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

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

Bloodgod – Catharsis (Death Metal)

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Lets start with saying I am very glad Bloodgod themselves contacted me as otherwise I would probably have missed this independent release. Bloodgod is a Dutch three-man outfit that features members from Disquiet, Hymir and Neustros Derechos. Being from these bands you get members who have backgrounds in different genres. Namely black, death and trash metal. This is also where the bands strength lays, they fuse together different genres to give their own take on death metal (similar to what Post Pulse have done). Main influences I would say are death and trash metal, sometimes I think their songs sound like old Trivium albums (which is a really good thing mind you).

The flow of the songs, change of tempo and vocals (minus the clean singing) is what takes me back to, as an example, Trivium’s Ascendancy album. It just seems to have the same kind of attitude as they did back then. That said they aren’t a Trivium rip off or anything like that, I just find bits and pieces that reminds me of them from their early stages. That together with some Machine Head, DevilDriver and Lamb of God then you get a rough idea on Bloodgod’s sound. Definitely music a lot of metalheads will enjoy and that Bloodgod can continue building on. Only thing I really got to comment on in a negative sense is that the two songs Valar Morghulis and Satan’s Smile sound too similar for my taste (especially the intro).

All in all this is a sweet EP, 18 minutes of enjoyable metal that can act as a teaser of what Bloodgod are capable of when it’s time to work on their full-length debut. The foundation is there and it will be interesting to hear what they come up with next. Catharsis is out now as an independent release.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bloodgod.metal
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bloodgod_metal
Label: Independent
For fans of: Trivium and DevilDriver
Favorite song: ‘t Schrickelik Tempeest

Hellfire – Goat Revenge (Black Metal)

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There’s been a lot of black metal from me lately but I just am in that mood right now so why stop now? My black metal journey this past week has taken me from Portugal (Viles Vitae), Finland (Author), Brazil (Carpatus) and now to Ukraine with the band Hellfire. Hellfire was formed in 2014 by former members of Paranomia and quickly became a band of four but eventually went down to three members, Necrobaphomet on bass, Skullcrusher on drums and Karagh on guitars and vocal duty. Since then the band has kept working as a trio and had several live performances in Ukraine with good response. Goat Revenge is the bands debut EP.

Hellfire got a cool sound going with a varied mix of influences. The bands agenda was to create 100% pure metal based on black metal, inspired by old-school thrash and death metal. A feat they’ve done well I’ve got to say. It features the aggression and song-writing from the first wave of black metal, speed and grove from trash, then adding the melodic riffs from death to create this unholy beast. The songs are fast and furious, with the eight tracked album going full speed ahead during it’s 24 minutes. In a way I think the album is over too fast, that’s however a plus from Hellfire in a way since it means the music was good and it is an EP after all.

I had a good time with Goat Revenge. It was a bit different than the black metal I usually listens to and flirts with many old school acts. Hellfire’s debut EP Goat Revenge is out now through Witches Brew.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hellfireua
For fans of: Bestial Mockery and Impiety
Favorite song: Unholy Cult

Skeletal – Dreadful Life (Death/Trash Metal)

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Coming from a Jyväskylä, one of the bigger cities in Finland, you have a band that’s been going for ten years but have waiting until now to release their first full-length album Dreadful Life. Having only changed one member during these ten years you can tell the band is a tight group.

Inspired by classic Death Metal and Thrash Metal bands, from the late 80´s and early 90´s this is nothing short but classic metal that you probably grew up with. It’s dirty speedy death with a lot of trash influences. The vocals put me off a bit since they are so low in volume and seems like he sings quite far from the mic. I do guess however it’s a production thing and they wanted to keep the old gritty sound from the 80’s, which is of course fine but not really for me anymore.

Once I get used to the vocals I can enjoy this album a lot more and they do shred like crazy. They are true to the old school sound and even though I would like to change some in the production it was a nice reminiscence of old times. By that I say if you liked the music way more back in the days than now then you should definitely give Skeletal’s full-length debut Dreadful Life a spin.

Dreadful Life is out February 3rd by Inverse Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/skeletalband
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SkeletalDM
For fans of: Entombed and Dismember
Favorite song: Leap of Faith

Kratornas – Devoured by Damnation (Black/Grind Metal)

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Satanic black/grind metal from the Philippines? Don’t mind if I do! Having been around since 1995 (1991 if you count Zamora) I dare say this has to be one of the oldest metal bands from the Philippines. Originally a 3-piece band for a very short time it’s mainly been a solo project by Zachariah until this album when GB Guzzarin joined on drums. During the bands eleven years this is just the third full-length release as Zachariah has mainly focused on demo’s and splits.

Kratornas delivers grindcore elements from Napalm Death, the oldest raw black metal you can think of (Bathory, Beherit etc) and mixing it with a smitch of Sodom to create this devilish sound. It’s fast, it’s brutal, it’s satanic and evil. It’s exactly what you expect from Kratornas.

Want your music raw, primitive and fast with a lot of different elements combining genres then Kratornas latest release Devoured by Damnation is what you’re looking for.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/officialkratornas
For fans of: Bathory and Beherit
Favorite song: Archangels of Destruction

Hate Unbound – Plague (Death/Trash Metal)

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American band Hate Unbound are quite the new kids on the block but have in a fast fashion paved their way towards the top having already shared the stage with big acts such as Origin, Dying Fetus, Belphegor and Beyond Creation. Hate Unbound plays a mix of trash and death, drawing influences from all kinds of bands like Lamb of God and Death.

When I listen to Plague the closest I can compare their sound to is Lamb of God or Slayer. It’s fast and heavy metal that’s easy to take in and headbang to. The riffs are groovy as fuck and songs like Cut really takes me back to Lamb of God’s Sacrament album (which to me is their best release yet).

I am not surprised Hate Unbound has shared the stage with big acts already and are rising quickly. Heavy music created like this is undying and not a single metalhead can stand still to it. Filled with killer riffs, solos you will want to play air-guitar to at home and heavy hard hitting vocals you can’t go wrong with picking up Plague. I think most metalheads have, or still do, listened to bands such as Lamb of God, Slayer, Megadeth and Death and if you want to experience something that can basically be called a tribute to those bands then Hate Unbounds sophomore release Plague is the perfect way to start off 2017.

Plague is out February 17th 2017 by Inverse Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HateUnbound
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/hateunbound
For fans of: Lamb of God and Slayer
Favorite song: Cut