The punishingly bleak death metal on Paradise Lost’s 1990 debut Lost Paradise makes it the odd-one-out in a discography more renowned for gothic melody. But the five teenagers had only been together about a year before being faced with the challenge of recording their first record and, despite not having found their voice yet, they make a pretty decent fist of it. A lack of songcraft means it all kind of mushes together but they already have their doleful mix of riff and lead guitar down, there’s the occasional decent hook (“where is your God now?”), and the whole thing has a entrancingly subterranean atmosphere. And Lost Paradise has proven pretty influential in its own right as one of the earliest albums to slow death metal down to a miserable crawl. The Yorkshiremen would do much better with subsequent releases but fans of meat and potatoes death/doom could do a lot worse than check this out.
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.
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.
The new release bonanza continues… this is an even better release week than last week.
Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
One of 2018’s major releases here. The black metal giants return with their first album since their split with frontman Abbath. And by the sounds of it, I don’t think anyone will miss him. This is vintage black metal with enough glacial riffing to cover the whole of Blashyrkh with an impenetrable and grim permafrost. Or something like that! It’s great basically, that’s what I’m trying to say.
Rotting Christ – Under Our Black Cult
Peaceville cover the Hellenic black metal bands’ early days with this 5CD box set. Covers the bands early demos and also contains the Passage To Arcturo mini-album and also has the albums Thy Mighty Contract and Non Serviam. Throw in a 72 page book and a bundle with The Call 7″ and you’ve got a must-buy. I pre-ordered this the moment I found out about it.
Death – Death By Metal DVD
The great Chuck Schuldiner and his seminal band Death get a welcome and long-overdue documentary feature. As well as covering the man and band, the doc also gets into the early days of the death metal scene too. This is such a fascinating genre, guy and career… I don’t see how this could be anything other than essential viewing.
Mortuary Drape – Necromantic Doom Returns
I’ve been wanting to get into this Italian band for years but it’s quite hard to get their stuff on CD or vinyl. So I can’t possibly pass on this compilation of their first demos. Absolute raw demo sound but you know that sound totally fits necro music like this. Reminds me of a gruffer version of the other big Italian band Death SS. Hopefully more reissues of the early albums will follow.
Lucifer – Lucifer II
I checked out this band’s first album because of the link to Cathedral but I found it quite disappointing. But the band has changed a bit for album No. 2. Now Nicke Andersson of Entombed fame has joined and I’m intrigued again. Sounds like better songs this time around but I’m not totally convinced I could go a whole album. Worth checking out though, might be a dark horse.
Y&T – Earthshaker, Black Tiger and Mean Streak
Three classic Y&T albums get the Rock Candy treatment. It doesn’t look like there’s bonus tracks here though, just the label’s usual quality remastering and liner notes. Got these albums on vinyl and CD already so can’t see me being tempted by these. But if you like fun, catchy meat-and-potatoes LA hard rawk then look no further!
And that’s the lot for me, tons of great stuff coming out lately. What are you going to be buying or checking out today?
Treat yourself to some new music. You know you’re worth it.
Rotting Christ – Abyssic Black Metal
Peaceville Records have been gearing up a big vinyl campaign for the Greek band but it seemed to go awry when their last mooted reissue of Passage To Arcturo went AWOL without much of an explanation. Anyway, looks like they’re back on track now with this new release of the band’s early demos. A must-buy. Featuring the infamous early line-up of Necrosauron, Necromayhem, Morbid and… Jim!
Candlemass – House Of Doom EP
Normally, any Candlemass release would be a must-buy but their last release Death Thy Lover was painfully average. So this is one House Of Doom I’ll be entering with caution. It doesn’t look all that cheap as EPs go either. I’ll listen online and see if it’s worth adding to the collection. If it’s not I might call it a day with these guys.
Witchsorrow – Hexenhammer
More doom… this time of the British variety. Fronted by Kerrang! editor Nick Ruskell or ‘Necroskull’ as he likes to be known. He should probably join Rotting Christ with a name like that… or maybe that would be one Necro too many? Anyhoo, I hear that this is along the Cathedral lines which makes it worth checking out and it also gets intrigue points for that ace Paolo Girardi cover.
And that’s about it for me. Let me know what you’re after today and happy hunting!
The Norwegian legends keep pumping out one amazing album after another but this 2008 release is my pick of their modern output. Black metal of the proto variety (my favourite kind): evil primitivism from the nurseries of real metal sound. Both Nocturno Culto and Fenriz are on top form throughout. Culto’s sideways, frosty riffing is at genius level on tracks like Death Of All Oaths (Oath Minus) and Fenriz blasts out crusty, howling Mercyful Fate-style traditional metal. His tracks Hanging Out In Haiger and The Winds They Called The Dungeon Shaker stand out as favourites but this whole album is top drawer fist-clenching fun with a dark intimidating atmosphere.
HMO Rating: 5 out of 5
[Darkthrone – The Winds They Called The Dungeon Shaker]