Tag Archives: Horror

New Releases – 4th May 2018

Happy Star Trek Day! I’m a doctor not an escalator! …Let’s see what new releases are out on this glorious day.

Ihsahn – Ámr

New releases from the prog/black metal wizard are always big news. But I’ve grown a bit wary. I really enjoyed 2010’s After and subsequent releases have been good but I’ve rarely went back to any of them afterwards. Don’t feel a pull there. Reviews for this have been good but… they always are. I might revisit the previous albums again first and see if they put me in the mood. Otherwise, might just pass.

Dimmu Borgir – Eonian

Another big name in black metal but I never got massively into this band. I’ve heard enough to want to hear more but I doubt I’d start here so I’ll likely pass on this one. Title is apparently all about the illusion of time and rifts (hehe) in time. I preferred it when black metal bands just spent all their time telling Jesus to fuck off.

Various Artists – We All Want Our Time In Hell

I don’t find tribute albums all that compelling and there aren’t many bands on this that I know about (Midnight and Joel Grind stick out though). But it is a tribute to Glenn Danzig’s less-celebrated “other” band Samhain which is cool. Cover is also cool. I might have plumped for a digital copy on Bandcamp but Fonzig has apparently forbade that option. Not so cool. Looks like it’s vinyl or nothing… I vote for nothing.

Dead Cross – Dead Cross EP

Dave Lombardo, Mike Patton and some other people drop this surprise EP. Dunno… found the debut album pretty underwhelming so can’t see me bothering with this. I mention it because I know you love them though. You totally love them don’t you? Not you… you.

That’s about the lot for me. Until next time, live long and prosper!

Advertisements

Tribulation – Down Below (Review)

When Sweden’s Tribulation premiered their new single Lady Death in late 2017, it left me expecting a bland, streamlined follow-up album to 2015’s excellent The Children Of The Night. I shouldn’t have worried. Their follow-up Down Below is definitely streamlined but, far from being bland, it hones their horror metal to perfection: simplifying their music and making it more accessible without sacrificing depth. No mean feat.

There are a lot of comparisons to be drawn with other Swedish bands. The melodic horror and direct, memorable riffing is akin to Ghost but tracks like Nightbound and Cities From The Underworld use layers of sinister instrumentation and harmony to add a thick, nocturnal atmosphere of gothic horror. Johannes Andersson maintains his ghoulish, gargled vocals style too. A crucial move that stops things getting too slick, giving the album a gritty, filth that brings to mind In Solitude’s superb Sister. And on the centrepiece track Subterranea the band conjure the kind of evil magick that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Watain album.

The Ltd. Edition version features excellent bonus track Come, Become, To Be

I can’t blame anyone for trying to pick out a single but this is best experienced in its entirety. Tribulation juggles variety and consistency, accessibility and obscurity with accomplished ease. It’s a major statement from a band that has come a staggeringly long way in just four albums and Down Below will cast a long, haunting shadow over the metal scene of 2018.

HMO Rating: 5 Out Of 5

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.

Cradle Of Filth – Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness Of Decay (Review)

Cradle Of Filth are a British institution, one of the most recognisable and successful extreme acts to come from these shores. But, while they are loved and loathed by many, they’ve never made a huge impression on me either way. I’ve bought and enjoyed a fair few albums of theirs over the years but I’ve never had that phase where I’ve obsessed over them, where they were my band. Until now.

Although I was late getting to it, I was thoroughly impressed with 2015’s Hammer Of The Witches, and the band’s latest album continues in that vein. Themed around the Victorian obsession with death, Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness Of Decay is a darkly fabulous romp of hard-hitting gothic metal, delivered with expertise and passion. The overall approach is still the band’s patented blackened Hammer Horror style but there’s a whole wealth of approaches employed. Heartbreak And Seance’s romantic melodrama, thrash fury on Wester Vespertine, You Will Know The Lion By Its Claw’s pitch-black savagery and there are wonderful trad metal gallops and harmonies throughout (most thrillingly in The Seductiveness Of Decay). Best of all, vocalist Dani Filth puts each song over and then some: a spirited and veteran performance of considerable taste, breadth and character.

Hammer Of The Witches reached some peaks of excitement that aren’t quite reached here but its a nano-gripe about a near-flawless album. And, on the flip-side, the latest album has none of the excess that detracted from its predecessor. For all its expansive grandeur, Cryptoriana… is tight and direct. The pedal is to the metal at all times and the band’s cinematic flourishes are weaved and layered skilfully throughout the songs with no boring intros or interludes to be found. The style is familiar but the album is fresh and stakes its own unique place in their canon. An utterly wonderful release from a veteran band at the top of their game. My band.

HMO Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Possession – Exorkizein (Review)

Following an impressive demo and mini-album, I was expecting to be more impressed by Possession’s debut full-length album. The Belgians dish out impressively clear and concise black/death with plenty of evil atmosphere but they never really lift themselves out of the solid zone. Despite some strong riffs, the songs in the first half all blur into one. Exorkizein gradually improves, and is at its best in its closing stages with tracks like In Vain and Take the Oath being standouts. Possession have an appealing Watain-like delivery and catchiness but there’s not enough of that band’s threatening audacity and ambition here. Exorkizein is far from execrable but not exactly exciting either.

Formicarius – Black Mass Ritual (Review)

The last time I encountered the UK’s Formicarius was back in December when they contributed a track Lake of the Dead to the excellent compilation Speed Kills VII. Back then I called them “very promising” and I’m glad to report that, with Black Mass Ritual, they have delivered on that promise and then some.

Formicarius go medievil on your ass with their debut album, dishing out Cradle of Filth-style symphonic metal with power metal exuberance. The whirling atmosphere, rib-cracking riffs and exotic solos sound like Mustaine and Friedman jamming with Emperor, the potent speed metal velocity, galloping bass and catchy choruses bring to mind early Helloween and there’s a folky bent to the riffs and instrumentation that reminds me of the classic Skyclad albums.

All the performances are outstanding, from Lord Saunders’ articulate Abbath-esque croak to Morath’s grand and eloquent keyboard embellishments and solos (check out the excellent outro piano on Overlord, a standout moment). The songwriting is also uniformly excellent. An overly jaunty riff in Abhorrent Feast of Minds is the only thing close to a mis-step and it’s soon forgiven as Master of Past and Present closes the album on a dark, dramatic high.

It’s a fantastic debut: rampaging, grand black metal with a healthy dose of epic tradition and fearless creativity. In a year where I’ve been mainly knocked out by death metal albums, Formicarius have struck a decisive blow for black metal. And they’ve done it with an album that is all kinds of metal fun for all kinds of metal fans. The Black Mass Ritual begins on July 21st, don’t miss out.

HMO Rating: 4 out of 5

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.

51RnO62giLL

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!