Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Enthroned (Bel) - Pentagrammaton Review

Full-length, Regain Records, March 22nd, 2010

ENTHRONED (from Belgium) deliver a blasphemous, blackened storm of shredding guitars, scouring gravel throated screams and blasting beats that fire like a barrage of bullets on a battle field and are on target like a programmed and launched warhead.

Their sinister brand of Black Metal is powered by a diabolical aura that is truly their own as the group issues a scathing, hate-filled attack on it´s intended 'captive' target audience.

“Pentagrammaton” is a good example of exactly what a BM band should be, in every context of BM's original concept... once you open your ears to this pulverising album, you are guaranteed to re-discover TRUE Black Metal all over again ! Especially if your convictions have begun to wain over the seriousness of the genre in recent years with the rise in popularity of the Symphonic BM bands.

If you have never heard of ENTHRONED before and you are an avid, addicted BM listener and consider yourself an Extreme Metal afficiando, ENTHRONED are one of the first True Black Metal bands to ever come out of Belgium. Presenting their brand new album to this pathetic planet, what we have here is an absolute treat , a must have for ALL fans of the early Satanic Black Metal bands like Bathory, Blasphemy and early Sodom.

The CD comes in a special slipcase and features a terrific booklet with suitably eerie art work and photography that suits the albums sonic barrage perfectly! Live on Tour during 2010, ENTHRONED are set to wreak havoc across the planet like a scourge across a monks flagellated raw back. IF you don't buy the album, you shall do pennance... this is true Black Metal in it's purest form.

Raw to the bone, unrelenting, empassioned, uncompromising HELL fueled BM the way it is supposed to sound! Originally I thought ENTHRONED might have seen better days or begun to fade away, after Sabathan left the band, but it's actiually proven to be a huge plus. Gone are the squaking "Donald Duck" BM vox of previous albums, now replaced by the far more acerbic, raw and convincing screams of vocalist, Nornagest confidently at the helm!

This is the album I had always hoped ENTHRONED would release, I knew they had it in them and they have finally proven they could really strip things down and get ugly again, like a parking lot brawl in "Fight Club", the gloves are definitely off for this fight !!!

In many ways, this has to be the biggest surprise of the year out of all the new releases that have come out thus far for 2010! At just under 42mins, the album is the perfect length for repeat listens, in fact I am always surprised when the album suddenly seems to come to an end so soon... only to realize, I've been listening to it for the 6th time today without realizing when it ends because I've become so enraptured by ENTHRONED in their captivating, gripping and enthralling new incarnation! This is the REBIRTH OF ENTHRONED !!!

Reviewed by Damien Bentley  -  10/10

Monday, March 29, 2010

Exiled from Light - There Is No Beauty Left Here Review

Exiled from Light - There Is No Beauty Left Here
Full-length, self released, 2008

Depressive BM from New Zealand, sure to satisfy fans of DROWNING THE LIGHT (Australia), PESTILENTIAL SHADOWS (Australia), XASTHUR (USA), LEVIATHAN (USA), ANTI (Germany), MAKE A CHANGE... KILL YOURSELF (Denmark), NORTT (Denmark) and maybe even SHINING (Sweden) and SILENCER (Sweden), though this is much slower and filled with piano interludes etc.

Some KATATONIA and SWALLOW THE SUN fans might apprecciate this band/album as well for it's melancholic sadness and the darkness that pervades the entire piece. The album cover reminds me of BURZUM style album art, such as "HVIT LISSET TAR OSS".

The album is rather unique in it's own right specifically for the rather different style of drumming and the drum sound in the mix. All in all a rather quiet album, mid-paced in speed and filled wih melancholic sadness, lillting and beautiful in it's own way!

Reviewed by Damien Bentley - 8/10

The Sarcophagus - Towards the Eternal Chaos Review

The Sarcophagus - Towards the Eternal Chaos
Full-length, Osmose Productions, November 29th, 2009

THE SARCOPHAGUS are a Turkish Symphonic Extreme/Black Metal band who play in a unique style filled with it's own atmosphere that seperates them from any other band in the SBM field or sub-genre!

This is their Debut album and features some truly aggressive and affecting vocals by Niklas Kvarforth of the Suicidal/Depressive Black Metal [or Avante-Gard Extreme Metal band as they are now familiarly known] SHINING from Sweden!

Kvarforth brings a whole different aspect to their sonic attack and his vocals are sure to appeal to any fan of Attila's vox in MAYHEM or KEEP OF KALESSIN.

While the music is Symphonic Black Metal in essence it doesn't feel or sound anything like any other band which plays Symphonic BM, THE SARCOPHAGUS play in a more atmospheric style that doesn't place the keyboards too high in the mix and utilizes a synth sound as a background foundation that they have built their unique style of agressive Extreme BM upon! A great Turkish band who remain waiting in the aisles for their big break in the Extreme Metal scene... this could well pole-vault their status higher in the undergound scene.

Reviewed by Damien Bentley - 10/10

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Full-length, Prowling Death Records, March 19th, 2010

Wow!!! I am once again struck completely speechless by Tom G. Fischer and his new monstrous release is sure to drop a few other jaws beside mine as well! IF you consider yourself a die-hard CELTIC FROST/HELLHAMMER fan, this is going to be thee album of the year for you... like treading on unholy ground in the darkness of H.R. Giger's terrific and terrifying album cover for the album, come to life! The artwork suits the album perfectly and indeed hearkens all the way back to 1985 Celtic Frost Debut, "TO MEGA THERION"... and the album art isn't the only connection, the thick density of the crushing sound within is another nod to that past classic! The crunch is so thick, that it could mulch bricks like a bulldozer running rough shod over an area designated for destruction.

There are a few rather CELTIC FROST style female vocals woven into the fabric of the album here and there, though not randomly or for the sake of having them in the mix. Everything has it's place on the album and nothing is left to chance, it feels well organized and nothing drags on for too long while supplying the ample atmosphere needed on each track. For a 72 minute album, it passes by so quickly that by the end you might actually feel it was too short for your liking! Thats a stroke of pure genius, because I don't know too many albums as dense as this, yet just as equally captivating and gripping from start to finish. The album leaves the listener wanting more so fortunately we have the option to push REPEAT and have the benefit of listening to it a million times over and over.

This is the sort of album that seeps deeper and deeper into you soul and spirit, as it's Black/Death/Doom sonic waves wash over you like you are floating through the Milky Way as Satan's guest in the majesty of the night sky! It isn't as violently wrenching as "MONOTHEIST" was, though it's quite obviously cut from the same cloth without any doubt whatsoever. This is definitely a powerful contender for ALBUM OF THE YEAR for 2010, what an incredible year it is already with the likes of the tremendous new IHSAHN and BURZUM albums. Including those 2 albums, I think TRIPTYKON has closed the triumvirate with raging success!!!

The album was Released on March 19th and this is an absolute must have album, not only for the awe inspiring tremendous music contained within but for the absolutely marvelous artwork and fascinating booklet that accompany the album.

Wow!!! The new album is awesome... Awe inspiring and a terrific continuation of Tom's work, further reaching into the darkness than before, yet a continuation of what fans have undoubtedly been hoping for and for quite a while now since he last emerged amidst the behemoth that was the mighty "MONOTHEIST" album! Behold a new beast has emerged from the blackened depths of HELL !!! Bow in reverence!

Reviewed by DAMIEN BENTLEY - 10/10

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nyseius - Militiae Review

Nyseius - Militiae
Full-length, ATMF, April 2010

Orthodox black metal is something that is admittedly loved or hated, depending on who you ask. One of the biggest failures with the genre is so many of the bands end up sounding alike. Loads of blasting, spiked with vile lyrical vomiting about Satan, mysticism, war, etc. There is a great deal of orthodox black metal bands sprouting up all over the world these days. I blame it on bands like Dark Funeral, Marduk, Funeral Mist and the like.

Here we have Nyseius, a four-piece orthodox black metal band from France. Their debut album 'Militiae', is a harsh lesson in brutal and unforgiving satanic black metal. Loaded with blast beats, grimly croaked mid-range vocals and icy cold guitar riffs, Nyseius are not exactly reinventing the black wheel. My first impression of this album was 'Oh look, a Dark Funeral worship band...', but the more I listened, the more I found an almost avant-garde approach to their orthodoxy. The bulk of this album is dissonant and writhing in black blood, but there are a few moments when the chaos dissipates, making room for frightening clean guitar breaks and choral-esque keyboard flourishes. But do not kid yourself, these breaks in momentum are short-lived before the blasting flame re-ignites and you are trampled under cloven hoof. There is no question the main focus of this album is to spew the blackest and most hateful energy possible. Leaving little to no alleviation for the listener.

A super clean production is found on this album; guitars are reduced to an icy tremolo picked blur, drums are clear/loud but do not sound overly-triggered, the vocals have a pinch of reverb to add atmosphere and the bass is mostly buried in the mix. This production reminds me of the kind used on the first Dark Funeral album mostly.

Looking for something groundbreaking and new? You will not find it here, but if you are looking for a smothering, hate filled, chaotic blast of orthodox black metal, this is your weapon to pick. Nyseius have created a 35-minute album of nuclear black energy, destined to rip your face off and drag you to the depths of hell.

Reviewed by E. - 7/10

Svarti Loghin - Drifting Through the Void Review

Svarti Loghin - Drifting Through the Void
Full-length, ATMF, April 16th, 2010

New school Swedish black metal is pretty much known for being super depressive and suicidal. Maybe above all, negative is the best word to describe their scene. Bands like Shining and Hypothermia have made quite a name for themselves in this niche genre. But one name that has really got a lot of attention over the past few years is Lifelover. A band of suicidal, drug-addicted, self-mutilating folk playing black metal influenced 'rock' music. I admittedly have found a deep fondness for what Lifelover does, but as the case with any kind of music, once one unique band gets heavy exposure, a million other bands, trying to sound like them, explode on to the scene. These bands pack promo bins and distro catalogs with their garbage releases, which make finding the real exceptional acts that much harder to find.

Svarti Loghin is not really a new band, they have been together since 2006, have one demo and one full-length already under their belts. With their sophomore album 'Drifting Through The Void', SL have found themselves treading the same waters as the above mentioned Lifelover. SL combine the aesthetic of black metal, but play it in the framework of a mix of shoe-gaze, indie rock, post-punk and alt-county (oh yes, there are country-like moments on this album). At first listen I was not completely sure of how to feel about Svarti Loghin. The deeper I analyzed the album, the more appreciation I found for it. While they do sound like Lifelover, they really do manage to put their own twist on the sound. I really love the alt-country elements and clean sung passages they have implemented, they are impeccably well-done. There is an almost narcotic styled haze around this record, since it is very laid back for the most part. I am not completely sure this album could be regarded as 'metal', the only real metal part is in the howled dsbm-style vocals scattered throughout the album.

The albums production is fantastic, not over-produced, but clean enough to hear all the instruments fully. The whole thing has a very organic and natural sound, which for this kind of music, really works quite well. The distorted guitar tone is mid-range-y and warm, the clean guitar is spacious, the drums are mixed well enough so they are not buried in the mix and the vocals, while not being completely in-your-face, are balanced to the point where they are not annoying/over-bearing. A very well balanced, clean and modern sounding production.

I found this album to be quite enjoyable the more I listened to it. I constantly found more and more hidden elements in the album, each time I went through it. I was pretty impressed with the overall presentation of this record. I only found myself having two complaints; the album cover is oddly very much like the cover for Caina's Some People Fall and the cover version of Planet Caravan (originally by Black Sabbath). While the cover is well-done, it just comes off as kind of pointless. I would have rather heard another original song.

Good album, definitely recommend to fans of Lifelover or just for people who enjoy a bit more 'rock' in their black metal. Looking forward to hearing more from this band in the future.

Reviewed by E. - 7.5/10

An Autumn for Crippled Children - Lost Review

An Autumn for Crippled Children - Lost
Full-length, ATMF, January 2010

The whole post-black metal thing has really had quite an explosion over the past few years. Not completely sure who is to blame for starting the trend, but there is no question that a huge amount of bands have taken to this style and pushed it all over the place. Enter An Autumn For Crippled Children; a post black metal band that combines elements of depressive black metal, doom and post-rock. While this is nothing new in the whole post black metal explosion, some bands manage to do it considerably well.

On their debut full-length 'Lost', AAfCC really wallow in the depths of depressive black metal, with an almost funeral doom framework amongst the whole thing. Extremely slow, (although there are a few blast sections incorporated here and there) melodic, fuzzed out guitars, humming atmospheric synths, pulsating drums and howled vocals. There is a very melancholy vibe throughout the whole album, especially during the slower parts, where the melodic guitar leads and synth take up a good portion of the sonic field. During the faster parts-well, in general-the drums are pushed way back into the mix, not sure if they use a drum machine or not, but it would have been nice to hear the drums a bit more in the production. There are also a few moments in the album where the band seep into Alcest-like territory, with the more upbeat and bouncy riffs/melodies performed in a very shoe-gaze like fashion.

The production is very cloudy and fuzzy, which is not abnormal for this kind of music. It also comes across very cold sounding, since a good deal of the of the tonal range is very treble-y and loaded with high-end. Once again, nothing new for any wave of black metal. The biggest comparison I keep coming back to listening to this is Xasthur, while not entirely like his work, its the reference that keeps coming back to my mind each time I listen.

Not a bad release, a bit too same-y throughout the entire album, but not bad. I think if they add more elements to what they are doing and maybe clean up the production a bit, they might have something really special to offer in the future. A decent debut album though, definitely recommended for fans of the whole post-black metal trend happening nowadays.

Reviewed by E. - 6/10

Fatalist - The Depths of Inhumanity Review

Fatalist - The Depths of Inhumanity
Full-length, Ibex Moon Records, November 23rd, 2009

Old school Swedish death metal, those days are pretty much long gone, for the most part anyway. The glory days of Stockholm being the apex of dirty, dark death metal are far in the past. Although there seem to be a few new bands attempting to pick up the reins and bring death metal back to its unclean roots -- away from drum triggers, pointless technicality, sterling productions, etc...One of these bands come from California of all places, about as far from Stockholm as you can get. Enter the band Fatalist (whose logo is an EXACT replica of death metal legends Nihilist, no coincidence there) who perform dirty, nasty death metal, the way it is supposed to sound.

This is Swedish death metal performed as the masters had once performed it, grinding buzz-saw guitar tone and all (I absolutely love this kind of guitar tone). While Fatalist are no doubt performing death metal in the vein of bands like Entombed, Nihilist and Dismember, they manage to interject a bit of their own influence as well. Loads of dark melodies, heavy bass tone and splintering drums. The band at times drift into more thrash-y territory, but in the most death metal way possible. There are also a few nice guitar solos scattered throughout the album, which add a nice dimension to the buzz-saw riffage found throughout. Add to all this a clean, but grimy and acidic production that perfectly compliments the sound Fatalist are hoping to achieve.

Not a whole lot of new and/or innovative things happening on this album, but I will be damned if Fatalist does not bring some much needed terror to the new school death metal scene. Kudos to any band that presents a knowingly 'been there' sound, but still manage to add some authenticity as well. If you love old school Swedish (and some American) death metal, do yourself a favor and pick this up, its heavy and menacing, the way death metal should be.

Reviewed by E. - 8/10

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blood of the Black Owl - A Banishing Ritual Review

Blood of the Black Owl - A Banishing Ritual
Full-length, Bindrune Recordings, February 27th, 2010

I really have to give a thumbs-up to the folks at Bindrune. They manage to put out consistently amazing records that are inspired and unique. Much like the newest offering from Celestiial, the new Blood Of The Black Owl is quite a jaw-dropping release. I am no stranger to the previous works of this project (or the ones associated with it) and each outing becomes more interesting to experience.

Here we have 'A Banishing Ritual', an album that essentially is one long composition, but can be divided into four parts. This album is a unique amalgamation of beauty, isolation and sheer terror. A piece of music that is as terrifying as it is tranquil. Ritual voices, bizarre percussion, warped synthesizers, eerie woodwinds, flutes and raging strings clash with seething ambiance, doom-y metal, black atmospheres and folk-ish sections. This album is essentially all over the place musically, but it all works and makes sense together. Each part compliments the ones before and after, keeping the album interesting amongst its 40+ minute playing time. I had to listen to this album two times back to back, just to be able comprehend the beginning stages of what this album has to offer. This is a deeply moving piece of work that unveils more and more each time you listen. I could probably listen to this album 100 more times and still discover new things on each pass.

The album is a lesson in deeply personal, transcendental music. It is like being transported into the psyche of Chet W. Scott and company for a deep look not only into their minds, but into your own as well. Highly emotional, introspective and thought provoking music that simply must be heard to be believed. Outstanding.

Reviewed by E. - 8.5/10

Celestiial - Where Life Springs Eternal Review

Celestiial - Where Life Springs Eternal
Full-length, Bindrune Recordings, February 27th, 2010

I have been waiting to hear this album for quite some time now. I enjoyed the previous full-length from Celestiial 'Desolate North' a great deal, aside from a few flaws in its presentation. Well four years and a few new band members later, we finally are presented with 'Where Life Springs Eternal'. Celestiial has definitely expanded on the ideas it was originally presenting; slow, absolutely crushing funeral doom wrapped in dense, atmospheric field recordings. The sound is quite vast and sounds as though they are performing in the middle of a forest or upon a cliff alongside a waterfall. Loads of echo and reverb coat the instrumentation, making it sound eerily distant and cavernous.

Celestiial succeed where a great deal of funeral doom bands fail. The atmosphere is believable and incredibly encompassing. You simply do not listen to this album, it sucks you in and transports you to an endless void, until the voyage comes to a somber end. Its almost like witnessing tectonic plates shift right before you. The vocals are strangled and howled in an atypical manner, more akin to black metal or hardcore, than the usual death growl of most doom metal.

The guitar, bass, synth, drums and vocals all bounce and shimmer off of each other, making the album sound truly alive, as opposed to just playing music. The field recordings help a great deal in creating this atmosphere as well; birds chirping, water cascading and wind rumbling. These sounds all help in making this album incredibly enveloping. There are a few shorter tracks interspersed within the album, which incorporate a plucked harp and these tracks have a distinctly Celtic folk inspired sound to them. This really compliments the drone and dirge of the longer, more metal tracks. All in all, this album is very thought-out and impeccably well-performed.

This is funeral doom for people who normally cannot stand the genre. Celestiial really breathe life into a stagnant and at times, boring genre. Do yourself a favor and pick this album up as soon as possible!

Reviewed by E.  -  8.5/10

Divine Eve - Vengeful and Obstinate Review

Divine Eve - Vengeful and Obstinate
EP, Ibex Moon Records, January 16th, 2010

After a good 15-16 years of complete silence, this often overlooked death/doom band finally returns with some new material. Many people will tell you their last EP; As The Angels Weep, was something of a legendary release that really never found the acclaim it deserved. So now Divine Eve returns hoping to make up some lost time and possibly find the audience they had always searched for. Most of the music on this new EP is slow to mid-paced, although they do manage to inject a few moments of faster, almost old-school grind-ish tendencies. There is no question that Divine Eve is very much influenced by the legendary Celtic Frost / Hellhammer legion. Their style drips with a kind of old-school worship for these bands. Not in a rip-off kind of way, but unquestionably influenced by them.

There are a few moments on this release where the band shifts to an almost 'classic' style of metal riffing, eschewing the more standard doom rhythms. In these moments the band find themselves a bit more able to stray from the typical stereotypes of death/doom. There is also a few moments where the band implements an interesting horn tone, which help deepen the atmosphere.

I enjoyed this release, but do have a few issues with it. For one, its incredibly short. These guys should really consider doing a full-length for the first time in their existence. Secondly, there are times when the pace just drags along, in the moments where the horn and other styled riffing are implemented, it helps greatly. I would love to see Divine Eve really explore this kind of atmosphere more and experiment a bit with their sound. This may really separate them from the pack in the future...So all in all, an enjoyable release with a ton of potential. They just need to make longer albums and try to expand more, sonically.

Reviewed by E. - 6.5/10

Nominon "Monumentomb" Review

Deathgasm Records March 2010

Face ripping,filthy,downright dirty!!!Those are the words that come to mind as the opening volley of nominons newest long player "MONUMENTOMB" blasts out of the speakers.Opening track mantra reverse twists and turns at hyper speed,anyone who has seen this band live can only imagine the intesity going on here as "the drums of death" are in serious affect here!!!There are several differences between this and their last release 'TERRA NECROSIS".Most notably is the presence of general surgery screamer Erik Sahlström om seven of the albums 9 tracks.Sahlstrom griity old school swede death vokils do this album a great service!!Secondly the production coming courtesy of Tore Stjerna(who also contributes vocals and lyrics to the album)and his necromorbus studio,which results in a sharper,slightly cleaner production then the previous album.Monumentomb twists and turns thru it's 9 tracks of "swedish metal of death",as nominon has always in my opinion successfully blended the old school ways with a nice blend of modern ferocity!!!While they are definatley not reinventing the wheel here,nominon has crafted if anything a solid entry into todays death metal spectrum,and at roughly 40 mins this album unlike so many others,doesn't overstay it's welcome.What you get here is a veteren band that does death metal the correctly,fast,heavy,dirty, filthy,and most of all unapologetic!!!! Poser Kill indeed!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Review By:Bastard Son Of God

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Viatrophy - Viatrophy Review

Viatrophy - Viatrophy

Full-length, Siege Of Amida/Candlelight, June 15th, 2009

So based on the band name alone, I expected some kind of tech/brutal death metal sound. While there is some truth in that assessment, this has a lot more in common with the huge waves of death core bands coming out these days. While a bulk of the music is technical noodling, they manage to boil down to having chugging mosh riffs scattered all over the place. While this band is not bad by any means, it is completely unimaginative and following the trend more than anything. There is no disputing the fact that this band are very good at playing their instruments and creating brutal/technical music, but being able to play technical music does not mean you write good songs. There are moments of catchy melodic glory, but they usually get swallowed in the technical maelstrom. There are also quite a few more quiet/atmospheric breaks interspersed in the chaos, but they do little to save the song from being a wank-fest. Granted this band is not as shred-y as many of their peers, they still have a lot to learn in regards to writing memorable songs. The whole album kind of turns into one long song and not in a good way. Everything just sounds so alike and similar that the record turns into one 42 minute long tech-core jam.

The album has a very modern and overly processed sound; very clean, but lacks any kind of soul or grit to give it a life of its own. The vocals are split 50/50, half being a deeper death growl and the other half being a sort of have screamed pseudo-hardcore shout. The guitars are mostly angular and played in odd time signatures, yet occasionally stopping for a chugging breakdown or clean strummed post-rock kind of part. The bass is buried very low in the mix, so its really hard to get a feel for it. The drums are triggered to death, but with that being said, the drummer has excellent musical chops. There are moments in the record that lead me to believe they might expand into being a bit more experimental in the future, which could really help them expand their sound into something worth listening to. Until then, what you will get is trendy, technical death core. The only upside is that there are no clean/emo like vocals to be found anywhere on the album. That really would have been the coffin nail for this effort.

This band has a lot to learn before they are at the point of writing memorable music. Here is to hoping that changes in the future for them. Otherwise they will be continually lumped into the mediocre death core trend/scene.

Reviewed by E. - 4.5/10

Svartsot - Mulmets Viser Review

Svartsot - Mulmets Viser
Full-length, Napalm Records, March 24th, 2010

I figured it was only a matter of time before I was put in the position to review a record that literally makes me sick. Svartsot is the kind of cheerful, humppa folk metal that makes my stomach turn. There is no question there will be a good number of people who soak this album up and absolutely love it, unfortunately I cannot do this, no matter how many times I listen to the album. It is filled with almost every folk metal stereotype in existence and in the end comes off bland, weak and contrived. The market for this kind of music has grown exponentially over the past few years and there is no question that Svartsot are hoping to ride high on the wave of folk metal popularity.

Pseudo-death metal riffs and vocals are clashed amongst pointlessly upbeat drum patterns. Then there is the layer of typical folk metal instrumentation laid atop the 'metal', flowery flute harmonies are all over the place on this record. Normally I have no issue using traditional folk instruments, but they come off as unnecessary on most of these tracks. There are a few instances where the songs are heavy and catchy without being silly, but those moments come-and-go in the blink of an eye. The band is quite talented and are actually versed in writing songs, but unfortunately they write the same song over and over again. Almost every song on this album sounds exactly alike in every way. If it was the same good song written for the whole album, it might be a decent effort, but this is not the case for Svartsol.

I would say if you want a truly amazing new folk metal album to listen to, skip this one entirely and go straight for the new Heidevolk. That is a great example of folk metal done correctly and passionately.

Reviewed by E. - 3/10

Heidevolk - Uit Oude Grond Review

Heidevolk - Uit Oude Grond
Full-length, Napalm Records, March 26th, 2010

Folk metal. I admittedly cannot stomach a great deal of it, for most of it (especially the humppa-folk metal bands) are simply annoying to my ears. I love traditional folk music, but many of the bands who attempt to cross-pollinate metal and folk do so in a completely cheesy way. The bands who do in fact get it right can end up with something very special (Otyg, Isengard, early Ulver) and unique sounding. I think Heidevolk are one of those few bands who actually succeed in not being cheesy or contrived while doing so. The melodies and drumming are fist-pumping and upbeat while the vocals are deep and very masculine sounding. I found myself doing a good deal of head banging while listening to this album, which to me is always a good thing. None of the music seemed forced or put emphasis on unneeded elements to water down the sound into something commercial and easy to listen to. While Heidevolk do implement a good deal of folk in their music, the main emphasis is on the metallic side of what they do and they really perform it better than most of the bands in this genre. Heidevolk do manage to use a bit of traditional folk instrumentation in their sonic brew, but they are implemented well and never overpower the songs or come in at pointless intervals in a wave of over saturation (aka cheesy sounding).

The production is outstanding on this album; very clear sounding without being overly modern and 'produced' to death. The instruments and vocals are very warm sounding, with a lot of 'soul' in every aspect of the record. The metallic parts are heavy, the folk parts are catchy and the vocals are passionately executed. I wish the bass guitar was a bit higher in the mix, but this is only a minor complaint in the overall scheme of the record. The songs are well written, extremely catchy and full of genuine power. The album to my ears sounded very 'powerful' and heartfelt, without a need to be melodramatic. I think if more bands did what Heidevolk do, the folk metal genre would carry a far better reputation than it currently does. With that being said, when someone like myself stumbles upon a album like this, it makes it that much better and enjoyable to listen to. This is folk metal for people who cannot stand most of the typical bands, it is well-written, well-played and extremely catchy. Bands like Heidevolk give me hope that there is still good folk metal to be found amidst all the trash.

Reviewed by E. - 8.5/10

Varg - Blutaar Review

Varg - Blutaar
Full-length, Noise Art Records, January 29th, 2010

More and more Pagan metal bands seem to be flooding the market these days. Most of them are hard to distinguish from each other, due to the lack of interesting ideas, song structures, etc. But like all scenes, there are always a few that rise to the top. Mainly because they stand out from the pack, for whatever reason. Here we have the band Varg, definitely a Pagan metal band, but these fellows manage to bring something unique to the table. A band does not always have to be completely original to stand out, many bands who do something tried and true, but do it exceptionally well, manage to find interest among certain groups. The music found on this release is very melodic, sometimes mid-paced, sometimes blasting at full speed. Harsh black metal vocals, heavy guitars and semi-complex drumming make up a good bulk of the release. Some of the guitar riffs are reminiscent of Gothenberg death metal, not necessarily in the typical way, but more in the fact of being very melodic. There are a few acoustic breaks scattered among the album to break up the straightforward metallic monotony. All the instruments play off of each other very well, creating a very solid vehicle of heavy music.

I would say Varg straddle the line of black and death metal. They combine the heaviness of death metal (not chugging riffs either) and the melodic sensibility of black metal to create a lethal hybrid that is both scathing and pummeling. Unlike most Pagan metal bands, Varg do not really implement a lot of typical folk-ish music into their metallic brew. There are odds and ends of acoustic breaks, but not enough to categorize them as folk metal. They actually become nice counterpoints to the heavier parts of the songs. Another thing that is interesting is the use of mostly black metal-ish vocals put along aside a few gruff death metal style of vocals, both styles are done well and compliment each other well. My overall impression is very good from this effort, its heavy, melodic and well-written. Fans of bands like Dissection and Sacramentum will drool all over this album.

Reviewed by E. - 7.5/10

Les Discrets - Septembre Et Ses DerniËres PensÈes Review

Les Discrets - Septembre Et Ses DerniËres PensÈes
Full-length, Prophecy Productions, March 29th, 2010

I find it moderately humorous and interesting that the first two reviews I have been assigned are the new Alcest AND Les Discrets albums. There are far more similarities than differences between these two projects. While I found the Alcest to be moderately enjoyable, this Les Discrets album caught my attention much more than the Alcest. For anyone who has listened to Alcest but not Les Discrets, the similarities are easy to point out. Clean sung vocals, acoustic and clean guitars that are clashed with more metal moments, creating a soft/loud and mellow/aggressive dynamic. Although I personally find a great deal of commonalities between LD and Alcest, I continually find myself seeing LD sharing much more of a sonic field with the band Agalloch. I usually hate name-dropping other projects in reference, but I could not get away from the fact of how much they are treading the same waters. The song writing is interesting, in the respect that they shift from a variety of different moods and textures, but as many bands do, they fall into the pit trap of repeating the same elements all over the album. Luckily, they do it well enough that it does not seem rehashed or convoluted. Another big factor helping LD is the fact that many of their songs are relatively short in duration. It keeps the pace moving along before the song has a chance to fall apart.

The instrumentation on this album is exceptional, since many of the melodies could be at risk of becoming too 'sweet' sounding, but there is always some element of darkness or sadness that keeps them from falling into that trap. Which I personally find to be a good thing. The drumming is well done, nothing too technical, but enough movement to keep things flowing and remain interesting. There are a lot of smaller drum fills and accents to compliment the rest of the music. The vocals are very well done, a cleanly sung male voice that actually sounds masculine. Oddly enough the singers clean voice reminds me a great deal of the singer from Bak De Syv Fjell. I would love to have heard some harsher vocals on the album, but I am hoping that is explored a bit more on whatever new release that they do. There is a great deal of potential in this project, that which I am hoping is explored more and more.

I enjoyed this album quite a bit, I would recommend it to anyone into bands like Alcest, Agalloch or Darkflight. Also to anyone who was a bit disappointed in the new Alcest, this album might be right up your alley.

7.5/10 - Review by E.

Alcest - Écailles de lune Review

Alcest - Écailles de lune
Full-length, Prophecy Productions, March 29th, 2010

Alcest are finally back with a new release after their the highly acclaimed "Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde" record. For those who who were expecting "Souvenirs..." part 2, you might be a bit disappointed. The elements of that record are intact, but they have managed to incorporate some darker aspects that could possibly be compared to black metal (much more akin to their Le Secret EP). For me personally, I believe their best release to be the "Le Secret" EP, I enjoyed "Souvenirs..." but the more I listened to it, the more I felt all the songs were a bit too flowery and sounded the same. That is why I appreciate this record all the more, their are more dynamics in the songs, which lend a bit more interest throughout the duration of the album. The trademark 'happy', shoegazing riff-age still rears its head numerous times on the record but they are clashed with darker black metal-y moments. Neige's other trademark, his vocal style, is also in full effect. There is plenty of his effeminate, nasal singing is all over this album. There is a load of atmosphere on this record and the emotional spectrum is all over the place. The bulk of this emotional load is spent trudging through the polar opposites of happy and melancholy. The guitar and drum interplay really stand out on many of these songs, the songs are well composed and do manage to carry themselves through to the end without being boring. Neige surely does have a knack for composing interesting guitar riffs.

The production of this album definitely lends a hand in the overall atmosphere. Not too clean and just enough grit to make the sugar-sweet melodies not become overbearing. If this album was over-produced, I would think it would come off far too sappy and feeling-less, but when Alcest breaks from the more softer moments into the black metal-ish sections, is when the group really shines. It adds the much needed break in monotony that their previous album simply had none of. The shrieking vocals in the more aggressive sections are well done, as Neige at times sounds like he is going to vomit from the force he is belting out during those vocals. There is definitely an air of truth and honesty in the fact that the music does not come off as fake or melodramatic. Kudos must be given to any artist(s) that can make their music sound truly genuine and I think Alcest has succeeded here. I am very much interested to see what the next Alcest record will bring, I am personally hoping for them to continue the path of light/dark and mellow/aggressive dynamics to their future releases. For me it makes the album much easier to listen to, in regards to not falling asleep to it.

So in all, I think this record is not a bad listen, definitely not worth a lot of the hype built around the project, but not bad by any means. I think if Alcest continue down the path explored on this album, the future could be very bright for them. I must also add that the artwork for this album is absolutely stunning in every way.

6/10 - Review by E.

Bloody Sign "Chaos Echoes" Review

For someone like myself who has been pretty much removed from the death metal scene since '95 with the exception of a few "modern" bands who get it right. I got bored with all of the blast fests and mind numbing instrument masturbation, to me death metal had lost everything "evil" about it.
So when I received this CD in the mail I wasn't sure what to expect. I had heard of these guys before as they had released their last full length through Ibex Moon, a label I have great respect for. Well it didn't take long for this album to ensnare me in its magic.

Like I said - I usually get bored with nowadays death metal and am usually switching out CD's after 2-3 tracks, but "Chaos Echoes" made a difference. This album was definitely not what I was expecting and believe me that is a good thing. From the opening salvo of "Chord Temple" this album blew me away. While this album has all of the death metal standards - pissed vocals, heavy as fuck riffs and blasting drums - there are definitely spots where this band reaches regions where only few death metal bands go.

There are times when they remind me of newer Deathspell Omega. They seem to mix the orthodox black metal into their sound very well, most evident in the track "The Call" which, for me, was the standout track on this CD, I probably went back and listened to this a few times before continuing on with the rest of the it. These guys are definitely different from most of the death metal crowd out there these days, so maybe most won't get it. Fuck them because this album is so fucking good that I can see this in heavy rotation for a while!!!

Maybe it's the slight Incantation vibe I get from time to time (drummer Ilmar also played drums for Incantation's Clash of the Demigods European tour in 2004 - A. Nekro), or maybe it's the fact that these guys mix it up with a myriad of influences and actually sound refreshing to the ears of the listener. The packaging and booklet are all well above standards and made by Blood Harvest - why should you expect anything less?

Get this and worship!!!!!
Out now in Europe on Blood Harvest!!!!!!!!


Review By: B.S.O.G

Scorched Earth - "Mars" Review‏

Full-length, Novisible Scars December 21st, 2009
Scorched Earth is a great thrashing death metal band from up in Seattle.
They have been making their brand of chaotic yet catchy death noise since 1995, and have been putting out albums since 2000. I'm a big fan of these fuckers and this album didn't disappoint.

"Mars" is their 4th full length album and it continues the legacy of simplistic yet great metal of death!
They are similar to Gravehill in that they have basic parts and riffs to songs (maybe call us the AC/DC and Motorhead of death metal?) When a band is good, they are good. It really doesn't matter how many riffs are in a song, or if there are just 2 drum beats in a song. Scorched Earth are one of these bands that can ride a riff for a while and smash and thrash it until it is dead as fuck. And one other thing about Scorched Earth is that they have TONS of killer riffs going on. Each song out-does each other with riff after riff of killer metal. The tempo of the songs are usually 3 speeds: either mid paced banger, fast beat banger, or blast beat banger.
These guys mix the death metal, thrash and black metal perfectly on here as usual. Terry's death howl is in fine effect on here as well. You will just want bang your fucking head off when you hear this album!
Any fan of killer old school style death/thrash/black will love this band. Get your friends over, get a ton of beer and whiskey, put this fucker on 11, and let the massacre begin!

The songs are as follows: Warlords Of Mars, The Gods Themselves, Devils In Iron, No Blade Of Grass, Hell On Mars, Spearhead From Space, The Knights Of The Black Cross vs. The Reavers Of The Red Death, Out Of The Violent Planet, The Dead Of Winter.

Hails to Scorched Earth for yet again delivering the goods of great metal madness!!!! This was put out by Novisible Scars.

Review By: Mike Abominator    10/10

Bulldozer Magazine - Special Feature

The Werkshed
's own Mike Abominator and Bastard Son Of God have quite a few interviews featured in the latest issue. So show your support to a true old school zine and go here and get it for yourself!!!!!


March 11, 2010 - Thursday 

Category: Music

Dennis Dread has been blowing all of us away with his sick art the last decade or so! I became such a fan of his art, that I had to bug the shit out of him until he agreed to do some Gravehill art, and then I had to hit him up for a talk as well. Dennis is a very cool guy and it was awesome picking his brain. Check out his killer website as well: www.dennisdread.com

Interview By : Mike Abominator


1. Hails Dennis, thank you for your time, how are things going for you these days? Tell about what you are currently working on.

Hey, Mike!  Things are going great these days.  The new Abscess CD Dawn Of Inhumanity just came out and the new Darkthrone record will be released this month in a special limited vinyl edition so my art is out in the world once again.  We're experiencing some unseasonably warm weather here in Portland this weekend so right now I'm sitting on my front porch with The Flesh Eaters blasting through the speakers.  My neighbors don't seem pleased. 


2. So let's go back to the start of your artwork. When did you start drawing seriously and what inspired you to get serious about it? Did you have any influences from other artists? And what made you decide to go with "ball point pen" art?

I've been drawing for as long as I can remember but I don't know how seriously I take it.  I'm not a commercial artist and I only move my pens when the spirit to create moves me.  I've met a lot of career artists who have devoted their best years to slouching over a desk in silence.  Many of them are miserable.  That's not me.  I've had countless ever-evolving influences and inspirations over the years.  Too many to name.  A few of my favorite artists whose influences might not be so readily apparent are the Australian witch Rosaleen Norton, the Teutonic visionary Fidus and the atavistic conjurer Austin Osman Spare.  I love the Symbolists too!  My favorite artists are those who possess an eclectic personal vision and unique technical abilities.  I would emphasize the word "unique" as opposed to, say, "talented."  In fact, the ability to actually draw or paint well does not necessarily have much bearing on whether or not a work of art will ultimately engage the eye.  I like art that seems charged with passion and immediacy and is imbued with something of the creator's essential nature.  My relationship with music is very similar.  You know that feeling you get when you hear a great Celtic Frost or Black Sabbath riff?  It may not be the most complex or technical playing but you somehow feel immediately affected and connected to the musician.  Art is much the same way for me.  I initially gravitated to ballpoint pen because that's what was available when I was younger and I've remained true to this humble medium long after most artists discover brushes and paint because I still resonate with those heavily shaded nuances.  I like to call it Horror Noir.  Why waste time perfecting fancy new styles when I'm perfectly content with my cheap little pens?  Like the old Sore Throat song, I'm UNHINDERED BY TALENT


3. You have done quite a bit of art for bands and record labels over the years. How did you get into working within the underground music scene?

That's a good question.  I've been lurking in the underground for so many years that it's hard to pinpoint exactly how or when I first got into this.  It probably started way back in the 80's when I was buying zines and records and constantly looking for heavier and more obscure music and art.  Later I started working for an underground t-shirt company called Mutilation Graphics and that experience provided me with exposure to a lot of different stuff that continues to influence my work.  I started working for Mutilation Graphics in 1990 just a couple weeks after I graduated from high school.  I was working on my own artwork while silk-screening shirts and by the time I left to travel the country I was well entrenched in the underground.  My first significant metal projects were with Engorged a few years later.  The Engorged guys were some of the first friends I made when I landed in Portland more than a decade ago and they remain some of my closest friends to this day.  They believed in my art from the day we met and that's sometimes all it takes to propel an artist forward.  If it weren't for Engorged I would still be sitting in some moldy basement drawing zombies in total obscurity.  Oh wait.  I still am.  Well, at least I've satisfied my quota of mentioning Engorged at least four times per interview.


4. What are a few of your favorite projects that you have done?

I'm really proud of my trinity of drawings for Darkthrone, beginning with F.O.A.D. and coming to fruition recently with the new album Circle The Wagons.  Hail to DARKTHRONE!


5. Tell me about the Destroying Angels art zine that you have been doing for a while now?

I started Destroying Angels the year my daughter was born as a way to remain creative and disciplined since I realized that my time would become a very precious commodity as a father.  If I remember correctly, the first issue came out in May 1998 and I kept a fairly consistent annual schedule until issue #9 which came out two years ago.  I've actually been busy working on the new issue recently and will return with issue #10 in 2010!  Print media is pretty much on its deathbed but I forge ahead with my humble xerox publication despite all odds.  ONLY STAPLES AND PAPER CUTS ARE REAL!!!!  The new issue will feature 3D cover art and come with 3D glasses!  I don't really keep deadlines but it should be ready by the spring and will be available through my website.


6. You also do Public Art Exhibitions in the Portland, Oregon area as well as across the nation and overseas, tell me about these.

Yeah, I initially started showing my drawings in local galleries just to see what would happen and eventually I started receiving invitations to exhibit in other cities.  Public exhibits are a great way to get critical feedback and further develop as an artist.  It's interesting to see how strangers will react to your work.  I also realized that galleries don't have to be boring and can serve as an excellent way to expose work to a broader audience.  In 2007 I organized my first annual group exhibit called ENTARTETE KUNTS, which is a play on the title of the old "degenerate art" exhibits in Nazi Germany.  The basic premise is that this is a new era of Underground/Outsider art.  The fine art world would like to effectively exile and exterminate this defiant breed of fantastic representational art.  But we will continue to thrive in the shadows!  The KUNTS shows have have been challenging to organize but immensely satisfying and modestly successful considering most metalheads don't have disposable income for art.  I'm currently compiling a beautiful hard bound book that celebrates the first three years of the ENTARTETE KUNTS shows.  It will be released early next year through Ajna Bound, the new publishing division of the highly acclaimed underground label Ajna Offensive.  I'm also organizing a book tour and traveling art exhibit to commemorate the book's release.  The KUNTS will be invading YOUR town soon!  


7. So you did a "Heavy Metal Vomit Party" on the radio recently. What did you play on there? And can we expect more of this madness?

Yeah, some friends invited me down to Portland's local radio station to spin records with them and we had a great time!  We blasted classics like Autopsy, Pungent Stench, Cryptic Slaughter, No Mercy, Pentagram, Sodom, Razor, Broken Bones and more recent favorites like Ghoul and The Devil's Blood.  They've asked me to come back so it looks like I'll be doing it again very soon!  When I was very young I got exposed to tons of great bands through the radio stations around New York so getting to play records on the radio is very special.  I hope some lonely misfit kid in the suburbs accidentally tunes in and becomes infected with the curse of the headbanger!


8. Tell me about the Lucifer Rising project. And who is Bobby BeauSoleil?

It's a long story so I'm gonna be lame and suggest everyone stop reading now and go buy The Lucifer Rising Suite box set from the Ajna Offensive.  The liner notes are very extensive and explain the whole story from several unique perspectives.  The first pressing sold out much quicker than we imagined but the re-press is available now.  It's an amazing 4 LP collection and one of my proudest accomplishments as an artist.  I actually just visited Bobby in prison last week and he's doing well, staying healthy and strong despite the soul-crushing environment in which he has lived for the past 41 years.  His next parole hearing is coming up in December 2010 so we'll see what happens.  I'm of the personal opinion that Bobby has paid his debt to society and should be released to enjoy his elder years in the company of his wife and friends.  Of course when you murder someone, all bets are off.  Only time will tell.


9. What bands and albums have you been blowing the speakers out with and pissing off the neighbors with lately? 

I've been blasting the second Flesh Eaters LP, A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die (1981), all afternoon.  Great slice of early L.A. death punk!  Probably too jagged and weird for most metalheads but the diehards might recognize their song from the Return Of The Living Dead soundtrack.  What else have I been blasting lately?  I've practically worn out my Weapon LP!  Ten years from now Drakonian Paradigm will be as revered as Storm Of The Lights Bane or some other violent but melodic classic.  It's a special record.  I really like the new Saturnalia Temple.  Also been blasting Cloven Hoof a lot lately.  "The House of God has been violated!!!!"


10. What are some of the best live bands that you have seen in your life of going to shows?

The strange thing about live shows is that they have everything to do with ephemeral environmental factors that are largely out of the control of the participants.  You can see your favorite band perform but if the club is lame or the crowd has no energy or the sound is bad it can be very disappointing.  One of the most memorable live shows I ever witnessed was actually a free Death In June performance at this little record shop here in Portland in 2005.  There were like 15 people present and when Douglas Pierce asked for requests my daughter, who was 7 years old at the time, surprised us all by yelling out "Black Angel!"  He was standing right in front of us and immediately launched into the most stirring acoustic version of that song that I'll ever hear.  It nearly brought me to tears.  That's what a live performance is all about.  Historically, it was very cool to see Anthrax and Anvil Bitch at L'amour in Brooklyn on the Among The Living tour.  I saw the Cro Mags around the same time at The Ritz in New York City and it was a very hostile and exhilarating event.  Oddly enough, Watain is a band that engages the senses in a similarly violent manner.  Watain is a live experience not to be missed.  Eyehategod at the Dixie bar in New Orleans on Fat Tuesday in 1995 was very memorable despite the vast amounts of alcohol consumed.  Bolt Thrower at Party San Fest 2008 in Germany was definitely an experience I will never forget.  They played at night under an expanse of stars with fog machines casting smoke throughout the crowd and at one point a sheet of light rain fell and transformed the otherwise modest cow pasture into some sort of primeval battlefield!  I had the good fortune of witnessing Iron Maiden at Wacken Fest that same summer and managed to secure a place directly front row with some very good people from all around the world.  We were literally against the barrier with 70,000 rabid headbangers pressing at our backs.  That experience alone made up for missing Maiden during the 80's!  Amebix in Seattle on their first reunion tour in January 2009 was absolutely epic in every way imaginable.  Roky Erickson a few years ago was another event that left me speechless.  The best shows are probably still to come!  


11. Do you remember the first heavy metal album that you bought?

I have to admit that the first record I ever bought with my own money was the Heavy Metal soundtrack.  I wish I could say it was Sad Wings Of Destiny or something but, no, it was that very mediocre cartoon soundtrack that still haunts me in the discount bins at record stores.  At least it had Black Sabbath 'Mob Rules' on it.  That was actually my first exposure to Dio so I suppose I shouldn't complain. 


12. OK Dennis, keep up the killer work. Can't wait for the Gravehill / Dennis Dread Collaboration! haha. Any last words?

Thanks for the great interview and for taking an interest in my artwork, Mike.  I look forward to a bloody Dread/Gravehill collaboration in the future!  We've talked about it long enough.  See you in Hell! 
March 4th, 2010


NEGURA BUNGET "Maiestrit" - Review.

I know that this Romanian Black Metal Horde is quite popular. But I had never actually sat down and listened to them until now.If you want a boring back story, go check out the bands Metal Archives link and see what that says about their history.Listening to their music now, I really don't feel a need to go back and listen to their old material. Don't get me wrong, this is quite good, well played. But not my thing at all. There is a big keyboard presence. There are some faster, and up tempo parts. But for the most part these guys go slow and atmospheric. Even progressive.But unlike Deathspell Omega (who never get boring with their prog parts) these guys kind of do. There are some memorable riffs on the opener "Vremea Locului Sortit". These guys can be very dark and heavy when they want to be!
It gets down right middle period Neurosis towards the end of this song as well. The song is too long as are all of the songs on here. "În-Zvîcnirea Apusului" starts off quite good then the whistling comes in? WHAT THE FUCK? hahahahaha. OKKAAAAAAYYYY! "A-vint in abis" is up next with it's slow build up intro. This is kind of a mid paced banger. The drums are really low in the mix, now that I notice it.Once the keyboards kick in, I cringe though. Quite an epic build up.  These guys are growing on me!"Al locului" is next. After the singers impersonation of Quorthon on "Hammerheart", he starts shouting and I get confused, but then the growls come in, MUCH BETTER!There are a bit of the "epic beauty" parts thrown in here. But these guys are good at it. I think more prog rock fans would dig this than one might think. This would make great driving music during the day or even background music cooking or cleaning the house or shit like that."Plecaciunea mortii" stats out with an evil keyboard section that kicks in almost half way through the song. Very cool but drags at the same time.
"A-vint in abis (acoustic version)" comes next and is just as it said, acoustic version. "Plecaciunea mortii (acoustic version)" is another acoustic version of these songs and they end this album well. It all fits together fine. This album grew on me a little after I played it during this review. I might end just listening to it again, but who knows.
It does drag at times. But good job to these guys! Not bad at all.
This is out on Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Records.

Review By : Mike Abominator    7/10

ASSAULT "Nuclear Deaththrash" - Review.


Here we have the KVLT(hahaha I hate that word) band Assault from Chile. They were a 2 man band that played total 1980s thrashing blackened death metal. Or maybe "Nuclear Deaththrash" if you will? Whatever you call it, it fucking RULES! The production is bad, the songs are quite sloppy at times but you can tell that these maniacs have more heart than anyone with a fancy studio that went to MIT. It sounds like they recorded the songs in a fucking basement with a minus 4 track (yes minus 4!) Well. nah not that bad. You can tell the riffs and drums are coming through. I have heard worse. What this specific release has on it is a "best of" compilation that came out in 2006. But I decided that people need to hear these fuckers so I'm talking about it right here. Totally killer South American metal madness that really does sound like it was recorded in 1985. Back then, Sepultura and Sarcofago were influenced by both Sodom and Bathory black thrash as well as Discharge and Cryptic Slaughter type punk. Assault have that same vibe. Brings back memories for me when I would get demo tapes or vinyl albums  from bands in Mexico and South America. Assault would fit perfect on the Congumelo Records roster back in the 80s. The tracks on here are: Soldiers of The Pest, Heavy Anti-Christ Assault Battery, Hail Black War, Brigada Mortero, Necrolatria, Guerra Atomica, Terrorist Aggression, Deathsquad and Atomic Desolation. Some of the material sounds like it was recorded in a garage at practice, but that is part of the brutal rawness of Assault! Sadly Assault is no longer with us. And there is another "best of" comp that came out after this one. If your looking for clean production and crisp guitars, triggered drums, shit like that, STAY AWAY from this! This is not the type of release that just anyone can get into. I personally love this type of stuff. They got even more extreme, heavy and noisy towards the end of the CD, shame they broke up! Old Cemetery Records put this out and has some killer releases out there to check out so keep an eye out for them and get this classic of KVLT South American Raw as fuck Metal Of Death!

Review By: Mike Abominator    8/10

Interview with Robert Cardenas


Interview By: Mike Abominator

My friend Bobby here has been a fixture here in the Southern California Heavy Metal scene for almost 25 years. I decided to track him down for a talk. He has actually been in some of my favorite local bands. And now plays Bass in the legendary Agent Steel.

Hails to you Bobby. Good to get a talk with you. Let's start with your early memories of getting into heavy metal. Was it friends or family that got you into it, or did you discover it on your own? Tell me what were your favorite bands in those early days?

- My brother Woody was also a big influence in what I was listening to. At the age of 10, I was introduced to KISS ALIVE 2. I do remembering I was a big Gene Simmons fan and didn’t even know he was playing a bass. Metal for me in 1981 came in the form of Iron Maiden. I did listen to a lot of Black Sabbath before that but “The Number Of The Beast” was the one that made Metal for me. It was also the first concert as a kid in 1982, which was the Summer Strut @ Anaheim Stadium, Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Loverboy and Foreigner. As for Favorites in the early 80’s, I would say Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy, Rush. I don’t think much has changed from then and now. Those bands are still kicking ass and still my Favorites!!

Let's now talk about what made you pick up the Bass. Or was it another instrument that you started with?

- Playing bass also was my brother Woody’s idea. He knew a friend that taught bass and that’s when my mother brought my first bass, a Hondo Destroyer (Red). I was 16. That was one of the best things my mom ever got me, ever! I have to say that getting that bass saved my life and kept me out of a lot of fucked up shit as a kid. Music was the only thing I ever wanted to do, then and even now.

So you started off playing music with Immortal (Los Angeles) and then went on to Nocturnal Fear. There were some crazy backyard gigs back then. And 2 legendary venues Fenders Ballroom and The Country Club were slowly having bigger shows and major metal tours coming through. Tell me about those early days for you.

- No, Actually I knew the guys from Nocturnal Fear from Jr. High School and Joined in late 1988 after they lost their bassist Ceaser (Nokturne). It was with Marcelino Castro (Ex-Coffin Texts/Demolition), Adolph and Memo Mora (Ex-Infamy). After that dis-banded in 1990 I joined Entety from 1990 to 1994. Immortal was just a project I was helping my good friend Miguel with. Never played Fenders but heard a lot about it. I did play a couple of shows at the Country Club in Reseda, CA. 1 was with Morbid Angel (Alters Of Madness tour) and 1 that Autopsy was supposed to play but pulled out.


Then came the legendary Entety. How did this crazy band get formed? Do you think it could have really taken off? I think Entety was even sicker and heavier than like likes of Exhumed, Impaled and other Carcass inspired Gore/Death/Grind bands.

- Well, the first time I saw Entety was in 1989 in a back yard with my guitarist from Nocturnal Fear Adolph. One of the sickest pits I had ever seen. I was a 4-piece band. Jack was doing vocals. Never heard anything like his vocals. It sounded inhuman. Yea, I did think it was gonna take off but I think that we just didn’t had what it took to get to that level. We eventually broke up in 94 and that lead to the beginnings of Coffin Texts and Infamy.


Next came one of my favorites, Engrave! Much more old school and different than Entety, yet just as deadly in the metal way. How were those gigs and recordings? When is a reunion of Engrave going to happen?

- Engrave was Jagger from Infamy’s prior band called Brainstorm. Jagger left the band 94 about the same time Demolition and Entety broke up that’s when I ended up at Adrian’s house and we just clicked. That band had many opportunities to get to the next level but it never happened. Again, just didn’t have what it takes. Not saying the musicians weren’t up to par; it was more on a personal level that the band could not function. Great band and I do miss playing those songs and Mario (RIP) very much. As for a reunion, Not sure, sometimes things are meant to stay in the past. I tried reviving Entety and ended up with nothing, so I realize now that it’s better to just leave it behind and move forward as a musician.


Another favorite of mine is the next band, Coffin Texts. How did this monster come about? Nuclear Winter records released "Gods Of Creation, Death, And Afterlife" which is killer. And Blood Harvest is doing the next album "Tomb Of Infinite Ritual" still right? What else can we expect from Coffin Texts in 2010?

- Coffin Texts was born late 1994 after Entety and recorded the “Gods of Creation, death and Afterlife in 1995 with Jim Barnes (produced Mindrot and Morgion) on 2 inch reel. All Analog which just it sound so much fatter. Nuclear Winter release it in ’08 and is actually doing really good. It was also release in 2000 by Dwell Records (U.S) on Digi-pack and then again in 2005 by Brutalized records (Columbia) which got it distributed in Europe. As for “Tomb of Infinite Ritual”, we are still working on getting it out hopefully by mid-2010. This album has been a total nightmare due to the fact that we were supposed to have had this out 5 years ago and lost our drummer which pushed us back and then we ran into recording it with a tweeker that lost all our files 2 times and then recorded it a 3rd time all fucked up. Which pushed us back again and we are in 2010. People say it’s cursed but I’m gonna prove them wrong by have it out this year. It will see the light ov day.

You also do Saprophagous, another death/grind band here in L.A. Tell me about this band and what are you guys up to?a European tour back in 2003 correct?

- Saprophagous are great friends ov mine that I have known since 2004. It totally BRUTAL FUCKEN GRIND! I play in this band cause I’m a fan and the bassist that they had before ripped them off so I took over to help get to the next level. We did some shows up north with Truculence which was a blast and Phoenix with Bulldog Productions and that also was a good trip. Were working on the second release after “Dimensions of Diverse Brutality” Release from 2009 which will be called “Anatomy”. Not sure what label it will be out on. Europe in 2003 was with Diabolic.

I also remember you playing with Florida maniacs Diabolic on a European tour back in 2003 correct? And a few years ago, you had mentioned moving to England to play in a band with members of Destroyer 666. What came about with that?

- Yea, the Diabolic tour was killer. We did something like 23 shows all over Europe with Behemoth and Destroyer 666. One of the best times I had ever had in my life. Something I will never forget. Great People. As for moving to U.K, It just didn’t happen. I think that it was meant for me to stay and then get offer to play in Agent Steel.


Fuck you are a busy guy! haha. And you are also jamming with the legendary Agent Steel now! How did this come about? How is it playing those classic songs from "Skeptics Apocalypse" and "Unstoppable Force"?

- Gotta keep on my toes. Been playing to long not to keep up the momentum. It started with working at World War 3 records with Juan Garcia from 2001 to 2006. He a very good friend and in 2007 he came to my house when I was living in Silverlake near Hollywood and offer me the Anienigma European tour for 2007 2 months prior to the tour. By the time we got to Amsterdam I was a member of Agent Steel. Playing all the classics are incredible BUT I do have to say that the later A.S material is very good. I’m a true fan of all the release this band has offer the metal world. Playing in this band made all the persistence worth the wait.

When you are not playing in 5,000 bands what do you do for fun? You are a metal father now as well! Does your son love metal too?

- I’m a graphic artist by trade and I also do silk screening with a good friend. Yea, Had my boy when I was 19. Robert Aaron Cardenas. He is a metal fan but also love different types of music. He’s likes playing piano and loves movie soundtracks. Best thing that ever happened to me was to have my son.

Were my vocals on the "Hell Awaits" cover at the D-Club show with your Japanese friends, Emilio and Yourself the worst bad drunk Slayer vocals ever?

- not sure. Couldn’t hear you (LOL)


You have robbed a bank, and the cops have the house surrounded. There is a secret exit that can get you out and on a plane to the Cayman Islands in no time. BUT, You can only fit 10 albums in your suitcase, what 10 albums would you choose?

King Crimson/Live in Argentina
– Morbid Angel/Alters of Madness
– Metallica/Master of Puppets
– Judas Priest/Screaming For Vengeance
– Iron Maiden/Number of the Beast
– Slayer/Hell Awaits
– Death/The Sound of Perseverance
– Black Sabbath/Born Again
– Bolt Thrower/Realms of Chaos
Agent Steel/Omega Conspiracy
You have traveled all over the place. What are some of the best metal shows that you have ever seen?
- Athens, Greece with Agent Steel 2007
- Paris, France with Diabolic 2003
- Milwaukee Metal fest with Coffin Texts 2000
- Bogot·, Columbia @ Rock al Parque festival with Agent Steel 2007
- Ohio Deathfest with Coffin Texts 2000
- Monterey Mexico with Entety 1993

What ever happened to that KILLER Rickenbacker, black with green alien vein looking design Bass that you had back in the day? Do you still play Ricks? You have also played BC Rich Basses. What is your favorite brand?

- I use it in Agent Steel for the songs tuned to a drop c. I’m endorsed by Fernandez guitars for Agent Steel and Mammoth Guitars for Coffin Texts. So I use a Black Fernandez Tremor bass with a Kahler bass tremolo for normal tuning songs and the Rickenbaker for the drop C with Agent Steel. For Coffin Texts I use a Black Mammoth custom made V with a Kahler bass tremolo. I use a BC Rich Warlock for Saprophagous.
OK man, I want to thank you for your time. I will see you soon. Any last words to everyone out there?

I want to thank you Abominator Mike for the interview into my life as a musician and to all the fans of all the bands that I have been in. Cheers from Bong Beach, California
-Robert “Bobby” Cardenas