Whitby Bay – Final Curtain (2015) – Whitby Bay have returned with Final Curtain, which seems an odd name for a debut, especially with the letters “RIP” at the top of the tombstone. One gets to thinking that this might be their first and last effort, though I cannot say for sure. At any rate, it is loaded to the brim with raw and obscure black metal, which sometimes hinges on the more experimental “Floating Head 2:12” and other times manages to be rather droll “Haunted Hand 2:06.” But ultimately, you’ve got a rather rowdy act that seems to want to break out of the box, while still remaining kvlt, which is exceedingly difficult to do. There are a few things that excite me every so often on the disc, but it’s unknown as to whether or not they’ll flourish these experimentations (I’d personally like it better if it was a bit more creepy and weird) on another release, as due to the title and artwork, it could be their last offering. However, a track that seems left off from the album was included called “Whitby Bay Blues 4:33” and it presents an unforeseen electronic atmosphere that I would love to hear incorporated into whatever direction the artists take next, whether it be in this project or another. If they could meld this raw black metal approach into those electronics, then we could really have something.
EDIT: The band have informed me that this in fact, is a bootleg release offered to me by a former member during a band debacle. Whitby Bay is not dead and are working on a new 7″ as we speak. My apologies for any confusion.
(9 Tracks, 21:00)
Nepente – I Will Get Your Soul (2015) – Hailing from Columbia, these death/black metallers know exactly how to offer a beating with this short, but devastating EP. As the title track demonstrates, the band has the uncanny ability to switch from pounding death metal to harsh scowling moments that reference death metal. In all honesty, I’m reminded of Kataklysm’s In Shadows and Dust which saw the band in a much fiercer light than their current hot sauce selling days. There’s also quite a lot of melody in play here too, making me think that these guys really have their shit together and want to offer up a memorable experience with each and every track. “Show Me That You Are Suffering 4:56“, “Gray Land 4:47” and closer “Last Rites 5:44” all seem to offer the same atmosphere, with the latter being the utmost heaviest approach that you’ll hear from them on this disc. Make no mistake, folks. I’m absolutely enthralled with this little EP and I’d be more than willing to hear more like this on a full-length. These guys haven’t put a disc together since 2012, but I Will Get Your Soul marks one hell of a fucking comeback. I’ve never heard an EP kick so much ass this year. These guys might actually be able to one-up the actual fucking In Shadows and Dust album with their next album, that’s testament to how literally fucking great this EP sounds. I Will Get Your Soul is a truly tasty appetizer that literally has me drooling for the next release… I mean drooling. Get your hands on this right now, as we at The Grim Tower highly recommend it!
(4 Tracks, 20:00)
Nunslaughter/The Lurking Corpses – I Will Get Your Soul Split 7″ (2015) – There’s a demon with a spiked cudgel on the front of this one, which definitely describes the amount of punishment you’ll be in for when you put this disc into your playing device. Once the disc starts spinning, a portal to the nether realm will start to open and the dark minions of the underworld will begin to crawl out. “Hordes Of Gomorrah 3:07” plays first, as Nunslaughter deliver a mix of death, thrash and groove, just like they always have. The vocal element is also just as vile as it’s always been and the song comes off without a hitch. I love it; this is the true sound of death metal. It’s short, but you won’t be upset with it. The Lurking Corpses are next, with a very odd approach in “Creatures Of The Blackened Moon 3:40” and while their production quality isn’t as high as Nunslaughter, it still packs a punch with its furious grooves, loads of chug and a vocal mix that includes both a growl and a weirdly played shrill cry of which I’ve never heard before. In the end, you get two strong death metal tracks from two solid death metal bands. I personally dug the Nunslaughter more, but you know how I feel about them from past reviews. It’s definitely worth it for that track alone.
(2 Tracks, 6:47)
MarysCreek – Incubic Twin (2015) – These Swedish hard rockers haven’t had a record out since 2007 but remind me a little bit of latter Sentenced, as well as Shakra and Sinner with this newly released EP. They come in with heavy riffs, and equally heavy choruses like the title track (4:33) showcases pretty well. Yeah, it’s definitely the equivalent of American radio rock, but it’s got a lot of heart to it and I’m not going to just cast it off right away as being mainstream junk. I’m not familiar with Swedish pop music, but apparently that also plays a role in the album as I guess I’m hearing in its radio friendly qualities. It’s a record that quickly gets to the chorus and is made for the lover of heavy sing-alongs. There’s nothing wrong with that though, and even the grimmest of the grim might listen to stuff like this within the confides of their dark fortresses. Sometimes electronics (Remission of Sin 5:11) and operatic chants (Never Walk Alone 4:40) accompany these tracks, but the main elements of melody and quick, catchy choruses still remain. These are the kind of guys who could go on to sell millions of records in the Swedish pop/rock category, but I’d definitely prefer them over Nickelback.
(5 Tracks, 22:00)
Triumvir Foul – An Oath of Blood and Fire (2015) – Formed from the ashes of Ash Borer (that’s a lot of ashes) as well as Urzeit and Cerebrate, these death dealers are looking to make a name for themselves with this thick, gloomy and awfully muddy EP release. It’s definitely raw, but there’s something about it that sounds rather misty, like a cold mist blowing against an erupting volcano. Gentle melodies seem to appear throughout the deadly leads that back the whole thing up, as drums sort of glide along. The vocals are as you would expect, quite thick and fearsome, as if they’re coming from a frost demon in an ice mountain. When all that’s said and done, the guys get busy with an Autopsy cover of “Embalmed 3:23” which just seems to showcase more of their frosty death metal in a more familiar setting. If you like your death metal as cold as ten tons of ice during a blizzard, then you’ll find something thick and meaty about these frost giants. It’s rough, foul and pretty dark.
(4 Tracks, 15:00)
Haemophagus/Subjugation – Split 7″ (2015) – If you’re in the mood for death metal, then these two splits certainly do not disappoint. Italians Haemophagus comes in first with a sort of stoner death approach, which seems to reek of gore and delight me greatly. Like Acid Witch, it’s the kind of stuff that you can get high to, unlike Six Feet Under which lacks the doom (regardless of Chris Barnes reefer influenced religious ideals) necessary for a good buzz. It is fuzzy death metal that isn’t afraid to roll into blues for a few seconds (Monsters in the Park 2:17) before snuffing out completely. As for Turkey’s Subjugation, well… they just kind of roll in and roll out, playing a solid brand of brutal death metal that doesn’t really serve to amaze me. It’s alright, but I’ve heard ten and twenty thousand bands that sound similar. I won’t knock you if you like it, but it just didn’t do anything for me. When it’s all said and done, this split is worth checking out if you want to get stoned and listen to death metal. It’s alright, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it. The blues section that Haemophagus did was kind of nice though. Death and blues is not a bad thing in my book, and hopefully they’ll incorporate more of that on a future album.
(5 Tracks, 12:20)
Void Ceremony – Dystheism (2015) – Void Ceremony come with awesome album artwork, an incredibly cool logo and a sort of experimental mixture of black/death that seems to encapsulate all of this. Especially during the album’s title cut (4:16) where all sorts of demonic utterances are heard in the background, almost as if the record was literally a ritual repurposed into that of extreme metal, wherein the fiends themselves had awoken. Ultimately, the listener gets a ferocious mix of death and black that shows especially in the drum work and the slightly off-kilter leads that the band utilize. The vocal approach is of course quite welcome in the mixture as well, and if you’re looking for a technically pleasing, yet quite evil atmosphere in the form of extreme metal, then I feel you’ll be most pleased with the effort presented for on this EP. It’s definitely a good sign of things to come, even though it’s awfully short. I’d like to see what they would do with a song that’s a bit longer than just four or five minutes. I’d also like to hear more unexpected things, like the release of those demons that I mentioned earlier. There’s a lot of cool things to be had here, so I’m definitely looking forward to their next incantation.
(4 Tracks, 14:00)
Carnalation – Ghosts (2015) – Carnalation create what is known as “alternative death metal” which more or less consists of a bevy of chugs, death/thrash and some melodies as well as atmosphere. Now that isn’t to say that they don’t deliver a harsh and unexpected approach with “Prometheus 4:28” and the more melodic “Passengers 5:52” but “Death and Rust 5:12” seems to unleash a little bit of hardcore influence amidst its furious drum exercises that I’m not entirely fond of. Nevertheless, there’s definitely something here. Unfortunately, I just can’t quite put my finger on it. There’s also a great deal of Gojira influence to be found (particularly their earlier works) and the frontman seems to deliver an awesome job, bringing a tremendously venomous abrasion to a style which seems to change at the drop of a hat. You never really know what to expect with Ghosts, which makes it an ultimately solid effort from what seems to be an ultimately solid band. There are some truly memorable moments to be heard within this EP and if you’re looking for something more modern in the vein of death metal, I don’t think you can go wrong here.
(5 Tracks, 24:00)
Musket Hawk/Sunburster – Split 7″ (2015) – Since I’ve never heard of either of these bands until just recently, let’s begin with the first on the split, Musket Hawk. Their cut “Devil’s Cadillac 5:08” at first sounds like post metal with depressing leads, but an almost black metal style scowl effort comes into place, with some worthy death metal grunts to be seen here as well. Musically, the style does not change from that of chuggy post-metal with atmosphere, but vocally it was unexpected and definitely has me curious as to what’s to come on their future recordings. I’m reminded a little of Graves At Sea, and I like that. Sunburster have more of that “heavy blues band” EyeHateGod influenced sound that you’ll notice instantly on their cut, “Prize Pig 3:18“. It almost sounds like they’re trying too hard to be the aforementioned however and I’m not really hearing any of them on this track. That’s a little disheartening, as there’s already and EyeHateGod out there and they’re pretty damn good. I saw them last year and am looking forward to seeing them again, so there’s no real need for these copycats. To conclude, I’d say that if you’re going to get this split, but it for the Musket Hawk. There’s definitely something I like about those guys and it far outweighs the been-there-done-that vibe radiating off of Sunburster.
(2 Tracks, 8:00)
Panzerbastard/Rawhide – Black Hearts and White Lines Split 7″ (2015) – PanzerBastard play a thrash influenced punk which reminds me a lot of Slayer or Superjoint Ritual, definitely. The frontman definitely seems to take a little from Phil Anselmo, as the rest of the band pummel the living hell out of year eardrums. There’s no doubt about it, these guys are definitely passionate about raising hell and that’s just what they do with these three songs. It’s just eight minutes, but it’ll definitely be engrained into your skull and even reminds me a little of Slayer as it fucking should. Rawhide on the other hand sounds more like classic punk, with the same amount of piss and vinegar that we’d heard from Panzerbastard. Now you might not catch those rockabilly leads in the background because they’re a bit muddled behind the drums and bass, but if you’ll listen close, you’ll hear some really fantastic things. I just wish I could hear that solo in “Devil’s Grip 4:18” (it’s very low in the mix) and it’s unfortunate that I can’t. The vocals aren’t as scathing as Panzerbastard, but they certainly make a presence and they’re an act that I find quite catchy. I wouldn’t mind listening to a whole record from these guys. To be honest with you, both of these bands are definitely badass and I’d recommend that fans of punk and metal go check out this split. If this is the new sound of punk, then I’m definitely down for it.
(5 Tracks, 16:00)