watts.”  That might be the dumbest pun I’ve ever heard.

Bill Nye-esque cheese not withstanding, this is pretty pleasant.  The instrumental accompaniment is relatively tame compared to the DMXs and Tupacs I was used to hearing while growing up in a small farm town in Ohio. “Dark Matter” gives off some laid-back pseudo trip-hop vibes, whereas “Antimatter” and “Higgs” remind me of levels from Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64.  “Standard Model” is basically a catchy late ’90s pool party song, and I’d be lying if I said the hook isn’t stuck in my head.

I’m not even remotely qualified to critique this dude’s rapping.  It sounds fine to me?  He reaches high enough tempos that I gave up on trying to discern and make fun of the lyrics.  Is rap like metal where the faster it is, the better the song?  I like his accent.

Overall, I’m way too jaded of an ex-scientist to ever be charmed by the concept of a science-worshipping concept album, but this is one of the better executions of that sort of thing.  Most of the time such endeavors end up coming off like the aural equivalent of your elementary school teacher letting you read the cuss words out loud during the class read along. From what I can tell, “ConCERNed” is the only science-themed piece of work that Consensus has released, so nothing feels gimmicky or insincere.

It’s definitely better than “Supercollider.”

To buy the album, go here: https://consensus1.bandcamp.com/album/concerned



Oh look! It’s the Don’t Stop Believin’ chord progression!  But this time with autotuned vocals!  Fuck off.

To listen to the song, go here: https://soundcloud.com/iamkevincourtois/i-needed-you


KIM FREE – “Make Me Yours”

I was surprised by this.  It’s kind of got a bubblegum slowcore thing going on, if that makes sense.  The vocals are airy like it’s 1994 and you’re wearing an oversized sweater and you’re in a band with a girl bass player.  I wasn’t expecting violin, either.  I think I might legitimately like this.

The cover art, however, is a mix of Vaporwave insincerity and Dad’s Boat Trip Slideshow. Why is this picture in focus?

To buy the album, go here: https://kimfree.bandcamp.com/

Are you confused as to what type of site this actually is? Send us your music submissions, and John will listen to them at the gym!  Send to briankrasman@gmail.com

Father Befouled return to make death metal disgusting again on hammering opus ‘Desolate Gods’

I never know whether to feel happy or sad about bands that continually excel under the radar of many music listeners, building an impressive resume without a ton of people realizing it. They don’t get nearly the credit they deserve, yet maybe that’s good because the bands can operate without the added pressure of a ton of people analyzing their every move.

Not that they’re unknown, but way more people should be aware of Father Befouled. When people drop names of the bands that have made death metal the true force it has become, you don’t hear them involved as much as you should. Yet here they are, a decade after forming, and they’ve unleashed four devastating records onto the world, the latest being “Desolate Gods,” the first album in five years. They have remained consistently brutal since their 2012 effort “Revulsion of Seraphic Grace,” and they seem to have found a well-grounded home on Dark Descent, as perfect a spot for them as any. The band—guitarist/vocalist Justin Stubbs (Encoffination, Chasm of Nis), guitarist Derrik Goulding (Abyssion), bassist Rhys Spencer (also of Abyssion), drummer Wayne Sarantopoulos (Cauldron Burial, Encoffination)—spread their terror over eight songs and 36 minutes, delivering a perfectly dosed slab of death that is a solid as it comes.

“Exsurge Domine” is a quick introductory cut to get your filthy juices flowing, and then it’s into the heart of “Offering Revulsion,” which gets sludgy pounding going right off the bat. Guttural death and slow mauling establish themselves, as the grisly growls and pounding drums unload more violence. The pace pulls back some before the guitars rise up and start scorching again, soloing ignites, and the final moments are made up of harsh growls and guitar stabs. “Mortal Awakening” is raucous and nasty, with chaotic stomps and vocals that feel engorging. The leads boil as the twists riff into balls of madness, and the end rumbles and crumbles with fury. “Exalted Offal” has riffs spiraling and growls hissing, but then a section of hazy guitars arrives to cloud your head. It feels a little sunburnt for a time, but then things ignite, with the band dumping insanity into your lap.

“Ungodly Rest” is slurry and heavy to start, having a slight Celtic Frost feel to it. It’s heavy and relentless, as the guitars get sinewy and doom-infested, which adds a nice, dank feel to everything. A fluid solo and more gravelly growls arrive, and the final blasts could melt faces. “Divine Parallels” is mashing and mean, as the growls scrape, and the playing makes everything dizzy. As the song goes on, the pace gets faster and more threatening, with hellish growls erupting, and the song coming to an abrupt end. “Vestigial Remains” is an instrumental cut that awakens along with the guitars cutting in, and the band unfurls the piece slowly. The guitars moan in pain, while the tempo is calculated, and that all slowly melts into the closing title cut. The track explodes right off the bat, with the song drawing blood and the vocals torching flesh. “Drink the blood of desolate gods,” Stubbs howls as the song ignites and it torches and fades into the bloody horizon.

Father Befouled may never reach, say, Incantation or Morbid Angel levels of notoriety, but make no mistake, this band has been heavily instrumental in keeping underground death metal ferocious and ugly. “Desolate Gods” is another hammering display, one that will leave you writhing in pain long after it’s done. Anyone with a hunger for true, mangling death will wind up sickeningly happy with this destructive display.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/FatherBefouled

To buy the album, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/

PICK OF THE WEEK: Warped death catapults Impetuous Ritual into cosmic horror on ‘Blight Upon…’

Imagine being taken from your sleep by a force not necessarily human and being dragged into a setting utterly dark and mysterious. You can feel around and call for help, but the idea of being captured by the void and swept into something you cannot explain fills you with terror and the sense that you might not ever attain a level of normalcy ever again.

That’s what it feels like to take on a record by Australian death horde Impetuous Ritual, a band with a hard-earned reputation for taking their sound and warping it beyond recognition. A live experience with the band must be experienced to be believed, and once that confrontation comes to an end, you’re affected days on end, wondering what you just witnessed. Their third record “Blight Upon Martyred Sentience” is here, and they’ve managed to take the terror they create and make it even more bizarre. It feels like a disassociation with reality, as the band unloads tons of noise, churning violence, and outright ugliness over these nine songs that warp for a little more than 43 minutes. It’s the strangest record of their three, and it feels like a psychological act of torment.

“Void Cohesion” opens the record like a storm of plague, as noise builds and chokes, with churning death roiling through hell and forcing you to gasp for breath. It’s a mass of sound, feeling like a planet folding in on itself and experiencing a slow, tortuous death. Moans of horror spill over the background, as everything is swallowed by a black hole. “Apoptosis” delivers pure carnage, as the guitars cut down everything with their horrifying shrieks, and grim growls spill. Guitars stab, as the song gurgles on its own blood and blends into “Inordinate Disdain” that begins strangling right away. Hellish vocals and sprawling soloing cause the fires to rage over, as terrible cries pummel, and the pace keeps blazing anew. Meaty savagery puts an exclamation point at the end of the cut, and then it’s on to “Untoward Evocation.” The drumming utterly slaughters, while disorienting playing causes your head to spin, and the pace devastates. A brief halt leads to the assault carrying on again with greater fervor, spilling in disorienting space noise and leaving everything a heaving mess. “Synchronous Convergence” has guitars flexing, the drums mauling, and a complete assault on the senses taking place. Soloing erupts, while shrieks go for the throat, and from there, the guitars carry on the assault and, along with the war-torn drums, help the song come to a disruptive end.

“Denigrative Prophecies” starts with terrifying growls that start your skin crawling, and then the song blows itself apart. The tempo draws to a premature halt, but then strange vocals bubble to the surface, and the music rises and slays again. The final moments are smothering and nasty, slipping out into space. “Sullen” is anything but, as it pummels in place and rains down hammers to the surface. Thick, gross growls and a pace that seems to stomp through tar create unease, while the song burns at a calculated pace through the bulk of its stretch. As things wind to a close, total demolition is exacted, while bells chime, and the playing leaves you dizzy. “Feculence Reveled” is a violent terror, with the drums decimating bones and the vocals spreading pestilence. The guitars gush through cracks in the earth, and the cut drizzles its final dose of fear. Closer “Intransience” is the longest track at 9:06, and it boils for its first stretch, allowing heat to gather and your body to wilt. The band burrows away, as if tunneling through the ground, while massive death growls are traded off with weird vocal spurts. The song continues to dig into the crust, as the music burns, the detached wails feel like signals from beyond, and riffs spiral away into the unknown.

Impetuous Ritual remain strange enigmas of death metal, and “Blight Upon Martyred Sentience” adds an apocalyptic scarring onto the metal world. The album is an unsettling step forward for the band, and hearing these abominations being presented live should only add another level of chaos. This record might be an unsettling nightmare for many or the exact window into hell for those who have been waiting for a statement this frightening.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ImpetuousRitual/

To buy the record, go here: https://profoundlorerecords.merchtable.com

For more on the label, go here: http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/

Canadian destroyers Kafirun dream about death eradicating existence with debut ‘Eschaton’

There’s been so much talk about the end of the world lately. I think we’ve referenced it about a dozen times so far just in opening paragraphs on this site. With everything that’s going on, and all of the worldwide chaos bleeding from every corner, it’s easy to think that we’re not far away from everything being torn apart.

That scenario suits Vancouver-based black metal entity Kafirun just fine, as their cataclysmic debut full-length “Eschaton” can attest. Things are not good, and death is breathing down our necks, looking to bring about the extermination of existence in order for the world to enter its new phase. Let’s face it: This place probably would be a lot better off without us, as we tend to be an obnoxious, greedy, destructive, selfish, loathsome bunch. To put these concepts in the right setting, the band launches into a tirade of disorienting, madness-inducing passages that constantly feel as if they’re pulling against your will and destroying your psyche. The band—vocalist Luzifaust, guitarist Hanephi, bassist Hypnocrotizer—has been dwelling in the darkness ever since their formation three years, and they already have a couple of EPs (we covered the Sol y Nieve cassette reissue of “Death Worship”), a compilation, and a split to their name. This thunderous seven-track full-length takes their campaign of death to the next phase, even beyond the cessation of life.

“Lord of Blessed Murder” opens the album violently, as sounds cascade, and harsh growls hammer everything. Melodies swim in the black metal murk, as shadows spread, creaky moans are unleashed, and the track comes to a devastating end. The title cut has a hypnotic opening, with the pace dizzying, and the growls menacing. The sounds churn and the drums blast, as the pace storms forward, and gurgly growls mix with weirds chants. The song comes to a brief halt before the cut ravages again, and the end comes to a mesmerizing finish. “Omega Serpent” has guitars stinging before the rains return and flood the ground. The track is punishing and melodic, with nails falling from the sky and crushing the ground, maintaining the intensity until the song fades out.

“Divine Providence” has murky guitars spinning before things open and start swelling. Ferocious vocals and blistering melodies erupt, as speed and heaviness collide and present danger, and the band hits a relentless pace. The track then hits sludge and drubs hard, with the track plodding with a fury to its end. “Prophetic Death Trance” is gut-wrenching and bloody, with a slashing fury arriving and the melodies stirring. The track builds on chaos, as the guitars charge, and the song blasts away. “Ephemerality of the Flash” is the longest song at 8:33, as things start in heavy hypnosis before a furious attack begins. Their dripping black metal makes the room spin out of control, as feral calls race out into the night, and then clean guitars settle and provide a cool breeze. That’s a brief reprieve as the band hits high gear again and destroys with heavy bruising. Closer “Omnipresence” has an eerie start before the drums take off, and the melodies begin stirring. The pace is mind-numbing, as roared growls and throat buzz send shivers, and the band finds another level of madness. Guitars become tornadic and threatening before the devastating, emotional final moments shroud everything with smoke.

Kafirun’s vision might be a lot closer than we think, making “Eschaton” something of a visionary document. Or it could just be a grim reminder of what could be on our horizon. Their approach to their craft isn’t terribly conventional and could leave your head a winding, throbbing mess. What better way to face your fate than with your body and brain ravaged, leaving you little choice but to submit?

For more on the band, go here: http://www.kafirun.ca/

To buy the album, go here: https://shop.seancerecords.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.seancerecords.com/

Tombs take introspective look into existence, journey through time on ‘The Grand Annihilation’

Where do you go when you die? Do you know? No one does. The people who have died aren’t telling us shit, and those of us remaining on Earth are left wondering. By the way, this doesn’t have to be a Biblical heaven thing at all. This is about once you expire, does your essence fade or transcend?

Mike Hill of Tombs is a big thinker, and the band’s new record “The Grand Annihilation” broaches the subject in a very broad way. Where do you go when you die? Does it all dissolve, or do we stretch beyond dimensions to take on new beings? If you consider the idea for too long, it’ll freak you out. The idea of eternity as a single being, constantly changing and taking on completely new ideas can be utterly terrifying if you accept this existence as the only one. But if you don’t, then being able to stretch to other worlds and beings we cannot even comprehend can be exhilarating. Tombs is a constantly changing beast, with Hill always at the forefront. With him this time are guitarist Evan Void (Hivelords, Ominous Black), bassist Ben Brand (formerly of Woe), Fade Kainer (formerly of Batillus), and drummer Charlie Schmid (Vaura), who all make the best of their skills on this record.

“Black Sun Horizon” opens the album with a raucous charge, as harsh howls and soaring guitars push everything over the top. Whispery dialog mixes into fluid playing before gravelly howls emerge, and the music moans out. “Cold” trudges right away, settling into black metal terrain, with Hill wailing, “Haunted by your past lives!” “We live inside reflections,” he observes later, as the tension builds along with the heaviness. The savagery builds back up, as Hill demands, “Tear away the veil,” with things coming to a fiery finish. “Old Wounds” rumbles open, with raspy growls, another lethal dose of black metal, and the cut getting mean and nasty. Later, the soloing goes off, and then Hill unleashes his Tom G. Warrior-style chilled croons. “November Wolves” emerges from a soundscape, as the track begins to crunch and devastate. “Devour! Our worlds collide,” Hill yelps before slipping into more singing, as razor-sharp guitar works takes this song out. “Underneath” drains some inky melodies and pushes the song into gothic territory. Hill sings again—this is the record on which he goes clean the most—going on about “violent delight and violent deaths” before he demands, “Drown in darkness!”

“Way of the Storm” rages over 7:10 as murky synth bleeds before the song rips apart. The song chugs hard, as the verses are growled aggressively, with singing merging with the chaos. The track takes on a mesmerizing bend, with Hill barking but then calling ominously about being “in her dark domain.” That bleeds into “Shadows at the End of the World” that is immersed in noise before grim shadows blanket everything, and Hill’s growls return to destroy. The guitars are powerful and imaginative, and then things get bloody and filthy, as gnarly cries lather before the song fades out. “Walk With Me in Nightmares” is where the record starts to blur into everything. It’s a shorter song that feels like it doesn’t fully develop, though it does deliver ominous tidings. “Saturnalian” settles back into deep singing, as Hill imagines going “into the chasm,” and start-stop playing gives the back end a bit more muscle. Closer “Temple of Mars” brings things back to violence, as drums kick in with force, and warbled singing chills the flesh. Guitars hang in the air, as the ambiance remains cosmic and strange. “Step in the shadows, dark age arise!” Hill cries, as the track turns into mist and flees into the stars.

Tombs and Hill have taken some really interesting turns since the project’s start, and each record holds a different mystery within. “The Grand Annihilation” is a fine next step in the band’s evolution, and as time passes, the concept keeps morphing into a different beast. This record is the beefiest of their run and the most ambitious, proving Hill is a man never satisfied.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/TombsBklyn

To buy the album, go here: http://www.indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords

For more on the label, go here: http://www.metalblade.com/us/

MMM leaves house? Iron Maiden defy age, science and obliterate ‘Book of Souls’ U.S. tour opener

One does not become a metal god overnight. It takes years and years of proving yourself in the studio and on the road before such a mantle can become yours, and as many great bands as there are in the world, most never achieve that level.

But most bands are not Iron Maiden, and their arrival for the U.S. leg of the “Book of Souls” world tour hit Virginia’s Jiffy Lube Live, a venue name Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson even made fun of from the stage. These English gents have been doing their thing longer than much of their audience has been alive (another thing Dickinson noted in a detailed, humorous build-up to “Children of the Damned”), and nothing from what I saw on the stage that hot night June 3 made me think for once about how old these guys really are! Everyone in the band, except Dickinson, is in his 60s, but they play like spry youngsters trying to prove themselves. I’ve seen Maiden so many times I can’t recall, and I never saw a bad show. This one was focused on their last record, 2015’s rock-solid “The Book of Souls,” though they set up their playlist pretty interestingly. They went two new songs, two old songs, two new songs, two old songs, etc. throughout the night until the encores, which were three classics. It was a great way to showcase the new stuff, which goes over pretty well live, but always helps shoot back to please the longtime fans who just want to hear the hits.

At exactly 8:50, Maiden’s staple opening of UFO’s “Doctor Doctor” blared over the soundsystem, their longtime cue to get to your fucking seats. When the lights went down, we were treated to a video of prehistoric Eddie, battling Neanderthal foes on his way to gain access to a giant, bleeding heart. Once he grabbed it, on the top of the stage riser, Dickinson opened “If Eternity Should Fail” while hovered over a steaming cauldron. Interestingly, Maiden used no pyro (maybe sensitivity over the recent Arianne Grande show bombing, or just by plan), but there were plenty of bright flames throughout the night. Once the song kicked into high gear, so did the band, as all six members raced across the stage, diving, kicking, whipping their guitars around, and playing like an exuberant group of kids! “Speed of Light” followed, and then we went into two classics, live staple “Wrathchild” and aforementioned “Damned,” where Dickinson reminded anyone born circa 1983 or 1984 that their parents may have spawned them while listening to the song. Funny anecdote, but who bangs during that song?!

“Death or Glory” and a stirring “The Red and the Black” followed, the latter of which really should become a normal live cut going forward. It’s got the fun crowd sing-along, it’s dramatic, what’s not to like? Then we went back in time for “The Trooper,” because they can’t leave the building without playing it, and “Powerslave,” where Dickinson donned a black-and-silver lucha libre mask for the entire song. “The Great Unknown” followed, which is one of the few non-epics on “Book of Souls,” which then led into that album’s title track. I was always OK with that song, but it sounds way better live. This also was the part of the show where giant Eddie wandered onto the stage to do battle with the band. Jannick Gers ran between Eddie’s legs, Steve Harris batted him away, guitarists Adrian Smith and Dave Murray almost succumbed, but Dickinson was able to thwart him and rip out his bleeding heart. Yet, even sans heart, Eddie didn’t die. Because he’ll never die. “Fear of the Dark,” which erupted the crowd, and band anthem “Iron Maiden” (complete with a blow-up Eddie that rose from the back of the riser) sent the crowd into a frenzy and ended a very satisfying main set.

For the encore, a giant devil rose up from the stage, while Vincent Price’s eerie introduction led into “The Number of the Beast,” one of the great metal songs of all time, and also one of the most misunderstood. The band raced onto the stage with renewed energy, flying everywhere to deliver a song that forever has a place in metal lore. Dickinson then noted the terrible terror attacks that took place in London that day, but he used it as a uniting point. He talked about the varied ages among audience members, the numerous nationalities represented (I noticed that in the merch line when I had conversations with people from so many different places, which was just great), and that fed into “Blood Brothers,” a galvanizing track where the audience members roared back the simple but powerful chorus. The night wrapped with a powerful “Wasted Years,” itself a song that should have left everyone with the idea that we should grasp tight amazing nights like these, when the great Iron Maiden reminds us all the true power of metal.

Polarizing throwback metal powers Ghost opened the show and they, not surprisingly, ruled shit. This is a band that, if their popularity continues to grow, and they don’t make stupid missteps, should be ruling arenas on their own. Papa Emeritus III was in complete command, and his new Nameless Ghouls made anyone aware of the recent controversy surrounding the band forget all that shit. Naturally, they opened with “Square Hammer,” which has one of the best choruses ever. “From the Pinnacle to the Pit” followed, which sounded amazing, and then they hit oldie “Ritual,” which still is one of their best songs. Papa charmed the crowd, speaking of evil and perversions (he mentioned female orgasms at one point, but I couldn’t totally make out what he was saying), as he and the band hit “Devil Church,” a stirring take of “Cirice,” “Absolution,” “Mummy Dust,” and “Monstrance Clock,” which was a weird choice for a set closer. The crowd was super into Ghost, and there wasn’t the expected heavy “Maiden!” chant at all during their set. That’s a good sign that Ghost have made a slew of minions very convincingly.

It was an awesome night at the big outdoor shed, though Jiffy Lube Live could be run a little better. Going into the place, you’re whipped into a formless herd with no semblance of line structure and no one knowing what to do. There were no staff members giving instructions at all. Once inside, it was nearly impossible to get merch or food without a very, very long wait in a line that never moved. It took me 35 minutes to buy one shirt. The positive in that is, as noted, all of us trying to give Maiden our money had a chance to bond, tell each other where we’re from (guy in front of me lived 15 minutes away; the group behind us traveled from Asia!), and make friends for the night. Also, holy shit, we paid a lot of money to get unobstructed view of the stage. So, a half dozen or so people I had to chase from the railing in front of us. They did not have seats in the area, and they cursed at me and called me derogatory names for asking them to leave. Maybe I sound like a dick, but dude, I drove along way to see this show and spent money that really isn’t disposable. Look, security should handle this. I asked several times for them to do something about it. They just kind of stared and meekly approached these people. I was aggravated, also had no alcohol in me, but had to slap these assholes on the back and ask them to move. Good times. Like, look, don’t do that to people. Don’t stand in front of people who paid their money and block their view. I’m not the asshole for yelling at you. You are the asshole. That said, good times, Maiden was amazing, and despite the Pens losing that night, we went home fulfilled with the light of metal.

But really, Jiffy Lube Live, get your shit together.

PICK OF THE WEEK: Triumvir Foul smear filth, rotten death chaos on violent ‘Spiritual Bloodshed’

Putrid, unforgiving death metal can roll around in the hell and filth and sound all the better. What other form of music that’s not in the metallic regions can you honestly say that about? Digging into something that revels in all the worst society must offer and practically quivering with glee in its immersion in that territory surely may offend some, yet not those of us who dine on death.

Triumvir Foul have been one of death metal’s true revelations the past few years. The band’s self-titled 2015 debut was one of the best records of that year, an offering that wasn’t afraid to rub its audiences faces in the filth. Now comes their blistering second record “Spiritual Bloodshed” that tells you what you need to know before you hit play. Yet, once inside, you’re met face first with vile, heathenistic blasts that aim to rip you apart, limb from limb. The eight tracks that run over an ideally served 38 minutes are devastating and filthy, making your ears and your senses gush with blood. Yet, the band’s true sense of death metal debauchery will prevent you from feeling too bad about the pain you’re in as this record delivers repeatedly. Triumvir Foul have trimmed itself down to its primary two members vocalist/guitarist Ad Infinitum and drummer Cedentibus (both also play together in Ash Borer, Urzeit, and Serum Dreg), and, as a unit, they lay out a scorched-earth policy that destroys lives.

“Asphyxiation” starts the record, and it’s ideally titled, because that is what it feels like you’re going through for the most part. Noise builds, crushing your chest, before the first wild cries emerge, and madness erupts. The tempo is torn to shreds, while the guitars mangle your ear drums, and furious growls tumble with total demolition. “Serpentine Seed” has guitars blaring again, almost as if they’re physically trying to catch fire, while the playing destroys. Animalistic savagery lays waste to everything in front of it, but then the pace pulls back and gets muddy and drubbing. Everything explodes again in the final minutes, as the soloing scorches, and noise spirals out. “Entranced By Filth” is led in by drums that sound like they’re in the midst of war and music that brings raucous terror. The track completely blinds, clobbering your senses, before everything disappears in smoke. “Tyrannical Chains of Flesh” arrives with smothering heaviness and a huge serving of grime. The guitars cut through and annihilate over the choruses, while the riffs make it feel like the room is spinning out of control. The soloing then sprawls dangerously, charging into a noise-infested end.

“Disembowelment Pneuma” has noise spreading like plague and the track heading into a thrashy vortex. The cut is crunchy and violent, with gruff growls and a full serving of menace. “Vomitous Worship in Rotten Tombs” bathes in a feedback swarm before the band lets loose an ugly, damaging assault. The vocals are maniacal, while the strings are scraped, and soloing hits full blazing. Nastiness and destructive playing meet toward the end of the cut, as the track sizzles, giving off steam, and heads into the title track. There, punishing riffs begin to truck, while the pace continually ramps up and sends the song into a tornadic freak out. The vocals slice through bones, with the track ending up quaking and convulsing violently. Closer “Vrasubatlatian Rites” runs a devastating 7:20 and uses every second to squeeze and grind away. The riffs are heavy as fuck, often teasing consummation by fire, but then things settle into a calculated pace. That leads into rhythmic thrashing and a display that, while not as speedy, still leaves gaping wounds. But you know before they’re done they’re coming at you with sharpened teeth, and they do in the final minutes with a massive surge that leaves no bodies unmarked as the song disappears into a sound storm.

Triumvir Foul are only at the beginning of their hellish existence, and two records in, they’re one of the bands keeping their teeth firmly gnawing at the roots. “Spiritual Bloodshed” is manic and violent, and each drip of this record is full of noxious poison and ill intent. The torture and disgust you will face will be worth it long after the record has expired, just because what you have here is so scorching and devastating.

For more on the band, go here: http://www.vrasubatlat.com/

To buy the album, go here: https://invictusproductions.net/shop/

For more on the label, go here: https://invictusproductions.net/

Cavernlight immerse music into mental issuees on great debut offering ‘As We Cup Our Hands…’

Some of the very worst people on the planet are the macho assholes who question any human being suffering from mental illness. Basically, if you’re one of those people, go fuck off forever. No one is weak or soft because of this, and some folks just have brains that don’t process chemicals the same as you, you garbage tank.

Sorry to get off track, but anyone who has read this site at any time at all knows we have a soft spot for mental illness. I suffer from it and have battled it for years, and that’s a major reason Cavernlight’s debut full-length “As We Cup Our Hands and Drink From the Stream of Our Ache” hit me so hard in the chest region. The record is a five-movement piece that follows a person suffering from cataclysmic anxiety and mental illness and the daily struggle to find meaning, peace, happiness, and even a reason to keep taking the next step. Trying to work through that black hole of hell and attempting to heal can take longer than major surgery, and there is no guarantee there will be a happy ending. The band—Scott Zuwadzhi (vocals, guitars, noise), Patrick Crawford (guitars), Brandon Pleshek (bass, synth) and Adam Bartlett (drums, vocals)—actually formed in 2006, and as their mission developed, so did these songs and what makes up this amazing record. The band’s form of atmospheric doom can drag you to the bottom of the river, gasping for breath, though now and again, light beams through.

Opener “Lay Your Woes Upon the Ground and Know That the End Will Swallow You” has noise charging and a slightly gothic feel to its atmosphere. Tortured growls erupt, synth curls beneath the chaos, and a cloudy doom blanket spreads over everything. Wild shrieks break through the murk, injecting a feeling of utter sorrow, while the band mauls viciously. Demonic cries rise with the tempo, as the track rolls out with the storm. “Constructing a Spire to Pierce and Poison the Infinite” has cold guitars stinging and the drums beginning to rumble. The song takes up a slow-pounding push, and as things develop, the track gets more vicious. Sheets of hurt delivered by the chasms of madness eventually pull back a bit. But then hulking growls and a slithering pace drag the song into the mist. “Wander, Part II” (the first part was on their 2015 “Corporeal” demo) is an instrumental cut that simmers in sounds, with guitars dripping, and a cold, post-storm coldness breezing your cheeks and putting chill in your bones.

“To Wallow in the Filth That Dwells Where Despair Is Born” has some brighter guitar work at the start, with sounds drizzling and a heavy gaze section swelling heavily. Tortured wails erupt, while a slowly bleeding pace emerges and is met with bone-crushing shrieks. The vocals turn to bruised wails, while pain and beauty mix in the music, piano lightly falls to the surface, and a fog thickens and leads into devastation. Closing track “A Shell of One’s Former Self” brings everything together, and it also features some guests who add their own textures to the song. Sarah Green (who also contributes cello to the record) unleashes her angelic voice that mixes with churning guitars that should squeeze your lungs. After several minutes, the tracks bursts as growls slither across the earth, and skies begin to crumble. Terrifying wails from both Rachel from FALSE and Mike Paparo from Inter Arma/Bastard Sapling breathe fire, as Green continues to boom, while the song slowly dissolves and turns into a mist.

Cavernlight’s music puts their individual members’ hearts and psyches on the line with “As We Cup Our Hands and Drink From the Stream of Our Ache,” and this music could help someone who’s wallowing in the same dark body of water find a like-minded voice. The music is immersive, dark, and swelling with emotion, and the journey is one so many of us face. Anyone out there suffering should know they’re definitely not alone, and this music could be their journey to healing.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/cavernlightnoise/

To buy the album, go here: gileadmedia.bandcamp.com

For more on the label, go here: http://www.gileadmedia.net/