PICK OF THE WEEK: Inferno blast with galactic black metal to invade psyches on ‘Paradeigma…’

For all the chaos that has crawled over this earth the past decade and all the anxiety and pressure so many of us have felt, it’s crucial to have a vessel for simply disappearing into the void and traveling to planes beyond your own. OK, I know you can’t do that physically as of yet, but there are escapes out there, and it’s a matter of finding what works for you.

One potential avenue comes in the form of “Paradeigma (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity),” the latest chapter from Czech black metal ghouls Inferno, yet another document from this band that makes you question reality. It also might help reconfigure the possibilities black metal holds as the band—vocalist Adramelech, guitarist/bassist/sound manipulator Ska-Gul, guitarist Morion, drummer Sheafraidh (Hekte Zaren also provides vocals)—takes a deep jumping off point on this, their eighth full-length effort, as they deliver soundscapes and strange journeys all while they apply coats of intergalactic black metal that will make you feel like you’re locked in a strange dream for 36 minutes.

“Decaying Virtualities Yearn for Asymptopia” is an intro track that’s instrumental, built with a hazy atmosphere and strange keys, and that swims into “The Wailing Horizon” that blasts its way open. Adramelech’s vocals acts like a ghoul in the bloodstream as the track blasts and punches through, and a cloudy fury sits overhead. A weird dream state settles in, a scary sound cloud grows and smothers, and the playing revolts, leaving you wondering where the hell you are. “Descent Into Hell of the Future” enters into trippy strangeness before the fists begin to fly, and a haunting haze gets into your mind. Beastly alien vocals chew through you before they get uglier and meaner, sending chills down your spine. The drums rumble as your spirit freezes, and then the playing ignites, the growls bubble, and everything is sucked into deep outer space.

“Phosphenes” starts with guitars opening and strange, terrifying auras settling overhead. The drums kick through the door as the stratosphere fills with fire, and eerie sounds enter hell’s front gates. Cosmic storming picks up, sending strange vibes through the universe, the drums echo, and your blood freezes in your veins. “Ekstasis of the Continuum” brings rumbling keys, kinetic drumming, and hazy chaos that does battle with the machines swinging. A dizzying synth cloud pushes in, voices call out, and a miasma of terror swirls as the track blasts out. “Stars Within and Stars Without Projected Into the Matrix of Time” ends the record, a clobbering piece that starts with drums caving in your chest and the whole thing coming alive. The guitars open and drizzle insane melodies, and battle roars pummel, pushing things into a nightmarish void. Daring energy blasts through cracks, a huge deluge of sound emerges, and cold blasts head into the stars, letting things fester and rot in the depths of the universe.

The horrors that strike and destroy through the entire body of “Paradeigma (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity)” are impossible to explain to someone, hard as I tried above to give you an idea of what Inferno packed into this horrifying package. It’s true the terrors we know here exist elsewhere, and Inferno spend the entire run of this nearly 36-minute adventure exposing them. It’s an experience that is purely unique to them, and every trip through this chaos changes every single part of you.  

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

To buy the album (North America), go here: https://debemurmorti.aisamerch.com/

Or here (Europe): https://www.debemur-morti.com/en/12-eshop

For more on the label, go here: https://www.debemur-morti.com/en/

Kataan’s spacious death metal stabs back at depressive states, dystopian trauma with debut EP

It’s easy to be overcome with anxiety and tension in these times, and even when it seems like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, there has been so much collateral damage done to many of us, that it could be years before we feel like ourselves again. If we even get to that point. That can give way to mental heaviness and dread, two things that make healing that much more difficult.

Kataan is a new death metal project pairing Nick Thornbury of the sadly defunct Vattnet Viskar on guitars and vocals and Brett Boland of Astronoid on bass and drums, but together that do something that’s not exactly a copy of either one of their other stomping grounds. Instead, we get atmospheric death metal that is immersed in depressive imagery and existential trauma, terrain that’s certainly rich right now with so many people suffering to get by. As dark as the creations they unleash on this four-track EP can be, it’s also the sign of new life for both artists as they open this fresh venture. The EP is heavy and a rush of atmosphere, the seeds planted on what hopefully is a fruitful project.  

“Erase” starts the record with mauling passion and growls pounding away, bringing the track to an early furious rage. “Open your eyes and see, hopes and dreams are just fantasies,” Thornbury wails as the track picks up intensity. “We are nothing, none of this matters,” he stabs as the track gets more punishing, spacious playing unloads, and everything rushes from your lungs. “Abyss” delivers melodic sorrow, and clean howls swelter over the chorus, adding new textures to the picture. An atmospheric gust moves in, the growls unleash anguish, and melodic fires continue to aggravate as everything rushes into the stratosphere. “Processor” begins with the drums turning everything to dust and the playing wailing as Thornbury howls, “The end is coming.” The chorus rushes through you and feels infectious as the demolition increases, and the earth feels like it’s being torn in two. The hammers continue to drop, the fearsome destruction spreads, and everything rushes away. “Vessel” ends the record with an energetic push as washed-out cries haunt, pushing the humidity through the roof. Deadly carnage goes for the guts as an atmospheric gaze takes hold, the shrieks shred, and molten gusting spits power, chugging out and ending the record on a bruising note.

Kataan’s debut EP delivers cataclysmic power and dystopian nightmares as you watch your reality unfold before you and turn to ash. There are mild hints of each man’s other bands, but for the most part, this is a new sonic venture for each, the heaviest stuff they’ve done in a long time. This is a really promising first burst for this band whose penchant for atmospheric death metal makes their music equally enthralling and completely devastating.   

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

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

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

French sludge beasts Fange put massive beating on senses with earth-crushing EP ‘Pantocrator’

Seeing bands change and advance through the years can be a really exciting thing for fans as you experience this journey from release to release. A lot of bands make those shifts subtly so that you’re not jarred completely when taking on new music, while others don’t care if your brains are scrambled when you crack open the fresh material.

French sludge beasts Fange are ones that have made the changes slowly, but if you started at their 2016 debut full-length “Purge” and went right into their brand-new EP “Pantocrator,” you might more easily understand the shift. But for sure the band has been advancing, and this two-track EP almost is longer than some of their full albums, and the chaos and danger is noisier and grimier than ever. The band—vocalist Matthias Jungbluth, guitarist/vocalist Benjamin Moreau, bassist/vocalist Antoine Perron—pour all of themselves into this collection, and taking on the music means a commitment to handing over your mind and body to be devastated and put to the test, making your nerve endings stronger and awash in perseverance.  

“Tombé Pour La France” opens and runs a beastly 15:34, bludgeoning and sucking the air out of the room, making you feel like your head is in a fog. The vocals are fearsome as noise wafts, at times taking on an industrial bend, and strange voices swirl through your consciousness. The growls unload as the playing keeps getting heavier, smearing your face in the soot. Weirdness lands as the pressure mounts, vicious howls strike, and smearing synth brings on ice and snow, feeling moody before things get cataclysmic. The playing brawls, hammers are launched, and everything is beaten into a bloody paste.  “Les Vergers De La Désolation” is the closer, a 15:08-long smasher that starts with noise jolting, the tension simmering, and then howls going off. Synth settles as a fiery expanse tears through forests before the band unloads a million tons of thrashing. The voices sound mechanical at times, like alien robots are trying to communicate with you, and that attempts to melt minds. Total hell is unleashed as the earth burns, and a noise bath consumes everything in its path. The guitars glimmer, huge growls leave ample bruising, and all the gears gets caked with mud, leaving the machine choking smoke as the track comes to a gut-wrenching finish.

Fange’s savagery has hardly settled, and if anything, the fires burning within this band are raging out of control, which we hear in great detail on “Pantocrator.” This EP is as massive and mighty as some bands’ full-length records, and they pack every inch of this thing with volatility and chaos. This is an EP that’ll challenge you physically and mentally and slip out unscathed with bloods on its lips.    

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

To buy the album, go here: https://deathwishinc.eu/collections/throatruiner-records

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

Aduanten grow from Vex’s (RIP) remains, explode with spacious death on debut ‘Sullen Cadence’

Not everything is built to last. No matter how good something might be. That definitely is the case with bands as they can be volatile machines, and despite how good the music might be, that doesn’t mean that the artistic life will last forever. It was actually when it came to writing this story that I learned progressive death metal band Vex is no more, and that left me quite sad.

The good news is from the ashes of Vex was born Aduanten, a band that combines members of groups such as Obsequiae and Ruins of Honor and adds special guests along the way from members who played with Panopticon and Horrendous. Their debut EP “Sullen Cadence” is the first taste we get from these former Vex members, and the four tracks here are absolute pounders, a bit of a pick me up for anyone like me who is sad that Vex is no more. The core of the band—guitarist Ciaran McCloskey, guitarist/synth player Michael Day, drummer/synth player Eoghan McCloskey—are joined by a host of collaborators including Tanner Anderson and Damian Herring on vocals, Joel Miller on bass, and Adrian Benavides on synth and percussion, and every person involved is responsible for making this the aggressive, punishing experience that it is. And this is just their start!

“The Drowning Tide” rips the thing open with Anderson’s shrieks raining down, and melodic menace flows out of every corner. The chorus is strong and pummels your chest, the emotion wells up, and a break-neck change heads into sludge before things go clean and wash away. The title track is spacious when it begins with hand drumming rumbling and the bass slinking. Voices enter the mix and hypnotize as a moody surge strikes, and then all hell breaks loose. The vocals slash as fluid crushing pushes its way in, and then the playing gets more abrasive, your head feels like it’s flooding, and everything turns to ice water before draining into the fog. “The Corpses of Sum” has the bass plodding and the sounds rising while the shrieks tear away flesh. Things get manic as the pace gets burly, the vocals chew at bone, and then strangeness spreads and sickens. The intensity builds, things speed up, and everything ends engulfed in flames. “Palace of Ruin” closes things and starts with a heavy buzz and then brief solemnity that’s shredded by Anderson’s shrieks. The music bubbles over as the heat causes the lid to pop and punches to be thrown. The atmosphere increases as great lead work burns through, desperate shrieks hammer, and everything comes to a head and is washed away.

As sad as I am to see Vex no longer a member of metal’s living, Aduanten’s potential is vast, and these four tracks on “Sullen Cadence” certainly hint at a massive, promising future. The playing is nasty and spacious, and every part of it is exciting and punishing. This is a pretty damn raucous display, an EP that serves as a warning that their most vicious days are left to come, so it’s time to grow some callouses so you can withstand the beating.   

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

To buy the album, go here: https://aduanten.bandcamp.com/album/sullen-cadence

PICK OF THE WEEK: Nordgeist use frigid black metal for freezing bones on majestic ‘Frostwinter’

Photo by Eugen Kohl

It’s been in the 60s for the most part these past few weeks, a nice change of pace after we had an actual winter for the first time in years and years. Having the windows open and being able to walk the dog at any time and just basking in warmer weather has been a nice boost for the psyche that has suffered for far too long. And this morning we woke up to snow, and we’re right back in it.

I’m saying that as I’m about to discuss “Frostwinter,” the first full-length from Nordgeist, a one-woman black metal project helmed by an artist who goes by T. Here I am complaining about a little bit of snow, and she’s stationed in Siberia, where the frigid weather is far more oppressive than it is here in Pittsburgh in April. This four-track, 52-minute monster feels like a blizzard piling down on you, using Nordic-influenced black metal and her gargantuan shrieks to pull you through the madness. There also is a ton of delirious melody laced through these songs, entering your bloodstream and heart and somehow keeping you warm even as the temperature gets dangerously low in your mind.

“Winter” dawns in a heavy storm, feeling like blinding snow and TV static combined and rushing down. Strong melody and cavernous chaos unite as the emotion wells, and the playing surges. The momentum catches fire and warps, storming into gusts of power, rounding back to the encircling riffs that acts as the spine. The whole thing entangles and enraptures, the snows blanket, and wild winds take the track to its end. “The Old Wolf” also situates in a deep gust as a horrifying pace takes hold. The track rampages as sounds burst, and raw melodies eat into your chest. Power rushes as the riffs get impossibly catchy, the melodies lap, and the vocals crush, leading to a halo of energy. The track then gets swallowed by extreme frigidity, ending with keys plinking like ice daggers.

“Revenge” opens with the winds gathering and the keys collecting with the vocals crushing your flesh. Melodic playing snowballs and flies down the hill, ripping open wintry hell and coming to a tornadic explosion that feels kind of frightening. Hypnosis takes over and stirs, the power increases until the storming is relentless, and a whirling spiral digs into the earth and whips to an icy finish. “Sorrow” ends the record with frigid footsteps crunching, and huge riffs arriving and bringing a freezing fury that knows no mercy. A deluge of melody crashes through the floodgates, driving into the night, hammering away as blood and ice mix. Guitars pile up and get inside your psyche, the playing chugs and burns, and winter’s mighty grip takes you by the throat and drags you back into the blizzard.

It’s a strange time to be basking in the ice and snow, but Nordgeist’s “Frostwinter” really can be enjoyed in any season, even if it’s getting warmer in many parts of the world. It’s hard to imagine anything else coming from T as she exists in ice-cold Siberia, and what you hear on this record is a product of environment, a suffocating experience that leaves you dangerously blue. This is an album enraptures and sticks with you, further proof black metal still has a lot to offer from artists who are willing to put something extra into the music.

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

To buy the album, go here: http://lnk.spkr.media/nordgeist-frostwinter

For more on the label, go here: https://kunsthall.ch/

Denver’s Oryx savagely lash out at worst of selfish nation with muddy ‘Lamenting a Dead World’

There are large swaths of America that are unsavory. Try not to fall over in shock. But ever since the pandemic stated last year, we’ve truly seen some of the worst behavior from people from refusing the do fuck all to protect their friends and family to outright denying anything is wrong to once again showing zero compassion for disadvantaged and minorities who tend to suffer most in these horrors.

None of this was lost on Denver crushers Oryx, whose devastating new record “Lamenting a Dead World” digs right into these awful truths and exposes them for anyone still blinded by their own realities. These behaviors are nothing new for America (and it’s not just limited to our country), but in these times when our actions are under a microscope as well as the way we treat a global epidemic that is killing us every day, it’s disgusting and offensive that we have people acting like they do, thinking they’re above it all, smarter than all. The band—vocalist/guitarist/synth player Tommy Davis, bassist Eric Dodgion, drummer Abigail Davis—unload their rage and desire the see these wrongs righted as they lay out a molten collection that simmers in doom and black metal, leaving burns marks behind. By the way, this record also features heavy-hitting guest spots from Ethan McCarthy (Primitive Man, Many Blessings), Paul Reidl (Blood Incantation, Spectral Wound), and Erika Osterhout (Scolex, Cthonic Deity) to enhance these already destructive pieces.

“Contempt” starts the record in a pit of filth and vile sounds as the shrieks chew at your bones. Demolition unloads and slams through brick walls, the playing brawls heavily, and a gross underbelly shows itself and spills its guts, bleeding out into noise. “Misery” opens with noise hanging as the playing teases, and a doomy storm opens and rains tar onto the ground. Shrieks scrape as the band clubs away and leaves bruising, digging deeply and dangerously into the muscle. Growls lurch as the band gets deeper and deeper into the muck, and the fury is so thick you can spread it between bricks. The guitars go off and melt faces, nasty vocals tear into you, and everything stomps toward an acidic finish.

“Last Breath” fittingly sits in dark and somber waters, the shrieks lay into you, and a fiery cavern explodes and swallows you inside. Guitars catch fire and begin to eat through forests, charring and chewing up terrain as the humidity builds, making breathing tougher. Growls soak in acid, guitars rise again, and that sorrow returns as the track spreads and smothers, ending in ash. The title track is an instrumental cut builds on noise swimming and guitars hanging in the air, letting the doom take you in its hands and deface you. “Oblivion” ends the record, a 15:01 mammoth that begins with drums awakening and a gloomy cloud cover hanging overheard before you get mashed. Shrieks echo as the sounds feel like nails on steel with the vocals smearing and muscular guitars flexing. The atmosphere builds as you’re bludgeoned, growls kill, and cosmic synth spills into the scene. The power surges as everything explodes, cosmic weightiness leans in, and the heat gathers as the guitars punish, with the purge finally ending with you heaving.

Records like “Lamenting a Dead World” aren’t going to correct the behavior and attitude of half a country, but what Oryx do here on this collection is perform the proverbial “we see you” with a promise to fight that with fire and chaos. We’re still suffering, we’re not out of the woods, and people still refusing to help are the ones who can be squarely blamed. This can be a downright ugly place, and the longer we refuse to acknowledge this, the longer it’ll take to make the right changes to benefit everyone’s well being.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://orcd.co/lamentingadeadworld

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

Aussie monsters Plasmodium put psyches to the test on baffling, blasting trip ‘Towers of Silence’

While I’m sure this idea is really unpleasing to many people, I love putting on a record and being absolutely baffled, maybe even frightened by what I’m hearing. As satisfying as the opposite can be, it also can lead to bands not taking chances or staying in place just to remain in their safe lane. That’s fine too, but having artists who will dabble in madness helps keep music fresh and concepts evolving.

Australian terrors Plasmodium take the idea of unpredictability to insane levels, which is on full, terrifying display on “Towers of Silence,” a record that revels in anything but the absence of sound. My first experience with this record was pleasingly off putting, making me wonder what the fuck I was hearing. While that might sound like a negative, it was anything but that as I sought to devour these five track and 47 minutes of this bizarre, stabbing black and death metal hybrid. The band—and I’m copying right from the bio because I don’t know what any of this means as we have Fuath on disembodiment, Demoninacht on limbic chaos, Nocentor on reverberactions, Aretstikapha on invocations, and Yen Pox on spiteful whirlwind generation—fully commits to the psychosis, spilling their sound into strange pockets and fully reimagining what heaviness and power really means. Did I do this right?

“ParaMantra” rips open with a fury as the growls rumble, and the playing blinds you. It’s a total assault on the senses as weird keys reverberate, and strange whispers get into your head and lead you toward “Churning” where double kick drums open up hell. Suffocating heaviness and relentless playing dominate while the growls deliver harsh menace, and the sounds churn. Massive shrieks and animalistic hell combine, the sounds sizzle, and this strange beast finally ends its stomp. “Pseudocidal” is trippy and disorienting at the start before bells and noises mix, and the drumming dusts. Growls lurch into a weird ambiance, warped strangeness sinks in its teeth, and a miasma of horrors begins to claim victims. Battering madness slips into utter strangeness, while it feels like a drug dream takes over and leads you into oblivion.

“Translucinophobia” starts the final half hour of this record, an 18:37-long track that starts as a total assault. Growls creak and cosmic oddities launch toward you as the drums pummel, and the assault is on. Later your mind is allowed calm before a savage assault arrives on the other end, and alien weirdness pushes. The drums kill as the hellish assault spreads, with total insanity in the air, and things get even weirder. The voices warp, the track ignites again, and the final moments blaze out into a cloud of hell. “Vertexginous” closes the album, a 12:45-long beast that starts with cosmic trauma. Tortured cries rain down as the track slowly comes apart with anguishes yells chewing at your nerves. The atmosphere turns spacious and odd, keys drip, psychotic storming pelts, gross weirdness slithers, and guitars charge, letting the intensity spike as the chaos blasts out.

I can’t even begin to make heads or tails of “Towers of Silence,” a record that doesn’t really live up to its name considering it’s packed wall to wall with frenzied sounds and abject heaviness. Plasmodium are operating on a bizarre, entirely different level than most bands, and the best idea is to just take a few steps back and watch this beast spasm and punish. You’re not going to find many records quite like this one this year, and honestly, our psyches are probably better off for it.

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

To buy the album (U.S.), go here: https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Or here (Europe): https://transcendingobscurity.8merch.com/

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

Obsolete unleash challenging mixture of death and thrash on mind-melting ‘Animate//Isolate’

You know those people who start an activity, get good at it, and start fucking doing things differently in order to make the process more fun and challenging for them? Man. Hate those people. Stop being so motivated! Though I do admit there’s that sliver of jealously where I wonder why I, too, can’t be painfully good at something other than losing to panic attacks.

Obsolete, a goddamn death/thrash amalgamation that hails from Minnesota, is here to make you look really stupid with their full-length debut “Animate//Isolate.” They can’t just play this stuff straightforward. No no. They have to make it tricky and weird and cosmic and fucking so good that it makes your teeth hurt. This nine-track album is actually the perfect antidote to monotony, and not just with music. Add it to your own life when you can’t get going or when you need to think differently or whatever. This band—vocalist/guitarist Lucas Scott, guitarist Scott Fryxell, bassist Dan Lee, drummer Pat Ruhland—make it impossible to remove your attention or even relax. You’re constantly on guard here as they rip out weird wrinkle after strange turn, taking your stomach and mind with them.

“Still” blasts open with punchy and tricky playing and gruff shrieks with the drums absolutely pummeled. The playing is both vicious and melodic with strong leads ripping through, snaking to a smoking finish. “The Atrophy of Will” starts with a proggy burst and blistering vocals carving paths, spilling all over the place. The guitars jolt as things gets thrashy and furious as your guts absolutely shake. The leads ignite as the sounds lather, crushing everything in its path. “The Slough” is tricky when it starts, unloading a plastering pace, tangling your brain wiring. The pace gets adventurous and fiery, just laying into a speedy assault, getting fluid and lightning strong as things go. The playing is colorful and creative, burning through layers and leaving you in charred ashes. “Old Horizon” blasts through your chest as it opens, with the playing leaving you confused and frightened and the bassline snapping through. The prog fires are agitated as grisly vocals stretch flesh, the drums destroy, and everything ends in rubble.

“Silent Freeway” unloads sinister riffs that tears the track open, then meaty thrashing and splattering vocals team up and take you down. Your brain starts to melt from the intensity, the bass plasters, and the track flies into oblivion. “Stumbling and Listless” lets the riffs slice through, surging and mashing as the track flattens you. The guitars pick up speed as the roars punish, and the ambitious pace leads to the drums smoking, the leads picking up a rage, the end melting through rock. “The Fog” slips in with jarring leads and fluttering playing as the pace just chugs. The guitars zip all over the place as the vocals mar, with the madness opening anew and everything coming to a blistering end. “Callousness of Soul” opens on fire as the vocals swallow you whole, and the playing rushes and tangles. The bass tramples as the speed continues to get more intense, and then everything blasts shut, ripping the oxygen from your lungs. “Intercostal” finishes the record with prog fires spreading all over everything, as the guitars going off to explore. The pace is muddy and clubbing as it mauls whatever is in its way, tying up loose limbs and then breaking them. Nasty vocals corrode, and the band keeps smashing until the end melts away.

“Animate//Isolate” is not a straightforward record by any means, and that’s by design as Obsolete aim to take what’s in their heads and spit it out in a way designed to confuse and terrify, which they do often on these nine tracks. From my first experience with the album, I could tell something different was in front of me, and hopefully the descriptions of the music above come at least close to capturing this thing. It’s a hell of an experience, something that’ll make your mind feel squashed when it’s over.

For more on the band, go here: https://obsoleteband.bandcamp.com/releases

To buy the album, go here: http://www.unspeakableaxerecords.com/purchase/

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

PICK OF THE WEEK: Body Void’s dire mission turns toward planet on smothering ‘… This Rotting Earth’

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Earth is suffering, and there are a lot of people, largely those in power who could influence change, who don’t give a fuck because money. You know, make the money, fuck everyone else, you’ll be dead before the globe swallows us. Except it might not be the case, and our demise might be much closer than we realize, and there are a lot of people trying to sound alarms to wake people to reality. 

Digging into morbidly and ideally titled “Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth,” the third record from doom destroyers Body Void, it immediately immerses you into those worries amid their impossibly heavy, gut-ripping sound that makes it feel like your chest is caving in when you see them live. Body Void is no stranger to tackling issues that are divisive politically (even though they shouldn’t be), and this record is perhaps their most urgent yet as it affects the entire planet. Woven into those woes, the band—guitarist/bassist/vocalist Will Ryan, drummer Edward Holgerson—is a furious defense of this planet, its horrible parts aside. The potentially irreparable harm, the escalating climate change, and the way we treat this place should be enough to upset anyone, and standing guard to defend our home to try to ensure its here and fully habitable for future generations is something for which we all should strive. 

“Wound” starts off the record in impossibly heavy fashion as the guitars scoff, and the pace pummels. Ryan’s shrieks eat into your psyche, something that never relents on this record, and the noise just swelters. The track then runs into demolition as the band absolutely hammers away, and then we’re back into doom storming and suffocating hell. The vocals pierce, the devastation floods, and everything ends in savage noise. “Forest Fire” begins with Ryan howling, “Watch it burn, celestial light, world consumed, your back is turned,” as the riffs swelter, and the boulders are dropped. The sounds churn and burn, and a thick bassline feels like a steel cord wrapped through as spine. The guitars gain humidity as they hang over the scene, just mauling and pounding away, tearing muscle. The pace then chars to a halt before squeals bring everything back, and the playing gets faster and meaner. The vocals crush while the drums explode, absolute violence spreads, and merciless panic ensues and blasts out.

“Fawn” pounds away immediately as Ryan’s vocals wrench, and a slow, plodding beating gets underway, bringing blood to the surface. The playing stretches and feels like it taxes the flesh, eating away with some psychedelic corrosion. Things then begin to kill, a punk/death amalgamation digs under your fingernails, and things get lumbering and deliberately pressure filled, smashing away until the noise fizzles. “Pale Man” ends the record and starts the path by hacking away, washing you in drubbing misery as Ryan’s shrieks deliver havoc. The playing trudges and snarls, pushing your face in the dirt, while every skull within 1,000 miles begins to implode and spray powder, heading into a feedback swell. The tempo then ignites, bringing direct jolts until things move back to a muddy speed, mashing away and destroying wills. Noise paces as the sounds scrape eardrums, your blood pulsates even harder, and Ryan’s final gasps punish as the track bleed away.

The tales Body Void tell on “Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth” sadly are not new ones, as we watch the Earth slowly turn against us, and we start seeing members of this global society try to find shelter. People such as Body Void and many others have taken this fight personally to protect the world in which they live and that they love. This is one of, if not the most important battle of our lives, and the heavy lessons brought forth on this record are ones other people must learn so we can save this place.

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

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

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

Spectral Lore delve deeply into self-exploration, darker realms on mind-jolting fourth record

There’s been so much time to take personal inventory this past year as our lives changed and the world has operated entirely differently. Looking back on our own personal history can give us a chance to examine where we’ve been, what we’ve done as people, and if we’re on the right track to where we want to go in the future.

Spectral Lore’s sole creator Ayloss was on a similar path as he constructed his project’s latest full-length record “Ετερόφωτος,” a title that loosely translates to “the one whose light comes from others.” Ayloss took time for serious self-reflection using maturity and awareness in order to navigate where he’s been and where he’s going. His music is heavily immersed in black metal, a music form with a troubling past, though artists such as Ayloss have spent time trying to change some of that so it’s not entirely a pit of horrible people with even-worse ideas. I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m assuming that’s why Ayloss considers this a black metal record and an anti-black metal record, as the work he has done to become a better person extends to making the sub-genre in which he exists a little less unsavory. On top of that, he makes some of the most fascinating, atmosphere-infused black metal going, and the seven tracks spread over 76 minutes will take you on an epic excursion that’ll require you mind, body, and spirit.

“Ατραπός” starts the record, a 12:42 epic that opens in a storm with Ayloss’ shrieks ripping into your rib cage. The track rampages as the fury builds, and the guitars jettison all over, clobbering the senses and leaving the room spinning. Guitars spit fire again, the tempo shifts, and the chaotic gust pulverizes until a cold front arrives, altering the temperature again. Guitars poke through, chants entrance, and the growls flood, churning along with the final embers of the track. “The Golden Armor” is the shortest track, still running a healthy 7:33 and launching into a ferocious pace with speed and Ayloss’ growls crushing beneath their weight. Power wails as the guitars explore, and there’s a Middle Eastern-style vibe lurking in the melodies, which segue into another dose of savagery. The bass slinks as the madness explodes, and a torrid pace takes the reins and leads into oblivion. “Initiation Into Mystery” is punishing as melodies crash, and the vocals launch from Ayloss’ throat. Guitars flutter as the intensity continues to build, blinding and without relent. The playing keeps spilling as the vocals wrench, the guitars take on an animalistic edge, and everything ends in noise hiss and rumbling.

“The Sorcerer Above the Clouds” runs 11:16 and begins with clean tones and warmth, lulling you into serenity until the bottom is torn out. Guitars come to life and hit the races as the drums rampage, and everything comes unglued. The pace ravages as vicious growls ignite, and then the pace changes, as the guitars catch fire on the other side. It feels like your brain is rippling as everything gets tornadic and dangerous, Ayloss’ roars destroy, and the playing rages into extreme coldness that evaporates into time. “Apocalypse” blasts into your face before the playing gets moody and growls bubble, as manic swirling makes your stomach juices slosh around, and the sonic blasts gets heated and painful. The tempo rockets into the stars, massive crumbling feels like a city worth of buildings falling, and the track pummels until bleeding away. The title track stirs as it opens, causing you to grasp the walls, and then the playing bursts with chaos and carnage. Melodies envelop as the growls gain momentum before clean strangeness enters your bloodstream, but then the flood gates open again. The guitars race all over the place, feeling like mercury splashing your flesh, and then the fiery punishment heaves, melody drains, and the blasts arrive hot and heavy, bowing out to the void. “Terean” closes the record, the longest selection here at 19:10. The track is an ambient piece that boils in alien noises, subtle beats, and voices traveling through the stars. Storms lightly spread and rain static, chants emerge, and strange waves lap over you, putting this journey to sleep deep within the earth’s core.

There is plenty of self-perspective and emotional examination taking place on “Ετερόφωτος,” a raucous, thought-provoking collection from Spectral Lore and its inventive creator Ayloss. You don’t just sit down and visit a few selections from a Spectral Lore record, as you have to immerse yourself in all 76 minutes to truly absorb everything that’s going on with this very involved, volcanically heavy album. Ayloss never lacks for creativity and imagination, and this record is another top-shelf record that both embraces black metal and lashes back against the tenets that have made the scene a sort of cesspool.

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

To buy the album, go here: http://i-voidhanger.com/shop/

For more on the label, go here: http://i-voidhanger.com/