Eternal Helcaraxe 'Against All Odds' review


ETERNAL HELCARAXE
'Against All Odds'
(Abyss Records)

Ireland has always had a great metal scene whether it was black, doom or death - and Eternal Helcaraxe are no different. Eternal Helcaraxe fall into the epic, pagan black metal metal genre. 'Against All Odds' is their debut and is very impressive for a debut. Fast, intense music with some well done keyboards that are nicely mixed into chaotic, violent black metal for a nice blend of traditional, fast black metal and parts of epic,pagan blackness. Guitars are blazing fast with some good riffs, drumming is fast blast beats with some mid-paced beats. The vocals are blackened metal screams but there are some really well-done and sung melodic clean vocals. It will be nice if the band uses more of the clean vocal patterns on the next recording as they seem to fit the bands style very well. Highly recommended to all fans of quality, pagan black metal.
(Patrick)



Enthrallment 'People From The Lands Of Vit' review


ENTHRALLMENT
'People From The Lands Of Vit' 
(United Guttural Records)

Brutal death metal, the sound on this is very good and the music is insane. They play savage death metal,their tempos are repetitive in some songs but they incorporate some amazing solos and some unusual things that you wouldn't expect from death metal. This is good, so, why don't you own this? Go seek out this disc and pulverize your eardrums.
(Paul Caravasi) 


Grave Desecrator 'Deathspells Rising' review


GRAVE DESECRATOR
'Deathspells Rising'
(Metalhit.com)

I say this again that black metal is not my thing, but I have to say something about this album. I can say this band is remarkable, the fury with which it is executed is well done, black metal directly to the vein, keeping the old school sound along with funeral guitars, the voice is definitely wild and this isn't monotonous and is influenced by legendary bands. Also include a cover of Bathory ('Sacrifice') - very good tribute to Quorthon, not bad to listen some black metal from time to time. If you want to hear fast guitars and sick drumming combined with sick rage vocals,check out for this album that undoubtedly will leave you satisfied, Brazilian underground is still alive and well. Much respect for this band for daring to sound so beastly.
(Paul Caravasi)

Grave Desecrator


Deathronation 'Exorchrism' review


DEATHRONATION
'Exorchrism'
(Metalhit.com)

Killer riffs, great solos, brutal drumming and angry vocals, that's what you'll find on this CD. The production on this album is very good too. A perfect mixture of fast, powerful and aggressive death metal, full brutality that gives you the feeling of the old days. Deathronation will whip the shit out of you so that you can heal and come back for another day of torture, no compromises, just high energetic brutality. All the death metal followers check this band out!
(Paul Caravasi)


Fetus Stench 'Stillbirth' review


FETUS STENCH
'Stillbirth'
(Abyss Records)

Fucking death metal band from Sweden, they have that unique sound, violent skullcrusher band, many influences from Nihilist, Dismember and Carnage. In 2012 it is difficult to find something so brutal and direct to the brain, it surprises me a lot, very good production, all fans of nasty death metal will enjoy this CD .Unique distorted guitars that will destroy your neck from doing circular moshing, very good approach, no matter if you heard this style before, the important thing is to find bands that maintain the strength of the bloody death metal. An excellent album that should be heard. If you really consider yourself a metalhead, give this band a try. Get your beers and enjoy this excellent lethal work.
(Paul Caravasi)



Humangled 'Odd Ethics' review


HUMANGLED
'Odd Ethics' EP
(Abyss Records)

A great fusion of guitar shreds! Only 14 minutes and 50 seconds of full intensity. The riffing on this really makes this a winner in my eyes, it's a good attempt. This is death metal with some different things thrown in the music to try and keep things interesting. Definitely not a mediocre brutal band. Humangled has to be heard to be believed.
(Paul Caravasi)


Suture 'Skeletal Vortex' review


SUTURE
'Skeletal Vortex'
(SFC Records)

I never heard this band from Louisiana before. This is damn good, this is brutality with everything in the proper place for death metal fans, everyone must hear this band.This CD is totally remastered and sounds amazing, if you want insane drums, killer vocals and killer riffs - find this band right now. They will destroy everything in their path, that's for sure and you'll hear some great extreme metal. A great re-release!
(Paul Caravasi)


Chaos Inception 'The Abrogation' review


CHAOS INCEPTION
'The Abrogation'
(Lavadome Productions)

Upon my first listen,one of the first things that I noticed was the maniacal speed of the double bass and the big influences of old Morbid Angel ('Blessed Are The Sick' era). The technical structure of the music is great, magnificent brutality to a higher level, this is far from slow, don't even think that. Mean brutal death metal with sinister vocals, undeniably death metal perfection. Furious guitar solos and a lethal dose of aggression.Definitely Chaos Inception will pulverize the world senses, the best thing about it - the vocals keep the feeling of the 90's way of metal and I love it!
 (Check out Paul's own Aquelarre Zine for a lengthy interview with the band,
 click here - ED)
(Paul Caravasi)



Dogbane 'Residual Alcatraz' review


DOGBANE
'Residual Alcatraz'
(Heaven And Hell Records)

It is difficult to create a unique sound these days in the metal world, but Dogbane has done a good album. This is a cool display of technical heavy metal which is rarely to hear nowadays,you'll find some influences of course (Queensryche, Malice and Fates Warning) but carefully constructed. Fans of true heavy metal, find this one out. It must be heard to be believed!
(Paul Caravasi)


Thunderkraft 'Totentanz' review


THUNDERKRAFT
'Totentanz'
(Svarga Music) 

A band with really cool sounds, this band sure is perverse. Their style is, I could say, black metal with a lot of variation and a dose of folk music that leave me impressed. Expect not the same sound over and over again, Thunderkraft kicks ass, they dare to experiment and they do it well, they create something that I am sure would blow us all away. I don't mind if they don't sing in English, it's an amazing album. Period.
(Paul Caravasi) 
 

U.D.O. 'Celebrator' review


U.D.O.
'Celebrator'
AFM Records - CD / High Roller Records - LP

Udo Dirkschneider & Co are on the roll again by releasing this collection of rare tracks, which is to be followed soon by the band's brandnew DVD 'Live In Sofia'.
Fans of the band should be pretty much delighted by this 2 CD set, as this is jam packed with all kinds of quirky material: Japanese-only bonus tracks, ones lifted off from ltd edition EPs, previously unreleased songs, Udo's guest appearances for bands such as Raven, Hammerfall and Lordi, cuts recorded for various tributes - you name it, it's in here. It's kinda puzzling as to why some of those previously unreleased songs ('Tallyman', 'The Silencer' and 'Artificialized' ) haven't been used on the respective albums they've been recorded for, as all three are class. However, even with such extensive collection of songs, a couple of ones are bound to slip through the cracks - particularly I'm missing the awesome 'The Longer You Can Wait' (recorded for the 1990 'Faceless World' album), that would have been a nice addition to round things off. 'Celebrator' would be more than enjoyable for U.D.O.'s fans, and is a fitting warm-up to the forthcoming DVD. [7,5]
(Asen Asenov)


The Royal Arch Blaspheme 'II' review

THE ROYAL ARCH BLASPHEME
'II'
(Hells Headbangers)

With Gelso of Profanatica and Krieg's Imperial in the line up this couldn't be anything but a barbaric mash of stubbornly primitive, ill-natured and mean sounding black fuckin metal. Two new wandering souls have joined the band since the release of the debut album (review here), other than that welcome addition there's no further surprises or disappointments - make no bones about it: if you love the agonizing scornful sounds and atmosphere of Profanatica, you'd be for a treat here. Fans of technical playing, soaring keyboards and avantgarde ideas need no entry, The Royal Arch Blaspheme is the complete opposite of your musical preferences - this is the kind of stripped down rawness the genuine underground scene needs in these days of confusion and misinformed marketing. 'II' is kick ass, to put it bluntly. [8]
(Vladimir Petrov)



 

Black Hole Of Calcutta 'S/T # 2' review


BLACK HOLE OF CALCUTTA
'S/T # 2'
(Self-released)

Ha-ha-ha, don't you love the cover art for this? Kinda like those classic GBK ones, but these filthy bastards here have chosen that leper-kissing freak Mother Teresa and applied the corpse paint accordingly. From the sounds of this demo this bunch of sick bastards leave the impression being the kind of people who'd enjoy setting homes and cars on fire, causing havoc in the city streets. High energy, intense crust/power violence that's designed to smash your head in via short, and tightly played, songs, uber-raspy, bile-spitting vocals and lyrics of the 'we're all doomed' variety...the complete package. You might not like that but I'm sucker for the style and this is pretty neat/fucked up stuff to boost the adrenaline rush in the mornings - don't tell me you are not starting the day playing some Disrupt to set up the fighting mood? This is a tough world, after all...up the punx! [7,5]
(Vladimir Petrov) 

 

Sacrificial Slaughter / Enfuneration Split CD review


SACRIFICIAL SLAUGHTER / ENFUNERATION
'American Death Thrash'
(Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)
 
I love split albums now and then and this release from HPGD looks to be an interesting one. First up is Sacrificial Slaughter and they bludgeon you over the head right out of the gate. SS play brutal death metal but with a real thrash underpinning. A reference band that immediately jumped to mind is the great old deathrash band Demolition Hammer. There are bands out there playing deathtrash, but I would have heard very few these days playing it this way. It is sort of a throw back to a time when thrash fans and bands were getting adrenalized for this new thing called death metal and you could hear the merging of the two distinct styles, sort of like hey that thrash band plays some sickening death metal. That is what you get from Sacrificial Slaughter and I like it. Oklahoma’s Enfuneration on the other hand are a more polished and modern sounding death metal band. They also hit you hard in their own way with razor riffing and deep rolling growl vocals. The drummer stands out as well on these tracks, a very controlled, precise and commanding performance turned in on the kit by drummer Rodney Cochran. All in all a great pairing and a must have type album for brutal death fans. I lean a little more towards Sacrificial, but both bands bring the goods, on five songs a piece and punish your ears.
(Dale Roy)


Black Crucifixion 'The Fallen One Of Flames/Satanic Zeitgeist' review


BLACK CRUCIFIXION
'The Fallen One Of Flames/Satanic Zeitgeist'
(Soulseller Records)

A day to celebrate here in the Void HQ, as this review marks post number 200 for the zine. I'm not gonna start pouring champagne in a crystal glass and singing karaoke to Abba , no way - this gonna be the genuine article: metal and ice cold beer. Metalheads are universally known for being extra passionate to the music created in their 'formative' years, so this CD release that compiles two separate 1991-ish recordings by the Finnish cult band Black Crucifixion can only be praised by yours truly. Not for purely nostalgic reasons either - one has to acknowledge the band for being on the leading curve of the soon to be exploding (then!) second wave black metal and their connection to Holocausto's Beherit has been well documented. Sandwiched between an intro and outro, the three songs of 'The Fallen..' are a good example of the coming madness - lo-filthy produced, charmingly underdeveloped, filled with crudely cold atmosphere and the famous 'whispering' vocal effect best known from 'Drawing Down The Moon'.''I'm a god now, and the slaves shall serve/Fuck your herd conformity, the noble shall rule", this short excerpt from the lyrics to the mostly excellent cut 'Flowing Downwards' describes the whole mindset of those involved in that particular, and highly influential, scene better than million words. Respect. 'Satanic Zeitgeist', the live portion of the disc, is, quite unsurprisingly, even more viciously raw and morbid sounding, bordering on Impaled Nazarene trademarked chaos in the faster parts of the presented songs. Black Crucifixion have seemingly been wise enough not to fall completely for that trick though, injecting catchy mid-tempo hooks throughout the tracks, as well as an enthusiastic cover version of 'In League With Satan'. Not a must-buy for everyone but a fitting document of an era. Lay down your souls. [7,5]
(Vladimir Petrov)



Murkrat 'Drudging The Mire' review


MURKRAT
'Drudging The Mire'
(Aesthetic Death)

Didn't you know already this ain't gonna be a nice little walk in the park, chit-chatting with your soul mate, eating vanilla ice cream under the azure sky? Hell no, this is on Aesthetic Death so you could make a nice little bet this is going to be on the really fucked up side of fucked up. Ultra slow, ominous sounding and spreading the rotten stench of an abandoned torture chamber, the Australian duo's chosen style is not here to please the fun loving part of you. I would not be surprised if 'Drudging The Mire' doesn't click with some aficionados of the funeral doom genre either, even if that's the style close to home if one absolutely needs to tag Murkrat's bleak musical creature. Mandy's vocals and extensive use of keyboards to compliment the sombre mood bring up some difference to the regular plate, with the former hinting at times of what Lisa Gerrard might have sounded like if involved in a project of such extremely dark nature. Yes, no low grunts to be found here but that's not the only thing that separates Murkrat from fellow crooners, as this also oozes vibes similar to early gothic rock, thanks to the prominent bass guitar tone. Definitely a hard and long listen (72 minutes, ffs!), which should be taken with some extra caution and probably a Red Bull or two, but an interesting one all the same. [7,5]
(Vladimir Petrov)


Ab Imo Pectore 'The Dissociative Path' review


AB IMO PECTORE
'The Dissociative Path'
(Debemur Morti)

By design this is a cassette tape release, limited to 100 copies. Thanks to the wonders of the internet I was given a download link from the label, thus being spared on the task of repairing the old tape deck (something I should have done a year or so ago), or dusting off the tried and trusted walkman, the very one responsible for nights and days and nights again of zillion listens to Sigh's 'Scorn Defeat','Hvis Lyset..', 'Under A Funeral Moon' and all that jazz. Go on - laugh and call me a troglodyte but to an extend I'm pleased the underground metal getting back to its roots, the tape format. So, a demo this is and demos were intended to be a 'snapshot' of the band, raising awareness of their style, sound and future potential. Considering this, Ab Imo Pectore is a band worth of their salt, working with the dizzying textures and atmosphere introduced by the more experimental, 'left-field', black/post-black metal bands the world has already seen its fair share of. At times 'The Dissociative Path' does sound like an uneven clash of influences, demanding the full attention of the listener without awarding much results in the end, yet the good ideas and execution prevailing the bad ones, if only just. They're onto something with these various vocal styles they're using and I did enjoy the quasi-Mysticum vibe of 'Mass Grave Emanations' for example, but there's hard work lying ahead for the Portuguese lot if they're to achieve the fully compelling, hypnotic and trance-like effect they're hinting on via the better parts of the presented songs. [6]
(Vladimir Petrov)



Horn Of The Rhino 'Grengus' review


HORN OF THE RHINO
'Grengus'
(Doomentia Records)

Bilbao is apparently both a city and a jungle, this just dawned on me. The Lions of Athletic Club have become the football (that's soccer, my beloved Americans) hipster's choice after an impressive Europa Cup campaign this year, spanking the useless Man Utd team in the process, among other heroics. I've been rooting for the club since 1984 so spare the thought I've been quick to jump on the bandwagon...but I digress. The Rhino gang ain't no slouches either, running rampant on gamut of influences that may make little sense on paper (Autopsy and Soundgarden, what the fuck?) but once you pop up this in the player it becomes clear they're mean bastards armed with malicious intentions. Not only this is oppressively HEAVY sounding and chock-full of massive mean riffs and pounding, thunderous rhythms but these songs feel like the band getting the kicks whilst throwing heaps of sludgy mud in the listener's direction. Fuck yeah, Horn Of The Rhino seem to be glad they're this kind of misbehaving, super-energetic rock 'n rolling bastards who make their own rules and don't take shit from anyone. Crusty death metal gallops? No problem. Extended doom jams? Right there, Sir. Seattle-based gloominess? Enjoy. While 99 out of 100 bands would make fools of themselves trying to combine such a range of styles and sound even remotely interesting without falling flat on their faces, these Basques do it with ease, a cheerful smirk and class. Hey, Rhinos - free peyote-tripping gig at San Mames any time soon? [8,5]
(Vladimir Petrov)
  

 

Horse Latitudes 'Awakening' review


HORSE LATITUDES
'Awakening'
(Doomentia Records)

"What do they put in the water over there in Finland?" is one of the unsolved mysteries of the universe. "Why don't they poison the water in Finland to get rid of guitar 'prodigies' like Tolkki or Laiho?" being the other one, apparently. Those damn six-stringers and their 'look-I'm-so-cool' pointless wankery - screw that and bask in the joys of the primitive, gargantuan, doomier-than-thou intricacies of Horse Latitudes. Their combination of two bass guitarists and a drummer/vocalist proves to be a slow and low dirgefest of agony, horror and empty-glazed despair. Listening to this might be kind of a demanding task, agreed, but once the attention is rightly adjusted to the crawling pace and the unusual approach there's no denying to the ability of the band in creating eerie atmosphere through such minimalistic means. Those who might write this off as boring and anti-climaxing - take a nice stroll and pick up those damn schrooms, that should help. If you fail again then I'm afraid you're doomed to live an eternity of Korpiklaani jigs and 'metal' brodudery. How I envy you. [7,5]
(Vladimir Petrov)

 

Celtachor 'In The Halls Of Our Ancient Fathers' review


CELTACHOR
'In The Halls Of Our Ancient Fathers'
(Self-released)

Everything about this band gives away their intention to pay homage to the Celtic myths and history, just take a glance over the band's name and that cover art, this is as straightforward as it gets. No complains, Ireland has been really instrumental to raise awareness to the pagan metal genre, with bands such as Cruachan and Waylander leading the charge in the said style, achieving critical praise in the process. Both of those might need to watch over their shoulders for the competition, as Celtachor are boldly making their claims known with these songs. Yes, 'In The Halls...' has been given a rather rough production that damages the impact to some extend but that is to be expected from a demo and can be easily taken care of on future recordings. What's best about the band, however, is that they've been able to resist the much despised 'folk metal' syndrome, tin whistles or not, and have given the songs 'a fist in the air' (mid-tempo Bathory, anyone?) quality and that unmistakable vibe of genuinely aggressive metal, dissimilar to the one that gets clueless youngsters starting to wave plastic swords and check each other's butts in smelly tents. Yup, no love for the uber-corny folk metal here but plenty of respect for the pagan one of Celtachor. Bearing in mind that this is almost two years old by now, I'm sure the band has further honed their craft and I for one am looking forward to the next offering. [6,5]
(Vladimir Petrov)

Throneum 'Death Throne Entities' review


THRONEUM
'Death Throne Entities'
(Pagan Records)

Extremely crude, nasty and compromise-free, the Polish death metal throwbacks are at your throat again. Based on the fact that this is already band's sixth full-length (plus myriad of all kinds of splits and EPs) one might be tempted to think that Throneum have had somehow lost the urge to blaspheme, maim and mutilate. No chance, amigo. No fukkin chance. Off-putting and gross to those who like it slick and marketable, 'Death Throne Entities' is a raw sounding orgy of filth and mayhem, just what the doctor ordered. Disorienting savagery in full effect that could cast the most iron stomachs heave. Lovely. Stay clear if you fancy your breakdowns and false productions, for this is made for those who are not after the flavour of the month. Divisive? Yes. And that's how it's ought to be. [8]
(Vladimir Petrov)
Throneum MySpace
 

Forefather 'Last Of The Line' review


FOREFATHER
'Last Of The Line'
(Metalhit.com)

Yup, both me and Forefather are still here, just like the first time we crossed paths, around the time of their excellent 'The Fighting Man' album. Loved them back then, sure I did, but will have to admit that post 'Engla Tocyme' stuff wasn't greeted with the same interest and sympathy as the first three CDs on my part. Not that those were bad, friends of mine were holding the band in high regard and I've been nodding approvingly, for the music was of decent quality. I've probably missed the initial 'spark' that first got me into the band, or was it the increasing heavy metal influence in their tunes on the expense of the black metal vibe (think Burzum) which was a vital part of Forefather for me? Whatever. 'Last Of The Line' continues in a much similar vein and one has to admire Wulfstan and Athelstan for their ongoing dedication keeping up the strong Anglo-Saxon vibe that has become synonymous for Forefather in the band's 15 years of existence. Those hymns to the ancient lore of the British isles could give you goosebumps, the passion is undeniable and the melodies are super memorable, displaying vivid pictures of medieval times and places in the listener's mind. This is the kind of epic sounding metal that could attract interest in various types of fans, from those adoring Iron Maiden and Manowar to the Viking-era Bathory hordes, guys this is just the right album for you. Pagan metal in the cheesy way this is not but it's a great, moving, piece of folklore influenced metal that could charge your batteries for the long day of work/school that lies ahead. 'Last Of The Line' is also available directly from Seven Kingdoms, band's own label. Metalhit.com offers digital download, next to the proclaimed 'US version', which turns out to be a mere CD-R, of all possible mediums. [7,5]
(Vladimir Petrov)

Impiety 'Ravage & Conquer' review


IMPIETY
'Ravage & Conquer'
(Pulverised Records)

In theory yours truly and Impiety should be a match made in hell (I couldn't bring myself to write 'heaven' in this review, right?), just like a Russian oligarch and finest caviar on a yacht cruising around a gorgeous Caribbean island. In truth, well, not really. At least not to the extend I'd hoped for, anyway. Yes - this is relentlessly fast, drums are practically blasting non-stop all the time and Impiety are accomplished players who know their way around the chosen instruments, playing them with megatons of vigour and dedication. But, there's always a but or two. Despite some memorable, usually slower, parts scattered in some of those (rather lengthy I might add) tracks the only thing I'd remember is how high the tempo is. That's not bad in itself but it hardly leaves the same impact that the better bands in the genre use to mercilessly assault the listeners with. 'Ravage & Conquer' doesn't possess that extra punch and grit of bands such as Revenge or Kerasphorus, for example. The production on this is  also somehow off, the vocals seem like just slapped over the extra loud drums, while the guitars are lacking the mastodon sound that's required. An album that's neither fish nor meat, much less beluga caviar. [6,5]
(Vladimir Petrov)

Denial Of God 'Death And The Beyond' review


DENIAL OF GOD
'Death And The Beyond'
(Hells Headbangers)

If one is planning to pay a visit to the crypt those Danes have been dwelling in for the last two decades, now the time is right as you'd be greeted by their most accomplished work to date. Sure, metal is a young man's game, we all have heard that saying more than once, yet the old guard is more than capable at times to dismiss the cliché and Denial Of God are one of the better examples of that. The band has easily morphed all their different influences to create a creepy vibe that's presented throughout the whole album, silently whispering all but forgotten names from the glorious past of our beloved metal in the process. Black metal, doomy psychedelics, heavy metal - you name it and rest assured you'd be able to discover all these in 'Death And The Beyond' (amazing title IMO!). Fans of modern day super-duper 'technical' playing, triggered-to-death drums and brickwalled sound, please, stay clear of this - you'd not get it, anyway. Good riddance. Die. However, all those who love the genuine atmosphere of good old metal done with clarity, class and dignity should invest their time and listen to this - you'd be rewarded, that's much certain. This album is a definitive keeper for a whole generation of fans, fiends and immortals. Chapeau, Denial Of God! [8,5]
(Vladimir Petrov)
  

Gospel Of The Horns 'Ceremonial Conjuration' review


GOSPEL OF THE HORNS
'Ceremonial Conjuration'
(Invictus)

No strangers to the mini album format, much less to delivering crushingly effective black/thrash, GOTH are finally back from their self-imposed exile. Dust off you bullet-belts, devotees of the vile Aussie sound, 'Ceremonial Conjuration' is a proud addition to an already impressive cataloque of metal this band has produced over the years. The new songs strike the listener with an immense atmosphere of darkness and destruction, which is no small feat itself but the band did the extra mile and made the tunes super catchy and memorable to boot. In a live setting this stuff should work wonders, there's this undeniable 'instant headbanging' factor one just can not possibly resist. Damn, the malign vocals by Howitzer are just what music of such proportions requires, Masochist's guitar work and tone is spot on and you should all know by now what an intense drummer Mersus (Destroyer 666) is . No need  picking a personal fave tune, all of them (including the closing cover of 'The Fog' by Goatlord) stand on their own, making this an essential purchase for those who prefer their metal rocking, raw and free of trends and fads. [8,5]
(Vladimir Petrov)



 

NunSlaughter 'Devils Congeries Vol.I' review

NUNSLAUGHTER Devils Congeries Vol. I Hells Headbangers By now everybody and his dog should know what NunSlaughter stands for...