Well, here I am back in 2021 for my 4th round of releases. Some other background on me. I used to write for a fanzine back in late 1985 called Total Thrash out of Phila, PA. After sending him some stuff for a couple of issues, he suggested for me to start my own zine, so I did. In 1986 Metal Core was born. I named it due to a short 7 date tour SOD did with Overkill at the time that was called the “Metal Core” tour.
I have also managed several bands over the years. Deadly Blessing (helped with them), Immolation (helped get them signed to Metal Blade at the time), Symphony of Grief (got them signed to Wild Rags). I also sang in a band called “The Log” in 1989 with 3 of the members of Deadly Blessing. It was like SOD. We played live locally and released a demo in 1989 that sold 3,000 copies. I started a label with then member Tom of Immolation called Soul Sold Records and we released a record from the bands Bloodstorm and Ceremonium.
As far as reviews, I have heard ever musical style under the sun and then some. When I listen to something to review, I need it to grab me and reel me in like fish bait in the water. If I don’t get hooked, I can gonna trash your band. Simple as that. I do hope that if you read one of my reviews and it is a positive one that you decide to check out the band.
PARANORM/Empyrean (Redefining Darkness Records)
This is what I call happy thrash and it is weak-ass thrash played with little power and oh those vocals are terrible. The band tries to come off as like a progressive thrash band with some of the riffing and stuff, but this couldn’t even touch a band say as Forbidden, but Forbidden wasn’t progressive thrash. This comes across as the guitar players saying look we can play and throwing out a bunch of prog riffs. If I want prog, I’ll go throw on Dream Theatre. If you want happy, weak, thrash, played with no power, here is your band.
INFECTED HUMANS/Unexpected Traumatic Experiences (Gore House Productions)
Oh, this is the worst yet. A total tin can sounding drum sound that sounds like a machine. Good luck finding or hearing the vocals cause they are buried so far in the mix it isn’t funny. This is so far of generic death metal this is easily one of the worst bands I have heard in 10 years. Guys, please do me and the world a favour: BREAK UP. A total disgrace to the underground with this release. C’mon, you can do better than this can’t you? If someone can explain to me why this is any good, I’d love to hear from ya.
BURIED/Oculus Rot (Brutal Mind)
Groove based death metal with Pantera like vocals. I am not a fan of this at all as obviously by now you know I hate all these groove bands making the rounds. Oh, people will love this and call it “brutal” and “godly”. I call it junk and garbage and this band can take their “groove” based style of death metal and flush it down the toilet. Same tired dancy, groove riffs that I have heard to death and the vocals just aren’t brutal and sound forced and dull.
WARSIDE/The Enemy Inside (Self Released)
Oh my god is the attack of every groove band raining down on me to start of 2021. This just sounds like any other Pantera meets Suffocation/Cannibal Corpse band, but they are nowhere close to Suffo or C.C. Why do these bands why to sound just like something that has been to death and then some? This is like any of the above bands and is totally worthless except the production is good. If you want real death metal to avoid big time.
INFERNAL TORMENT/Man’s True Nature (Emanzipation Productions)
This came out 25 years ago and now Emanzipation Productions is re-issuing it. It’s not bad, but it’s standard Suffocation/Cannibal Corpse that was bag back then and still is now, but at least the bands back then wrote some better tunes. While I’m not a huge fan of the vocals, I do like the songs and they aren’t super generic like a lot of the clone bands of today. I like the production a lot as well and that kinda gives this a different sound in a way at times. If you’re into the Soffo or C.C sounds do yourself a favour and invest in this band and not that other crap out there.
WEHRMACHT/Biermächt (Hammerheart Records)
I of course remember when this came out in 1988. While this isn’t the super speed attack of the band’s debut, who gives a rat’s ass as this release more than stands on its own. This is a total, madness, blend of crossover madness not to be missed. It is fast, it is mayhem. It is funny, and it just rules. Both this and the debut (see review below) are well worth sorting out as the band got no promotion at all when these were first released. These band totally injected the sounds of punk and speed metal into their sound and even after this album you can check out their side project “Spazztic Blurr”. For everyone into DRI, Cryptic Slaughter, and the like, prepare to laugh and mosh around your room
WEHRMACHT/Shark Attack (Hammerheart Records)
Ah, the re-release of the band’s debut release and the man was this a total non-stop attack of speed back in the day. Just an unrelenting attack on your senses as the band just crashed and bashed through the tunes on this with no mercy in sight! They were occasional slowdowns, but for the most part, this release stayed in the fast lane and stayed there and never let up. I think it’s great that Hammerheart re-issued both of these as if you have never heard of the band or only read about them, you will get a chance to find out for yourself just how good these guys were. Buy both albums, even though I prefer the 2nd release just a bit better.
TENEBRO/Liberaci dal Male (Xtreem Records)
This is some decent death/doom metal with very low vocals. The music is a nice mix of slow and faster parts and I like the guitar sound the bands gets on this. The fast parts are pretty crushing and the slow doomy parts will have you slowly nodding your head. This while, not all that original gets the job done as far as death metal goes and something somebody new into death metal would totally take too.
MEUCHELMORD/Mordmelodien (Purity Through Fire)
This is the 7th release by this one-man band. Fast picking riffing black metal with screeching vocals and then they also throw in some thrash metal stuff, which was kinda cool. Overall though this band is doing nothing new or spectacular that you will want to spend your money on. Just noisy black metal with some thrashing going on at times. Wow, big fucking deal. I didn’t see anything special in this and you would think by release # 7 he would be doing something good, not generic and sound the same as many other black metal bands. Don’t waste your time
ABIGOR/Totschläger (A Saintslayer’s Songbook) (W.T.C.Productions)
This is the band’s new release and with the re-issues of the band’s old catalogue (which I’m not familiar with), this is a damn fine release of black metal. Unlike a lot of black metal releases I hear, this band gets it. Just a crushing slab of unrelenting fast black metal played with feeling and also some slower (not a sell-out) melodic parts as well. The guitar sound is wicked and the singer just sings with a ton of power and feeling too. To me, that is what black metal has to have, great singing and feeling and not just a wall of fast picking noise and a singer screaming like he is the woods. For black metal, this is an A-plus release.
CELESTIAL SANCTUARY/Soul Diminished (Redefining Darkness Records)
Chunky low tuned down death metal ala Autopsy and Death (old) at times. This band obviously isn’t doing anything new, but it isn’t bad and the singer god he sounds like Evil Chuck a lot during the playing of these tunes. The production is good and solid and if your looking for some death metal played the right way and not jump metal with death metal in it, here is your band.
CRYPTS OF DESPAIR/All Light Swallowed (Transcending Obscurity Records)
This isn’t bad, but the one big problem is the band play fast pretty much all the time and don’t give you a chance to breathe and the vocals I feel aren’t up to par. The guys just growl, without a ton of feeling, and then screeches out other lines. The music is fast, straight ahead, no-frills death metal that is played pretty good and the razor-like riffs make for a decent listen. The production is right on the money and everything can be heard. If you’re new to the death metal world, you like this than any old school death metal fan who has heard a ton of bands.
TERRORDOME/Straight Outta Smogtown (Selfmadegod Records)
This falls under the umbrella of crossover I would say as they have a nice mix of thrash and hardcore is in the mix too. The music is speedy thrash and not Pantera like thrash neither thank god. I would put this more in the vein of Municipal Waste, who I fuckin love by the way. Razor-sharp, fast riffing along with speed and intensity add up to all pluses in my book. I also love the singer as he belts/screams out the lyrics and not in like a Pantera style neither. The production is right on the money and this is quality crossover thrash done the right way, my friends.
PUSTILENCE/The Birth of the Beginning Before the Inception of the End (Personal Records)
This is the debut demo of this band and let me tell you this band is off to a great start. 4 tracks of prime time death metal played with that old feeling that can’t be faked. The production just has that demo-like feel as well and that guitar sound is just a crushing blow to my old school and the vocals are taking me down to hell with him. The band mix up perfectly mid-paced and fast stuff and fuck I wish there was more. Keep it up guys you totally crush and keep the death metal banner high
A.R.T.S. RECORDS SINGLES SERIES/Vol # 2 (Thrashback Records)
This was originally released on A.R.T.S. Records and sees a re-release here and what is on it is 7 bands and their split 7” (3 out of 4 releases) that were originally released on this label, plus some bonus cuts. Royal Anguish starts off with an opening track of Obituary inspired death metal including the vocals and a few blasting parts as well. The bonus track is an all-out blasting assault on the ears, very cool. The Risen are up next and their one track was just ok, nothing special about this band, just average death metal at best. Oblation is up next and play a slower, controlled style of death metal and then pound away into a wicked, fast blasting style that had me going “fuck yeah”. I love the singer on this too, he just crushes it on the mic. Deracination is up on their side of the 7” and another band that nails it with an up-tempo track of death metal with tons of great hooks and another singer who nails it totally. I love the band’s guitar sound on their song too. Non-generic death metal with great vocals from them. Faithful Witness is up next. They are sort of a faster version of Obituary at times on their lone track. I wasn’t a huge fan of the singer, but he isn’t bad, and the music is like a volcano erupting on the mountainside. Mansoul is up next and again that volcano erupting drum sound this band gets and they are straight-ahead death metal with both faster and slower parts. They weren’t bad, but I wasn’t going bonkers over them. Up last is the only non-split release on here and that is Final Prophecy. The weird band here. Sort of like death metal meeting older Megadeth if you can believe that. The music has some technical riffing parts, but also fast parts and the singer just has a warped singing style, but that it is bad though. It actually threw me off haha. Overall this is a few cool comp and it is great that all these 7” see the light of day again.
KILLING TIME/Thrashed From The Vault CD/DVD (Thrashback Records)
A 12 track that was released many moons ago by Stryder Records under the name ‘Unsigned 3 Killing Time”. 9 of the original tracks are on this plus 3 bonus tracks. Also enclosed on this, is a 120 minute DVD with live performances from all the bands. I remember getting demos from some of the bands to review for Metal Core on this (Fatal Sin, Raped Ape, Amboog-A-Lard) to name a few. The bands on this are all and out thrash metal for the most part. I would say thrash in the style of Overkill and not the Bay Area style of thrash which is fine because we don’t need every band sounding like Exodus’s debut album. Within a few years, thrash was changing, I know for the worst, but these bands weren’t that awful Pantera like bands. You also get a death metal sounding trash and even some technical thrash on this too. There is a lot of great bands on this and I think after hearing them you will want more from them and will seek them out. This DVD is also a nice touch too and you get to see them live in action too.
FATAL SIN/Episodes: The Complete Recordings CD/DVD (Thrashback Records)
What we have here is all the recordings of this technical thrash band (think Cynic) from Florida that was around back in the late ’80s and early ’90s. There also is a bonus DVD from a live show of the band included as well. I remember this band from back in the day and no I’m giving them a listen again in 2021. The songs, even though they are in a technical vein, are still strong and played in a fast thrashy way. The one thing I like is that the tunes are catchy and don’t drag on and become boring. Why this band didn’t get signed back in the day is a mystery to me. They may not be on par with Cynic (who is?), but these guys were for sure better than some of the bands signed back in the day. Give these guys a listen and go back in the time to Florida when the scene was red hot and on fire.
A.R.T RECORDS SINGLES SERIES VOLUME 1/Thrashback Records)
Well, I reviewed Volume # 2 above so let’s see about this volume. No split 7” bands on this, so each band offers up 3 tracks each. Drop Dead not the band from Rhode Island (this one is from Indiana) offer up 2 tunes on this and they are the only recorded one demo and split up, but 3 tracks (one is a bonus track) find their way on this. Crunching, straight forward death metal with a good singer is what they offer up. Dry Bones is up next and they are more in the crossover vein. They are decent, but nothing about them really me. Kinda sounded like a go through the motions band with nothing to make me stand up and take notice. Final Judgement is up next and let’s see what they are all about. They are pretty decent death metal though I wasn’t blown away by it. Last up is Godhead and “fuck yeah” did they bring it. A total crushing display of pounding death metal and sadly they released no further material besides these 3 tracks. Those fast parts are smashing my brain in. All in all, not a bad release
DEPRECIATION/Dead End (Necrotic Records)
Couldn’t get into this at all. This had that sludgy sound and without any speed to back this up, I lost interest quickly. After 6 tracks of every song sounding the same, I was done with this. They might have that Black Sabbath doomy sound to them, but they aren’t close to them and this just had no variety at all and with the singer and his dull sounds I didn’t get into this at all. I’ll pass.
NECRODEMON/Allegiance To The End (Necrotic Records)
This is a re-issue and it is well worth getting. Punishing death metal of the highest order. The fast, smashing parts this band will go right through you big time. Sick riffs and incredible vocals as well. The band mix up the speed and the slower parts, which allow for a break. The band also don’t sound like Incantation Jr or Morbid Angel Jr ha ha like I have many times in the past. This is just prime time death metal that must be heard and once you do, you’ll be hooked I can promise you that.
ENSEPULCHRE/Desolation (Necrotic Records)
Pure, extreme black metal. I didn’t like the machine-like trigger drums as well. The singer was ok, he uses screams (which I hate), but he growls more than the screams, so I could live with it. The band has the guitars buried in the mix and the bass was upfront as well as the trigger like drums. To me, this was not a very good black metal band and the band should have moved up the guitar more in the mix and worked on the trigger drums and got rid of them as they are one of the most annoying things to me when it comes to the sound of them.
BLASPHEMOUS CREATION/Forsaken Dynasty (Self Released)
This band has been around for years and here they are back with another wicked release of death/thrash metal that is not to be missed you hear me. Catchy and fast riffs are the topic of the day and the speed and power on this is also great too. The band don’t stray too far from thrash or death metal on this, though the vocals are more death metal for sure. The production is good and they also don’t sound like every other band on the underground planet earth neither. Just a pure, solid, no doubt about it display of extreme death/thrash metal so go and click the link and buy the damn thing.