Category Archives: Black Metal

The Day After Record Store Day 2017

Yesterday I said that I was happy to come away from Record Store Day 2017 with a couple of mementos and not go overboard. I also expressed relief at not having to pay £37 for the Cheap Trick Epic Archive set.

Well, it turns out that was UTTER BULLSHIT. Yesterday I visited Glasgow’s Monorail Records and today it occurred to me that I might as well pop over to LoveMusic and see what they had left. I was specifically hoping for the Enslaved Roadburn Live double LP that Monorail didn’t get in stock…

Yippee! I managed to get the Enslaved album… and a very beautiful thing it is. I notice it has an intriguing cover of Zep’s Immigrant Song too. Nice. And then while I was at the counter I found myself saying out loud “you don’t have any of the Cheap Trick left do you?”

He did! The last sealed copy. I couldn’t just leave it there. It was stupidly expensive for a double vinyl though, and I wasn’t lucky enough to get one of the signed inserts. Beh. Truthfully, it’s sets like this that give RSD a bad name but I’m still chuffed to have a copy. Some tracks I already have but also some choice ones that I don’t and the liner notes from Bun E. Carlos look like a good read. Overall, it’s a fine addition to the collection despite my grumblings.

And that is definitely my lot for this year! Definitely.

New Releases: 21st April 2017 (and RSD17)

This weekend is going to be dominated by Record Store Day (the tenth one!) but there are still some interesting “normal” new releases for you if you can’t be bothered with all that queuing nonsense on Saturday.

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Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon

“Death metal in space” was a recurring feature in my Top Albums of 2016 and it looks like it might be this year too. It’s only April and here come Artificial Brain with this wonderful album of… you guessed it… death metal in space! An almost-concept album about cyborgs, it’s totally brutal and guttural and also really expressive and creative. A must-buy.

Night Demon – Darkness Remains

Bit of retro trad metal for the oldies! Night Demon have already enjoyed plenty of plaudits for their previous releases but the reviews have went into gush overdrive for this one. I’ve not been blown away by what I’ve heard but I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve heard the whole thing.

Vampire – With Primeval Force

Umm, pretty much the same as I said for Night Demon. Retro (evil death/thrash) with great reviews but I’ve not been convinced by what I’ve heard. Just sounds a bit dull to me. I’ll reserve judgement again but I’m even more skeptical about this one than the Night Demon album. Great cover though!

Rotting Christ – Thy Mighty Contrast

Fresh from me posting about it earlier in the week, here comes Peaceville Records with a plush vinyl reissue. This is missing the excellent bonus tracks that are on my CD copy but it looks like a mighty edition with cool liner notes and all that. It’s also freshly remastered and I believe Peaceville are going to be working through the catalogue so you might as well just hop on here so you can buy the whole bloody lot.

So what about Record Store Day then? I don’t usually bother with it that much but I’m not a pure stick-in-the-mud about it either. That said, it’s a bloody minefield to post about so you’re as well just checking out the RSD websites here and here for full lists and make your own mind up.

I quite fancy the Def Leppard EP (got it on 7inch already but it’s just the plain sleeve version and I fancy this edition), Enslaved’s Roadburn Live disc also looks cool and, if I strike out on those, the Crazy World Of Arthur Brown LP and the Cheap Trick Epic Rarities set would be acceptable booby prizes. As the rest of the metal RSD17 releases go, the Dillinger Escape Plan Instrumentalist single, Kylesa Live At Maida Vale and Katatonia Proscenium all look fairly collectible too, if you’re a fan. I’m gonna head out and try and pick up the Def Leppard EP but reportedly there’s a reissue campaign of early Lep stuff on the way that will probably include the EP tracks (and more hopefully!) so even the EP isn’t totally essential. But it’s all just a bit of fun so I’m going to get up early… not too early… and try my luck.

And that’s about the lot for me this week. Let me know what you’re after today or if there’s any Record Store Day releases that you’ve got your alarm clock set for. Happy hunting!

Rotting Christ – Thy Mighty Contract

Rotting Christ – Thy Mighty Contract (1993)

I’m not sure I could have picked a less Easter-y album to listen to tonight. Then again, I’m fairly sure that vast swathes of my music collection aren’t exactly appropriate for most religious holidays. There’s never a bad time to listen to Thy Mighty Contract though. It’s brilliant early black metal with remarkably restrained and melodic riffs, impassioned warrior shouts and dark force. It’s often pleasingly dreary and gothic in a Paradise Lost/My Dying Bride vein and it has that influential and unique sun-baked atmosphere that Greek black metal has become known for. It’s atmospheric, accessible and totally classic: a great entry point for anyone new to the genre and an eternal favourite for long-time devotees.

[Rotting Christ – The Fourth Knight Of Revelation]

New Releases – 14th April 2017

Stop what you’re doing, it’s new release day! Here are my picks from today’s release schedule.

Nightbringer – Terra Damnata

If you’ve been feeling like recent weeks have been light on black metal, this album will be like manna from Hades: lush and layered black metal of the majestic and emperial variety. I’ve enjoyed the tracks I’ve heard so far, nothing particularly new but still fresh and exciting. And a cool cover to boot.

Craven Idol – Shackles Of Mammon

More black metal… this time of the thrashy, crusty persuasion. I almost passed this by but an influx of positive reviews caught my attention. It seems like there’s way too many mediocre black thrash bands around these days but after hearing the track A Ripping Strike I’m expecting this album to be a cut above.

Novembers Doom – Hamartia

Always partial to bands that mix death and doom but, despite this being album number ten, this band has passed me by. Based on the track Plague Bird, I’m not sure I’m too excited about this one though. It reminds me a bit of My Dying Bride but not quite grinding or miserable enough for me.

Buckshot Facelift – Ulcer Island

Just found out about this band recently via their singer Will Smith who is also in the excellent Artificial Brain. I’ve not heard any of the new stuff but the band’s older tracks are interesting, twisted grind. I prefer Artificial Brain but this should be worth a listen. Might be this week’s dark horse.

Dimmu Borgir – Forces Of The Northern Night

More black metal! This time it’s the now-obligatory multi-format live package. This time the veteran (and divisive)  black metallers have an orchestra and choir along for the ride. Given the band’s symphonic leanings this had to happen sooner or later… sounds a bit cheesy to me though.

Accept – Accept, I’m A Rebel, Breaker and Restless And Wild

Accept’s first four albums aren’t that easy to get a hold of now and I’ve only got Restless And Wild so these US reissues are pretty welcome. Sadly, the only bonus tracks are from a recent Udo tour which is shite (bonus tracks should be from the relevant era as far as I’m concerned). But I reckon I’ll still grab the whole lot of these if the price is right.

And I reckon that’s about the lot for today. A relatively quiet release day after a few big weeks, but there’s still some good stuff here if you’re itching for some new metal. Let me know if there’s anything you are into that I’ve not included. Until, next Friday… happy hunting!

New Releases – 7th April 2017

Good news! It’s new release day… and there’s a metric shit-ton of amazing stuff out today.

Deep Purple – InFinite

The legendary rockers return with the follow-up to the well-received Now What?! The Purps are one of my favourite bands, but I can’t say I’ve had much use for any of their albums since Purpendicular. That said, I’ve still bought them all so I might as well just keep going. The bonus documentary does look pretty enlightening though so that’s a temptation. There’s also a big box version with the second volume of the Now What Live Tapes and the usual deluxe bits and bobs too. But I reckon I’ll just hold my horses until I can get a cheap copy.

The Obsessed – Sacred

Here’s another legendary band, the Wino-led doom metallers hitting the comeback trail with this exciting new album. This is such a slam-dunk that I didn’t even want to hear any of the songs in advance, just wait till I have the whole album. But then curiosity got the better of me and I had a wee listen to Punk Crusher. I say “wee” because, after 30 seconds I just thought “fuck yes, that’ll do” and switched it off. Looks like the deluxe 2LP vinyl edition is the one to go for, featuring three bonus tunes.

The Doomsday Kingdom – The Doomsday Kingdom

More doom as Candlemass main-dude Leif Edling releases the debut album from his latest project. I was pretty impressed by the previous demo EP so this is another no-brainer. Again, I’ve avoided listening to any advance tracks. I know I’m going to buy this so why spoil the surprise? I’m hoping that this album is going to tickle the epic doom parts that the last few Candlemass releases failed to reach.

Bernie Tormé – Dublin Cowboy

I posted about the pledge of this a while back. If you pledged you’ll already been treated to the full triple album but the tardy among you can now buy the 3CD set the normal way! And you really should. Stonesy, punky, bluesy goodness with Bernie’s inimitable guitar lashing on the first disc, evocative fireside folkiness on the acoustic disc and a live disc too! Should be available at his Bandcamp page too.

Possession – Exorkizein

Here’s this week’s top tip for lovers of proper infernal extreme metal. This Belgian band has already released a demo and a mini-album and both releases were truly exciting, if frustratingly short. There’s been a bit of a personnel shuffle since those earlier releases but, based on what I’ve heard so far, this sounds like it’s going to be a malevolent mix of black, death and doom from a band to watch.

Demon Head – Thunder On The Fields

This band has been a recent discovery for me. I’ve been enjoying their last album Ride The Wilderness a lot and looking forward to this follow-up. Demon Head play humongously catchy occult rock with awesome Danzig-y vocals and a refreshingly clean, vintage sound. Not sure what the distribution is going to be like though so the best bet might be to check out the band’s Bandcamp page.

Royal Thunder – Wick

A lot of fuss was made over this band’s last release Crooked Doors but I wasn’t really feeling it. I really liked one song but when I tried the whole album it just didn’t grab me. Now I’ve checked out their new song April Showers and liked it a lot, brilliant melodies, sound and vocals, so I’m going to give them another go and I hope they click with me this time. I’ll try before I buy though, just in case.

Elsewhere, Ulver release The Assassination Of Julius Caesar. I know lots of folk love this band but I’ve not been all that enamoured with their latter-day stuff. I’m sure this release will be very welcome news to lots of you though. Instrumental post-whatever band Russian Circles release Live at Dunk! Fest 2016. I heard their last studio album playing in Fopp a few times and it sounded pretty decent. I keep meaning to check them out but I doubt I’d start here though. Trad-metallers Trial release Motherless on Metal Blade. Their last album got lots of praise but I don’t really hear the appeal myself, can’t get on with the vocals at all. UK death-metallers Basement Torture Killings’ second album There’s Something About Beryl should definitely appeal to fans of gore, death, grind and serial killers. That’s most people, right? And last, but certainly not least, Ghost Horizon release their new EP The Erotics Of Disgust. Bit wary of post-black metal but this looks fairly intriguing. And as an added bonus it’s got a cool title and an awesome Gustav Dore cover. Well played.

And that’s all the releases that stand out for me. Very varied selection today, there’s surely something here for everyone! Let me know if there’s anything I’ve not mentioned that you have your evil eye on. Until next week… happy hunting.

(I’m not going to be continuing with the weekly album cover polls anymore but, if you were enjoying that, please don’t be alarmed! Just shoot the shit about your favourites in the comments and at the end of the month I’m going to compile the covers that have got the most attention and do a “Best Album Cover of the Month” instead.)

New Releases – 31st March 2017

Apologies for the slightly late posting but it’s still Friday, and you know what that means… new releases! And quite a bit of them so I’m just going to fire through these.

Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand

Obviously a big release but, cards on the table, I’ve not been a fan of the last couple of Mastodon releases. I was initially intrigued by the return of producer Brendan O’Brien and the return to the Crack The Skye-style concept. But the three tracks I’ve heard haven’t really got me going. I liked Sultan’s Curse but the other two just reminded me of The Hunter. If you’re still a Mastodon fan though, you’ll be excited about this… and rightly so! No particular format variances but I think I saw some vinyl editions that came with a colouring-in set? Genius!

Gruesome – Fragments Of Psyche EP

Gruesome continue their musical homages to the late, great Chuck Schuldiner. On the title track of this EP it looks like the might be moving away from the Leprosy-worship to take a crack at the Human-era. And they’ve even recruited ex-Death/Cynic drummer Sean Reinert to help them out too. Throw in a Death cover and a bunch of old demos and you’ve got the makings of a pretty worthwhile and fun EP. My pick of the week for sure.

Voivod – Build Your Weapons: The Very Best Of The Noise Years

A good chunk of the band’s Noise output assembled across two discs and a decent taster if you just fancy dipping your toes into their early catalogue. I’m more excited about the upcoming reissues but I might just grab this anyway just to get into the spirit. And I want to encourage more of these Noise reissues… there’s a back catalogue to die for there so vote with your cash to get the kind of releases you want and deserve!

Necroblood – The Collapse Of The Human Race

Evil death metal debut album from France. Hearing very good things about this one and, if the cover’s anything to go by, this should be terrifying enough to appeal to black metal fans too. It’s all about Be’elzebub so it doesn’t get much blacker than that, eh? Sounds like it’ll be right up my diabolical street.

Other big(ish) releases today include Arch Enemy’s live at Wacken set As The Stages Burn! which seems to be either a CD/DVD, 2LP/DVD or a CD/DVD/BR/POPUPBOOK. Metal. I had no idea Demon Hunter were so popular, so their latest album Outlive should be good news to someone. Do like the art but the music’s a bit too nu-metal for me. And there’s also some topical rap-metal on offer today, as IceT returns with Body Count’s Bloodlust, an album he claims will be the best of 2017 across all musical genres. Should be a must-buy then… unless he’s just talking out of his arse. Go buy it and then let me know would you?

If you’ve been enjoying the recent rethrash album from Power Trip and Havok and want to keep moshing, you might want to try Warbringer’s Woe To The Vanquished. I wasn’t too fussed about the new track Remain Violent though, apart from the excellent solos. The now-defunct Isis release Live VII. I know a lot of folk love them but I’m not into them enough to know if a seventh live album is all that exciting a prospect, or even necessary? Fans of the colour yellow will want it just for the cover though. In case Necroblood wasn’t fucking evil enough for you, there’s also a new EP from Polish band Medico Peste, the excellently-titled  Herzogian Darkness. And last, but not least, Saturn release Beyond Spectra, their second album of retro 70s, spacey, heavy rawk on Rise Above Records.

And that’s the lot for this week. If there’s anything you fancy that I’ve not covered, let us all know about it in the comments. Before you all rush out the shops there’s only one thing left to…

Vote for your favourite cover of the week! Only takes a moment and low voter turnouts are bad for democracy. Do your duty!

New Releases – 17th March 2017

Friday is upon us once more. Let us look at today’s new releases and see if they are glorious.

(And thanks to Nick for giving me a heads-up about a couple of these!)

Obituary – Obituary

When an older band releases a self-titled album, it usually suggests a renewed sense of purpose or a big change in style but, having checked out Obituary’s new song Lesson In Vengeance, I’m not sure this album is going to be either. Just sounded like OK meat and potatoes death metal stuff to me. Maybe they just couldn’t think of a title? Anyway, as death metal legends go, Obituary never really caught my interest and this doesn’t seem like it’ll change that. I’ll probably just go back and give Cause of Death another go.

KXM – Scatterbrain 

Korn’s Ray Luzier, King’s X’s dUg Pinnick(?) and Lynch Mob’s George Lynch team up to form Korn X Mob! Handily shortened to KXM. Didn’t even know about this band and they’re on their second album already. Fairly intriguing combo of talented musicians so this should be worth checking out. Lynch is the MVP of KXM, as far as I’m concerned. His playing on the title-track is supreme.

Svart Crown – Abreaction

Apologies to European readers as I should have mentioned this one a week or so ago. But it’s out in the US/Canada today so I get to mention it anyway. Better late than never. I was prepared to write this one off as samey but this French band’s latest batch of blackened death is proving naggingly enjoyable. Nothing original but well-crafted and fresh all the same.

Fit for an Autopsy – The Great Collapse 

The new album from the prominent deathcore practitioners. Just not a deathcore fan so you’ll have to make your own mind up about this one… don’t let me influence you.

On the vinyl front, Back on Black reissue Raven’s Rock Until You Drop and Live at the Inferno. Normally I’d just buy a CD rather than bother with a Back on Black LP but the Raven stuff’s a bit hard to find so I could be tempted. On the other hand, a lot of NWOBHM stuff has been getting reissued on CD and box sets these days so… I’ll maybe hold off. Proggy instrumentalists Animal As Leaders get two remastered reissues on silver vinyl (Weightless and their S/T) and the dull-as-dishwater Lamb of God get the same treatment for their debut album New American Gospel.

And that’s the lot for another week. No massive must-buys for me today but Svart Crown and KXM sound worthy of further investigation. Next week we’ve got one of the year’s most anticipated releases. Until then… happy hunting.

*NEW FEATURE* – The “best cover” game is now available as a poll! Pick your fave here. (Only the releases with new artwork will be included)