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

Under the needle

October 29, 2020

One of the most maudlin musical acts currently gracing the ebony vistas of gothic doom metal, Swedish sorrow-smiths Draconian have been cultivating their unique and haunting brand of melancholia ever since 1994. The group’s latest sombre epic, ‘Under a Godless Veil’, builds on the band’s considerable skill and experience to blend neoclassical instrumentals and harsher metal elements into an arresting, harmonious dissonance. Infused with many of the gorgeous indulgences of the gothic genre, lovers of My Dying Bride and Trees of Eternity will relish the deeply-felt emotion and wistful intensity that pervades every note.

The ponderous and moving track ‘Sorrow of Sophia’ opens the album and sets the scene for things to come, with vocals as delicate as the wings of a dove in delicious contrast t...

October 21, 2020

Back when the British Isles still abounded with the electrifying, brutally energised vibrations of a million wondrously hell-raising live metal acts, it never once occurred to us that it would all come crashing down one fateful day in the spring of 2020. And, worse still, with no foreseeable end to this curious purgatorial limbo in which we’re presently left dangling. But however irrevocably altered our current circumstances might be nowadays, the memory of the staggeringly epic live entity that is UK black metal mob The Infernal Sea is one that’s unlikely to be fading from our recollection any time soon. And having recently crafted an album whose every murkily cacophonous shriek and thornily abrasive lashing of tremolo audibly crackles with adrenaline, deliciously corrosive third opus ‘Ne...

October 16, 2020

It’s often the most gentle words that are the most powerful. Extreme music sure has its share of concrete-crunching moments and demonic gargling, and both have been exhibited in Justin Greaves’ other works drumming for legends in Iron Monkey and Electric Wizard. But surely, and without a doubt, his role as the leader and mainstay of Crippled Black Phoenix should be his over-arching legacy. For 13 years he has collaborated with a shifting array of musicians to produce albums that are pure regal tender for those of us who feel dispossessed, depressed or disillusioned. Which accounts for 99% of the world population at this point in time. The stunning ‘Great Escape’ was released in 2018, and the time since has seen our emotional landscape thrown into ever more starkness and confusion by ever-s...

October 6, 2020

With its darkly brutalising wealth of scalding, violently accelerating and densely bludgeoning musical dynamics, the notorious subterranean underbelly that is extreme metal is one rich with various instruments of sonic torture, their every sculpted, scalpel-keen accent perfectly calculated to trigger our most aggressively primitive, reptilian impulses. But what of those artists who, beyond simply quickening the pulse and setting the synapses alight, possess the capacity to evoke in us so much more besides? To push and propel the unsuspecting listener to darkly euphoric heights of delirium only to hurl us headlong into a place so wretched and devoid of light as to palpably reek of despair. Such was the savage and ghoulishly haunting majesty of 2018 masterwork ‘A New Kind of Horror.’ Now, wi...

October 2, 2020

There’s a contradiction at the heart of music: no matter what label gets slapped on it, we want something that speaks to our own shared experiences, that echoes something deep within our intangible soul and speaks to personal experience, to feel we are not alone and that someone, somewhere understands; a general feeling that hits the primal pleasure centre of our brains. And then there’s the other side, where we want to glimpse something bigger and more grandiose than ourselves, to marvel at a work that’s grand in scope and execution, almost too much to take in at one listen, something that we need to come back to reassess and review, and still have something to unearth on each listen. While most bands usually lean one way or the other, there’s very few bands that can combine both to maxim...

September 1, 2020

Sometimes all you need is a name, and you know everything you need to know. Black Sabbath. Neurosis. Cannibal Corpse. Cradle of Filth. You know what you're getting with names like those. And in a curious way, you know what to expect from Russian trio Dunwich. If you're pressed, it sounds like a town in the English countryside, picturesque on the surface but there's darkness and sorrow just under the surface. The sort of place innocent holiday makers pull into just as “A HAMMER HORROR PRODUCTION” appears on the screen, a feeling perhaps helped along by the various permutations of Hammond organ littered through out the eight tracks on this debut release. The real Dunwich is in Suffolk and down the centuries has dwindled from a large town to a hamlet as it's washed into the sea as people leav...

August 26, 2020

If you ever get some smart arse saying metal is just a load of noise, play them Primitive Man. You won't change their mind, and in fact they might need counselling afterwards to help repair it, and they may even never speak to you ever again, but least you can go back to wrestling with the mysteries of Primitive Man's sheer caustic nihility. For anyone who enjoys a drop of the heavy stuff, even you have to admit that Primitive Man is a load of unpleasant noise. Seriously. So much so that even the most seasoned listener will be shaking their heads and wondering just where it all went wrong for the Denverites to produce music this vile and tortured. 2020 has been, well, 2020, so the release of a Primitive Man record hits like a sack of cobblestones to the face.

You might think labelling an al...

August 18, 2020

Despite death metal’s sonically varied and expansive scope, its endlessly evolving wealth of genre-smashing new talent and rich legacy of influential legends, few sub-genres are more thoroughly riddled with mindless stereotypes and clichés than this notoriously brutal offshoot of extreme music. And be it besmirching an artist’s good name with the dreaded ‘-core’ suffix or applying such cringe-worthy genre tags as ‘br00tal’ and ‘djent’, it seems critics never tire of throwing around such clumsily ill-fitting terms. But despite sometimes being inaccurately pigeonholed as a straight-up slam metal band, it's long been clear that Mancunian aggressors Ingested are onto something altogether darker than this sweepingly generic genre tag would have us believe....

August 17, 2020

As too fucking appropriate, Pale Horseman have been swaggering back into view. Anyone with at least a passing interest in the Bible, after Pestilence, War and Famine have all done their bit, it's Death who comes along to finish off the apocalypse. With Pestilence seemingly not finished with us, and the other two popping up all other the world, it would only make sense Death is on the way. For the Chicago band, previous instalments in their canon have been misfires at best; loads of wailing and gnashing of teeth and pounding riffs did indeed stalk the land, but the only thing the listener was likely to die of was boredom. The production and execution left much to be desired, so the end result was rather more like being kicked in the head by a mangy Blackpool donkey knackered from carrying f...

August 8, 2020

You'd think after an album had been out for over four weeks, in the midst of lockdown with not much else to do and plenty of time to just absorb a record, we'd have some sort of grip on what makes it tick and how it stirs the soul. Yet despite the luxuries of having this record at the tail end of June and an understanding Editor In Chief, we're still no nearer unravelling the mysteries of  'Close'. The Kent collective have long carved their own niche as a distinctive taste of sludge. They started with an expansive take on bone-crunching bravado as their basic template but adding things like melody and invention. Nasty and acerbic and dense at times, soaring and uplifting and gleefully chaotic at others, but never anything else than compelling and absorbing. And long. Song lengths in excess...

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