Chris Forbes’s Metal Reviews #13
Now remember these reviews are "ONLY MY OPINION" and I never consider myself an expert on this stuff. I am a fan like anyone else. I will say I have been reviewing bands since 1986 so I have a bif of experience with this stuff. My reviews come from my heart and with that here is this round of reviews:
Spent more time doing interviews over the past couple of months than reviews and I hope you have enjoyed my interviews on here as I try to make the questions interesting and the bands for the most part make the interviews good or great at times. This time round we had a mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly ha ha. Some bands were great and when they were I reached out for interviews some have already been published, some have been average and some have been downright awful.
In Pain – The Thing From the Grave (Helter Skelter Productions/ Regain Records)
Yes, yes. Prime time Swedish style death metal my fellow metalheads and I don’t give a fuck if they sound like old Entombed, I love this band. They have slow doomy parts, mid-paced parts, and of course speed. I a perfect production by no other than Tomas Skogsberg! This band formed in 1992 and put out 2 demos and took a break, yeah nevertheless a long one! The production is top notch and if you crave Swedish death metal here ya go.
Blood Of The Wolf – IV: The Declaration Of War Eternal (Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)
A sick, pounding display of death metal played the right way. The band mix in the slower parts and the intense speed parts making for quite a ride on the rollercoaster you are on. Vocals from hell that satan would love. The sick fast parts had me playing the air drums. This is a pure death metal delight.
Terrible Sickness – Flesh for the Insatiable (Black Sunset/MDD)
This is some punishing death metal, that while not original, more than gets the job done. The singer sounds like John from Obituary, but the music doesn’t sound like them and has a style of its own. They obviously have slow and fast parts and are a bit more melodic as well. The guitar sound is mint and the drums don’t have those awful trigger drums sound as well. Video:
Time to Kill – S.B.A.H. (Sliptrick Records)
The label press release calls this thrash/punk and I’d agree with that, but it is horrible thrash/punk. It’s weak and has no power behind it. The singer is bad, the songs are just as bad, and if I want thrash/punk I’ll grab my old COC or DRI. Agnostic Front, Sick of it All, and all the great bands of that era. This band doesn’t even come close.
Congealed Putrescence – Within the Ceaseless Murk (Caligari Records)
Yes oh yes. Well churned, sick. classic, pounding death metal that rips the body parts. Chainsaw-like riffs and a furious speed attack will leave you breathless. The band slows it down to take a break and then the speed takes back over and it’s yes yes yes. This is a pure death metal delight all the way. The vocals crush, no trigger drums, and the vocals are pure hell.
Immortal Possession – The Resurrectionist (CDN Records)
Nothing much to get excited about here. Below average death metal with some not-so-good vocals. The tunes were just flat and didn’t have that crushing hook that would make this stand out and make me take notice. Video below:
Absolute Darkness – Failure Of State (Sliptrick Records)
Not a bad blend of thrash and heavy metal with a more of a death metal style singer. The music is never boring and the head will be moving for sure production on this is good and solid and a solid band for sure and they keep the thrash metal flag riding high.
Ritual Death – Ritual Death (Shadow Records/Regain Records)
This is like a bad version of Celtic Frost with a bad singer. The sound may be old school, but the music still stinks. Just a bunch of simple riffs with typical growl vocals that are quickly forgettable. I tried listening to a couple of other tunes, but nothing stood out and this is just a faceless death metal band, one of many.
T.O.M.B. – Terror Winds (Dark Essence Record)
Just a wall of let’s play as fast as possible generic black metal with dying vocals. The pick riffing is on fall display with the dying man vocals too. They slow things down a bit, but again this is another case of hearing it all before a million times and needing something to blast me out of my seat and this surely didn’t. Just another “blah” type of band.
Negative Vortex – Tomb Absolute (CVLT Nation)
Fuckin A this is a band not to be messed around with. These 2 guys bring a lot to the party and just totally crush with a speedy mix of death metal to the core. Just a pure 100% slab of death metal played fast, wicked, and smashing to your goddamn fast. No wimpy shit. This just knocked me off my bed. A total blaze of death metal not to be missed.
Beltfed Weapon – Darkened Demise (Self-Released)
I have 2 songs that will be released as an EP by Frank Hetzel’s band Beltfred Weapon. Now I have not heard the whole EP, but here is who plays on it. Beltfed Weapon’s EP Darkened Demise, mixed by Juan Urtega, also features Steve Tucker (Morbid Angel), Jason Viebrooks (Exhorder/Grip Inc), JD DeServio (Black Label Society), Tim Aymar (Control Denied), Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy), Kragen Lum (Heathen) Bryan Newbury (Into Eternity) and Dagna Barrera. This is classic speedy thrash metal with great vocals. The one tune with Steve Tucker singing was mint. Frank can play a wicked riff and also his tasteful solos on this rock too. Can’t wait to get the whole EP.
Arkona – An Eternal Curse Of The Pagan Godz (Old Temple Records)
A re-release of a black metal demo by Arkona. It’s damn good and I think having keyboards helps this be better and not worse. The singer has a good black metal-style voice and the music is not all over the place either. It’s fast and blasting like you would expect black to be, but it’s not generic and stupid.
The Crippler – I’m Just Gonna Let Myself In (H.P.G.D. Productions)
Straight forward hard hitting balls to the wall death metal. Vicious riffing and nasty ha ha death metal vocals are a treat. Songs are under 4 minutes blasts of death metal that you will like your underground sweat hogs. This is death metal that you don’t forget right away and just has that catchy sound I liked a lot. This is dark, dirty death metal from the basement.
Extirpation – The Endless Storm (Chaos Records)
I couldn’t wait to review this as the band’s bio and look in their pictures (bullet belts, band patches, etc) was something right up my alley. Well, I got mugged in the alley. This was horrible. Terrible, shitty music in the form of generic black metal and vocals I could piss on. Blackthrashing sound? Don’t ever use thrash guys cause your nothing but a generic black metal band my friends with terrible songs and vocals.
Lucifericion – The Warlock of Da’ath (Invictus Productions)
Another crushing classic from this label. This band combines the best of mostly death metal with slices of black and doom metal and that is quite the meal at the dinner table. Chunky death metal riffs from the olden days and vocals as well are a highlight of this. I totally love the production as well. Any fan of Morbid Angel will be loving this. This is just a whirlwind of speed and doom and death and prepare for the hammer to fall. Love this.
Denim and Leather: The Rise and Fall of the NWOBHM (Bazillion Points)
Wow, what an incredible book this is. Hell, I’m about halfway through it. Just tons and tons of interviews with such bands as UFO, Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, Raven, Saxon, and many more bands, more than you can shake a stick at. Lots of stuff from the guys of Kerrang, a mag I read from week to week back in the 80’s. This gets to the heart of the matter of those early 80’s metal years over in England and it’s 450 pages to boot. If you want metal, you want to know about the whole history of the NWOBHM, this is easily the best book I’ve read on it.
Deathpath/Hate Within (Self-Released)
No No No. This was some bad death metal. The singer has no style other than to do generic growls, which do nothing for me. The music is faceless death metal which goes nowhere fast. The tunes just don’t click with me and aren’t catchy at all. Guys, where is the speed and intensity? Sorry, not for me at all.
Vayron – Same (Self-Released)
Oh, holy shit is this intense, ripping, fast death metal that will have you thinking it is the late 80s again. Oh, the fury and feeling this spews out. A total death metal delight I can assure you. Total feeling and total destruction. This is something you must have in the collection.
Sathanas/Psalm Satani (Vida Records)
Damn, I remember writing to Paul Tucker back in the 80s, and look he has a new release out and yup it’s the same style of old-school death metal from back then. Fuck yeah. The vocals, the music just will rip you into pieces everyone. This man and his band still have it. Riffs that tear the flesh and the speed isn’t bad either. Vocals from hell as well. Not this crap stuff from a lot of other death metal bands. Welcome back Paul, good to hear ya alive and well. Horns up. One of the best releases of the year easily.
Extinction Agenda – Inter Arma Silent Leges
(Visceral Circuitry Records) Another holy shit band that is keeping the old-school metal flag alive. These are 2 demos from 2005 and 2006 and wow they were along the lines of 80’s style German thrash and also some sounds of Razor as well. The razor-sharp pure thrash and speedy riffs totally crushed and had me headbanging as they were also catchy and memorable and not this Pantera shit. Singer had a great thrash metal evil-style voice to boot. Worth checking out.
Morbus Grave – Lurking Into Absurdity (Chaos Records)
Pretty cool death metal band here. A weird, sort of different sound on the guitar and the vocals, while sounding like other death metal bands, who cares, he gets the job done. The music mixes with faster and slower parts and that was cool with Mr Metal Core/Extreminal. See I just have to feel it with bands and I do with this one. Riffs that are total doom-like and upper tempo, but not speed for speed sakes parts. Thick doomy riffs and a speed attack show no damn mercy on your lifeless body.
Savage Master – Those Who Hunt at Night (Shadow Kingdom)
Classic 80’s style that will have the fist pumping and the denim jackets worn proudly. Singer Stacey Savage took me a few tunes to warm up to and she isn’t bad. The tunes, the band’s 4th, are we are proud to be metal numbers with no new influences at all, which was all but welcome to me. Love the guitar sound and the overall production this band has on this. Early Judas Priest is an influence big time. Metal is alive and well and this band proves it.
Vivisect – Barbaric Death (Nihilistic Holocaust)
Death metal in the vein of early Death and Autopsy and from my home state of NJ. Production is good for a demo and a thick guitar sound too. Fast and slower doomy parts too. The band is breaking no new ground with this demo, but this is good and a nice slice of death metal that way it needs and should be played.
Razor – Cycle of Contempt (Relapse Records)
This is just an amazing thrash release. No Pantera or nu-metal crap on this. Just an all-out speed attack like the old days. Plenty of feeling and wait for it, MEMORABLE and CATCHY riffs along with the speed and aggression send me out of 2022 on a high note. Just a total all-out pounding aggression on your souls. Singer Bob Reid also shines on this as well. A much-get for any thrash band.
Reanimator – Commotion (Self-Released)
This is some cool crossover thrash ala Municipal Waste and that’s not a bad thing because I love that band. Razor-sharp riffing and screaming vocals are the tickets here and it is quite a ticket. The speed and intensity are more than welcome and I love the guitar sound this band is well worth checking out and check out their video for starters:
Infantry -Terminal Society (Self-Released)
This was just ok, nothing special. A decent mix of thrash and death metal with gruff not so great death metal vocals and that is part of the reason this brought it down a few notches for me. The riffing is razor sharp in the thrash metal style and again they are ok, nothing to write home about and nothing you’re totally missing. Just with so many releases out there, nothing stands out on this. Video to view below:
Act Of Impalement- Infernal Ordinance (Caligari Records)
Oh, what a way to start the year with this incredible release. Doomy, thick as fuck, chunky riffs explode and destroy my face and then the vocals slam me into the ground and keep me there. It’s the guitar sound that just owns me and then some. Speed will destroy too. This is prime beef death metal that is not to be missed.
Obituary – Dying of Everything (Relapse Records)
Obituary has been a long time and here they are with a brand new release. Singer John Tardy still has the growls down to a science I’ll say and is even a bit easier to understand these days. The band’s trademark sound is intact, from the slow doomy-like parts to the mid-paced material to the speedy parts it’s all here. There is even some groove on this and it was cool with me. This band has nothing to be ashamed of on this. Good job.
Terrörhammer – Gateways To Hades (Osmose Productions)
I haven’t been keen on much stuff from Osmose lately, but they bounce back in a big way with this band. This is some crushing total old-school ripping thrash/death in the vein of old (debut) Kreator Destruction. Riffs had my head banging and air guitar all the way. Fantastic guitar sound too. This is like Motorhead meeting Kreator and Destruction so prepare for it.
Zombie Riot – World Epitaph (Kernkraftritter Records)
Just typical Cannibal Corpse like death metal. The songs were below average and did nothing to excite me. The singer is just a typical growler as well. The songs leave a lot to be desired and are nothing special. With so many other releases out there, this just doesn’t stand out from the pack.
Funeral Winds – Stigmata Mali (Osmose Productions)
I am sure a lot of you are familiar with this band. Well, here they are with a new release and a new label. This a fantastic, ripping album of old-school black metal that just crushes the weak and all those fake faceless come-on black metal bands. This is the real deal and I could just feel the eerie sounds and power as this played. Fantastic sounds and blazing speed had me foaming at the mouth. Easily black metal at its finest.
Lomor – Perseverance of Sickness (Self-Released)
I detect a strong Testament influence, especially in the vocals. This is some heart-pounding speedy thrash with crushing riffs and aggressive vocals to boot. Love when thrash is played right and this is fuckin played right. A perfect production adds to this and hails this band for keeping thrash alive. Video link to check out
Thysia – Islands in Cosmic Darkness (Chaos Records)
Mass Crysis – Imposing Truck (The Goatmancer Records)
Finally, some thrash I can sink my teeth into. Sort of reminds me of older Death Angel at times, especially the vocals. Nice riffing and catchy tunes won this over for me. Beautiful crunchy guitar sound as well. some thrash with balls, everyone. Thrash with class is the ticket on this.
Thaumaturgy – Tenebrous Oblations (Adirondack Black Mass Records)
A total crushing slab of a pure death metal attack ala Incantation. Dark doomy-like riffs mixed in with some speed make this one not to miss. Production totally crushes and I don’t give a rat’s ass if they sound like Incantation they bring it and they destroy it.
Endlevel – Weekend War (Self-Released)
A thrash metal band with tough guy vocals and low-death metal growls. The growls suck as do the tough guy ones. The music is nothing to write home about and the singer makes things 50 times worse. Horrible band.
Necronomicon – Constant To Death (El Puerto Records)
Horrible limp-wristed thrash metal with no speed or power behind it. Why the fuck do these thrash bands do this over and over? Mild mid-paced stuff that is just total garbage with no power or speed behind it. Guys speed it up and show me what thrash should be. Go listen to the debut of Whiplash for an idea ok.
Aftermath – No Time To Waste (Self-Released)
I have known Charlie in this band since the demo days of this band. There obviously have been many changes within the band’s sound since those demos days, but here we are with a brand new release. There is some good and bad stuff on this. Some of the music crosses over into the groovy Pantera sound as does the singer. Some of the faster, speedy parts have that old sound the band had. The production is unreal and the sound on it totally crushes. I’m sure many will dig this, but for me, it’s a mixed bag of doughnuts. Video to view:
Sepulcrum – Lamentation of Immolated Souls (Chaos Records/ Canometal/Burning Coffin)
Like Alter of Madness by Morbid Angel? If so you’ll love this as it has that same sound and vocals. Some vibe and feeling along with the early sounds of Death. This just kills across the board. A monster attack of sick, crushing, pulverizing death metal that is played with a fury and passion that is not to be missed by the underground death metal fan. Prepare to be blown away with power you bastards.
Bloody Falls – Dying is Easy (Self-Released)
This wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Modern death metal with groove and deep growly vocals. and the screechy kind, which I hate. Hey, that’s just me. Remember I’m 56 so I didn’t grow on this style so I’m just not a fan of it. Plenty of breakdown death metal parts to sink your death into as well. If that is your thing this band is right up your alley.
Unpure – Prophecies Ablaze (Invictus Productions / The Ajna Offensive)
Raw, but sort of weird hard pounding death metal and I mean that in a good way. Tortured vocals from hell on this. This band has been around since 91 and went through member changes, but I don’t care all about that as this is all I care about, and the thick chainsaw-pounding black/thrash/death sounds will have you loving this big time. I can hear a bit of old Kreator in this as well. Check out the sample track:
Hirax – Raging Violence (Armageddon Label)
This label has re-issued this release from Metal Blade and the one below from what I read has been out of print for about 20 years. This a pure speed/thrash classic with Katon’s vocals shining on this as well as the incredible music on this. Short bursts of speedy punk/thrash that just will tear and rip your face off like it did back in 1985 baby. This is Raging Violence at its finest
Hirax – Hate Fear and Power (Armageddon Label)
This is even faster than their debut as it is just a full-speed straight attack on your skull and senses. Just a blistering all-out speed attack that hits fast and hard from the start to the end. Katon’s vocals are one of a kind and totally rock it out on this like Sean from Violence you either love them or hate them and I love them. Totally 2-speed metal classics when thrash was king now back in business after a long time not in business.
Endlevel – Weekend War (Self-Released)
Musicwise this is some serious thrash metal. Vocalwise is it nothing, but generic death metal-sounding vocals with the screeching vocals I hate. The riffing is crushing thrash and wicked bay area crunch sounds that I love, but if you throw in that style singer in thrash you lose me. The production is good, but I’m sorry guys the vocals are not good to me. The music is good throughout. Sample song below:
Noorag – Noorag (Self-Released)
Never Reborn – Ashes of Our Past (Self-Released)
A decent mix of thrash meets Kreator, by Kreator, I mean in the vocals as the signet could pass for Mille. The music is thrash metal with bits and pieces of death metal. The music is fairly catchy and not just generic thrash and having a singer that sounds like Mille is a plus as well, Sample video track below:
Hate Manifesto – ΑΠΟΣΤΑΤΗΣ (Helter Skelter Productions /Regain Records)
Holy shit does this pack a punch. It’s brutal fuck, has no frills, and never lets up until the last note of death metal. A blistering speed attack of old-school death metal that slays and punishes the weak. Think early Death, Incantation, Immolation, the classic death metal bands. Great pure death metal vocals make this a pure winner in my book. Insane display of death metal played the way it should be dammit.
Methane – Kill It With Fire (Self-Released)
Embrace of Thorns – Entropy Dynamics (Nuclear Winter)
Bone crushing old school death metal to the core. Slicing death metal riffs and speed galore along with some dying low-style vocals made this a winner in my book. Totally no frills take no prisoner’s approach on this. Keeps the old-school sound alive and well. Prepare to have your head ripped off my underground friends.
Panssarituho – Sanansaattaja (Self Released)
These guys should wear masks as this is some of the worst death metal I have heard this year and maybe last year. Boring, terrible riffs with nothing catchy and worth of any substance. The vocals are even worse as they are senseless growls that go nowhere at all. Awful.
Horizon’s End – The Great Destroyer (Steel Gallery Records)
I was taken on quite a great roller coaster ride listening to this. Fantastic progressive metal band in the vein of Dream Theatre. Great, catchy tunes that didn’t go over my head and incredible vocals to boot. He sings with so much passion and his vocals fit the songs so fuckin well. Production is perfect and this release with have you have goosebumps on your neck as it did mine
Speed Limit – Cut A Long Story Short (NRT-Records)
This band plays heavy metal with touches of the NWOBHM of well. Tasteful riffs and decent vocals made this a decent release. Sort of like Judas Priest at their “Point of Entry” sound, but no Rob Halford vocals ok. Just the vibe I got listening to this. Old Raven pops in the mix too. Overall I like this as it’s a change of pace from all the death and black metal and shitty thrash metal out there as well.
Crack Up – Blood Is Life (MDD Records)
This was totally god-awful in every way. The vocals are hilarious with generic, non-convincing growls and then those awful screeches on top of it. Groovy chainsaw riffs almost made this like the Pantera of death metal groups haha. This is just not good at all and nothing on this is any good.
Moon Oracle – Ophidian Glare (Signal Rex /Bestial Burst)
Generic death/black metal that goes nowhere fast. Same ole tired worn out by now black metal vocals and non-inspired death/black metal sounds. Many other better bands than this. Pass.
Under Attack – Fury Of The Thunder God (Lake Of Fire)
Rapid fire thrash/heavy metal with catchy thrashy headbanging riffs attached to the music. No groove thrash either. Honest-to-goodness vocals that are clear, but powerful too. Sort of reminds me of Agent Steel this band, but minus all the high-pitched vocals sounds of John and I hear a bit of Biff from Saxon and Udo from Accept in the singer’s voice as well. Very cool release here for sure