Album Reviews

  • Blighted Eye - Wretched (2020)

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    Newcomers Blighted Eye are ready to take the North American scene by storm with their very crafty debut EP “Wretched”. Unleashing over 27 minutes of high-octane, progressive/melodic Death Metal with additional influences, the band delivers four very well crafted songs that nicely balance both technical proficiency and killer songwriting chops. If you are into bands like Sculptured, you cannot afford to miss this release.

    Opening with the intense guitars of “Contempt”, this band sets a very energetic and firm pace. This track features crafty tempo changes, killer intense passages and overall excellent musicianship, showing a bit of a Tech Death Metal influence but with proggy ambitions. As “Respite” follows the intense opener, the band’s more proggy influences are heard, reminding us a bit of mid-period Opeth with some killer guitar leads added.

  • Uthullun - Dirges for the Void (2020)

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    From the endless amounts of releases that make it to our inbox, it is always pleasing to discover some diamonds in rough, these being releases like Uthullun’s debut “Dirges for the Void” which make us dig deeper into the band’s history looking for more music. In this debut release, the band unleashes over 40 minutes of sinister and very crafty Black Metal that is both dissonant and yet catchy and melancholic.

    Opening with the cavernous “Sunless”, the band has a very refined style that never abuses its core elements and delivers just the right amount of brutality and tremolo-picking to create a sinister atmosphere. As “Silence”, “Penitence” and “Ecstasies” unleash hellish fury, we also hear great craftiness and restraint to create punishing atmospheres that are not necessarily extreme, but rather well constructed and developed.

  • Azarath - Saint Desecration (2020)

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    Perfectly blending hyper fast Death Metal brutality with Black Metal hellishness, today we have Azarath and their latest offering: “Saint Desecration”. Building up on their transition into Blackened DM territories over their last releases, this album unleashes nearly 40 minutes of swift aggression and crushing speed, leaving the listener’s ear ringing for a couple of hours after it is over.

    The band’s ‘new’ vocalist/guitarist Skullripper (Marcin Sienkiel) perfectly fits in the band’s energetic style and wastes no time to make his presence felt in the furious opener “Death-at-will”. While some might expect more Behemoth-styled because Inferno’s drumming, the band forges their own signature style with a pummeling and firm Death Metal core that turns Blackened in certain occasions thanks to the riffs or some screams, like on “Sancta Dei Meretrix” and “Let Them Burn”.

  • Ventr - Numinous Negativity (2020)

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    Unleashing nearly 25 minutes of sinister Black Metal dissonance, Portugal’s Ventr make a big splash with their debut EP “Numinous Negativity”. With a very stripped down sound that will send chills down your spine, this band crafts four tracks that are both violent and engaging, creating a magical aura as they introduce themselves to the world.

    Blasting through the listener with the brutal “Omnipresent Abominations”, the band sets a high-octane mood with their incisive guitar riffs and hellish vocals. While the band’s vocalist goes for the deep and raspy styled vocals, alongside the pummeling music, they create a very cavernous and yet enigmatic sound. Setting a more restrained and yet demonic mood, “Our Altar of Murderous Fanaticism” delivers a chilling nearly 8-minute track filled with traditional tremolo picking and BM punkish drumming.

  • Horna - Kuoleman Kirjo (2020)

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    Unleashing hellish fury upon the world, today we have Horna’s latest opus “Kuoleman Kirjo”. With nearly 70 minutes of crushing music, this is THE Black Metal release to buy in 2020. For those uninitiated, this Finnish battalion has been delivering sweeping blows of BM brutality over the years and this release is no exception. Filled with perfectly layered rudimentary atmospherics and vicious guitar work, Shatraug and company once more seize the BM throne.

    The sheer violence of “Saatanan Viha” is the first indicator of what is to come in this release. Delivering sweeping aural violence, the guitars/drums/vocals combo signal for complete destruction. Completely riding on their signature in-your-face approach, tracks like “Elegia”, “Uneton”, and “Sydänkuoro” lay waste to listeners as crafty tempo changes and crushing drum patterns create a whirlwind dissonant experience.

  • Engulfed - Vengeance of the Fallen (2020)

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    Hailing from Turkey, today we have hard-hitting Death Metal battalion Engulfed and their latest effort: “Vengeance of the Fallen”. For a 25+ minute EP this release packs a mean punch with crushing riffs and crafty tempo changes, making the album quite engaging and unlike most of the very linear and dull Death Metal that kids release these days. If you are a fan of bands like Centinex, Origin and similar, you will find this album very enjoyable.

    Opening with the vicious “Rite Abandoned Heretics”, the band delivers a swift kick to the nuts with their relentless guitar work and brutal growls. Clocking in at around 8 minutes, this is definitely one of the longest Death Metal tracks we have heard in awhile, and luckily the band has the chops to keep it interesting and punishing. The guitar leads and tempo changes of “Summoning The Black Death”, make for a very interesting follow-up to a very pummeling opening piece.

  • My Dying Bride - Macabre Cabaret (2020)

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    As a nice complement to “Ghost of Orion”, today we have My Dying Bride’s latest EP titled “Macabre Cabaret”. Featuring over 20 minutes of new music, this EP is the perfect continuation to an already superbly impressive release earlier this year. Filled with melancholy and pain, the three new songs presented here as a must-have for fans of the band and the genre.

    The release opens with the creepy atmospherics and thunderous bass guitar lines of the EP’s title track. This song slowly evolves into a crushing experience with the band’s signature riffs and eerie ambiance. Lasting 10 minutes, this piece features some very eerie interludes that lead into chilling passages of Aaron’s harrowing clean vocals. Continuing the bleak mood, “A Purse of Gold and Stars” nicely continues the band’s dark and somber musical experience with a very subtle and yet elegant piece.

  • Macabre - Carnival of Killers (2020)

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    Back in the late 80’s Mortician and Macabre were two of the most extreme and yet crafty bands in the scene, we remember listening to all those horror movie samples just before the bands wailed with pummeling fury. Macabre has slowly evolved over the years and with “Carnival of Killers”, the band delivers nearly 41 minutes of music in 16 pieces encapsulating both their heavy and their bizarre side. While I am sure this will appeal to older folks like us, there are still some interesting and downright hilarious things to discover from this release.

    As their first album in nearly a decade, “Carnival of Killers” continues the band’s fascination with serial killers and delivers a wide variety of tracks that range from Grindcore to Thrash to plain weird, with some brilliant sing-along sections. Never as heavy as Mortician, tracks like “Your Window is Open”, “Richard Speck Grew Big Breasts” and “The Murder Mack”, do still deliver some powerful riffs and Thrash-tastic tempo changes, mixed with the band’s funky vocal melodies and funny lyrics.

  • Light Field Reverie - Another World (2020)

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    With the state of affairs in 2020, music has been a great escape for many. With “Another World”, Light Field Reverie beautifully transport the listener on a highly ethereal journey with their captivating music. Featuring both members of Draconian and Sojourner, this release unleashes over 40 minutes of majestic music that incorporates tons of different elements outside of the normal Metal music scope.

    Opening with the dreamy “Ultraviolet”, we are greeted with the sultry vocals of Heike Langhans and very moody atmospheric elements ranging from electronic beats, to dreamy synths. Alongside the atmospherics, we also have a well defined Doom-ish structure of heavy guitar riffs and crafty drums, creating a very piercing and yet enigmatic sound, as tracks morph between highly emotional passages to heavier counterparts, like on “The Oldest house”.

  • For Ruin - Elapse (2020)

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    With hundreds of releases making into our inbox every day, we need to carefully pick which ones we listen to. Band releases that are ‘professionally’ submitted usually get our attention over non-major label releases. Lucky for us, today we have For Ruin and their killer self-released EP “Elapse”. Delivering nearly 20 minutes of blistering Melodic Death Metal, these types of musical discoveries are what makes our day at Infernal Masquerade.

    Opening with the quick and pummeling “Elapse”, the band sets a very hectic and engaging energy from the get go. Reminding us a bit of bands like Kalmah and Mors Principium Est, this track nicely leads into the riffing acrobatics of “Fiel to the Fire”. The mixture of clean and harsh vocals is well balanced with the faster paced sections in this highly headbangable track.

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