Greetings, metal mates, and welcome to a new episode of Metal Morsels! This time around I’m sticking close to what the young people refer to as ‘my wheelhouse’ so it’s a bit of a black/death bonanza – apologies if your boat isn’t floating on reading those words… Have a listen anyway, you might be pleasantly surprised!
First up we’ve got Askesis, from Venice, who have just recently unleashed their debut full-length offering in the shape of Beyond The Fate Of Death. It’s a pretty good album, superbly produced and packed full of straightforward bangers that have a punky edge and some fab, upfront bass playing from founder member Aura Negativa (AKA Laura Nardelli). She gives a real edge to the band’s sound, a point of difference that is sorely needed in a field where most of the participants are content to go for the same sound and dynamic.
The band promise “A mix of black metal and death metal, delivering a listening experience that is raw and violent while simultaneously captivating and hypnotic…A visceral and introspective exploration of the human experience, challenging societal expectations, and probing the depths of the human psyche”. And sonically, at least – that’s the bit I feel qualified to comment on, anyway – that’s bang on. Nico Fabbri keeps things raw and unhinged on the vocal front, and tracks like King of Somberness have a real, primitive appeal to them that’s hard to deny. Great stuff!
The band that brought you the record Totemic Anal Turbofucker in 2019 are back – presumably after four years of basking in the unalloyed worship they received after giving an album such a superb name – and this time they take the guise of an Anti-Dogma Megaforce!
You can probably tell I love Barcelona’s Barbarian Swords, and not just because of their fabulous approach to naming albums. Luckily their music is pretty rad to, and this new album is no different. Raw throated black metal with hints of grind and doom is the order of the day here, with all three elements sometimes appearing in the same song for maximum mayhem. Lord Winter is hands down a track that’ll be battling for my Best In Show accolades at the end of the year, if only because it sums the band up neatly in one foul-smelling, sulphurous gobbet. Von Päx is a frankly terrifying vocal presence – he sounds like his approach to vocalisation involves gargling bleach and little else, and his savagery is matched by the rest of the band – but in the best possible way, natch. If you love the short, sharp shock of grind given a refined kick up the shiter by some seriously good playing, then this is essential listening…
A little bit more refined – but no less hard hitting – are Swiss duo Dyssebeia, who will release their Garden Of Stillborn Idols full-length into the wild later this month. Taking their cue from well-established names like At The Gates and Dark Tranquility, they have moulded a sound that’s pretty classic in essence but which still manages to bring some freshness to the table.
Opening track Mors Tua, Vita Mea sets the scene nicely, weaving sophisticated leadwork into sledgehammer riffage, and insistent, urgent drumming from Sam Jakubec which really moves things along well and keeps excitement levels high. Second track Retribution will probably either appeal massively or fall flat on it’s face, depending on your standpoint on the Gothenburg sound, but either way there’s no denying the fact that this is very well executed heavy metal indeed. Me? I love it, but, as I’m often reminded, I have been wrong before…
Closing track Apophenia is a bit more angular, adding a bit of spikiness to the overall smoothness, but even here there’s a big, melody-packed refrain thrown in for good measure; This is high grade stuff, make no mistake, and these guys could easily get into Euro metal’s higher echelons on the evidence of this effort.
New Jersey natives Putrascension don’t pull any punches on their debut full lengther Forever Below; The World is fucked, and they are here to soundtrack it’s final demise. That soundtrack is a cacophonous racket – how could it be anything else? – of hammering snare abuse, yammering throat damage and clamouring six string destruction. In other words, everything you’d expect from an apocalypse.
Deeper Hell sets the scene, but it’s the majestic Hydrohammer that seals the deal. A stately procession of doom, the top-end jangle of Dan Higgins and Joe Fonseca hitting that nerve behind the eye that usually only cold ice cream can reach, it’s an absolutely devastating cavalcade of extremity, battened down by the rhythmic pulses of Joe Kreiss and Justin Spaeth and topped off by some truly horrific – and I don’t mean that pejoratively – throat mangling from Michael Gonçalves. Forever Below isn’t easy going by any means, but if you have the internal fortitude to give it a go I strongly recommend you do so.
“I would say we take our favourite parts of wild and sleazy thrash, punk, black metal, and trashy rock riffs… We drop them all in one toxic stew to form Black Knife. We also add a good portion of horror movie influence for good measure as well.” – Hellwulv (Guitar/Vocals).
Lazy I know, but when a band can sum it’s own sound up so well why do you need me hear cluttering up the airwaves? What I would add, however, is that that mixture described above is also a whole lot of FUN to get involved with on a listening level. Tracks like Curse of the Devil Bat and Evil Sex On Helloween deliver a rampaging barrel load of blackened fun n’games, wrapped up in some eminently headbangable tuneage. It’s simple, it’s not reinventing any wheels… and it rocks!
Phew. I need a bit of a lie down after all that – hope you enjoyed it. See you for another set of Metal Morsels very soon!