Album Review – Discarded Self / Discarded Self (2021)

Created during a time of personal isolation, the debut solo album by this Canadian metaller ranges from tales of the macabre to introspective trips into self-loathing and personal degradation.

3.5rating

discarded-self-discarded-self-2021Flooding forth with misery and hate comes the first (and self-titled) album from Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada-based Blackened Doom/Sludge Metal act Discarded Self, the solo project from Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach, who’s also a member of the bands Destroy My Brains and Ashes of Yggdrasil. Created during a time of personal isolation, the album ranges from tales of the macabre to introspective trips into self-loathing and personal degradation that dredge up terrible memories of the past to drown in personal regret. In other words, there is no hope for the future in the debut opus by Discarded Self, only darkness and hatred in the form of raw, unfiltered extreme music recorded at Doom Tomb Studios, featuring an array of local Canadian drummers as special guests, and displaying a beyond demonic artwork by Thahir M (The Black Catalogue) and Angel Carvallo (Avenged Creations).

Featuring B.J. Gingell (of Dahlmers Realm) on drums, the opening tune I Smell Pipes brings forward a cryptic intro accompanied by the low-tuned, damned bass by Jarret, evolving into a sluggish, sinister Doom Metal feast that will put you to bang your head until your neck breaks in half; and it’s time for drummer Jadan Paluck (of Destroy My Brains and Wrought) to crush our heads in Orbitoclast, with Jarret roaring like a rabid beast while he slashes his axe in great fashion at the same time in an awesome display of modern-day Sludge and Stoner Metal. Then get ready for 10 minutes of suffocating Blackened Doom Metal masterfully brought into being by Jarret in Push The Knife, with guest Brett Stewart (of Ashes of Yggdrasil) on drums and backing vocals, with Jarret sounding utterly demonic on vocals and also firing melodious, grim riffs for our total delight. And Jadan returns with his darkened and sluggish beats in the full-bodied aria entitled On The Unlevel, supporting Jarret in his quest for doom. Jarret’s bass punches sound even more menacing than before, not to mention how the aggressiveness and malignancy grow in intensity as the music progresses, therefore resulting in a disturbing Doom Metal feast.

Robert Hayman (of Ashes of Yggdrasil) is the guest drummer in I’m Weak, blasting his drums fiercely while Jarrett is infuriated with both his raspy screams and venomous riffage, or in other words, this is another fantastic option to headbang like a true metal maniac, whereas B.J. is back in action in Cultist Of The Pentagram in total sync with Jarrett’s devilish gnarls, riffs and bass jabs, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline, rage and darkness. Then rumbling bass sounds will punch you in the head in Abused (e)Motionless, with Jarret once again adding his share of evil to the overall result through his wicked growls in a solid display of Blackened Sludge Metal. Jarret comes ripping one last time with his somber guitar lines in Dance Upon The Dead, while Jadan returns with his slow and steady beats; it lacks a little of the punch from its predecessors, though, but it’s still a damn good song. And if you go for the limited edition of the album you’ll be treated to Discarded Self’s cover version for Upside Down as a bonus, just as demented and heavy as the original version from the almighty Fistula’s 2006 EP For a Better Tomorrow.

discarded-self-2021Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach and his Discarded Self are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube, but of course in order to show your true support to underground Sludge and Doom Metal you should definitely purchase a copy of the album from the project’s own BandCamp page, as well as from Apple Music or Amazon. As already mentioned, Discarded Self was brought into being during a time of personal isolation for Jarret, which proves once again extreme music is the perfect channel for all hatred, frustrations and fear we’ve been experiencing worldwide since the beginning of this endless pandemic. In other words, let’s all succumb to the dark side and join Jarret in his world of insanity and hopelessness, with his solo effort representing the perfect soundtrack to our damnation.

Best moments of the album: Orbitoclast, Push The Knife and I’m Weak.

Worst moments of the album: Dance Upon The Dead.

Released in 2021 Sarcophagus Recordings

Track listing   
1. I Smell Pipes 7:26
2. Orbitoclast 6:35
3. Push The Knife 10:51
4. On The Unlevel 10:04
5. I’m Weak 5:30
6. Cultist Of The Pentagram 5:55
7. Abused (e)Motionless 7:52
8. Dance Upon The Dead 8:27

Limited Edition bonus track
9. Upside Down (Fistula cover) 8:05

Band members
Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach – vocals, all instruments

Guest musicians
B.J. Gingell – drums on  “I Smell Pipes” and “Cultist Of The Pentagram”
Jadan Paluck – drums on “Orbitoclast”, “On The Unlevel”, “Dance Upon The Dead” and “Upside Down”
Brett Stewart – drums and backing vocals on “Push The Knife”
Robert Hayman – drums on “I’m Weak” and “Abused (e)Motionless”

Album Review – Subterraen / Rotten Human Kingdom (2020)

Behold the debut opus by this Nantes, France-based Sludge and Doom Metal entity, narrating epic, anguish-ridden tales of the slow destruction of the planet and sowing seeds of the inexorable vengeance of mother nature.

Following the ponderous steps of giants like Eremit and Jupiterian while adding their own darkened grit and weighed down heaviness to the proceedings, Nantes, France-based Blackened Sludge/Doom Metal trio Subterraen has just released their debut opus entitled Rotten Human Kingdom, crafting 10+ minute songs narrating epic, anguish-ridden tales of the slow destruction of the planet and sowing seeds of the inexorable vengeance of mother nature. Formed in 2017, the band comprised of Clem Helvete on vocals and guitars, Chris KKP also on the guitar and Milvus on drums masterfully carries the torch of the style on their newborn spawn, with the crisp recording, mixing and mastering by the band’s own Chris KKP and the cryptic artwork by the talented illustrator Adam Burke (Nightjar Illustration) turning it into a must-listen for admirers of the somber creations by renowned acts such as Eyehategod, Neurosis, , Conan and Primitive Man.

Just like a creature form the abyss the band arises with their sluggish, eerie sounds in the 13-minute doomed feast titled Blood for the Blood Gods, where Clem roars and gnarls demonically while Milvus pounds his drums in the most devilish way possible. Furthermore, their guitar work is also amazing, exhaling darkness and evil, and with all atmospheric, melancholic passages enhancing the song’s taste and punch considerably. Then we have For a Fistful of Silver, an explosion of the most Stygian and darkest fusion of Sludge and Doom Metal, with Clem once again taking the lead with his enraged roaring while Milvus alternates between Black Metal-inspired drums and primeval doom beats. It’s impressive how the music evolves and progresses like if it was the soundtrack to a psychological horror movie, with the dirty and visceral riffs by both Clem and Chris penetrating deep inside your skin. After such avalanche of blackened sounds, it’s time for the trio to enfold us all with the delicate interlude Oceans are Rising, where minimalist guitar lines permeate the air for over two minutes until Clem, Chris and Milvus show no mercy for our souls with the demolishing Blackened Doom Metal aria Wrath of a Downtrodden Planet, a beastly creation by Subterraen where slow and steady beats and malignant ambience provide Clem exactly what he needs to darken our thoughts with his hellish screams, and the music remains as imposing, dense and vile as it can be, all spiced up by their trademark raw, piercing guitars.

Subterraen’s massive monolith of doom can be appreciated in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show those French metallers your support and admiration go grab your copy of Rotten Human Kingdom from countless locations such as their own BandCamp page, the official Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore, where by the way you can find an amazing Coffin-Shaped Wooden CD Box Set with Laser Engraving including an 8-panel Digipak CD with metallic effect/UV embossing and sandalwood scent, an autographed certificate, a fridge magnet, a metallic sticker, a gold patch and a badge (also available through their US store), Apple Music, Amazon, Walmart and Strictly Discs, and don’t forget to also follow them on Facebook and on Instagram. As the band members themselves like to say, “from ashes to ashes, from dust to dust”, and in the case of their debut album Rotten Human Kingdom, we can also add to that “from doom to doom.”

Best moments of the album: For a Fistful of Silver and Wrath of a Downtrodden Planet.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Blood for the Blood Gods 13:28
2. For a Fistful of Silver 14:30
3. Oceans are Rising 2:33
4. Wrath of a Downtrodden Planet 18:20

Band members
Clem Helvete – vocals, guitars
Chris KKP – guitar
Milvus – drums

Album Review – 1914 / The Blind Leading the Blind (2018)

It’s time to head into the battlefields of the Great War together with these talented and obstinate Blackened Death and Doom Metal infantrymen from Ukraine.

It’s time to head into the battlefields of World War I together with Ukranian Blackened Death/Doom Metal infantrymen 1914 and their brand new opus, the breathtaking The Blind Leading the Blind. World World I might not get explored as it should very often, as World War II typically overshadows it, but this Liviv-based squad, formed in 2014 at the 100th anniversary of World War I, makes a damn solid case for its historical significance (click HERE for an in-depth interview regarding the band’s ideology), with their unique and incendiary fusion of  Black, Death, Doom and even Sludge Metal being stomping, heavy-as-hell, therefore inspiring the strength and bravery within to march towards death.

Comprised of 2.Division, Infanterie-Regiment Nr.147, Oberleutnant – Ditmar Kumar on vocals, 37.Division, Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr.73, Wachtmiester – Liam Fessen and 5.Division, Ulanen-Regiment Nr.3, Sergeanten – Vitalis Winkelhock on the guitars, 9.Division, Grenadier-Regiment Nr.7, Unteroffiziere – Armin von Heinessen on bass and 33.Division, 7.Thueringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.96, Gefreite – Rusty Potoplacht on drums, 1914 pay homage to all that fell fighting the Great War, with their themes covering topics such as the Battle of Gallipoli (and the involvement of Ataturk), the Brusilovsky breakthrough, the Battle of Verdun and the gas attack at Ypres, not being political nor warmongers, but just telling the tales of war, injustice, fear, hopelessness and endless death as they happened. Featuring a deadly, lugubrious artwork by Czech artist Vladimir “Smerdulak” Chebakov, The Blind Leading the Blind is a precious gem of extreme music, positioning 1914 not only as one of the best underground metal bands of the current scene, but of the past decade without a shadow of a doubt.

War In is a beautiful, wicked and dark intro that takes us to the horrors of World War I, exploding into visceral Blackened Death Metal in Arrival. The Meuse-Argonne (inspired by the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the greatest American battle of the First World War, where in six weeks the AEF lost 26,277 killed and 95,786 wounded), led by the pulverizing drums by Rusty, while Ditmar roars the song’s lyrics manically (“Arrival / The Meuse-Argonne offensive started like clockwork / We planned to break through the Hindenburg line / I know what we are fighting for / Hopefully to end the war”), also bringing the most Stygian elements from classic Doom Metal. Then we have A7V Mephisto, a World War I German tank masterfully translated into a brutal and heavy tune where the entire band showcases their heavy artillery by blasting sheer obscurity inspired by old school Black Sabbath and Celtic Frost, in special Liam and Vitalis with their lethal riffs, but with a more demonic twist; followed by High Wood. 75 Acres of Hell, an infernal display of Black and Death Metal spearheaded by Ditmar’s growls while Armin and Rusty keep the ambience as dense and grim as possible with their respective instruments, displaying the battle for High Wood’s 75 acres, which started on July 14 and raged nearly continuously for 64 days, coming to be known as “The hell of High Wood” or “The rottenest place on the Western Front.”

Bagpipes ignite a sinister and pulverizing cover version for The Exploited’s all-time hit Beat The Bastards, sounding as rebellious and fun as the original version, but of course with a more metallic and crushing vibe, with highlights to the beautiful job done by both Liam and Vitalis with their hellish guitars. In the interesting bridge Hanging On The Barbed Wire, the infantry sings while marching under a heavy storm (“If you want to find the General, / I know where he is, / If you want to find the General, / I know where he is / He’s pinning another medal on his chest / I saw him, I saw him / Pinning another medal on his chest.”), setting the tone for the superb Passchenhell, a wordplay with The Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, a campaign of World War I fought by the Allies against the German Empire. Musically speaking, it’s another flawless display of Blackened Death Metal infused with Doom Metal nuances, also featuring the beyond special guest vocalist David Ingram (Benediction, Bolt Thrower, Just Before Dawn). Furthermore, Rusty is once again bestial on drums, whereas Ditmar together with David will haunt your soul with their demonic growling.

“Hello there, soldier! Ready to kill more Germans?” Those warlike words ignite a fantastic sonic havoc by 1914 titled C’est Mon Dernier Pigeon, leaning towards pure old school Black Metal, feeling and sounding as thunderous and menacing as possible and ending in the most demolishing way you can think of; followed by Stoßtrupp, the German word used to describe shock troops or assault troops created to lead an attack, where another eerie, obscure narration suddenly explodes into a darkened feast of Black and Death Metal tailored for cracking your neck headbanging, with Armin sounding vicious with his rumbling bass punches. Lastly, we have The Hundred Days Offensive, an Allied offensive that lasted from August 8 to November 11, 1918, ending World War I, and 1914 turned that battle into 10 minutes of first-class Blackened Death and Doom Metal where you can feel the horrors of the battlefield in the music, remaining very introspective, melancholic, and flowing infernally until the music morphs into the sensational and creepy outro War Out, the perfect ending to such brilliant album.

In summary, The Blind Leading the Blind, which by the way had as its official release date the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month (Central European Time), marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, is a must-have not only for admirers of Extreme Metal, but also for anyone who wants to learn more about World War I in a very unorthodox and exciting way. Available for purchase from the band’s own BandCamp page, as well as from the Archaic Sounds’ BandCamp page, from the Redifining Darkness Records’ BandCamp page, from iTunes and from Discogs, The Blind Leading the Blind definitely redefines the career of 1914, propelling them into a more-than-promising future. Having said that, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, grab your weapons and be prepared to face death in the battlegrounds of the Great War.

Best moments of the album: Arrival. The Meuse-Argonne, Beat The Bastards, Passchenhell and C’est Mon Dernier Pigeon.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Archaic Sound/Redefining Darkness Records

Track listing
1. War In 1:14
2. Arrival. The Meuse-Argonne 6:20
3. A7V Mephisto 8:13
4. High Wood. 75 Acres of Hell 5:27
5. Beat The Bastards (The Exploited cover) 5:02
6. Hanging On The Barbed Wire 2:28
7. Passchenhell (feat. David Ingram) 7:01
8. C’est Mon Dernier Pigeon 5:22
9. Stoßtrupp 6:13
10. The Hundred Days Offensive 10:01
11. War Out 1:55

Band members
2.Division, Infanterie-Regiment Nr.147, Oberleutnant – Ditmar Kumar – vocals
37.Division, Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr.73, Wachtmiester – Liam Fessen – guitar
5.Division, Ulanen-Regiment Nr.3, Sergeanten – Vitalis Winkelhock – guitar
9.Division, Grenadier-Regiment Nr.7, Unteroffiziere – Armin von Heinessen – bass
33.Division, 7.Thueringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.96, Gefreite – Rusty Potoplacht – drums

Guest musician
David Ingram – vocals on “Passchenhell”

Album Review – Festering / From The Grave (2015)

These undead Portuguese metallers are back from the grave to tear our flesh apart and provide us some high-quality old school Death Metal.

Rating5

Festering-FrontCover_smallJust like any gory and macabre zombie flick, there are times in our lives when people or things that we thought were dead and gone for good make an impactful return to feast on our flesh and haunt our souls. If you’re addicted to sordid old school Death Metal the likes of Dismember, Entombed and Grave, you won’t mind being devoured by the undead Portuguese Death Metal band Festering who, as per the name of their brand new album, are back From The Grave to tear all of us apart.

After releasing a split album back in 1992 and remaining dormant for almost two decades, this talented band from Santo António dos Cavaleiros, Portugal was reformed in 2011, releasing a demo tape entitled From The Grave and an EP named Exhumed, both in 2012. Now in 2015, following the same gruesome path of those releases, their debut full-length album From The Grave, which features cover illustration and artworks by renowned artist César Valladares (Asphyx, Nominon, Graveyard, among many others), will provide the listener a full-bodied portrait of what these cold-blooded Portuguese metallers are capable of.

The quick and sinister intro Festering initiates the sonic cannibalism that becomes extremely barbaric in Exhumed, an old school Death Metal song with absolutely no shenanigans, just straightforward devastation where riffs and growls take the spotlight (as expected), also showcasing drums highly influenced by the blast beats of Black Metal but slightly groovier. Following that promising start, we have the perverse Infected and its hints of Doom Metal, with the bestial vocals by Pedro Gonçalves inspired by old Sepultura and Morbid Angel. It’s a great song for headbanging led by its wicked riffs, where the band accelerates the rhythm, slows it down and goes on with that alternation a few more times, reaching an outstanding result in the end.

The Myth Of Creation can be considered a circle-pit generator chant, with drummer Norberto Arrais kicking ass behind his kit while the guitar lines by João Galego seem as if they’re going to decapitate us so sharp they are, not to mention the aggressiveness of the low-tuned bass lines by Koja Mutilator. And if you think Festering will give you a break you’re damn wrong, because they keep kicking you in the head with their nonstop viciousness in Consuming From Within, a very traditional tune with lots of groove, feeling sometimes like a tribute to Cannibal Corpse and other classic gory bands due to its lyrics (“Open sores all over my body and exuding a foul scent / With an intense suffering, the anguish spend my days / With the excruciating pain that runs through my body / And wanton my flesh like a cold steel blade”); followed by the “infected” musicality and dirty melody found in Submerged In Emptiness, with highlights to the rhythmic beats by Norberto. This tune lives up to the sanguinary tradition of Death Metal, or in other words, it’s fast, heavy and wicked, and we love all that.

Promo-PictureThe next track, Bloodline, has a deranged ambience boosted by the demented deep growls by Pedro, with its hardcore riffs and extreme violence being the icing on the cake of this sensational feast of blood and death that should work marvelously if played live. Moreover, kudos to João for his spot-on guitar solo, adding more electricity to the overall result. In the Blackened Doom Metal tune Proliferation Of Infected Leucocytes their demonic side arises, and if you pay good attention to the music you’ll find hints of Rock N’ Roll and Southern Metal in it, increasing its complexity and harmony but obviously always keeping it carnivorous. Lastly, closing the album we have the slashing Ascent Of The Blessed, where the combination of its direct shredding and high-speed drums turns it into an excellent option for mosh pits, with Pedro once again delivering his amazing sick roars to give life (or death) to the song’s lyrics (“The angels all ascended, / The demons left behind / A new generation was born / From their hatred and cruelty – We”), and the shortest of all tracks, Psychic Convulsions Of Neurasthenia, a beautiful name for a violent composition with highlights to the evil bass lines by Koja.

There are several places where you can find more details about the music by Festering, such as their YouTube channel and especially at their ReverbNation page, and grab your copy of From The Grave at the band’s BandCamp, at the Caverna Abismal Records BandCamp, or at the Caverna Abismal Records webstore. As aforementioned, these talented (and undead) metallers are back from the grave not only to tear our flesh apart but, more important than that, to also provide us all high-quality old school Death Metal. But that’s if you’re not afraid of living dead musicians, of course.

Best moments of the album: Infected, Submerged In Emptiness and Bloodline.

Worst moments of the album: Proliferation Of Infected Leucocytes.

Released in 2015 Caverna Abismal Records/War Productions/Sinais Produções

Track listing
1. Festering (Intro) 0:23
2. Exhumed 3:15
3. Infected 4:36
4. The Myth Of Creation 4:15
5. Consuming From Within 4:21
6. Submerged In Emptiness 4:36
7. Bloodline 4:13
8. Proliferation Of Infected Leucocytes 3:36
9. Ascent Of The Blessed 5:21
10. Psychic Convulsions Of Neurasthenia 2:53

Band members
Pedro Gonçalves – vocals
João Galego – guitars
Koja Mutilator – bass
Norberto Arrais – drums