american – Violate And Control

american Violate And Control digi cover 1500x1500

Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories / Fragile Branch Recordings / Shove Records

In the increasingly populated world of extreme music, it gets harder and harder to stand out. There’s only so many novel ideas out there, and there’s no guarantee that musicians have the requisite talent to properly convey what they have to express. It’s this context which helps make american seem an all the more startling prospect. Their mix of black metal, industrial, and harsh noise already sounds exciting on paper, but what Violate And Control demonstrates is that the duo have both the ideas and talent to take this combination in to strange new places. This results in an album that feels remarkably fresh, even as it indulges in some of the most horrific music committed to tape whilst still remaining listenable.

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Caïna / Cara Neir – Split


Label: Broken Limbs Recordings

This was an unexpected surprise. I had thought that Christ Clad In White Phosphorous was to be Caïna’s final recorded output, but evidently not, as this split with blackened crust masters Cara Neir has emerged. Each band has a single track, though that’s all that both bands need to demonstrate their talent and unorthodox natures. Whilst both bands may have different sounds, it’s safe to say that their mentalities are comparable, making this split a bittersweet triumph – triumphant because of its undeniable quality, but bittersweet as this now marks the last output of Caïna to be committed to tape.

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Wiegedood -De Doden Hebben het Goed II


Label: Consouling Sounds

It doesn’t feel like it was long since the first album from Wiegedood was released, with the Church Of Ra affiliated band unleashing a masterclass in modern black metal that rightly saw them lavished with praise. In the almost two years since the release of De Doden Hebben Het Goeg, the band have been touring and generally building upon the buzz surrounding them, meaning that expectations are high for the follow-up. Now that it’s here, does De Doden Hebben Het Goeg II meet them? The answer is: absolutely. It takes all that was good about the debut and doubles down on it, resulting in an album that is intense, captivating, and sure to be recognised as one of 2017’s finest.

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Saille – Gnosis


Label: Code666

In the crowded world of black metal, small changes can make a big difference. Such is the case for Belgian band Saille. Compare the logo on their latest album, Gnosis, with that on previous efforts. It’s more direct, with less superfluous elements. A subtle shift, but one that speaks volumes about the music contained within. This is still epic black metal, as was present on previous albums such as Eldritch and Ritu; but it’s a much more muscular version, hitting harder than ever before. This is black metal that is not content to simply sit and ask questions; it will demand answers, by force if necessary.

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Draugsól – Volaða Land


Label: Signal Rex

One of the reasons the Scandinavian second wave of black metal is so lauded is that, whilst it possesses a clearly identifiable sound as a scene, each of the key bands were different from one another – Mayhem differed from Immortal differed from Emperor and so on. The same is true of the modern Icelandic scene; there is certainly an overall Icelandic sound, characterized by a soul-searing intensity and sense of this being music for the other. But crucially, each band sounds different from one another. On their debut album, Volaða Land, Draugsól demonstrate a style of black metal that is clearly Icelandic in origin, whilst also possessing their own unique character and take on the style. And, like almost everything coming out of Iceland these days, it is absolutely superb.

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Underdark – Mourning Cloak


Label: Third I Rex (CD) / Sell Your Soul Records (vinyl)

Sometimes, hard work pays off. Nottingham’s Underdark have certainly been working hard since forming in November 2015, pushing hard to get gigs in the local area and beyond, and catching the eye of record labels as a result. Originally digitally self-released, their debut EP Mourning Cloak is now getting pressed on CD by Third I Rex and vinyl by Sell Your Soul Records, giving the band’s blackgaze further exposure. It’s not hard to see why the band have been finding such success so quickly, as theirs is a convincing, passionate strand of blackgaze, that does not forget the harsh black metal aspect of the subgenre, combining it well with more restrained moments of relative calm.

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January 2017 Blasts

Funny to think how much has changed in this past year. Comparing where the world is now with where it was when I posted my first set of short reviews a year ago is sobering. Let’s try not to dwell on that though, and have some music instead. This month there’s words on the new single from melo-death band EshtadurCornered At The Earth; artful post-punk by Russians  Mirrored Lips on чичичи; hyperspeed fastcore on the split between Beartrap and Hummingbird Of Death; soul-crushing black/death on Breeding Ruin by Dawn Of Tyrants; grindcore as love by The Brood on The Truth Behind; and psychedelic doom/stoner from Heavy Temple on new record Chasit. Enjoy!

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