Whore of Bethlehem – Extinguish the Light (Brutal Death/Black Metal)

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With a name like Whore of Bethlehem and an album cover like they have you can tell this is going to be some brutal music. Whore of Bethlehem was created in 2009, USA, plays a Brutal Death/Black Metal mix and Extinguish the Light is the bands sophomore release after getting some good reviews from Upon Judas’ Throne I am interested to hear what these guys are all about.

What do you get if you mix Dark Funeral with Belphegor and a smidge of old Suffocation? You get a Whore of Bethlehem! The black and death metal mix hits the right spots and they are brutal enough to get my blood pumping but not losing out on the technical musicanship. From the start to finish this a solid gem of metal. There are a couple tracks that sticks out for me with Invocation, Overtaken by Evil and Rebirth in Fire. That’s almost half the album right there. I am telling you reading this that Whore of Bethlehem is a band that extreme metal lovers will have a jolly good time with!

Solid album, not a single bad song on it but also no song that’s good enough to make me go “hot damn this is insane stuff!”, which is the only downside to the album really. It needed at least one or two stand out tracks for the higher scores. This is definitely a good pickup for any metalhead out there.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wobethlehem
Label: Black Market Metal Label
For fans of: Dark Funeral and Belphegor
Favorite song: Invocation
Score: 3.5/5

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Zornheym – Where Hatred Dwells and Darkness Reigns (Symphonic Black/Death Metal)

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There has been a lot of hype surrounding the debut of this black metal band from Sweden. The PR team and band has done a wicked job actually to get the word out, spreading their singles at the right times and even getting a comic out for one of the songs, one page at the time to create even more hype. I for one have been very glad to follow this. Zornheym have created a world with darkness and madness unlike many others have been able to. This isn’t just a music album, this is a complete world almost like it could be something new Dark Horse comics would create. Zorn has done some good songwriter on this album, and his history from Dark Funeral has definitely helped shape Zornheym into a black metal machine with both traditional and fresh ideas coming with it. Bringing together members from known acts such as Diabolical and Facebreaker to help him create his asylum. It’s very refreshing to see. So how is the music then?

The Opposed I’d heard (and read) before and it’s a sweet intro, one of the best tracks on the album. Very symphonic almost Dimmu Borgir like and the references I draw when listening to Zornheym is definitely Dimmu along with Septicflesh and Carach Angren. Horrifying metal that can easily be made into movies. You can see this as Swedens take on that. The instrumental tracks Subjugation of the Cellist, Prologue to a Hypnosis and And the Darkness Came Swiftly works great as sections to guide the listener to the next parts of the story. This horrible wicked asylum of madness and demons that makes me think of one of my favorite comics (and games for that matter) The Darkness. This could easily be the soundtrack when Jackie goes mad within an asylum from the second game (also made in Sweden by the way).

While The Opposed and A Silent God are two great tracks and were the two tracks they chose as singles before the release of Where Hatred Dwells and Darkness Reigns. Implementing some nice clean singing with their music really adds a new dimension to the story for me and adds depth to their music. Especially Whom the Night Brings showcase Zornheym on high form whereas Trifecta of Horrors feels like a weaker track on the album where they didn’t utilize that as I had hoped. They have some ways to go before I put them in the same class as the great symphonic black metal acts but their debut is something to build on. As an debut album it’s close to a 4, hence the score, but as a whole with everything they have created around it I could easily give this a close 5.

I welcome Zornheym with open arms and let their madness take me. This is a solid debut with some ups and downs and I can’t wait to hear, and see, what they come up with next.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/zornheym
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/zornheym
Label: Non Serviam Records
For fans of: Dimmu Borgir and Septicflesh
Favorite song: Whom the Night Brings
Score: 3.5/5

Theotoxin – Atramentvm (Black/Death Metal)

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Are you a fan of Belphegor, Behemoth and Dark Funeral? Good then this is something for you! From Austria a band has started brewing a vile toxic plague that will eradicate religion that’s poisoning our minds. Featuring members from Zombie Inc., Hollenthon, Raising the Veil and Molokh these guys plays aggressive black/death metal that is sure to get you pumped up. As a fanatic listener to Belphegor and the like I was of course pleased to hear an album that’s very close to their style. A bit too close perhaps as it lacks originality but to be honest I don’t really care. I am happy to listen to a new band with a debut album that crushes hard like the more known acts within the scene.

All this anger and hate coming out through this music fuels me. It’s raw evil power that both scares and amuse me at the same time. Devoured by Sin opens up Atramentvm really good like a tank on full speed, and it doesn’t intend to stop… 28 minutes of full-throttle black/death metal madness against religion is what Theotoxin offers. Nothing more, nothing less and sometimes less is more. This is the type of music you turn on when your mad or simply wants to let some steam out, hit the gym or what not. Great debut and I hope Theotoxin continues down this path, refine their sound and makes an even better sophomore album. As of now I am happy to have found this hidden gem that is sure to please many metalheads out there.

Atramentvm is out now as an independent release.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheotoxinOfficial
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Theotoxin666
Label: Independent
For fans of: Dark Funeral and Belphegor
Favorite song: Devoured by Sin
Score: 3.5/5

Sarcasm – Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds (Death Metal)

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For those unfamiliar (I have to confess I was) with Sarcasm their career goes all the way back to 1990 but after six demos the band disbanded in 1994. A few years ago, 2015 to be precise, the band re-merged from the shadows though with most of the members all having a past in Sarcasm from the 90’s. Sadly the sudden death of Oscar Karlsson (Defleshed, Gates of Ishtar) struck the band but they never wanted to give up, they wanted to keep on going and honour his memory. Matte Modin (Firespawn, Usurpress, ex-Dark Funeral, ex-Defleashed) took over the drums as Sarcasm were getting ready to work on Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds. However both Fredrik Wallenberg and Henrik Forslund left the band and Sarcasm had to assemble a new line-up once again. Eventually they did and Sarcasm now consist of Anders Eriksson, Jonas Söder, Matte Modin, Peter Laitinen and Heval Bozarslan.

This stormy past has probably influenced the band a lot in creating music. Raging speed and hard as a rock death metal, that’s the first thing that comes to my mind when listening to Sarcasm’s opener Bloodsoaked Sunrise from their latest album Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds. Sarcasm delivers a great mix of melodic death, your classic Swedish old school death and even some black metal elements in there. It’s like At the Gates, Dissection and Necrophobic joined forces. Some of the best from the Swedish metal scene that is. There is a track here for fans of any these bands as the songs do differ a bit in sound and that’s also what makes this a great album. There is variety and a sweet old school feeling to Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds that a metalhead who loves this sound will find right at home with.

If you haven’t heard Sarcasm before now is the time! Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds is an ode to the Swedish metal scene of old and even with all the hardship Sarcasm has suffered they’re back in form. If you only want a sample then I suggest listening to Scars of a Land Forgotten or the epic A Black Veil for Earth. Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds is out now through Dark Descent Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sarcasmsweden
Label: Dark Descent Records
For fans of: Necrophobic and At the Gates
Favorite song: A Black Veil for Earth

Lvx Hæresis – Descensŭs Spīrĭtŭs (Black Metal)

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Now this is a release many of you black metal fans will like! From Switzerland we got a black metal act that focuses heavily on the ritualistic and occult world of the genre. Much like acts like Ondskapt and Funeral Mist have become famous for. The five-man band were formed in 2013 and have already shared the stage with two bands I really like, Svart Crown (I reviewed their latest album not too long ago) and Dark Funeral. This was before the bands full-length debut, Descensŭs Spīrĭtŭs, was even released. Safe to say they’re quick to build hype around them and been able to perform well on some big stages already.

The six tracks on Descensŭs Spīrĭtŭs are named I, II-III, IV, V, VI, VII as if it were seven verses. I really like this idea, it isn’t something unique or new but it’s something that’s not done really often and adds a lot of mysticism to the black metal arts. Thus it is meant to experience this album as a whole in order to truly get what Lvx Hæresis is about. It’s like hearing a ritual being performed and it leaves you this eerie feeling not too far from how Miserist did with their release.

I personally think this type of black metal is awesome. I need to be in the right mood for it but when I am I get completely caught in the darkness that wants to take over me. Lvx Hæresis will definitely be a band to look out for and their debut is one of the better black metal releases so far this year. Descensŭs Spīrĭtŭs is a debut for the truly wicked. Descensŭs Spīrĭtŭs is out now from Atavism Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lvxhaeresis
Label: Atavism Records
For fans of: Funeral Mist and Ondskapt
Favorite song: V

HerezA – I Become Death (Death Metal)

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Created in 2014 by the duo Slobodan Stupar (guitar, bass, drums and backing vocals) and Ivan Kovačević Kova (vocals) this Croatian death metal band were quick to release their full-length debut Misanthrope the year after. Since then the duo have worked on I Become Death, an album that hopefully put Croatia on the death metal map this year.

You want the aggression from punk and death metal joined together in a wonderful symbiosis? Then this is what you need in your life. I’d heard from a few people this was a really good death metal album but already on the opening track I Become Death I am stunned. This isn’t just really good this is a death metal masterpiece! I am getting my brain put into a blender from these crusing riffs and sheer brutal force Slobodan and Ivan hits me with. You hear their influences from the old school death metal sound, like the masters Entombed or Obituary, with the groove on tracks like Jebem vas u usta ladna and Homo homini lupus est (yes they do have songs in their own language). Hell they even manage to fit in a sweet slow paced intro on Tombcrawler just for the sake of it. Their influences doesn’t stop there though! I dare say I hear a bit of Aborted, Anaal Nathrakh and even grindcore a la Carcass. Meaning this is some heavy shit and you should get prepared before listening. Not just with the standard beer but you need a bucket next to you as your brain will come out of your ears.

I’ve been insanly lucky this week. I’ve not only found one but two contenders for album of the year! Hereza is not just one of the best death metal albums this year but one of the best albums this year full stop. It’s brutal, raw, full of headbangning hits and mixes a lot of metal styles with perfection. HerezA has quickly got themselves a new fan and put Croatia on the metal map for me. My favorite tracks, this week have been hell choosing those mind you, would have to be I Become Death, Full Moon Slaughter and Tombcrawler. Hereza’s sophomore album I Become Death is out now through Godz ov War Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/herezametalband
Label: Godz ov War Productions
For fans of: Entombed and Anaal Nathrakh
Favorite song: Tombcrawler

Atrexial – Souverain (Blackened Death Metal)

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Atrexial comes from sunny Spain but it’s not all sun and rainbows over there. The band focuses on the brutality of death metal and mixes it with the elegance and darkness of black metal, blackened death metal at it’s finest. Souverain being the bands debut album.

Starting with a haunting instrumental intro you have heard in horror movies you know there is darkness brewing. The spaniards wastes no time and with The Hideous Veil of Innocence you get an onslaught of riffs and great quality blackened death metal that their piers in Behemoth would be proud of. And guess what? Atrexial doesn’t slow down and this is just the kind of brutal aggression I wanted in my music this Tuesday morning along with my coffee to wake up. This sheer aggression reminds me of Swedish black metal giants Dark Funeral or Valkyrja at times. Which is definitely music made for my ears!

Founding member Naga S. Maelström (Human Carnage and Cauldron) along with his two brothers in arms Louen (Nyctophobia) and Labelua (Ex-Ered, ex-Famishgod, ex-Abrahel) has created one of the best debut albums of 2017. There is nothing I dislike with this album really. It’s a powerful experience filled with horror, torment, darkness and death. Just the way mama used to make it. A mix of death and black metal made really well and quality songwriting that makes this a complete album. Favorite three songs on the album I would say are Catharsis Through Torment, Illuminatur and Shadows of the Nephilim.

Atrexia’s debut album Souverain is out now through Godz Ov War Productions. Also with this review I will start broadcasting the labels more at the bottom. Seing my main reason for reviewing albums is to promote the well made music from the underground it’s best to highlight the labels behind the bands as well. I hope you will like it.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Atrexial
Label: Godz Ov War Productions
For fans of: Behemoth and Dark Funeral
Favorite song: Shadows of the Nephilim