New Releases – 10th August 2018

Finally, some good new releases! It’s been quite a while since we’ve had as fun-filled a week as this. And it’s mostly all new stuff too, none of your deluxe box thingies and vinyl reissue “remastered” gubbins. Just NEW METAL.

Haunt – Burst Into Flame

Retro-styled true metal has become quite the rage in the last few years but I’m usually unconvinced. The bands always have the sound down but the songwriting often falls short. Having listened to the title track from this album, I reckon this US band might have the goods though. It’s strident, catchy stuff. Definitely worth checking out.

Night Demon – Live Darkness

Speaking of retro metal… Night Demon have become quite the rage in the last few years but they haven’t caught on with the HMOverlord yet. Always feel like I just haven’t given them a fair shake of the stick though so maybe this new live album will finally win me over. Athenar from HMO-favourites Midnight makes an appearance so that’s a promising sign.

The Spirit – Sounds From The Vortex

Here’s some intriguing sounding black/death shenanigans from Nuclear Blast. The tracks I’ve heard remind me of Tribulation stuff or the Vampire record from last year… quite a bit like Dissection too. Got that waltzy thing going on. And with a list of comparisons like that, this has to be a must-hear.

Ill Omen – The Grande Usurper EP

Don’t know much about this band, I believe it’s an Australian one-man black metal act of the murky and cavernous variety. I’m a bit of a hard sell with that kind of stuff but I listened to a track from this at work and got right into it. I’ll grab this one on Bandcamp.

Gloam/Obscure Evil – Split EP

New to me but the cover caught my eye. Only one track from each band but I bet it’s quality over quantity. I heard the Gloam track Black Swords Of Desecration and it thrashed about all over the place. Brilliant. And the other band is called Obscure Evil which means they must be good. Surely?! Another one for Bandcamp.

And that’s about it for me. Anything else you’re looking for today? Anything you’re avoiding like the plague? Let me know in the comments. Happy hunting.

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Blue Öyster Cult – Mirrors (Review)

Blue Öyster Cult – Mirrors (1979)

Blue Öyster Cult had hit it big with 1976’s Agents Of Fortune but they were starting to sound like they were going through the motions by the time of 1979’s Mirrors. The slick Tom Werman production and generic songwriting displays little of the band’s usual esoteric adventurousness. The pastiche Moon Crazy should never have seen the light of day and the title-track has some woeful lyrics: “Pretty girls have a love affair/with their eyes and their shining hair”. The AOR approach mostly results in decent but forgettable tracks like Lonely Teardrops but does at least manage to offer up one Cult classic in the wistfully pretty single In Thee. The album is on stronger footing when the band finally starts to sound like the BÖC of old on The Vigil and I Am The Storm, a great cosmic pairing that livens up the second half. Definitely a lesser effort compared to its predecessors but Mirrors has just enough going for it to be worth a look.

HMO Rating: 3 Out Of 5

[Blue Öyster Cult – The Vigil]

Pretty boys have a love affair, with their eyes and their shining… hands?

Buying Round-Up: Jun/Jul 2018

I’d normally do a New Release post today but there’s nothing out this week that I can be bothered buying or writing about! So instead, I thought I’d have a quick catch up on some new additions. Been a quiet few weeks so I’ve not been buying a whole lot. Still some good stuff here though, and a couple of AOTY contenders too!

Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods

Blashyrkh’s finest impress mightily with their first Abbath-less album: raging, epic and cold black metal of the most classic variety. At first I thought it was a bit meh but it’s really growing on me with each listen. Reckon this will be a keeper. All black covers are a bummer to photograph though so apologies for the shite photies!

Solstice – White Horse Hill

This is a very nicely done digipak. Looks great! It’s the US version so it’s got a bonus track on it too. This is a immensely stirring epic doom album with brilliant vocals and tons of Bathory/Manowar-style Viking manfeels. Love this kind of stuff.

Rotting Christ – Under Our Black Cult

A superb box set from Peaceville, who are getting jolly good at these things (hoping for a My Dying Bride one next). Five whole discs of albums, demos, live stuff and more! And it also has a signed certificate from RC main-man Sakis Tolis and an excellent photo-packed book.

Autopsy – Critical Madness: The Demo Years

And here’s another excellent Peaceville release. Autopsy’s seminal demos get reissued. Have a lot of this stuff already but this is a brilliant compilation of fat, filthy death metal done right. Love the cover, liner notes and obi-strip… and it was only £8!

Batushka – Litourgiya

A godly black metal album from 2015. This is a new digipak edition. Blabbed a bit about it and posted a track here.

Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction

Went easy on my wallet and plumped for the 2CD version and bought some other tracks as downloads. Nice to have, remaster sounds great and it’s got good packaging for the price but I’ve not really been getting much out of this reissue. One of those albums I’m kinda done with (Rocket Queen aside… I always get a kick out of that). Thought this might rekindle my interest but it hasn’t yet.

Yes – Yessongs

An unexpected charity shop find. Got this album already but my current vinyl copy is beyond tatty! This is a later repress but it’s in great nick and has the booklet, which my other copy was missing too. Still going to keep the older copy cause it sounds great but this is a lovely copy of an all-time classic live album.

Bought the new Antichrist Imperium vinyl but it’s not turned up yet, and I bought the new Imperial Triumphant album and the three Thou EPs as downloads on Bandcamp. And that’s about the lot! Some really superb music here and plenty to keep me busy during this fallow patch of new releases. I’ll hopefully get back to those next Friday though… if there are any!

Now Playing: Batushka – Litourgiya

This excellent debut album was released back in 2015 but I’m only catching up with it now. I bought this new digipak edition a few weeks ago and I’ve been listening to it solidly ever since. It’s superb black metal with a huge, natural sound and grand atmosphere and the secretive Poles weave Gregorian-style chants throughout the music in a wonderful way. Monk-y magic!

[Batushka – Litany V: Holy Entrance]

Mercyful Fate – Mercyful Fate EP (Review)

Released in 1982, Mercyful Fate’s self-titled debut is often referred to as the “Nuns Have No Fun” EP but I reckon even Mother Theresa would be hard-pressed to not get a kick out of this. The Danish band battered out a high-energy update on the pace-shifting, riff-laden approach of bands like Diamond Head and Priest but earned recognition as one of the “first wave” black metal bands by virtue of being extremely, extremely evil. While their style is fairly traditional, Hank Shermann’s riffs and solos are pure malevolence and the unique range of corpse-painted vocalist King Diamond is alternately threatening and ghostly, hitting high notes only Rob Halford can hear on Devil Eyes. A Corpse Without Soul and Doomed By The Living Dead are thrashing, twisting workouts with wonderful vocal hooks. Try not singing along with “I’m a corpse, I’m a corpse, I’m a corpse without soul”. The band’s seminal albums would be more cerebral and progressive occult offerings, but the four songs here have a more boisterous and naïve sense of blasphemy. The graveyard scares, pentagram pants, “fucking angels” and a C-word laden ode to religious sisters make Mercyful Fate a uniquely diabolical, gleeful and headbanging entry in their impressive career. None more fun.

HMO Rating: 5 out of 5

[Mercyful Fate – A Corpse Without Soul]

*Buying Note: This EP is also available in its entirety as part of the compilation The Beginning, which is a must-buy too.

New Releases – 27th July 2018

Welcome back! Last week was a total shiter for new releases so I gave myself a wee blogging holiday. But now I’m back and better than ever. Here’s today’s new musical things.

Not entirely sure what is going on here

Dee Snider – For The Love Of Metal

The Twisted Sister frontman gets very metal with heavy friends from bands like Hatebreed, Arch Enemy and Lamb Of God. Kinda good to see him go in this direction after doing Broadway songs and stuff like that. But it all seems a bit try-hard to me, he’s not writing the songs and I don’t like most of the musicians that are involved. Barking up the wrong tree, basically! I’ve only read good things about this but I’ve not been very excited by the songs I’ve heard. I’ll likely pass.

Thou – Rhea Sylvia EP

This is the last of a series of three EPs leading up to a new album Magus later in the year. This experimental sludge/doom/noise band has got such a dauntingly huge back catalogue that I’ve never even got started. Heard a couple of tracks from this though and they were both great. So… might as well start here!

Autopsy – Critical Madness: The Demo Years

This demo collection came out a while back on vinyl but I passed cause I have most of this stuff already. But I don’t have it all so it lingered in my mind ever since. I keep gazing longingly at it in the shops. But now it’s out on CD and it’s only £8 so I’ll definitely pick it up now! Not really the sort of thing you want to get caught gazing at in public anyway.

Q5 – Steel The Light

Great and overlooked 80s album featuring the famous Floyd Rose that invented the famous annoying guitar bridge! I bought a second-hand copy of this a good while back after reading about it in Kerrang’s “666 Albums To Hear Before You Die” mag. But now it’s out as a double disc with extra stuff so I could well be tempted to buy it again if the price is right.

And that’s about it for today. As usual, this is just the stuff that’s on my radar so let me know what you’re hoping to pick up today in the comments.

New Releases – 13th July 2018

Quality over quantity today!

Blasphemy – Live Ritual: Friday the 13th and Victory (Son Of The Damned)

Nuclear War Now! Productions offer up two exciting archive reissues from the Canadian bestial black metal terrors Blasphemy. Live Ritual: Friday the 13th was recorded on a mini-disc recorder at a show in 2001 and the recording became the first release from the fledgling NWN! Productions. Following the show, the band were given the mini-disc recorder and put it to good use, recording a basement rehearsal (by placing it on top of then-bassist Bestial Saviour of the Undead Legions’ washing machine). The recordings sounded brilliant and were released as a bonus disc with the live release. Both of these recordings are sought-after rarities and rightly so, they’re a magnificent and unholy racket. Much more in-your-face than the band’s studio albums. Essential stuff for black metal fans. CD and Tape editions were already released back in May but the vinyl editions are released today. Looks like maybe Europe is getting these later. It’s all a bit confusing. Look out for them, anyway!

Imperial Triumphant – Vile Luxury

Don’t know much about this band but I remember their previous album Abyssal Gods getting rave reviews. It’s avant-garde black metal with synths and horns and all that kinda stuff. They’re from New York and supposedly they trying to embody the sound of their city “from top floor luxury to the rotten underground.” Sounds pretty interesting so I’ll be checking this one out.

That’s about the lot for me this week. What will you be buying or checking out today?

… and classic rock too!