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Altar of Betelgeuze - Echoes

Altar of Betelgeuze - Echoes (2024)

Added: April 07, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Altar of Betelgeuze - Among the Ruins

Altar of Betelgeuze - Among the Ruins (2017)

Added: April 07, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Altar of Betelgeuze - Darkness Sustains the Silence

Altar of Betelgeuze - Darkness Sustains the Silence (2014)

Added: April 07, 2024
Ratings: 1
Reviews: 0
Site Rating
4.0
Clan Rating
4.0
Altar of Betelgeuze - At the Shrine of Light

Altar of Betelgeuze - At the Shrine of Light (2012)

Added: April 07, 2024
Ratings: 1
Reviews: 0
Site Rating
3.5
Clan Rating
3.5
Enchantment - Cold Soul Embrace

Enchantment - Cold Soul Embrace (2022)

Added: April 07, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Butterfly Effect, The - IV

Butterfly Effect, The - IV (2022)

Added: April 08, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Mokoma - Myrsky

Mokoma - Myrsky (2024)

Added: April 08, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Alpha Wolf - Half Living Things

Alpha Wolf - Half Living Things (2024)

Added: April 08, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Future Palace - Run

Future Palace - Run (2022)

Added: April 01, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Future Palace - Escape

Future Palace - Escape (2020)

Added: April 01, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Seven Kingdoms - Zenith

Seven Kingdoms - Zenith (2022)

Added: April 08, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Opera Magna - Heroica

Opera Magna - Heroica (2024)

Added: April 08, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Opera Magna - Of Love and Other Demons

Opera Magna - Of Love and Other Demons (2023)

Added: April 08, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Opera Magna - Wound of Love

Opera Magna - Wound of Love (2023)

Added: April 08, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Opera Magna - Where Once Was Beating My Dark Heart

Opera Magna - Where Once Was Beating My Dark Heart (2022)

Added: April 08, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Spire of Lazarus - Soaked in the Sands

Spire of Lazarus - Soaked in the Sands (2022)

Added: April 10, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Spire of Lazarus - Dark Souls

Spire of Lazarus - Dark Souls (2017)

Added: April 10, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Witch Vomit - Funeral Sanctum

Witch Vomit - Funeral Sanctum (2024)

Added: April 10, 2024
Ratings: 1
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Site Rating
3.0
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0.0
Hour of Penance - Devotion

Hour of Penance - Devotion (2024)

Added: April 10, 2024
Ratings: 0
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0.0
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0.0
Antropofagus - Origin

Antropofagus - Origin (2022)

Added: April 10, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Astrosaur - Portals

Astrosaur - Portals (2022)

Added: April 10, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Astrosaur - Obscuroscope

Astrosaur - Obscuroscope (2019)

Added: April 10, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Astrosaur - Fade In // Space Out

Astrosaur - Fade In // Space Out (2017)

Added: April 10, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
ERRA - Cure

ERRA - Cure (2024)

Added: April 10, 2024
Ratings: 2
Reviews: 0
Site Rating
3.5
Clan Rating
3.5
Soul Dissolution - Winter Contemplations

Soul Dissolution - Winter Contemplations (2020)

Added: April 10, 2024
Ratings: 0
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0.0
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0.0
Austere - Beneath the Threshold

Austere - Beneath the Threshold (2024)

Added: April 10, 2024
Ratings: 0
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0.0
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0.0
Thou Art Lord - Daemoniorum

Thou Art Lord - Daemoniorum (2022)

Added: April 10, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Thou Art Lord - The Tunes of Hell (Best of)

Thou Art Lord - The Tunes of Hell (Best of) (2022)

Added: April 10, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Wandelaars - Verbroken

Wandelaars - Verbroken (2022)

Added: April 10, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Wandelaars - Aletsch

Wandelaars - Aletsch (2020)

Added: April 10, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Terrörhammer - Gateways to Hades

Terrörhammer - Gateways to Hades (2022)

Added: April 11, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Terrörhammer - Under the Unholy Command

Terrörhammer - Under the Unholy Command (2015)

Added: April 11, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Terrörhammer - In the Name of Hell

Terrörhammer - In the Name of Hell (2018)

Added: April 11, 2024
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0.0
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0.0
Terrörhammer - Vintage Black Mass

Terrörhammer - Vintage Black Mass (2012)

Added: April 11, 2024
Ratings: 0
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0.0
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0.0
Reaper (AUS) - Viridian Inferno

Reaper (AUS) - Viridian Inferno (2022)

Added: April 11, 2024
Ratings: 0
Reviews: 0
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0.0
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0.0
Ingested - The Tide of Death and Fractured Dreams

Ingested - The Tide of Death and Fractured Dreams (2024)

Added: April 11, 2024
Ratings: 0
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0.0
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0.0
Sold Soul - I Hope We Make it Out of This Alive

Sold Soul - I Hope We Make it Out of This Alive (2022)

Added: April 11, 2024
Ratings: 0
Reviews: 0
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0.0
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0.0
Sold Soul - Into the Mouth of Hell

Sold Soul - Into the Mouth of Hell (2018)

Added: April 11, 2024
Ratings: 0
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0.0
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0.0
Sold Soul - Damned

Sold Soul - Damned (2019)

Added: April 11, 2024
Ratings: 0
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0.0
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0.0
Holy Ghost Tabernacle Choir, The - Slow Murder

Holy Ghost Tabernacle Choir, The - Slow Murder (2022)

Added: April 11, 2024
Ratings: 0
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0.0
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0.0
Celldweller - Satellites (Remixed)

Celldweller - Satellites (Remixed) (2023)

Added: April 11, 2024
Ratings: 1
Reviews: 0
Site Rating
4.5
Clan Rating
4.5
Shum - Pulzáló dobok tisztítják meg az eget

Shum - Pulzáló dobok tisztítják meg az eget (2024)

Added: April 07, 2024
Ratings: 0
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0.0
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0.0
Shum - Nullagon

Shum - Nullagon (2022)

Added: April 07, 2024
Ratings: 0
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0.0
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0.0
Keygen Church - Nel nome del codice

Keygen Church - Nel nome del codice (2024)

Added: April 04, 2024
Ratings: 0
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0.0
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0.0
Oomph! - Richter und Henker

Oomph! - Richter und Henker (2023)

Added: March 21, 2024
Ratings: 0
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0.0
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0.0

Clans

The Fallen
The Fallen

Members: 143

Releases: 6738

The Gateway
The Gateway

Members: 56

Releases: 2396

The Guardians
The Guardians

Members: 143

Releases: 8744

The Horde
The Horde

Members: 183

Releases: 10670

The Infinite
The Infinite

Members: 118

Releases: 5319

The North
The North

Members: 156

Releases: 11716

The Pit
The Pit

Members: 163

Releases: 5044

The Revolution
The Revolution

Members: 37

Releases: 3843

The Sphere
The Sphere

Members: 25

Releases: 985

The Law

I've always had a real soft spot for the more brutal end of thrash metal. That's really where my extreme metal roots lie & it's a sound that appears to have discovered a bit of a revival in recent years. One of the earlier exponents of the sound was New Orleans' Exhorder whose 1990 debut album "Slaughter in the Vatican" made some pretty big waves in this early 90's teenager's Walkman at the time. The band's 1992 sophomore record "The Law" has often been overlooked though, perhaps struggling a little to overcome the links to Pantera & the groove metal genre. I was very quick to pick up on "The Law" & have always thought of it as another excellent Exhorder thrash record with its brutal production job giving it something of a differentiator from the crowd. It certainly didn't see Exhorder following the trend for thrashers to move into a grungier & more commercial sound at the time either. I've been looking forward to revisiting "The Law" for quite some time now & have blasted the shit out of my ear drums on the way to work this week. The album has lost none of its zest so let's take a look at it in a little more detail.

"The Law" is a record that simply sounds like no other. In fact, it's instantly identifiable from its ball-tearing guitar tone alone with the searing metallic high-end threatening to sheer your eye drums in two & leave you with ringing ears for a week (like I have right now actually). When these guys hit on a huge thrash, groove or sludge metal riff it's accentuated ten-fold by the extreme amount of metal that's been genetically infused into that guitar tone & I for one applaud them for it. It may pound the listener into submission at times but it also gives me a visceral, primal reaction that sees me returning to it time & time again. If I had to guess I'd suggest that Exhorder were aiming to get close to Exodus' ultra-crunchy tone from records like 1989's "Fabulous Disaster" or 1990's "Impact is Imminent" but things got a little out of hand & they just decided to run with it. Thank goodness they did because it's resulted in one of the most metal records you'll find.

"The Law" does sound a little different to "Slaughter in the Vatican" from a stylistic point of view too though. It's less of a balls-to-the-wall thrasher with more variety in the tempo department. When these boys thrash out they do it with a hell-for-leather reckless abandon that few can keep up with but when they slow things down they can manage to muster some of the most immense riffs from the bowels of Hell. Just look at the outro of opening track "Soul Search Me" for example! How can that riff be beaten?? Answer: It simply can't & it's these moments when the influence on Pantera's sound can be seen as plain as day. Vocalist Kyle Thomas sounds exactly like Phil Anselmo for the most part with his vicious delivery being the perfect foil for the aggressive instrumentation around him. Despite the uniqueness of the guitar tone, you can easily see the parallels with Dimebag Darrell's as they both accentuate the power of the riff in a magical way. And those devastating groove riffs often see the two bands running alongside each other in parallel too. Exhorder are far more consistently fast & thrashy though & aren't tarnished by the same yobbo-isms that Pantera's less sophisticated work has been.

The tracklisting kicks off in splendid fashion & never lets up for the entire 39-minute duration in a super-consistent display of savage metal worship. The incredible "Unforgiven" & the blistering title track were genuine classics in my teenage years but the other seven songs are nothing to scoff at either. Even the sludgier rendition of Black Sabbath's "Into The Void" is a welcome addition in that it not only suits Exhorder's ability to maximize the impact of a big groovy riff but it also takes the original to a slightly darker & more imposing place. Almost every track contains stellar riffs that'll see you struggling to sit still while Thomas grabs the back of your head & progressively smashes your face into the table or seat in front of you. Boy, these guys must have been something to behold in a live environment & I once again find myself reaching for Exodus as a point of comparison. On the negative side, I have no doubt that the iconic guitar tone would tend to make things sound a little samey if you're not committed to the cause. Thankfully, I'm totally onboard with what Exhorder are dishing out though so I've never felt that "The Law" suffered from that affliction.

Now for the elephant in the room i.e. the whole groove metal thing. Look... there's no doubt that "The Law" is a true showcase of where the rumours that their mates Pantera ripped off their sound come from. It's fucking obvious to be honest but that doesn't make "The Law" a groove metal release overall in my opinion. It's far too fast, thrashy & aggressive for that with the groove metal riffs being greatly outnumbered by the thrash ones. In fact, there's only really the one song that should qualify as groove metal in my opinion in the rock solid & more rhythmically structured closer "(Cadence) Of The Dirge". The rest of the original pieces are thrashtastically energetic extreme metal numbers that have been custom made for casual mosh pit murder & I for one can't get enough of them.

Perhaps "The Law" isn't Exhorder's best record but it's a damn fine one nonetheless & I wish more metalheads would give it the credit it deserves rather than simply overlooking it because it sounds a little different to the debut album they've placed on such a lofty pedestal. For those that are uninitiated, if the idea of taking classic Pantera & combining it with Steve Souza-fronted Exodus & then feeding it Demolition Hammer level amounts of testosterone sounds appealing then you know what you need to do & quickly too.

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Daniel Daniel / April 11, 2024 08:03 PM
Nocturnus

Florida technical death metallers Nocturnus were a fairly big player in our household from very early on in their recording career. I was lucky enough to discover their 1990 debut album “The Key” shortly after it was released & purchased a copy on cassette. It showcased a highly ambitious band of talented musicians that were looking to push the envelope when it came to both atmospherics, imagery & technique & I found it to be a very solid release indeed. Perhaps not the undeniable classic that many death metal fans will have you believe it is but a worthy purchase that has commanded consistent revisits over the years. 1992’s follow-up album “Thresholds” simply wasn’t in the same caliber from what I remember of it although it was certainly worth a listen at the time & didn’t discourage me from picking up this month’s The Horde feature release (i.e. Nocturnus’ self-titled 7” from 1993) on vinyl immediately after it was released. I don’t remember much about it now to be honest & have no idea what happened to the record I owned but I do recall being a touch underwhelmed even if I certainly found entertainment in it. I’m interested to see how those recollections stack up now actually as I recently revisited “The Key” & it’s renewed my interest.

The ”Nocturnus” 7” is nothing more than a two-song single but includes two previously unreleased non-album tracks intended to showcase the band’s brand new lineup. Bassist Emo Mowery had now filled the empty position that was filled by session musician Chris Anderson on the “Thresholds” album while James Marcinek had now joined the fold at the expense of founding member & band leader Mike Browning (Morbid Angel/Acheron) who had been controversially axed. The two songs take a similar stylistic approach to the one found on “The Key” but there are a few notable differences & characteristics that are worth pointing out.

The first & most obvious thing you’ll notice about this release is the shocking production job which is extremely rough & sees Nocturnus’ trademark flashy guitars being largely nullified. It’s a real shame because this flaw goes a long way to ensuring that the record was never going to have much of an impact, even if you absolutely loved the song-writing. Front man Dan Izzo had been brought in for the “Thresholds” album to enable Browning to focus purely on his drum kit. Here we see him trying awfully hard to sound like notorious Deicide vocalist Glen Benton & doing a reasonable job of it too. In fact, I’d have to suggest that it was a good move to swap him in for Browning as his more angry & aggressive delivery would seem to me to be a better fit for a death metal band. So would the drumming of Marcinek actually, at least I’d take it over the simplistic contribution that Browning gave us on “The Key”. The keyboards of Louis Panzer are still on show but don’t play as prominent a role in these compositions which was an interesting move given that this was one of the major drawcards that was seeing people flocking to Nocturnus. The other was the consistent layers of ultra-shredding guitar solos that were a majorly exciting prospect for this budding young lead guitarist but, once again, the solos have been toned down significantly here which I find to be a really strange decision. Perhaps that’s why we’ve seen these two tracks isolated on a dedicated single? I dunno but it was pretty annoying that Nocturnus had dropped a good chunk of their signature features.

When taken for what they are though, these two songs aren’t too bad & certainly offer enough to keep me interested & entertained. The lengthier “Possess The Priest” has a slight edge over the more aggressive “Mummified” but there’s not a lot between them as they’re both decent enough examples of the technical death metal subgenre. I’ve often seen people trying to utilize the progressive metal tag with this record but I don’t think that’s appropriate as this material is far more consciously technical than it is conceptually expansive. The riffs can sometimes be quite thrashy but I never feel that I’m listening to anything other than a death metal artist at any stage.

So, it would seem that the “Nocturnus” 7” single is bit of a mixture of positives & negatives overall, isn’t it? The production is arguably the most unfortunate & release-defining element but I’m pleased that Nocturnus possessed enough class to overcome that failure to give us a reasonable record nonetheless. Sadly, I can’t see it being enough to draw me back to the single at any point in the future but I don’t think your average Death. Atheist or Pestilence fan will find it to be too repulsive, even if it’s not on the same level as the universally worshipped releases that those bands were dishing out during that period. But then, I’m not sure I ever saw Nocturnus on the same level as those artists in the first place. Not many are though to be fair.

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Daniel Daniel / April 10, 2024 10:31 PM
Nocturnus

Nocturnus are a band it took me a little while to get in to, but once I got to grips with their debut, The Key, I enjoyed it enormously. Nocturnus is a 7" EP from three years later and following some drama around the departure of founder member, drummer and vocalist on The Key, Mike Browning. Firstly, where you listen to it could make a difference to your opinion. I first found it on YouTube, but the sound is terrible, demo quality and muffled to hell, but the version on Spotify (which is listed as a 2001 release, so may be a remastered version) is much clearer-sounding and definitely superior to the YT version.

There are two tracks on offer here, totalling ten and a half minutes runtime. the "A" side is "Possess the Priest", which is a six-minute slab of glorious Morbid Angel-worshipping OSDM and is my favourite of the two tracks with the transitions from the slower sections to the quicker and vice-versa getting my fists pumping and blood rushing in a good, old-fashioned adrenaline surge. The keyboards are still very much present but, as with The Key, they are quite thin-sounding and merely act as atmospheric support for the riffs. "B"-side "Mummified" sounds a bit like Death during their transition phase from conventional death metal to to prog-tech-death gods and, songwriting-wise, pushes a little bit too far into tech death territory for my preference and, without Chuch Schuldiner's songwriting prowess, it ends up sounding too disjointed for me. Still, it doesn't outstay it's welcome and when coupled with such a great "A"-side the release as a whole works very well as a short EP.

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Sonny Sonny / April 10, 2024 03:04 PM
The Thrash of Naked Limbs

English doom/death legends My Dying Bride had thoroughly blown Ben & I away with their first two releases "Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium" & "As The Flower Withers". In fact, their 1991 "Towards The Sinister" demo was really strong too so I had extremely high hopes for their next record as a teenager back in 1993. The band's experimentation with the incorporation of violin & gothic elements had proved to be a master stroke so the expectation around what they'd deliver us with next was certainly very high. Perhaps My Dying Bride's label & management could feel that excitement because they opted to deliver us a short three-track taster in order to tide us over until the arrival of the classic "Turn Loose The Swans" album later on that year. "The Thrash of Naked Limbs" E.P. would land eight months before that spectacular game-changer & it'd only see my passion for the burgeoning doom/death scene rising to fever pitch.

"The Thrash of Naked Limbs" E.P. contains just the three tracks across its eighteen-minute duration, two of which take the form of their signature doom/death metal sound with the other being something a little different for My Dying Bride. The production job on the two metal songs isn't perfect with the rhythm guitars sounding a little wishy washy to my ears & the violin coming across as a tad artificial too. Thankfully though, the riffs are as crushing as we've come to expect from a My Dying Bride release with Aaron's iconic death growls being in full effect. There are some subtle differences from the band's debut album on show here. The guitar tone is starting to head away from the filthy death metal graveyard it had resided in previously &, despite the production issues, the overall package just seems to be a little more polished & professional. The violin parts that permeated "As The Flower Withers" aren't quite as prominent here either as they play more of a supporting role than they do the thematic protagonist we were presented with on some of the band's stronger works to the time. I'd suggest that there isn't quite as much undiluted death metal included in this material either. It's a little more consistently doomy than the earlier releases were.

The E.P. kicks off with the title track which is generally regarded as the strongest inclusion of the three. Interestingly, I'm gonna go the other way & say that it's the track that I connect with the least. Don't get me wrong, it's still a very strong piece that borders on being a classic in its own right but I just don't think it quite gels as well as My Dying Bride's most transcendent & timeless material. Easily the most divisive song is the dark ambient piece "Le cerf malade" that splits the two metal numbers & I have to admit that I've always found it to be the highlight of the record. Admittedly I'm a big ambient music fan & this piece absolutely nails the atmosphere it sets out to explore. In fact, I'd suggest that any ambient artist worth their salt would be drooling over this track to be honest. Closing doom/death anthem "Gather Me Up Forever" goes pretty close to equaling it too. It's the doomier of the two metal songs & doesn't taint its more beautiful & melodic doom moments with chuggier mid-paced riffage as much as the title track does so there's not a hint of filler here with every piece offering the listener a significant artistic & atmospheric pay-off.

"The Thrash of Naked Limbs" doesn't get quite as much attention as its more highly regarded predecessors but I have a big soft spot for the more mature & refined composition that predicted the direction the band would soon take & this saw it making just as big an impact on my life. In fact, I've tended to think of the E.P. as My Dying Bride's strongest overall work to the time & this revisit has only strengthened that feeling even though there's very little between the three proper releases. This is not only an essential My Dying Bride record but it's an essential release for the doom/death subgenre overall. It rightfully stands alongside the band's finest work & should have Paradise Lost, Anathema & Novembers Doom fans frothing at the mouth.


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Daniel Daniel / April 10, 2024 11:44 AM
Blood Ritual

1991's "Worship Him" debut album was a relatively big record for Ben & I back in the early 1990's. I was already a fan of the First Wave of Black Metal when I first discovered Switzerland's Samael & their first full-length possessed some of the best traits from a number of those bands which saw me being heavily attracted to their fairly simple yet deeply atmospheric take on early black metal; their measured & doomy sense of control being in direct contrast to the death metal explosion that I was right up to my eyeballs in at the time. We'd pick up 1992's follow-up album "Blood Ritual" on CD & would give it a very similar treatment & with a fairly similar result from what I recall too. I didn't regard either record as being classics for the genre at the time but felt that they were essential early black metal release nonetheless. I always got the feeling that they sported a timeless quality & that element is still very much in effect with this week's revisit.

"Blood Ritual" isn't as different from "Worship Him" as some reviewers tend to make out. It certainly contains a cleaner, heavier production job that has obviously been inspired by felllow Swiss extreme metal legends Celtic Frost with the thick layers of rhythm guitar being a clear highlight of the record. The slow-to-mid paced tempos of "Worship Him" have only been dialed back a little further with the doomy vibe of the slower material off the debut having been accentuated here. If anything the riff structures are even less typical of the modern-day black metal sound too with thrash & doom metal tools being utilized within the context of a black metal atmosphere. Guitarist Vorphalack's grim Quorthon-inspired vocals always end to tie Samael to the black metal genre too, along with the darker feel & simpler riff structures. This is black metal at its most primitive, only with a production that goes very much against the traditional lo-fi grain that black metal was built on but one that definitely suits Samael's character traits. Celtic Frost are the clear source of inspiration here & (as with "Worship Him") I can't help but wonder as to just how much of an influence the early Samael releases had on Darkthrone's transition into black metal, particularly records like "Panzerfaust". The early works of Greece's Rotting Christ & Varathron also come to mind due to the similarities in style & tempo.

The tracklisting on "Blood Ritual" is very top-heavy with the vast majority of the stronger material residing on the A side. There's a short lull in the middle of the album with the faster title track (a re-recorded track from their 1988 "Macabre Operatta" demo tape) & short interlude "Since the Creation..." failing to hit the mark before things return to more enjoyable territories for the remainder of the record. The most notable inclusion is the incredible "After the Sepulture" which was clearly Samael's finest moment to the time & is still one of my all-time favourites amongst the earlier black metal acts. It represents Samael's first genuine classic & is probably the differentiator between where the two albums stand for me personally. Other highlights include "Poison Infiltration", "Bestial Devotion", the solid opener "Beyond the Nothingness" & the lengthy "Macabre Operatta" (another re-recording from the demo of the same name").

"Blood Ritual" is another high-quality effort from a black metal band that had been around a lot longer than most at the time & showed a clear understanding of the key elements that make the genre so great. There's not a lot between Samael's first two full-lengths but I tend to find "Blood Ritual" just edging out its older sibling overall, buoyed by the impact of the wonderful "After the Sepulture" while "Worship Him" lacked such a transcendent highlight track. 1994 would see Samael topping both records with their career-defining "Ceremony of Opposites" third album but "Blood Ritual" is probably still my second favourite Samael record of the ones I've heard & it should be essential listening for anyone wanting to gain a comprehensive understanding of where the black metal genre came from.

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Daniel Daniel / April 09, 2024 07:41 PM

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Sonny in Metal Academy Radio Playlist Suggestions - The Horde Edition at 13.04.2024 02:30 PM: Hi Daniel, here are my suggestions f...
Shadowdoom9 (Andi) in The New Music Thread : The Revolution Edition at 13.04.2024 09:50 AM: Nice one, Daniel! Earth Crisis still...
Daniel in The New Music Thread - The Guardians Edition at 13.04.2024 09:45 AM: If you enjoyed our feature release f...
Daniel in The New Music Thread : The North Edition at 13.04.2024 09:40 AM: Canadian black noise solo act La Tor...
Daniel in The New Music Thread : The Fallen Edition at 13.04.2024 06:10 AM: A brand new live album from Japan's ...
Daniel in The New Music Thread : The Revolution Edition at 13.04.2024 06:08 AM: I went to an Earth Crisis live ...
Daniel in The New Music Thread : The Horde Edition at 13.04.2024 06:04 AM: I’ve seen Obituary live a couple o...