Welcome to this – doubtless very unlucky for some – thirteenth installment of Mickey’s Metal Morsels! Enjoy the music we’ve found for you!

Life Cycles Morsels
First up today we have Texan bruisers Life Cycles; Coincidentally enough my Dallas-based colleague Hideous Destructor had told me I may find their Slayeresque batterings appealing only a few months ago; Lo and behold, weeks later the boss man is feeding me their new EP, Portal To The Unknown, for possible morselisation!

The universe moves in mysterious ways, for sure, but in this case I’m pleased that it has because PTTU is, indeed, right up my alley! The EP, which serendipitously is out today, is a nuggety, compact blast of deathened thrash that does indeed carry more than a whiff of Slayer but pleasingly goes way beyond that in terms of impact and songwriting smarts. The title track is a ripper, as is the starkly brutal Death From Above, the video for which I’ve thoughtfully attached below. But my fave track of the six on offer is the grinding, unforgiving rager Haunting Spirit, wherein all five member of the band – that’s raw-throated roarer Jeremy Cuevas, wielder of the four string motherfucker Christopher Sanchez, axe slingers Chris Bruckner and Luis Lopez Jnr and lead batterer Xavier Rios – come together in black hearted harmony for one of the best straight up slices of death I’ve heard in some time. This is taut, musically economic stuff, with no tracks even touching the four minute mark, but the band manage to get their point across perfectly every time. Great stuff!

Witchorious Morsels

At their lightest, French doom exponents Witchorious weave a little of the misanthropy of US nu-metal goths Pist.On into their sound, which certainly adds a welcome sense of melody and dynamic to tracks like Cathaarsis and The Witch; However, when they hit hardest – on the superb Eternal Night, wherein bassist Lucie Gaget takes over vocal duties from guitarist Antoine Auclair – there’s a distinct Electric Wizard going down. And, as we know, EW vibes are very often the best vibes when it comes to this Hammer Horror kinda stuff…

But, all that notwithstanding, it’s the variety that Witchorious inject into their doom that makes their self-titled new album so appealing. They cover all the bases, yes, but they do so with a depth and a maturity in their songwriting that means the ‘flitting’ from mood to mood doesn’t ever sound perfunctory or, worse yet, false. This is a band that’s got a great sense of drama – Sanctuaire has all the makings of a showstopper live, if I’m any judge – but it’s also a band that has a great sense of itself and where it stands in the greater doom scheme of things. They ooze confidence – but in a good way.

Witchorious – the album – is a compelling listen, and I’ve got no hesitation in recommending Witchorious – the band – to you if doom in any of it’s forms floats your boat!

Obsidian Tongue Morsels

American black metallers Obsidian Tongue purvey a progressive brand of music on new EP The Stone Heart that strives to encompass all of the black moods conjured up in the mind by the very mention of the words ‘black’ and ‘metal’ in three mesmerising movements; As is the modern way, they use BM as the bedrock on which to build a cinematic, almost cosmic panorama, showcasing their remarkable talent for layering rich, flowing melodies amidst the genre’s requisite moments of intensity. Waves of etherea wash over the listener, seamlessly blending quasi-orchestral grandeur with moments of crashing drama. The result is a work of smeared beauty that demands attention and appreciation, whilst still giving full opportunity for those who simply wish to indulge in bouts of carefree headbanging – The almost Viking mid section of Winter Child is an absolute joy if you are an unreconstructed, beard-wearing old black metal aficionado like me!

Listeners will find themselves entranced by the psychedelic, somnambulistic passages that weave seamlessly with emotionally charged clean guitars and vocals. These moments, juxtaposed with the intense distortion and expansive guitar walls, create a dynamic listening experience that captures the essence of this genre in 2024, but Obsidian Tongue seem to offer something more than just ‘in the moment’ kicks, offering a glimpse of black metal as an artform moving forward. This may not be the future per se, but there is a definite sense of forward motion to band’s music, a soul and heart that is very encouraging to hear. Brendan Hayter and Ray Capizzo – for it is they who make up Obsidian Tongue – should be very proud of this EP indeed!

Pushing Daisy Morsels

And now for something completely different. We generally focus on the heavier side of the music in this column, but every now and then something a bit more tuneful catches Mickey’s ear, and Denmark’s Pushing Daisy – and their new album Reflections – are very tuneful indeed.

The band promises hard rock with a grunge edge in it’s press release, but don’t be put off by that ‘G’ word – this is just good solid classic hard rock that, whilst it does carry hints of the mid nineties here and there (Therapy? sometimes spring to mind in the band’s more hectic moments) – is pretty much timeless in essence.

The band deploy some fearsome harmonies on Selling Truth, whilst the balladic I Am The Sun adds a woozy psych edge to the mix that’s actually more in line with London 1996 than Seattle ’92, even if you get the sense that the band are busting to get all their Alice In Chains moves out in the open for all to see…

Roelof Witmans is an impressive vocalist, underplaying his undoubted skill with a series of assured but largely restrained performances; His multi-tracked vocals on Hate Me Break Me are a tiumph, and it’s clear that this band really know their onions when presenting their songs in a studio environment. There is absolutely nothing ground breaking going on here, but sometimes just hearing people who are very good at what they do is enough, and Reflections is an an album that’s absolutely full of that.