Lantern – II: Morphosis (2017)

Lantern take the Finnish black and death metal and move it back in time towards eighties speed metal to better appeal to a funderground hipster audience who never bothered to listen to Beherit or Demigod. The production of II: Morphosis is clean but slightly cavernous and vocals that sound like Per Boder of God Macabre help deceive inattentive millennials that Lantern are quality death metal and not Finnish Pantera.
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Condor – Unstoppable Power (2017)

Readers can probably infer from the title, logo, and cover of Unstoppable Power that this Condor are not the Colombian heavy metal / progressive rock act. Norwegian Condor plays rocking speed metal similar to the Canadians Exciter and Razor. Riffing is primarily in the Motorhead influenced style of those two mixed with the chromatic, tremolo-picked styles of early Slayer. Leads are Slayerian noise bursts or imitations of Kirk Hammet. Norwegian Condor’s drumming is mostly crusty, background d-beating which lends the music some extreme percussive aggression not found in many 80s speeding oldies.

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Cirith Gorgor – Bi Den Dode Hant (2017)

Cirith Gorgor try to apply the technical musicianship of the best death metal to black metal as Demonaz did on Immortal‘s heavily Morbid Angel influenced last gasp, Blizzard Beasts. However Cirith Gorgor’s songwriting on Bi Den Dode Hant cannot even hope to approach the level of the Norwegian greats and best death metal bands of the early nineties; Cirith Gorgor sound more like Hate Eternal or any other generic rock band recorded by Erik Rutan‘s Klingon forehead trying to be Mayhem as black metal is cool with the kiddies now due to them reading on Facebook that Varg stabbed Euronymous in the face over twenty years ago.

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Midnight – Shox of Violence (2017)

Midnight are the definition of beer metal. Midnight sound like Motorhead if Motorhead accidentally took tranquilizers and forgot to write chord progressions and progressive minor-key heavy metal leads in their songs. Midnight are Motorhead if when Lemmy got arrested for drug possession in Canada in the early seventies while touring with Hawkwind, Lemmy did not merely get kicked out of Hawkwind and deported back to the United Kingdom; Midnight are Motorhead if the Canadians were really the Soviets who institutionalized and lobotomized Lemmy while forcing him at gunpoint to cart around a potent IV drip of anti-psychotics and sedatives for the rest of his life.

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This Ends Here / The Conqueror Worm – This Ends Here / The Conqueror Worm (2017)


Review contributed to Death Metal Underground by Jon Browning.

This Ends Here / The Conqueror Worm is a not totally godawful, self-titled punk split from the bands of the same names. You won’t want to shoot half of them after listening to it if you’re that bored you know. This Ends Hear’s a-side consists of atmospheric d-beating crossover similar to Discharge crossed with Celtic Frost to create punk with the same tempo as 1990s post-hardcore and atmospheric sludge with none of the outright guitar wank and junkie idiocy. While listeners have probably heard the standard d-beat rhythms, the influence from the stranger, melodic side of speed metal (Sabbat and the Brazilians) and later post-hardcore gives them strength beyond the robotic machine punk guitar wank of bands like Martyrdod. This Ends Here would do well to get rid of most of their bluesier attempts at atmosphere in future material or better integrated it into flowing compositions similar to the better Celtic Frost influenced death metal like Autopsy and Obituary – Cause of Death you know.

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Infester – To the Depths, In Degradation Reissue Review

Martyrdoom Productions, run by Dead Congregation frontman A.V., reissued Infester‘s long out of print classic To the Depths, In Degradation on CD and vinyl LP earlier this year. I purchased a copy of the CD version myself to review for our readers benefit. The record was never originally released on vinyl and being over fifty minutes long, the LP reissue will have compromised sound quality due to narrower groove spacing and all the limitations of the vinyl format such as the compression of the cutting lathe, high and low pass filtering, and mono bass.

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Elfsgedroch – Op de beenderen van onze voorvaderen (2016)

Op de beenderen van onze voorvaderen is yet another another Dutch black metal record heavily influenced by Gorgoroth and Zyklon-B like Tarnkappe. Elfsgedroch however structures riffs as hyper-extended, arpeggiated tremolo-picked chords in incredibly long to the point of droning phrases in the manner of French Canadian band Sorcier des Glaces, who are indeed the band’s primary influence. Clever but occasionally too sappy harmonies similar to Master’s Hammer‘s Bartok and folk influenced heavy metal ones on Ritual but way more annoying pervade the record.

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Dawning – Mount Um + 1997 Demo (2016)


Another previously unreviewed record judged some of The Best Underground Metal of 2016.

Mount Um + 1997 Demo is a digital anthology collecting what Steve Cefala judged to be Dawning‘s strongest material. Half the run-time (“Side A”) is one new, extended track entitled Mount Um in three parts: “Pilgrimage to Umunhum”, “The Albino Bridge Sacrement”, and a melodic bass outro. Mount Um sounds like Summoning worshiping Emperor‘s In the Nightside Eclipse in a lengthy composition reminiscent of Celtic Frost‘s album work. Ambient fantasy keyboards are perverted into pandemonium as if on an arduous journey of great hardship and loss culminating in a bittersweet victory over the uncaring, vicious forces of nature. Mount Um‘s composition is progressive and profound.

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Satan – Court in the Act (1983)


Article by George Psalmanazar.

Satan‘s Court in the Act exists in a unique space between the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and speed metal. As a wholly metal album that attempts no pandering to mainstream radio rock unlike seemingly every other NWOBHM band, Court in the Act is by far the strongest studio album of that sub-genre/movement and incredibly influential to American speed metal bands Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer.

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Suffocation – …Of the Dark Light (2017)

Review contributed to Death Metal Underground by Edward Colt.

Suffocation overreaches on this one. Favoring the pubescent Call Of Duty crowd, they have fully bent over and accepted that their last handful of albums are: video game music. With new artwork that looks like something out of Mass Effect, all …Of the Dark Light invokes is some strange ground between nerd-rage and ravehead drug bingers. The cover artwork could be the poster of some corn field sponsored outdoor rave event in your nearest rural area away from seemingly never-ending suburban sprawl.

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