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

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Valgrind – Seal of Phobos (Death Metal)

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Despite the name Valgrind being Swedish (it’s the main entrance to Valhalla) the band in itself is from Italy. If you’ve read my blog this year then you probably know by now that I really dig what Italy has produced this year, with some of the best releases having come from there. Valgrind is a band that’s been going for a long time, since 1993, but only produced demo’s until 2002 when their first EP came out then in 2012 they released their debut full-length album Morning Will Come No More. Seal of Phobos is a five track EP continuing Valgrind’s crusade and last years death metal goodness Speech of the Flame.

Seal of Phobos will leave no death metal lover standing still as it features a flurry of crushing riffs and is aggressive as hell. This will surely get your blood pumping. The bands newest member, guitarist Umberto Poncina, makes a fine debut and might be one of the reasons why this sounds like Valgrind’s heaviest release as of yet. The solos are on point and I only got one negative thing to say about this EP really, that it’s only an EP and not a full-length album! I love myself some classic death metal and when it’s done this well I can’t do anything else than to sit back, take a sip of my beer and headbang in joy. The two favorite tracks for me are the two last ones, Traitors Will Bleed and Ekphora’s Day, where Jonny Petterson (Wombbath, Ashcloud and Henry Kane) makes a great guest appearance.

Seal of Phobos is a solid pickup for anyone who wants some classic hard hitting death metal. It’s Valgrind’s most aggressive release yet and also their best, it’s looking really well for their upcoming full-length. Seal of Phobos is out now through Everlasting Spew Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/valgrindband
For fans of: Morbid Angel and Monstrosity
Favorite song: Traitors Will Bleed

Deity – Deity (Technical Death Metal)

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Deity were formed by the duo and long time friends Danny Alessandro and John Massey about 15 years ago (!). They have since then worked on material, letting it grow until they felt it was good enough to be released to the world. Personally I am glad they did as they seem to have unleashed the Deity in a pure form of metal.

The intro is a sweet symphony that doesn’t make you think about death metal at all, since it’s simply beautiful, and I was wondering if I really did listen to death metal act Deity. Beginning of Extinction brings the chaos right to my ears though on song number two and now I feel right at home. Take a bit of Suffocation, smidge of Gorguts and top it off with Death then you got the main influences in the sound of Deity. Lovers of technical riffs, no clean singing and shredding beware as this is an album made for you, the way Deity themselves would like it to sound. The album is filled with great solos and riffs that you can’t stand still on and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this Canadian (again a great techdeath band from Canada) duo live on stage as a supporting act to the likes of Gorguts, Cryptopsy or Archspire. Or why not even do it with other up and coming bands like Samskaras and Fractal Generator. Would be sweet lineups!

I think this album rocks. Anything from the instrumental songs From Which We Came, We Now Return, the acoustic In Time to the shredding tunes of Rituals is a joy for my ears. Favorite tracks on the album being Beginning of Extinction, Rituals and Illuminate the Unwilling.

Deity’s self-titled debut is out June 2nd as a independent release.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DeityMetalCA
For fans of: Suffocation and Gorguts
Favorite song: Beginning of Extinction

Firespawn – The Reprobate (Death Metal)

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I’ll be honest with you guys I shouldn’t even be reviewing this album. Know why? Because Firespawn is one of my absolute favorite death metal bands and I am bound to give it all the praise it should get. Then again fuck it, I loved this album before it was even announce and listening to the singles Serpeant of the Ocean, Blood Eagle and Death By Impalement didn’t make me love it any less. The album even starts with Serpeant of the Ocean and Blood Eagle, just to get me into the death metal mood and loving ways of the Firespawn straight away.

You might also wonder, “Jimmy how is it you’re such a fan of Firespawn?”. Well let me tell you why! The band consist of one of my favorite vocalists L-G Petrov (ex-Entombed, ex-Nihilist), with members from some of my favorite bands Unleashed, Necrophobic and Dark Funeral. Would you call this a super group? Fuck yeah! Does it live up to the expectations you might have of a band featuring those said members? Fuck yeah! This is Lucifer made into flesh. Darkness is upon us friends and it is bloody sweet. To me this is death metal perfection, it has the vocalist we all think of when it comes to death metal, the riffs that screams for a headbanger to groove to it and drumming of thunder that even Tor would be jealous of. I simply can’t give these guys enough praise. I did say I shouldn’t review Firespawn due to it but here you are still reading me rambling on about how great they are. If you like death metal you will like Firespawn’s sophomore album The Reprobate, that’s just the way it is. They might not have made everything right with Shadow Realms (that said it is bloody great, I just don’t think it lived up to the hype) but with The Reprobate they have. It’s an album filled with darkness and great music to come with it, wrapped up in a great album cover. What’s there not to like?

If I still gave scores to my reviews this would be a perfect ten. I like many genres but death metal is closest to my dead soul. This is the kind of music I live for, or die for. Firespawn – The Reprobate is out now through a brand that has most of my favorite bands signed, Metal Blade Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/firespawnofficial
For fans of: Entombed and Unleashed
Favorite song: Serpeant of the Ocean

Kaunis Kuolematon – Vapaus (Melodic Doom/Death Metal)

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Ending my days with pure Finnish music we slow it down a notch and go for a doom twist in Finlands melodic death metal heaven. Kaunis Kuolematon is Finnish for “Beautiful Immortal” and in many ways I think this shows in their music. Singing purely in Finnish it’s a band that doesn’t get much attention outside Finland but here is me hoping that is soon to change. Vapaus is Kaunis Kuolematon’s second release after their 2014 debut Kylmä kaunis maailma received quite a bit of praise for being one of the better death/doom debuts these past years. Being compared to Swallow the Sun in the process, which proves these rockers got a lot of talent. Vapaus hopefully continues that road and elevates the bands sound even more.

Eloton is a sweet introduction to Kaunis Kuolematon where the harsh and clean vocals works in great symphony and this is the type of death/doom combination I’ve come to love from the Nordic countries. Hurskas continue that right up until 2:20 in where it takes a turn and all of a sudden becomes a beautiful acoustic medley building up for fantastic guitar plays and riffs. Yksin is, in my humble opinion, the song that gets to me the most. It’s a beautiful ballad with lyrics that saddens you but also gives you hope, it’s simply stunning. What’s more is that the song smoothly transition to Tuhottu elämä which initially ups the tempo and brings you more of that headbang worthy riffing. The way Kaunis Kuolematon changes the tempo during the album really does makes me think of Swallow the Sun, one of the best death/doom bands out there. Ikuinen ikävä is the heaviest song on Vapaus and if it wasn’t for Yksin being one of the best songs I’ve heard all year it would be my favorite song on the album. It definitely got the best instrumental elements in my ears. Ikaros is yet another good slow paced song but it’s the next two tracks that grabs my attention the most. Arvet, one more track with very powerful lyrics along with great music, quickly becoming another favorite of mine. Sanat jotka jäivär sanomatta ends the album in a great way, a magnificent ballad where the use of clean and harsh vocals really shines. Ending this sad journey of war, life and death with memories of your loved ones being there forever.

Last year I had October Tide’s Winged Waltz as my favorite doom album release. This year I can sense Vapus grabbing that spot. Kaunis Kuolematon uses a formula that works and melodic doom/death doesn’t get much better than this in my opinion. Vapaus is out now through Haminian Sounds. Knowing Finnish or not I still suggest you get it!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KaunisKuolematon
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pahankasvot
For fans of: Swallow the Sun and Barren Earth
Favorite song: Yksin

Frowning – Extinct (Funeral Doom Metal)

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German band Frowning is a tale of one man, Val Atra Niteris, being so impressed with the mesmerizing music of bands such as Evoken and Pantheist that he eventually founded his very own project in 2011. The debut Funeral Impressions came out in late 2014 and just like that Val’s solo project Frowning turned into an admirable name inside the funeral doom metal scene. Now the time has come for the long awaited follow-up which he named Extinct.

Extinct is a five track album which gives you a but over an hour of cold atmospheric death and suffering. Originally when I started this blog I didn’t have too much love for funeral doom metal (nor atmospheric black metal) as I cared more for melodic black or raw old school black metal at the time. During my time as a blogger though I’ve come to understand, expand my knowledge and love for music though which has made me come to realization how beautiful this kind of music can be.

Frowning’s expression of suffering, depression and sorrow through music is nothing short but bitter sweet harmony. I am left cold and alone, finding a place within me that few wants to explore but is spiritual and makes you grow. Only when you’ve been at the abyss can you know what true despair feels like and learn from it. The mournful growls, eerie cold melodic atmosphere and slow desolate tones from the guitar will all together guide you through this journey. A journey I hope you dear reader will take with me.

Extinct is a masterpiece within funeral doom and Frowning has once again show the one man band is a force to be reckoned with. Extinct is out now Black Lion Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/frowning.band
For fans of: Funeral Tears and Ahab
Favorite song: Encumbered by Vermin

Morgue – Sense of Fear (Death Metal)

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Morgue from Israel is a band not many might have heard of but they are actually a piece of history being active between 1990-1994 (releasing a demo during this time), making them one of the very first metal bands from Israel still active that I know of (only Salem seems to be older dating back to 1985). The band reformed in 2014 and Sense of Fear is the first album the band has released since their comeback. What’s also special about the band is that it features Sami Bachar on vocals. Bachar was an original member of the famous progressive band Orphaned Land, back then he was on drum duty.

Sense of Fear features five tracks and is 24 minutes of death metal madness with a progressive and oriental touch. There are elements on some songs that takes me to the early stages of Orphaned Land due to that progressive and oriental feeling while yet keeping it dark and heavy. Sense of Fear also feature Orphaned Lands vocalist Kobi Farhi as a guest appearance, making the links between the bands even bigger.

Ve Hamaskilim Enon Heikhalin (Intro) starts with oriental chants leading into Slaughter of Thousands which got some classic old school death metal riffs and vocals going. Perfect for fans of early Entombed or Dismember. The albums title track Sense of Fear brings in the prog and oriental music into the mix which makes it stick out from the classic death metal and get Morgue their more unique sound to it. While on Free from Perfect the band brings more of the death metal solos and grove. The Evidence on Stones (Deny the Pain) keeps this going and ends Sense of Fire with a bang.

Sense of Fear is a great comeback from Morgue, who not only brings you old school death metal but with a oriental and progressive twist to it that will surely surprise a few of you. Sense of Fear is out now as an independent release.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/morgueband
For fans of: Entombed and Orphaned Land
Favorite song: Sense of Fear