Diehard is as diehard does, and there's no truer definition of the phrase than one Paul Speckmann, who's been blasting out uncompromising, beyond brutal metal of death for over thirty years now! His main band, Master-- recognized as one of the very first death metal bands-- has returned with a brand-new full-length, their eleventh since 1990's self-titled debut LP. As the world collapses around them and death metal's vintage sound is perverted and weakened by ignorant upstarts, it's good to know that there is and always will be Master to fall back on. The New Elite is due out August 14th on Pulverised Records, and offers up 45 minutes of pummeling, thrashing, churning death metal sickness. We've got "Remove the Knife" stuck below for your listening displeasure. Hail the true masters of death!
Reissues and demo compilations are always sort of hit or miss; you could be getting gold, but more often than not, you're paying more for material that should have stayed on the cutting room floor. It's always a pleasant surprise when such a release actually holds its own, so Crypt of Kerberos' World of Myths was a welcome discovery. Set for release via underground champions Pulverised Records, this reissue of the Swedish band's 1993 opus includes brand new artwork and never-before-released demo tracks of the entire World Of Myths album, recorded in 1992. What's on offer here is an oddball style of progressive, off-kilter, but still thoroughly old-school death metal, with moments of crushing doomed heaviness and innovative riffage along the lines of Nocturnus, Pestilence, and early Cynic. We're streaming "Ancient War" below.
Despite its being situated deep in Bible Belt no-booze-on-Sunday territory, Georgia's got a soft spot for doom metal, and a flair for the heavy. Much has been made as of late of the Savannah scene (home to Black Tusk, Kylesa, Baroness, and Damad), while Atlanta's got Zoroaster, Withered, Royal Thunder, and ATL-by-way-of-NOLA sludgemongers Sons of Tonatiuh. The latter are gearing up to release their next beast of an album via Hydro-Phonic. Entitled Parade Of Sorrow, the record features ten tracks of viscous, hard-livin' Southern doom. For added heft, it was recorded in Athens, Georgia by Kyle Spence of Harvey Milk, and features artwork by Chris Parry. Listen to "Fallout" below.
And now for something completely different. The aim of these weekly premieres is to expose a not-entirely-metal audience to some brutal new sounds, and maybe win a convert or two. However, despite the largely non-metallic sheen of this week's entry, "Solar Nights & Rainwater" was just too good to pass up. Grumbling Fur is comprised of Alexander Tucker (Ginnugagap, Bardo Pond) and Daniel O'Sullivan (Miasma and The Carousel of Headless Horses). Instead of bludgeoning, this song hypnotizes. "Pop" in an anti-pop sort of way, droning and fuzzy without collapsing in onto itself, minimal without personifying the crashing bore, effervescent without lacking substance, Grumbling Fur manage to sing their way to sleep and back without ever getting boring. The track comes off the pair's Latitudes session with UK recording studio/label Southern Records, recently released in the form of an album called Alice. Give it a listen below.
Grab Alice on CD or LP from Southern.
Boy meets girl. Boy realizes girl's voice and bass chops perfectly fit his vision for his then-one-man project. Boy and girl join forces. A doom band is born. Not exactly the typical rom-com beginning, but close enough. Originally conceived as a solo project, Castle gradually evolved into its current three-pronged existence in 2009 when Mat Davis met now-wife Elizabeth Blackwell. They clicked, enlisted drummer Al McCartney, and their first album swiftly followed. Now, the ever-eclectic Ván Records has just released the band's second LP, Blacklands, and it's a scorcher. Classic heavy metal thunder meets epic doom, with shades of power metal bombast, thrashy intensity, and just enough witchy weirdness to separate them from the pack. Blacklands was recorded at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, California and produced by Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Eyehategod, Sleep). Check out a brand new song, "Storm Below the Mountain," below!
Grab Blacklands from Ván Records.
Grand Magus have returned! Sort of. Formed in Stockholm in 1999, they've been flying the flag for true, balls-out heavy metal since today's retro-pretenders were in kindergarten, and are still at the top of their game. In lieu of a new recording, these Swedish masters of traditional heavy metal have teamed up with Rise Above/Metal Blade for a series of reissues. First up is the band's classic ode to glory, Iron Will, originally released in 2008. Not content to rest upon their (reissued) laurels, however, the lads have been hard at work on a new opus. Grand Magus' brand-new LP, The Hunt, is due out on the 25th, but in the meantime, soak up vintage cut "Like The Oar Strikes The Water" below. Up the irons!
Iron Will is out June 5th on Rise Above/Metal Blade.
UK duo Forefather have long labeled their rousing, folk-infused heavy metal as "Anglo-Saxon Metal," and, well, if the shoe fits... Their latest album, Last of the Line, is an epic journey through Viking lore, utilizing classic twin guitar leads and a dual vocal attack to tell their tales of battle and bloodshed. Formed in 1997 by two brothers, Athelstan and Wulfstan, Forefather has long sought to glorify their roots while distancing themselves from folk metal's more frivolous inclinations (no trolls or beer steins here). As this and their previous releases make clear, these pagan odes and war hymns come straight from the heart, taking cues from Falkenbach, Bal Sagoth, and Bathory's Hammerheart and imbuing their compositions with their own very English sensibilities. We're streaming the title track below; into glory, we ride!
Last of the Line is out now via Seven Kingdoms.
Norway has given rise to both the most orthodox and the most out-there examples of that which is called "black metal." The genre's bloody roots are planted firmly in Scandinavian soil, nurtured by ash and spilt blood, and it's interesting to see what kind of strange fruit has blossomed since. Demonhood Productions has recently introduced one of the most bizarre and engaging of Norway's new blood, a folk-influenced, noisey black metal project christened Vetter. Their debut CD, Vetterkult, will be available from the label come May 28th, and is an exciting glimpse into the future of this most puritannical of sounds. We're pleased to inflict the misanthropic vortex of chaos and cold that is "Brattefoss" upon your unsuspecting ears below.
Vetterkult is out now via Demonhood productions.
Once in awhile, a band comes along that not only stops you in your tracks, but absolutely floors you. The Great Old Ones are such a band, and their debut release, Al Azif, is a glorious triumph of modern black metal. Their name and concept is clearly born of Lovecraft's poisoned pen, and Cthulu's scabby tentacles are draped across the recording in obscure homage. Al Azif is black metal in the simplest terms, full of tremolos, raw agression, and gruff roars from beyond the stars; but it builds upon that greying template with swaths of glimmering post-rock and ambience, bleeding beauty into brutality and back again. This French quintet embrace the horrors within and light below, and gracefully go their way into the unknown. We've posted the title track below for your hopefully profound enjoyment. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
Al Azif is available now via Antithetic in the States, and Les Acteurs De l'Ombre in Europe.
Oakland, California is a tough town, known for its gritty DIY punk & metal scene and status as San Francisco's leaner, meaner twin sibling. It's not exactly a bastion of calm, but you wouldn't know it listening to the newly surfaced but already buzzworthy Wild Hunt. Their first record, Before the Plane of Angles, is slated for a May 1st release via Kemado Records, and the band's profile has already been buoyed by an enthusiastic endorsement from Agalloch/Worm Ouroboros drummer Aesop Dekker. Their progressive, expansive take on modern black metal is reminiscent of latter-day Enslaved in its willingness to embrace the sublime alongside the savage; they incorporate swaths of ambient music, field recordings, and a traditional heavy metal sensibility to create something quite unique, and wonderfully absorbing. Check out "Panorama" below.