Broken Hope – Mutilated and Assimilated (Brutal Death Metal)

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Being a very new listener to Broken Hope as I actually discovered them on Twitter a couple of months ago when I followed Suffocation and got them as a recommendation I am sorry to say I will have to review this album as it is a debut basically. Some history about the band to begin with, as I obviously had to check these bad boys out to know what I am dealing with. Created in 1988 (very good year mind you) the band has had quite the history with a band member being kicked out due to basically hustling, disbanding in 2001, reuniting in 2012 and being droped from a Deicide tour in 2013. All that shit aside the band is still going strong and Jeremy Wagner on guitar is the only original member still in the band. Has this made Broken Hope lost….their hope?

As I said earlier I haven’t listened to this band at all before and I am going into this album with a very fresh mind and don’t know what to expect, unlike I did with Origins for example. Holy crap though! If John Carpenter’s The Thing was a music album this could be it! I’m a big fan of Damian “Tom” Leski’s (Gorgasm) vocals and it really sets the tone together with the rest of the band and lyrical theme of Mutilated and Assimilated. This is a brutal death metal album filled with gore and horror. All the pieces are set in the band to make it an experience you deserve in that theme. The album proves to be a good one for me, it lacks that extra punch as I am having a hard time finding a song that sticks out from the rest. It’s solid brutal death metal through and through though but could use that tank of a song that breaks it out of the cage. With Broken Hope re-assembled (or mutilated and assimilated?), having new members and new hope (sorry) I am sure this is just the beginning for the band as they go for that tier one brutal death metal spot.

Mutilated and Assimilated is out now through Century Media Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/brokenhopeofficial
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BROKENHOPEBAND
Label: Century Media Records
For fans of: Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse
Favorite song: The Carrion Eaters
Score: 3/5

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Origin – Unparalleled Universe (Technical Brutal Death Metal)

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From the crazy White Ward jazz-post-black metal experience I go to something I feel right at home with. It’s time to review one of the technical brutal death metal greats, Origin. A band which has given us mortals some of the best brutal techdeath that’s ever existed since their formation in 1997. Since then the band has released one EP and Unparalleled Universe will be the seventh full-length release, something very few techdeath bands have even done actually. With heavy hitting albums like Antithesis and Omnipresent fresh in mind how does Unparalleled Universe stand next to them?

Have to be said Origin still got it, even seven albums and 20 years into their career. However I lack that Wrath of Vishnu, The Aftermath and All Things Dead feel to it. It’s a good album but next to a discography like Origins they almost slay themself. I always hate reviewing albums like this in all honesty. When a band has a really good discography should they get punished for releasing something not on the very very top? I mean if this was a debut or even a sophomore album I would say something along the lines of “omg this is one of the best bands that will tear the future apart!!!”. I don’t know, this is a freaking great album but knowing what Origin has done in the past I know I can expect more. A great album doesn’t cut it this year within brutal death metal, not with Dying Fetus, Broken Hope, Decrepit Birth and Suffocation getting releases out. Mithridatic, Dajjal, Burden of Prescience and Origins longest track as of yet Unequivocal are the highlights of this album and especially Unequivocal makes me go all headbang mode and presents Origin in top form. It’s a good album and any Origin fan should get it. As I said they still got the touch. However I know there is more brutality to be unleashed from them, some songs are just too soft for my liking to make this a real heavy hitter as an Origin album should be.

Unparalleled Universe is out now through Agonia Records in EU and Nuclear Blast in the US. With this review I am also bringing back the score scale, this time instead of a 1-10 scale it will be a 1-5 one. 5 being the highest grade and 1 the lowest.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Origin
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/OriginBand
Label: Agonia Records (EU) and Nuclear Blast (US)
For fans of: Nile and Decrepit Birth
Favorite song: Unequivocal
Score: 3.5/5

White Ward – Futility Report (Post-Black Metal)

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I got recommended this album from a friend a couple of weeks ago but it’s been quite far down the backlog of reviews I’ve wanted to do it has had to wait until now. I got to start with saying wow! What is this? White Ward are experimenting with and crushing boundaries of black metal as it is nothing! Saxophone in black metal? Why not? Taake has used a banjo so put that it in the genre too! The thing is it works, most of the time. The passages between traditional black, post-black and basically jazz works so well I am stunned. As this is my very first listen to the band and their music I did not think anyone really did this type of music. I mean jazz-post-black metal!?

Thing is though I do find this music a bit weird for my personal taste, due to the jazz influences. I do love the fact White Ward are doing this and I am sure it will be in many peoples album of the year lists but I would actually like this album more if it had, well less sax in it. It’s a cool thing and does make me go “wow you can do that!?” at first but after a 40 minute album I am not too sure anymore. I mean Stillborn Knowledge is a freaking great song, as are most of the songs on the album. One by one. When I listen to the whole album though I don’t get swallowed up in it like some has. Basically what I am saying is this jazz-post-black metal isn’t really my thing for a full album but I am sure I will listen to their songs every know and then for the sake of their creativity. I like my post-black metal without the jazz. A shame, I really hoped I would love this album and I feel like I should but I just don’t. Not my kind of jam, but I am still stunned with a band breaking boundaries like this, so if you’re reading this do give White Ward a try. Who knows you might come to love this type of thing.

Futility Report is out now through Debemur Morti Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/whitewardofficial
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
For fans of: Ulver and Agalloch
Favorite song: Stillborn Knowledge

Ofermod – Sol Nox (Black Metal)

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Ofermod, a name every black metal fan should know. This legendary act from Sweden have since their formation in 1996 offered the world two of the best black metal releases ever in Tiamtü and Thaumiel. It’s been five years since then and only Belfagor remains in the band. Sadly he has had quite the shaky past (which I won’t get into) but has since then focused his life on religion and music. Ofermod are to many a true act of black metal and genuine darkness with it’s music and ritualistic approach. It doesn’t just feel real it is real.

I am happy to tell you that Belfagor hasn’t lost his touch and he is back to spread the darkness once more. Already on the opening track The Alpha of the Antichrist you will hear the drums and guitar play haunting you with it’s riffs. The vocals are just as gnarly and perfect for this music as I remember it. This is evil shit right here I tell you. Funeral Mist, Watain and Ondskapt are bands I think are close but I do not really think any band out there, that I know of, delivers genuine darkness as Ofermod does. Just listening to music based on Sitra Achra (look it up) is heavy and surrounded by chaos.

True black metal is back, a cosmic journey into chaos not many band can offer but Ofermod. It’s hard to beat Tiamtü and Thaumiel but Sol Nox is a good try at it. It’s definitely one of the best black metal releases of the year, even though it might not be as good as Ofermod’s past work. They can be seen as different beasts entirely though and Sol Nox is an album any Ofermod fan will be pleased with.

Sol Nox is out now through Shadow Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OfermodOfficial
Label: Shadow Records
For fans of: Funeral Mist and Ondskapt
Favorite song: To Dare the Tower

Somnium Nox – Terra Inanis (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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It’s been a long time I got to listen to some new atmospheric black metal! Finally the time has come when I can be taken into the vast darkness that atmospheric black metal usually offers. Hailing from Australia the band was formed last year and features the drummer from Norse, which was a big reason I wanted to check them out. Distorted guitars, harsh atmospheric background music with screeching from the depths of hell, tempo-changes and use of various instruments. You know what I am talking about, it’s the backbone of any good atmospheric black metal album and Somnium Nox does it better than most. This is a very deep album that stirs up emotions throughout the three songs, songs that could in all honesty be seen as one as they transition into each other really well.

Speaking of using various instruments, the use of a didgeridoo is present on this album but Somnium Nox definitely don’t overuse it. It’s just there to create some background atmosphere, just like their samples are and I think finding the balance on using these things is what differs a good and a great atmospheric black metal band. There are a lot of good atmospheric black metal bands out there but only a few that can really get all these components to really jell together. Fen, Saor, Panopticon, Winterfylleth and Agalloch being some of these bands that comes to mind but Somnium Nox debut album is one of the best atmospheric black metal albums I’ve heard this year, if not the best, I am interested to see if they can be consistent enough to play with the big boys in a few years.

Terra Inanis is a great example on how to make a atmospheric black metal debut. The future is very bright for Somnium Nox and I wouldn’t be surprised if people name them when talking about the atmospheric black metal greats in the future. Terra Inanis is out now through Transcending Obscurity Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SomniumNox
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Panopticon and Fen
Favorite song: The Alnwick Apotheosis

Father Befouled – Desolate Gods (Death Metal)

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Since the bands formation in 2007 Father Befouled have been very active releasing two EPs, four splits and Desolate Gods will make it their fourth full-length album. This is very slow tempo, heavy death metal the way Incantation and Dead Congregation also does it. Almost on the verge of sounding doom or sludge metal at times just as they up the tempo and unleash the chaos. The atmosphere on the album is very filthy and vile, especially due to the lyrical content filled with death and blasphemy.

The album starts off with Offering Revulsion and Mortal Awakening being the raw destructive force I had in mind when I got this album. The tempo-changes hit the right spots and Father Befouled shows they have really taken a few steps in the right direction since their 2012 release Revulsion of Seraphic Grace (haven’t listen to their first two full-length albums though so have that in mind). It’s the small bits and pieces here and there which makes Desolate Gods better. The core sound is very much the same but the production and overall quality of the songs are better. There are a couple of songs I am not too sold on like Exalted Offal but Ungodly Rest instantly makes up for it as the last four tracks are also the best ones on the album.

Desolate Gods is a rather good release and Father Befouled have taken steps in the right direction to perfect their sound. I still think Father Befouled got some way to go before they can take on the beast that is Incantation for real but they are showing nice progress. Fans of the bands earlier releases or Incantation will dig this vile spawn. Desolate Gods is out now through Dark Descent Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FatherBefouled
Label: Dark Descent Records
For fans of: Incantation and Dead Congregation
Favorite song: Ungodly Rest

Enfold Darkness – Adversary Omnipotent (Technical Black/Death Metal)

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It’s been eight years since Enfold Darkness released their debut Our Cursed Rapture. A debut which was quite well received by the metal community. The wait has been long but now they are finally releasing their sophomore album Adversary Omnipotent. So who are Enfold Darkness? Hailing from Nashville, United States, the band was formed in 2005 and plays a technical black/death hybrid. To my ears this isn’t something I usually come across so I’ve been quite interested in hearing what Adversary Omnipotent has to offer.

What’s also interesting is that Adversary Omnipotent is a concept album, made of a story the band themselves have written. Having this in mind while listening to the album makes you see it in a different light. Or darkness as it would be because this is a tale filled with magic, death and destruction. As a fan of music and fantasy it is no secret I dwell in stories being told through metal music. Just as I enjoyed Amon Amarth’s Jomsviking and Siegelord’s Ascent of the Fallen last year I am a fan of what Enfold Darkness is all about. The music in itself differs quite a bit from those bands though. These guys have more in common with Inferi, The Black Dahlia Murder and even Dissection. A hybrid not often seen, a Chimera.

Like technical crushing riffs, mixture of various genres and wrapped up in a dark story? Then Enfold Darkness sophomore release Adversary Omnipotent is for you! Adversary Omnipotent comes out July 14th through The Artisan Era.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EnfoldDarkness
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/enfolddarkness
Label: The Artisan Era
For fans of: The Black Dahlia Murder and Inferi
Favorite song: Banishment