Gruesome – Twisted Prayers (Relapse Records)

“Twisted Prayers” is GRUESOME’s second full length release and wherever the hell Chuck Schuldiner is, he has this thing on full blast and is throwing up the horns. If you think this band is simply a Death tribute band, a Death cover band, or a gimmick band, you are really missing out on some really good death metal. Gruesome not only pays homage to Chuck Schuldiner and Death by keeping the attitude, the riffs, the overall old school death metal vibe, but they do it really really fucking good.

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Dimmu Borgir – Eonian (Nuclear Blast Records)

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Aww, DIMMU BORGIR. The band that divides the black metal fan base like Donald Trump has divided America, have released their latest magnum opus “Eonian”. After “Abrahadabra”, I was really expecting something similar. I couldn’t have been more wrong. While the aforementioned album was just bland and boring, this album is the complete antithesis of that album. Black metal “pursists” are going to hate “Eonian”, and that’s too bad, because they are missing out on one hell of an album.

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Velo Misere – Genealogía del Eterno Desasosiego (Hexencave Productions)

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Velo Misere is formed by five black metal devotees who have been active during the last decade, manifestly or anonymously, in several bands within the Spanish underground metal scene. They debuted in 2017 with their first demo ‘Compendio de Trágicos Presagios’ and this year they’ve completed their second work, a four track EP that was released on May 1st by Hexencave Productions in CD format and Humanity’s Plague Productions on cassette.

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An Evening With John 5 In Sacramento, California – April 15th, 2018

On April 15th 2018 John 5 returned to Sacramento accompanied by supporting act Hero Jr. This was my second time seeing John 5. The first time was in 2015 on a headlining tour with Doyle. The show took place at Harlows. Right away you can see the dedication of the fan base as it was raining lightly but that did not stop people from standing in line. It amazes me that a performer such as John 5 can bring an amazing musical experience without any vocals. The show was amazing as always, filled with many surprises. Hero Jr. was a refreshing new take on rock n roll with some growls mixed into the high points of the songs. They are a 4 piece hard rock outfit from Indiana. I was very curious as to what their sound was going to be because very rarely do I discover a new rock n roll band. Especially one that is original and brings a totally new sound to the cemented rock genre. About 40 seconds into their first song the whole crowd was moving and bobbing their heads. The guitar work was amazing. Fast licks and a range of vocal work. A lot of groove and a lot of talent. I was glad that this was the only band that opened for John 5 as we got to see a lot of great material from Hero Jr.

John 5 came out in a slow foggy atmosphere, which quickly turned into a battle of shredding. Its as if he tries to top himself every time. There was a few slow songs which showcased his more personal side to the music and complimented the shredding of the whole show. It was a beautiful performance. The highlight of the night was special guest, Slayer/Exodus guitarist Gary Holt joining John 5 for an amazing cover of Enter Sandman. It was amazing to see that in such a small venue. Truly powerful the way the entire crowd sang along to it. Personally i lost my voice after that. John 5 then closed the set with a beautiful medley of songs. Everything from Iron Maiden to Van Halen. It was great seeing everyone enjoy the music and live in the moment. There was a special encore of John 5 performing the Rage Against The Machine classic “Killing In The Name Of”, and then of course his cover of beat it by Michael Jackson. We were all left wanting more. Visually and musically an amazing show. John 5 always delivers. No filler, all talent.

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Author: AJ Guzman

Voidthrone – Kur (Self Released)

If had to describe this album in three words; Fury, Hate, darkness. In this case these are all good things. Kur From Voidthrone is an amazing piece of blackened death. Voidthrone hail from Seattle, and this will be their first release since 2016. This type of blackened death is a little more unconventional, in that it has a very rich, black metal atmosphere thought the entire album. There is a strong presence of influence here, which is great because I feel like it helped Voidthrone find that unique sound that is not easy to encounter in blackened death. It is unlike anything I have heard this year so far. It is hard to describe exactly what the sound is. If you like and Anaal Nathrakh and Gorgoroth, this is something you must purchase.

This album is extremely full of despair. It is like falling into dark, cold abyss. It feels like you’re drowning in darkness. There are lots of raw emotions that you can feel throughout the album. The intensity and guitar work paints a vivid, yet horribly bleak picture. My favorite song is “Their Recursive Communion”. Lengthy song titles, but each one is a different feeling of isolation and blackness. The album gave me anxiety. I loved it though. It was as if i was stuck in the mind of a patient with schizophrenia in the early 50’s. Fast, desolate and soulless. Voidthrone went on a different route on this album and it worked. Kur, evokes a different area of the mind. Brutal and tasteful nonetheless. 8/10

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Author: AJ Guzman

Blood of the Wolf – II: Campaign of Extermination (Self Released)

Blood Of The Wolf is a blackened death metal band from Chicago, Illinois. Formed in 2012, Blood Of The Wolf combines breakneck riffing with memorable melodic passages, relentless drumming and intense vocal delivery. In 2013 the band released a two song demo and in 2015 they released their first full-length, I: The Law of Retaliation. Blood Of The Wolf has been pummeling audiences with relentless, nonstop aggression..

“Goddamn fuck yea” were the first words to come out of my mouth after listening to the first track. This is a good one for any fans of Behemoth, Belphegor or Aeon. I love me some black death. or blackened death whatever you wanna call it. You can hear the earlier Behemoth influence, along with the vocal style that goes hand in hand with the fast riff of the guitars. The drumming helps in keeping the death metal sound throughout the whole experience. The whole album is like a war scene from some medieval times, or maybe a brutal Tolkien Uruk-Hai massacre. It is something that fuels aggression and hatred. There is so much intensity in this album its hard not to nod your head or get pissed off.

I would listen to this after a shitty day at work. I mean I would listen to it anytime its a great album. I love everything about it. The production, the flow of guitars, the fast black metal atmosphere and the fluidity of the vocals. This thing is a goddamn buzzsaw. I can only imagine the atmosphere that Blood of the Wolf creates during their live shows. I can imagine myself inside a mosh pit at their show. There are no weak moments in this album. Even the slow riff buildups increase the intensity brought out by the blackened guitar work and great double bass work. This album did not overstay its welcome by any means. Instead it leaves the listener wanting more. I have no complaints. “A Sermon of Slaughtered Foes” is my favorite track on the album. a great closing track, displaying intensity, dark imagery and a powerful display of vocal work. Very well executed. 9/10

Mike Koniglio-Guitar and Vocals
Frank Garcia-Guitar
Christopher Grimes-Bass
Rick Hernandez-Drums

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Author: AJ Guzman

Angerot – The Splendid Iniquity – (Black Market Metal)

 

South Dakota-based death metallers, Angerot rise from the ashes of Midwestern Metal to announce their crushing debut album, The Splendid Iniquity. Featuring a cast of seasoned veterans who share roots that reach back to the very beginnings of the Death Metal Movement, Angerot are more than a nod to early Swedish Death Metal, they are pure Swede Death Worship. Recorded with Eddie G at Underground Studios, mixed by Tomas Skogsberg (Entombed, Dismember, Carnage, Grave, At the Gates) at Sunlight Studios and mastered by Brad Boatright at AudioSeige, The Splendid Iniquity is a savage 40 minute sonic assault of 90’s Earache Records-era buzzsaw on your ear drums.

Pure Swedish death metal worship. That alone sounds like a death metal band. 90’s Swedish death metal had a unique sound that paved the way to a whole new death metal sound. Bands such as Entombed, Dismember, Unleashed, etc. Angerot shows their heavy Swedish death metal influence in the album “The Splendid Iniquity.” It was refreshing to hear that a band can still maintain that classic 90’s OSDM sound while bringing the intensity, brutality and new sound that makes a death metal band stand out. It is one of those albums that makes you go into a certain genre binge for a few weeks. Personally I do have a bias with death metal because of my passion for it, but I can also admit when I do not enjoy a death metal band or song. This was not the case. Once again i will use the word refreshing to describe the overall feeling i had while listening to this album.

Amazing death metal sound complimented by great vocal work and just the overall brutality in sound. This put my speakers to work. I can clearly hear the bass on the album which I love. Heavy bass adds another element to death metal which not every band is aware of. One song that stands out to me is “From the Pit to the Apex.” It has lots of intensity and is a good showcase of every weapon this band has, especially the vocals. The last solo of the song is perhaps my favorite of the whole album. Which is of course not to say there aren’t any more great solos in here. The Splendid Iniquity, reminds me of a mix between Entombed A.D. and Cut Up. Angerot is and example to follow. This is how to stand out from the rest. I will pay close attention to them for future projects. 9/10 easy.

Track Listing:
1. Black Epoch
2. Eternal Unrest
3. The Splendid Iniquity
4. Rivers of Chaos
5. Under the Calm
6. They Wake at Dusk
7. From the Pit to the Apex
8. Deliver Us…
9. That Hath Awoke
10. Falia Diaboli (Alisin)
Lineup:
C.R. Petit – Guitar/Vocals
Jason Ellsworth – Lead Guitars
Zaugg – Bass
Josh Ferrie – Drums

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Author: AJ Guzman