AlNamrood – 10 Years of Resistance (Black Metal)

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This marks a first for The Metal Gamer on two things. One, I’ve never ever reviewed a band from Saudi Arabia. Two, I’ve never reviewed a compilation album. Why not take two birds with one stone right!? For those of you who don’t know who AlNamrood are then let me break it down to you. The band was created in 2008 from the ashes of Mephisophilus plays black metal focused on anti-religion and ancient history. Oh and AlNamrood translates to “the non-believer”, how cool is that?

Before this album I’d actually not heard much from AlNamrood, only a song here and there. Meaning this would be my first full album listen with them. The middle-east influences gets known straight away on the opener “Estorat Taghoot” and it feels epic. I got no idea what these dudes sing about but the music in itself speaks volume. After the strong opener it is a bit of a mixed bag to me with “Fe Al Diaji” passing by quite unnoticed, “Hayat Al Khlood” ends up being one of my favorite songs on the album then “Al Jahliya” comes on straight after. It has a really slow start with the same boring riff repeating until it unleashes at just under the four minute mark. The last minute and half is however great stuff making me got a sort of love and hate thing going. “Endama Tuqsaf Al Rous” does bring a lot more of the black metal agressive drumming, better job with changing up the tempo and flow, making it a solid track and a great showcase on how I want a AlNamrood song to captivate the listener into a black metal trance.

“Asda’s Al Dmar” is an epic seven minute track which does it job without standing out, the only thing I feel here is that should have been closing the album out. The closing track instead goes to “Atbaa Al-Namrood” which is one of the weaker ones on the album. Once the around 40 minutes have played through I feel this could have been a much more consistent journey. The vocals is a bit of a challenge getting used to which you might hate or love, I personally am torn in between. Here are some high and lows but when it’s good I really enjoy it. Also the fact AlNamrood does what they do seeing where they are from is nothing more but the essence of metal, have to give them respect for that fact alone!

Written by J.B.

Label: Shaytan Productions
For fans of: Melechesh and Odious
Release date: July 20th, 2018
Favorite song: Endama Tuqsaf Al Rous
Score: 3/5 Good

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Ennui – End of the Circle (Funeral Doom)

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With a clear pulse, a whispering from a keyboard that have been crafted by fragmentation from the deepest pit of mount Doom itself, in companionship with guitars and the most powerful instrument of them all…the soul of music. That is how the Georgian duo opens up their fourth and latest album, End of the Circle.

Ennui, which is french for Boredom, is a hard-working act, with two split albums and four full-lengths in just six years. Ennui was crawling out from the cave and saw a small glimpse of light in 2012. Created by the two multi-instrumentalists, Serj Shengelia and David Unsaved who are both from the Georgian capital Tbilisi. Ennui is playing a kind of Doom that have been in my opinion overtaken by acts from the North American continent, with some acts from Germany, England and France.

The Albums first track is named after the title, End Of The Circle. A 30+ minute long epos that I can play on repeat for many times and believe me..I still do so. It is beautifully presented, and also in the most frightening and horrific way ever imagined. I wish that the circle never ends for this opening track, which seems hilarious because of it’s duration…but I just want more. The peak is after 1/3, when the tempo swift from Funeral Doom to faster Funeral Doom. It’s so majestic and incredible, how the sound barrier can express feelings so out of this world, I can not describe it with written words.

When the first track is fading out in my ears and I’m try to find my senses again, it slowly builds up a riff to what should be yet another musical orgasm. The second (and last) track is split in two sections. The Withering pt.1 – Of Hollow Us, following by The Withering pt.2 – Of Long – Dead Stars is altogether over 40 minutes long. I start to feel that my head can’t take much more emotions of this pure art of work.

A muse have entered my mind and it have given me fantastic image’s of how music can be created from a single note to a God of sound. A physical presence that have started to shattering my core, a monstrously power that dwells deep inside me starts to blossom…and it tells me only one thing, I want more…

Like I wrote before, words have no meaning here…and just because of that I will just ask people that are fans of music, no matter taste, to just pay attention to Ennui’s latest creation. From the beginning to the end. You will only regret it if you don’t do so.

End Of The Circle have found it’s place on my list of probably the best album of the year, maybe even the greatest of them all. It’s certainly one of the greatest achievements in the Doom/Funeral Doom genre ever….period.

Written by K.P

Label: Non Serviam Records
For fans of: Bell Witch and Ahab
Release date: September 5th, 2018
Favorite song: ALL!!! (if I have to choose, The Withering)
Score: 5/5 Masterpiece

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Imperialist – Cipher (Melodic Black Metal)

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As a Swede I am for obvious reasons a bit biased when it comes to music having the Swedish sound, be it sweblack, swedeath or whatever it’s something I grew up with and got close to heart. Enter the new kid on the block who are heavily influenced by the early Swedish black sound Imperialist. Formed in 2013 they released their first EP in 2015 which I think most, me included, missed. Now in 2018 they’ve honed their skills, got signed to the ever so great Transcending Obscurity Records and are ready to take the world by storm with their full-length release Cipher.

What starts with a beautiful two minute intro on “Continuum”, setting the stage well with it’s acoustic guitars and violins gets you into the mindset that this will become an epic ride you might not even be ready for. “The Singularity” follows and ah this gives me a lot of Dissection vibes, which is of course the best vibes. The sounds of Dissection, Thulcandra, Necrophobic and Sacramentum mixed together fuels this beast throughout and does so well. It’s quite refreshing that the lyrical theme is about the future and space, not something I often hear in black metal (especially not when it’s influenced by Dissection) and the only band that really comes to mind that does this well is Vektor. An black album can sound utterly dark and evil yet not being about Satan. Also as the metal gamer I am it’s extra fun to hear that one of my favorite online games Destiny and its lore is what Cipher takes their songwriting from. Hearing tracks like “The Dark Bellow (Crota’s End)” takes me back to the first Destiny game and one of the darkest, meanest areas from it. To me that’s the perfect stage to have when you write a sci-fi oriented black metal album. Even the cover art does a great job portraying Destiny looking like the Orbit.

It’s been some time since I had a black metal album I could spin time and time again while not getting bored. It tingles me all the right ways just not with how it sounds, which in itself would give this album a good score, but it’s songwriting and unique ways to tackle classic black metal speaks to me in ways most music doesn’t. If you like black metal even just a tiny bit I am sure you will come to have a good time with Cipher, even more so if you’re into gaming and sci-fi. Here is a lot of greatness to be heard, riffs to devour you and vocals to take your soul. What a impressive, fantastic full-length debut!

Written by J.B.

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Dissection and Thulcandra
Release date: October 20th, 2018
Favorite song: Umbra Tempest
Score: 4/5 Incredible

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Serocs – The Phobos/Deimos Suite (Brutal Technical Death Metal)

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Serocs were formed in 2009 as a one-man project by guitarist Antonio Freyre who released two EPs and a full-length while going solo. With the release of The Next in 2013 Serocs turned into a full-scale band but have since had a hard time with finding the right line-up. Fast forward to 2018 and we got a new edition of Serocs, one featuring members from Chthe’ilist, First Fragment, Funebrarum and Benighted. Not bad right? With that much talent in one line-up I was hyped to see what the fourth full-length offering from Serocs had in store to me.

Want gnarly riffs, blasting drums and meaty bass play? Then Serocs got you covered big time. Hell, right from the bat with the opener “Being” you get a nice Halloween treat of everything. This is how to open a album showcasing your skills the best way possible. You know what the best part is? It doesn’t stop there! Every single song features more of those sick and twisted solos, even more relentless drumming and blazing bass. You simply can’t get enough of it and with great songwriting going hand in hand with this fantastic display of musicianship The Phobos/Deimos Suite quickly turns into a album of the year contender. So which bands would I describe Serocs draw influences from? Well think of the brutality Cryptopsy along with the technical aspects of Spawn of Possession and Gorguts and you’re getting there. In all honesty I think Serocs are the perfect candidate to take over the crown from Cryptopsy of the brutal tech-death masters once they call it quits. Really impressive stuff and Serocs have now got a perfect line-up together who I hope stays for future albums too. It’s consistent with a ton of energy, fun, that’s full of variation which separates it from most music within the genre.

It may have taken Serocs a few albums to get here but with The Phobos/Deimos Suite they’ve created an album most bands can only dream of doing. I am actually in awe of how good this is, even after having had the album on repeat for a couple days I still find something new and keep on changing what my favorite track is (which does in the end fall on “Deimos”). You’ve probably explored hell many times before through music but this is one journey there where you don’t want to miss the ride. Add the incredibly beautiful cover art which makes me think of the underrated horror game Layers of Fear and you got yourself a complete package, a true masterpiece, which is not something I say often.

The Phobos/Deimos Suite is one of the best releases you will hear all year with enough brutality and technical aspects to make you want to go back to this record many times, should be an instant buy for any fans of the extreme music. You will see The Phobos/Deimos Suite fighting for the album of the year title here on The Metal Gamer that’s for sure. Everlasting Spew Records ends this year really strong having released the latest albums by Infuriate and Serocs, both which I think are among the top tier brutal releases of 2018.

Written by J.B.

Label: Everlasting Spew Records
For fans of: Gorguts and Cryptopsy
Release date: October 26th, 2018
Favorite song: Deimos
Score: 5/5 Masterpiece

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Cursus Bellum – Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit (Blackened Death Metal)

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Cursus Bellum is a new force in the Swedish metal scene that consist of the duo Joakim Unger and Anders Nyander who have a long past together since Sgt. Carnage. Also a bit fun to me personally that Joakim Unger was on drums for Immersed in Blood between 1998-2003, a brutal death metal band from Sweden I listen to every now and then. With Cursus Bellum the duo does something that is actually a step away from the other bands they’ve been in but at the same time it gathers a lot of elements from the different genres. This time it’s blackened death metal that’s on the table where the duo seem to gain a lot of influences from a certain Polish band.

“Vem är du? Jag är döden!” (translation “Who are you? I am death!”). When a blackened death metal album opens like that then I hope I am in for a great deadly ride. Safe to say Cursus Bellum does hit hard straight from the start. This is old school death metal with a lot of fury and hatred, blackened stuff that you’re used to hear from the likes of Behemoth and their Demigod sound. Add some Swedish touch a la Necrophobic and you got yourself a brutal, technical and pure evil to the bone album that’s sweet music to the ears.

It’s really hard not to draw a lot of parallels to Behemoth when taking Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit for a spin. For a Swedish band there is certainly more common grounds with the Polish or American black/death scenes than for example Unanimated, Dissection or previously mentioned Necrophobic. The whole atmosphere on the album reeks of aggression and evil intent with the religious themes, drawing the line to an almost black metal album at times (just like Behemoth tends to do). Hell I even get a lot of Nergal vibes from the vocalist Joakim Unger voice. Seeing as I am a big fan of Behemoth where you will see their latest album in my top 40 list (spoiler) I am not one to complain mind you. It’s definitely not all a copy and past job for Cursus Bellum though, tracks like “The Vortex” stands out on being more unique and at times I even get a atmospheric black metal feel in the veins of Auðn or Uada with the riffing.

The album is solid throughout but I feel it lacks a couple more standout tracks to make it reach even higher scores. “Soil Companion” did start the album on a high note, “The Vortex” adds some needed variation and with “Life Eater” being the best track on Ex Nihilio Nihil Fit here are some really great pillars here. I would want more of that though! The two intermission tracks “Av Jord Är Du Kommen” and “Till Jord Skall Du Åter Varda” are beautiful acoustic parts that binds the concept of the album together nicely too it has to be said.

This might be nothing new to a lot of metalheads out there who have been down the blackened death metal road before but it is well executed and will especially please fans of Behemoth. As a debut it’s a very good start that Cursus Bellum can build on.

Written by J.B.

Label: Downfall Records
For fans of: Behemoth and Necrophobic
Release date: October 12th, 2018
Favorite song: Life Eater
Score: 3.5/5 Very good

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With All My Hate – Dehumanized Depths (Brutal Death Metal)

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I’ve had way too few brutal death metal albums coming my way this year (big hint) so whenever I get the chance to I am all over a promo with that genre label slapped on it. All My Hate is Oscar Company’s solo project, which isn’t too common in the brutal death metal world. When I went through the discography I thought the debut was a rather weak one but grew a bit on the sophomore album. While the addition of Seyerot (Carnivorous Voracity and Harsh) on vocals for this album is for the better, there are still some issues on Dehumanization Depths.

There are quite a few nice ideas on Dehumanization Depths but they weren’t executed properly all the way through. The album goes by without making any lasting impressions on me in the end. Even with some killer riffs and gutturals it is all over the place with the mixing which destroys the overall experience. I do have to give the band credit on trying to go their own way of creating brutal death metal. The technical aspects along with the sick and twisted atmosphere the album lays out are really good in theory, if only the mixing and consistency were with it… It doesn’t cut it though which is a real shame because this could have been a nice entry to the scene but now I doubt I will even remember this album by the end of the year. Slight improvements on each album though and even if I do ramble on about negatives in this review I do think Oscar is on the right track, the vocals are miles better than on Deed of Voracity for example. If they get the mixing right next time around you will see With All My Hate on the right end of the score spectrum. There is something brewing here that can become greatness in the end, just not this time around.

Written by J.B.

Label: Amputated Vein Records
For fans of: Catastrophic Evolution and Carnivorous Voracity
Release date: September 7th, 2018
Favorite song: Dehumanized
Score: 2.5/5 Decent

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Vanhelgd – Deimos Sanktuarium (Death Metal)

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The desecrated are back! With their latest release Temple of Phobos being one of my most played death metal albums these past years since I reviewed it I’ve been looking forward to a follow-up ever since. Now when it’s finally here I am stunned. This is by far the darkest album Vanhelgd has ever made. The lyrical theme on anti-religion and horror is intact but the songwriting has taken a step in a darker, greater direction here. Also has to be added that they keep on having songs in both Swedish and English which is something I’ve applauded them for and still do. The difference is with the last album I thought the Swedish tracks were of higher quality than the English ones, here I find both being superb and I even choose Profaned is the Blood of the Covenant as the best song on Deimos Sanktuarium.

Everything is executed better on Deimos Sanktuarium than on Vanhelgd’s previous albums. The atmosphere is so dark I get scared, something I usually don’t experience in a death metal albums but I do with Vanhelgd, Behemoth or old Eucharist offerings. Very fitting for the theme at hand with the atmospheric doom touch. The crushing riffs are still there but the overall experience on the album as a whole and how the grim world sucks you in is the difference maker here. It’s what separates Deimos Sanktuarium from Temple of Phobos and makes this an even better album. Safe to say if you enjoyed Temple of Phobos you will like this even more.

This album is the definition of a “grower”. It gets better with each listen but at the same time it is not as easy to get into as for example the latest albums from Demonical or Gluttony. I am not holding that against the album though as that is the intentions. One of the best death metal albums you will hear this year, if not the best.

Written by J.B.

Label: Pulverised Records
For fans of: Eucharist and Desolate Shrine
Release date: October 12th, 2018
Favorite song: Profaned is the Blood of the Covenant
Score: 4/5 Incredible

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