Chris Forbes’s Metal Reviews #15

Chris Forbes’s Metal Reviews #15

Wow, it is 2024 and I’m back with a new set of reviews. With me, you get the good, the bad, and the ugly. I can’t believe I have been doing interviews and reviews since 1986! The underground has changed since the days of tape trading and letter writing that’s for sure. I do in my reviews try to be be fair and if there is a track to stream with the review or a YouTube link, I always include those so you can judge for yourself whether the band might be something you might like even though it is something I either love, like, don’t like. I hope you enjoy not just my reviews here, but also the many interviews I have posted here, which I try to make as interesting for you, the reader. Horns up everyone and have a great 2024 wherever you are…

INTO DARKNESS/Cassini – Huygens (Invictus Productions)
Crushing death/doom metal played with a touch of thrash. Brutal riffs crash upon you whipping your neck into a fury. The singer sounds like John Tardy a lot as well. The music mixes up into slower parts into faster parts as well. The a nice guitar sound on this as well. This is worth checking out for sure. Sample track to check out:

DECAYED/From Hell (Haloran Records)
This is a lost album that is now seeing the light of day. Sick, ultra-raw black death is the ticket on this. Chainsaw pounding riffs over some black metal vocals and raw sounds fill the air. Singer sounds like Bathory at times and hell this production could be a late 80’s demo the way it sounds. Yes, this does sound dimensional at times, but I kinda dug it and I think you will too. Info:

GROSS REALITY/Return To Ruin (Divebomb Records)
Holy shit is this some powerful thrash. It reminds me of Forbidden and that is a great thing cause their 1st 2 albums ruled and this release rules. This goes in my top 10 of 2023. Great singing, powerful crunchy, memorable riffs, and songs make this a winner at every turn. I was thrashing within 30 seconds of this coming on. This is a must for every thrash fan. Info:
SAPREMIA/SUBCONSCIOUS EXISTENCE (Pathologically Explicit Recordings)
This is a local band from my neck of the woods and they have been doing their style of death metal for years now. The new record sounds good to these ears as it is punishing death metal with some sounds of groove death metal, which I am not a fan of, but the band doesn’t fall into that style. Singer has a nice solid set of death metal pipes ha ha as he growls out the tunes with conviction. Production is good and solid as well. Pretty damn good and fast too dammit. Info:

MORGUE TERROR/Same (Self-Released)
It grooves like death metal with those cup-the-mic-sounding vocals and to top it off they aren’t convincing at all. Just a bunch of nonsense-sounding growls with generic death metal playing behind it. Think Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Dying Fetus, and slam metal bands, but nowhere near as good. Info:

SULFURIC HATRED/Self-Titled (Sentient Ruin Records)
Some wicked fast as fuck death metal that will drive and drive the speed into your skull. Vocals from hell and none of this slam or stupid nu-metal crap either. This hits hard like a tornado. Great production too. This is so over the top I’m loving it. Death metal is the way it should be played and heard you understand me. Info:
TWISTED TOWER DIRE/The Isle of Hydra (remastered)
(Nameless Grave Records) Fuckin A a really heavy metal band that plays heavy metal music. Just total 110 % fist-banging kind. I had heard of this band as they have been around for a bit and now Nameless Grave sees fit to re-release this with an alternative mix from the original. It sounds good in this old heavy metal man’s ears that’s for sure. Get your studded leather out and your fists high and yes metal in the US is alive and well with these bands around. Order this at all costs. Info:

PROGENY OF SUN/Throne of Desolation (Self-Released)
This started good for about 1 minute and then it got bad and then awful. Good solid death metal kicked and some decent death metal vocals and then 1 minute in, the screeching started and I was ready to barf. That dual death metal growls I like and the screeching, which I hate, and then clean vocals and groove made this unlistenable. Terrible and they use every generic thing done over and over. Info:

BLOODPHEMY/Dawn of Malevolence (Non-Serviam Records)
This is that groove metal style that I fucking hate. Though this is not bad for the style they are doing and that is due to the vocals not being that bad and not super low like a bunch of other bands. I didn’t like the clean vocals either. Ok at best. Info:

FUNERAL WINDS/333 (Osmose Productions)
8th released by this band. To my ears, this is crushing rip through brain and heart black metal the way it should sound. Love the black metal-sounding vocals and production too. Sick riffs and speed also contribute to this big time. Forget all the wimps and crap, this is the real deal and is true black metal all the way.

SAD/Black Metal Craft (Purity Through Fire)
Same old tired black metal riffs and screaming. This is so generic and sounds like every other black metal I have heard over the past ten years. Nothing new and the same ole tired and overdone pic riffs. I don’t think you’re going to enjoy this. Info:
RUFF JUSTICE/Wings Of Desire (Arkeyn Steel Records)
Some classy power metal with some great vocals to boot. As with power metal, you need catchy tunes and solid vocals that are emotional and you can feel it. These vocals I can feel it. The tunes are catchy and you can move your head and you will trust me. Air riffing too. An ass-kicking band. Info:
MORBID SACRIFICE/Ceremonial Blood Worship (Godz of War Productions)
Sick as fuck pumping death metal. Think Autopsy, Incantation, and early Death as this plays on. They mix up the speed and also slow down in parts as well. Yes, this breaks no new ground, but they just blow me over with how heavy they are also how great the vocals are. A pure death metal delight to listen to. Info:

SOG/Man Demonic (Violent Creek Records)
No this is not Symphony of Grief, but a band with the same name. This band plays old-school thrash metal with a singer who sounds like Russ from Forbidden, which isn’t a bad thing mind you. Fast, speedy music as well. No nu metal or jump metal crap either. This band plays thrash metal the right way for sure. Production is good as well and this was enjoyable. Video link below:

NEGATIVE PRAYER/Self//Wound (Chaos Records)
Yes, yes, yes. Loving this death metal slab of speed, power, doom, and vocals from hell. Oh, the guitar crunch and vocals from Kyle House will make any death metal fan smile from ear to ear. The production is perfect and the fuckin bass sound too. 2024 starts greatly. Sample track:

ELS FOCS NEGRES/Martiris Carnívors (Metal On Metal Records)
Very cool heavy metal played with some power metal and speed at times. Chunky riffs and powerful vocals will spill through your ears and the classic sounds of this band will remind you of the days of Judas Priest and Mercyful Fate as well. Metal is alive and well with this band being around.

STUKA SQUADRON/Zeppelin (Metal on Metal Records)
Holy shit did this band bring it and more. Vocals in the vein of Halford and delivered like him along with some crunchy and catchy heavy metal that had me crying for more. Think Saxon, Savatage, and other bands of that mature. Catchy riffs that will have your fists up high I can tell you that. This is a band that delivers metal all the way get the denim jacket out and put it on and pop this on, you’ll thank me for it. Horns up indeed. Info:

NIGHT SLASHER/Night Slasher (Sliptrick Records)
Some nice speed/power metal ruined by awful vocals. The singer sings with no heart or feeling and sounds out of place with the music as well. It’s like bad black metal vocals. Catchy tunes and music are a highlight and crappy vocals sort of make this a middle-of-the-road band for me. Video:

HELMS DEEP/Treacherous Ways (Nameless Grave Records)
Oh, this was some total a*s-kicking straight forward metal featuring John Gallagher of Raven in the band. Alex Sciortino plays guitar and sings and he does a fantastic job as does John and drummer Mike Heller. Just a pure heavy-metal onslaught of power and fist-banging metal. Solid production and this kept my attention through solid riffing and vocals too. A winner here for sure. Info:

HONEYBUNCHES OF DEATH/Same (Self-Made Records)

This was a funny groovy death metal band, but I didn’t it was very funny. The music was decent, but the vocals were beyond bad. Low growls that weren’t funny, squeals that weren’t funny either. I realize it’s a joke sort of band and some may find it cool and funny. I didn’t. Info:

GATES OPEN/Voice After Silence (Inverse Records)
Pretty basic, boring death metal with horrible growling vocals that sound so uninspired. The music is just bland and offers nothing new or inspiring. Just a wall of senseless music that will leave you bored quickly. It did me. Info:
SILVER MOUNTAIN/Shakin’ Brains (Regain Classics)
This originally saw the light of day in 1983 and now here is the re-release in 2024. I has never heard the band and in the bio it mentioned Rainbow fronted Dio and they were kidding. Oh, the keyboard parts would fit right in on Rainbow or Deep Purple. This is straightforward rock/metal with some nice tasteful vocals and memorable songs to boot. How this didn’t see the light of day before is crazy and expect to hear Blackmore in the solos as well. Love this. Info:
Sample track:

SILVER MOUNTAIN/Universe (Regain Classics)
OMG, this is another classic and is even better than the debut. Total catchy as fuck tunes and a pure rock/metal stamp with those godly vocals by Jonas Hansson. This is a bit more poppy than the debut at times and still has that Rainbow sound (think Long Live Rock N Roll era). This just puts such a smile on my old face it’s not funny. This is so cool that it sees a re-issue and apparently, the band is still around today, but the other releases after this went into a commercial direction. This and the above are a must-have for the metal fan.

DEATH BLOOD/Osteonecrovore (Musiko Eye Prod)
Good ole Swedish death metal with those killer riffs that force the head to bang. Yes, this sounds a lot like Entombed, Dismember, etc, but this still gets the job done of delivering deadly death metal with low growls. The death metal Swedish guitar sound rules this as well. Good death metal on this. Info:

SORT SIND/I Skyggen af Livet (Nuclear Winter)
To me, this was just generic death/black metal that went nowhere fast. Boring, uninspired riffing and bad vocals made for a not-good combo of music. The singer wasn’t inspiring in his delivery either. Not very good. Sample track:

STAR GATE/Escaping The Illusion (Steel Galley Records)
Melodic power metal with high-pitched vocals. This wasn’t bad, I wasn’t a huge fan of the vocals, but I could live with them. The music is melodic and catchy with just enough of a heavy style to keep me interested. There is no doubt the singer can sing and with this being more on the melodic side that doesn’t hurt this band. Info:
CERCENATORY/Gorespere (Comatose Music)
One of the worst releases of the year so far. Total Cannibal Corpse/Suffocation worship, but 100 times worse. The growl into the mic and then those screechy vocals ended it for me. Terrible. Info:

SAHON/Blood Shall Be Paid (Brutal Records)
This is some fist-pounding speedy thrash that was decent music-wise, but I wasn’t in love with the screechy, throaty vocals. Those aren’t thrash vocals at least not in my book. Musicwise it is a pure thrash attack and not groove or any of that crap. Production is pretty good and these guys can play thrash. Now they are from South Korea so that might be the reason for the vocals. This is also the band’s 7th album so horns up for that.

CRYING STEEL/Live And Thunder (Underground Symphony Records)
I had never heard of this band and what we have here is a live album. Nice, solid, powerful power metal with a good singer with a nice set of pipes. He sings the songs with passion and feeling and the songs are catchy and memorable as well. Good sound for a live album too. I like this. Info:

SELTSAME ERDEN/Gedankentempeln (Chaos Records)
Some haunting death metal with black metal vocals. Not the screechy kind, which worked for me. The music is weird, not your average or generic death metal band. The vocals at times are painful growls of death too. Check out the full stream below and this band is different and cool. Info:

EXA/Left in Shards (Self-Released)
Groove style thrash with tough guy vocals. I am not a fan of this style, but I have heard worse. The singer isn’t too bad and the music is just that nu metal groove style. If you’re into that, this could be your band, but not my band. Info:
MOTÖRHEAD/The Löst Tapes Volume 1-5 (BMG)
99 live tunes from 5 different shows from different stages of the band’s career including one from 1984 I quite liked. You get all the classics, Ace of Spades, Stay Clean, Overkill, Bomber, etc. For a Motorhead this is simply a must-have. The sound quality is pretty good on all the shows as well. The 5th volume also is released as a double vinyl. More info:

SLAUGHTERROR/Endless Lust For Gore (Noble Demon)
I am by no means a fan of groove-style death metal bands, but this one was different. Probably because the vocals are top-notch and good. Deliver is solid and none of the tough guy shit. The music is more mid-paced and I simply liked the tunes. Production is good too and this is one bad that does the style right. Info:

ANUBIS/Dark Paradise (M-Theory Audio)
Some good and bad things about this. The music is spot on crushing thrash metal with plenty of speed and catchy riffs. Fantastic production and guitar sound. Now the bad, the vocals at times. I love when the singer sings in a clean time, but the death metal growls he uses at times need to be flushed down the toilet. Sound out of place and generic. Other than that, this is damn good stuff.
FALL OF SERENITY/Open Wide, O Hell (Lifeforce Records)
A mix of mostly death metal with hints of black metal. The music is a mess of speedy and melodic generic death metal that when it’s over, you remember nothing. The vocals are a bad style of black metal that just adds to the mess. Not very good I’m afraid. Info:
BEHOLDER/Dualisme (Avantgarde Music)
To me, this is just another same ole who heard it all before a million times black metal band. Same tired picking riffs along with those growled black metal style vocals. I just didn’t get much feeling from the singer, nor were any of the tunes memorable at all. Oh, I love speed and power, but I need some feeling behind it and I didn’t get any here. Info:
VLTIMAS/Epic (Season of Mist)
David Vincent is back and has a new release as well. This is very different from Morbid Angel and even his vocals are different as well. The music is a different style of death metal and some of it is violent and fast and brings back the days of Morbid Angel with the speed and power that comes across. It was a wicked slab of death metal that knocked me to my knees and I loved this. Different in it’s its delivery and so fuckin brutal. Info:

SCAREFIELD/A Quiet Country (Self-Release)
This is melodic thrash metal and it isn’t too bad. Catchy riffs with some speed and some melodic style vocals to go with it. This is not, thank god, Pantera crap or nu-metal, but straightforward thrash with some melodic parts thrown in the mix. The singer has a nice voice that fits in well with the music as well. Good solid band and release. Info:

ANTAGONYZE/Interpretations of the Unknown Wilderness (Chaos Records)
Fuck yeah. Some low-tuned old-school death metal with great death metal-style vocals. Vocals from hell with the chainsaw-like riffs make this a death metal delight. Nice production has everything flowing as well. Songs you remember and not just a bunch of blah, blah, blah. Death Metal flag raises high on this fantastic release. Sample song and info below:

DRUNK THRASHER/Raining Vomit (Godz of War Prod)
Raw, pounding thrash metal with that raw early 80’s production like the debut from Kreator says. Riffing that crushes and pounds and will have your head banging from the power and fury. Get the denim jackets and your patches on as this is how thrash metal needs to be and sound everyone. This is devastating and will melt you in 2. Thrash metal the old school way and the way it needs and should be. Info:
CORPSEVORE/Feed The Plague (H.P.D.G.)
Very raw fast death metal. This band breaks no new ground and is ok, I just was not a fan of the screechy vocals they do at times and wish they stuck with the death metal vocals they do. The production is decent and the music is fast and crushing death metal. Not bad except for the screechy vocals, which aren’t a lot. Info:
AGONISTA/Grey and Dry (Armageddon Label)
Just a blast of furious blasts of hardcore meets metal. A total onslaught of power and fury that will knock over the weak and step on them. Vocals are more on the metal side and that’s ok, they get with the music perfectly. This was just blast after blast of insane power and I was happy to be along for the ride. Info:
Sample track:

FALL OF SERENITY/Open Wide, O Hell (Lifeforce Records)
Some ok death metal that doesn’t suck, but is nothing mind-blowing. The best thing is the singer has a really good death metal voice and fits the band well. The music is up-tempo death metal, but the songs need to be more catchy and memorable at times. Some of the songs crush and destroy and a couple just are average. Overall though it is not bad. Production is good and the guitar sound rules too. Info:

FOGHAT/1999 Live Performance CD/DVD Set SLOW RIDE – LIVE IN CONCERT (Cleopatra Records)
I’ve always had a soft spot for classic rockers Foghat and even though some people only know them for 2 songs (Slow Ride and Fool For the City) the band has so much more to offer and on this 1999 CD/DVD it shows. Sad to read that band member Dave Peverett passed away a year after this was recorded. His vocals and the rest of the band sound fantastic. Yes, you get the 2 songs I mentioned, but god how do you go wrong with Stone Blue, Drivin Wheel, Sweet Home Chicago, I Just Wanna Make Love To You, and others on this? Just total ass kickin’ blues rock n roll that rules in my book. Info:
SHRAPNEL STORM/Silo (Great Dane Records)
This is another case of a band, in this case a death metal band that is just out there. They don’t suck and they aren’t good or great. Just at best a bit below average. The music, while played in the right way of death metal is just there and is nothing special. The songs don’t stick out and it’s like “blah”. The singer is really good as his voice is death metal all the way. This band just need to work on writing some more memorable tunes and they could be on their way. Info:
OLATHIA/The Forest Witch (Self-Released)
F*ck yeah! This was some damn tasteful power thrash with incredible vocals. Crushing riffs that will have your head banging I can assure you and vocals that will suck you in and they so fit what this band is doing and playing. Production is spot on and this band I can see going places if they continue to release music like this. Big horns up from this old geezer ha ha. Info:
BEYONDITION/Abysmal Night (Chaos Records)
Some really good doomy/death metal with a very cool raw production that I didn’t mind at all. Chainsaw pounding riffs with some fast parts and doomy-like parts as well as the great dead man sounding vocals. ome spoken word parts are used as well. but they don’t seem out of place like Celtic Frost did many moons ago. They also have organ parts that are perfect as well. Well worth checking out and sample track below.
CHAINED TO THE DEAD/Discography Of Debauchery (H.P.D.G)
Simply short blasts of speedy death metal is the ticket here with screechy death metal vocals. I am not a fan of this style of vocals, but they don’t sound too bad on this release. This is mostly fast, with short breaks and then speed baby speed. If this style is your sort of thing, you’ll enjoy this,
GRINDPAD/Finger Collector Crew (Iron Shield Records)
I’m sorry, but this band to me is nothing more than Pantera Jr down to the vocals which sound just like Phil’s. The music is the groove metal style as well, which Pantera did back in the 90’s. Like Pantera? You’ll love this too. Info:
SUMMONING DEATH/A Traumatic Night of the Creeps (Chaos Records)
Some decent death metal with some good vocals attached to it. This is death metal played the right way and the riffing power and speed used with crush the weak for sure. Riffs and song structures that are memorable as well. They pound and pound until you are sucked in and trapped. Prepare for no mercy when listening to this and that Swedish guitar sound kills. Sample track:
APOGEAN/Cyberstrictive (The Artisan Era)
Horrible Cannibal Corpse-like death metal. Nothing new or exciting that hasn’t been done before and done better by thousands of other death metal bands before them. I know you don’t have to be original, I don’t expect it, but please bring something to the table and this band was empty-handed in that regard. Info:

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