El Camino – Cursed Congregation (Black/Trash Metal)

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El Camino is an interesting act from Sweden. Their music draws a lot of influences from the great Dissection but they have their own unique touch to it with adding trash, doom elements and some H.P. Lovecraft into the mix. What comes out is nothing short but freaking awesome. I haven’t listened to El Camino before, actually I hadn’t heard about them until they were announced for this years Mörkaste Småland so all of this comes as a surprise to me. Formed in 2003 from the ashes of death metal act Vermin the band do have some Swedish veterans within their ranks and have already released a couple of full-length albums (along with EP’s and splits).

What I really enjoy with El Camino and Cursed Congregation is how it flirts with the old school sound of different genres and just feels really authentic all around. I can see this being a band that sounds just as good live as on cd. The riffs and old school atmosphere is sweet and grabs you hook line and sinker. IOMH, Cursed Congregation, Vengeance and the Häxkraft songs are really freaking great! Some songs doesn’t quite catch my attention though (Stars and Silence for example) which lowers the score a bit from this otherwise awesome first experience with the band.

Want to try something new with an old school feeling to it then El Camino’s third album Cursed Congregation is for you! Cursed Congregation is out now through Night Tripper Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/elCaminocvlt
Label: Night Tripper Records
For fans of: Dissection and Vampire
Favorite song: Cursed Congregation
Score: 3.5/5

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

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

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

Shaarimoth – Temple of the Adversarial Fire (Blackened Death Metal)

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Shaarimoth were formed in 2004 with the idea of creating a sonic construct that manifests dark current through music. “This is not music, this is ritual” is the first thing I come across when looking at Shaarimoth’s facebook page. When starting to listen to the album I am inclined to agree with that statement. I feel like I am at the black metal festival Mörkaste Småland and their fourth ceremony as the ascension of the dark lord is upon us. Seems like this kind of darkness could spawn only from the dark woods of Norway.

Musically there are a lot of influences to be heard here from Behemoth and Nile due to it’s death metal ritual like music. While I also draw parallels to Dissection’s lyric contents Shaarimoth got a mix that works. Funny enough Norway aren’t really known for death metal music, however they are for their satanic black metal. This draws some of the best from both worlds creating an entity that can portray Norwegian metal in a new way. The more I listen to Temple of the Adversarial Fire the more I think back on Behemoth’s award winning album The Satanist. The dark and satanic atmosphere, production, mix of black and death metal (or blackened death metal), riffs, vocals and lyrics got a lot in common with one of the best albums to come out this decade.

Shaarimoth (just as Earth Rot did yesterday) has surprised me. This is one of my favorite albums of the year so far. I can’t find nothing wrong with it and when I tried to pick a favorite song from the album I had to literally close my eyes and pick a song at random. That’s how good it is. It’s meant to be played in full to get the whole experience as it’s meant to be, as a ritual. Even the album cover screams of darkness and it’s the perfect way to wrap this package in. To end the review here is another quote from their facebook page that I like “To rid ourselves of our shadows – who we are – we must step into either total Light..or total Darkness”. Now join us to celebrate The End times, Kali Yuga, The return of the Dragon, when the Infinite Waters have finally turned calm.

Temple of the Adversarial Fire is out now through World Terror Committee.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Shaarimoth
For fans of: Behemoth and Dissection
Favorite song: Faceless Queen of Bloodstained Dreams

Enragement – Burned, Barren, Bloodstained (Brutal Death Metal)

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I usually review albums that are already out or soon to be out. However this time I got a promo from Inverse Records on a Finnish band called Enragement and their sophomore album Burned, Barren, Bloodstained which isn’t out until June 9th. When I get an album that’s not released until so far away in the future I usually wait for the release date to be closer but this time I couldn’t, the album is simply too good and I couldn’t wait! Lets start with some background on Enragement. The band was formed in 2006 by Lasse Sannikka (drums), Erkka Järvinen (guitars) and Jouni Mäkelä (vocals), Erkka left to focus on hockey, Jouni later on left to focus on his other band Reflection Dies. Left with no members, nor any album releases, Lasse rebuild Enragement and the band is now a four-piece, featuring three vocalists (!). It took just a bit more than a year for Lasse to assemble the new group together and release their debut album Omnimalevolence of Man. Now three years later they are active with Burned, Barren, Bloodstained.

I did mention Enragement consists of three vocalists. That’s the part that makes this band really stick out. Jarkko Niemi (Brymir), Atte Ojanne and Tuomas Iivanainen all got different types of growling, all from classic death metal, brutal death metal and shrieks as taken from a black metal band. And it’s not just the vocals that differs, the music overall also demonstrates a wide range of musical influences all from old school death metal to grindcore. One song can lean towards black metal (Ashen Unity), just to on the next track, As the Acid Burns, become a groovy riff-fest classic death metal type of song. What makes it all jell together in harmony is the intense heavyness and brutality that never stops. Burned, Barren, Bloodstained is an album that will go down as a hidden gem in Finnish metal scene and I hope many of you out there will notice this rare display of brutal death metal from a country that hardly dabbles in the scene. I am actually quite stunned to find such rare talent with a unique sound and never heard of them before. Being half Finnish I try to give that market an extra ear (just like with the Swedish scene) but this has simply went by me. For that I am sorry but I am now a true believe of Enragement’s quest to create the ultimate song to capture the human condition at its darkest.

Enragement now got a new fan, this is one of the best releases of the year. Burned, Barren, Bloodstained is out June 9th. I suggest you mark it down on your calendars and get it from Inverse Records for your own salvation. This is Extreme Death Metal, this is Enragement!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Enragement
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/EnragementMetal
For fans of: Beheaded and Immolation
Favorite song: Dead Flesh Treasury

A Lie Nation – Begin Hate (Melodic Black Metal)

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Finnish black metal is from my experience usually very gritty and satanic. They don’t often touch the melodic side of black metal but today I have a promo from A Lie Nation, a Finnish band that does exactly that. Granted it’s a mix of different styles, or as A Lie Nation call it melodic extreme metal. However I choose to call it melodic black metal as that’s the closest genre I can put them into (don’t be a genre freak though, good metal is good metal no matter the genre). A Lie Nation was formed in Oulu 2009, then unnamed, took the name A Lie Nation in 2010 and released their debut EP Human Waves in 2015. Begin Hate is the bands sophomore EP and the band has really picked up the pace now.

The main reason I go for the black metal mentions is due to the vocals. Miikka Pyykkönen nails those black metal vocals and the aggressive, yet melodic sound surrounding him makes this a listen that make me draw parallels to the black and death masters Dissection and Naglfar. Along with other new Finnish black metal bands who somewhat differs from the old school Finnish sound like Paara and Kyy. From the beginning A Lie Nation captures me and the music evolves over time, the more you listen to Begin Hate the more you notice new things on the four tracks. They differ quite a bit in sound, Rot of the Spirit being a bit towards groovy trash and Shooting the Messenger captures the essence of melodic black metal as examples. My favorite track has to be A Burn Afar (Shooting the Messenger is a very very close second though). The slow acoustic intro with whispers leaves an eerie feeling until it blasts out into sheer black metal aggression, then change the tempo back again to beautiful acoustic harmony. The track is a perfect ending to a good album.

Begin Hate comes out April 5th via Inverse Records. I suggest you get it!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alienationofficial
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/alienationmetal
For fans of: Naglfar and Dissection
Favorite song: A Burn Afar