Author Archive

Zu – The Way of the Animal Powers

It’s debatable whether the Rome quartet known as Zu should even be considered metal. True, they have a song on The Way Of The Animal Powers called “Tom Araya is Our Elvis.” Their album sports illustrations of gorillas, a bird’s head in a jar and an exploding volcano. The similarities end there. Zu openly admire […]

Divine Eve – Vengeful and Obstinate EP

It looked like Divine Eve had called it a career three years ago with the glorious compilation Upon These Ashes Scorn The World, a gem packed with tracks like “The Last Of The Sunset Faded” and “Harlequin of Perpetual Destiny.” However, metal is a genre where comebacks are pretty much guaranteed – even if your […]

Headhunter D.C. – God’s Spreading Cancer

If you play death metal, getting endorsed by Possessed’s Jeff Becerra is a bit like getting a nod from American Idol’s Simon Cowell. Headhunter D.C.’s label Ibex Moon even drafted a press release trumpeting the news. While an endorsement like this can raise your profile it can also bring the critics out ready to bat […]

Azaghal -Teraphim

Not every Finnish band needs to emerge from a Nosferatu-style coma to write a good black metal record. Beherit might get the most attention because they dropped off the face of the earth for almost two decades before this year’s strong comeback. The smart money is on Azaghal, a black metal outfit that seems to […]

Hyadningar – The Weak Creation

Hyadningar’s The Weak Creation has been on my review list for a while now, sitting idle among a few goregrind and old-school death metal CDs like an orphaned stepchild. I’m glad I decided to play it before the first decade of the new millennium closed. Here’s one black metal album from 2009 that deserves to […]

Abscess/Population Reduction – Split

Split albums are common in metal but yield mixed results. Far too often, listeners labor through 20 minutes of crap to get to five minutes of goodness. Here’s a combination that works – a dual platter from the bowels of the San Francisco Bay Area featuring death metal veterans Abscess (formed by two members of […]

White Mice – Ganjahovadose

CONFIDENTIAL INTAKE REPORT, RHODE ISLAND STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL: Presiding psychiatrist:  Dr. Paul Fritz Examination Notes: At approximately 19:00 hours on Nov. 16, 2009, three subjects without any names or aliases other than White Mice were presented for psychiatric examination. The subjects were discovered in a small house in Providence, R.I., after neighbors complained of noxious […]

Cannabis Corpse – The Weeding EP

GEORGE took a mammoth hit off the bong, coughed, and leaned back in the beat-up recliner. Eager to get even more stoned, he took yet another hit, let the acrid smoke fester in his lungs, and closed his eyes. Death metal blared from the box stereo system, which was obscured by a seemingly infinite number […]

Post Mortem – Message From the Dead

Post Mortem were the perennial underdogs of the 1980s underground metal scene. They recorded one bona fide classic – Coroner’s Office – yet never received credit for being years ahead of most bands now regarded as the godfathers of death metal. Their follow-up albums Festival of Fun and Destined For Failure were wildly experimental. Instead […]

Glorior Belli – Meet Us At the Southern Sign

French export Glorior Belli became critical darlings two years ago after the release of the powerful Manifesting The Raging Beast. The praise was deserved; although they stayed closer to traditional black metal than experimental countrymates Deathspell Omega the album offered a well-lit and immaculately produced pathway to Hell. Of course the inevitable question is whether […]

Lye Bye Mistake – Fea Jur

Frank Zappa passed this mortal coil in 1993, leaving behind volumes of brilliant and often criminally underappreciated music. He’s now looking down from The Great Wazoo in the sky, where thankfully yellow snow isn’t a concern. If by chance the sounds of Lye By Mistake’s Fea Jur reached his groovy orbit he would no doubt […]

Viatrophy – Viatrophy

While the thrash revival appears to be on its last legs the death knell sounded for deathcore at least a year ago. That doesn’t stop labels from signing new bands parroting a sound that’s been beaten past the point of originality. Take a look at the roster of many of the “most pissed off and […]

Swashbuckle – Back to the Noose

Upon receiving Swashbuckle’s album Back To The Noose for review I sharpened my best Jack Sparrow cutlass for the inevitable disembowlment of the latest in the growing list of pirate metal bands. I have a general disdain for pirate metal. When I see an album I feel like I’m looking at an advertisement for a […]

Infernal Stronghold – Godless Noise

Godless Noise might be one of the most appropriate album titles in the history of underground metal; I‘m surprised some enterprising young hesher hasn’t used it before. What young metalhead blasting their older brother’s copy of Haunting The Chapel didn’t have their parents yell “turn off that godless noise” at the upstairs bedroom? I’m sure […]

Magrudergrind – Magrudergrind

Washington D.C. has always been known more as a punk hub than for metal. True, Wino got his start in nearby Wheaton, Md., Clutch hails from Montgomery County and Pig Destroyer resides in Northern Virginia. But when most fans of underground or extreme music think of D.C. they think of Minor Threat, Henry Rollins, The […]

Bone Gnawer – Feast of Flesh

Kam Lee has been performing death metal since the early 1980s when he was a teenager and a member of the band (Mantas) that later became Death and then left to form Massacre. After a few stops in Hateplow, Skincrawler and Denial Fiend, the veteran growler is back at it with Bone Gnawer, a death metal […]

FatTooth – FatTooth

Let’s get this out of the way: FatTooth’s debut album is kind of a wreck. The riffs are warmed over like a tin of Dinty Moore beef stew and the songs sound like a bad fourth-generation dub of The Sex Pistols. Mixing Green Jelly, The Meatmen and cock rock is either an act of bravery […]

Beherit – Engram

Evangelical Christians are a productive lot – perhaps it’s something about building God’s kingdom on earth. Hack writer and huckster Tim LaHaye cranks out a kitschy Left Behind novel each year and ascends the bestseller list. It’s a different story for team Satan – perhaps it’s the time necessary to properly apply corpsepaint or elude […]

Thyrfing – Hels Vite

Viking metal should make you want to load up a Norse ship with muscle-bound heathens and sail to a foreign land to usurp and plunder. Sweden’s Thryfing is one of the exceptions. Whereas their country mates Amon Amarth aim a broadsword at the throat, Thryfing offer cerebral Viking metal. The seven tracks on the new […]