Hadal Maw – Charlatan (Technical Death Metal)

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Hadal Maw was a new name to me, I honestly only first heard of them when I saw they were going on an Australian tour with one of my favorite bands Archspire and Psycroptic. Hadal Maw was created in 2010, hailing from Australia, released their debut album Senium in 2014 and has since been met with acclaim from fans and critics alike. Making it rather annoying for me personally that the band had gone completely under my radar for all these years. The name Hadal Maw originates from Hades actually. As Hadal Maw is the name derived from the Hadal zone, a delineation for the deepest trenches in the ocean (taken from metal archives). The latest release Olm, only a year old, was just as their debut met with only positives so with that in mind I was really hyped to review their third offering Charlatan prior its release.

After having had some great time with their past two albums to get ready for Charlatan I quickly realized how Hadal Maw does not simply stick to one sound, they have a core sound sure but they evolve with each album. Pushing their own boundaries and I admire that. Hadal Maw are a technical death metal band to the core but the influences are many. Even within the techdeath realm it can differ from Meshuggah, Beyond Creation to Gojira. Not only that though, Hadal Maw got a darkness in their music that goes beyond techdeath and more into the blackened death or black spheres. This is where Charlatan comes in. Charlatan is by far the darkest album Hadal Maw has done to date, getting closer to the mighty Behemoth than ever before. Hadal Maw does follow in the same path as Olm paved for them (which is very different from their debut) but as I said this is even darker, more atmospheric.

I see this album in many ways as Gojira and Meshuggah  have a meeting with Behemoth in the sense Hadal Maw’s technical death riffs and vocals draws some parallels to Gojira and Meshuggah while the atmospheric and dark feeling that clouds Charlatan is more of the Behemoth style of things. It’s a good match and whereas I thought Senium was more standard techdeath both Olm and Charlatan stands out with a more unique style. Charlatan is a great next chapter for Hadal Maw, a fitting successor to Olm where you can see the band elevate their sound yet again. The album has been a real grower to me. At first I thought it was a bit too slow for my taste in techdeath but after awhile I get sucked into the atmospheric side of it and the album as a whole is a pleasant experience that differs from your common Beyond Creation or Necrophagist clones (which I to be fair like a quite fair share of too haha).

This is an album you might not grasp of fully enjoy at your first visit but give it time and you will come to love it. Charlatan is also one of those albums where it is hard to pick just one track from as the album is meant to be experienced as a whole in my opinion. Whereas I’ve missed Hadal Maw in the past I now welcome them into my metal life as a sweet fresh new techdeath breeze in this hot Swedish weather. One can only wonder if Hadal Maw can go even deeper in that ocean to create more fine offerings to the metal world.

Label: EVP Recordings
For fans of: Behemoth and Gojira
Release date: August 3rd, 2018
Favorite song: Charlatan I The Grand Serpent
Score: 4/5

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Pestilent Reign – Pyres (Death Metal)

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Looking for breakdowns that slay, vocals that could scare the hell out of your grandmother and riffs that makes your neck break due to all the headbanging you will do? Then look no further because Pestilent Pyres got you covered. So far the more brutal death metal scene hasn’t had too much action in my opinion. Sure it’s only April but time flies and we all urge to get some neck breaking, go bananas style of death metal every once in a while. Last year we saw bands like Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Gutslit and more hit us with the brutality we crave. It would be nice to have a similar year every year of course but I understand it can’t always be like that.

However Pestilent Reign makes a superb effort to make 2018 just as good of a year. Instantly “Martyr” almost catch me off-guard with it’s hard hitting death metal but it’s when “You Will Kneel in Piss and Blood” the real action comes. Holy shit this song made me go wild. It has everything you want, fast paced brutal death metal with a lot of technical aspects into it and a solo to die for at the end. Dying Fetus, Defeated Sanity, Misery Index and Psycroptic becoming one of sort. Speaking of Defeated Sanity, Pestilent Reigns logo made me think of the band straight away but seeing one of their band members having a Defeated Sanity hoodie on made it quite clear they are probably big fans of the band.

“Saviour” brings and even more technical aspect to it, a bit less of the brutality but with more sick riffs instead. “Pyres” keeps on doing this throughout the entire album, taking in different influences, doing great justice to them and be it technical, brutal or simply death metal they pull it off. The album feels rewarding to listen to with a sweet balance between different takes on death metal which is sure to bring the listener some headbang worth material. Personally I would love them to stay on the more brutal side of things like they did with “You Will Kneel in Piss and Blood” and “I.M.T.R.M.” but whatever road they choose to walk on I am sure it will be great as the band evolves. A thing that holds me back from choosing the big scores with Pyres is due to half the album feeling a bit weaker than the rest. The tracks I will take with me from the album are definitely “You Will Kneel in Piss and Blood” together with “Zealot”, “I.M.T.R.M” and “Gutter’s Filth”. These songs present Pestilent Reign at their best from different perspectives. However the rest were “only” good. Great album that could almost have been a masterpiece from the 2018 releases but for now I am happy to have found a new band to follow on their wicked path of death.

Label: Rising Nemesis Records
For fans of: Misery Index and Psycroptic
Release date: March 16th, 2018
Favorite song: You Will Kneel in Piss and Blood
Score: 3.5/5

Hour of Penance – Cast the First Stone (Technical/Brutal Death Metal)

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Italian brutal techdeath masters Hour of Penance are back with a flurry of blistering riffs and brutality some bands can only dream of to jell together into a perfect mix. And oh does it deliver! After having listened to the single XII Century Imperial Crusade a million times already I knew this album was going to be something special. However after listening to the album I am still in ave. XII Century Imperial Crusade, as great as it is, isn’t even one of the best tracks on the album!

Track after track Hour of Penance keeps on giving me some of the best riffs and music I’ve heard in a long time. The album is so polished, yet undeniable crushing and I can only applaud them for keeping such high quality during their career even on their seventh release. The addition of drummer Davide “BrutalDave” Billia (Beheaded, Septycal Gorge and Xenomorphic Contamination) only seems to have fuelled this tank of destruction that is Hour of Penance. I have to say time after time again when I hear Davide he rises on my list of the best drummers in the world, he puts in a lot of hard work and has never let me down so far.

Hour of Penance has already released a contender for album of the year. I urge you, do not miss this album!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hourofpenance
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HourofPenance
For fans of: Nile and Origin
Favorite song: Cast the First Stone