A choice selection of the latest albums and EPs currently blowing the DM office speakers

Under the needle

Take your pick of pretty much any modern metal act and you’ll find it relatively easy to whittle their ‘trademark sound’ right back to its most basic composite parts - a dash of Mayhem here, a smattering of Slayer there, an entire solo lifted from Metallica’s ‘Black Album' and thrown into the mix with all the tasteful subtlety of a turbo-charged pneumatic drill set to ‘Obliterate’. And before you know it, the game is up and any flimsy pretence of artistic credibility is eliminated faster than you can say the words ‘copyright infringement’. Then there’s the intriguingly slippery, genre-straddling beast that goes by the name of Mantar…

Imagine, for a moment, trying to grasp the blackest, most viscously toxic of tar-like chemical compounds with your bare hands. That’s, roughly speaking, how si...

June 21, 2020

In a modern age where the worldwide web has all but eradicated the richly absorbing ceremony of spending countless hours scouring dusty record store shelves and crowded merch stands for fresh and enticing new musical discoveries, it’s always heartening to happen upon an act for whom there’s intriguingly little biographical info, press hype, or indeed information of any kind. But despite furnishing us with nothing more than the fundamental basics of their country of origin, year of formation and a prerequisite smattering of occult sigils, the German duo instantly make abundantly clear their blistering, brimstone-scorched talent from the get-go.

Pairing flesh-scorchingly demented aggression with impeccably executed musicianship spanning a diabolical repertoire of densely layered tremolo and c...

Perhaps the most enduring quality at the core of Paradise Lost’s distinctive genius is the exploration of internalised agony, each exquisite musical offering a deeply personal journey into the beating heart of the psyche. The Yorkshire-based gothic metal crew’s latest highly anticipated release leans even further into the contemplative side of the spectrum to deliver their most exacting dissection of the human condition yet. Vocalist Nick Holmes describes new album 'Obsidian' as ‘dark, reflective and black’ and discusses it in terms of reflection and regret, ‘The Butterfly Effect - the idea that certain decisions can affect you and your life much further down the line’. While the finely-balanced, tautly honed blend of delicately-realised song structures, lyrical inventiveness and infernal...

When Naglfar mastermind Kristoffer Olivius first set about laying the dusky, deliciously visceral foundations for what would eventually become this post-apocalyptic epic of an album, who could have possibly anticipated the catastrophic turn of events that would follow a mere two years later? But despite that which concrete, indisputable fact must logically dictate, there’s a nonetheless eerie timeliness about the unveiling of this darkly prophetic body of work, as if certain cosmic energies were already beginning to align long before COVID-19 began ravaging humanity from the inside out. Indeed, it seems that every conceivable inch of this complex and violently lacerating body of work was all but purpose-built for the uncommonly bleak new century in which we find ourselves.

With its elegantl...

April 29, 2020

Unless you have the incredible misfortune to be this generation's children, your parents will have awesome music taste. Think about it. They had the chance to see Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Status Quo, Genesis, Rush – all in their prime and pomp, when they were producing their best work. If you're in your mid-30s, what have we got? Some wallet chains, Criminal Damage jeans the size of a tent and the soaking power of top tier kitchen roll, and a few vague embarrassed memories of Korn and Limp Bizkit, before we started to explore the bands that (deny) they influenced them. Aside from a feeling of nostalgia, what feelings do they invoke?

Right, that's enough embarrassed sniggering and shuffling of feet now. The point of this preamble is not to decry a musical dead end, but to ce...

April 26, 2020

If there’s two things we can always be comfortably assured of in these increasingly bleak and uncertain times, it’s that: a. Katatonia will always produce unerringly brilliant and darkly absorbing audio and b. that, for at least the past decade or more, music critics will seemingly never tire of reminding us that the aforementioned legendary collective “really isn’t a metal band any more”. Presumably just on the off-chance that the many genre-obliterating stylistic shifts and incarnations underpinning the Swedes’ illustrious, 29 year career may have somehow miraculously escaped our attention. Worse still is the likely assumption that, in this apparent “mellowing” of sound, something of their former ‘edge’ or artistic credibility may have somehow been irrevocably compromised in transition....

April 23, 2020

Even the most avowed urban dweller among us can be a tree-hugger on occasion. Despite our loves of city living, of gigs and bars and bright lights, who among us wouldn't turn down the chance to escape into the woods, and to hear the whisper of the winds through the leaves and feel all the anxieties of modern life fall away? Especially now with many of us quarantined in our homes, and many routines disrupted in the face of a very global pandemic; the closest to the collapse of the modern world as we've known for generations.  Perhaps it's all the spare time to contemplate and philosophise that means Hexvessel is more listenable than ever on 'Kindred', their latest incantation of throwback folk mysticism now clashing with an ever-modern world.

For the last decade the Finnish musicians have ta...

April 20, 2020

Egyptian death metal sect Scarab make music that tells a story. Brimming with atmosphere, melody and drama; every scorched blastbeat and pounding note echoes with all the mystery of desert sands and deadly curses steeped in forgotten lore.

Hailing from Cairo, Scarab have been plying their violent delights since 2006 and the lyrics and song structures are infused with the philosophy and myth of ancient cultures. If you like Nile or any other bands of similar ilk; it’s safe to say you will adore Scarab. With more of an old school edge and the advantage of being raised in the history-soaked land itself, Scarab’s convulsive fits of ear-blitzing death have a much grittier, more profound feel than that of their North American counterparts.   

Stealing inspiration from the depths of Egyptian m...

April 19, 2020

We face a dilemma when we choose what music to listen to. Do we go for the visceral enjoyment that speaks to the general instinctual unconscious, or something that challenges the intellect in some way? Thus exists the average metal fan, never quite knowing what they want, in a constant state of flux. Happily, Beggar are here to show you don't have to be choosers when it comes to this sort of thing, combining lyrical themes inspired by Freud's 'Beyond The Pleasure Principle' where response to traumatic events resurface in compulsive behaviour together with a musical attack that's as satisfying at blowing eardrums as it is at blowing minds. It shouldn't really come as any surprise though, since the London foursome have had a string of EPs which have pretty much broken down crust into more in...

April 15, 2020

Great, just fucking great. We're on lockdown because of coronavirus, the sun is shining and live music is off the cards for the time being. Bollocks bollocks bollocks. And to add to the annoyance, Dripback are back! Yup, the stalwarts of the London metal scene, who shook up the start of the decade with 'Inhaling The Ashes' and 'Failed Futures' are now back after six years with more crossover metal goodness and railing against a world of liars and hypocrites. And there's plenty of those about more than ever.

For those of you who are ignorant of Dripback, they are death metal without the pretentious, hardcore without the clichés and grindcore without the monotony. All the good stuff in other words, with the feeling of a bunch of good-natured mates who'd dislocate each others' should...

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