Multi-instrumentalist one-man show Ihsahn makes a surprise 2016 return with another unique release titled “Arktis.”. Considerably less experimental and out of whack than his previous release, this album delivers 11 very interesting song that while pushing the envelope, they consolidate the signature Ihsahn sound.
Opening with the Proggy “Disassembled”, Ihsahn crafts a very catchy song with a killer chorus section. With some additional vocals by Einer Solberg (Leprous), this is one very melodic and engaging opening piece. Things turn quickly dark with the sinister “Mass Darkness” and its crafty atmospheric guitar work. This track is quite unique as it features some funky tempo changes and epic vocal arrangements (featuring Matt Heafy), all within the Ihsahn realm.
Delivering the most brutal release of 2015, today we have Cattle Decapitation and their seventh opus “The Anthropocene Extinction”. Nearly putting Anaal Nathrakh to shame in terms of sheer brutality, this release features twelve tracks of in your face riffs, crushing vocals and inhuman drums. With over 45 minutes of devastating music, this album will leave you sore just by listening to it.
Slowly warming up with the melodic opening of “Manufactured Extinct”, the band suddenly busts out the Death Metal riffs and before you even know it, Grindcore and Brutal Death Metal elements have arrived. This level of intensity is perfectly continued by the neck snapping “The Prophets of Loss”, which features Phil Anselmo as guest vocalist. Using Author and Punisher’s intro in “Plagueborne”, the band has managed to deliver a huge opening trio of tracks that only scratch the surface in terms of brutality.
Better late than never, today we have Switzerland’s Almøst Human with their super catchy EP titled “Ø”. Featuring five tracks and around 25 minutes of music, this is a great business card from a band that has a highly refined sound and a the attitude to deliver Heavy songs with a certain modern flair that makes them comparable to bands like Stork, Amaranthe (minus the female vocals), and even some of the most recent Coal Chamber stuff.
Blasting things wide open with the blistering “Living Wreck”, which starts off a bit like a mixture of Linkin Park meets Devildriver. The vocals are quite engaging and very fitting for the musical style, allowing the track to go from heavy to brutal in seconds. The band settles in a bit after the killer opener with the melodic “Obey, Consume or Disappear”, which showcases a mellower and cleaner side of the band thanks to the solid vocals and guitar leads.
With the tons of so-called Modern Metal releases coming out these days, we can easily make a 10 ft tall pile of albums that sound alike. Lay Siege is here to defy this trend and unleash the punishing “Hopeisnowhere” upon the world’s population. Featuring 11 tracks of Post-Metal/Sludge/Groove brutality, the band goes beyond being heavy and catchy, and delivers one of the most engaging and clean sounding Modern Metal releases of 2015.
The groovy “Irebot” quickly sets a very harsh tone with its pummeling riffs and Meshuggah-esque vibe, and this intensity continues with the funky “Glass Veil”. The vocals and some of the tempo changes have a certain Deathcore-ish vibe, but the overall structure of the music is much more than that. The oppressive “Hollow Hands” has some tight drum patterns that when paired with the crystal clear production, sound like a million bucks.
One of the most brutal bands in Metal finally returns with their 8th full-length release titled “Desideratum”. Constantly striving to destroy your speakers, this British duo has made some of the most disturbing and massive sounding releases in history. In this album, we see the band shift gears a bit, and while there are still plenty of ridiculously brutal sections, there are also some more melodic and separable passages in their music. This results in a very well balanced release that is both brutal and melodic, making them more approachable for other people that might want something a bit tamer to their earlier efforts.
The band opens with the highly atmospheric instrumental “Acheronta Movebimus”, a song that has an odd mixture of Industrial with Djent-style percussions paired with some evil Black Metal riffing. After the perfect mood setter, the onslaught of brutality quickly rolls in with “Unleash”. This track is quite intense and diabolical, but what stands out the most for us is the clean vocals and the melodic edge to it. As the punches keep coming in with “Monstrum In Animo”, we also notice that as “A Firm Foundation of Unyielding Despair” and “The One Thing Needful” rolls in, there is a certain focus on the Industrial/Electronic elements that shifts the momentum a bit from the Extreme nature of the music. However, this last track has some superbly sinister guitar work that made it one of our favorites of the release.
Hailing from the UK, today we have one of the most interesting bands we heard in 2013 return with their EP titled “Access Code”. The Deconstructing Sequence this time around delivers 16 minutes of music in two superbly written tracks that will only make you crave a full release from the band even more. The band’s progressive sound paired with their futuristic atmospheric elements makes them standout immediately.
Opening with “A Habitable World is Found”, DS makes you believe things will be going a more ‘traditional’ way with the Death Metal-ish opening as they deliver growls, crushing riffs and powerful drums. This nicely changes as time goes by into their trippy atmospheric passages with multiple vocal styles and very proggy sounding synths. The track nicely culminates with spoken vocal sections and the nicely cascading musical elements as a backdrop.
Arriving as one of the most brutal releases we have received in 2014, today we have Mastabah and their devastating “I Hate You”. Pouncing on the listener with brutal blast beats and crushing vocals, this release can be compared to a more chaotic Anaal Nathrakh rooted in Death Metal foundations.
Blasting things wide open with the incisive “Shackles of the Past”, the band is very serious about making their point of being super brutal. The crushing drumming is perfectly produced and shines through the heaps of growls, shrieks and relentless riffing. The band goes back and forth between insane brutality levels and Death Metal grooviness in tracks like “Spectacle of Human Existence” and the excellent “Deck of Life and Death”.
As one of the most extreme releases of 2014, today we have Carnifex and their crushing “Die Without Hope” release. Three years have passed since the band’s last effort and today we have them with their most mature and polished released to date. Evolving away from your cookie cutter Deathcore, Carnifex manages to deliver 10 brutal tracks filled with epic orchestrations, massive drumming, and crushing vocals.
Wasting no time, “Salvation is Dead” produces some demoralizing Death Metal riffs that will crush anybody’s doubts of this band. The growls/shrieks of Scott Lewis are as brutal as they come and they greatly enhance the overall violence portrayed in the band’s sound. The band’s sound is 100 times darker on songs like “Dark Days”, where they exploit perfectly constructed orchestrations and keyboards to contrast their relentless riffing. There is also a certain melodic edge to the music that we found quite refreshing.
Packaged in a beautiful digipack with killer artwork, today we have France’s Toumaï and their entirely insane “Sapiens Demens”. With equal levels of awesomeness to the band’s insane sound, this release presents nine tracks of experimental music combining everything from Groove Metal, Jazz, Fusion, to some Ska and other crazy elements. We are always looking for bands that push the envelope and this one takes it 100 steps further than your normal band.
With the elegant opener “Little Psycho”, the band slowly starts to peel the layers of their extremely experimental sound with jazzy pianos and cool vocal arrangements. This track gave us a Diablo Swing Orchestra vibe but with even more levels of madness and experimentation. The first mega-catchy song in this release comes under the name of “Madness In Mind”, a song that is quite unconventional, playful, and with some brutal sections.
Arriving from Germany, today we have a one-man deranged project of pure musical vile. Featuring 11 tracks that range from Noise to Punk to Death Metal/Grindcore, this release is as decadent and random as they get… and we kind of like it. With only one track over 2.40 minutes, “Hatecore-Noir” is a crazy d.i.y release that is guaranteed to get a reaction (good or bad).
Featuring intros similar to bands like Macabre on some of their songs, tot aus dem Wald starts the homebrewed proceedings with “Null im schwarzen Quadrat”. While most of the music seems like pure and total chaos, there are traces of certain Metal elements in the band’s music that are undeniably solid like the riffing on “Fahrstuhl ins Fegeteuer” and “Keiner darf überleben”. One very evident influence as well is the Punk/Crust vibe oozing from tracks like “Der Tod, ein einsames Geschaft” and “Zukunft verbraucht”.