Hello, hello and welcome again to Mickey’s Metal Morsels, this time broadcasting to you from the heart of my palatial abode in the South London badlands… As ever, it’s a varied bunch of tunes we’ve dug up for you – hope you enjoy!

The dawn of 2024 sees New York City-based death metal quintet Hypoxia – formed by members of Monstrosity, Vile, Secrecy, Castrator and the superbly-monickered Total Fucking Destruction, returning with their third album, Defiance.

The band has made several lineup changes since last album, 2019’s Abhorrent Disease, saw the light of day, but they are now prepared to deploy their most merciless material to date with Defiance, pummeling the listener with eleven songs in thirty-seven minutes. The apocalyptic riffage and divebombing solos by guitarists Carlos Acboleda (Non Eternal, ex-Secrecy, ex-Aether) and new guitarist Ryan Moll (Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, Azure Emote, Total Fucking Destruction) are constructed atop the earthmoving rhythm section of Carolina Perez (Castrator, ex-Aether) and new bassist Mike Poggione (Omnipotence, ex-Monstrosity, ex-Capharnaum), with the relentless roars of Mike Hrubovcak (Azure Emote, Imperial Crystalline Entombment, ex-Monstrosity, ex-Vile) ripping their way through the savagery.

Recorded by the band themselves, Defiance was mixed and mastered by Noah Buchanan at Mercinary Studios (Midnight, Embalmer, Nunslaughter) and completed with excellent cover art by Daemorph (The Black Dahlia Murder, Pyrexia, Avulsed). Prepare yourself for an old-school onslaught of new breed death metal domination!

I’m a big fan of Sylvaine, A.K.A. Kathrine Shepard, whose Nova album I reviewed for Sentinel Daily a couple of years back. Sylvaine’s ethereal soundscapes have been taken to stages across Europe and the Americas, leaving audiences mesmerised by the transcendent power of her stunning voice and compelling live performances. Two of her albums have been nominated for (the Norwegian Grammy awards) Spellemannprisen in the category of, surprisingly enough, metal. The ability to transport listeners to otherworldly realms through her music is a manifestation of the artistry and profound impact the band can bring.

As she prepares to unveil her upcoming EP, Eg Er Framand, Sylvaine/Shepard embarks on a deeply introspective and serene journey through the rich tapestry of Norwegian heritage and tradition. Folk tales of old are brought to life in this new chapter of her musical odyssey, offering a glimpse into the depths of her creative spirit and an exploration of the roots that anchor her artistry. A reflection of myths is embraced through exquisite sonic realms.

Although the number of artists performing this style of music seems to be reaching tipping point at the moment, there’s something about Sylvaine’s mournful, almost otherworldly style on songs like Dagsens Auga Sloknar Ut that continues to set her apart from and ahead of the pack. Almost entirely unaccompanied save for sparing use of keys and strings, the material here is captivating and entirely beguiling. Highly recommended!

Cell Press
Cell Press is a Montreal-based band that formed in 2019. They play a sort of burly noise-rock that leans more on the hardcore and metal side of the swamp. Members have played in a myriad of punk, metal, and hardcore bands such as The Great Sabatini, Biipiigwan, I Hate Sally, The Chariot, Animal Ethics, Architect, Swarm Of Spheres, and Angles. They are releasing their first full-length album Cages next month and are now introducing it with the single Things They Do In France, a song about lost love and what could have been had it not been so toxic.

The band shares more info: “This song starts off with probably the most melodic riff in our catalogue, then quickly turns into a fast and bumpy ride throughout the rest of the way. The structure of this song is similar to a toxic relationship as it starts off smooth then turns into an unpredictable cacophony of violent riffage, drumming, and screaming. There is also a double entendre to this song name and lyrics referring to the way Quebec both linguistically and culturally traditionally looked down upon by our upper-class friends in France.”

Cell Press continues on to say they are very proud of being from the city of Montreal and the province of Quebec, they like to express that subtly in certain songs and areas where it is artistically appropriate without coming across as corny.

From their first self titled EP to this album, Cell Press’ sound has not changed dramatically. Cages has a little more melody to it, but retains that grit and heavy sound they have been honing over the last four years. Crushing and grinding, this album is not for the faint of heart – so I’m sure everybody reading this will love it!

Drip Fed Empire Morsels
I have to say a big thanks to my colleague, cub reporter Chris Arrowsmith for bringing Drip Fed Empire to my attention. These UK metalcore exponents brought out a new full-lengther last month, which goes by the name of Revolutionist and is sure to appeal if you like your metalcore with a nicely industrialised edge and plenty of bleeps and belches to run alongside the axe mayhem.

The stomping Give Me More even has a bit of a glam feel about it, whilst the claustrophobic MK4 takes this old head right back to Reading Festivals past and names like Senser in particular with it’s groovy stop start rhythms and barking rap attack from vocalist Jay. AND THEN IT BREAKS INTO GABBA!

At least that’s what I used to call it when we hung around Amsterdam’s seediest nite spots in the mid nineties… I’m sure it has a new name now but whatever, DFE render a pretty vicious and very uplifting version of it. The Work of God is a bit more straightforward but no less effective, with Jack (bass) and Jordan (guitars) building a churning morass of sound underpinned by some jackhammer percussive pressure from Burcher.

More hip people than me will doubtless have heard all this before, but I’ve got to say Drip Fed Empire are an absolute breath of fresh air for these old ears. As Jay says, in the midst of the strident anthem Digital Drug, what a wonderful fucking time to be alive…

That’s it until the next time – stay safe but most importantly stay metal!