Category Archives: Thrash Metal

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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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.

Pestilence – Malleus Maleficarum (Review)

Pestilence are now known as death metal masters but on their 1988 debut album the Dutchmen were still in the process of pushing the Kreator-style thrash of their demos to increasingly aggressive extremes. The crunchy riffs, violent tempos, moshing breakdowns and vocal phrasing are pure thrash but the sickening bludgeon of the delivery and the Schuldiner-esque bark of Martin Van Drunen put the band on a collision course with the emergent death metal of the era. The lyrics aren’t much of a read but obsessions with science, atrocity and surgery also push things deathward (“bifurcation of the tumour”) and provide great vocal hooks for Van Drunen’s authoritative vocals in tracks like Parricide and Chemotherapy. Although they had yet to mature stylistically, Pestilence’s formidable songwriting and precision brutality makes this a must for fans of death and thrash. It’s named after the infamous “Hammer Of The Witches” treatise, yet Malleus Maleficarum is so magical from front to back that you could well suspect this band of sorcery.

HMO Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5

[Pestilence – Chemotherapy]

Now Playing: Blasphemy – Fallen Angel Of Doom

Today’s listening of choice is Blasphemy’s 1990 seminal debut album Fallen Angel Of Doom. This one still gets regular spins at HMO Mission Control. A ferocious and cult mix of grindcore and early black metal like Bathory and Sarcofago, it’s not especially memorable or kind to the ears but it’s totally addictive. And it’s massively influential too. Tons of bestial black metal and/or war metal bands still devotedly follow the template set here.

Buying Round-Up: Apr/May/Jun 2018

I’m long overdue doing one of these so I’m going to rattle through the key purchases from the last couple of months… and a bit.

Let’s start with the most recent new arrivals. The just-released expanded edition of Sepultura’s Arise follows similar reissues of Chaos A.D. and Roots from last year and like those it’s stuffed with extras! Rough mixes, demos and live tracks galore. Love/Hate’s Wasted In America gets the Rock Candy treatment. It’s an album I’ve wanted for ages but my first listen is a bit disappointing. Prefer the sleaze bludgeon of their debut Blackout In The Red Room. Ah well, might be a grower. I’ve only listened to the first half of Rotting Christ’s 2LP early days comp Abyssic Black Metal but it hit the spot. I’m really into these guys lately.

On the new album front, we’ve got Voices superb and sexy Frightened, Sleep’s The Sciences on CD at last(!) and the deluxe version of Ihsahn’s killer new album Ámr (worth getting for the great bonus track). All three are album of the year contenders. And I also bought Ghost’s Prequelle which… isn’t. Still pretty decent though.

I got a couple of live CD/DVD combos. Dokken’s reunion gigs captured for posterity on the flawed but entertaining Return To The East Live and Behemoth’s Messe Noire which has two gigs on DVD, promo vids and The Satanist album live on CD. It’s not flawed in the slightest, great stuff.

Def Leppard’s CD Collection: Volume 1 next. Very cool set, much along the design lines of the recent Bowie sets but with less text in the book and less rare material. But then it was also about half the price! Bought mainly for the remastered On Through The Night and the CD debut of some early singles and because… Def Leppard.

Also on the box set front there’s Marduk’s Dark Endless 25th Anniversary Edition. Nice reissue of the strong debut album with a neat digipak of the Here’s No Peace EP with demo artwork from deceased Mayhem vocalist Dead. Also has some stickers which doesn’t really seem very black metal to me. Shouldn’t it just have a dead rat in it or something like that?

On the reissue front I bought the “Final Kill” edition of Megadeth’s classic debut Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good! which sounds genuinely amazing! Sadly the CD design is clearly just an impossible-to-read transfer of the vinyl design because CD buyers and their pesky money don’t matter anymore. I’m well chuffed with the deluxe editions of hard rock pioneers Montrose’s S/T debut and Paper Money: great remasters, interesting (and readable!) liner notes and tons of bonus tracks.

I’m a big fan of The Who and got a few great additions to my collection recently. Live At Fillmore East 1968 is a brilliant concert recording: fiery performance, some lesser-heard tracks and an epic My Generation to close it out. Pete Townshend’s Who Came First gets some added rarities and is very nicely packaged for the price. And last, but not least, I bought a vinyl reissue of the comp Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy. An odd one cause there’s nothing on there I don’t have already but it’s a bit of Who history with one of those perfect tracklistings… I had to get it eventually and it’s just fantastic! Classic after classic, it sounds phenomenal and I can’t stop listening to it. Highly recommended!

And I reckon that’s about the lot! I’ll try and do this more regularly so I can get into more detail and put up more photos in future.

New Releases – 8th June 2018

I’m fairly skint (blame Ghost and Def Leppard) so hopefully there’s nothing good out today… fingers crossed!

Various Artists – Contract In Blood: A History Of UK Thrash Metal

Ahh baws. Writer/musician Ian Glasper turns the spotlight on the overlooked UK thrash scene with this exciting box set and companion book. The CD set has five whole discs (separated into various areas of the UK) and it looks like a total blast and great value too. There are always going to be gripes and omissions with this kind of thing but who cares? Both the book and box set are getting bought pronto.

Megadeth – Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good: The Final Kill

Double baws! The incredible, bonkers Megadebut gets reissued (again) with bonus stuff and some sort of re-recorded version of These Boots. Glad I’ve got the original version on LP but I want this too. You can never have too many versions of albums like this! A must(aine) buy.

All that metal thrashing madness leaves me with little interest in the snail’s pace doom of Yob and their new album Our Raw Heart. But it sounds like a good ‘un so I daresay I’ll have to investigate it eventually. Tomb Mold’s Manor Of Infinite Forms, their second album of putrid death metal, sounds more up my alley. And then there’s Zeal & Ardor’s second album Stranger Fruit. Lots of people loving this but I don’t get it. What am I missing?

And that’s the lot. Looks like my wallet isn’t getting a week off after all… ah well…

New Releases – 18th May 2018

It’s time to turn ze shpotlight on ze new releases! Hello new releasAAHHSSS!!

Amorphis – Queen Of Time

At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself

Both of these bands are from the files of “Really Popular Bands I Never Got Into”. I’ve heard wee bits here and there but I’ve just never felt a compulsion towards either. If I ever feel inclined I’d probably rather start at the beginning and work my way from there. I’ve already got the early Amorphis demos on vinyl so that’s a start, and At The Gates debut was reissued recently too. Call me an old out-of-touch poohead if you like.

Coroner – R.I.P., Punishment For Decadence and No More Color

Wasn’t expecting this. These have been long out-of-print (unless you caught the brief CD reissue run on the band’s own webshop) but now they are reissued and remastered on CD, vinyl and download. If you don’t have these buy them right now, they’re totally essential albums from the Rush of thrash! I’ve got them on CD already but would like the new versions so the vinyl editions are quite tempting. Reissues of Mental Vortex and Grin will follow in June.

Avenger – Blood Sports and Killer Elite

Don’t know much about this band but I’ve been on a right NWOBHM kick lately and buying a lot of the Dissonance Production reissues. This band was relatively late to the NWOBHM party though so I’m not sure if I’m as excited about them as, say, Raven. But ones for the wishlist anyway. Also, there’s a cool looking NWOBHM box set coming out soon so I might dip my toes into that first.

That’s it for me but there’s an Overkill live set too, the Burn The Priest/Lamb Of God covers thing and a new FFDP for anyone that likes that kind of thing. And that’s about it for another week. Happy hunting!