One band that I’ve known about forever but have never checked out is Aura Noir, and I’m now kicking myself in the ass for not checking them sooner. It’s no wonder why they come up a lot when it comes to talks about black metal meeting thrash. These guys make a perfect example of the genre.
Parts of this remind me of a version of Metallica with actual balls. Parts remind me of Venom worship. And parts even remind me of Darkthrone’s The Cult Is Alive album. Granted, it’s not like Aura Noir are legitimate friends with Darkthrone or anything.
There isn’t really much to say. Fast, faster, and fastest riffs fill this album from front to back, and a disgusting necrotic stench emanates from every vocal. Solos are ear piercing and finger breaking, drums are deep with some snare click and fast, and the bass compliments rather than takes any form of front seat. This is fucking awesome!
If you want your thrash punked up with a nice coat of blackened grave dirt, this album is for you.
8 out of 10.
Out To Die Tracklisting:
2. Fed to the Flames
4. The Grin from the Gallows
6. Priest’s Hellish Fiend
8. Out To Die
Out To Die Personnel:
Aggressor – Vocals/Guitar
Apollyon – Vocals/Bass/Drums
Blasphemer – Guitar
Genre: Instrumental Psychedelic Rock Label: Independent Format: Digital Promo (Freeman Promotions)
Ninth Moon Black hail from the USA, specifically Eugene, Oregon, right in the Pacific Northwest, and they are currently promoting their latest release of psychedelic rock instrumentals.
Having never heard of these chaps and lady before, I was very intrigued when I saw the album cover. I love the band name, and with a translated title to mean Time Eater, it just seemed right up my alley. Barely two minutes into the first track, “Renascentia”, and I knew I was going to like this.
The music really reminds me at times of Tool (especially their Lateralus era), and then the Pink Floyd elements kick in, opening whole new sound palettes that Ninth Moon Black explore. The songs all meld together, creating one gapless track in essence, but each song is truly it’s own at the same time, and it’s good enough to throw onto repeat for a few listens in a row.
One of the bonuses for everyone is that the album is available at Bandcamp for a Pay-What-You-Want. The link is below. Also, it will hit vinyl soon through Orca Wolf Records.
Favorite songs are “Via Dolorosa” and ”Mors Carnis”.
7 out of 10.
2. Via Dolorosa
3. Bestia Devorat Tempus
4. Mors Carnis
5. Animus Lumino
Erin – Guitar/Visuals
Caleb – Bass
Kasey – Drums
Eric – Keyboards
Atom – Guitar
In all reality, I didn’t think that Wodensthrone would be able to match their work with their debut album Loss. As it turns out, I was wrong. Not only have they matched Loss, but with Curse they may have even surpassed it.
The band takes traditional, old styled black metal like that of Bathory, Darkthrone, etc., and infuse it with folk-like elements and a serious sense of true British-ness. They remind me of a prettier (but no less vicious) Kampfar, really, but if one were to take the time and truly listen to this album, they would hear a touch of death metal at times and even some classic stuff that brings Judas Priest to mind.
Favorite songs are “Wyrgthu” and “The Name Of The Wind”.
10 out of 10.
1. The Remaining Few
3. First Light
4. The Great Darkness
5. Battle Lines
7. The Storm
8. The Name Of The Wind
Genres: Deathgrind, Goregrind, Technical Deathgrind Label: Metal Blade Records Format: CD (Personal Collection)
From the heavy intro to “The Carbon Stampede” to the melodically-charged brutal ending of “Kingdom of Tyrants”, Monolith of Inhumanity carves a swath through the death/gore/tech grinders the world over. Uncompromisingly mindcrushing, even during the more melodic sections, this disc is going to be in the top ten of my albums of the year, guaranteed.
Travis Ryan’s voice alternates between wonderfully enunciated and easily understood death vocals to absolutely gutteral, barely decipherable even with the lyric sheet goregrind grunts, to a delay and echo touched singing that is still angry and death metal as fuck. His performance the entire album over is a definite highlight in itself. Lyrically I love this album; it ranges in topics from the self-destruction of the human race, to human overpopulation (and a solution in “Forced Gender Reassignment”), to the hazards of following Christ, and of course, above all, gore!
The vitriol from Travis is assisted by three killer musicians that all know their shit. Josh Elmore’s guitars are crushing and savage. My neck has not been this abused by a studio album since… well… ever. The leads are inventive while still keeping his style firm in death and grind, the solos finger flaying. The rhythms are fast, brutal and when it’s time to tech out, amazing.
Derek Engemann’s bass work is phenomenal, his tone and speed suggesting fingers over picks, with not a few pops and slaps thrown in to crush your face in. I think there might be a couple instances where he does switch up to a pick, but those might just be the right way of hitting the strings.
The backbone of the band, the human grinder himself, is Dave McGraw. The dude is hyper precise and his speed is unreal. From just straight grinds to technical drumming to bringing it down to a slower pace, Dave has recorded a drum clinic here that also comes, handily enough, with killer music and vocals.
As individuals, Cattle Decapitation are a bunch of dudes that kick serious ass, and would garner a high review themselves. As a whole, they’ve crafted an album that I’ve listened to about twenty to thirty times in the past two weeks since it arrived at the post office. This is not just a few good tracks or a couple nice clever riffs. Monolith of Inhumanity is an entire package, and it’s perfect.
10 out of 10.
Monolith of Inhumanity Tracklisting:
1. The Carbon Stampede
2. Dead Set on Suicide
3. A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat
4. Forced Gender Reassignment
5. Gristle Licker
6. Projectile Ovulation
8. Do Not Resuscitate
9. Your Disposal
10. The Monolith
11. Kingdom of Tyrants
Monolith of Inhumanity Personnel:
Travis Ryan – All Vocals
Josh Elmore – All Guitars
Derek Engemann – Bass
Dave McGraw – Drums
Chaotic black metal in the vein of Marduk, England’s Blooddawn return with Opus Dei. This particular disc has been in my possession for awhile, having been released in 2011, but I haven’t had the opportunity to actually sit down and listen to it, which is how I best enjoy Blooddawn.
Finally, though, I took the time to give this CD-R a couple spins, and I like what I hear. There isn’t much change in sound between the last albums and this, but the song structures and songwriting itself are much stronger. The chaos is palpable; the rage that fills the previous releases has only been fueled, it seems, and it permeates this entire album. Evil tones spew into the ears and almost immediately air bass and headbanging slam my brain around. There is a doomy atmosphere to the tracks at times, especially in the opening of “Adorning the Crown of Flies”, which is probably not coincidentally my favorite track on the album.
8 out of 10.
Opus Dei Tracklisting:
1. Opus Dei
2. When Gods Die
3. Adorning the Crown of Flies
4. Embracing the Theory of Divine Superiority
5. A Great Cleansing
6. Subjugation of the Weak
Opus Dei Personnel:
Donn – Vocals
P – Instruments; Lyrics and vocals on “Embracing the Theory…”