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Chris’s Underground Metal Reviews #2

Hi and welcome to my 2nd edition of reviews on this fantastic website. I admit after reviewing stuff since 1986 at times I am a loss for words at times when listening to bands, but I tell ya when something tickles my fancy so to speak I go postal with the head moving and the air guitars and drums as well.

First and foremost I am still a fan of underground music and I must also say there have been some better releases coming out these days and when I review stuff as always I keep you the fan in mind when I am reviewing stuff. It is impossible for me to review all the stuff I get sent (email 95%) as there are more and more bands and labels out there than you can imagine.

I hope some of you do check out some of the bands I have reviewed/interviewed on this site and look for a new set of reviews soon…

Metal forever,

Chris Forbes 

MISANTHROPY APOTHEOSIS/Against Your Filthy Kind (Repulsive Echo)

I got an EP sent to me for review and I wasn’t too impressed with this. The band play death metal and it is mid-paced with blast beats thrown in the mix. The problem is the songs aren’t memorable at all and there are no hook or song structures within the music that will hook you in. The singer also didn’t do a thing for me as all he did was unimpressively growl into his microphone. The production is good and I do like the guitar sound the band has, but they need to work on their songwriting in my book. A not so good version of Morbid Angel is what I would say.

GRAVEHUFFER/Necroeclosion (Black Doomba Records)

This is terrible. The production is not so hot and the music what I like to call “faceless”. I hate the death metal and clean style of vocals too. The blast beats are a total joke and the songs have no power behind them whatsoever. No catchy riffs, nothing memorable at all. The band aren’t your typical death metal band I’ll give them that, but this band brought an empty meal to the table on Thanksgiving that’s for sure.

TORMENT/The War They Feed (Punishment 18  Records)

This band try to play 80’s thrash, but they fall flat on their face doing it. Yes, they try and play that 80’s Bay Area style thrash, but the tunes are just weak and yes they have the crunch, but again the tunes are just “faceless” as I’ll be saying quite often on this website. The songs just don’t have that bone-crushing style to make me want to bang me head or play the air drums or guitar. They are just another thrash band making the rounds these days, and don’t get me wrong they aren’t doing that Pantera crap groove, but don’t expect the glory days of thrash if you check this out.

DRAGONRIDER/Scepter of Domination (Stormspell Records)

Oh my, this is a fantastic release of pure power/heavy metal with some crushing tunes and an awesome singer with a great set of pipes and he sings the tunes on this with a ton of feeling and passion. Each song has its own identity and I was nodding along with each note on this. A classic guitar crunch as well. This is something that could have come out in the mid-’80s that’s for sure, but this is not some retro band mind you. This is how power metal should be played and the band should be proud of themselves and of course, another jem found by Stormspell Records.

EPITAPH/Echoes Entombed: The Demo Anthology (1991-1992) (Divebomb Records)

Some of you old-timers like me haha might remember this demo band from Florida who put out 2 demos and then broke up. As this played on I could easily connect an Obituary sound to the band, especially in the guitar sound and the vocals to a point, but this guy doesn’t sing as low as John Tardy (he does backing vocals) and this band has faster parts than Obituary did back then. The tunes on the 1st demo are more pure straight-ahead death metal, while the two tunes on demo # 2 are more in a progressive style (they had a new guitar player join the band) and it’s also not surprising since one of the members ended up going to Cynic. The production, done at Morristown Studios sounds fantastic for demos and this was a very cool thing to listen to after all these years.

DISSIDENT AGGRESSOR/Death Beyond Darkness Bootcamp Series (Divebomb Records)

This band was from SF, CA and were around in the late ’80s and put out 2 demos in the early part of the ’90s and almost got signed as they had interest from several labels, but when that fell through they ended up calling it quits.  Out of the 2 demos here, I liked demo # 1 a bit more as it is a bit faster and crunchy as by the mid 90’s thrash was sort of on its way out and bands were starting to slow down the speed element. The crunch on this is really good as are the vocals too and it’s a shame they didn’t get signed cause they are really good. They have reformed, however, so maybe some music coming soon. In the meantime pick up this long-forgotten metal jem.

INCINERATE/Sacrilegivm (Comatose Music)

Just what I and the world needs a groovy death metal band with the lower than low vocals. The music is terrible, it’s worthless and nothing good on this. I hate when there is the groove in music and when you combine that with the super low vocals, you got a horrible band in my eyes. The weak blast beats are ridiculous as well. The tunes, for the most part, all sound the same and this wasn’t one I liked at all.

THRASHERWOLF/We Are Revolution (Self Released)
Weak ass thrash with some tired and boring riffs make this easily forgettable. This is another case of some of those bad thrash metal bands back in the late ’80s and early ’90s that were making the rounds back then. The vocals are kinda buried in the mix and that didn’t help matters either. This just didn’t have that violent like the crunch that I craver and love in thrash metal. No early Exodus, no Violence, no early Overkill, no Bloodfeast or Blessed Death to name but a few bands. This is like limp wristed thrash like some of the later Testament records (they don’t sound like them, just making a point). For me I like my thrash fast, heavy, riffs cutting through like a knife through butter and this had no knife and no butter.

WITCHTRAP/Evil Strikes Again (Hells Headbangers)

5th release by this Columbia band and oh is this thrash metal the way it should and was meant to be played. Think the debut release by Whiplash mixed in with some Mille from Kreator like vocals. The riffs are so damn catchy and the power and just feeling this band gets is 2nd to none. This is prime steak thrash all the way. The guitar sound is on fire and I was playing air guitar all along to this. A pure thrash metal masterpiece not to be missed at any costs

SPEEDKILLER/Midnight Vampire (Helldprod Records)

Old school ripping thrash metal that didn’t do much for me. The songs are just too simple and the riffs and song structures did nothing to get me into this band. The songs lacked those killer riffs that are a must in a thrash band. The singer also didn’t stand up to par as his death like vocals were sort of buried in the mix a bit, but the main thing is the songs were missing that wicked fast like riffs like say on the debut releases of saying Whiplash, Blessed Death, Bloodfeast, Overkill, Violence etc. You get the picture. I commend this band for playing thrash the right way, now just work on your song structures guys and ladies

SKELETHAL/Unveiling the Threshold (Hells Headbangers)
Usually, this label delivers and of course, this is another winner for this label. Think the debut release of Morbid Angel (minus the vocals) and throw in a nice mix of Swedish death metal (ala Entombed) and you get a dash of what this band is offering. Those blast beats tore through me and that Entombed like guitar sound finished off what was left of me. Powerful thick death metal vocals also on this baby. The production will have you on your knees as this baby crushes in so many ways. This is an absolute must for any fan of death metal.

LEADBREAKER/LeadBreaker (Stormspell Records)

This sort of sounded like early Raven in spots to me, which in my book is a good thing. Lots of great hooky riffs and chanted chorus vocals and the lead singer even sounds like John from Raven at times. The songs are upbeat and thou they are not what I would say thrashy, this is not some pop band neither. More like straight forward metal with an NWOBHM edge to them at times. They also slow things down a bit like on “New World Order” but the tune is still afoot tapper. The neat band here.

HARMONIZE/Warrior in the Night (Self Released)

Very melodic heavy metal with some clean, but powerful vocals and please lose any lower sort of death metal vocals like in the title track that they used in a couple lines. The band do speed it up at times with some use of double bass drums and this would be something of bands that were popping up in the very early 80’s before thrash metal, but this is not a NWOBHM band for sure. There is some catchy stuff on here and the singer absolutely has a powerful voice and he sings with a bunch of passion and stuff on these tunes. This is a solid straight forward metal band

ASTARIUM/Hyperborea (Gravacoes Tunguska)

This is a one man band/project that is totally black metal. I wasn’t too into myself due to the overwhelming keyboard parts within the songs. I will say this, for a one man band/project this is better than most I have heard. I think 16 songs is too long, but this is all very moody stuff, but at times it just goes into senseless black metal blasting with those pick riffing tunes with keyboards and screams that mean nothing. Some will really think this is cool and good for them. As for me, I just found this too much to take especially with the keyboards dominating the mix on this.

WENDIGO/Wendigo (Nitrod Atmosericum Records)

First off this was very difficult to review due to the singer singing in Russian, which I don’t understand and made this not so good to me. He has an ok voice and seems to be into whatever he is singing. The music is basic garage style punkish rock that was not very good. The songs are very boring and not catchy and even though this is different and not sounding like every other band on the planet, being different doesn’t always translate into good and this my friends was not good at all. Pretty worthless actually

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