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Archive: Columns

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Malignant Altar

Houston and its surrounding area has been a goldmine of extreme music for decades. Houstonian soil has given birth to thrash metal icons DRI, demonic death metal legends Imprecation, and the battle-ready grindcore outfit PLF, to mention but a few. A newer name making waves in the underground is Malignant Altar, a considerably thick and heavy brutal death metal band that sucks insatiably from the sap of classic American death metal. With two well-received demos under its belt since forming in 2018 (their rendition of Celtic Frost’s “Procreation of the Wicked” from the “Ceremonial Decapitator” demo is a special treat), the quintet is poised to release it’s debut album, “Realms of Exquisite Morbidity,” on December 10, 2021, via the revered label Dark Descent Records. More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Nullification

As previously mentioned in this column, the metal maniacs of the Philippines are amongst the most fanatical on Earth. A new Filipino band by the name of Nullification has emerged this year that plumbs the depths of early nineties death metal glory. One Jayson Gonzales formed the band in his stomping grounds of Bay, Laguna, having written the core material for the project’s debut album prior to enlisting the members of Desolator and Formless Oedon to flesh out the band. Giving new meaning to the concept of efficiency, Nullification is set to release said debut album, “Kingdoms to Hovel,” through Personal Records on January 14, 2022. More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Morguiliath

Morguiliath has technically been a project since 2004, and they’ve participated in numerous concerts and performances. On the recording front, however, they’ve been anything but prolific, having unleashed only a couple of demos. And by they, I mean he. “Rats,” as he refers to himself, essentially handles everything musically, outside of some guest contributors. Fast forward to 2020, Morguiliath finally released a full length album, “Age of Misanthropia, Human Blood & Chaos,” and it was a solid one at that. More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Caestus

You’ve probably seen a meme or two about Scandinavian and Nordic black metal bands getting lost in the woods while venturing out to take promo shots, striking the point that black metal is so ubiquitous in the region. Finland, specifically, is home to numerous and noticeably divergent high quality acts ranging from Beherit and Impaled Nazarene to Archgoat, Barathrum and Horna. Recently, new demonic blood has coagulated to form Caestus, a band that isn’t entirely original but one that stands out due to the fact that the members have clearly paid attention to good songwriting. Purity Through Fire is poised to release the act’s debut album, “The Undoer’s Key,” on December 12. More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Sijjin

Death thrashers Sijjin have been cranking out their evil jams for just a couple of years, having released their impressive “Angel of the Eastern Gate” in 2019, around the time of their inception. Their music is timeless yet contemporary in appeal, savage and easily digestible with a no-frills, to-the-point approach. Sepulchral Voice Records was wise to link up with the promising band, and they’re poised to release the act’s debut album, “Sumerian Promises,” on November 21. The band and album clearly deserve the attention of acolytes devoted to evil death thrash metal. More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Deber

Whether we are talking about the likes of bands as varied as Candlemass, Count Raven, Isole, or Witchcraft, there has been a rich history of doom metal in Sweden for decades. An impressive funeral doom act has recently blossomed from Swedish soil: Deber. While the band is new, its members have been around the block. The duo, operating under the ever-so-lovely pseudonyms “DIE” and “HCF,” have been involved in the Swedish dark metal scene for years with projects like Anguish, Ondskapt, Avksy, and Acolytes of Moros. More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Outre-Tombe

Eastern Canada’s French province Quebec has been a hotbed of metal for decades, whether we are talking about the legendary prog-inclined thrashers of Voivod or the abrasive tech death of Cryptopsy and everything in between and beyond. Since 2010, Quebec City’s Outre-Tombe have been forwarding a classic form of death metal that many nowadays would incorrectly and hastily label as “Old School Death Metal,” or “OSDM.” The French Canadian band plays a form of death metal that is, quite simply, timeless. More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Vortex of End

The blackened death metal beasts behind the corpse paint that call themselves Vortex of End have been hammering the nails into the flesh and cross since 2005. The unit has unleashed several releases since its inception, but tomorrow (on Friday, September, 24, 2021), Vortex of End will release its fourth full-length album, “Abhorrent Fervor,” via the incredibly revered black metal France-based label Osmose Productions. The savage release follows the band’s vile trajectory, but they’re instantly clear in their intent of being even more succinct, insane and brutal than they’ve been in the past. Simply put, “Abhorrent Fervor” is a maniacal display of black metal. More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Delphian

A new prog death metal outfit by the name of Delphian has emerged from Los Angeles. Brothers Jason (guitars) and Matthew Williams (vocals) formed the project while they attended Musicians Institute in LA. While the act is essentially a duo, the recording of their debut album includes the talents of some seasoned metal musicians: bassist Martin Rygiel (Decapitated, Lux Occulta) and drummer extraordinaire Kevin Talley (Suffocation, Dying Fetus). The unit will be self-releasing its debut, “Somnambulant Foregoer,” on November 12. The release’s nine tracks clock in at around 47 minutes, and the energy is obviously dark, the music is clearly tech death, prog and groove-based. More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Gold Spire

The metal maniacs of Sweden have historically had a tendency of striking gold with inventive, powerful metal. As such, newbies Gold Spire couldn’t have been any more appropriately named. While the Uppsala-based band was conceived in 2019, the band isn’t exactly made up of musicians who are new blood flowing through the veins of the body of heavy metal. The act was forged by brothers Erik and Påhl Sundström following the disbanding of Påhl's former band Usurpress. What’s more, the brothers enlisted none other than vocalist Heval Bozarslan, frontman of the legendary Swedish death metal band Sarcasm. Impressive death metal pedigree aside, what makes Gold Spire stand out is the boundless musical eclecticism at hand. More...

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Unearthing Morte Incandescente

“Depressive Suicidal Black Metal” is one of the most embarrassing styles of heavy metal, one that is essentially the personification of the stereotypical “emo kid” crying in the corner. In stark contrast to such fodder, some black metal bands have plumbed the depths of hateful, depressive madness, negative energy and suicidal themes. Germany’s Bethlehem comes to mind, of course. And Portugal’s long running black metal act Morte Incandescente is another. More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Wharflurch

Two gentlemen who have worked together in the D-beat/death band Hot Graves formed Wharflurch just a couple of years ago, and they already have several demos, EPs and splits to their name. One “MC” handled the instrumentation, while “JM”—who had been a drummer in all of his previous bands—helmed the mic stand. Since its inception, the band has drafted in a live lineup, and the unit is gearing up to release it’s debut full-length. “Psychedelic Realms Ov Hell” will be released on September 3 via Personal Records (CD) and Gurgling Gore (cassette tape). As the album title might suggest, the Floridian band’s first long player is a psychedelic spin on tried and true death metal. More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Bonehunter

Finland is no stranger to vile music. Whether we are talking about the hedonistic black metal deviants in Impaled Nazarene, the maniacal tech death entity Demilich or the filthy hardcore/crust of Bastards, the nation has unleashed a broad array of strong, heavy underground bands. Bonehunter, a blackened thrash band leaning just as heavily toward punk as it is metal, has been hacking away at the corpse for a decade now. With a slew of releases under their bullet belts thus far, the ensemble returns with full-length album number four: “Dark Blood Reincarnation System.” More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Runespell

Australia has long been a hotbed of distinctive death, black and war metal that certainly stands apart from that which is created elsewhere. What’s more, the variety of the bands’ styles and sounds within the nation are quite pronounced, whether we are talking about the ugly death metal of Sadistik Exekution, the death-grinding ferocity of Damaged, the industrial death stomp of The Berzerker, or the relatively newer, unhinged explosiveness of Eskhaton. Runespell is a one-man black metal project helmed by an individual operating under the pseudonym Nightwolf, Runespell has been unleashing its mystical and transcendental artistry since its impressive 2017 “Aeons of Ancient Blood” demo. Iron Bonehead Productions will be releasing the prolific act’s fourth full-length, “Verses in Regicide,” in September. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Irae

Portugal’s Irae has been forwarding its raw, bizarre black metal for nearly 20 years. There isn’t much by way of originality considering the individual pieces of the puzzle at hand, whether it’s the stripped-down production, the tremolo picking, or the coarse vocals that sometimes devolve into deranged laughing, cackling and moaning. And the percussive work is noticeably elementary. But with all of that said, the manner in which the band assembles the disparate parts into a cohesive whole is quite unique, passionate and completely insane. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Cross Vault

German extreme metal label Iron Bonehead Productions is poised to release the latest release from the dynamic, inspiring and atypical entity known as Cross Vault, a German outfit that’s been forwarding an impassioned, melancholy-fueled doom metal energy since its inception in 2013. The Teutonic doom act’s third full-length album is overflowing with seven tear-inducing tracks that are certain to make an impact upon fans of bands along the lines of Trouble and Solitude Aeturnus. “As Strangers We Depart” is chock-full of instantly evocative doom metal that’s sure to move even the most seasoned of doom-heads. The release proves itself salient because of Cross Vault’s boldness to be vulnerable and melodic in a manner that’s not far removed with what we might hear from pop rock bands. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Eradicator

Germany has been a hotbed of thrash metal for years, whether we are talking about bands like Kreator, Destruction, Coroner or Tankard. The gentleman behind Eradicator have been thrashing like maniacs since 2004, and their approach encompasses the cutthroat aggression of their native land’s thrash metal roots in addition to that reminiscent of the San Francisco Bay Area style along the lines of Exodus and Death Angel. The Teutonic thrashers now return with their fifth album, “Influence Denied,” that’s set for release on July 23, 2021, via Metalville. The 10-song album is overflowing with well-written, intricately composed tracks that are just as catchy as they are aggressive. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Armnatt

There’s something to be said for the concept of "less is more," and when that no-frills approach works in any sphere of life, the results can be impressive. Portugal’s black metal entity Armnatt adheres to that practice, and it keeps it simple for the better. The ensemble has forwarded its old guard-friendly black metal since 2013, around the time of its split cassette release with Bosnian act Tmärrdhë. Signal Rex is now poised to release Armnatt’s third full-length album, “Eternal Flame,” on May 28. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Nattverd

It goes without saying that Norway is and has been a hotbed of black metal, whether we are discussing the Norwegian black metal scene’s insane and infamous extracurricular activities, shall we say, that involved church burning, murder and suicide, or what matters most, the incredible, pioneering second wave black metal music that continues to influence extreme metal bands across the world. They may not be a well-known name along the lines of acts like Emperor or Darkthrone, but Nattverd has been vomiting blistering and melodic black metal since 2017. Considering that they formed in 2010, it’s clear that they didn’t hit the ground running in terms of recorded output. But since their debut, “Vi vet gud er en logner,” they’ve made up for lost time on that end, also having released a follow-up EP and full-length album. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Malgoth

A quick glance at the band’s history may suggest that the folks involved in Malgoth aren’t serious about their belligerent war metal. Their vocalist, one “ZS” has been a member of such bands as Chamber of Farts and The One-eyed Muskrats, however the proof is in the pudding, and Malgoth’s music speaks for itself. The Toronto, Ontario, Canada-base act has been in existence for a year, and its “Primordial Dawn” EP that was initially released independently at the end of 2020 digitally has been picked up by the stalwart, tried-and-true war metal-friendly label Iron Bonehead Productions. With “Primordial Dawn,” Malgoth showcases a savage two-vocal attack that leads the charge of the kind of war metal that has a great deal in common with raw grindcore.

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