Tag Archives: Extreme Metal

New Music Mondays: Enslaved, Trench Dogs and Much More!

A quiet yet busy week of new music featuring a lot of variety. Let’s dive straight into it all!

Enslaved: Heimdal

The Norwegians are not your typical extreme metal band. Even though the sub-genre is typically one of the most experimental of the heavier side of metal, the band definitely throw a lot of different styles and parts into their music that makes it an interesting listen, at the very listen. Clean vocals contrast incredibly with the screams, slower riffing and even clean guitars against crunchy, heavy, faster distortion.

Their 16th album is no different. I’ve personally always found the genre fascinating and these and Cradle of Filth are always my go-tos with it, so I was hoping for a lot here. It most certainly delivered. Heck, opener ‘Behind the Mirror’ perfectly encapsulates what I am on about, showing off their range of styles and songwriting. And it just continues to get better from there. Single ‘Congelia’ is a proggier masterpiece while other single ‘Kingdom’ has one of my favourite riffs of the year running through it. Meanwhile the sludgy, proggy closing and title track is one of my favourite tracks in the genre, it’s that good.

This is an awesome album. If you are into your heavier or more epic stuff at all, you HAVE to check this out. 9/10

Trench Dogs: Stockholmiana

The Swedish glam-punk band returned with their sophomore album this last Friday. It’s a fun, surprisingly fresh sound, and a fun, enjoyable album. I honestly am struggling to say much about it, the whole album is just solid sleazy rock. None of it stood out above or below the other, it was just all pretty great. Heck, it was SUPER hard to even pick which tracks would end up on our playlist, as I loved them all. I guess you’ll just have to click here to see for yourselves which made the cut…

I feel like I’d absolutely love this band live, and really hope they come to the UK soon. Their songwriting is clearly off the charts and on full display throughout the album. It’s all super catchy and fun an incredible blend of light-hearted and self-loathing-drenched punk. 9/10, this was amazing and I’ll be listening to it a lot in the coming months! However, I have noticed that wine to Trench Dogs is what California is to Red Hot Chili Peppers…

Can’t Swim: Thanks but No Thanks

The post-punk band are on their fourth album already, not bad going for a band just over seven years old. Said forth album is maybe their best yet, in this humble writer’s opinion, too. It’s an incredibly interesting listen, having they typical pop-punk catchy, clean vocals and melodies, while also having a few screams in here and an overall pretty dark feel and tone. Opener ‘Nowhere, Ohio’ is a perfect track in the genre and an amazing way to open the album for newer fans. ‘me vs me vs all of y’all’ and ‘ELIMINATE’ are also highlight tracks (even if the capitalisation throughout was making me uncomfortable). It’s another album without any bad tracks, too. 7.5/10, good stuff!

Blak29: The Waiting

We’ve already reviewed this awesome slab of rock music. Check it out here!

Morgan Wallen: One Thing at a Time

Oh yeah, country time. Firstly, Morgan is clearly trying to kill me. 36 tracks and nearly two hours in length. That’s too long for even a double album, let alone a single one. It’s a MASSIVE issue in country, in my opinion, and this is the worst example I have seen yet. I haven’t even listened to it yet and I can already tell I’m going to get bored within the first ten tracks. There’s no quality control when the album is this long, the weaker songs aren’t cut, it’s just everything thrown in. Don’t get me wrong, in the day and age of individual track streams paying, I get it. But that doesn’t mean I like it.

Now that I’ve finished with my rant… I was right. Tracks like ‘Everything I Love’ and ’98 Braves’ are great, don’t get me wrong. But they’re all pretty similar and after the first 30 minutes I’d had enough. I powered through the album of course, because I had to. ‘In the Bible’ is a good track because it involves HARDY (check out our review of his top album of the year here) so of course it was. ‘Thought You Should Know’ and ‘Money on Me’ are pretty decent ballads. But this could have easily been 20+ tracks shorter. There is a lot of filler when nothing needed filling. 3/10 overall. The tracks I’ve named are good, as are others, but in the grand scheme of things it was not a fun listen.

Haken: Fauna

More prog now, yet a little less heavy this time. I’m very much in two minds with it, though. The heavy riffs and general instrumentation is great. And for the most part the vocals were fine, but the actual melodies themselves generally didn’t do much for me. I know prog is hardly radio friendly, but there was very little along the way of memorable hooks throughout the album.

I actually found my rule for the album pretty quick. If it started steady and got heavy for the chorus, a la ‘The Alphabet of Me’, I’ll love it. However, if it starts heavy and then goes up and down every 30 seconds it doesn’t do much for me. The aforementioned track, though, is by far my favourite on the album. The almost Porcupine Tree-esque stripped back verses contrast perfectly with the massive chorus.

Overall it’s a very up and down for me. I feel like it’ll grow on me with more listens, but for now 6.5/10 sounds about right. It’s more good than bad, but it’s a little up and down.

Tragedy: I Am Woman

We wouldn’t normally review a full-on parody album, but these guys are signed to Napalm, and they’re fucking fantastic, so we’re going to. Disco works surprisingly well when combined with metal music, and this may be some of their best work yet. Their take on Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ is incredible and has so many different layers to it. Their cover of the James Bond classic ‘Goldfinger’ is awesome, as is ‘Respect’ featuring the insanely talented Marcy Harriell. If you’re a fan of disco, metal or just fun in general, check this out. You will not be disappointed. 9/10

Entheos: Time WIll Take us All

The tech death supergroup are back with their first album in over half a decade, and it’s just as insane as you’d expect it. It’s heavy, chaotic brilliance and it’s so hard to pick just one of two tracks to be a highlight. The opener is incredible, as is ‘I Am the Void’ and slower closer ‘Time Will Take us All’. It’s definitely another album for the heavier fans, but damn, this was good. 8/10

New Music Mondays: NOFX, Hammers of Misfortune and More!

Here we are. The last month of 2022. What an insane year it’s been for new music. However, while most bands are winding down for the holidays, there are still a few putting out stuff for us to check out. Let’s look at it!

NOFX: Double Album

At least this is better than their last album. Slightly. And heck, at least it wasn’t an ACTUAL double album, just ten tracks across 27-minutes. Some of it was pretty good. Other tracks… ouch.

The album opens strong enough with ‘Darby Crashing Your Party’ and ‘My Favourite Enemy’. Neither of them quite measure up to peak NOFX, but they’re not bad punk tracks. Plus I have to say, the bass is awesome in both! However, then we reached ‘Don’t Count on Me’ and it’s confused straddling of comedy and depression. A couple of lines got a dry chuckle out of me, but the overall feel and presentation of the song is honest and kinda pretty sad. It feels like Mike on his last legs and, given that the band are calling it quits soon, it just makes the track even more depressing. And not in a good way.

‘Johanna Constant Teen’ was a fun, short burst of punk awesomeness, but honestly the rest of the album from here felt like average at best. Nothing stood out, just as it did something would put me off the track again. I get writing from the heart and all that, but these are tales of a not fun few years being played off as fun, upbeat punk songs. Someone give Mike a call, make sure he’s okay. 4/10

Hammers of Misfortune: Overtaker

I have to admit, it’s odd hearing an extreme metal band with clean vocals. Unfortunately, it results in this sounding pretty messy overall. I’m not sure if my headphones are on the way out, but the production sounded horrible for me. I struggled to hear the vocals, and it felt like everything else was turned up as loud as it possibly could be. As a result, this was a wall of noise, so much so that it was hard to pick out a highlight.

Despite that, at least the band members were clearly talented. There were some fun riffs and, much like other extreme metal bands, the drummer works their ass off to keep the insane pace and kept their beats and fills interesting throughout. There was some fun lead guitar work too on tracks like the title one, which also had a pretty good ominous feel to it at times. It was probably my highlight of the album. There was just so much going on all at once most of the time that it was hard to get through in one sitting. 3.5/10. Sorry, this wasn’t for me.

White Lung: Premonition

I must be in a bad mood this weekend, because this isn’t my sort of thing either. Again, the band were clearly talented, especially the guitarist for some of those prog/math riffs. Everyone else did a good job at their chosen parts, too. It just didn’t do anything for me. Say what you want about me being some easily industry-led shill, but I do like a catchy, anthemic chorus. There wasn’t really one here. It’s like ambient black metal, but without the black metal part. It’s ambient punk/indie rock.

Again, there is nothing wrong with this album. If you’re a technical musician or like that sort of sound you’ll find something to love here. The slower tracks like ‘Under Glass’ were closer to highlights for me. 4.5/10

Destroyer 666: Never Surrender

The Australian thrash/death band are back with their sixth studio album. Being a fan of this band from my later thrash-kid days, it’s nice to hear they’ve very much still got it. This somehow channels early works from Slayer, Death and Venom, blending them all together into one brutal offering. Tracks like the title one, ‘Guillotine’ and the epic closing track, ‘Batavia’s Graveyard’, are all big personal highlights. It’s just a good, classically heavy album, and the band has an extraordinary talent for writing songs. 7.5/10, good stuff!

Check out some more thrashy stuff here.

Despite Exile: Wound

These guys have quietly released one of the best melodic deathcore albums of the year this week. Having never heard of them before this list, they very much have a new fan in me. Whether it’s the balls-to-the-wall aggression of tracks like ‘Sceptre’ or slightly slower epics like the utterly fantastic ‘A Pale Glimmer of Light’, this album is awesome from start to finish. If you’re into the heavier stuff at all, check this out, you will not be disappointed. 8.5/10

Obvurt: Triumph Beyond Adversity

This is straight up death metal, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a group of insanely talented individuals coming together to make fast, very angry music. If you’re a fan of the genre you’ll know what to expect. Heck, it’s VERY At the Gates, even down to the odd stripped-back, odd, jazzy interlude in the middle of a couple of the tracks. Of course single ‘Invisible Enemy’ is a highlight, but so is the slower, proggy ‘Life and Death’. It shows the band has some depth to their songwriting and that slow build opener is awesome. The whole album is worth a listen, though, but it’s maybe not the best jumping off point for someone looking to get heavy. 7.5/10

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Chrysalis: Are we Meeting The Next Big Extreme Metal Band?

Stellar Void is an extreme symphonic metal band from Russia. I admit I had no prior knowledge of them before getting an email about reviewing this EP. However, it’s not often I get music this heavy sent through to me, or one from a non-English-speaking country, so I’m pretty excited to check it out. Without any more of an introduction, here is our review!

Wasting little time, opening track ‘Shifting Sands’ immediately slaps you in the face with a huge, heavy sound and blast beats. The orchestral instruments behind it do take the edge off a little, though, and give it an epic feel. It sounds even, menacing, and awesome. The low, guttural vocals come in for the verse, reminding me a lot of Danni Filths. That may be a running theme of this EP, just to warn you, Cradle of Filth comparisons. It’s definitely not just because they’re the main band in this kind of genre I actually listen to or anything… The vocals clean up a little for a surprisingly catchy chorus, and the female harmony layered into them was a great touch. The piano acting as a bridge was also great, adding a little lighter break before the heaviness comes back. I LOVE every time the vocals go into the duet, it makes it all surprisingly beautiful. The woman’s voice is powerful and low and fits the song perfectly. My only ever so slight issue is that it stops a little abruptly, no outro or anything, just suddenly ends after the final chorus. It was a great track from Stellar Void non the less, though!

The EP’s title track is up next, taking a slightly slower approach to begin with. The choir vocals behind the huge guitar chords sounded awesome and again gave everything an epic, sinister feel. When the heaviness kicks in and the speed picks up, the vocals are clean again. The harmony between the male and female vocals again contrasts perfectly together and fits awesomely with the heavy instrumentation backing them. The female vocal continues for a bit, getting a run to show off her insanely impressive higher range. There’s an awesome guitar riff that kicks in around the 2:30 minute mark, it being the only thing in the track for a few seconds so it’s easy to hear. The instruments do get a tad lost in the epicness and sheer number of them at times, so it’s good to hear them isolated every so often! The structure of the two songs so far has been a little all-over-the-place, it’s been hard to listen out for a chorus or verse, but if anything it adds to the epic charm of it all. It feels more like they’re telling a story than playing a song. A beautiful piano melody acts as the outro to another fantastic song!

‘The Oath’ opens on another face-punching riff, and one I love. It reminded me a little of Bullet for my Valentine’s ‘Your Betrayal’, only obviously heavier. The female vocal again takes the lead for this one, something I wasn’t expecting from the band so it’s a nice touch. It drops back to just the keys/synth and vocals around the two-minute mark. It sounds awesome and highlights the female vocal even more nicely. The metal instruments build back into it steadily, feeling like it is building up to something massive. That it does, too, as we get another awesome little guitar fill before a huge final chorus (?). This was great, and my favourite track on the EP. It makes the playlist!

The final track, ‘The Seer’, opens straight into a huge chorus, clean vocals and all. It’s again pretty catchy. The lead melody from the vocals, guitar, and strings added so much awesomeness to it all. The verse is even pretty clean and steady, though it is still heavy. Kudos to the drummer who I really haven’t mentioned enough in this review. They’ve been working overtime through this entire EP with some crazy blast beats and quick fills. The whole band is far more talented than I have been able to give credit for, they all just work so well together that it’s hard not to talk about it all as one combined piece. This was another epic track through and through. The orchestral outro made it the perfect choice to close out the EP with. The overall feel is something Stellar Void do so well.

If you like this, check out our review of the latest At the Gates album here!

Overall: This was really good! Going in completely blind made it a fun experience and meant that the band blew me away from a technical standpoint. It’s not a genre I would listen to a whole bunch personally so the structures and things still threw me off a bit, but after another few listens (which will definitely happen) it would probably set in a lot easier for me. Stellar Void has a new fan in me and I look forward to hearing how they develop their sound further in the coming years!

The Score: 7/10

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