Soul Remnants – Ouroboros (Blackened Death Metal)

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Yay more death metal, this time with a touch of black in it! A concept album about a futuristic war amongst all mankind none the less. Soul Remnants have existed for almost 15 years now, being formed in 2003, and Ouroboros is the bands third full-length release. The wait has been quite long between the releases but when they have unleashed their music upon mankind it’s always been brutal and freaking sweet. I have to note that their song “Dead Black (Heart of Ice)” appears in the video game Rock Band 4, which is quite cool as I played the first Rock Band loads and there was basically no death nor black metal on it.

Ouroboros starts off full-throttle pedal to the metal straight away with the opener Mechanical Synapse Modulations and the song is over before you know it, almost grindcore like. Follow it up you got Regurgitated and Consumed which slows down a bit, but in all honesty that’s a good thing. This track has a lot more flow to it, feels more like death metal and reminds me quite a bit about Deicide or Bloodbath. Speaking of Bloodbath the third track Depravity’s Lock is a perfect example on how they draw influences from both Swedish and American death metal. Ouroboros is already a bit funny at this stage to me, with each song it’s growing on me where the next song is better than the last. Even though that doesn’t keep up throughout the album it has to be said the second half of Ouroboros is better than the first. Depravity’s Lock remained being my favorite track but there are a lot of headbang worthy material in here and every song from Echoes of Insanity until the end I could also pick as my favorite.

I’d never heard of this band before today but Ouroboros is a solid release and I can’t wait to heard their two other albums to hear how they’ve evolved. This is good American death metal and I can understand how Soul Remnants have shared the stage with the likes of Nile, Revocation, Obituary and Suffocation. A nice surprise that I am sure you will like too.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SoulRemnants
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SoulRemnants
Label: Entertainment One / LifeBlood inc.
For fans of: Bloodbath and Deicide
Favorite song: Depravity’s Lock
Score: 3.5/5

Gravewards – Subconscious Lobotomy (Death Metal)

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How about some classic death metal from Greece? Gravewards were formed in late 2015 with Subconscious Lobotomy being the bands first offering to the metal world. What made this band stick out for me and is quite cool is that the demo is limited to 300 copies, in a cassette format! How old school is that!? This reeks of old Nihilist, Massacre and the likes. Due to this the production might not be what most of you are looking for, it has that late 80’s, early 90’s quality which I too can find lacking at times (especially old school raw black metal productions) but it’s definitely something I respect.

Subconscious Lobotomy consists of four songs and they are all ok, nothing more nothing less. This is an album where none of the songs sticks out and it basically just goes through without leaving me something to remember it by. As an debut that’s alright though, even a demo, and they can build on this for their upcoming full-length or EP debut. I’ve never reviewed an demo before so wasn’t too sure on what to expect to be fair.

If you’re a fan of the old school death metal sound, old production quality and the likes then this may flirt with you the right way as it could be sort of an trip to your childhood or something. There is a lot better death metal out as of late though so I can only recommend this to the very hardcore fans of the genre.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Gravewards
Label: Independent
For fans of: Massacre and Nihilist
Favorite song: Crawling Chaos
Score: 2/5

Heresiarch – Death Ordinance (Black/Death Metal)

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From New Zealand Heresiarch has since the bands formation in 2008 been taking it’s time to release an actual full-length album, after having released two EP’s prior Death Ordinance. Heresiarch music is complete chaos, honestly at first I had a really hard time grasping the concept of this music and it was all over the place to me. Give it time and it grows on you though. An apocalyptic experience is of course not easy to take in and the chaos it brings forth can be too much for any metalhead.

My first listen I was on the verge of giving this album a miss as Consecrating Fire and Storming Upon Knaves left me wondering if this is even worth it. Then Harbinger comes and I get a song I can start appreciate this chaos and comprehend. That’s how Death Ordinance keeps on going for me though, back and forth in thinking “do I even like this album?” while on the next song thinking “this is brutal and cool!”. When I gave it a second spin I did enjoy the album more but it’s too much even for me and it gets ridiculous at times leaving me with mixed feeling to say the least.

Harbinger and Desert of Ash are the two songs I will take with me from Death Ordinance. If you want an chaotic ride through the apocalypse then this might be the thing for you. Personally this is not the jam for me though.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/heresiarchcult
Label: Dark Descent Records
For fans of: Diocletian and Witchrist
Favorite song:
Score: 2/5

Desultory – Through Aching Aeons (Death Metal)

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Here we go, another old school Swedish death metal act is releasing an album! These past years have definitely been good to us swedeath lovers as a new wave of filthy death is taking over. Desultory might not be a name many are familiar with, I wasn’t for example. A brief look into the bands history though and I find out the band was actually formed almost 30 years ago, 1989 to be exact. After some successful demo and full-length releases in the early 90’s the band took a huge hit when Stefan Pöge left the band in 95, thus changing the style drastically on the bands third full-length release Swallow the Snake. An album that has to be seen as a dark spot in Desultory’s discography and ultimately the band disbanded in 96. Reborn in 2009 the comeback Counting Our Scars put the band on the right track once again and now eight years later Desultory are saying goodbye with their last album Through Aching Aeons.

Having not heard Desultory’s past work before I obviously had to listen to it after reading this background story. Safe to say there was some varied quality but also some really really great death metal. So now I knew what I could expect. Or rather to expect that these 43 minutes and nine tracks could be anywhere between heaven or hell. Will it be a Swallow the Snake fiasco or Into Eternity death metal masterpiece. Answer is this is the later. Through Aching Aeons consist of some of the best death metal I’ve heard this year. The guitars, oh the guitars, chainsaw their way through the competition together with Klas Morberg on vocals leaving me stunned on how the hell I can have missed these guys when growing up. It’s a mistake I will atone by listening to this album, over and over again until I know every word, every beat and every riff.

Through Aching Aeons isn’t perfect but death metal isn’t suppose to be. A vile riff feast that’s an homage to everything swedeath stands for is exactly what I wanted and Desultory were kind enough to deliver. I hope this isn’t the last I hear from Desultory, I want more.

Through Aching Aeons is out now through Pulverised Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Desultory-50447918404
Label: Pulverised Records
For fans of: Entombed and Dismember
Favorite song: Beneath the Bleeding Sky
Score: 4/5

Dead Asylum – Death Always Wins (Melodic Death/Trash Metal)

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Like the Gothenburg sound? Old Arch Enemy, At the Gates and the likes? What about trash metal? Dead Asylum does a great job combining these genres, the aggression from trash with the melodies of melodic death metal in a twisted symbiosis. Almost going to the Children of Bodom type of sound. The Canadian band have taken their sound a step further since their 2013 debut General Carnage and it shows. The stongwriting is better, the band have gained some more experience behind them and grown tighter as a unit.

While I am a fan of the Gothenburg sound there is a lot of music within that genre that is really average, or even crap. Dead Asylum’s debut was close to fall into that category for me as it didn’t really peak my interest. With Death Always Wins everything has gone in the right direction though, making this a much better listen for me. More trash elements than before has done Dead Asylum good. The band still lack that song that knocks me out of my chair and after a really good opener in Defiance some of the songs on the album doesn’t really keep the heat going in my opinion. Other than Defiance I enjoyed Forgotten Sacrifice with it’s sweet guitar solos that reminds me of Children of Bodom, Welcome which has that The Sorrow feel to it and Inmate 666 with it’s sheer aggression a la Bodom. Great start and great finish, it’s the road there that was a bit bumpy.

To conclude Death Always Wins is better than General Carnage, while still needing some consistency and that heavy hitter song. When it’s good it’s awesome, when it isn’t though I am almost on the verge of pressing skip song. Metalheads will find this a release that gives you a mixed bag of treats where you are sure to find some songs to add to your favorite metal playlist.

Death Always Wins is out now as an independent release.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/deadasylum
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DeadAsylummetal
Label: Independent
For fans of: Arch Enemy and Children of Bodom
Favorite song: Defiance
Score: 2.5/5

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

Altar of Betelgeuze – Among the Ruins (Stoner Doom/Death Metal)

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Altar of Betelgeuze is a Finnish band which was formed in 2010 and has since released an EP and full-length album prior Among the Ruins. Their music is said to be quite special in a grey area between stoner, doom and death metal. Among the Ruins is the first time I ever listen to be the band but seeing the reviews they’ve received I am more than interested to see what they are all about.

Surely enough this is great music made by great musicians. Altar of Betelgeuze gives me a feeling of the old school Black Sabbath as much as it does with one of last years better releases Khemmis and stoner giants Electric Wizard. While I am not usually the type of guy who goes for stoner music I can’t help the fact to be taken away by the music when it’s really well made, like Khemmis last year. Among the Ruins is filled with great solos, slow paced groove, awesome clean singing from Olli “Otu” Suurmunne and equally good growling from Matias Nastolin. The more I listen to the album the more I start to get into it and headbang to this sweet music. Sometimes I really get what stoner music is all about and it’s usually with these kinds of bands that don’t go all stoner but mixes it up with other genres. It’s heavy, emotive sounding that makes you sit back, relax and submit to the music.

Altar of Betelgeuze is definitely a band I think can battle with the greats in it’s genre. Along with Khemmis they are one of the very selected few bands within the stoner sphere I am looking forward to hear more of. I like this, when bands makes me get out of my comfort zone of music and appreciate something I usually don’t. More bands and albums like this and you might even call me a stoner eventually (pun intended).

Among the Ruins is out now through Transcending Obscurity Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Aobofficial
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Khemmis and Electric Wizard
Favorite song: Absence of Light
Score: 3/5