Category Archives: Death Metal

New Releases – 9th March 2018

Honestly, you wait ages for some interesting new releases and then three of them all come at once.

Judas Priest – Firepower

I wasn’t overly fussed about Redeemer Of Souls so I’m taking all the “best since Painkiller” chat I’m hearing about Firepower with a big pinch of salt. And that’s not exactly lofty praise anyway! That said, the advance tracks I’ve heard have been decent enough… definitely a big improvement in the production department. At the end of the day, I could hum and haw until the cows come home. But it’s Priest – might be the last Priest! – and I’ll be buying it.

Pestilence Hadeon

I never got into these Dutch death metallers until a few years back but I’ve only heard their old stuff, none of the music they released since returning in 2008. Now Pestilence head honcho Patrick Mameli is back with a new lineup and an album that reportedly gets back to their more brutal earlier style. Been reading good reviews too… intrigued.

Drudkh – They Often See Dreams About The Spring

I’m hellishly late getting round to this secretive Ukranian black metal band. I checked out their song Nakryta Neba Burym Dakhom and definitely want to hear more. Throw in a rave review in the latest ZT Mag and this looks well worth a spin. Liking that cover too.

And that’s about the lot really, with an honourable mention for Nevermore’s The Complete Collection box set which looks pretty spiffing too. Happy hunting and, as always, please leave a comment and let everyone know what you’re hoping to buy today.


New Releases – 23rd February 2018

It’s time for my intensely selective look at the day’s new releases. I’m all about the reissues today but, before we get to those…

Solstice – White Horse Hill (Download)

Not technically one of today’s “new releases” but it did only just appear on Bandcamp a couple of days ago. And, as this is an extremely exciting and long-awaited release, I thought I might just include it anyway! Anyone desperate for a shot of epic doom folklore (and that’s really everyone, right?) should definitely check this out. The UK band have put out some splendid releases in the past and it’s been twenty(!) years since their last full length*. CDs and vinyl will be released soon but I have no exact release date at the moment.

Kreator – Coma Of Souls (2CD), Renewal, Cause For Conflict and Outcast (2CD)

Noise Records continue their busy, and excellent, reissue program with this second batch of Kreator albums. I thoroughly enjoyed the last batch so I’m well up for these. There’s a good bunch of bonus tracks to be had here and a couple of albums I haven’t heard before too. Might not buy them all in one swoop but I’ll definitely buy them all eventually.

Venom Prison – Animus (Deluxe Edition)

This British death metal band made big waves with this debut album back in 2016. Now it gets an expanded reissue with bonus live tracks. I couldn’t quite bring myself to buy it first time round. Almost did a couple of times but, even when it was only £8 in HMV, I couldn’t quite commit. Dunno why. Glad I didn’t now.

And that’s the lot. Anything you’re interested in today? Let me know in the comments.

*I originally wrote 5 years but I forgot their last release was an EP, not an album.

New Releases – 26th January 2018

The wait is finally over! It’s the return of the weekly New Release posts. Every Friday, I’ll be taking a look at the day’s new releases and new reissues. But this will be a new remastered version of the New Release posts. In other words, totally compressed! I’m going to be thoroughly selfish and utterly ruthless, covering only the most interesting (to me) and must-buy (if you’re me) new releases and reissues. Luckily, because I have such great taste, the selection will never be anything less than exemplary.

So what’s out today?

Tribulation – Down Below

One of the big releases of 2018 right here. I’ve got all of Tribulation’s previous albums and I loved their last one The Children Of The Night so this is a slam dunk. Not so sure about the songs I’ve heard so far but I’ve been reading tons of rave reviews and I reckon it’ll all make more sense as a complete album. A must buy. **UPDATE** There is a special mediabook CD edition with a bonus track. And it’s GORGEOUS.

Portal – Ion

Horror metal weirdness from Australia. I’m not a huge fan, only got a couple of older albums, but I’ll definitely give this a listen to see if it’s any good. I’ve heard mixed things so far but they’re that kind of band. And that cover is pretty splendid.

Thor – Electric Eyes

Ye Gods! An unreleased album from the son of Odin himself, Jon Mikl Thor! These previously-unheard recordings were done after his first album Keep The Dogs Away as he was moving from glam to the heavy metal style of the awesome Unchained EP and the Only The Strong album. You can’t have enough of this stuff so… count me in.

And that’s my shopping list for today. Let me know if there are any releases that you are particularly excited about in the comments.


The HMO Top Albums of 2017

Twelve whole months of your human time have passed. An entire year of metal releases that have all been building up to one thing: The HMO Top Albums of 2017!

And what a year it was. I reckon the overall standard in this year’s list is the highest since I started doing these, with albums in the lower reaches that would have ranked higher in a less competitive year. Consequently, there was also a bunch of very deserving albums that just missed the cut:

Formicarius – Black Mass Ritual, Contaminated – Final Man, Power Trip – Nightmare Logic, Full Of Hell – Trumpeting Ecstasy, Vampire – With Primeval Force, Demon Head – Thunder In The Fields, Spectral Voice – Eroded Corridors of Unbeing

All of these were favourites of mine that would very likely have made the list any other year and I’d heartily recommend all of them. But there can be only ten…

NUMBER TEN: Satyricon – Deep Calleth Upon Deep

The black metal duo returned with this powerful and deceptively simple set of cold, bleak, groovy and progressive black metal hymns. Following frontman Satyr’s recovery from illness, the album was heralded as “day one of a new chapter”. But it’s no reinvention, just the sound of a band knuckling down with fresh dedication and commitment.

NUMBER NINE: The Obsessed – Sacred

Doom icon Wino returns with a new lineup of his old band The Obsessed and an album that lives up to their classics of old. Hefty biker doom riffs with ace songwriting, soulful maturity and vintage musicianship. Wino’s voice and guitar slinging are as badass as ever. He sings “I was born with my heart on my sleeve” and, 56 years later, he’s still wearing it well.

NUMBER EIGHT: Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon

No AOTY list would be complete without some death metal in space and this year’s guttural cosmic travellers are Long Island’s Artificial Brain. Post-humanity, cyborgs ponder life and their predecessors and the wonderfully ambient blend of tech death, beautiful dissonance and filthy vocals suits the theme perfectly. Also… might be the only album in my collection that features the word “urinals”.

NUMBER SEVEN: The King Is Blind – We Are The Parasite, We Are The Cancer

The King Is Blind make the HMO Top Ten for the second year in a row. No mean feat. This sequel to their debut album Our Father, brings that album’s biblical tale into the modern day with harrowing results. The UK headbangers bash out an intelligent, raging and monolithic slab of metal that fuses a whole bunch of styles into a crushing, grooving whole that grows in stature with each listen.

NUMBER SIX: Immolation – Atonement

No big back-story, concept or narrative to talk about here. Just straight-up quality death metal from a veteran act that’s still hungry. As with other releases this year, it’s definitely got a whiff of the end-times about it. But instead of dishing out the political rage, Immolation deal out a restrained, ominous and dark indictment of our times. Crushing, twisted, authoritative and destructive from beginning to end.

NUMBER FIVE: Midnight – Sweet Death And Ecstasy

Hooded demon Athenar returns with his third full-length album of black thrash hooliganism. No zeitgeist-y vibes here: just Satan, shagging and Venom-worship. But there’s a lot of creativity crammed into this album’s short running time and its bookended by two epics that push the band’s stylistic (long)boat out: swashbuckling, scything mid-tempo metal that invokes the legends of old… the legends of Ye Olde Bathory and Manowar. It’s that good.

NUMBER FOUR: Cradle Of Filth – Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness Of Decay

The loved-or-loathed British institution continues a late-career renaissance that finds them tipping the balance firmly in the loved direction. Themed around the Victorian obsession with death, Cryptoriana… is a darkly fabulous romp of hard-hitting gothic metal delivered with expertise and passion. It’s atmospheric, cinematic, galloptastic and just tons of fun with a vocal turn from Dani Filth that cements his place as the veritable metal legend that he is.

NUMBER THREE: Memoriam – For The Fallen

Featuring ex-members of Bolt Thrower and Benediction, Memoriam were formed as a tribute to Bolt Thrower’s late drummer Martin ‘Kiddie’ Kearns and what a tribute it is: crusty, primitive old-school death metal with a sense of tragedy and loss. But it’s not a total downer, there’s enough carnage here to please Bolt Thrower fans. Vocalist Karl Willetts performs with charisma and heart while the band unleashes the kind of filthy, strafing riffage that’s guaranteed to have you running for cover.

NUMBER TWO: Paradise Lost – Medusa

2015’s The Plague Within was a welcome return to growlier death/doom fare but I don’t think anyone could have expected Paradise Lost to dredge the depths of misery like they have with this near-flawless album of gothic gloom. Anthemic hooks, crusty riffing, mournful harmonies and a fearless vocal performance from Nick Holmes put Medusa right up there with the band’s best work. No small feat, considering the number of innovative and essential albums that make up this legendary band’s discography.

NUMBER ONE: Akercocke – Renaissance In Extremis

The great comeback of 2017 was the return of these much-missed British Satanists with their most progressive, personal and accessible album to date. But the blackened malevolence of old remains and the fact that this album could well lure fans of more classic fare into a more extreme musical realm suggests these suave Londoners are still doing the devil’s work. The eclectic variety, complex structures and dreamy introspection make for a fascinating, rewarding listen and the intense, dynamic, neck-snapping skill of the band’s performance is the stuff of metal gods.


2017: Akercocke – Renaissance In Extremis

2016: Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder

2015: My Dying Bride – Feel the Misery

2014: Voices – London


New Songs From Watain, Saxon, Portal and Tribulation

There have been a few new tracks premiered online recently and a few are from upcoming albums that I’ve reported on but didn’t have any music available to share at the time. So I thought I’d share them here now! Let me know what you think and, if you’ve heard any good new tracks yourself, please share in the comments.

Watain – Nuclear Alchemy

As statements of intent go, Watain’s new song and video takes some beating. They’ll never admit it but this comes across like they’re trying very hard to make up for their disappointing previous album The Wild Hunt with bile, chaos, blood, fire, explosions and a liberal sprinkling of evil. Their new album Trident Wolf Eclipse (due Jan 2018) will reveal if they’re overcompensating or not but this track is undeniably exciting.

Saxon – Thunderbolt

The HMO-faves introduce their upcoming album with the title track and it’s the kind of heavy and hooky Euro-metal that they’re known for now. The Accept-esque backing vocals are the only mildly surprising feature. I’m not so sure about those. But Saxon always pick safe, solid singles to promote their new albums and this is no exception. Choose from a bewilderingly-expensive selection of PledgeMusic offers here.

Portal – Phreqs

I’ve only got a couple of Portal albums and I have mixed feelings about them, veering from indifferent to enthralled. Sometimes in a single sitting. Sometimes in the course of a single song! I’m sure these weirdos wouldn’t want it any other way. Their new song Phreqs from upcoming album Ion (due Jan 2018) continues this tradition. A smothering swarm of buzzy bee riffs that’s fascinating and sickening all at once. I’m surprised they’re not aiming for the Xmas No. 1 with this, to be honest.

Tribulation – The Lament

I really enjoyed Tribulation’s last album and have been looking forward to more from them but new track The Lament is a bit underwhelming. The production is fantastic but there’s no real song in there and the riffs and melodies all sound a bit stock to my ears. Hopefully the album will have more substance.


Lady Death – New Tribulation EP To Be Released In Dec 2017

A double-whammy of release news from the excellent Swedish band Tribulation. January 26th 2018 will see the release of a new full-length album entitled Down Below. And, if you just can’t wait that long for new Tribulation music, then they will be releasing a brand new 7” EP on December 22nd 2017 called Lady Death.

The EP, their first release with new drummer Oscar Leander, will include album track Lady Death and also a B-Side track called Skärselden. The artwork is also from Tribulation’s guitarist Jonathan Hultén and is pretty nifty. You can pre-order the usual rainbow varieties of vinyl colours from the label website here or the band’s own merch site here.

The band’s last album The Children Of The Night was one of the better, more durable releases of recent years so it’s exciting to have the band back. My only question is… I’ve seen a few bands do this recently… since when did one A-Side track and one B-Side track constitute an EP? Answers in the comments please.


The King Is Blind – We Are The Parasite, We Are The Cancer (Review)

The King Is Blind’s previous album Our Father was a high-point of 2016 and it’s very pleasing to have them back with a follow-up so soon. And their second album We Are The Parasite, We Are The Cancer doesn’t just follow up their last release, it also follows on the imaginative and thorough God/Satan concept that has ran through all of the band’s music. This time the story brings us up to modern day: the pesky Satan pledging the destruction of mankind and, drawing power from our abuse of sin, sending seven plague princes to generally stir things up and give us all a hard time. Serves us right.

Like its predecessor, WATPWATC blends a bunch of extreme metal approaches – death, black, doom, grind – into a crushing, grooving whole. But this is a more threatening and foreboding outing: the rage and intensity is ramped up and the superb production adds layers of nightmarish, urban ambience. The highlights are many: Patriarch is a furious and discordant opener, Bolt Thrower/Memoriam frontman Karl Willetts lends his wonderful vocal thuggery to the filthily-anthemic Mantra XIII (Plague Avaritia) and Godfrost (Plague Invidia) is just pure carnage. And any album with a hidden Mano-quote is fine by me!

The band is on burly form throughout. Guitars and drums are hit thick and hard and Steve Tovey sells each song with intense and committed vocals. But the album is not without its flaws. I find the Gojira-esque harmonies on Like Gods Departed (Plague Acedia) a bit dull but the track’s awesome Candlemass riffing and its building excitement render that a minor complaint. And, although the increased brutality means that the album doesn’t quite sink its hooks in like Our Father did, the cathartic impact and the almost Floydian atmosphere of tracks like As Vermin Swarm (Plague Ira) and the acoustic-laden The Burden Of Their Scars leave a considerable impression.

With WATPWATC, The King Is Blind continue to impress: honing, intensifying and adding depth to their own brand of monolithic metal. It’s a bold statement of intent and I reckon this promising band still has more to offer. In the meantime, the latest chapter of The King Is Blind’s story will please old fans and attract new ones. And I guarantee a growing legion of devotees will be waiting to see what these British bruisers, and that Satan, get up to next.

HMO Rating: 4 out of 5

**We Are The Parasite, We Are The Cancer will be released on Oct 13th and can be purchased here**