Doesn’t seem that long ago that I was writing last month’s lot of short reviews. The month has gone so fast! And I don’t think there’s much interesting to say this time around. I’ve not found as much time this month for reviews, but, that’s neither here nor there. Let’s just get to the reviews. This month there’s instrumental stoner/doom from Spore Lord on In The Beginning; blackened death from Nordwitch with their album Mørk Profeti; Mycelium‘s Volume I, an improvised, atmospheric piece of experimental metal; the Reigning Hell demo from Egyptian metalpunks Exgen; and Irish thrash crew Acid Age rage Like A Runaway Combine Harvester In A Field Of Crippled Rabbits. Enjoy!
Spore Lord – In The Beginning
No prizes for guessing that Atlanta trio Spore Lord play doom/stoner metal. In The Beginning is an instrumental 35 minutes full of riffs, hooks, and groove that evokes all that is good about early and proto-metal. The psychedelic touches help keep it all interesting, and even if it’s not the most original thing you’ll ever hear, there’s more than enough talent and passion to raise Spore Lord above the hordes of Sabbath worshipers that can make stoner and doom feel like exercises in boredom. The great production helps, too, really letting the riffs shine and bass come through strongly. It’s not out until 2nd December 2016, but this is worth waiting for.
Nordwitch – Mørk Profeti
I’ve not been listening to nearly as much extreme metal recently as usual – I’ve probably listened to less metal these past few months than at any point over the last five years – but Nordwitch have served up something that reminded me why the genre has been my favourite for so long in Mørk Profeti. It may not do anything too unusual, and has a distinctly European blackened death feel and sound throughout, but has a confidence and conviction that means it’s hard not to be won over by the album. Tracks like “Dominion” feature strong melodic leads combined with moments that are utterly pummeling, and this duality makes Mørk Profeti an interesting, arresting album that, at just shy of forty minutes, doesn’t risk overstaying its welcome.
Mycelium – Volume 1
Label: Vetala Productions
Volume I from solo project Mycleium is the kind of record to lose yourself within. Even if it’s only a shade over twenty minutes long, there is an immense depth to this release, with the two tracks drawing you in and inviting you to spend time in the atmosphere they create. Moments of hazy psychedelica sit well with sections of almost black metal intensity and disdain, as on “Limitation: A Blessing / Potential: A Curse”, whilst second track “Sea Of Broken Glass” is equally uncomfortable, opening in almost avant-garde style with a mix of what sounds like samples and field recordings in the background. As unsettling as it is though, Volume I never feels overly repellent, and there is something hugely addictive about this release.
Naðra – Form
So, I somehow missed this when it came out in April this year, which was a huge mistake as this EP is great. No surprise there though, considering Naðra are very much at the forefront of the hugely impressive Icelandic black metal scene. The passion displayed earlier in the year on Allir Vegit Til Glötunar is present here, and even if it’s only ten minutes long, Form is still one of the highlights for black metal this year. Intense yet strangely catchy, this helps prove that the success of the previous album was no fluke, and that Naðra should be considered one of the best black metal acts of our time. Love the classic rock feel to the later half of the first track, too.
Exgen – Reigning Hell
Ugh! Egypt isn’t well-known as a hotbed of metal, but if the rest of the country’s bands are anywhere near as good as Exgen, then that should change. The Reigning Hell demo is a furious, filth blast of metalpunk, with plenty of Motorhead-esque snarl and attitude. Topped off with some primitive black metal leads and a none-more-raw production, it’s everything you could possibly want from a metalpunk demo and then some. If this said Darkthrone on the cover, we’d all be falling over ourselves to worship it. As is, Reining Hell deserves your praise and attention anyway. This is fucking excellent.
Acid Age – Like A Runaway Combine Harvester In A Field Of Crippled Rabbits
Label: Witches’ Brew
The previous album by Acid Age, Drone Shark Ethics, was sent to me upon release in 2014, and it did pretty much nothing for me. So, I approached Like A Runaway Combine Harvester… with some apprehension, but more the fool me, because the new album from this thrash band is pretty god-damn awesome. It’s never at less than blistering speed, packed full of short sharp leads and solos. The hyper-thrash tag is well deserved, and tells you almost all you need to know; there’s more to the album than speed, but speed really is king. It’s the sort of metal album that can properly elicit responses along the lines of “fuck yeah”, “fucking awesome”, and “holy fuck this rips”, all whilst demanding headbanging of such intensity you’ll probably do yourself lasting damage. Oh, and “Hell Is In The South Sea” even throws in some properly sleazy rock moves, with some excellent bass work and groove. Closer “The Prank Call” almost spoils things though, but that’s maybe just me being a humorless tightwad. The other seven tracks though? Totally over-the-top and killer.