Bal-Sagoth – A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria


Floating between between Floridian Death metal and Black metal in the vein of Emperor with a large dose of the more percussive elements from the New York style. Bal-Sagoth do manage to fuse these elements in a combination that remains mainly in the aforementioned black metal style. An important element that would dominate later releases is the spoken word of Byron Roberts. Obsessed with reciting his long lyrics inspired by the fantasy books that he was devouring, Roberts will at times create a hostage situation where the music is on stand by and loses all the momentum built up, so that he can ramble on and the compositions can’t progress until he is done. Though his perfect diction and deep voice do keep in line with the aesthetics provided here, they add nothing to the music and kick the compositions back to the droning political punk where the music was just the backing track for the vocalist’s tirades.
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Kshatriya – Il Viaggio dell’Eroe (2017)

Kshatriya comes to us from that odd category of bands whose material would be great if they would just stop screwing around with the presentation, which ends up creating padding that while not terrible, detracts from the listening experience as a whole. Anyone who has sat through the first Impaled Nazarene album knows the pain of too much gimmick.

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Grand Belial’s Key – Judeobeast Assassination (2001)


Grand Belial’s Key are the sister band of Arghoslent, sharing the same mastermind Gelal Necrosodomy alias Pogrom. GBK creates music in a similar vein to that of Arghoslent but through a Black metal lens to achieve very similar conclusions. Relying on the genre’s predisposition to incite Blasphemy, Gelal and co. assault both Christianity and Judaism with lyrics that show a deep understanding of both testaments. Musically there is a lot to be enjoyed as the band happily celebrate their crushing of Abrahamic faiths but cannot form the narratives to more aptly communicate such a message.
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Forgotten Silence – Thots (1996)

Most musicians view metal as a question of technique, as exemplified by their answers to the question of what defines metal, when in fact the real difficulty lies in finding something that can tie all of that technique together and have enough energy and space to express enough of relevance to achieve what we call meaning. Forgotten Silence nails the technique… only.

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Deceased – Ghostly White (2018)

Perhaps the best way to describe this album would be as traditional heavy metal crafted with a death metal approach. Monotone vocals accompany a changing tapestry of guitar riffs that relocate melody to the guitar and force the use of a compelling rhythm to unite each song, giving them an anthemic but unstable quality, creating an air of mystery to the album.

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Death Squad – Split You At The Seams (1991)


Death Squad – Split You At The Seams
Ever Rat Records, 1991

Speed metal — rising from Tank, Satan, Metallica, and Mercyful Fate — had a good but short run in the 1980s before enterprising poseurs worked rock and blues back into the mix, taking away the focus on riffs and song construction in favor of what were essentially pop songs with lots of muted E-chords. Split You At The Seams shows a late entry with roll-your-own spirit.

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Sortilège – Sortilège (1983)


At a time when most of the worthy metal was being produced in England with a few exceptions in Europe and America as most bands emerging were straddling the line between Hard Rock and Heavy metal or resorting to recreating the dirty rock of the early 70s in order to achieve mainstream success as there was much more to be gained financially from such endeavors. Iron Maiden had dazzled the world with Killers, Melissa and Kill ‘Em All were just around the corner and metal would proceed through a very sudden transformation with these releases. In between all this former heroes like Judas Priest,Motorhead and Scorpions were embracing the stadiums. In such a frantic period, in a country where music had never been a cultural strength. Sortilège, after studying their cousins from across the pond would release one of the greatest Heavy metal EPs of all time only for the aforementioned bands to overshadow them and relegate them to cult favorite;

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Revisiting the Classics: Fleshcrawl – Descend Into the Absurd


When one hears the name Fleshcrawl, the first thing that comes to mind is the legendary Autopsy song from Mental Funeral, yet a very peculiar German band carries that name. Descend Into the Absurd marks their highest peak musically and rightfully so. Taking more from the fully formed European style of the time that was influenced by Autopsy than Autopsy themselves. Combining Doom dirges that exude morbidity and flowing pensive phrasal riffs, Fleshcrawl create a forgotten classic and an important addition to Death metal.
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