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

Under the needle

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...

July 31, 2020

Very little Russian metal makes its way into the western audience's lap, but Moscow miscreants Katalepsy are among the bigger names that have broken through the barrier with their bludgeoning brand of brutal death metal.

Early efforts were fairly standard slam/brutal death metal affairs. Over the top cover art, vocals that sound like they were recorded by a man drowning in mud and a barrage of chugging riffs. But the band have shown a constant path of evolution; first album proper 2013's ‘Autopsychosis’ started to blend in more technical elements that came fully to the fore on 2016's ‘Gravenous Hour’, so it's no shock that the band have added another twist on this new album.

‘Terra Mortuus Est’ is groovy as fuck! Don’t despair though, they’ve not morphed into a second-rate Pantera clone, the...

Since first being violently spewed forth from its frigidly inhospitable founding lands some 30-odd years ago, black metal has more than abundantly illustrated its rich capacity for sonic evolution and invention. From the stirringly ritualistic majesty of Hellenic metal gods Rotting Christ through to the far-flung melodic intricacies of Melechesh, its infernal, ink-black seeds have since spread far and wide, setting down gnarled, brimstone-scorched roots and flourishing with a frenzied virulence that seems to have reached the very ends of the Earth itself. But, with their electrifying repertoire of pulverising ultra-violence and exquisitely intricate orchestrations, it’s clear that Iranian metal maestros Helzgloriam are so much more than simply the latest in a long line of deliciously macab...

July 4, 2020

Aptly, there's something timeless about Atavist. Derived from a term for reversion to past ways of thinking and acting. While music rarely gets old fashioned and truly irrelevant bar the odd trend, listening to the Manchester assemble evokes a feeling of a bygone age, the soundtrack to a funeral of a great yet tragically flawed figure. Of course, impressive regal power is expected in a band that comprises members of Winterfylleth, the prolific and elegant black metallers. As unhurried as Winterylleth harry, previous release 'II: Ruined' dropped a decade ago, four years after their self titled, but it's been worth the wait, especially if you're a fan of My Dying Bride/Paradise Lost who's been waiting for Anathema to get back to the heavier stuff.

For those not in the know, Atavist are at the...

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...

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