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Here's my review:

I was lucky enough to discover Vader very early on in their recording career with 1992’s “The Ultimate Incantation” debut album first crossing my path shortly after release & at a time when I was completely obsessed with death metal (which… let’s fact it… has never really changed, has it?). I quite liked it too although the fact that I haven’t returned to it since the 1990’s is probably a sign that its impact wasn’t as significant as some of the more classic death metal releases of the time. It did, however, do enough for me to see me seeking out its follow-up “De Profundis” as soon as it hit the streets as well as a couple of Vader’s earlier demos in 1989’s “Necrolust” & 1990’s “Morbid Reich”, both of which I got some enjoyment out of. “De Profundis” would be the record that would cement Vader as an artist worthy of deeper attention for me though so I’ve been excited to take another look at it this week.

Now, let’s get the obvious out of the way right from the start. “De Profundis” is a well-executed example of mid- 90’s death metal produced by a band that clearly possessed a strong pedigree in the extreme metal underground. The band can all play their instruments well & the production is more than acceptable. Those statements alone will generally be enough to ensure a strong score from me given my undeniable affiliations with the genre & era. The question has to be asked about Vader’s credentials for the higher tier ratings though & we're about to take a look at why.

For all the positives on display on “De Profundis”, the major elephant in the room is the fact that they are so clearly trying to emulate the most premium band in the entire global scene at the time in Morbid Angel. The worship is absolutely blatant at times with the riff structures, vocal style & phrasing, drumming & guitar solos all paying homage to the one & only Morbid Angel, a band that I was as obsessed with as any other artist in my life-time when “De Profundis” hit the streets. This leads to the question of whether Vader can compete on that lofty scale & the answer is a categorical no which immediately limits Vader’s scoring potential given that they’ve been relegated to tier two status right from the get-go. The class in their execution & the consistency in their song-writing ability are their feathers in both caps though & Vader draw upon both of those attributes to create a high-quality (if a touch generic) death metal record.

The vocals of front man Piotr Wiwczarek are worth discussing because they’re slightly different to what you would usually expect from a death metal band. His tone is simply not as monstrous or growly, perhaps even semi-clean, & I see this as a slight weakness if I’m being honest. His intelligibility could be argued to be a strength though as it gives Vader a level of accessibility that some of their peers are not always afforded. There are plenty of blast-beats on offer & Morbid Angel’s Pete Sandoval has clearly been an influence on drummer Krzysztof Raczkowski although he lacks the unparalleled power, control & precision of his idol. The guitar solos are probably the highlight of the record for me & we once again see Morbid Angel being the major influence here with Trey Azagthoth’s psychotic chaos being reflected pretty accurately here & with great effect too just quietly. I love the sheer over-the-top energy they bring to proceedings & can accept the similarities to the man who was very much my own personal idol at the time.

One of the real strengths of “De Profundis” is the consistent quality in the song-writing with the tracklisting being very consistent & offering no weak tracks as such. It doesn’t, however, offer as many highlights as I would generally need from an elite death metal release with only the outstanding “Blood of Kingu” (I’m assuming yet another reference to Morbid Angel’s lyrics) being the clear classic of the nine songs. “Of Moon, Blood, Dream & Me” stands out as the weaker number included & is affected by Wiwczarek’s vocal performance which seems to struggle a bit at times but it’s still worth a few listens & isn’t a major distraction.

Look, despite the fact that “De Profundis” doesn’t attempt anything majorly new & targets one band’s sound in particular, I can’t deny that I fucking love that sound so I was always going to find a lot of entertainment in Vader’s sophomore effort. In fact, I’d suggest that it may well be the Pole’s best full-length overall although I do tend to reach for their 2005 “The Art of War” E.P. as my go-to Vader release these days. I can’t see too many battle-hardened death metal fanatics not getting some jollies out of this one.

For fans of Morbid Angel, Hate & Malevolent Creation.



I had a sneaking suspicion that this might be right up your street, Daniel.


Yes it was. Ben & I were obsessed with the figurines. Me in particular.


When my self-imposed exile from metal was ending at the end of the Nineties and I was casting around for bands to get me into the new sounds that had developed since I left it behind in 1990, I stumbled upon CoF playing live on some late night UK TV show and was mesmerised by their sound and aesthetic which were all new to me. I soon obtained a copy of Principles of Evil (via Napster I am ashamed to say) and really got into this new, eccentric-sounding and thoroughly exciting "new" style. I've not always been wowed by all their stuff, but I did find that this debut, Middian and even Nymphetamine offered me enough enjoyment to thoroughly shred any possibility of me claiming to be any kind of trve kvltist black metal fan! However, over the intervening years my black metal listening has refined itself somewhat with Cradle no longer appealing to me that much and it has been a long time since I last listened to Principles of Evil all the way through, so it's time to see how it stacks up 25 years on from my initial discovery of the East Anglian black metal goths.

The most striking thing about CoF is the sheer theatricality of their sound. Combining the symphonic black metal of Emperor with the gothic aesthetics of MyDying Bride, Dani Filth strikes me as a black metal version of Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Cradle albums as soundtracks to black metal musicals. In truth, that fanciful notion has less basis in fact here on the debut than it does on some of their later releases, but it is still a fair comment, I think, as it is still steeped in theatricality. To this end Benjamin Ryan's keyboards play a significant role on The Principle... providing intros, outros, interludes and as atmospheric layering they are never far from the action and provide some great moments, such as during The Forest Whispers My Name where they provide a nice melodic overlay and my favourite track, To Eve the Art of Witchcraft, which is undoubtedly elevated by Ryan's keyboard work.

Obviously, Cradle never really sounded this black metal again, with them inching into more gothic metal territory with each release, but underneath the gothic and atmospheric trappings there are some pretty decent slices of melodic black metal blasting here with the title track, the aforementioned The Forest Whispers My Name and A Crescendo of Passion Bleeding. They are unafraid to slow things down, too, and lean more into the gothic metal direction. The Black Goddess Rises, for example, contains little actual black metal and is a much more considered tempo, almost resembling doom metal, for much of it's runtime.

I'm actually glad I returned to this for May's feature because it has held up quite well across the intervening years and I feel a bit more love towards it today than I did before revisiting it. Of course there is an inherent degree of cheesiness here, with Dani's clean vocals providing much of it, but I do like his singular brand of ear-piercing screams which possibly makes me a bit more forgiving. All in all, I am feeling so well-disposed to Principle today, after several revisits during the month, that I am going to up my long-standing 3.5 star rating to a full 4.



I had actually forgotten that I had started this thread, so here we go again...

Pentagram (CHL) - Demo #2 (1987)

Pentagram Chile's second demo was recorded in September 1987, comprises three tracks, The Malefice, Profaner and Temple of Perdition for a total runtime of sixteen minutes. Like the first demo, the sound here is pretty good with the "cavernous" sound that would become so crucial to a certain style of death metal in the nineties being present by default and adding a grimy "evilness" to the Pentagram sound. It also possesses a weighty bottom end, the bass anchoring the tracks with a really meaty presence in a way that is still a feature of chilean thrash to this day.

This isn't massively different to Demo #1, but there has obviously been some technical improvements to the playing and a degree of progression in their songwriting. The aggression they brought to the first demo was still present with hats definitely still tipped towards Slayer and Possessed, but there is a bit of complexity creeping in, with Profaner in particular going through any number of tempo changes in order to mix things up a bit.

Unfortunately, despite releasing two absolute killer demos in '87, the band couldn't generate any interest from labels either inside or outside Chile and so, in 1988 they split-up with Anton Reisenegger going on to form power / thrash outfit Fallout.


Interestingly, I really dig the cover version of Venom's "Heaven's on Fire" that appears as a bonus track on the Spotify version of the record & feel that it would have improved the album if it had of been included on the original release.


They cite a “noticeable uptick” in submissions of bands with AI generated music.  They also acknowledge that this is a “work in progress”.  No names mentioned.


1. Buzzov•en - "Crawl Away" (from "…At A Loss", 1998) [submitted by Vinny]
2. Solstice - "Only the Strong" (from "Lamentations", 1994)
3. Hamferð - "Hvølja" (from "Men guðs hond er sterk", 2024) [submitted by Sonny]
4. Oromet – “Diluvium” (from “Oromet”, 2023) [submitted by Daniel]
5. Om - "Unitive Knowledge of the Godhead" (from "Pilgrimage", 2007) [submitted by Vinny]
6. Church of Misery - "I, Motherfucker (Ted Bundy) " (from "The Second Coming, 2004) [submitted by Sonny]
7. The Vision Bleak - "Chapter VIII: The Undying One" (from "Weird Tales", 2024)
8. Plaguewielder - "At Night They Roam" (from "Covenant Death", 2021) [submitted by Sonny]
9. Acid Mammoth - "Atomic Shaman" (from "Supersonic Megafauna Collision", 2024)
10. Grey Skies Fallen - "No Place for Sorrow" (from "Molded by Broken Hands", 2024)
11. My Dying Bride - "A Starving Heart" (from "A Mortal Binding", 2024)
12. Altar of Betelgeuze - "Echoes" (from "Echoes", 2024) [submitted by Sonny]
13. Nightfell - "The Swallowing of Flies" (from "A Sanity Deranged", 2019) [submitted by Vinny]
14. Solitude Aeturnus – “Mirror of Sorrow” (from “Into The Depths Of Sorrow”, 1991) [submitted by Daniel]
15. Hell - "Gog" (from "Hell II", 2010)


Antichrist Siege Machine - Vengeance of Eternal Fire (2024)

Antichrist Siege Machine are relative newcomers to the war metal scene, their debut EP hitting the stands in 2017, but they have taken the genre by the scruff of the neck and laid down some pretty brutal stuff in the seven years since. With latest album, Vengeance of Eternal Fire, ASM have really hit their groove with a release that delivers an all-out aural battery without the muddy production values that robbed so many of their predecessor's releases of any clarity. Yes, I know that muddy, chaotic sound was part of the appeal of early war metal releases from the Blasphemies of this world and I love that archetypal sound too, but here, thirty-five years on from those earliest canoniacal war metal classics, the genre has moved on from that and the best modern war metal acts don't need to hide behind poor production because they have the chops to produce brutal and blasphemous sounds whilst allowing the listener to actually hear everything they are doing.

Of course the basis of war metal is an unholy alliance of death and black metal, with varying proportions of each within the mix. ASM tend towards the more death metal end of the war metal spectrum, dropping occasionally into quite "groovy" slower death metal riffing, just enough to break things up and provide a little variety, but not so much that it distracts from the overarching blitzkrieg that comprises the vast majority of Vengeance of Eternal Fire and shouldn't be seen as any kind of treasonous act against war metal orthodoxy. The drums sit fairly prominently in the mix, so the blastbeats are given plenty of focus, almost as much as the blistering riffs. Interestingly drummer Scott "S.B." Bartley is also the vocalist, so it must be quite a feat when playing live for him to sing whilst launching salvo after salvo of blastbeats. His vocals actually seem to sit lower in the mix than his drumming, thus giving them a distant, buried feel, despite their bellicose viciousness. The high production values allow the listener to distinguish the riffs far easier than on old-school war metal releases and to appreciate the finer details which may have been lost in the past.

I must say, as much as I love OSWM, I do like the fact that a band like ASM employ a cleaner production style, which does make appreciation of the nuances of war metal much easier - and I say this with no ironic intent because it is obvious that, despite the inherent (almost) continuous blasting and breakneck riffing, that these guys really have great command of their instruments and their overall sound is tight, aggressive and technically solid. At the end of the day, they write killer riffs, have a powerful delivery and are extremely capable of capturing the witheringly blasphemous intent of true war metal. For me this is the band's best release to date and call me heretic if you must, but I think this is capable of standing against the very best that war metal has to offer. To (mis)quote the intro to the Fallout 4 video game "war metal... war metal never changes". Except when it does!



There is a packed slate of releases for the coming Friday with albums from Darkthrone, Deicide and Pestilence being joined by releases from lesser known, but still great, acts like Inter Arma, Pentagram Chile, Ard, Morgul Blade and Fluisteraars.


Here are a few more hidden gems for me besides the ones in my earlier list:

Dethklok - The Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera (2013) - Melodeath/symphonic metal opera soundtrack to that Metalocalypse special

October Tide - The Cancer Pledge (2023) - Melodic death-doom

Hinayana - Shatter and Fall (2023) - Melodic death-doom

Mercenary - Everblack (2002) - Melodeath with power metal influences

Becoming the Archetype - The Physics of Fire (2007) - Progressive melodeath with metalcore influences


1. Whores - "Tell Me Something Scientific" (from "Ruiner", 2011) [submitted by Vinny]
2. Gaul - "Megalodon" (from "Gaul", 2011) [submitted by Sonny]
3. Great Falls – “Old Words Worn Thin” (from “Objects Without Pain”, 2023) [submitted by Daniel]
4. Motherslug - "Stoned by the Light" (from "The Electric Dunes of Titan", 2017)
5. Häxenzijrkell - "Part 2: Von Zeit und Form" (from "Urgrund", 2022) [submitted by Ben]
6. Mortiferum - "Faceless Apparition" (from "Disgorged From Psychotic Depths", 2019) [submitted by Sonny]
7. Rapture - "Nameless" (from "Songs for the Withering", 2002)
8. Fange - "Césarienne au noir" (from "Perdition", 2024)
9. Saint Vitus - "In the Asylum" (from "Die Healing", 1995)
10. Black Boned Angel - "Supereclipse II" (from "Supereclipse", 2003)
11. Dopelord - "Scum Priest" (from "Children of the Haze", 2017) [submitted by Vinny]
12. Sempiternal Deathreign - "The Spooky Gloom" (from "The Spooky Gloom", 1989)
13. Cathedral – “Reaching Happiness, Touching Pain” (from “Forest of Equilibrium”, 1991) [submitted by Daniel]
14. Kowloon Walled City - "Gambling on the Richter Scale" (from "Gambling on the Richter Scale", 2009) [submitted by Vinny]
15. Mesmur - "Refraction" (from "Chthonic", 2023) [submitted by Ben]
16. Memento Mori - "Lost Horizons" (from "Rhymes of Lunacy", 1993)


I really enjoyed the Altar of the Stag track you submitted and the Dyatlov Pass Incident has always intrigued me, so that is an album I definitely have on my list to dig into.

Quoted Sonny

It's weird one alright (the incident - not the track).  Currently listening to Dark Histories podcast and the episode about Dyatlov as it happens.


Had the time to get through this playlist today on my morning walk.  I still have no idea of the attraction of Sunn O))) (sorry Sonny) and I listened to all 14:59 of that track.  It is just not my cup of tea.  Also had to skip Iron Man (those vocals) and The Gathering (a bit too rocky and again the vocals grated).  I have come to the conclusion that Wino's voice actually grates on me nowadays and so I had to skip The Obsessed track also.

Thankfully there was still lots to keep me happy on the list.  Standouts were Dolorian, Crowbar, Goatsnake, Godthrymm, High on Fire and Saturnalia Temple.  Good work Sonny. 

Quoted UnhinderedbyTalent

Thanks Vinny. Drone metal is a hard sell, with even it's most ardent followers recognising that it isn't for everyone and Sunn O))) are no exception, so no apologies required. I'm not a fan of Iron Man myself, but I feel it is incumbent upon me to showcase all aspects of the Fallen, despite my own preferences. I wasn't sold on Goatsnake either, to be honest. I have always been a fan of Wino's "cigarettes and whiskey" voice, so I have enjoyed the preview tracks from the new Saint Vitus album.


I gave Khanate an honest try but as Sonny alluded to in his review, I wasn't able to make it fully through. I would have gotten through the whole thing if I didn't run out of time at work yesterday, but I have zero interest in picking it back up or restarting it from the beginning to try and get the full experience. I can see why it would resonate with people as I saw what they were going for with the vocals, but man, really not something for me at the end of the day. So I'll refrain from rating that one, it's very far from my wheelhouse. 

Quoted Xephyr

As we have got to know each other's tastes, I would have been very surprised if you had come out in favour of Khanate, Xephyr. They are definitely not for everyone and I would never hold it against anyone who didn't much care for them, even though I absolutely love them. Drone metal is an acquired taste at the best of times and Khanate are by no means an easy listen, even in drone circles.


Kostnatění - "Úpal" (2023)

Last year's sophomore album from one-man Minneapolis avant-garde black metal project Kostnatění is a really solid release & should probably come into these discussions somewhere. It's currently sitting solely in The North but it's very clear to me that it should have a dual clan allocation with The infinite as it's made an obvious attempt to sound as strange as possible with a Deathspell Omega influence being pretty obvious in the guitar work. It doesn't all work but the majority of the record is highly engaging, despite being more interesting & intriguing than it is traditionally enjoyable. I'm placing it just behind Odz Manouk's "Bosoragazan (Բոսորագազան)" & Panopticon's "The Rime of Memory".



Solid list again this month.  Particularly enjoyed The Angelic Process, Convocation, Dopelord and Ocean of Grief (which was unexpected since they are quite melodic).

Less enamored with Remina, Kaunis Kuolematon, Lord Vigo, Madvro and YDI and still have my Lee Dorrian aversion when it comes to Cathedral.


Wasn't too keen on some of the more melodic death/doom tracks this month - I am familiar with Hamferð and Mother of GRaves but neither really floated my boat.  Still lots to enjoy though with Cough, Sir Lord Baltimore, Remembrance and Melvins being highlights.

Dymna Lotva were an interesting prospect, post-black metal and doom (with some folk) sounds as a mixture worked for me.  Playing the album through now as I type this.


Aura Noir - Black Thrash Attack (1997)

Aura Noir are one of those bands that everyone knows, but very few talk about. Formed by Aggressor and Apollyon, who were both active in the Norwegian black metal underground, they were later joined by Mayhem guitarist Rune Eriksen (aka Blasphemer), prior to the recording of this debut full-length, Black Thrash Attack. By 1996 thrash metal was a shambling corpse that hadn't even recognised it's own demise. It's champions were fallen - Metallica had decided the way forward was trying to add an increasingly lengthening string of zeroes to their bank accounts, Kreator were embracing mediocrity and even Slayer were flailing around to such an extent that recording an album of hardcore punk covers seemed like a good move to them. Into this turgid scene, Black Thrash Attack was thrust like an adrenaline shot to the heart of thrash metal's inert body, causing it to rear upwards with an almighty gasp as life entered it once more. Taking the sound of the burgeoning black metal scene and regressing it to it's earliest days as an offshoot of thrash, Aura Noir injected vitality and good old-fashioned excitement into the once proud beast, producing possibly the best thrash album, at that point in time, since Rust In Peace.

Black Thrash Attack takes the riffs of European legends like Kreator, Bathory and Celtic Frost and marries them to raw and rabid blasphemous black metal to produce a vicious and visceral version of blackened thrash that sounds like the missing link between first- and second-wave black metal, with Darkthrone's early rawness being a particular touchstone. The riffs are all thrash, but the vocals, aesthetic and production values are raw and savage black metal through and through.

Aggressor and Apollyon alternate songwriting duties, with Aggressor being responsible for writing the odd-numbered tracks and Apollyon the even. Somewhat symetrically, they each perform vocals, bass and drums to the other's tracks. This approach offers up the risk of an uneven sound to the album, but I think that if you didn't know about it, it wouldn't be that obvious. Between this and it's predecessor the duo had added future Mayhem guitarist Blasphemer to expand the lineup to a trio, which was an inspired move and certainly adds meat to the bones of the band's sound, his impressive riffing being one of the albums real strengths. Despite the crusty rawness of the production, the playing is terrific and is inordinately precise with the drumming in particular surprising me at how accomplished it sounds for multi-instrumentalists, with Aggressor especially impressing in that regard. Sure it's not Dave Lombardo or even Fenriz, but it is still energetic and exact, with some sublime blasting from time to time.

Let's face it, this isn't sophisticated music and probably won't impress the more cerebrally demanding metalhead, but for those of us who thrive on guts and aggression and who value adrenaline-fuelled headbanging over chin-stroking reflection then Aura Noir turned in a classic with their debut full-length. This is dirty, nasty and aggressive and pushes all the right buttons, breathing new life into the rotting corpse of late nineties' thrash metal.



1. Orodruin - "Forsaken" (from "Ruins of Eternity", 2019)

2. Corrosion of Conformity - "Wolf Named Crow" (from "No Cross No Crown", 2018) [submitted by Vinny]

3. Orphans of Dusk - "Wasted Hero" (from "Spleen", 2023) 

4. Nile - "Ruins" (from "In Their Darkened Shrines", 2002) [submitted by Daniel]

5. Boris - "Hama" (from "Amplifier Worship", 1998) [submitted by Sonny]

6. Hail the Void - "Goldwater" (from "Memento mori", 2023)

7. Godthrymm - "We Are the Dead" (from "Reflections", 2020) [submitted by Vinny]

8. Stoned Jesus - "Stormy Monday" (from "Seven Thunders Roar", 2012)

9. October Noir - "Burn" (from "Thirteen", 2019) [submitted by Morpheus Kitami]

10. Solstice - "The Sleeping Tyrant" (from "New Dark Age", 1998)

11. 16 - " Tocohara" (from "Drop Out", 1996) [submitted by Sonny]

12. Iron Void - "Living on the Earth" (from "IV", 2023)

13. Solitude Aeternus - "Only This (And Nothing More)" (from "Downfall", 1996) [submitted by Sonny]

14. Kowloon Walled City - "The Pressure Keeps Me Alive" (from "Container Ships", 2012) [submitted by Vinny]

15. Winter - "Eternal Frost" (from "Into Darkness", 1990) [submitted by Daniel]

16. The Obsessed - "Red Disaster" (from "The Obsessed", 1990)

17. Bong - "Trees, Grass and Stones" (from "Mana-Yood-Sushai", 2012)


Another new list added. This one is for Felipe Machado Franco whose distinctive art adorns many power metal album covers:


Hi Ben, has there been any movement on adding "Various Artists" releases to the site, such as "Metal for Muthas" or "Hell Comes to Your House"? I appreciate that the site's set-up doesn't really allow for it, but could we not just have VA set up as a band name and add releases accordingly, or would that screw something else up behind the scenes? "Metal for Muthas", especially volume one, was just so important to the spread of the NWOBHM and the popularity of bands such as Iron Maiden and Angel Witch that it seems to be a gaping omission that it isn't included here.


Here's my review:

You know what’s amazing about the Metal Academy feature release arrangement? Every now & then one of our well-educated members will nominate a release that’s received absolutely no fanfare whatsoever from a band that I’ve never even heard of & it’ll blow my socks off. Sonny’s got a pretty reasonable record in this department too with a recent example being his Dvvell nomination that went on to become our The Fallen Release of 2022 & it would seem that he’s done it again with Plateau Sigma’s “White Walls of Nightmares” album which is a sublime experience that’s deserving of so much more attention than it’s received in the more than a decade since its release.

I’ve seen mention of “White Wings of Nightmares” being released as a single or an E.P. which is kinda silly given its 49-minute duration & album-style format. The reality is that the band regards it as a bit of an experiment & prefers that it’s thought of as a demo which is the reason for the strangely inappropriate format labelling. It contains just the five songs with each being given plenty of time & space to develop. The production job isn’t top tier with the guitars sounding slightly fuzzy but the flaws are minor & shouldn’t make an impact on your listening experience.

I’d describe Plateau Sigma’s sound as being very much a tribute to the great doom/death releases of the early-to-mid 1990’s. You can expect chuggy, mid-paced death metal-inspired riffs & deep death growls mixed in with slower power-chord driven sections layered with gothic clean guitar melodies. There are a number of atmospheric clean sections featuring beautifully executed clean vocals spread across the tracklisting too & I actually found these to be the most effective parts of the album to be honest. Plateau Sigma certainly know what they’re doing in that department with some of these sections reminding me very much of artists Tiamat, Opeth & particularly Anathema with some of the vocals being the spitting image of Vincent Cavanagh (who I absolutely adore just quietly). The chuggy mid-paced stuff is very simple in a My Dying Bride kinda way & is perhaps a touch less engaging than the doomier material but the band mix things up nicely so you’re unlikely to reach for the skip button at any point.

The tracklisting is very consistent with all five songs deserving of your attention. The shortest inclusion “Lunar Stream Hypnosis” is perhaps the least essential of the five but after the first three tracks I was feeling pretty confident that I’d be awarding this release a solid four-star rating. That’s when things get really interesting though because the remaining two tracks are absolutely stunning & are also the longest in duration which saw them having a massive impact on my impressions of the release overall, particularly the epic, slow-building closer “Maira & the Archangel” which is as good as this style of metal gets.

How a release like this one manages to slip through the cracks in the internet age is pretty baffling to be honest. It’s certainly left me wondering what else Plateau Sigma have to offer with their three subsequent (& equally overlooked) full-length albums. If you’re a fan of bands like Anathema, My Dying Bride & Ahab then you owe it to yourself to check this one out guys.


So I've decided to pass this Hall of Judgement entry given the currently lop-sided vote tally of YES 5 NO 0. The necessary database adjustments have been made.

It's something I've always wanted to do. Unfortunately it would require completely rebuilding the search function, so comes at more cost than I can currently manage. I'll do it one day, but in the meantime, Daniel's solution works well enough. I'd also like to search for releases that ONLY have a particular genre or subgenre.

Quoted Ben

That's fair comment Ben. With an acceptable work around there is really no need to run to excessive expense.


So now that I have (finally) completed the Death Metal the 1st Decade clan challenge, I think I will put this thread to bed now. I have thoroughly enjoyed this time travel back to the late 80s / early 90s via the early releases of death metal and have found some absolute corkers to keep me going for many a year. As a bit of a death metal skeptic going in, it just goes to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks! I have discovered plenty of new favourites and believe I now have a much better understanding of a genre I had merely scratched the surface of before. This is not the end of my death metal exploration, not by a long shot, but I don't need this thread to log it any more and so will bring it to a close now. Thanks for indulging me and for joining me for the ride...


Yeah, I think it's a little more accurate personally but would throw Nintendocore in under the Electronicore banner too if I was them as it's simply too specific.

Quoted Daniel

I think nintendocore used to be under trancecore but they removed it a couple years ago.


Hits this month for me to check out further = The Body, Baroness

Pleasing familiar artists = Smoulder, Shape of Despair and Tzompantli

Skips this month for me = Type O Negative, My Dying Bride

Amazingly enough this was my first ever listen to Sunn O))) and although not blown away I accept that this is for a certain mindset and so doing chores whilst listening did not engage me well with it.  I plan to revisit though.

Another solid month Sonny, keep 'em coming.


My top 20s for a couple of the Big 4.


1. Raining Blood (Reign in Blood)

2. The Antichrist (Show No Mercy)

3. Seasons in the Abyss (Seasons in the Abyss)

4. Altar of Sacrifice (Reign in Blood)

5. Angel of Death (Reign in Blood)

6. Postmortem (Reign in Blood)

7. Hell Awaits (Hell Awaits)

8. Necrophobic (Reign in Blood)

9. Live Undead (South of Heaven)

10. Chemical Warfare (Haunting the Chapel)

11. War Ensemble (Seasons in the Abyss)

12. Jesus Saves (Reign in Blood)

13. Evil Has No Boundaries (Show No Mercy)

14. Criminally Insane (Reign in Blood)

15. Black Magic (Show No Mercy)

16. Metal Storm / Face the Slayer (Show No Mercy)

17. Die by the Sword (Show No Mercy)

18. Reborn (Reign in Blood)

19. Necrophiliac (Hell Awaits)

20. Piece By Piece (Reign in Blood)


1. Imitation of Life (Among the Living)

2. A Skeleton in the Closet (Among the Living)

3. Lone Justice (Spreading the Disease)

4. The Enemy (Spreading the Disease)

5. I Am the Law (Among the Living)

6. Indians (Among the Living)

7. Medusa (Spreading the Disease)

8. Caught in a Mosh (Among the Living)

9. Among the Living (Among the Living)

10. One World (Among the Living)

11. Blood (Persistence of Time)

12. Armed and Dangerous (Spreading the Disease)

13. Metal Thrashing Mad (Fistful of Metal)

14. Madhouse (Spreading the Disease)

15. Got the Time (Persistence of Time)

16. Now It's Dark (State of Euphoria)

17. In My World (Persistence of Time)

18. A.I.R. (Spreading the Disease)

19. A.D.I. / Horror of It All (Among the Living)

20. Only (Sound of White Noise)


My list obsession has led to me compiling lists of my favourite tracks by several of my favourite bands soI thought I would start threads where myself and anyone else who wants to get involved, can post their lists of bands' favourite tracks.

I'm gonna kick off with the Swedish masters of Epic Doom.

Sonny's top 20 Candlemass tracks:

1. At the Gallows End  - Nightfall (1987)
2. The Well of Souls - Nightfall (1987)
3. Solitude - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)
4. Samarithan - Nightfall (1987)
5. The Edge of Heaven - Tales of Creation (1989)

6. Black Dwarf - Candlemass (2005)
7. Dark Are the Veils of Death - Nightfall (1987)
8. Crystal Ball - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)
9. A Sorcerer's Pledge - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)
10. A Tale of Creation - Tales of Creation (1989)

11. Mourners Lament - Nightfall (1987)
12. Demons Gate - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)
13. Under the Oak Tales of Creation (1989)
14. Born in a Tank - Candlemass (2005)
15. Tears - Tales of Creation (1989)

16. Bewitched - Nightfall (1987)
17. Lucifer Rising - Lucifer Rising / White God EP (2009)
18. The Bells of Acheron - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)
19. Through the Infinitive Halls of Death Tales of Creation (1989)
20. Assassin of the Light - Candlemass (2005)


Here's my updated list:

Beginning oldies (1984-1989)/B.M. (Before Metalcore):

1984: Voivod - War and Pain

1985: Watchtower - Energetic Disassembly

1986: Dark Angel - Darkness Descends

1987: Voivod - Killing Technology

1988: Sadus - Illusions

1989: Godflesh - Streetcleaner

Old golden classics and millennium transition highlights (1990-2001)/Metalcore's humble beginnings and light of day-seeing classics:

1990: Rorschach - Remain Sedate

1991: Old - Lo Flux Tube

1992: Sadus - A Vision of Misery

1993: Old - The Musical Dimensions of Sleastak

1994: Circle of Dust - Brainchild

1995: Waltari - Big Bang

1996: Red Harvest - HyBreed

1997: Waltari - Space Avenue

1998: Embodyment - Embrace the Eternal

1999: Botch - We Are The Romans

2000: Extol - Undeceived

2001: Candiria - 300 Percent Density

Modern favorites (2002-2013)/Rise of the full Revolution:

2002: Red Harvest - Sick Transit Gloria Mundi

2003: Animosity - Shut It Down

2004: ISIS – Panopticon

2005: Trivium - Ascendancy

2006: Dog Fashion Disco - Adultery

2007: Dethklok - The Dethalbum

2008: In This Moment - The Dream

2009: Vektor - Black Future

2010: Whitechapel - A New Era of Corruption

2011: Trivium - In Waves

2012: Bury Tomorrow - The Union of Crowns

2013: Dethklok - The Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera

The best of the most recent (2014-present)/A greater new uprising:

2014: The Acacia Strain - Coma Witch

2015: Sikth - Opacities

2016: Insomnium - Winter's Gate

2017: Brendon Small - II: Become the Storm

2018: Fit for a King - Dark Skies

2019: Northlane - Alien

2020: Code Orange - Underneath

2021: Trivium - In the Court of the Dragon

2022: Lorna Shore - Pain Remains

2023 so far: Dødheimsgard - Black Medium Current

2023 albums I'm looking forward to getting:

Atreyu - The Moment You Find Your Flame

Dethklok - Dethalbum IV/Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar

Asking Alexandria - Where Do We Go from Here?

The Word Alive - Hard Rest

Polaris - Fatalism

Code Orange - The Above

Of Mice & Men - Tether

Beartooth - The Surface

In This Moment - Godmode

Paradise Lost - Icon 30 (revisiting this band for a 30th anniversary album recording)


The past few months I have been listening to a lot of modern day Darkthrone and have reviewed a couple of recent records from the Norwegian legends of black metal, commenting how they sound very little like their bm heyday. This has been something to celebrate in my opinion as they truly have reinvented themselves in comparison to the band that dropped A Blaze... and Transilvanian Hunger some thirty years ago. If ever proof was needed that the influence of black metal era Fenriz and NC is always destined to be alive and kicking then Armagedda are it. Notwithstanding that at the time of this release, Darkthrone were dropping Plaguewielder, one of their less popular releases and one that was certainly far away from the quality of their nineties' output. There is an argument to say that come 2001, Armagedda were better at being Darkthrone than Darkthrone were at the time.

Talk of obvious influences aside, Armagedda themselves were only two years into their existence come the release of their debut album. Having formed as Volkermord in 1999 before changing their name to Armagedda just one year later, the band certainly lived up to their apocalyptic band name with their primitive yet relentless eight song offering to the black metal world. The scathing and impertinent vocals of Graav being a perfect accompaniment to the clumsy and cumbersome riffs he was also responsible for (closing track My Eternal Journey in particular exposes these riff challenges). Yet at the same time when in full-tilt black metal mode (Deathminded), Armagedda more than make a case for them justifying those heady Darkthrone comparisons. Whilst not innovators (who the fuck was in black metal come 2001??) I would not say the Swedes class as imitators either. Their passionate sense of belonging to that second wave sound is obvious for all of The Final War Approaching.

With their thin guitar tone and strong tremolo presence, Armagedda more than make their mark on their debut full-length. If you are looking for a great second wave bm album from after the actual scene itself had been and gone, then you would be hard-pressed to find a better offering than this. Looking at their discography, Armagedda rarely seem to put a foot wrong and why would they based on this solid foundation stone to kick start their back-catalogue?



No, it is not intended that anyone can rate releases 0 stars. I don't think it was always possible, so something must have changed at some point to allow it. I will ask my developer to fix.

In the meantime, I will delete any 0 star ratings that I see.


Another solid playlist this month.  To call out the standouts for me:

Katatonia - I have this weird "bookend" scenario with this band in that I have only ever listened to the Dance... and then their latest release and nothing in between.  Brave Murder Day has been landing on a few playlists as suggestions around the streaming services I am on of late and so it is liable to be the next full-length I venture along with from this band.  This track proves to me that I am missing out by not listening to the rest of their discography in some more detail.

Saturnalia Temple - well, this is a fucked up sounding box of frogs if ever I heard one.  It is still so damn entertaining though, not in the least because it is so blatantly obvious that these guys have zero fucks to give

Mournful Congregation -  starting to wonder if these Aussies can do any wrong at all as there is virtually endless win in everything I hear from them.  Still sounding relevant thirty years on, this track bodes well for me getting around to the album at some point.

Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean - dumbass name aside, I had very little to argue with here.  Agonising sludge metal that is punishingly repetitive

Iron Monkey - more sludge metal only this time it is raging and ugly as fuck - me like.

Woorms - I have be eyeing that astonishingly good artwork on the Slake record and wondering if the music could ever be as good as the artwork.  Good news, it is.  With a measured level of confrontation in their sound, Woorms sound alienating and hostile whilst tipping their hats to some fine doom metal along the way also.


A few notes regarding the tracks selected for this month's playlist:

1. Worship of Keres - "Book 3" (from "Bloodhounds for Oblivion", 2016) [submitted by Sonny]
I was going through some of the older releases I had purchased from Bandcamp and this 2016 EP jumped out at me with it's chunky and ponderous riff contrasting with singer Elise Tarens voice to great effect. They still seem to be going, but a measly couple of EPs is all they have produced so far.

2. Decadence Dust - "Lighthouse" (from "Lighthouse", 2023)
I must admit that as far as gothic metal goes I have to rely on the RYM charts quite a lot and this month they threw up Russian duo Decadence Dust and their new album Lighthouse. They sound a lot like Lacuna Coil I thought. Vocalist Anna Dust has a really nice voice and multi-instrumentalist Alexander Kargaev does a good job on the instrumental side of things. Not exactly my cup of tea, but I actually didn't mind this track.

3. Black Capricorn - "Snake of the Wizard" (from "Cult of Blood", 2022)
Black Capricorn are another Bandcamp favourite for me and I have just obtained a copy of this, their latest, last year's Cult of Blood. Super-fuzzy stoner doom from Italy that is a nice grooviness to it. The vocals aren't so great, but I can't resist a good fuzz-fest.

4. Toadliquor - "Gnaw" (from "Feel My Hate - The Power Is the Weight - R.I.P. Cain", 1993)
Another more recent discovery, sludgesters Toadliquor only left us a single full-length despite being in existence throughout the entire 1990s. Bleak as fuck, desperate-sounding sludge, I love this track.

5. Liturgy - "Veins of God" (from "Aesthethica", 2011) [submitted by Daniel]
I've not listened to Liturgy before (that avant-garde tag has always put me off) and I am guessing that this isn't what they usually sound like. A repetitive trad/stoner doom riff that I have no idea what effect it has in the context of the album from which it came, but in isolation it sounds quite a bit Ufomammut-ish.

6. Church of Misery - "Come and Get Me Sucker (David Koresh)" (from "Born Under a Mad Sign", 2023)
It was only during the compilation of this playlist that I found out that Japanese, serial killer-obsessed stoners Church of Misery had a new album out. After a sample of a ranting David Koresh this kicks into gear with a hard-hitting stoner groove that somewhat belies the subject matter and is a guaranteed toe-tapper and head-nodder.

7. Nightfucker - "Poisoned Wine" (from "Leechfeast / Nightfucker Split EP", 2023)
Last month I featured Leechfeast's contribution to this split EP, so in the interests of fairness here is the second of Nightfucker's two tracks.

8. Windhand - "Halcyon" (from "Eternal Return", 2018) [submitted by Vinny]
A great track from one of my absolute favourite female-fronted psych-doom bands. This was five years ago now, so a new studio album is long overdue,

9. Messa - "Babalon" (from "Belfry", 2016)
Messa are one of the most celebrated doom metal bands of the last couple of years, pushing boundaries more than most. Babalon is from their 2016 debut and is a bit more conventional in it's approach to doom. It's still a quality release though.
10. Tragedia - "Tiamat" (from "El libro de Enoc", 2023)
I've never heard these guys before, again using the RYM gothic metal charts to find them, but this is actually pretty good as far as gothic metal goes. I will have to check it out further I think.

11. Minotauri - "Doom Metal Alchemy" (from "Minotauri", 2004)
Primitive sounding Finnish trad doom that pays homage to early exponents of the style such as Pentagram. Minotauri were contemporaries of Reverend Bizarre and sound very similar to their countrymen.

12. Capilla Ardiente - "The Spell of Concealment" (from "The Siege", 2019)
Chile doesn't just produce the best thrash metal on the planet at the minute, they also have a great epic doom band in Capilla Ardiente. Candlemass worship at it's best. Notably it keeps that prominent, growling bass so beloved of so many modern Chilean thrash bands.

13. Rippikoulu - "Pimeys yllä Jumalan maan" (from "Musta seremonia", 1993) [submitted by Daniel]
Super lo-fi early death doom from the awesome Musta seremonia demo. Awesome stuff for the doom metal historian.

14. Thorr's Hammer - "Norge"
TH have attained legendary status, despite only originally existing for six weeks in the winter of '94/'95. Sunn O)))'s Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley teamed up with Norwegian exchange student Runhild Gammelsæter, playing a couple of gigs and recording the three-track EP from which this track was taken. Runhild has a different vocal style to the other ladies who have featured on this month's playlist and could be the musical performance of the possessed Regan from The Exorcist.

15. Warning - "Footprints" (from "Watching from a Distance", 2006) [submitted by Vinny]
It's Warning... It's from Watching From A Distance. Thankyou Vinny, I am a happy man!!

16. Khanate - "To Be Cruel" (from "To Be Cruel", 2023) [submitted by Sonny]
The title track from Khanate's latest. The soundtrack to all your worst nightmares. My favourite album of 2023 to date.


Well, this seems to have been a bit of a damp squib as far as a feature release goes, but I am undaunted and still consider it a good record.

Blood Tsunami were formed in 2004 and when it became apparent that their original drummer wasn't up to the task, they recruited the infamous former Emperor skinsman, Bård Eithun, aka Faust, who had recently been released from prison. They started playing thrash metal at a time when the genre was in the doldrums, but by the time of the release of the sophomore, Grand Feast for Vultures, the somewhat half-hearted thrash revival was underway with bands like Gama Bomb and Municipal Waste dominating things. One bright spark though, was the resurgence of Kreator whose Enemy of God and Hordes of Chaos albums had re-established the Germans' reputation somewhat. Blood Tsunami took this aggressive approach of the "new" Kreator and married it with some good old-fashioned Iron Maiden worship and produced an interesting hybrid of blackened thrash and traditional metal that I personally found quite intoxicating and irresistible.

Opening up with a one-two thrash combo, Castle of Skulls and Nothing but Contempt get us off to a breakneck start, with the early seconds of the opener grabbing our attention by channelling Slayer's Angel of Death. These two and the title track which close out the first side are where the Kreator-influenced thrash component is at it's most prominent and all three are real rip-snorters (as we say round these parts) Grand Feast for Vultures itself being an absolute face melter! The other four tracks aren't strictly thrash metal and whilst containing elements thereof, to greater or lesser effect, there is a more pronounced heavy metal presence. This is most obvious in the Maiden-esque lead work with some solos that may have just dropped in from Piece of Mind or Powerslave. Whatever persuasion they are derived from, this album is chock full of riffs with the guitar work of Pete Evil and Dor Amazon dominating almost everything.

Pete Evil (sadly, not his real name, that being Peter Michael Kolstad Vegem) has a shrieking black metal delivery which is bolstered at times by the more death metal-sounding backing of Amazon and bassist Pete "Bosse" Boström. This combination of shrieks and barks works very well and gives the vocals a very muscular tone. Pete Evil is obviously the main man here and the production does enhance and highlight his contributions with Bosse and Faust losing out in the mix it seems. This is a great shame because if you take the time to concentrate on Faust's drumming then you will hear that it really is impressive and, no matter what else he may or may not be, the guy is one hell of a fantastic skinsman, his power and precision making me think of an extreme metal John Bonham.

Side two features two epic tracks, first of which is the twelve-minute instrumental Horsehead Nebula, which could be in danger of coming over as self-indulgent, but in fact it is a very well constructed and epic instrumental track that leads us hither and thither and successfully throws in plenty of memorable moments and is the track where Blood Tsunami are at their most Maiden-esque. I've always been partial to thrash instrumentals and this is a fine example of the discipline, sitting as one of my favourites alongside Orion and The Ultra-Violence. Closing things out is my favourite track, One Step Closer to the Grave, another ten-minute plus track and with it's slower pacing it almost verges on epic doom metal in it's execution. It begins with a real lurking menace before exploding into another instrumental extravaganza with the guitarists trading solos as it storms headlong to it's maelstrom of a climax.

OK, so Grand Feast for Vultures isn't a perfect record and at times it threatens to tip over into being overblown, but the performances are excellent, the songs are great and it's suggestion of sonic excess is a plus, not a minus in my book.



While it could hardly be said I'm the biggest fan of death/black metal, I find that my distaste these days stems less from the vocals and more how everyone seems to have this habit of going full one note aggression. It irks me less in black metal since that tends to be the whole point, and thus bands tend to work it to their advantage, but death metal seems to have it bad. I have especially come to loathe any song in which the drummer just hammers the drumkit, regardless of genre. Funny thing, I wouldn't describe this endless aggression as exclusive to metal or punk, I heard some Mexican music not too long ago as I was in a Mexican fast food place, which basically just consisted of a dude singing fast over some fast acoustic guitar. Basically, have some variety.

Vocalists trying to sink outside of their range hits me pretty big too. I'm not talking like King Diamond, I'm talking like someone singing at the top of their range and you can hear their voice, and possibly your windows, cracking.


I have to admit that I don't really know what Shoegaze is, which makes it difficult for me to understand why an album is or isn't considered to be Blackgaze.

Is anyone here experienced enough with Shoegaze to provide a few examples of tracks that have a sound that's recognisable when listening to Blackgaze? To be clear, I could easily go to RYM and look up Shoegaze albums, but I'm hoping to hear something representative of what resulted in Blackgaze, if that makes sense.

Quoted Ben

Basically combine alt-rock with noise rock and dream pop.  Here's a base chart for you to find key differences:

Shoegaze: Loveless by MBV

Both: Souvenirs by Alcest

Blackgaze: Sunbather by Deafheaven


It's mostly in the last track, "Black Lava Flow". It seems to me that the atmospheric steam that has leveled up the album is lost, and therefore doesn't reach the earlier intensity.


1. Obelyskkh - "Aquaveil" (from "The Ultimate Grace of God", 2023)

2. Condenados - "Tierra de cementerio" (from "El camino de la serpiente", 2023)

3. Ningen Isu - "りんごの泪" (from "人間失格 (Ningen shikkaku)", 1990) [submitted by Morpheus]

4. Gore - "USA Is Calling" (from "Hart Gore", 1986)

5. Lake of Tears - "Come Night I Reign" (from "Forever Autumn", 1999) [submitted by Daniel]

6. Konvent - "Sand Is King" (from "Call Down the Sun", 2022) [submitted by Vinny]

7. Evoken - "The Mournful Refusal" (from "Antithesis of Light", 2005) [submitted by Ben]

8. Theatre of Tragedy - "Aoede" (from "Aegis", 1998) [submitted by Daniel]

9. The River - "Broken Window" (from "Drawing Down the Sun", 2006) [submitted by Sonny]

10. Tiamat - "Alteration x 10" (from "A Deeper Kind Of Slumber", 1997) [submitted by Daniel]

11. Encoffination - "The Keys of Hell and Death" (from "We Proclaim Your Death O' Lord", 2019)

12. Coffinworm - "Of Eating Disorders & Restraining Orders" (from "IV.I.XIII", 2014) [submitted by Daniel]

13. Hell - "Victus" (from "Hell", 2017) [submitted by Vinny]

14. Dolorian - "Raja Naga – Rising" (from, Voidwards, 2006) [submitted by Ben]

15. Leechfeast - "Bells of Fire" (from, "Leechfeast / Nightfucker Split EP", 2023) [submitted by Sonny]


The highlights for me this month have been Smoulder, Chelsea Wolfe and Fistula.  I keep meaning to explore more of Monolord's discography beyond No Comfort and Vænir looks he likely candidate if I am honest.  Went all skip button on STAKE, Hanging Garden, The Wounded King and Goya (I mean not bad stuff but a tad too similar to Electric Wizard really).  Passed a wet bank holiday Monday nicely though Sonny, keep up the good work.

Quoted UnhinderedbyTalent

Thanks Vinny. For me, Vaenir is Monolord's best and I would heartily recommend it if you like any of their other stuff.


Will be taking time to check out FVNERALS, Head of the Demon and Shape of Despair from this list.  Not a fan of Dark Buddha Rising or Om upon first listen but may revisit later.


Ah, I thought it was listed under the Guardians. I'm getting a bit confused over the whole site non-metal inclusion policy to be honest.


I find this breakout of my ratings to be quite interesting too:

5 star             1.9%

4.5 star         11.3%

4 star             26.8%

3.5 star          30.6%

3 star             18.2%

2.5 star           7.7%

2 star              3.3%

1.5 star           1.5%

1 star               0.5%

0.5 star            0.2%

I'm comfortable with that spread to be honest. It shows that I save the 5/5 ratings for the elite of the elite & it also shows that I don't consciously go looking for music that's clearly not gonna fall anywhere near my wheelhouse all that often either.

Quoted Daniel

Although I have only 93 releases that I have at 5 stars that still seems too high for me and so I am slowly revisiting these - I suppose 93 albums over 35 years of listening to metal isn't that high but I think there are one or two that probably got overrated.

Quoted Vinny

I'm with you there Vinny, I have 120+ five star albums and that seems a lot, although when I have revisited them I find it very hard to downgrade them because, yes they do sound that good.


I completely agree with your assessment here Sonny. "The Cage" is simply a hard rock record as far as I can see & not a very good one either it has to be said. It should never have been drawn in under the NWOBHM banner in the first place in my opinion.

This nomination has been posted in the Hall of Judgement.

Quoted Daniel

No it isn't a very good record at all. I really dislike AOR and this has all the hallmarks of that excremental genre. In fact, thinking about it again has pissed me off so much I have had to go back and dock it another half a point!


I completely agree with your assessment here Sonny. "Firepower" is a combination of progressive rock & hard rock as far as I can see & it should never have been drawn in under the NWOBHM banner in the first place. I do quite like it though.

This nomination has been posted in the Hall of Judgement.