Hayter hammers back at power structures on Lingua Ignota’s explosive new record ‘Caligula’

Fuck the patriarchy. It’s a saying you’ve probably heard quite a bit the past few years, and it’s one that speaks to the amount of power that’s disproportionately distributed among the upper echelon of society, and it hammers people to the ground who are not in the upper crust. It’s a push back against the idea of heavy-handed rule that never stops.

Kristin Hayter’s art has reflected some of the abuse and pain she has experienced in her life and has become a torch of sorts for those who has experienced sexual assault and abuse and refuse to shut up about it. That was the focus of her debut full-length “All Bitches Die,” but on her second record under the Lingua Ignota name, “Caligula,” she takes on that idea of power. Not that it’s necessarily limited to the patriarchy, but let’s face it, who are most of the people in charge of this world, especially this country? On these 11 tracks that span about 66 minutes, Hayter pours her rage, disgust, sorrow, and fire into every ounce of this album, and it’s impossible to turn away. This is a declaration of war, one Hayter will wage with words and fire, and while it’s not as abrasive from a noise standpoint as her debut, it’s a scathing shot to the top. Her aim is to see the power structure crumble and turn to powder.

“FAITHFUL SERVANT FRIEND OF CHRIST” begins with noise floating as Hayter’s singing emerges, numbing and haunting, dragging you by the hand toward “DO YOU DOUBT ME TRAITOR” that has keys dropping and her asking, “How can you doubt me now?” The corrosion comes fast, as she wails, “Every vein of every leaf of every tree is slaked with poison,” as the bloodbath flows, and the psyche of the song is damaged further, with Hayter insisting, “I don’t eat, I don’t sleep,” as a way of breaking down. Pianos crush and noises shakes every corner of the room, as Hayter delivers a morbid warning, “Bitch, I smell you bleeding, and I know where you sleep,” which should leave any soul unsettled. “BUTCHER OF THE WORLD” continues her aim to melt power, as out of eeriness Hayter cries, “Rise up, and I’ll cut you down.” The music has a dark imperialism to it, as a strange calm settles, pianos splash, and Hayter’s singing sounds serene but is anything but, especially with her wish of, “May your days be few.”  “MAY FAILURE BE YOUR NOOSE” is solemn as it begins, with Hayter asking her subject, “Who will love you if I don’t? Who will fuck you if I won’t?” Piano and noise combine and buzz, as the south meanders further south, and her singing reminds of Tori Amos in spots, as she ends the song observing, “Everything burns down around me.” “FRAGRANT IS MY MANY FLOWER’D CROWN” has keys pounding, as Hayter examines the compassion shown by men toward each other and wonders why that doesn’t carry over elsewhere. “Brothers in each other’s arms,” she sings as the song goes further into the darkness, coming to a quiet, painful finish.

“IF THE POISON WON’T TAKE YOU MY DOGS WILL” is ominous and scary from the start, as it is influenced by Jim Jones’ death tape, and the journey is harrowing as expected. Piano quivers, as Hayter sings, “If you lay your life down, no man can take it, will you join me?” A deluge of screams wells up as the sing rumbles and shakes, leaving your psyche scarred. “DAY OF TEARS AND MOURNING” has liturgical organs creating a deep fog, while the bottom drops out and pounds, screams come terrifyingly to life, and the melodies instill the track with old-style horrors, the black-and-white style that make it feel like you’ve slipped into a different era. “SORROW! SORROW! SORROW!” delivers on what its name promises, as Hayter stretches and drags her voice, creating weird inflections as simple keys drip, and Hayter realizes, “Nobody knows my sorrow,” as the music slips down the drain. “SPITE ALONE HOLDS ME ALOFT” begins in a serene, cold part of the room before shrieks erupt and destroy peace, with Hayter calling, “All who proclaim their love betray me!” Animalistic cries follow, as things continue to crumble to the ground, walls melt, and Hayter demands, “Kill them all!” as a choral swarm takes the song out. For all its violent intent, “FUCKING DEATHDEALER” actually feels like an emotional comedown on purpose, as music chimes and Hayter points, “I am the butcher of the world.” She promises it would be foolish not to fear her, and the music bleeds right into closer “I AM THE BEAST” that fills the space with heartache as Hayter demands, “Come claim me.” The track gets heavier and nastier from there, a final burst of scraping fury, where Hayter howls, “All I know is violence,” as bursts surround her words, vicious screams follow, and everything collapses into a doom wormhole that surges and brings things to an abrupt end.

Hayter’s passion, rage, and taste for bloody revenge make “Caligula” a record so powerful and scathing, it should be able to bring any world leader to the knees. The record is a bit more varied than “All Bitches Die” and it’s a richer, even scarier experience for the variety and nuance. There is no voice out there anything like Hayter’s, and she may be the death angel we all anticipated who would arrive and burn our oppressive structures to the goddamn ground.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://www.hellomerch.com/collections/lingua-ignota?fbclid=IwAR2xdNgH3XPbeQ676LgMFUz3QGM17kkqrgoZRDQ2lS9E_4AbhELOZ2bgag8

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

Falls of Rauros keep pumping humanity’s, nature’s heart on moving ‘Patterns in Mythology’

I’ve only been to Maine once, a few years ago with a former SO who took me there for the hiking and natural aspects. It was an amazing adventure, a place where we walked to so many different heights, saw things far different from what’s here in Pennsylvania (itself a magnificent state), and felt a connection to the Earth for which I often long.

So, I’m rather envious of long-running black metal band Falls of Rauros who live there and splash as much of the majesty of their surroundings into their breath-taking records. Their latest is “Patterns in Mythology,” their fifth full-length release overall and their first for new label home Gilead Media. If you’re already a disciple of their spacious, atmospheric power, prepared to get bowled over yet again with their art, as they pack explosive fire and humanistic energy into these six tracks. You also can’t help but indulge in this band—guitarist/vocalist Aaron, guitarist/vocalist/keyboard player Jordan, bassist Evan, and drummer Ray—and feel the forces of the Earth in everything that they do, from their volcanic heaviness that feels like a massive stormfront coming on to their rustic folk moments when nature takes a step back and lets us ease into her arms. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed, but that’s a good thing as you’re forced to absorb every drop of their music almost for nourishment.

“Detournement” opens the record with noise rising, feelings beginning to well up, and the momentum slowly building toward glorious heights, pushing its way into “Weapons of Refusal,” the longest track on here at 11:11. Riffs chew as shrieks emerge, as the band unleashes its black metal fury, punching into a cavalcade of chaos. Leads splatter as the song goes into a melodic rush, then acoustics brings winds of change before the song soars again into ferocity. The band brings with it a whirlwind of sensation, as a practical deluge of sounds erupt, ripping at your heartstrings, while the band keeps toppling minds as the track comes to an end. “New Inertia” has a clean start that revels in elegance before the lid is torn off, and growls and shrieks rush down like a mad rain. That madness gives way to serenity for a stretch before a molten solo tears its way out, and a proggy, exciting run begins to take place. That brings with it guitars that feel like they’re ushering in a warm summer day, while the band keeps things on high before the song comes to a smashing end.

“Renouvellement” is a breather from the blazes, and a really hearty one at that. Acoustics stoke the fires, while clean singing adds a different texture to the record, and gentle harmonizing toward the back end feels organic and calming. “Last Empty Tradition” then comes in with guitars bursting at the seams, growls crushing, and the power being injected all over again. Layered leads combine to create a singular force as guitars pull back and let echo wash over them. An explosion brings us out of our trance as savage vocals do significant damage, the sounds hammer down with unreal force, and melodies blast out, ending things on a high note. “Memory at Night” closes the album, as the bass jars, darkness spreads over the land, and the vocals open up some new wounds. The leads begin to glimmer before spiraling away as harsh, urgent shrieks rip open sleepy eyes, and the playing absolutely hammers. Suddenly, the track takes on a cosmic feel, as noise fills the room, senses are tested, and graceful playing pushes the song to its final gates as everything is allowed to bleed away.

I’m not sure when or if I’ll ever get back to Maine, but Falls of Rauros always remind me of what I felt when I was there for those few days, absolutely in awe. “Patterns in Mythology” is another bold step in their journey to bring us and them closer to our essence, and it’s an album that pushes and pulls you through so many different emotions. Falls of Rauros remain one of modern black metal’s most special bands, and this new entry only cements that further.

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

To buy the album or for more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/

Doom maulers Nightfucker dig up psychological and societal pressures on self-titled debut

The mind is a bizarre thing that is practically impossible to figure out. People go to school for years and years to try to understand that psyche, analyze it, and hope to one day be able to solve people’s problems. And it’s sure to be a field where the jobs never will dry up, because people always are going to struggle, and someone has to be there to try to put the pieces together.

I say all of this in anticipation of the debut self-titled record from Nightfucker, a death-doom trio that’s been together as a unit for nearly a decade but are just now getting to us with this first full-length. No attempt to shame there, as these things take time, especially the brutality that’s slathered over these monstrous four tracks that gurgle, bleed, and spill pus all over this already sticky record. Oh, that mental illness bit I was on about at the start? The record’s themes actually aren’t vile and gross and instead visit the terrain of abuse, suicide, delusions, self-harm, and the deterioration of the human state, so there’s some pretty heavy stuff going on here besides just the music. The band—bassist/vocalist Adam, guitarist Dominic Finbow (late of UK doom maulers Moss), and drummer Nick—put your senses to the test on this record that reminds of the ills of life and society we face every day.

“Temptation’s Curse” has noise dropping like a curtain, with gnarly growls rupturing peace, and a menacing, mean tempo hulking toward you. The playing is slow and violent, moving glacially across the land, scraping up earth and bones underneath it, as the sounds stretch and eventually begin to boil. The track rumbles and defaces, with horrifying growls strangling, and the music smearing soot as the misery comes to an end. “Worthless Spirit” has thick basslines, a bleeding orifice in its center, and animalistic growls doing damage. The riffs slice wedges while the song begins to thrash wildly, as guttural doom oozes to the surface, burnt to a crisp by the guitar work that emerges. Growls agitate, the noise hovers like a ghoul, and then things just suddenly end.

“Addiction Sentence” opens in the midst of a noise pit as the doom floor drops and manages to sink even deeper into the earth’s crust. The playing creates a slimy film amid the feeling of utter defeat and hopelessness, while nasty wails and morbid growls set the pathway, as a wall of noise seems to grow nearly too high to overcome. Screams punish the psyche while the band mauls until the lights are turned out. “Death Beset” closes the album, bringing about a fog that’s too massive to navigate. The playing bashes away, while the vocals cut into the bone. The power emitted is utterly brutal, as cries stain with blood, feedback peels back already raw flesh, and the approach is flooding with menace. The final minute sounds like machinery and social structures crumbling as noise pierces seeping wounds, bringing the record to its horrible resting place.

Perhaps there will come a day when a record such as Nightfucker’s debut will seem like relic from a different time thematically, meaning that our mental health issues finally will be addressed, and the state of our society will stop crumbling. But that’s a pipe dream, and records such as these will continue to be relevant and haunting. This album brings pain musically and philosophically, and if that’s too much for you to handle, chances are, the band itself will understand.

For more on the band, go here: http://sentientruin.com/nightfucker

To buy the album (U.S.), go here: http://sentientruin.com/releases/nightfucker-nightfucker

Or here (Europe): https://ropeorguillotine.limitedrun.com/

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

And here: https://www.facebook.com/ropeorguillotine/

PICK OF THE WEEK: FALSE further solidify union, unleash chaotic assault on devastating ‘Portent’

Bands, for the most part, are just that—groups of people who create music together, sometimes have interchangeable parts, and sometimes they don’t even like each other. Then there are those rare times when the people in the band are more like a family who depend on each other, give each other shelter, and are each other’s support systems. FALSE definitely fall into that category.

During their nearly decade together, this Minnesota-based black metal unit—vocalist Rachel, guitarists Jimmy and Skorpiain, bassist Niko, keyboard player Kishel, and drummer Travis—have defied convention in numerous ways. Most of that comes in the way they flick spit at the ideas of what black metal is supposed to be and some of the inherent shittiness that stains that scene. But they also push back against a band just being a group of people who record music and tour together by carving out a family situation where these six people are FALSE, and no one else can just walk into the situation. As their path has carved through a debut EP, an untitled full-length, and other adventures, they’ve rounded into their stunning second LP “Portent,” an album that not only further solidifies their fiery passion and thunderous domination, but it further gels this group into a union that cannot be infiltrated or destroyed. The fact the band has suffered through tragedy and loss together the past few years only galvanized that situation, and the way in which they slither through these songs and savage the senses is stunning and earth toppling.

“A Victual to Our Dead Selves” begins the record with a haze settling, creating a sound well, and a tension you just know is about to burst. That it does as the song begins to clobber, albeit with an atmospheric glow, as Rachel’s snarls begin to bite as she wails, “Have you ever felt the pain of possession, of self-worthless obsession? Of your heart being siphoned through the mouth of Beleth at his best, white horse and trumpets blaring and all?” The pace is storming and daring as guitars speed and topple earth, the playing pulsates, and drums crash down, inviting a fog to emerge and envelop everything. Gruff barks mix with phantasmal keys, as Rachel howls, “The warmth of your particulate fills me up like a beggar’s cup, you are me, and I am you.” The song reaches a tailspin of devastation, as the senses are scraped raw, the beasts twists and turns, and intensity surges before a fiery end.

“Rime on the Song of Returning” tears open as harshness spreads and Rachel’s vocals rip through a chasm of mystical chaos. Guitars soar and surge, as Rachel snarls, “Your ego dripping around my thighs, send the darkness, eyes smelling the wooded path, hands slipping in and out, feet boiling with blisters in the rain, if only the rain would wash away your sin, you are sin.” Synth melody emerges and embraces the shadows while the drums begin an assault, and everything else goes for broke. A doomy cavern is achieved, letting blood seep slowly as the vocals tear hearts apart, the pace ignites, and a path into umbra leads to the world igniting, punching its way out from the unknown. “The Serpent Sting, the Smell of Goat” slowly reveals itself, as the music uncurls, letting proggy beams into the room as the music begins to boil. Rachel calls, “We were told that the walls of the temple were a vessel born from god, to lift us from underneath the crushing wheel of life, death, and rebirth, no god shapes us,” as guitars go on an exciting run, ferocity spreads, and the scathing violence extends its reach. Guitars crush through the crust, chugging hard, with synth mixing in, and the vocals leaving welts. The track continues to spill, exploding and shape shifting, with glorious playing splashing light on everyone’s faces, as a final burst of calm bleeds out. “Postlude” is the conclusion, a brief tale-ending instrumental that has dark keys lurking, with gothy, transcendental ghosts leading you toward gates about to close.

FALSE never have been a typical band, and their music and camaraderie largely are unmatched anywhere else in metal. “Portent” is the next massive step in their journey together, one that doesn’t give a single consideration for rules, templates, or scene politics and instead stands on its own, defiantly. This is black metal that is a free, mangling spirit, and it’s delivered by six people who have suffered, hurt, and grown stronger together, and that’s a bond that would take all of hell to ever burn apart.

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

To buy the album or more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/

Torche remain thunderous as ever, continue to mix pop, sludge with psyche-breaking ‘Admission’

Photo by Dan Almasy

It’s probably easy to sit back and rest once you have a body of work that is celebrated and accomplished. I wouldn’t know anything about that. But others don’t know the meaning of the idea of taking it easy and simmering in past success, therefore every new step forward is exciting and explosive.

Torche have kept up their infectious thunder pop since 2004, and each time they come back with a new record, it’s always something toward which we always look forward. Same goes for “Admission,” the band’s fifth full-length record and first since 2015’s “Restarter,” and if you’ve been along for the ride with this band for any duration of their run, you likely know you’re in for some comfort territory but also some surprises. This 11-track, 36-minute album is a fun one, but it also packs plenty of explosives, some of the gnarliest material of their run together. The band—vocalist/guitarist Steve Brooks, guitarist Jon Nunez, bassist Andres Ascanio, and drummer Rick Smith—still sounds hungry, as they rip through these songs, leaving your head spinning at times, your heart gushing blood at others as they go for broke with these killers.

Things get off to a fast start with “From Here” that runs by in less than two minutes, coming in burly and heavy, with Brooks wondering, “Where am I to go up from here?” as the melodic sludge carries out. “Submission” punches in with deeper, grittier vocals, riffs spiraling off, and Brooks calls of, “You’re alive,” sending more drubbing down your spine. “Slide” has muddy guitars and a cool, muscular riff with melodies splashing down amid punishment that keeps adding bruising until the song kicks out. “What Was” is fast and punk-fed, a melodic gust that tears through the song and keeps you spinning from one end to the other, leading into “Times Missing” that tramples the earth and everything in front of it. The track has a numbing pace while the vocals float in the air, and then the soloing comes in and burns things down. The track keeps landing blows, releasing a gazey cloud and hanging around until the final deluge comes to an end.

The title track is one hell of a revelatory song, feeling like poppy ’90s shoegaze, wrapped in a helium bow. The track is cracking with emotion, and the catchiness is impossible to shake maybe ever. This is one of Torche’s best songs to date, and don’t be caught off guard by the doomy underbelly. “Reminder” has start-stop riffing, with Brooks wailing, “Cold winds blow me over.” Guitar shine picks up at the end, with the track bleeding out. “Extremes of Consciousness” has riffs driving and the singing boiling, with an infusion of air sent in for good atmospheric measure. Then come two bludgeoning hammers in a row, first with “On the Wire,” a doomy, concrete thick song that is as heavy as anything in their arsenal. “Sit still on the wire,” Brooks howls amid echoing sludge that overwhelms. “Infierno” might be even nastier as guttural filth and clubbing thrashing take over, with Brooks admitting, “I can’t take the heat.” The guitars are buzz saws and sparks fly, leaving everything to burn to the ground. Closer “Changes Come” brings light back as psychedelic crunching emerges, with Brooks noting he’s “flying high but feeling changes coming on.” Noise starts to swallow the body before a glimmering burst pushes through and only then letting everything submit to corrosion.

Torche don’t appear to know the meaning of slowing down, and even after 15 years together, they still have plenty of surprises up their sleeves, which they deliver in spades on “Admission.” This is a record that took a little time to sink in its teeth, but once it did, the songs started to feel as familiar as the tracks that have played repeatedly in my headphones and on my speakers for years. This is a solid piece of work that will keep you guessing from beginning to end, always paying off your intrigue.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://store.relapse.com/b/torche

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords

Under a Full Moon push back against capitalist society on savagely crushing ‘Our Riches’

Doom metal always has and always should dwell in the darkest elements of society, the things that make us wonder why life has to be such a burden sometimes, often impossible to navigate. Much of what you hear in this style also dines on death and the idea of the end, as the suffering and pain  becomes overwhelming and almost too much to take.

Multi-international funeral doom band Under a Full Moon also bring to the table the feeling of hopelessness and despair, but what’s on their seventh (SEVENTH! In two years!) album “Our Riches” swings things a little differently than a lot of records of this ilk. Here, they focus on the grips of capitalism and devastation it can bring to the lives of people who are not in the upper echelon of society. It’s a struggle so many of us know, even those who aren’t exactly dealing with poverty. It can become a lot to bear sometimes, and often we have no control over the situation because someone above us is pulling the strings. On this eight track, nearly 70-minute record, you get a heaping dose of the pain and suffering the duo—EB (vocals, guitars, drums, bass) and GS (keyboards)—examines on this devastating record that’ll challenge your will and push you to experience their discomfort.

“A Thought That Became a Dream” is the 9:47-long opener that emerges from a strange, spacey ambiance as guitars chug awake and doom drapes fall. Ghostly growls lurch, while the tempo drubs, noises vibrate, and the track feels like it floats in pools of light. Growls return, the ugliness wells, and the track goes out with electronic sting and ache. “A Newfound Hope” pokes through a dark fog, landing blows and bringing blood to the surface. Growls bubble while the playing lurches, and a patch of clean playing is swallowed by heaviness and infernal growls from the depths. The music then spins hypnotically, winds bristle, and the track ends in sizzling sound. “The Coming Morrow” is slow-driving punishment, situated in anguish, while the growls destroy, and the track slurs dangerously. Calculated chaos spreads as the bottom drops the fuck out, and menacing growls blacken eyes. “Soil” runs a generous 11:59 and opens in a sound swirl, with the world spinning out of control. You’re then encircled by massive crushing as the synth floats like a stationary black storm, offering a shadowy texture to the bludgeoning. The track chews over and over as the pace crunches, streaks of beauty fade, and the track comes to a cavernous end.

“Gazing Into the Abysmal Darkness” is a slow melter, hulking along and flexing muscles as growls smother, and the violent pace brings scarring. The growls gurgles blood while everything around it is absolutely quaking, with the guitars burning through surfaces as everything comes to its end. “Cesspool of Sorrow and Pain” is the baby of the group, clocking in at 5:22 and starting with synth strings and dark guitars. The heaviness emerges and begins to flatten the senses, while the growls are buried in layers of filth, with the drums just going off. The playing powders bones, while fierce growls strike, and a hole is burned in the song’s center. “My Final Strife” has keys blazing, heavy breathing, and the song opening into a humid pit. The misery rains down steadily, as funereal keys set an impossibly bleak ambiance, leaving space for the grinding growling. Things begin to slowly fade, while the final strikes do damage before dissipating. “My Last Tide” ends the album, and at a mammoth 15:21, it is the record’s longest chapter. Keys drip and simmer while a sound bed crumbles, setting up a long introduction that finally is pierced with screams about five minutes in. There, the doom thunder rumbles, picking up the pace and barreling into hell. The words sound pained and warped, slithering through before a brief halt, picked up on the other side by a synth haze. Bells ring, adding to the haunting emotions, while the track lies there bleeding, refusing death until it drains its last drop.

Not all struggles can be overcome, and it’s very possible we’ll never be loosened from the grips of capitalism in any of our lifetimes. Under a Full Moon have a sobering reminder of this situation on “Our Riches,” a record that keeps adding the mental pressure we all feel. We’ve all sustained punishment, we’ve all lost, and sometimes the only way to cope is to immerse ourselves in the darkness so maybe we can understand it a little better.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://tridroid.bandcamp.com/album/our-riches

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

Abbath continues to inject icy chaos into black metal, shows expanded colors on ‘Outstrider’

Photo by Francisco Munoz

Being a follower of any type of music means you have to remain fluid for changes, because they often come fast and furiously, and they don’t consider people’s feelings. When Abbath left Immortal, it felt like one of those seismic shifts that would leave both sides forever scarred and never the same again. How wrong those premonitions ended up being.

Last year, Immortal released “Northern Chaos Gods,” a record that’s still buzzing in our heads and holds its own with any selection in their catalog, and now Abbath comes swooping back with a killer second record “Outstrider” that manages to one-up his own band’s excellent 2016 self-titled debut. You pretty much know what to expect from Abbath, yet there’s so much more going on with this nine-track album that utterly stomps the ground and shakes the earth to its core. Abbath has a mostly reconfigured lineup along with him this time as joining him are lead guitarist Ole Andre Farstad, bassist Mia Wallace, and drummer Ukri Suvilehto, who provide a really solid foundation for the buzzing vocals and frosty black metal DNA. But the music also extends beyond black metal and opens up all kind of colors and opportunities, which helps make this such as fun, fiery record.

“Calm in the Ire (of Hurricane)” kicks off the record feeling like you’re literally in the midst of the storm with winds whipping, riffs speeding, and Abbath’s trademark snarl front and center. The tempo is punchy and chugging, while strong soloing scorches skin, and the track ends suddenly. “Bridge of Spasms” has powerful guitar work that drives hard, Abbath’s vocal buzzing in his throat, and some warped guitar work. The playing smears soot, while Abbath’s vocals are spat out, and the drums open a final assault, bringing the song to an abrupt end. “The Artifex” has drums pounding away, leading to the song tearing open and the vocals going for the throat. Great guitar work floods the scene and spirals away, while the back end of the song goes for speed and knocks you for a loop. “Harvest Pyre” trucks through the gates, with the vocals lacerating, and pure hell being generated. The chorus is simple, with Abbath howling, “Harvest pyre!” that should be easy enough to call back live, and the guitars light the way to the smashing finish.

“Land of Khem” has guitars dripping before the full deluge strikes, and gruffer vocals make their way in and leave bruises. The guitars soar into the sky, as gurgly vocals and mystical playing combine to shake up minds, while the song bleeds out into chaos. The title cut has a clean opening before things pound aggressively, and melody mixes in to add textures. The chorus is growl sung, while the playing sends shockwaves before clean guitars return and send the song out. “Scythewinder” is fast, with riffs coming at you at shocking intensity, furious vocals well up, and the track overwhelms. Abbath’s throaty “woah” feels like a guttural command forward, while the riffs leave devastation in their wake. “Hecate” has a weird start, sending echoes, before the track leans into a spirited assault that destroys. Abbath’s creaky growls scrape while the tempo leaves welts on flesh, and a dreamy guitar section emerges before the song ends with guitars wailing out. Up last is the band’s smoking cover of Bathory’s “Pace Till Death” from their “Blood Fire Death” album. As expected, the band gives it a sooty, savage makeover that’s full of piss and venom, the perfect way to end this fire-breathing album.

Abbath’s mission to prove himself and demonstrate just how much left he had in the tank gets another punishing boost with “Outstrider,” a record that’ll give you chills even in the midst of a hot summer. With a firm lineup in tow and with Abbath’s voice sounding deadlier than ever, this band should give everyone a run for their money as it hits the road. These songs are some of the nastiest of Abbath’s run, which is in no danger of ever ending.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/

Or here (International): https://shop.season-of-mist.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.season-of-mist.com/