Album Review – Nuclear Winter / Greystone (2021)

Harare, Zimbabwe-based Melodic and Industrial Death Metal one-man army is back in action sharper than ever with his most powerful and detailed album to date.

3.5rating

nuclear-winter-greystone-2021After the success of his 2020 EP Stormscapes, Harare, Zimbabwe-based Melodic/Industrial Death Metal one-man army Nuclear Winter is set to unleash the project’s third full-length opus, entitled Greystone, where the band’s mastermind, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Gary Stautmeister recorded, wrote and produced everything by himself, giving the whole album a very personal touch. “I’m very happy to have completed this new album titled Greystone. I was aiming to produce something heavy but also more electronic than my previous EP. It was quite challenging mix-wise because each song uses a slightly different sound on the drums/bass/guitars, but I feel the overall production is an improvement from my previous work, and the songs are now hopefully more distinct from each other. I especially like Corridor of Shells – which is about a battle in which the surrendering army brings shame to their country,” proudly commented Gary about his new “baby”.

And Gary doesn’t waste a single second and begins shredding his guitar mercilessly in the opening tune The Wastelands, all boosted by the song’s futuristic background elements, therefore reminding me of some creations by the iconic Fear Factory. More of his fusion of Industrial and Death Metal comes in the form of the visceral and somber Stygian Awakening, with Gary growling like a demonic entity while at the same time generating an interesting paradox with his own clean vocals, resulting in a headbanging, epic and progressive creation by this Zimbabwean lone wolf; whereas Gary’s metallic bass jabs will hit you hard in the head in The Harvest Moon, another whimsical, multi-layered creation that travels through the realms of Progressive, Death and Melodic Metal flawlessly. It’s quite impressive how his music is so dense and detailed taking into account he’s only one single musician, and in Orwellian Future his undeniable talent becomes even clearer as he’s capable of bringing some welcome hints of electronic music to the song’s overall heaviness.

Time for Gary to invest in a more rockin’ sound in Corridor of Shells, where our one-man band kicks some serious ass with his riffs and solos while crushing his drums with tons of intricacy, sounding very atmospheric and therefore living up to the legacy of modern-day Industrial Metal. The Wavering Shadows beings in full force showcasing strident riffs, epic keyboards and hammering drums, keeping the album at a high level of obscurity and insanity, with Gary firing truly demonic, Black Metal-inspired gnarls, while he will put you to dance under the moonlight in Hidden Shrine, showcasing elements from 80’s electronic bands the likes of Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys and New Order added to the project’s core essence. The second to last explosion of Industrial Death Metal by Gary, entitled Graveyard Sculpture, continues his path of devastation and insanity, with the machine-like drums walking hand in hand with all futuristic keys; and The Failing Dawn, the closing tune of the album, might not be as impactful as its predecessors, but it still showcases Gary’s own “darkness versus light” vocal duel and his always visceral riffage.

nuclear-winter-2021In a nutshell, as aforementioned, it’s truly impressive how Gary manages to sound like a full-bodied band even doing all by himself, and in Greystone we must all admit he outdid himself in terms of creativity, punch and heaviness, offering us fans of heavy music what’s perhaps the best metal album that has ever been recorded in Zimbabwe, and even if Zimbabwe might not be considered a true metal country that still means a lot. Hence, don’t forget to show Gary your support and admiration by following him and his Nuclear Winter on Facebook and on Twitter, by streaming all of his wicked compositions on Spotify, and above all that, by purchasing your copy of Greystone from the MDD Records’ BandCamp page (or click HERE for all locations where you can stream or buy the full album). As he keeps evolving as a musician (and as a producer), let’s wait and see what’s next in the career of Mr. Gary Stautmeister, and until then we can keep enjoying all tracks from the excellent Greystone in the name of Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll.

Best moments of the album: Stygian Awakening, Corridor of Shells and The Wavering Shadows.

Worst moments of the album: The Failing Dawn.

Released in 2021 MDD Records

Track listing
1. The Wastelands 4:00
2. Stygian Awakening 4:12
3. The Harvest Moon 3:58
4. Orwellian Future 3:43
5. Corridor of Shells 4:20
6. The Wavering Shadows 4:07
7. Hidden Shrine 4:40
8. Graveyard Sculpture 3:13
9. The Failing Dawn 4:08

Band members
Gary Stautmeister – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – The Machinist / I Am Void (2020)

An ambitious opus that runs a gamut of genres, featuring haunting synths and grinding guitarwork by a ruthless Blackened Industrial Metal outfit hailing from the UK.

“Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” – Dylan Thomas

Born earlier this year in the city of Manchester, UK from the ashes of a band named NekroDrako, Blackened/Industrial Death Metal outfit The Machinist has just released their debut full-length album, entitled I Am Void, an ambitious opus that runs a gamut of genres, featuring haunting synths and grinding guitarwork backed up by a psychotic twin vocal approach, being therefore highly recommended for fans of the music by Anaal Nathrakh, The Berzerker and Aboyrm, among others. Summoning all the terror of the eternal, inevitable night, the abyss that waits to swallow us, consuming our dreams, our arrogance and our misplaced certainty of our own importance, I Am Void will explode your senses with a fusion of blasting Black Metal and machine-driven Death Metal, dark visions and confrontational opposition born of absolute self-belief, showcasing all the sonic poison and devastating violence by Scott Walton on vocals, T and Kieran Mackinnon on the guitars, and John Thompson on synths, drum programming and vocals.

Wicked vociferations from the underworld suddenly explode into a demented fusion of Death and Industrial Metal in the opening track Extinction Event, where Scott is a beast on vocals while the synths and drum programming by John live up to the legacy of the genre, and continuing their path of devastation the quartet offers the also metallic and thunderous Skin Is Not Enough, sounding as if Deicide and Ministry had a bastard son, and with the pulverizing guitars by T and Kieran penetrating deep inside our skin mercilessly. Then putting the pedal to the metal they blast the insane The Sky Has Opened, with the infernal screams by Scott being nicely boosted by the crushing riffage and beats by his bandmates, resulting in an amazing option for breaking your neck headbanging nonstop; followed by Approach, a Rammstein-inspired interlude that sounds like taken from a horror flick, warming up the listener for the hard-hitting extravaganza Bleak Affirmations, where T and Kieran deliver a hybrid of Black and Death Metal through their fierce riffage while the atmospheric synths by John add a touch of dementia to the overall result.

Bringing forward elements from Technical Death Metal, Depopulate is as venomous as it can be, with both T and Kieran firing infernal sounds form their guitars while Scott roars and gnarls in a beyond devilish manner, whereas Death Cults Of Abraham offers the listener another round of their industrialized madness, this time with John’s programmed drums sounding as organic as a real drummer. Put differently, this is a phantasmagorical creation by The Machinist feeling doomed and grim from start to finish, while strident riffs and anguished growls are the main ingredients in the hammering onslaught titled Magnificent Desolation, perhaps the song with the strongest Industrial Metal roots, also presenting tons of progressiveness, rage, and endless breaks and variations throughout its unrelenting six minutes. After such insane metal attack, we’re treated to Departure, another utterly Stygian and futuristic Fear Factory-infused bridge that sets the stage for the band’s boldest and most detailed spawn entitled Schwarzschild Radius, starting as wicked as its predecessor while also offering our avid ears dark and metallic sounds, deep, beastly vocals and Doom Metal beats, feeling like a hybrid of Industrial Metal and Blackened Doom at times (not to mention John’s vampiric keys), flowing infernally until its gruesome and otherworldly finale.

If you think you have what it takes to face over 52 minutes of ruthless and vicious Blackened Industrial Metal brought forth by The Machinist in their debut album, you can stream such disturbing opus in its entirety on Spotify and purchase it from the band’s own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon, and The Machinist are also waiting for you on Facebook and on Instagram to show you more of their amazing music, their plans for the future, tour dates and everything else surrounding such distinguished UK horde. As aforementioned, I Am Void is indeed a devastating barrage of sonic violence, as The Machinist are a poison that will elevate or destroy, which means you should simply hit play on their new album, immerse yourself in their harsh truths, and finally find the strength to evolve.

Best moments of the album: Extinction Event, The Sky Has Opened and Magnificent Desolation.

Worst moments of the album: Bleak Affirmations.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Extinction Event 6:39
2. Skin Is Not Enough 5:27
3. The Sky Has Opened 4:57
4. Approach 2:32
5. Bleak Affirmations 4:15
6. Depopulate 3:49
7. Death Cults Of Abraham 5:48
8. Magnificent Desolation 6:13
9. Departure 2:17
10. Schwarzschild Radius 10:34

Band members
Scott Walton – vocals
T – guitar
Kieran Mackinnon – guitar
John Thompson – synths, drum programming, vocals

Album Review – Kuujeojabenojujanomiashikushija / The Hunting Boar! The Hunting Tyrant! (2020)

A solitary man on a mission seeking self-emptying and seeing the violent animal within brings to our ears his brand new experimental musical journey.

“You can kill it, but you must see it.”

If you throw  the expression “Kuujeojabenojujanomiashikushija” into Google Translator just out of curiosity like I did, you’ll see the app recognizes it as Swahili, translating it to “Come on in, take a look and enjoy yourself!” I have absolutely no idea if that was the intention of the mysterious American vocalist and multi-instrumentalist R.P. when he originally named his Experimental Death Metal project Kuujeojabenojujanomiashikushija, a solitary man on a mission seeking self-emptying and seeing the violent animal within, but just like its name, this extreme music entity offers a weird, uncanny and absolutely experimental musical journey to the listener in its second studio album, beautifully entitled The Hunting Boar! The Hunting Tyrant!, following up on all the madness found in the project’s 2014 debut EP 82121 and its 2017 full-length opus Hheoalle. In addition, as you might suspect based on the uniqueness of the project, absolutely everything in the album was done by R.P. himself, giving it an additional touch of lunacy and rawness and, therefore, sounding very organic from start to finish.

A mix of Industrial and Avantgarde Metal kicks off the album in the wicked intro Ripped Apart Under Glimmering Constellations, before R.P. slashes his raw, dirty guitar and crushes his drums like a maniac in the excellent Christ’s Descent Into Hell, and let me tell you that the song’s lyrics couldn’t have been more insane than what they already are (“Words accursed: mutational and eclipsed / Iron disc, zwarte zon / Coma of the soul from death to death / I wring the neck! It’s finished. / Poison diplomacy”). You better leave your mind and ears wide open as rumbling bass punches, cryptic vociferations and a sense of hopelessness and despair permeate the air in Vision Of Spinning Golgotha, uniting the sickness of Industrial Death Metal with the finesse of Progressive Metal, whereas R.P.’s demented riffs and beats are the main ingredients in Predator Reconfigured As Prey, another disruptive, dissident metal extravaganza that will make your head tremble throughout its less than three minutes of intense obscurity. And extracting sheer rage and insanity from his razor-edged guitar, R.P. offers our ears more of his Experimental Death Metal in Lycanthrope Before God, resulting in a headbanging tune tailored for admirers of the genre.

Then eerie noises ignite three minutes of industrialized sounds and tones in the instrumental (and lengthy) aria titled Entry, setting the stage for R.P. to roar venomous words (“If they can see me, I will kill them”) nonstop in They Can See Me, while the music remains as paradoxal to anything that can be called mainstream as possible, making an instant bridge with the also eccentric Murderer Swings The Censer, one of the most progressive of all songs, taking his innovative Death Metal to a whole new level of heaviness and fury and ending in a truly sick manner before R.P. comes ripping once again with his austere riffs and low-tuned bass in Scent Trail Under Arched Sconces. Blending the most visceral elements from Death, Groove and Industrial Metal with tons of feeling and darkness, this is one of the best songs of the album hands down. Lastly, are you ready for another round of sick guitars, pounding drums and wicked background noises? That’s what you’ll get in Do You See Over That Mountain?, sounding like an industrialized and instrumental version of the progressive madness blasted by Mastodon, and morphing into the idiosyncratic Epektasis, starting in an atmospheric and ethereal way before becoming a Progressive Rock and Metal exhibit by R.P. until all fades into the void.

I guess after all is said and done, the aforementioned translation to the project’s name, “Come on in, take a look and enjoy yourself!”, makes total sense, as if R.P. is indeed inviting us all to enter his wicked realm of experimentations and violence, take a very good look (or maybe I should say listen) around, and have a good time to the sound of each one of his multi-layered creations. Hence, in order to do that and show him your support and admiration for the underground, you can start following R.P. and his Kuujeojabenojujanomiashikushija on Facebook and purchase a copy of The Hunting Boar! The Hunting Tyrant! From the project’s own BandCamp page. As R.P. himself likes to cryptically say, “you can kill it, but you must see it”, or in the case of his newborn opus, you can kill “it”, but of course you must listen to his entertaining new album first.

Best moments of the album: Christ’s Descent Into Hell, Predator Reconfigured As Prey and Scent Trail Under Arched Sconces.

Worst moments of the album: Entry.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Ripped Apart Under Glimmering Constellations 1:09
2. Christ’s Descent Into Hell 3:20
3. Vision Of Spinning Golgotha 1:55
4. Predator Reconfigured As Prey 2:45
5. Lycanthrope Before God 2:14
6. Entry 3:00
7. They Can See Me 1:30
8. Murderer Swings The Censer 3:23
9. Scent Trail Under Arched Sconces 4:03
10. Do You See Over That Mountain? 3:13
11. Epektasis 4:33

Band members
R.P. – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Tristwood / Blackcrowned Majesty (2020)

Behold the final part of a saga about the return of a legendary ruler named Ar’ath to Ma’haxul through the eyes of an infernal Industrial Black and Death Metal band from Austria.

Blasting their venomous hybrid of Avantgarde, Black, Death and Industrial Metal with Grindcore nuances (being even labeled Blackened Grindcore by some fans and critics) since their inception in 2001 in the city of Linz, Austria, the cryptic entity known as Tristwood is ready to raise some hell with their fifth full-length opus entitled Blackcrowned Majesty, a musical journey led via Nihilist, early Bathory, Oxiplegatz, Morbid Angel, Hellhammer, Skinny Puppy and Killing Joke into the world of the real underground of the rough 80’s and early 90’s. Representing the final part of a saga about the return of a legendary ruler named Ar’ath to Ma’haxul, born out of pure blackness and disaster, the album describes in a musical way how she flows to the north after her destruction and is crowned again by her faithful. The album art, created in the summer of 2019 in the Alps by Ani van Sunnjurck, is the basis and building block of the story, showing the anti-hero Rauthra and hinting at his outer appearance as well as his quest from northern shores to the interior of the country to join Ar’ath. Comprised of Deimon on vocals, synths and flute, Jegger on vocals and guitars, Neru on guitars, backing vocals and synths, JD on bass and fretless bass solos, and HMG on drums, Tristwood are on fire throughout the almost 40 minutes of music found in Blackcrowned Majesty, uniting a very entertaining concept with their usual musical madness and rage.

Arising from the underworld like evil creatures of darkness, Tristwood begin blasting their fusion of industrial, electronic and extreme music in Re-Enthronement Of The Damned, bringing forward an infernal sound masterfully crafted by all band members, with HMG being beyond pulverizing on drums while Deimon and Jegger keep growling like true demons. In the heavier and more caustic He Who Traversed A Greater Oblivion, the scorching riffs by Jegger and Neru will pierce your ears mercilessly in a frantic and chaotic fusion of Industrial and Black Metal, whereas wicked, uncanny sounds ignite the electro-dark title-track A Blackcrowned Majesty, before all hell breaks loose in another hellish extravaganza by Tristwood. Moreover, the background synths and keys by Deimon and Neru add a touch of dementia to the music, while JD simply hammers his metallic bass nonstop. And it’s time to bang our heads like maniacs to the obscure and futuristic Her Wraith Through Stygonian Lands, where Deimon and Jegger are once again berserk on vocals, supported by the classic beats by HMG and the venom and acid flowing from the band’s stylish guitar riffs.

The quintet keeps smashing our skulls in The Hall Of Rauthra´s Fate, a vicious fusion of Black and Industrial Metal presenting machine gun-like blast beats, razor-edged riffs and demonic gnarls and roars, sounding as dark and grim as it can be from start to finish; and there’s no sign of Tristwood slowing down at all as they continue to fill every single space in the air with sheer darkness, hatred and lunacy in Acherontic Deathcult, with the whimsical keys and synths by Deimon and Neru bringing a welcome balance to their sonic havoc. Then inhumane, desperate screams are potentialized by the band’s high-octane guitars and drums in the visceral Bone Cathedral, a lesson in contemporary Industrial Extreme Metal by Tristwood, not to mention how thunderous the bass by JD sounds during the entire song, followed by the Stygian and captivating Nightshade Eternal, the epic finale to the saga of Rauthra, where the sick and deranged harsh growls by Deimon and Jegger are effectively spiced up by all background elements and the always pounding beats by HMG, flowing smoothly and infernally until its abrupt and somber ending.

Will Rauthra join the Nightshade? All you need to do to have the answer to that question is listening to Blackcrowned Majesty in full, and in order to do that simply go to Tristwood’s official BandCamp page, where you can obviously purchase your copy of the album and show your support to such talented Austrian band. In addition, don’t forget to give the guys from Tristwood a shout on their Facebook page, where you can get more details about the band, their future releases and tour dates. In summary, Tristwood undoubtedly reinvented themselves in Blackcrowned Majesty, adding another solid stone to their ever-growing castle of Industrial Black and Death Metal with such multi-layered and distinguished concept album and, consequently, paving a promising path for those Austrian veterans who know how to make some reverberating and loud noise when armed with their weapons of sonic destruction.

Best moments of the album: He Who Traversed A Greater Oblivion, Her Wraith Through Stygonian Lands and The Hall Of Rauthra´s Fate.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Re-Enthronement Of The Damned 4:16
2. He Who Traversed A Greater Oblivion 4:23
3. A Blackcrowned Majesty 5:18
4. Her Wraith Through Stygonian Lands 4:54
5. The Hall Of Rauthra´s Fate 4:08
6. Acherontic Deathcult 4:24
7. Bone Cathedral 4:24
8. Nightshade Eternal 6:16

Band members
Deimon – vocals, synths, flute
Jegger – vocals, guitars
Neru – guitars, backing vocals, synths
JD – bass, fretless bass solos
HMG – drums

Album Review – Nuclear Winter / Stormscapes EP (2020)

Taking on a new twist of an already unique blend of Melodic and Industrial Death Metal, a one-man outfit from Zimbabwe descends upon us all again with an exciting new EP.

After only a few short months, Zimbabwean Melodic/Industrial Death Metal one-man outfit Nuclear Winter descends upon us all again ready to blast the world with his fourth release, a relatively short but very enjoyable four-track EP entitled Stormscapes. After the collaboration on his 2019 album Night Shift, Nuclear Winter’s mastermind Gary Stautmeister decided to strike out on his own and mold the four tracks in Stormsacapes alone, taking on a new twist of an already unique blend of Melodic and Industrial Death Metal with Alternative Rock, proving with his new opus that not only can this Harare, Zimbabwe-based multi-instrumentalist create a rare twist on the tried-and-true Melodic Death Metal formula, but he can push his own envelope in new directions and make excellent new material in the process, undoubtedly making Zimbabwe’s metal scene (and Melodeath in general) truly proud of Gary’s project.

After hitting play you’ll be treated to an imposing and industrialized sonority permeating the air in the opening track Hearts of Stone, with Gary crushing his drums and firing incendiary riffs nonstop, therefore living up to the legacy of Industrial Death Metal and also bringing tons of epicness and obscurity to our avid ears. Then shredding his guitar strings in great fashion Gary delivers the even more atmospheric and dense The Wide Water, leaning towards the Symphonic Black Metal played by Dimmu Borgir at times mainly due to all the song’s phantasmagorical background elements, not to mention how devilish and grim his gnarls are. And Gary somehow managed to get even darker and heavier in The Northern Winds, getting closer and closer to traditional Black Metal infused with symphonic and industrial nuances, barking rabidly while at the same time mercilessly smashing his drums and bass, followed by his personal rendition of Frank Sinatra’s biggest hit of all time New York, New York (check the original version HERE). I must admit Nuclear Winter’s version is not only heavy-as-hell, but it also maintains the energy and thrill of the original version, showcasing Gary’s undisputed talent, his passion for the music he plays, and his utmost respect for the classics.

In a nutshell, it’s truly impressive how Gary is capable of generating such bold sound all by himself, and in order to show your support to what’s most probably the most interesting metal project coming from Zimbabwe you should definitely go check what he’s up to on Facebook, on Twitter and on YouTube, and visit his official BandCamp page to listen to and purchase Stormscapes soon, as well as his 2019 effort Night Shift. The only “problem” is that you’ll have to wait until the end of May to listen to the new creations by Gary and his Nuclear Winter, unless of course he releases one of the songs as a single in the coming weeks to give you a better taste of what to expect from Stormscapes, but believe me when I say you’ll instantly get addicted to his music after listening to his upcoming EP, no doubt about that, opening your eyes (and ears) to the rich but yet unexplored Zimbabwean metal scene.

Best moments of the album: The Wide Water and New York, New York.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Hearts of Stone 3:51
2. The Wide Water 3:33
3. The Northern Winds 4:00
4. New York, New York (Frank Sinatra cover) 3:20

Band members
Gary Stautmeister – vocals, all instruments