May 4, 2016

Izegrim (2016) The Ferryman's End

Band: Izegrim
Country of Origin: Netherlands
Genre: Thrash metal / Death metal
Type: Full Length
Format: CD Ltd. Edition
Length Approx.: 41:00 min.
Release Date03-25-2016
Release Label: Listenable Records

IR Classification: Good (4.2 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

The Ferryman’s End becomes the best Izegrim effort to date

Dutch melodic death thrashers Izegrim are back with just under two and a half years of the release of their previous album "Congress of the Insane" which I believe it was the first conceptual album of the band, delving into evilness and falsehood of the human nature, now with twenty years in the scene they are offering us their fifth full length titled "The Ferryman's End" released once again through the French label Listenable Records, the album contains eleven tracks in the vein of bands like Kreator, Arch Enemy, At the Gates or their countrymen Legion of the Damned, "The Ferryman's End" keeps lyrically the same concept format approaching us to the death row, where an inmate is awaiting for his execution, every cut describes the complex stages into the criminal's mind before he got executed by the end of the album, no doubt a very interesting topic.

Izegrim current line-up has remained pretty stable during the last eight years, with founder and guitarist Jeroen Wechgelaer, the bassist and attractive vocalist Marloes Voskuil, guitarist Bart van Ginkel and drummer Ivo Maarhuis, I want to believe that due to this unity they were able to achieve a very outstanding songwriting and therefore "The Ferryman's End" becomes the best Izegrim effort to date.

"The Ferryman's End" from the beginning offers a crushing melodic death metal dose with "White Walls" built in heavy riffage and somber pace while the drums occasionally slip into a measurable blast beat, "Time to Run" starts with an unrestrained riffs, challenging drums comes in all directions and you feel surrounded by hell itself, Marloes delivers a rawer vocals that strike fear, "Endless Desire" slow paced its way, somewhat predictably when they shift pace, but never reach the ferocity of the previous tracks and sounds bland, "The Evil Within" it charges back with demolishing and fearless riffs, the bass lines sounds outstanding in the background, Marloes raspy vocals owns the track while in the interlude softly adds the whispers, it is followed by "Absolute Necessity" the drum pattern takes the lead due to the intricate, solid  and consistent drumming, the song counts with a brief yet melodic guitar solo, "Reclaim My Identity" is absolutely faultless with filthy riffs and darkly bass lines, open the window to throw some clean vocals by Marloes, "Insanity is Freedom" takes an approach into a blackened death sound, while "Reflection of Redemption" fluctuates between obscure and heavy passages, "Through a Glass Darkly" with a more varied structure, brings freshness and versatility with the vicious riffs involved, "Lost in Tranquility" it's the prelude of the story with some generic death metal riffs and blasting drums doesn't make an impact imminent, the last rack in the album is the self-titled "The Ferryman's End" unorthodox start with pummeling drums and sick riffs, as the track keeps going on, turns into a mid paced theme with a dense and brutal rhythmic section, ripping vocals that shatter into a delightful chaos, to end up with the protagonist execution.

"The Ferryman's End" clearly puts Izegrim as one of the bands that aging doesn't affect or soften their skills playing a persuasive death-thrash metal as always with extreme and relentless virtuosity and brutality, be sure to grab your copy and enjoy this album, you might regret if you don't.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

01. White Walls
02. Time to Run
03. Endless Desire
04. The Evil Within
05. Absolute Necessity
06. Reclaim My Identity
07. Insanity Is Freedom
08. Reflection of Redemption
09. Through a Glass Darkly
10. Lost in Tranquility
11. The Ferryman's End

Listenable Records

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May 2, 2016

Rotten Sound (2016) Abuse to Suffer

Band: Rotten Sound
Country of Origin: Finland
Genre: Grindcore
Type: Full Length
Format: CD Digipak
Length Approx.: 32:00 min.
Release Date03-18-2016
Release Label: Season of Mist

IR Classification: Good (4.0 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

Remorseless and aggressive grindcore

After twenty-three years in the scene Rotten Sound doesn't show any sign of weakness, not even because they always has been playing one of the most confined and limited genres in the underground scene, the grindcore for some, is an endless chaotic mass of riffs, murky bass tunes and battering drums and you know what? Unequivocally, I think that is the best definitions everybody can conclude, every twist and tweaks depend on each band's approach to keep fresh, corrosive and true to its roots.

These Finnish have returned after five years and brings under their arm the seventh album in their career, which they have entitled "Abuse to Suffer" which is slightly over thirty-two minutes of their remorseless and aggressive grindcore as only they know how to do, incredible production, abrupt and heavy riffs, intense blast beats, abrasive bass and guttural vocals are few of the attributes I can attach to this grindcore devotees.

Rotten Sound unfolds their wrath from the beginning with the first theme "Lazy Asses" a blend of cathartic and disharmonic riffs, "Fear of Shadows" throws some groovy riffs at mid pace, while "Time for the Fix" with its infectious riff extends the groovy feeling to create a complex, yet chaotic counterbalance after half way to the end, "Brainwashed" with its distorted hardcore-punk influenced, knock down any conventional structure implied, "Yellow Pain" brings a nauseating sludge pace with under tune riffing, "The Clerk" it's a straight assault that refuses to veer from their hardened formula, "Retaliation" it's a fast and furious onslaught with buzzing guitars and brutal drum pattern, "Extortion and Blackmail" rapidly engage the listener with unmatched violence, but suddenly turns into a massive groove that thrives into a noisy scheme, followed by "Equal Rights" It has a very consistent rhythm section alike the Scandinavian death metal bands, crushing blast beats and shattering vocals, leads to the last track "Someone Weak" sonically slows down with heavier guitar riffs, bone crushing drums and powerful growl vocals.

 "Abuse To Suffer" it’s a clear statement of what grindcore is about, many of their hard die fans will agree with me, despite the lack of innovation Rotten Sound offers a solid album, varied in content and able to break necks; Do not hesitate if you like bands like Nasum, Napalm Death or Gadget then do not waste your time.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

01. Lazy Asses
02. Intellect
03. Fear of Shadows 
04. Trashmonger
05. Crooked
06. Time for the Fix 
07. Slave to the Rats 
08. Brainwashed
09. Cannon Fodder
10. Yellow Pain
11. Machine
12. The Clerk
13. Caged
14. Retaliation
15. Inhumane Treatment
16. Extortion and Blackmail
17. Equal Rights
18. Someone Weak

Season of Mist

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Apr 30, 2016

Funeral Whore (2016) Phantasm

Band: Funeral Whore
Country of Origin: Netherlands
Genre: Death metal
Type: Full Length
Format: CD
Length Approx.: 41:00 min.
Release Date03-18-2016
Release Label: F.D.A. Records

IR Classification: Good (3.9 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

Infectious riffs that grind your eardrums and scourge the last of your senses

Funeral Whore the Dutch band rooted in the old school death metal, they were formed around 2006 in Beverwijk, North Holland, they are bringing a hell with them while releasing their second full length, under the label F.D.A. Rekotz, entitled "Phantasm" containing eleven tracks of the most pure and relentless death metal, commanded by guitarists Kellie and Roy, also in vocals, together with Nick behind the drum set and Van Dune in the bass, were able to reincarnate the proper sound of early bands as: Autopsy, Pestilence and Bolt Thrower who were pioneering the genre at the beginning of the nineties.

After their debut album "Step into Damnation" released in 2012 which it was quite welcome by the underground community for their ferocious approach and raw sound, they earned a place within the local scene in the Netherlands, giving them the confidence and strength to continue in the dark path and it is not until four years later when they give us their follow-up material and it sounds even more devastating.

"Phantasm" the opener track that has a dramatic theatrical intro that evolves into heavy riffs that blow up, while also having pounding drums with frantic devotion, while the deeper growling vocals remind me the early Sinister, "Evil Manifestation" is the second track the guitars sound massive and morbid with a very infectious pace they succeed throwing riff after riff, "Reanimated" it's bold and barbaric in the drumming section carries a varied pattern allows the shredding guitars, leads the repulsive melodies towards dark passages, "The Graveyard Silence" it's brutal and the lead guitar sounds very violent and frightening, it excels managing the mood with slow pace and later on unleashing a hellish and rabid pace, "Down the Abyss" is an interesting track with a very well mix of thrash and death metal riff it is fast and ceaseless, "Only the Coffins Remains" is structured in a mid-pace inferno, with infectious riffs that grind the eardrums and scourge the last of your senses, "The Mortuary at Night" closes this album with demolishing and vibrant riffs while the double bass drum sounds impressive and ruthless there is no doubt that Funeral Whore are emerging from the deepest depths, as a lethal force to reckon with, few acts nowadays are able to infringe such level of brutality.

"Phantasm" is a truly enjoyable death metal record, influenced by the old school; Funeral Whore only took the best elements of yore to culminate in one of the most overwhelming and cataclysmic records to date during this year, fans of the old school death metal will love this deadly dose, seems like somehow a renaissance of the true death metal is on the way, let's see what else lies ahead.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

01. Phantasm
02. Evil Manifestation
03. Reanimated
04. The Tall Man
05. Population None
06. The Graveyard Silence
07. When Life Turns to Ashes
08. Down the Abyss
09. Morningside Cemetery
10. Only the Coffins Remain
11. The Mortuary at Night

F.D.A. Records

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Convulse (2016) Cycle of Revenge

Band: Convulse
Country of Origin: Finland
Genre: Death metal
Type: Full Length
Format: CD
Length Approx.: 34:00 min.
Release Date03-17-2016
Release Label: Svart Records

IR Classification: Good (3.5 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

Progressive and technical metal, spiced with psychedelic passages and doom pace

The mythic Finnish death metal band Convulse are back after their 2013 come back "Evil Prevails", their debut album "World Without God" released in 1991 set them up as one of the most influential death metal bands, not only in their homeland, but worldwide, has had a deep impact throughout the time and it is difficult to ignore this fact, said this; I hope you don't have big expectations for Convulse and their fourth full length, "Cycle of Revenge", because musically they departed from their roots into a new adventure, more progressive and technical metal, spiced with psychedelic passages and doom pace, probably the only death part remaining are the vocals.

I have always supported to bands who choose to step forward looking to delve into new horizons, simply because I believe in diversity and creativity, of course there are many bands who are strongly stick to their roots and despite their age still delivering such display of brutality, however Convulse latest record somehow has tempered their brutality and wrath, that define them from the very beginning to their previous album, maybe I sound a bit redundant, but my intention is to make clear what you will hear, not by any instant this is unpleasant, poor or negligible if you listen with open mind, but neither essential to listen.

"Cycle of Revenge" opens with the self-titled track with an eerie devilish intro, however never meets with any brutality in contrast remains between some progressive and psychedelic riff, followed by "God is You", is stuffed with the same line of progressive riffing but resting on a conventional drumming, "Pangaea" brings some melodic groove riffs at the beginning, but soon it's intertwined with the same progressive and psychedelic ambiance, "Fractured Pieces" It sounds interesting due to the addition of some Middle East essence drums the riffs match, but lack pretty much of grip, "Nature of Humankind" sounds heavier than all the previous tracks and achieve to mixed some good death 'n' roll riffs, while the drums are more varied and interesting, next is "Ever Flowing Stream" takes a deadly approach to the nineties Voivod era, especially the clean vocals very reminiscent to them, "War" very pretentious at beginning with the energetic drumming, but retake that progressive groove sound right after the vapid display, the last track in the album is "Into the Void" it sounds indifferent from the whole album they keep digging deeper with a blatant and relaxed attitude with no fear and careless for their detractors.

Convulse album "Cycle of Revenge" is not exuberant or generous as we would like, because it is true they are showing us a new era in their career but unfortunately they sounds limited and repetitive, lack of resources musically speaking, it took me couple listening to assimilate, but at the end it will be very good appreciated for fans of bands like Voivod, Vector, or Coroner.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

01. Cycle of Revenge
02. God is You
03. Pangaea
04. Fractured Pieces
05. Nature of Humankind
06. Ever Flowing Stream
07. War
08. Into the Void

Svart Records

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Apr 25, 2016

Criminal (2016) Fear Itself

Band: Criminal
Country of Origin: Chile
Genre: Death / Thrash / Groove metal
Type: Full Length
Format: CD
Length Approx.: 43:00 min.
Release Date03-11-2016
Release Label: Metal Blade Records

IR Classification: Moderate (3.3 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

Powerful, compact and crude due largely to the production, still inconsequential but certainly not a bad album

Criminal originally from Santiago, Chile in South America and currently located in Ipswich, UK; are coming back after five years with their eighth and latest album titled "Fear Itself" delivering their unique and unmatched blend of thrash death metal and groove, Criminal history dates back to the early nineties, their discography consists of two demos, seven albums, an EP and a live album, their sound is similar to bands like Sepultura, Slayer, Carcass, Exodus, Sick of it All and Cavalera Conspiracy, so you can imagine what it is this about.

The album "Fear Itself" carries twelve tracks strictly attached to their roots in thrash metal infected with some groove riffs and hardcore essence, while the death part comes in form of vehement vocals, it is true that this new material, doesn't add absolutely anything new to what we already know, although the sound of the band is powerful, compact and crude due largely to the production, still inconsequential but certainly not a bad album.

The album opens with a dormant chord intro which honestly doesn't inflict the expected reaction, sometime there are albums out there, that should not have intros and "Fear Itself" is one of them, it's followed by "Down Driven" built in groove riffing, shift into an aggressive thrash sound, the raspy vocals are stick to the genre, the bass carries an effective lines through the song granting a memorable rhythm section with the drums, "False Flag Attack" delivers a relentless display of technical thrash-groove very distinctive of Criminal, screaming vocals works very well for this kind of cut, "The Needle and Knife" begins with a very convincing rhythmic section very technical drum pattern and powerful bass lines, aggressive guitars shredding are incorporated masterfully to let the screaming vocals takes over to command the assault, "Summoning the Apocalypse" shift everything you heard before into a immeasurable speed to create a crushing and energetic thrash sound, ensuring the right aspects to frame a beautiful guitar solo in this track, "Deep in the Rot" contains a very infectious guitar riffing and a very skillful drum work make this track very compact and consistent with the rest of the album, "Wasted Youth" tries to infuse some melodic feel at start, but rapidly shift into a chaotic hardcore appeal, a very brief guitar solo shines and leaves you wanting for more, the scream and raspy vocals holds a crossover vibe, "Carne Molida" is the last track of "Fear Itself" structured with technical and intricate guitar work blend the speed and hostile grooves in a singular way, the lyrics are sung in Spanish, the drumming offer a more varied pace through the cut, very effective at the end.

The oscillation between tracks is very tight, which make sound "Fear Itself" something predictable and I do not mean that there is no value at all, with ten tracks; averaging 3:39 minutes, feels like they stick to the ordinary songwriting formula lacking of venturing and innovation, despite the powerful and compact sound accomplished, I still having troubles to digest this conventional blend of metal.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

01. Intro
02. Down Driven
03. False Flag Attack
04. Shock Doctrine
05. The Needle and Knife
06. Scream of Consciousness
07. Summoning the Apocalypse
08. The One Who Speaks at Night 
09. Animals to Gods
10. Deep in the Rot
11. Wasted Youth
12. Carne Molida

Metal Blade Records

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Apr 24, 2016

Gadget (2016) The Great Destroyer

Band: Gadget
Country of Origin: Sweden
Genre: Grindcore
Type: Full Length
Format: CD
Length Approx.: 27:00 min.
Release Date03-11-2016
Release Label: Relapse Records

IR Classification: Good (3.8 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

It is really satisfying listen a band with such power and determination to destroy anything
Gadget is a grindcore band from Gävle, Sweden. They were formed almost two decades ago, precisely in 1997, I could probably say they are a cult band, despite their discography which is not wide as others, but quality overflows in every album they put out, their newest recording "The Great Destroyer" it was released after ten years of practically absence in the recording studio and it's preceded by two full lengths "The Funeral March" released in 2006 and their debut album "Remote" in 2004.

All the tracks included in "The Great Destroyer" holds an immaculate influence of the old school hardcore, stained with modern elements and a refreshing production by multitasking drummer, producer, mixer and mastering William Blackmon, who definitely knew how to print the energy and sense of devastation needed to drag effectively our attention to them.

The current band line-up is as follows, William Blackmon in the drums, Rikard Olsson in guitars, Emil Englund doing vocals, and Fredrik Nygren in the bass, which is basically the original formation who started Gadget and that, is one of the qualities I most admire in a band.

Diving deep into "The Great Destroyer" it is really satisfying listen a band with such power and determination to destroy anything in front of them in few minutes and you still remain standing waiting for more, Gadget delivers a sonic violence from the beginning to the end the first track "Enemies of Reason" exploit with demented savagery, "Pillars of Filth" is relentless but subtly towards the end delves in an adequate rhythm section, "Violent Hours (For a Veiled Awakening)" features a guest appearance by Barney Greenway of Napalm Death a very distinctive cut, the self titled track "The Great Destroyer" uses pulverizing guitar riffs with an intricate drumming, "In the Name of Suffering" brings a darker groove and slows down the pace adding growling vocals gives another perspective to this album very well intertwined with some grooves, the last track reaches over five minutes, which is unusual for bands within the genre "I Don't Need You / Dead and Gone" here they accomplish to blend some of their influences as is hardcore punk, sludge, doom and death metal, offering an imminent collapse after all damage sustained, however I’m sure you will hit the play button once again.

Definitely a very enjoyable album, does not feel flat at all with most of the tracks clocking around the minute or so, is not hard to succumb to their anger, I can bet if you likes, Nasum, Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror, Pig Destroyer then you got no excuse to let the guys of Gadget crush your bones.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

01. Enemies of Reason
02. Känslan (Post Patch Anxiety)
03. Pillars of Filth
04. Choice of a Lost Generation
05. From Graduation to Devastation
06. Dedication  02:19   Show lyrics  
07. Violent Hours (For a Veiled Awakening)
08. The 02666 Heritage
09. The Great Destroyer
10. Down and Out
11. In the Name of Suffering
12. Lost on a Straight Path
13. Forsaken
14. Collapse
15. The Lack of Humanity
16. Svart hål
17. I Don't Need You / Dead and Gone

Relapse Records

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Nazghor (2016) Death's Withered Chants

Band: Nazghor
Country of Origin: Sweden
Genre: Black metal
Type: Full Length
Format: Digital 320 kbps
Length Approx.: 55:00 min.
Release Date03-11-2016
Release Label: Satanath Records

IR Classification: Good (4.2 / 5)

Listen our review! (English)

Defiant to the mainstream black metal of nowadays
Nazghor was born during the winter of 2012, hailing from the deepest abyss of Uppsala, Sweden, this horde was created by vocalist Nekhrid and guitarist Armageddor with only one purpose to bring a pure, raw but yet melodic black metal and deliver a closer view of satanism in form of a darker, ceremonial, and ritualistic show, the dark message of Tartaros is delivered by unholy words that shroud the starry skies, the band is conformed by guitarist Angst who was recruited, from the ashes of an old group of dedicators, and later on bassist Crowlech joined the legion, currently during their live rituals they count with a guest drummer.

I have to admit it, previously "Diabolical Teachings" which was released last year, never before I had heard of them or listen any early recordings. So when I find them it was a gratifying experience, the kind of black metal this guys are able to bring is ripping, stinging with blasphemous tremolo picking guitars as hell itself, thunderous blast beat, very well accentuated by disturbingly and devilish high pitch vocals, that's what we can get from their fifth and latest album "Death's Withered Chants", it's defiant to the mainstream black metal of nowadays.

Nazghor sounds impressive not only for the fact that they are Swedish, they gathered enough elements of the whole scene to blend and give us their most brilliant work to date, the record opens with a beautiful intro "Hymnum Mortis" built in organ notes to inflict an eerie and funebre ambience, intensified by chants and thunderstorms followed by the rabid and fulminant "Requiem Black Mass" which set everything over the table and prove why this band, has reached so quickly the top underground scene, with such melodies and brutality it's inarguably the creativity and conviction they have, "Under the Venomous Spell" subtle start that turns into a storm very intense almost reaching a sublime point for the driven speed used by the drums with it blast beat that shatter harmoniously, flashing guitar riffs and the ominous vocals make of this track one of the best, Anders Strokirk from (Necrophobic) make a guest appearance in the track number four "Craft of the Nihilist" giving the proper vocal style, owning an overwhelming guitar solo, while the drum patterns seems to be unstoppable, "Road to Dead Meadows" has a singular entity and never step back for a second in the ferociously and speed delivered, track after track you can find out how meticulously are this guys "Inheritance of the Cross" falls into a blackened riffing, while "Aeternum Regno Diaboli" add a droning passage in the album, only to unleash the devils towards the end "Complete Unholyness" is very raw and combine exceptionally from fast pace to semi-slow pace adding an epic mood, "Empire of Graves" does not lack of intensity, until we get to the last track "Death's Withered Chants" it reaches a little over ten minutes, from afar you can perceives a thunderstorm which seems to start where the intro left, then a slow pace takes over with heavy and mesmerizing dark melodies, lofty backing vocals gives a stunning perspective to the whole environment, by the end you will hardly notice the length of the album due to the excellent flow of the tracks.

In summary this album takes a hell within the songwriting, the ceaseless raw but melodic black metal recalls bands like Dissection, Dark Funeral, Necrophobic or Dark Fortress just to mention few top bands of the genre, however the strongest critics could fall more upon the band genuineness, because many will point there is nothing new here, but cohesiveness and effectiveness are a must to stand out, they succeed to enthrall the listener for almost one hour, track after track you will feel a torrential flow of melodic aggression as you have not felt it for a while, indisputably a serious contender to add in the end year list.

Stay True… Stay Metal… Stay Brutal...

Track List:

01. Hymnum Mortis
02. Requiem Black Mass
03. Under a Venomous Spell
04. Craft of the Nihilist
05. Road to Dead Meadows
06. Inheritance of the Cross
07. Aeternum Regno Diaboli
08. Complete Unholyness
09. Empire of Graves
10. Death's Withered Chants

Satanath Records

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