Album Review – Crypts of Despair / All Light Swallowed (2021)

Behold the breathtaking sophomore opus by a ruthless Death Metal unity from Lithuania, embodying the perfect combination of face-melting aggression and electrifying atmosphere.

3.5rating

crypts-of-despair-all-light swallowed-2021Formed in 2009 in Kaunas, a city in south-central Lithuania, the ruthless Death Metal band known as Crypts of Despair has made a quantum leap from their well-received debut full-length opus The Stench of the Earth, released in 2017, to their brand new one, entitled All Light Swallowed. Produced by the band itself, recorded at Lapės Records, mixed and engineered by Alexander Sarychev at DTH Studios, mastered by Arthur Rizk, and featuring a classic, somber artwork by Néstor Avalos, All Light Swallowed is at once ferocious, rife with unearthly and dissonant sounds, and punctuated by hair-raising, eerie ambience, embodying the perfect combination of face-melting aggression and electrifying atmosphere, with song structures remaining unpredictable and yet strangely coherent, all carefully brought into being by vocalist and guitarist Dovydas Auglys, guitarist Benas Juskus, bassist and vocalist Simonas Jurkevicius, and drummer Henri Mall. Put differently, if you’re an admirer of the music by bands the likes of Incantation, Anaal Nathrakh and Morbid Angel, this album is a must-have in your personal collection.

Get ready for total annihilation to the sound of the pulverizing opening track Being – Erased, a lecture in modern-day Death Metal led by the blast beast by Henri while Dovydas and Benas extract piercing, sulfurous Black Metal-inspired riffs from their guitars, and there’s no sign of slowing down as the quartet continues their path of devastation in Anguished Exhale, even more brutal and infernal than the opening tune with Dovydas and Simonas roaring manically nonstop. In Choked By The Void a cryptic start morphs into another visceral Death Metal feast led by the strident riffage by the band’s guitar duo, smashing our cranial skulls and dragging us into eternal darkness, and more of their furious sounds comes in the form of Condemned To Life, where Henri pounds and crushes his drums in great fashion, sounding very violent but at the same time technical and melodic and, therefore, resulting into sheer Death Metal awesomeness.

crypts-of-despair-all-light-swallowed-black-coffin-shaped-wooden-cd-box-set

Crypts of Despair All Light Swallowed Black Coffin-Shaped Wooden CD Box Set with Engraving

Living up to the legacy of renowned acts such as Incantation and Immolation, the quartet fires the visceral Synergy Of Suffering, once again presenting the dynamic (and bestial) vocal duet between Dovydas and Simonas, and if you thought those Lithuanian metallers couldn’t sound more demonic you better get ready for The Great End, a sinister, neck-breaking tune that blends their trademark Death Metal with Black Metal nuances. Then venturing through more obscure lands we’re treated to the venomous Disgust, a beautiful Death, Black and (even) Doom Metal creation by Crypts of Despair where the vocal lines sound and feel utterly satanic, not to mention the thunderous drums by Henri. Dovydas and Benas definitely know how to send shivers down our spines with their wicked riffs, generating a menacing ambience in Excruciating Weight, putting a grim smile on the faces of the damned and flowing into the Stygian instrumental outro Bleak View, sounding as if it was taken from the most horrifying psychological thriller you can imagine.

crypts-of-despair-2021It’s quite easy to put your hands on such amazing album of Baltic Death Metal, as All Light Swallowed (which you can by the way stream in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify) is available for purchase from the band’s own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon, but if I were you I would definitely go for the ass-kicking, limited Black Coffin-Shaped Wooden CD Box Set with Engraving by clicking HERE, HERE or HERE (depending on where in the world you are), containing an 8-panel digipak CD with sandalwood scent, an autographed card, a shaped silver sigil patch, a keychain with bottle opener, an album artwork badge, a beer coaster and a metallic sticker. Also, don’t forget to give the guys from Crypts of Despair a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, showing your support to such incredible band from the Baltics. And you better hurry, before all light is finally swallowed and you’re trapped in eternal Death Metal darkness.

Best moments of the album: Being – Erased, Condemned To Life and Disgust.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing   
1. Being – Erased 4:33
2. Anguished Exhale 4:13
3. Choked By The Void 5:17
4. Condemned To Life 3:27
5. Synergy Of Suffering 2:57
6. The Great End 5:32
7. Disgust 4:23
8. Excruciating Weight 3:57
9. Bleak View 3:37

Band members
Dovydas Auglys – vocals, guitar
Benas Juskus – guitar
Simonas Jurkevicius – bass, vocals
Henri Mall – drums

Album Review – Revulsion / Revulsion (2021)

This ruthless Finnish unity is on fire in their debut full-length opus, offering us all an aggressive, sharp and viciously groovy form of Death Metal that begs for repeat listens.

Hailing from Pohjois-Pohjanmaa, a region of Finland that borders Lapland, Kainuu, North Savo, Central Finland and Central Ostrobothnia, as well as the Russian Republic of Karelia, the unrelenting Death Metal unity known as Revulsion has been carving their name in the local and international scene with their aggressive, sharp and viciously groovy form of Death Metal that begs for repeat listens. Now in 2021, this furious five-piece act comprised of Aleksi Huhta on vocals, Jari Toppinen and Jarkko Viitasalo on the guitars, Tuomas Alatalo on bass and Atte Karppinen on drums returns in full force with their self-titled debut full-length opus, following on the very positive feedback received for their 2010 demo Undressing External Humanity and their 2011 EP Defiled, being highly recommended for fans of bands the likes of Dying Fetus, Depravity, Suffocation and Morbid Angel, among several others. Featuring a straightforward artwork by Polish illustrator Kuba Sokólski, the album brings forward Death Metal that is contemporary and practical, taking the best elements from all over and delivering it flawlessly without pulling any punches, helping the band pave their destructive path that started in the already distant year of 2005.

Revulsion kick off the album with Last Echoes of Life, a pulverizing, demonic extravaganza serving as the welcome card by the quintet where Aleksi is a true beast on vocals, and you can already sense a lot of Groove Metal influences in their sick Death Metal as mentioned, whereas the razor-edged riffs by Jari and Jarkko, together with the classic beats by Atte, generate a thunderous atmosphere in the menacing tune Pyre, displaying an amazing job done by all band members (in special Tuomas with his Alex Webster-inspired bass jabs). Then it’s time to slam into the circle pit like a demented metalmaniac to the sound of Walls, where Aleksi continues to bark and growl manically while his bandmates don’t let the energy level go down not even for a single second in this hammering Death Metal chant. After such infernal tune we’re treated to Mustaa Hiiltä, or “black carbon” from Finnish, and as the name already indicates it’s by far the darkest and most devilish of all songs form the album, blending the heaviness of Death Metal with the obscurity of Doom Metal, and once again presenting Tuomas’ rumbling bass to make things even more infernal; while Lihaan Sidottu Kirja (“a book bound by flesh”) brings forward another round of their deranged music, presenting Jari and Jarkko’s trademark riffage and the brutality flowing from the kitchen crafted by Tuomas and Atte. Put differently, this is Death Metal at its finest.

Revulsion Wooden Coffin Box

Blasting their sonic weapons without showing a single drop of mercy, those Finnish metallers will decimate your ears in Wastelands, again bringing forward a perfect sync between Aleksi’s hellish growling and the vicious drumming by Atte, and more of their classic Death Metal comes in the form of Unravel, offering the listener blazing riffs and smashing drums while Aleksi continues to vociferate the song’s words with tons of anger, albeit not as dynamic nor as creative as its predecessors. Back to a more ferocious sonority, it’s time for Atte to take the lead with his wicked beats and fills in Silence, while the band’s evil guitar duo continues to slash our ears with their dirty, intricate and venomous riffs; followed by Pawns, a high-octane, straight-to-the-point Death Metal explosion crafted by Revulsion that will please all fans of old school savagery, with Atte displaying all his heavy artillery throughout the song’s two intense minutes. Finally, there’s nothing better than closing the album with six minutes of sheer darkness and malevolence like what they offer us in Viimeinen Rituaali (“the last ritual”), the perfect tune for banging your head like a deranged maniac, with the Stygian riffs by Jari and Jarkko being a work-of-art.

You can find more information about Revulsion, their music, tour dates and plans for the future on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course in order to show those Finnish death metallers all your support and admiration you can purchase their bestial self-titled album from their own BandCamp page or from the Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore by clicking HERE or HERE, but if I were you I would definitely go for the jaw-dropping Revulsion Wooden Coffin Box with laser engraving of the band logo, containing the wooden box and an 8-panel digipak CD with metallic effect and UV lamination, plus an autographed card, a metallic logo patch, a badge, a beer coaster, a bottle opener with keychain and a metallic sticker. What else can you ask for, right? This is top-notch Death Metal made in Finland that’s definitely going to stand out in your collection, showing everyone in your family and all your friends that you’re indeed a revulsive headbanging bastard.

Best moments of the album: Pyre, Mustaa Hiiltä and Lihaan Sidottu Kirja.

Worst moments of the album: Unravel.

Released in 2021 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Last Echoes of Life 3:06
2. Pyre 3:23
3. Walls 3:13
4. Mustaa Hiiltä 5:21
5. Lihaan Sidottu Kirja 3:49
6. Wastelands 2:42
7. Unravel 3:53
8. Silence 3:21
9. Pawns 2:09
10. Viimeinen Rituaali 5:59

Band members
Aleksi Huhta – vocals
Jari Toppinen – guitar
Jarkko Viitasalo – guitar
Tuomas Alatalo – bass
Atte Karppinen – drums

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 – Depravity / Grand Malevolence (2020)

Get ready to be stunned by one of the most devastating albums of 2020, showcasing a solid fusion of masterful songwriting and skull-smashing brutality executed with blinding speed and power.

After releasing their groundbreaking debut album Evil Upheaval in 2018, Perth, Australia-based Death Metal horde Depravity are taking things to the next level on their new album, beautifully entitled Grand Malevolence, one of the most devastating albums of 2020. Technically evolved, showcasing a solid fusion of masterful songwriting and skull-smashing brutality executed with blinding speed and power, and embraced by an ass-kicking artwork by Russian artist Alex Tartsus (Sepulchral Curse, De Profundis), Grand Malevolence is a testament to the best expression this style holds, showcasing facets of the sub-genres without allowing it to dilute the overall intensity and momentum, all thanks to the undeniable talent by Jamie Kay (Inanimacy, The Ritual Aura) on vocals, Lynton Cessford (Entrails Eradicated) and Jarrod Curly (Malignant Monster) on the guitars, Ainsley Watkins (Scourge) on bass and Louis Rando (Impiety, The Furor) on drums, turning it into a must-have for admirers of the pummeling Death Metal blasted by giants such as Suffocation, Morbid Angel, Nile, Spawn of Possession, Gorgasm and Immolation, just to name a few.

Indulging Psychotic Thoughts is gruesome and devastating form the very first second, where Jamie doesn’t waste any time and begins barking deeply accompanied by the machine gun-like drums by Louis in an awesome display of classic Death Metal, and the band keeps blasting sheer animosity and vile sounds in the title-track Grand Malevolence, with the band’s guitar duo Lynton and Jarrod showcasing all their passion for extreme shredding while Louis continues to impress with his demented drumming. Then get ready to have your spinal cord smashed to tiny pieces in Invalid Majesty, where Depravity invite us all to kill into the circle pit, with Jamie sounding even more inhumane with both his deep guttural and deranged screams, not to mention the song’s wicked guitar solos; whereas investing in a Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel-inspired sonority the quintet fires the obscure and visceral Cantankerous Butcher, an ode to all things Death Metal where Aisnley’s bass jabs and Louis’ vicious beats provide Jamie all he needs to vociferate demonically. If you think Depravity are tired of so much violence, they continue their immoral path of devastation in Trophies of Inhumanity, another brutal creation by the quintet showcasing Lynton and Jarrod’s usual guitar duel, firing depraved riffs and solos amidst a hurricane of blast beats and evil gnarls.

Depravity Grand Malevolence Wooden Coffin-Shaped CD Box Set (Limited to 100)

Sounding like a stone crusher from hell, the band smashes everything and everyone that crosses their way in Castrate the Perpetrators, a song led by the destructive riffs by the band’s ruthless guitarists perfect for cracking your neck in half headbanging like a maniac, followed by The Coming of the Hammering, carrying a stunning name for a devastating sound by Depravity, obviously living up to the legacy of old school Death Metal without sounding outdated at all, where Jamie and Louis are in absolute sync with their respective roars and infernal beats. After such intense tune, it’s time more insanity and violence in the form of putrid Death Metal made in Australia in Barbaric Eternity, where those guys sound unstoppable and merciless with their killing instruments, not to mention I have no idea how Louis managed to stay so violent throughout the whole album. Anyway, are you tired already? Because Depravity still have a lot of fuel to burn starting with Hallucination Aflame, presenting their usual sonic devastation full of fulminating beats and fills, scorching riffs and rumbling bass lines, followed by the somber Epitome of Extinction, where the band delivers tons of groove and intricacy before going mental once again, with Ainsley giving a lesson in groove on bass. And lastly, an atmospheric, phantasmagorical start permeates the air, suddenly exploding into their venomous Death Metal in Ghosts in the Void, where Lynton and Jarrod take the lead with their neck-breaking riffage, therefore putting a beyond violent ending to the album.

It’s time to slam into the pit to the fulminating Death Metal blasted by Depravity, and in order to do so simply go check what those depraved metallers from Down Under are up to on Facebook and on Instagram, and above all, purchase your copy of the insane Grand Malevolence from their own BandCamp page, from the Transcending Obscuity Records’ webstore by clicking HERE or HERE (and if I were you, I would definitely go for the Wooden Coffin-Shaped CD Box Set, limited to 100 copies in coffin-shaped wooden box with engraving of the band logo and containing a12-panel inverted cross-shaped digipak CD with metallic effect and embossing, an autographed certificate, a gold logo patch, a fridge magnet and a badge), from Apple Music or from Amazon. Depravity are ready to smash us all like a beast with Grand Malevolence, proving once and for all Death Metal will always remain strong, vile, gory and, of course, brutal.

Best moments of the album: Grand Malevolence, Cantankerous Butcher and The Coming of the Hammering.

Worst moments of the album: Hallucination Aflame.

Released in 2020 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Indulging Psychotic Thoughts 4:08
2. Grand Malevolence 3:25
3. Invalid Majesty 4:17
4. Cantankerous Butcher 4:43
5. Trophies of Inhumanity 5:03
6. Castrate the Perpetrators 5:02
7. The Coming of the Hammering 5:34
8. Barbaric Eternity 3:04
9. Hallucination Aflame 3:51
10. Epitome of Extinction 4:36
11. Ghosts in the Void 5:24

Band members
Jamie Kay – vocals
Lynton Cessford – guitar
Jarrod Curly – guitar
Ainsley Watkins – bass
Louis Rando – drums

Album Review – Jupiterian / Protosapien (2020)

Rising as a mythical creature, this Brazilian Atmospheric Sludge and Doom Metal outfit is ready to haunt our souls with the crushing, primeval music found in their brand new opus.

Formed in 2013 in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, the unyelding Atmospheric Sludge/Doom Metal outfit Jupiterian is back in action after releasing their groundbreaking album Terraforming in 2017, which was akin to the sound of tectonic plates shifting. In the aftermath of that event, a new revelation has been unearthed, their magnum opus Protosapien. Featuring a Stygian artwork by Polish artist Mariusz Lewandowski, it slices through the ominous atmospheric murk of the band’s previous effort and in an almost primitive yet strangely evolved manner, goes for the jugular. Comprised of Von  vocals, guitars and synths, A on the guitar, R on bass and G on drums, Jupiterian rise as a mythical creature, imbibing everything that transpired and distilling it all to create something highly potent, dense and sonically immeasurable, a form of harrowing, otherworldly Sludge and Doom Metal that lumbers on erratically, carving their own path, trampling on anything that dares stand in their way, and being therefore highly recommended for admirers of the music by  Eremit, Loss, Primitive Man, Gaerea and My Dying Bride, among others.

The phantasmagorical and cinematic intro Homecoming will crawl deep inside your skin and darken your heart until the gates to the underworld are open with the imposing Mere Humans, where the reverberating bass by R and the Stygian riffs by V and A will make your head tremble while G fires sluggish, doomed beats nonstop. V’s and A’s dirty and piercing guitar lines keep bringing darkness to us all in Voidborn, accompanied by G’s damned drums and the hellish vociferations by V, being perfect for cracking your neck headbanging in solitude. Put differently, this is the epitome of primeval Sludge and Doom Metal spiced up by the obscurity of Blackened Doom, whereas in the vile Capricorn we’re treated to a ritualistic doom aria spearheaded by G’s tribal beats, with the quartet bringing forward a sharp hybrid of American Sludge Metal and classic Doom Metal. Furthermore, the bass punches by R sound absolutely metallic, taking the song’s malignancy to a whole new level. And they offer more of their raw and unearthly sounds in the heavy-as-hell Starless, showcasing a great sync between R and G with their respective bass jabs and drums while the inhumane growls by V add an extra touch of evil to the overall result. Lastly, a gargantuan roar by V ignite the one hundred percent, unfiltered Atmospheric Doom Metal feast titled Earthling Bloodline, where G pounds his drums slowly and steadily while his bandmates generate a menacing ambience with their strings from hell.

There are numerous places where you can put your dirty hands on Protosapien, such as the band’s own BandCamp page, the official Transcending Obscurity Records webstore (where you can find precious gems such as the 8-panel digipak CD with metallic effect and sandalwood fragrance or an amazing boxset including an autographed LP), the Transcending Obscurity Records webstores for the US and Europe, Apple Music, Amazon and so on. Hence, you can also support those Brazilian doomers by following them on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and also by streaming all of their wicked creations on Spotify. As aforementioned, like a mythical creature Jupiterian are among us to haunt our souls and blacken our damned hearts, having in Protosapien the perfect weapon to attack us all with their crushing, antediluvian doom.

Best moments of the album: Capricorn and Earthling Bloodline.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Homecoming 2:09
2. Mere Humans 5:38
3. Voidborn 6:53
4. Capricorn 7:06
5. Starless 7:13
6. Earthling Bloodline 6:40

Band members
V – vocals, guitars, synths
A – guitar
R – bass
G – drums

Album Review – Wardaemonic / Acts of Repentance (2020)

Hailing from Western Australia, an infernal horde returns with more of their ancient and inscrutable Black Metal in the form of the mightiest album of their career.

Back from the hellish pits of Perth, Western Australia with the mightiest album of their career, the excellent Acts of Repentance, a ruthless Black Metal horde known as Wardaemonic has gone from strength to strength in their new album, incorporating slower, dissonant parts that work brilliantly when contrasted with their trademark “ancient and inscrutable Black Metal”. Furthermore, the band comprised of Maelstrom on vocals and drums, Anharat and Lord Bane on the guitars and Blitz on bass and synths offers fans of the music by iconic names such as Immortal, Marduk, Watain and Dark Funeral, among others, everything we crave in classic Black Metal, feeling uncompromising and steely in its approach while backed with enough experience to make the entire album memorable and also intriguing for the listener to keep coming back to it for more. Featuring a sulfurous artwork by French artist Leoncio Harmr (Eternal Storm) and layout by Finnish artist Turkka Rantanen (Paganizer, Demilich), Acts of Repentance is not only a fantastic addition to the band’s discography, marking their fourth full-length opus and the follow-up to their 2015 installment Obsequium, but also a must-have release for anyone who respects and admires underground Black Metal from the bottom of their (evil) hearts.

Dragging our souls to their Stygian Australian lair, the quarter begins their devastating Black Metal onrush in the first of the album’s five acts from hell, Act I – Introspection, where Maelstrom sounds beyond infernal with both his blast beats and devilish vociferations, resulting in a lecture in old school Black Metal clearly inspired by the genre’s infamous Scandinavian sound. Not only that, Anharat and Lord Bane will penetrate deep inside your psyche with their crushing riffage, and if you survive such demented and vicious display of extreme music you better get ready for another ass-kicking tune titled Act II – Admission, offering the listener nine minutes of blackened sounds and cryptic passages where those four black metallers from Down Under don’t stop hammering their instruments for our total delight. Moreover, Blitz makes the earth tremble with his bass lines and diabolical synths, helping the music flow as darkly and aggressively as it can be until the very end.

Then an absolutely atmospheric and phantasmagorical intro ignites the 12-minute aria entitled Act III – Castigation, morphing into a disruptive and evil sonic feast led by Maelstrom and his unstoppable blast beats and also bringing elements of primeval Doom Metal and Blackened Doom to our avid ears, not to mention the strident riffs and endless rage flowing from Maelstrom’s inhumane gnarls, sounding multi-layered, dense and utterly impactful. Another grim and captivating ambience brought forth by Wardaemonic is suddenly replaced by an avalanche of violent Black Metal titled Act IV – Sufferance, where the somber vocalizations by Maelstrom make an interesting paradox with his trademark deep roars while the band’s guitar duo continues to breathe fire from their stringed weapons. And ending the album in the most brutal and demolishing way we have Act V – Repentance, an unrelenting display of traditional Black Metal infused with Melodic and even Atmospheric Black Metal nuances. Your mind will be destroyed by the stunning riffs by both Anharat and Lord Bane accompanied by Blitz’s thunderous bass punches, concluding the album’s five acts on a truly high note.

Wardaemonic Acts of Repentance Autographed CD Boxset

The gates to the underworld of Australian metal are open once again thanks to Wardaemonic and their wicked new opus Acts of Repentance, available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify, and in order to join those talented metallers in their quest for Black Metal simply follow them on Facebook and on Instagram, and purchase your copy of the album from their own BandCamp page, from the Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore in CD format or as an amazing autographed CD boxset, or from Apple Music. After such pulverizing opus of Extreme Metal, I bet you’re eager for more of the music by Wardaemonic, and I’m quite sure we won’t have to wait for another five excruciating years to hear again from one of the most talented and solid metal acts coming from Australia, darkening the skies and our souls with their undisputed Black fuckin’ Metal.

Best moments of the album: Act I – Introspection and Act III – Castigation.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Act I – Introspection 7:15
2. Act II – Admission 8:58
3. Act III – Castigation 12:09
4. Act IV – Sufferance 9:01
5. Act V – Repentance 8:14

Band members
Maelstrom – vocals, drums
Anharat – lead guitars
Lord Bane – guitars
Blitz – bass, synth programming

Album Review – Colosso / Apocalypse EP (2020)

Pestilence, War, Death and Famine masterfully turned into brutal and obscure Death Metal by a heavier-than-hell unity hailing from Portugal.

What if a vicious horde hailing from Portugal decided to turn the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, the Book of Revelation by John of Patmos, into gruesome and raw Death Metal? That’s exactly what a project formed in 2011, currently comprised of Max Tomé on guitars, keyboards and vocals, Alexandre Ribeiro (Grog) on bass and Robin Stone (Norse) on drums, collectively known as Porto, Portugal-based Death Metal unity Colosso, has to offer us all in their brand new EP simply titled Apocalypse, translating into modern and sharp Death Metal all the darkness flowing from the four riders Pestilence, War, Famine and Death.

After years of toiling in the underground, putting out six releases of ever-evolving Death Metal such as their debut full-length opus Peaceful Abrasiveness, in 2012, and more recently Rebirth, in 2018, Colosso seem to have reached their most demonic shape and form in Apocalypse, being highly recommended for fans of the music by Norse, Morbid Angel, Nile, Incantation and Suffocation, among other behemoths of extreme music. Mixed and mastered by Max Tomé himself, and featuring a beyond obscure album art by Phlegeton Art Studio, as well as guest vocals by Guilherme Henriques of Oak and Gaerea, Diogo Santana of Analepsy, and Sérgio Afonso of Bleeding Display, Apocalypse is an undoubtedly breathtaking and refreshingly diverse album, showcasing the myriad aspects of this bold and innovative Death Metal band without compromising on their aggressive, apocalyptic sound.

And pestilence and plague permeate the air in the vicious and heavy-as-hell Pestilence, blending the violence of Death Metal with the grim and infernal sounds of Blackened Doom while guest vocalist Guilherme Henriques barks and roars like a creature from the netherworld. Not only that, Robin smashes his drums mercilessly nonstop, with that disturbing and evil onrush of sounds going on and on until the song’s visceral ending. Then guest Sérgio Afonso lends his guttural vocals to Colosso in the also Stygian tune War, with the sounds of machine guns and explosions making the whole song even more realistic, leaning towards classic Death Metal. Moreover, Alexandre’s bass jabs and Robin’s beats feel like the epitome of evil, resulting in a pulverizing display of extreme music for lovers of the genre.

Max himself is responsible for the vocal duties in Death, a lot more melodic and crisper than its predecessors while still providing the band’s characteristic rawness and darkness. Furthermore, Max is spot-on with his razor-edged riffs accompanied by Robin’s intricate drums and, as a surprise, Max fires clean, ethereal vocals instead of the album’s characteristic putrid gnarls, bringing elements from Atmospheric Black and Doom Metal to Colosso’s core savagery. And last but not least, Diogo Santana provides his share of deep guttural roars to Famine, where the band gets back to their most demented and hellish mode, showcasing all band members in total sync led by Max’s strident riffs, while Robin sounds like a stone crusher on drums and, as a consequence, flirting with Brutal Death Metal at times.

In summary, if you’re an admirer of the meanest and heaviest side of Death Metal you must give these Portuguese metallers a very good try as Max and his henchmen have all it takes to explode your mind and darken your soul with their brand new installment Apocalypse, which by the way will soon be available from the band’s own BandCamp page and from the Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore in distinct formats such as the awesome T-shirt + CD + Digital Download bundle. Also, don’t forget to show your support to Colosso by following them on Facebook and by listening to more of their somber creations on Spotify. As the four dreadful figures in the Book of Revelation who symbolize the evils to come at the end of the world get closer and closer to us, there’s nothing better than the avalanche of Death Metal roars crafted by Colosso to provide them a warm and friendly welcome, don’t you agree?

Best moments of the album: War and Famine.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Pestilence 8:14
2. War 4:07
3. Death 4:11
4. Famine 4:14

Band members
Max Tomé – guitars, keyboards, vocals on “Death”
Alexandre Ribeiro – bass
Robin Stone – drums

Guest musicians
Guilherme Henriques – vocals on “Pestilence”
Sérgio Afonso – vocals on “War”
Diogo Santana – vocals on “Famine”

Album Review – Verthebral / Abysmal Decay (2019)

The abysmal decay of mankind and religion through the eyes of a ruthless Paraguayan Death Metal horde.

Formed in 2013 in Ciudad del Este, a city on the Paraná River in Paraguay, South American Death Metal unity Verthebral is a reminder of the potency of Death Metal coming from their continent, blasting our ears with their ruthless creations without a single drop of mercy. From the traditionally-rooted riffing to the relentless percussive hammering with savage and barked out vocals, Verthebral execute with utter savagery and precision each and every track form their newborn opus Abysmal Decay, tempering it with unpredictable tempo changes and whiplashing breakdowns, proving this is not just mindless brutality, but a well thought out extreme album that must not be taken lightly, being highly recommended for fans of hellish acts like Krisun, Rebaelliun, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Slayer, Death, Sarcófago, Malevolent Creation and Hate Eternal, among others.

Featuring a classic and absolutely incendiary artwork by Brazilian artist Marcos Miller (who has already worked with bands like Exterminate and Mental Horror), and layout by Finnish artist Turkka G. Rantanen (Paganizer, Demilich), Abysmal Decay is a natural and exciting follow-up to their 2017 demolishing album Regeneration, once again dealing with several controversial topics like anti-religion, philosophy, human conduct and death, all embraced by a violent and very detailed sonority brought forth by Christian Rojas on vocals and bass, Daniel Larroza and Alberto Flores on the guitars, and Denis Viveros on drums. Put differently, after you start listening to Abysmal Decay, you’ll undoubtedly feel your head, mind and ears tremble, exactly the way we all love in old school Death Metal.

Get ready to be smashed form the very first second in the opening track Ancient Legion, highly inspired by bands like Krisiun and Cannibal Corpse and with Christian delivering his trademark growling attack supported by the demented drums by Denis, sounding solid and pulverizing form start to finish. The quartet keeps hammering our heads in The Art of Perversion, a rhythmic, multi-layered Death Metal extravaganza led by the razor-edged riffs by Daniel and Alberto that will certainly inspire you to crack your skull into the circle pit, not to mention its amazing sinister break halfway through it; followed by the title-track Abysmal Decay, another brutal display of Death Metal slightly slower than its predecessors but heavy-as-hell, with the band’s guitar duo not only slashing our ears with their riffs but also with their crisp solos, resulting in a perfect choice for banging your head like a maniac.

Then it’s time for an absolutely demolishing display of extreme music by this talented band entitled Isolation Room, alternating between frantic moments and sheer brutality and heaviness where Christian continues to roar and bark like a true beast, elevating the overall quality of the album even more. Coronation of Envy already begins in full force, inspiring us all to slam into the pit like berserk metalheads, with Denis being unstoppable on drums and consequently building a thunderous stage for Daniel and Alberto to shine with their strident guitar solos, whereas in Absence of a God we face almost five minutes of crushing Death Metal made in Paraguay. It’s quite impressive how they never get tired of delivering the most rumbling and disruptive sounds possible, with the music living up to the legacy of bands like Deicide, Krisiun and Death.

Christian leads his horde with his deep, enraged gnarls in Sweet Home Illusion, a classy Death Metal onrush featuring demonic and intricate blast beats and metallic bass punches while Daniel and Alberto keep firing scorching sounds from their stringed weapons, before the instrumental bridge Obsidian Tears enhances our senses for the pulverizing My Dark Existence, a mid-tempo, disturbing chant led by the band’s infernal guitarists where Danis sounds like a sledgehammer on drums, feeling dense and obscure from start to finish (albeit not as creative as all previous songs). And closing the album the band adds tons of progressiveness to their evil music in Testimony of Hate, piercing our minds and ears with their visceral riffs and deranged growls, with the sounds from all instruments growing in intensity and rage until the song’s climatic and vile ending.

If you consider yourself a diehard Death Metal fan and true supporter of the underground, don’t forget to get in touch with the guys from Verthebral on Facebook, and to purchase your copy of Abysmal Decay from the band’s own BandCamp page, or from the Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore in digipak CD format, in a digipak CD and T-shirt combo, or in an outstanding CD box set including an 8-panel digipak CD with metallic effect, an autographed card, an album artwork coaster, an album artwork fridge magnet, a gloss finish badge and a silver logo patch. Having said all that, I’m beyond happy to witness the healthy and vibrant rise of South American Death Metal in the past few years, with bands like Verthebral proudly waving the flag of Paraguayan extreme music everywhere they go through their destructive, heavy and anti-religious creations, or in other words, everything we love (and want) in our good old Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: The Art of Perversion, Isolation Room and Sweet Home Illusion.

Worst moments of the album: My Dark Existence.

Released in 2019 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Ancient Legion 3:38
2. The Art of Perversion 4:44
3. Abysmal Decay 4:26
4. Isolation Room 4:17
5. Coronation of Envy 3:39
6. Absence of a God 4:52
7. Sweet Home Illusion 5:33
8. Obsidian Tears 1:19
9. My Dark Existence 4:32
10. Testimony of Hate 4:25

Band members
Christian Rojas – vocals, bass
Daniel Larroza – guitars
Alberto Flores – guitars
Denis Viveros – drums

Album Review – Warcrab / Damned In Endless Night (2019)

May all your nights be damned to the sound of the soul-crushing death and doom blasted by UK’s own monolithic metal workhorses in their brand new opus.

There’s nothing better than a badass and absolutely pulverizing fusion of Death, Sludge and Doom Metal to haunt our souls on a Friday the 13th, don’t you agree? I’m pretty sure not even Jason Voorhees himself is capable of generating such heavy and reverberating sounds like UK’s own monolithic metal workhorses Warcrab, who after three years of silence return with an ever darker and more threatening sonority found in their new full-length opus, entitled Damned In Endless Night, a thunderous display of unbelievable heaviness and groove that will please all fans of the soul-crushing death and doom played by bands like Bolt Thrower, Crowbar and Eyehategod.

Carrying on where they last left in their 2016 release Scars of Aeons with their unique blend of down-tuned Sludge and ponderous Death Metal, Warcrab flesh it out and leave no room for doubt on the efficacy of their powerful and cohesive fusion of underground styles in Damned in Endless Night. Featuring almost the same lineup as from their previous album, with Martyn Grant on vocals (replacing former singer Kane Nelson), Geoff Holmes,  Paul “Budgie” Garbett and Leigh Jones on the guitars, Dave “Guppy” Simmonds on bass, and Rich Parker on drums, the long-awaited full-length from this Plymouth, Devon, England-based band is arguably their best release to date, cementing Warcrab as one of the flagships of the current underground metal scene in their homeland.

Perpetua is a serene intro where the band’s guitar trio warms up our senses for the hammering and bold Halo of Flies, with the sluggish guitars by Geoff, Paul and Leigh dictating the rhythm while Martyn begins vociferating like a demonic entity and Rich pounds his drums slowly and fiercely. In the Arms of Armageddon sounds closer to what the band offered in Scars of Aeons, which means an infernal, low-tuned and grim musicality smashing our heads mercilessly, not to mention the massive wall of sounds created by Dave and Rich in the background, whereas Blood for the Blood God is pure old school Sludge and Doom Metal for your avid ears, with Rich sounding utterly ominous on drums while Martyn basically vomits the song’s lyrics in a brutal and devilish way, therefore being highly recommended for breaking your neck in half headbanging.

Then the creepy guitars by Warcrab’s stringed triumvirate penetrate deep inside our minds in Abyssal Mausoleum, and you better get ready for over eight minutes of damned passages, low-tuned bass lines and endless obscurity, showcasing Geoff on absolute fire with his doomed guitar solos; and  Dave slashes our ears with his distorted bass lines in Magnetic Fields Collapse, a classic display of modern-day Sludge Metal infused with Death Metal-inspired vocals. In other words, simply keep banging your head nonstop and raise your horns to Warcrab until the song’s fulminating grand finale; followed by Kraken Arise (which by the way is also featured in a very interesting 2019 compilation titled Doomed & Stoned in England), a bestial onrush of Sludge Metal by Warcrab spearheaded by Martyn’s enraged roars, with Dave and Rich sounding as thunderous as the music demands with their sonic weapons.

Warcrab Damned in Endless Night Silver-embossed CD Box Set

Dave’s menacing bass lines are embraced by wicked distortions and a somber atmosphere in Unfurling Wings of Damnation, leaning towards classic Doom Metal the likes of Celtic Frost and Black Sabbath, with Geoff, Paul and Leigh extracting minimalist but potent and sharp sounds from their guitars, growing in intensity until it reaches a decimating, rockin’ sonority for our total delectation. Needless to say, Geoff’s solos are insanely heavy and crisp, adding an extra touch of malignancy to the overall result. Swords sounds and feels dark and demonic from start to finish, keeping the album at a truly high level of acidity, rage and madness, with Rich stealing the spotlight with his steady, sluggish beats while Martyn growls and gnarls nonstop. and its lugubrious final moments build an instant connection with the outro Damnati, an instrumental feast of cutting riffs and solos, pounding beats and sheer darkness that puts a climatic ending to such impactful album.

I became a fan of the music by Warcrab in 2016 after listening to Scars of Aeons, but I must admit those guys stepped up their game in terms of aggressiveness, obscurity and intricacy in Damned In Endless Night, on sale from several locations such as the band’s own BandCamp page and the Transcending Obscurity webstore (where you can also find a sensational Damned in Endless Night silver-embossed CD box set, limited to 150 and containing an 8-panel silver digipak CD, an autographed card signed by the band personally, a logo patch, an album artwork badge, a fridge magnet and a 3D sticker), as well as from Apple Music and Amazon. In addition, don’t forget to follow this six-piece infernal horde on Facebook and to bang your head like a maniac to their harsh and ruthless music, and then (only then) may all your nights be endless and damned.

Best moments of the album: Halo of Flies, Blood for the Blood God and Kraken Arise.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Perpetua (instrumental) 1:59
2. Halo of Flies 5:20
3. In the Arms of Armageddon 5:27
4. Blood for the Blood God 5:49
5. Abyssal Mausoleum 8:25
6. Magnetic Fields Collapse 4:22
7. Kraken Arise 3:35
8. Unfurling Wings of Damnation 7:33
9. Swords 6:18
10. Damnati (instrumental) 3:13

Band members
Martyn Grant – vocals
Geoff Holmes – lead guitar
Paul “Budgie” Garbett – guitar
Leigh Jones – guitar
Dave “Guppy” Simmonds – bass
Rich Parker – drums

Album Review – Illimitable Dolor / Leaden Light (2019)

Drenched in wistful melancholy and stirring up faded albeit rich memories, the new album by this Australian-based unity is an ambitious ode to all things doom.

New South Wales, Australia-based Atmospheric Doom/Death Metal masters Illimitable Dolor return from the darkest corners of the earth after the release of their highly acclaimed self-titled debut album in 2017 with a brand new opus, entitled Leaden Light, carrying on where they last left, drenched in wistful melancholy and stirring up faded albeit rich memories, sounding purer, more refined and clearer in expression than before, and lingering for long in your thoughts. With three artworks made by Indonesian artist Varises Otak for the CD, LP and box set editions exclusively (with layout and design by Australian graphic designer Pat Di Palo), this is an ambitious release from the band that features some of the best music in the style without overdoing any aspect of it.

Formed in 2014 in the city of Sydney, the band comprised of Stuart Prickett (The Slow Death, Horrisonous) on vocals, guitars and keyboards, Yonn McLaughlin (The Slow Death, Nazxul) on drums and vocals, Dan Garcia (The Slow Death) and Mat V. Newton (Lycanthia) on the guitars, Gavin Collison on bass and Guy Moore (Elysium) on keyboards offers in Leaden Light a raw and obscure fusion of Atmospheric Doom and Death Metal with Funeral Doom, influenced by renowned acts such as Skepticism, My Dying Bride and Officium Triste, beign therefore recommended for admirers of the music by Mournful Congregation, Evoken, The Slow Death and Chalice of Suffering, among others. Containing five extremely detailed, mournful and lengthy songs in the span of over 51 minutes, Leaden Light is not an easy listen for the lighthearted, consuming your soul and inviting you to join the band in darkness for all eternity.

A thunderstorm warns the listener darkness is upon us, before Yonn and his sluggish beats together with Guy’s phantasmagorical keys invade our senses in Armed He Brings The Dawn, showcasing a dense and heavy atmosphere from start to finish while Stuart vociferates the song’s Stygian words deeply through his low-tuned, devilish gnarls. In addition, the music flows like a river of darkness, alternating between purely somber passages and more piercing sounds, embracing the listener majestically. Soil She Bears is just as damned, lugubrious and grim as its predecessor, with deep and visceral roars permeating the air while the keys by Guy keep the ambience truly menacing. Not only that, Gavin and Yonn bring heaviness to the musicality with their respective punches and beats, dragging you to the bitterly cold crypts of the underworld.

Horses Pale And Four continues form where the previous song ended, building momentum and aiming at reaching a climatic stage where all instruments are darkly connected, with Stuart’s growls and the band’s guitar triumvirate’s riffs complementing each other flawlessly. Put differently, this is a bold and enfolding display of Atmospheric Doom Metal spiced up by Atmospheric Black Metal and Blackened Doom nuances tailored for lovers of the genre. Then the serene, melancholic piano notes by Guy kick off the utterly doomed and depressive Leaden Light Her Coils, where the guitars by Stuart, Dan and Mat feel like a delicate but extremely sharp knife cutting our skin deep. Furthermore, its rhythm is beyond mesmerizing, and you’ll certainly be stunned by how grandiose their music can be, with Guy, Gavin and Yonn giving a lecture in Doom Metal with their slow, steady and reverberating tones. And last but not least, the sextet morphs into their most Atmospheric Black Metal mode possible in 2.12.14 (which is probably the date when the band was created), feeling very touching, ethereal and melancholic, with Stuart, Dan and Mat taking the lead with their gentle guitar lines, followed by Yonn’s precise beats and all other grim instruments and sounds until the song’s dense ending.

As already mentioned, Leaden Light, available in full on Spotify, might not be an easy listen at first for the average rock fan, but it’s definitely worth a shot and a fantastic introduction to the world of modern-day Atmospheric Death and Doom Metal. Hence, you can show your true support to such idiosyncratic entity hailing from Australia by following them on Facebook, and specially by grabbing your copy of Leaden Light from several locations like their own BandCamp page or the Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore in the US or in Europe (where by the way you can still purchase the beyond special gold CD or LP box sets), as well as from iTunes or Amazon. In other words, succumb to the most lugubrious side of music by joining Illimitable Dolor in pitch black darkness, and may your life be doomed forever and ever to the sound of their classy and extremely somber music.

Best moments of the album: Horses Pale And Four and Leaden Light Her Coils.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Armed He Brings The Dawn 14:50
2. Soil She Bears 7:18
3. Horses Pale And Four 11:27
4. Leaden Light Her Coils 13:48
5. 2.12.14 4:27

Band members
Stuart Prickett – guitars, vocals, keyboards
Dan Garcia – guitars
Mat V. Newton – guitars
Gavin Collison – bass
Guy Moore – keyboards
Yonn McLaughlin – drums