Darkest Hate Warfront
– The Aftermath

Violent, blasting, and thrashy black metal from the Amazon. Who knew the Yanomamö were so necro? This is a good follow-up to SAK, better in fact, and delivers a healthy dose of unrestrained, screaming ferocity in the vein of Marduk, Gorgoroth, etc. Now don’t get it into your thick head that this is anything like Panzer Division because it’s far
more raw, revealing, and riffy, even bordering on crusty at times. If the speedier, angrier side of black metal is your preference, this is worth checking out. Pretty savage vocals, too.



Czech black metal with the sincerest of popeye vocals and the cheesiest of folky melodies. The sad part is that some of the riffing is actually pretty groovy and cool, complemented by a sweet guitar sound and musicianship that you wouldn’t expect from such an underground outfit. Inevitably, all is ruined by the sudden tooting of some of the more ridiculous synth flutes and hokey piping I’ve ever come across. The folk elements just don’t fit here— they’re corny, and coupled with vocals that would make Abbath jealous, the whole album becomes more of a merry black metal comedy than anything resembling sinister. Somehow, though, I’m still finding it hard not to frolic along to this.



Vreid – I Krig

The reanimated corpse of Windir is a band any black metal
fan should be aware of. While I’m not sure I like it more than Pitch Black Brigade, Vreid mix it up a bit more this time around, particularly with the pummeling Vaepna Lengsil. On that note, they’re starting to remind me a bit of Tulus, which is generally a good thing. There’s really not much else to say. If you like simple, no-nonsense, mid-tempo black metal, this pretty much fucking rocks.



Impaled Nazarene
– Manifest

Soaring above the semi-flop that was Pro Patria Finlandia, Manifest is a return to the proper ass-raping, amp-blowing, urethra-shredding sado metal that we’ve all come to expect from Impaled Nazarene. This is easily their sickest and most punk-infused release to date. Relentlessly punishing from start to finish, each song cuts a fat rail of meth-addled mania for the brain to fry in. Hell, I’ll go as far as to say it’s their best because we all know Imp Naz suck when they’re on the comedown.

Demiurg – Breath
of the Demiurg

Chunky, Lovecraft-inspired death metal from Sweden.
How many bands will Dan Swanö be in before he kicks? The good part about Danny being involved is that you can expect the production to be good, if not great most of the time. Unlike, say, Bloodbath, Demiurg weave a more old school vibe through the music. And unlike, say, Evocation, Demiurg doesn’t completely suck shit-collared cock. But unlike, say, Comecon, Demiurg didn’t employ the services of Martin van Drunen, which is a shame because Rogge sounds like Åkerfeldt with a cold. The guitar certainly bears remnants of the classic Swedish style but there’s no direct and shameless Entombed or early Grave buttgobbling here, just solid death metal with a Scando twist.

Master – Slaves
to Society

I can’t believe these fogies are still around. Wait, yes I can. I’ve never been a big fan of Master due mainly to Speckmann’s vocals. Let’s face it, they’re sort of constipated and lame, and I suppose they’ve just never really sat well with me. The lyrics have always been awful to boot. For some reason I’m not minding the vox as much on Slaves to Society, which is a terribly unimaginative album title by the way. The cover art is atrocious as well. This is the same old Master but Slaves feels like a throwback, which is probably why I sort of like it. Then again, it’s faster and more fluid than Four More Years. Ok, nevermind, get rid of Speckmann and you’ve got a pretty cool death/thrash album. Whatever. It’s fucking Master, dude. Who cares?



Rotten Sound

I’ve been disappointed with Rotten Sound ever since Under Pressure, which remains in my top 5 crust/grind albums of all time. Exit was mediocre and Murderworks, apart from the rad drumming, was fairly standard death metal in the end. With Cycles we hear plenty of insanely fast blasting with a good mix of UP-style crust riffing sprinkled in. This is still a grindcore album, by all means, as most of the songs don’t eclipse the two minute mark. With 18 of them, though, I don’t really feel short changed. The good thing about Cycles is that it should appeal to fans across the grind spectrum, from Nasum worshipers to Regurgitate fanatics. This kicks a lot of ass.

Arch Enemy – Rise
of the Tyrant

Arch Enemy has put out something like seven albums in seven
years and I’ve not been a fan of one of them. Sure, guitar work, uh huh, Angela sucks unless she is topless
. Now then, who’s excited about the Wacken 08 Carcass reunion? Yeah, me


Devil Driver – The Last Kind Words

Christ, these guys suck. I don’t blame the band; they’re only riding Dezzie’s coattails, but this is unspeakably, unforgivably horrid shit. A reason for Dez to expunge his inner demons? You guys should be ashamed of yourselves, selling your souls to tour with the likes of Dimmu? I wish nothing but annual Rocklahoma gigs for you in the next twenty years.



Disfear – Live The Storm

Tomas Lindberg’s old fashioned down home punk hillbilly
death n’ roll brainchild rules. It’s not as crusty as Misanthropic Generation but the production is crystal clear, the vocals are way sicker, and every song is headbangingly catchy. We’ve got sing-along choruses, twangy solos, bludgeoning Uffe Cederland groove riffs, skull-splitting drums, furious vocals, and, well basically the soundtrack to a good, drunken street brawl. Come December, this will surely go down as one of the best metal albums of 2008. I wish I lived in Finland because they’re playing some gigs with Rotten Sound in February. Mandatory listening.