• Strangeways - Rotting under the La La Bombs (2013)


    Always expecting the unexpected, today we have a very unconventional and rather unique release from Strangeways titled “Rotting under the La La Bombs”. Hailing from Israel, this duo produces one of the most dissonant and yet coherent releases we have reviewed in the last few months. With punishing Black Metal sections thrown into some Noise/samples experimentations, the band instantly establishes their uniqueness since the first minute of this release.

    “Licking the Pussy of Mother Earth” immediately blows things wide open with excruciating Black Metal onslaughts filled with weird samples and tormentous vocals. The riffing is quite powerful and the combination of madness and devastation will immediately fuck with your head. The cool glitching sounds of “BloodRedArt” will surely confuse you on the first spin, but you will soon find out that is all part of the madness in this release. Other tracks feature weird atmospheric elements like on “Manifesto” that has a brilliant section of typing (yeah you read it right) and lush piano notes that is simply amazing.

  • Mord'A'Stigmata – Ansia (2013)


    After their impressive 2011 “Antimatter” we had huge expectations from Mord’A’Stigmata’s latest release “Ansia”. Delivering a half-baked cake, this album features an interesting direction the band is taking, but it fails to completely blow us away like the previous one. Mixing in some Post-Metal/Black Metal elements into their weird Avant-garde BM core, the band seems to have the right idea but missed the point a bit (hell, maybe WE are the ones missing the point).

    With “Inkaust” opening with furious strength, the song slowly transforms into a Post-Metal piece with a slow middle part and switches back again into BM mode. The band’s Post-Metal section is quite intesreting since it does not feel like straight Post-BM, but rather a hybrid of typical Neurosis-like Post-Metal with some BM riffing. Yeah, weird indeed but it feels rather odd, even after more than a few spins. Anyways, “Shattered Vertebrae of the Zodiac” comes back to a bit more familiar territories with the first few minutes being Black Metal with interesting Post-whatever percussions. The improvisational Post-Rock-ish interlude is quite interesting an unique, but it still didn’t really clicked with us.

  • Dead Bread – Hatred Slice (2013)


    Arriving from Poland, today we have one-man project Dead Bread and its killer Death Metal EP titled “Hatred Slice”. Featuring four tracks filled with punishing Death Metal riffs, blistering guitar solos, and a plethora of guests on vocals, this is one of the most powerful self-released EP that have found their way to our inbox in the last few months.

    Like a bag of bricks directly to the face, “Gates of Hell” opens this release with crushing riffs and brutal vocals courtesy of Janick Klausen. In this track we have Dead Bread playing a catchy and punishing Death Metal with very well-crafted guitars and an excellent guitar solo by Jacek Hiro. Not letting go of the listener, “Call Out” keeps the brutality going with tight drumming and incisive riffs.

  • Alghazanth – The Three-faced Pilgrim (2013)


    Arriving from the most powerful Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal band from Finland, today we have “The Three-faced Pilgrim”. Featuring six tracks of majestic BM filled with crushing guitars and eerie atmospheric elements, Alghazanth continues to improve upon their legacy with another masterful release. Bearing a few line-up adjustments, the band keeps their lush Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal in place with some of the most exciting songs we have heard in 2013.

    Opening with the devastating “In Your Midnight Orchard”, we have a raw BM with awesome atmospheric highlights. The band has been perfecting their craft for a few years now, and with this release they take it to a whole new level of brutality. Just picture Horna with keyboards and Alghazanth is what you get. The melodic riffing is another aspect of the band that shows their true craft when it comes to songs like “To The Pear of High” and “Promethean Permutation”, both filled with excellent melodic riffs that seamlessly change tempos between aggressive and hyper-blast mode.

  • Wolves in the Throne Room – BBC Session 2011 Anno Domini (2013)


    With the band currently in hibernation mode, Southern Lord gives us a very special vinyl release of Wolves in the Throne Room’s “BBC Session 2011 Anno Domini” recordings. Featuring two tracks of the band’s “Celestial Lineage” release, this release has enough fuel to keep hardcore fans of the band (and Cascadian Black Metal) going for a few months. With their uncompromising and very unique sound, WITTR delivers over 20 minutes of atmospheric brilliance in this LP.

    Kicking off with “Prayer of Transformation”, the first side of this release presents an astounding rendition of such a powerful track. Filled with brilliant melodic passages and a great climax, this was one of the best songs on “Celestial Lineage” and they nailed it perfectly in this release. Following with “Thuja Magus Imperium”, the band’s bleak landscapes ooze out of this release immediately with this chilling version of the track. Once again, every single nuisance is perfectly captured in this rendition of the track, showing WITTR’s flawless musical execution.

  • Selim Lemouchi & His Enemies - Earth Air Spirit Water Fire (2013)


    With a very exciting 2013 in terms of music, Ván Records unleashes “Earth Air Spirit Water Fire” just in the nick of time to make it to countless top 10 of the year lists. Selim Lemouchi & His Enemies delivers five tracks of magical (and sometimes very unsettling) Psychedelic Rock in this unique release. Being less heavy, and more mystical than any of The Devil’s Blood releases, Selim manages to create a very unique atmosphere that nicely flows from start to end.

    Opening with the 10-minute “Chiaroscuro”, we get quite a mood setting introduction with some deranged ramblings in some audio-clips followed by a very hypnotic build-up. The vocal arrangements on this track are top-notch and create a very eerie vibe. Farida Lemouchi lends her talents to this very ritualistic and creepy song, marking a very atmospheric and unsettling opening to this release. The psychedelic brilliance continues with the emotive “Next Stop, Universe B.”, where we hear Selim’s signature guitar work in a very retro environment.

  • Hell of a Ride – Fast As Lightning (2013)


    Arriving from France, today we have another excellent Hard Rock release filled with attitude and catchiness. Hell of a Ride provide us with their latest EP titled “Fast As Lightning”, featuring four tracks and seven bonus live recordings to sweeten the deal. With a high-octane Hard Rock vibe, this band steamrolls with their high-energy music filled with intoxicating rhythms and commanding vocals.

    Opening with the playful intro track, “Fast As Lightning” kicks off the musical side of things with a very typical Hard-Rocking tune that is both engaging and entertaining. The band’s vocalist Furious Djej does a great job in leading the band’s onslaughts with excellent fitting vocal melodies and great intensity. With each track featuring a cool intro section (appearing as an individual track on the CD), the band nicely sets the stage before each song. Inspired by Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, the band’s attitude is the main selling point of this release, greatly enhanced by excellent music we might add.

  • Siculicidium - Hosszú út az örökkévalóságba (2013)


    Four years have passed since Siculicidium’s debut full-length “Utolsó vágta az Univerzumban”, and after a series of EP’s in 2012, the band is back in full swing with “Hosszú út az örökkévalóságba”. Never being huge fans of this three-piece from Romania, we are quite surprised of the quality of raw and unconventional Black Metal found in this latest effort. Mixing some atmospheric elements, creepy passages, and an overall uncompromising attitude, this release is quite diverse and yet traditional sounding to keep the hordes of BM fans clamoring for more.

    Opening with the dreamy “Endless road” (we will use the English names of the songs to keep this review legible), the band sets a very bleak and melancholic atmospheric mood since the first few notes. The raw BM explosion beings with the punishing “The fragrance of decay”, a very visceral track featuring a typical old-school BM structure, very direct riffs, and rather traditional drums. Similar to bands like Midnight, “Lurker” has a ridiculous set of catchy riffs and drumming to give that filthy BM vibe that only a handful of bands can achieve. There is also a certain Punk-ish vibe to this track that makes it quite enjoyable.

  • A Winter Lost - Die längste Nacht (2013)


    Arriving today from Sun & Moon Records, we have Canada’s A Winter Lost with their sophomore release “Die längste Nacht”. In this 12 track release we have a very retro sound that ultimately fails to impress due to the lack of creativity through the majority of this release. Featuring a female growler/singer, we can’t really find anything else that would make this band standout from the rest.

    Opening with “Des Falken Tod”, the band delivers raw distorted guitars and a very powerful sound. While this is impressive at first, the next six songs go around the same basic foundations and never really take off with anything original or complex. The riffing is intense, the drumming is fast, but this is a must for any ‘average’ BM band, so there are no cookie points for that. Is not until the last minute of “Zeichen” that they even attempt something different in their music, the same continues until the second half of the closing track, when the tempo changes and the clean female vocals appear.

  • Festerguts – Heritage of Putrescent (2013)


    Hailing from Russia, today we have Festerguts debut full-length release “Heritage of Putrescent”. Featuring eight tracks eclipsing over 30 minutes of intensely atmospheric/symphonic Brutal Death Metal, this band reminds us of a mixture of Fleshgod Apocalypse and Cradle of Filth (on their good years). Not for the faint of heart, this release will squash you with its powerful riffing and intense drumming.

    Opening with the symphonic intro “Above A Cold Body: Pre-Funeral Preparations”, the band really gets into the thick of things with the punishing “Now I can Fee You From Inside”. Using keyboards from atmospheric effect, the band quickly delivers uncompromising riffing and demolishing growls. They nicely offset the brutality with lush female vocal arrangements thrown into the mix. One of the best things in this release is that the atmospheric elements are not the main direction of the music, since the brutality of tracks like “Besmeared With Blood and Viscera” focus on the aggressive side of things.


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