Sammath Streams Across the Rhine is only death

Furious melodic war metal band Sammath published its stream of its sixth album, Across the Rhine is only death, late last night. This new album shows the band integrating the streams of its influences from death metal, black metal, hardcore punk, ritual music, and war metal into a single voice.

This will delight those who think that metal lost its guts and balls, but also who are tired of melodyless and repetitively-structured three-chord “NWN/FMP” styled bands which hold zero musical interest for minds above the yeast level. You can acquire your copy via preorder. Blast it loud and make your neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers weep in terror!

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Flames of Hell – Fire and Steel (Draconian, 1987)

As much as we want to think otherwise, our reception, enjoyment and evaluation of music is not strictly dependent on the pure act of listening. A truism perhaps, but still something that is worth reflecting on from time to time. Especially for collectors of cult metal vinyl – the modern-day personification of the emperor’s new clothes syndrome (or should we say old clothes?). If you invest a disproportionate amount of time, effort and money in reading about and eventually acquiring a record – as collectors of obscure metal tend to do – your judgement is likely to get clouded to the point where it’s hard to assess the quality of the work in question. And this includes both positive and negative judgements. Case in point: the hype surrounding the Icelandic proto-black metal band Flames of Hell and their sole full-length album Fire and Steel (1987).

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Darken – Darken (Defiled, 1998)

Although it might disappoint some readers, it’s probably advisable to begin this review by stating that this is not a lost recording by a well-known Polish musician. However, the music does fall somewhere within the black metal sphere. Darken is a three-track EP released by guitar-virtuoso Toby Knapp, presumably conceived as an attempt at writing and performing music in the language of mid-to-late-1990s melodic black metal. Joining the multi-instrumentalist on vocals and as lyrical contributor is a certain Necrotriton, while drums are obviously computer-generated.

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Trench Warfare – Hatred Prayer

Trench Warfare finally grace the world with their first full length. Building from the potential of their demo and split, the band finally manage to fuse their War metal with elements of Black and Death metal into creating a highly enjoyable listen that carries a few more subtleties than its aesthetic quality would allow one to assume.

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Mefitis – Emberdawn (2019)

DMU song contest #3 winners Mefitis return with their glorious debut album Emberdawn. “Kolossos Pt II” which was featured in the song contest gave us a glimpse into some of the incredible ideas that this band has shown. Mefitis has existed for over twelve years and had been plagued by various problems before being put on hiatus for a few years until remaining members Vatha and Pendath who had always been the core duo behind the band managed to reform and eventually release the excellent Widdrim Hymn. A powerful bond marked by shared philosophy has allowed this duo to craft what can easily be referred to as this decade’s greatest metal album. Combining the twin guitar approach of early At the Gates with the melodic sense of Demigod and then layered in the Norwegian Black metal style. Where these approaches have produced a dead end and hordes of imitators, for Mefitis they have opened up new methods for their brand of Dark metal.

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Polemicist – Zarathustrian Impressions (Fólkvangr, 2019)

In the past, metal journalism used to function mainly as a filtering device; weeding out the bad so that the good stuff would rise to the top. Nowadays, it’s more likely the other way around. We’re now searching for potential in a seemingly endless flow of “interesting” or pleasant-sounding junk. This task often requires time and patience, because those rare and far between releases will often sound similar to their lesser peers on a surface level. One illuminating example would be the Pennsylvanian epic death/black metal act Polemicist and their debut album Zarathustrian Impressions. Their music may not appear spectacular on casual listen, but repeated and concentrated exposure reveal unexpected qualities.

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