Saturday, May 5, 2012

DISMEMBERMENT - Denied Salvation EP review

DISMEMBERMENT - Denied Salvation EP
Self Released
Genre: Blackened Thrash

Ohio's DISMEMBERMENT follow that rare American metal tradition of not being so easily defined. In the same vein as SKELETONWITCH and DECEASED, this four piece act refuse to round off their edges in order to be properly placed in the correct genre peg hole. Sure they go by the moniker blackened thrash which is strongly evident but there's a whole lot more going on with this band's overall sound as represented by their five song EP. Denied Salvation is DISMEMBERMENT's second EP. Their first, The Condemned, came out last year. When I first took a listen to this one my initial reaction was are you sure these guys are American? They sound quite European, let me see your papers? I detect an accent. Actually it's more of a DESTRUCTION and AURA NOIR influence which I think is cool as fuck, then again I'm a long time fan of those two bands. You have these intense filthy sounding thrash riffs paired up with fast paced drum pounding and topped off by sulfuric vocals. They even kick in some searing solo work and that's just part of the package although it's a perfect description of songs like "Gateways To The Past" or the opener "Last Rites".

To find the rest of the band's surprises as far as genre combinations you really need to pay attention. Bands who fail at cross genre pollinating are those who make things too obvious. DISMEMBERMENT allows things to be subtle and mysterious whether it's the guitar solo on "Perpetual Malice", the death like minor song structures at the mid-point in "Reap What You Sow" along with the classic sounding riff, the fuckin bass soloing in the opener "Last Rites". Hell I could continue but I'll just say that this band's song craft is damm good as well as being a breath of fresh extreme. After a few years of hearing new jacks channeling 80's Bay Area bands or Crossover Hardcore retro acts it's sort of a relief to hear something not following blindly down the same path especially here in the U.S. Along the lines that I started this review, DISMEMBERMENT are a rare one who have taken the darker devious approach to their craft and you'll be wearing a neck brace but sporting a sinister grin after listening to this to prove it. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that they've been signed to a decent label who appreciates what they're doing and gives em a chance to prove it with a full length later this year.

Rating: 5/5



AGNOSIS - A Painful Pattern EP review

AGNOSIS - A Painful Pattern EP
Self Released
Genre: Sludge / Doom

This is AGNOSIS's first release since their Hecate EP from 2005 at least that's what the promo info stated. In all honesty this is the first time I've heard of this New York act (sorry guys). Although after a quick info search (I emailed a friend  for an expert opinion) I learned that AGNOSIS started out around a decade ago, has a slew of releases out including various demos, EPs and a full length from 2005 titled Zero which my respected doom scribe friend stated is an unheralded doom sludge classic. He also wrote "oh yeah they're fuckin good". I might as well just leave the room but I've gotta write something other than "oh yeah they're fuckin good" but in all honesty this is pretty fuckin good at least three out of the four cuts on here.

The opener, "The Weight of Distrust", is a four and a half minute instrumental which is a decent enough sludgey psych piece. It's just something which would sit better at the end of a forty minute pummeling then as an intro. That last sentence is important because what comes next is a pummeling. Remember these guys are from New York City so they know full well how to beat the living crap outta ya then leave you bleeding in the gutter. "The Path of Repeated Failures" with it's thunderous plodding bass line and acid burned throat vocals is a beat down even with the SABBATH meets NOLA psych riffs jumping out at it's end. The next cut, the thirteen and a half minute long "Writing by Candlelight", is like 40 WATT SUN with an caustic acid casualty on vocals. Harsh vocals screamed and spited out over a doom gloom precession to the graveyard.

The final cut was a big time surprise as well as being eclectic. The band covers "All Your Sins" from PENTAGRAM's Relentless album and has Dave Sherman, the former bassist from SPIRIT CARAVAN, helping out on vocals. I figured AGNOSIS would slow this down to the point where it would sound like playing the original with a quarter on top of the needle. Instead it sounds like they put a boot on it. It still has that rough reverbed edginess to it. Kinda reminds me of what KILLDOZER did with their cover of "Hush" which is always good to throw on for a few laughs especially at the expense of a classic rock fan. I think the bottom line here is that AGNOSIS needs a new full length because a four song EP isn't enough to capture all of their thunder.

Rating: 4/5


Sorry no vids.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Scum Video: BURN THE PRIEST live 1998

BURN THE PRIEST live part 1 at The Caboose Garner NC 8-7-98

Here's another part of the Caboose Memories series. The Caboose was a little o'l club that hosted extreme music bands (punk & metal) back in the late 90's in Garner, NC which is just outside of Raleigh the state capital. I remember when BURN THE PRIEST played this show. They would play the Caboose twice before changing their name to LAMB OF GOD. Over the years BURN THE PRIEST have had this cult like appeal which the members of LAMB OF GOD kinda look down on. I really don't understand why. It's basically the same band. So here's some footage of classic era BURN THE PRIEST which was filmed by Andy Miller back in 1998 and it was his birthday.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Scum News: Candlelight Records Sampler Available For Free Via Amazon Starting Today

Candlelight Records today launches a free label sampler available exclusively from The 8-song sampler includes previously unreleased material from FALLOCH, THE ROTTED, WODENSTHRONE, SEAR BLISS, WOE, WINTERFYLLETH, RUMPELSTILTSKIN GRINDER and includes the first single from IHSAHN’s new album Eremita.

“The Paranoid” is taken from IHSAHN’s anticipated fourth solo album. Set for release June 19, Eremita was mixed by Jens Bogren (Opeth) and features performances from drummer Tobias Ornes Andersen (Leprous), saxophonist Jorgen Munkeby (Shining-Norway), guitarist Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore), and vocalists Devin Townsend, Einar Solberg (Leprous), and Heidi S. Tveitan (StarofAsh). MetalSucks editor Vince Neilstein says, "The Paranoid" is a perfect introduction to Eremita. It's heavy, expansive, and it's complex without being an asshole about it. Not that any of this should be surprising; IHSAHN’s been developing his own singularly definable sound for three albums now, so fans should know what to expect.”

The inclusion of an early production mix of RUMPELSTILTSKIN GRINDER’s “Fucking Wild” follows the recent announcement of the band’s forthcoming new album, Ghostmaker. The Philadelphia-based quartet recently completed a string of regional performances and are now gearing up for dates to support the new album once it hits stores nationwide on June 19. Guitarist Ryan Moll says, "the title of this track says it all. It’s a rather suiting description of its relentlessness. The lyrics were written by Shawn (Riley) and the title was inspired by some old live Venom recordings."

FALLOCH’s “The Ghosts That Haunts This Path” is a new song for American audiences. Previously available as a b-side to a European-only single, the song showcases the impressive stylings of the Scottish post-black metal duo. MSN Metal called the band’s debut Where Distant Spirits Remain, “a drop-dead gorgeous, haunting piece of work.” Kerrang called it, “intoxicating, haunting, beautiful.” Brooklyn Vegan adds, “it's clear that FALLOCH aims to walk along the righteous path of adventurous black metal bands like Alcest. Where Distant Spirits Remain is a great first step in that direction.”

Planning to hit the studio in early June to lay down tracks for their third album, WOE’s reworked “Quietly, Undramatically” opens a new door on the title track from the band’s popular 2010 release of the same name. Vocalist/guitarist Chris Grigg notes, "the remixed version of 'Quietly, Undramatically' is a more accurate representation of what was hoped to achieve with the material and offers a different perspective into the album." Decibel Magazine said, “Woe strive for sophistication without falling into the usual pitfalls of pretentiousness, cartoonish-ness or undue gloss. Essential aggression is maintained, while the atmospheric and emotional depth envelopes are pushed with a bold fearlessness.”

To listen/download the sampler visit here:


ROARBACK - Face The Sun EP review

ROARBACK - Face The Sun EP
Self Released
Genre: Death Thrash

Now here's a band that's flat out insane. Their name fits their music perfectly. Think dark aggressive thrash with plenty of death metal overtones and a vocalist who barks like an obnoxious drunk. ROARBACK hails from Denmark, "King Diamond Rules!", and despite this being ugly death thrash, the vocalist is incredible as far as sounding completely offensive. Add to that the musicianship is top notch. Off course the riffs are dirty as sin and catchy as hell headbanging, throw up those horns you bastards cool but the soloing, especially on "My World", is damm good. Then there's the song "Warmachine" which is excellent violence encouraging thrash dripping with hatred, ridicule and utter contempt. There's four cuts in all and this band is ready for a full length. Years ago we use to call this "beating people up" music. I guess it still is since while I had this playing someone came to my front door asking me to sign some petition so I punched the guy.

Rating 5/5



SYLVATICA - Mosemanden CD review

SYLVATICA - Mosemanden CD
Self Released
Genre: Folk Metal

I have this smart ass / drive people crazy game I pull out every so often when I find the time to excite a boring moment. If I'm around someone and they say Denmark or use the word danish then I immediately yell "King Diamond Rules!" It's kinda like a safe word for metalheads because how many people, especially here in the states, mention Denmark? Also the breakfast danish has be surpassed by the donut and the biscuit. Now I'm not just babbling on like an insane person because there's a reason, a damm good reason in fact, for my talk of Denmark and the Danish. This band hails from there. SYLVATICA are pretty much your typical Folk Metal act which means they're a melodic death metal band who use folk song structures within their sound.

Now maybe I missed something but don't Folk Metal acts use some actual traditional folk instruments? Where's the tin whistles, the fiddles, the accordions, the deer antlers? The closest thing this band has is a guitarist named Thor who only plays live with them. Although the opening cut "Som Aftens Timer Atter Nøler" starts out with some acoustic guitar, big fuckin deal. As far as this release goes well it's a second rate FINNTROLL and at least they have trolls. There's a few catchy numbers on here like "Markedsgildet" or "Mjölner og Mjöd". The vocals are of that constipated gruff variety. The main theme through out is a complete lack of excitement. Sure not everyone can be FOLKEARTH but a little fun injected into the music wouldn't hurt. Have a little self respect why dontcha, you're from Denmark. "King Diamond Rules!"

Rating: 2/5


BRAINWASHED - Wrecked CD review

Self Released
Genre: Thrash

Obviously the Thrash Revival, which has ceased to exist here in the states, would get around to other parts of the world. In this case it's Poland with BRAINWASHED who obviously heard a few METALLICA albums, the good ones. You could also throw in some TESTAMENT and MEGADETH influence as well. Actually it's kind of a change of pace since the stateside revival acts were mostly conjuring EXODUS and SLAYER. One slight difference would be that this band's singer carries an air of punk / hardcore snarl in his voice especially on the opener "Bringing out of Dead". But once the eight plus minute "I, Leader" kicks in it's hello Lars and James. BRAINWASHED add a few more extended thrashers like "Give Me Your Blood" and "The Battle / Back to the War" to fill the time. Personally I think a thrash song shouldn't go over five minutes unless you're going to expand your riff pool in the song or add a decent enough break three quarters of the way through (hello Lars and James, again). But hey I'm older now and even though I first supported the Thrash Revival when it started, after three years of retro I got burned out which is kinda like when Thrash started. Anyways BRAINWASHED do sound kinda cool with familiar riffs and tech savvy solos that'll slit your throat. As a few words from the title cut suggest, "Can You Feel It?" Yeah.

Rating 3/5



WOLF SPIDER - CD reissues Review

WOLF SPIDER - Wilczy Pająk CD reissue
WOLF SPIDER - Hue Of Evil CD reissue
WOLF SPIDER - Kingdom Of Paranoia CD reissue
WOLF SPIDER - Drifting In The Sullen Sea CD reissue
Metal Mind Productions
Genre: Thrash

Attention all thrash devotees, old schoolers as well as new jacks, here are four releases from a band who if they had been from the US as opposed to Eastern Europe then I really wouldn't have to tell you about them. Back in the late 80's / early 90's Poland's WOLF SPIDER were the most acclaimed thrash metal band in the entire history of the Polish scene. Their four full length releases became legendary and their status as Polish thrash metal heroes still remains unbroken to this day which is probably why they've reunited and Metal Mind Productions has reissued their material. Now for those of you who frequent metal forum sites, think you're Thrash as Fuck and have the mental capacity of a rock, you're probably wondering "well if their so legendary how come I haven't heard of em?" Well you see back in their day there was this little old thing called the Iron Curtain. I'll assume even a person with a U.S. public school education might have overheard the term while you were picking your nose in World History class. If not then Google it, I know you can do that. Anyway not only was it tough to get metal releases through the Iron Curtain but also people. From my own tape trading recollection even after Eastern Europe was free from Soviet domination it was still tough to get info as well as releases from that part of the continent.

I'm also just now learning about WOLF SPIDER and I'm not Thrash as Fuck either. Doing SFM666 is an ongoing learning experience and I need to thank Vlad Nowajczyk the editor-in-chief of ROCKER (formerly known as HARDROCKER) the best metal magazine from Poland, according to him of course. Vlad sent all four of these releases in for review and as most readers of SFM666 know, I already do a decent job at exposing Eastern European metal to the masses. Of course more is always necessary and learning about histories of various nation's metal scenes is always a great learning experience for me. Which brings us back to WOLF SPIDER who started out back in 1985. Their first release, technically, was Wilczy Pająk which was completed in 1987 but wasn't released until 1989. Musically the album is a collision of 80's NWOBHM and Thrash with a singer who sounds like Klaus Meine from the SCORPIANS. The production is fairly clean with songs that are worthy headbangers. The lyrics are sung in their native language which makes no difference in the long run as long as the music is rough which it is. Their following full length release (after doing two split releases in 1987) was Hue Of Evil which was done in 1988 but wasn't released until 1991. The band's music is still in the same vein as their debut but with more emphasis on the thrash elements and hints of East Coast USA influences. The vocals are more high pitched like someone trying to channel Halford.

Kingdom Of Paranoia is the band's official third release which came out in 1990. Kingdom Of Paranoia finds the band further changed. The lead vocals on here are a little higher pitched than their previous release. Also the band now has moved into a more technical thrash style while still holding onto the catchy melodic elements of their two earlier releases. The band's fourth and final full length, Drifting In The Sullen Sea, is by far their best. While the genre in the rest of the world was pretty much dead, WOLF SPIDER created an album worthy of any one's best of Thrash releases listings if they had known about em of course. All of the elements are here like the perfect higher pitched yet aggressive sounding vocals, catchy headbanging riffs, technical song structures which keep things interesting throughout. The hardest time I had reviewing these releases is that I couldn't think of any other band name to drop down as a comparison. I'm not saying this Polish act are completely original but I'll just point out that WOLF SPIDER were not copying any of the big four of thrash nor were they following in the footsteps of their Teutonic neighbors. In the end if you are still looking for that obscure thrash band which doesn't sound like a typical second tier act then you should check these out.

Rating 4/5



Here's a track from each release:

ANHEDONIST - Netherwards CD review

ANHEDONIST - Netherwards CD
Dark Descent Records
Genre: Death / Doom

I always find it amazing how bands of certain music genre's can create a sound which not only invokes a trance like state to your mind but also helps transcend time and space. The first time I listened to Netherwards was on a Monday night at around eight O'clock. I turned on the music, set it for continuous play and kicked back in the office chair to absorb everything. The next thing I knew it was Tuesday morning and I was laying on the floor with my clothing all ripped and partially covered in blood. Luckily for me I have a place in the country now where one's unique nocturnal habits (and music tastes as well as how loud you can play it) are not a problem. Speaking of which ANHEDONIST hails from Seattle which is far from being an out of the way place unlike Australia which is where this band takes their death doom influences from. I'm sure Seattle is a dismal place with all the rain and people still living off of Kurt Cobain's memory et all but their record stores must sell releases by PORTAL and diSEMBOWELMENT which this combo sounds similar to.

Those two name dropped acts are only the tip of what ANHEDONIST channels as far as band names go but with death doom redundancy is a given especially if it crawls slower than a snail with a fifty pound boulder tied to it's rear end. Don't take my harsh criticism for harsh criticism. I actually think this is pretty good. It's funeral doom from the point of view of the corpse who's already in the ground and being covered with earth. The riffs are like shovel's full of dirt plopping on top of the coffin at least on the opener "Saturnine" which does add some speedy riffs in between the sludge. "Estrangement" is monstrously brutal at first but ends like a procesion through a dark cathedral with ashen faced mourners. "Carne Liberatus" sounds like PORTAL if you got em out of their cave. The final cut, yes there's only four, "Inherent Opprobrium" starts off with one guitar drawing single notes in a introspective way while the second guitar crushes melons with the riff. This is probably the saddest cut or at least trying to be sad, because I'm actually smiling while listening to this, on Netherwards.

What benefits this release from it's genre style predecessors is the production. Even though ANHEDONIST have the down tuned distorted riffs with enough reverb to topple over the Space Needle (which is in Seattle by the way) and the cave beast awakening from hibernation vocals, there's still this rich atmosphere that sets this into clean sounding epic metal territory. Guitarist / Vocalist, V.B. (Very Bad?) even lets loose with some painful screams as if his foot is caught in a bear trap. Netherwards is a little over forty minutes of Australian sounding death doom not made in Australia.

Rating 5/5



ETERNAL HELCARAX - Against All Odds CD review

Abyss Records
Genre: Black Metal

What is lost on all those who say things like "Black Metal needs to progress in order for it to stay relevant" is that the genre already has innovative and creative individuals (past & present) who have added so much diversity. The genre is already vibrant without having to progress it out of existence. This Irish band is a perfect example since they take the influences of ENSLAVED's progressiveness and BATHORY's Viking era stylings to modern heights of epicness. Against All Odds is ETERNAL HELCARAX's debut release, they also have two short form releases as well (the To Whatever End EP from 2010 and the Palest Kingdom EP from 2008). On here the seven songs, and one lush instrumental intro, represent a perfect meeting between blackened pagan folk with washes of progressive elements via occasional use of synthesizers to add atmosphere. The cuts are melodic but carrying enough raw emotion as well as complex song structures to invoke visions of battles of old. Yeah I really like this release.

It's rare when a band can sound brutal as well as beautiful. The opening intro will fool most people into believing nothing harsh is going to happen but once through it then ETERNAL HELCARAX (who are Praetorian - guitars/vocals/keyboards, Maulgrim - guitars/vocals, Thule - bass and Tyrith - drums) blasts out like an army charging into battle. While the early parts of Against All Odds showcase more of this band's epic side like on the amazing BATHORY-esque "Claim Your Place With The Gods". The latter half exposes true war like wrath with "Shadow Of The Wolf" (an obvious favorite of mine) and admonishment to the true warrior spirit on "Echoes Through Our Blood" and the closing title cut. Everything about Against All Odds is amazing from Praetorian's harsh battle cries, the coldness of the riffs as well as the amazing drum work by Tyrith. It's a dynamic scale of harsh and atmospheric music which in the end had me wanting more. This will definitely find itself in my end of year favorites list as well as being played throughout the year.

Rating: 5/5



EMPTINESS - Error CD review

Dark Descent Records
Genre: Blackened Death / Doom

In all honesty this thing comes off sounding like the house band of R'lyeh with Cthulhu on vocals. That should be expected since this Belgium act contains Phorgath and Nerath Daemon of the great ENTHRONED (who also have a new release this year which I'll be getting soon enough). This is my introduction to EMPTINESS which has been around for quite a few years and has two previous full lengths. Error comes off of a five year hiatus for this side project since their 2007 release Oblivion. After listening to this I'll be purchasing their previous releases because music like this is what nightmares are made of. This is the type of blackened poison which will erode the minds of the weak. The band, which is Phorgath - bass & vocals, Nerath Daemon - lead guitar & backing vocals, Jonas Sanders - drums and Phil P. aka: Philippe Angelo Pieters on rhythm guitar, has created a musical malevolent entity of horrific proportions. Any clean spots left on your soul will be covered in black after you listen to this a few times.

Welcome to a realm of grotesque horror as the death doomish atmosphere envelopes you while being taunted by Phorgath's inhuman guttural proclamations. The eight tracks on here combine to leave the listener disoriented amidst chaotic melodies strung out through monstrous riffs and tremolo picked harmonies which ice your bones. This is far from being another old school retread or even an off-kilter version of ENTHRONED. Musically Error is far more experimental in that grandiose rhythms are slammed headlong into bombastic post rock riffs. That's the case with cuts like "Not Enough" and on "Worst". Hypnotically textured intro sequences flow like rain water into a culvert only to exit poisoned and with extreme currents like on "Low" and the opener "Deafer". In the end Error is as varied and disharmonious as the subterranean realm which spawned it. Whether that's literally or subconsciously is up to you to decide. I for one know that this is blackened death doom taken to it's most progressive as well as nightmarish level.

Rating: 5/5