Replacire – Do Not Deviate

Technical Death Metal from Boston, Massachusetts, but seems to lean more towards the Progressive Death Metal thing. With their second album Replacire have proven to have a nice sound to offer. The album is pretty short, but is loaded with tons of riffs and parts, so you’ll be more than satisfied. Their sound reminds me of the mid-late 90’s period of progressive death metal, but with a cool modern twist.

“Horsestance” is a pretty in your face opener with a lot of really cool riff changes. It also incorporates some really cool clean vocals that have a really cool haunting sound. And as far as the death metal vocals go, well if you like the more of the traditional style then you’ll be in heaven. I’ll admit that it’s my preference!

“Act, Re-enact” opens with an absolutely crushing riff. This band really does the whole Progressive death metal thing quite well. There’s a pretty cool arpeggio lead break in the middle of the song, which kind of gives a little more of a melodic feel to a mostly dissonant and chaotic track. It’s short, sweet ,and to the point.

“Built Upon The Grave Of He Who bands” Really Showcases the bands Technical abilities and their versatility. It cycles through a lot of changes. Probably one of my favorite tracks. There’s a pretty cool solo with some nice phrasing in the middle of the song.

“Spider Song” has some pretty nice groove going on, and again implements some cool clean vocals into the mix. The vocals almost remind me of how Christian Alvestam sounded on the very first Scar Symmetry album.

If you like heavy complex death metal, well…. It’s a no brainer decision. Go check out this album.

Decrepit Birth – Axis Mundi

After seven long years floating in the NetherRealm, California tech-death behemoths Decrepit Birth return with their 4th and most punishing album yet, Axis Mundi. 2017 sees the rebirth of the band’s ultra-brutal sound previously explored on their first album, …And Time Begins. Taking that framework, the DB crew plunge to new levels of brain expanding musicality like a shot of DMT injected straight to the cerebral cortex. Time has not slowed these guys down even a fraction, quite the contrary for it seems to have only emboldened them to hone their extreme musical aesthetic.

The album opener “Vortex of Infinity…Axis Mundi” is rather aptly titled since after a short sci-fi tinged intro and the double kicks hit, it leaves the listener feeling like the ground has crumbled below plunging you into the journey that is this endless void of extremity. The “spirit guide” reaches out to lead the way through the terrain, rife with angular riffing, counterpointed bass lines, and otherworldly blasting. The Schuldiner-esque melodic intro is just a tease that quickly cascades into familiar DB territory but, there are plenty of little nuggets of surprise, including keyboard textures and even sing-talking vocals seemingly influenced by the band Atheist. Those elements are littered throughout the album, adding much appreciated spice to the decrepit brew of the California crew.


Compared to Diminishing Between Worlds and Polarity, Axis Mundi sees Matt Sotelo taking a less melodic path in terms of songwriting. The overt Chuck Schuldiner (DEATH) influence from the aforementioned albums is mostly lacking this time around. Instead DB mainly gives favor to the technicality aside from a few moments, as in “Spirit Guide,” most notably in “Ascendant,” and the instrumental closer “Embryogenesis.”  Overall the balance from the torrents of crunching-riffs, to the soaring melodicism, is done mostly sparingly throughout the album, offering respite just as you become fatigued from the onslaught. While not completely abandoned, it would have been a nice touch to have a more equal blend of the two elements.


A few points of contention: tempo and the elephant in the room, vocals. Majority of BDM bands seem to lack diversity in tempos and DB is no exception. The bulk of the songs on Axis Mundi fall into similar tempo range and beat subdivisions, which honestly becomes a bit taxing near the end of the 40-minute trek. Secondly, with music as complex and well-arranged as this, it’s almost as if the vocals get a free pass to gurgle along without much effort phrasing wise. Most of the vocals and lyrics are completely unintelligible, which seems in-congruent, since the song titles and artwork reflect something much deeper in terms of concept and substance. While the vocal style works 80% of the time, some variety in delivery would certainly elevate the music to even higher levels.

Fans that have stuck through the seven-year slump or addendum’s to the band won’t be disappointed, honestly, they will genuinely be amazed by this record. All their hallmark elements remain and are at their zenith: the ubiquity of double bass and blast beat flurries, the juxtaposition/coalescence of slam riffs and technical riffing, active and *gasp* audible bass lines, rounded off with sub-human death growls all delivered in earnest. The crisp production values capture the DB crew in all their brutal glory.  At this point in their career Decrepit Birth are an institution, a benchmark of modern technical death metal, taking metal musician proficiency to otherworldly levels and proving Axis Mundi will be a tough one to top.

Origin – Unparalleled Universe

The titans of inhuman warp speed, song complexity that could rival Quantum mechanics homework, and planet shattering brutality, ORIGIN reemerge with yet another Tech-Death masterclass on Unparalleled Universe.  During the three-year touring cycle for 2014’s Onnipresent the band wrote majority of the new material while on the road.

The album starts off in a typically brutal fashion with the aptly titled “Infinitesimal to the Infinite,” which blasts off 16th note brutality at ludicrous speed, blurring the lines of what is even humanly possible for a metal band to perform. There are enough riffs and drum fills in this one song to possibly fill another lesser, or more human, band’s entire album. I don’t know how much coffee these guys drink, but the unrelenting speed throughout Unparalleled Universe certainly defies logic. ​There are moments that allude to some of their older material, particularly on “Mithridatic” which hearkens back to “Lethal Manipulation (The Bonecrusher Chronicles)” level of catchiness. The epic 10-minute track “Unequivocal” is certainly the most surprising tune found on the album. The first half, while still extreme, has a more thought out song structure (verse, chorus, verse etc) and somewhat melodeath tinged riffage. The latter half however takes this theme to its next logical extreme with a drawn out, completely epic outro that seems to be channeling classic metal with soaring melodic (uplifting?) guitar lines. This track really stands out from the utter chaos found on the rest of the material and serves as the perfect ending point for the record. It begs to be said however, that the cover of Brujeria’s “Revolucion” is a total head scratcher. While in and of itself, “Revolucion” is a fun song and the ORIGIN boys do it justice, its place among the other songs seems just plain odd and somewhat diminishes the epic ending of the previous track. The production is right up there with all their previous efforts, with the mix capturing clear and concise performances.

The album overall seems a little less produced than previous efforts, leaning towards a more organic sound. It literally sounds like you are in the studio listening to the band record live. I find this a preferable mix compared to other bands in the Tech-Death scene with ultra-processed guitars and drums where every rack tom sounds like a kick drum. This production really lends itself to showcasing each member: Paul Ryan’s insane trem picking and sweep riffs, Mike Flore’s popping bass lines, and Jason Keyser’s mix of high screams mixed with articulated growls. John Longstreth’s signature caffeine fueled hell storm of unrelenting double bass, blasts, and fills are in no short supply on this record, captured clearly and concisely in the mix. While Longtime fans should know what to expect from an ORIGIN album at this point in their career, all the hallmark elements the Kansas City/LA/NY crew are known for are all here in as fine of form as ever: face melt speed, otherworldly riffing, and breakdown’s heavy enough to tear the space-time continuum. While nothing here is technically breaking new ground for the band, the band does show some semblance of songwriting maturity with this record. Honestly this is a welcome change and hopefully a sign of things to come, but for now, ORIGIN prove to be seemingly unstoppable from delivering the goods.

Decapitated – Anticult

Polish extreme metallers Decapitated return with Anticult another slab of grooving, whiplash inducing heaviness. Voog and company continue down the path already forged on Carnival is Forever and Blood Mantra by further blurring the lines between groove metal and death metal: Foot not completely set in either camp. While decidedly even groovier than their previous album was, the songs are impeccably written and arranged. While other bands in the extreme metal genre seem to be trying to one-up each another in terms of riff complexity and speed, Voog seems content on channeling chug masters a la Pantera, Meshuggah, Lamb of God, and dare I say even Fear Factory.

On the opening track, “Impulse”, the moody and dark clean guitar work first explored on CIF and BM find their way back. The brooding riff foreshadows the journey ahead; memorable, crushing, and devastatingly heavy songs. The band obviously has simplified their songwriting approach at this point in their career by focusing on well-arranged and easy to digest riffs, but fear not as there is plenty of tinnitus inducing brutality to be found throughout. “One eyed nation” and “Anger Line” are standout examples showcasing perfected modern metal, blasting and heavier than a ton of bricks. “Deathvaluation” is somewhat of the outlier on this record. While Voog has been experimenting with more rock laced riffs, this concept is channeled the most on this track. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the song, it does feel a little out of place compared to the rest of the tunes.

While Decapitated always had good production, Anticult is by far one of their best sounding albums to date. Without being overly saturated, the guitar tone is crunchy as a bag of ruffles, Kick drums that impact like a punch in gut, bass rumbling like the San Andreas fault, and the vocals screaming just above the instrumentation but never overwhelming them. The listener never has to choose which instrument to focus on since the mixing is on point and so goddamn satisfying.

While Anticult is a more accessible affair, it shouldn’t deter longtime fans from checking out the record. Far from it.  While I’d be hard pressed to see most tech-death fans to fully embrace this record, maybe that’s precisely the point. The music found within is seeking to speak to a broader range of metal fans, not just the musicians. Decapitated’s songwriting skills are nearly at its apex on this record, making an album as they see fit and on their own terms. Surely older fans may bemoan the newer sound Decap have been crafting over the past few albums, but it’s obvious that the interest in crafting straight up death metal is no longer their priority. Following a more formulaic song structure doesn’t make the music less extreme than overly techy death metal. It really comes down to good songs, played with passion and conviction. If the result may be more accessible, all the better.  While “musician’s music” is all fine and well, it has more of a niche appeal instead of attempting to appeal to the wider swath of the metal underground. All in all, sometimes a simple riff is all it should take to summon you to the mosh pit and Anticult delivers this in spades.

Carach Angren – Dance And Laugh Amongst The Rotten

Renowned for an intense ensemble of theatrical soundscapes and ghastly storytelling Dutch symphonic black metal act Carach Angren is ready to conquer new acolytes with the latest release “Dance And Laugh Amongst The Rotten” lyrically centered on tales about a girl playing a little too long with her Ouija board.

Like a cinematic soundtrack the album intro “Opening” perfectly introduces the listeners to an obscure sonic realm with solemn classical orchestrations.

It’s not surprising that “Charlie” relies on haunting themes with nightmarish atmospheres skillfully enhanced by tasteful classical accents and theatrical choirs. The unique creative force can be found in the epic orchestrations as an undeniable sense of grandeur surrounds and adorns the raw black metal guitar riffing that channel old school blackened fury.

On “Blood Queen” the main rhythmic section can effortlessly acquire the traditional thunderous energy of extreme metal but what renders this track particularly interesting is the theatrical extravaganza enhanced by the mournful piano passages, elegant string sections and the sinister narratives.

“Charles Francis Coghlan” has the cold atmosphere of a spooky winter night and focuses more on variegated somber guitar melodies while baroque orchestral arrangements and sophisticated classical string sections deliver poignant theatrical vibes.

“In De Naam Van De Duivel” amplifies ominous vibes and faster blackened guitar driven rhythms. Like in an entertaining operetta charismatic horror style narratives and flamboyant orchestral passages deliver radiant melodic moments as well as loads of haunting atmospheric layers.

Like sparks of insanity crushing black metal guitar riffs lead the way on “Three Times Thunder Strikes” surrounded by subtle darkly cinematic orchestral layers that later evolve into more intricate symphonic tapestries in proper theatrical fashion.

Since they have a lot of creepy stories to tell Carach Angren deserve a wider audience and while the blackened metal moments are certainly well executed and absolutely enjoyable but what makes “Dance And Laugh Amongst The Rotten” particularly fascinating is the stunning macabre beauty of the orchestral arrangements composed by Clemens ‘Ardek’ Wijers.

Tuesday The Sky – Drift

The new project Tuesday The Sky started when Jim Matheos of progressive metal pioneers Fates Warning felt that a bonus track didn’t fit the band’s music style. Working further on that particular song’s approach Matheos felt the desire to continue to explore and experiment with atmospheric instrumental music leading to the creation of the album “Drift”.

“Today The Sky” has a pure crystalline range of sounds with kaleidoscopic melodic guitar layers, prog oriented guitar soloing and an overall serene atmosphere.

“Vortex Street” has a surreal ambient mood further enhanced by graceful ethereal vocals and textured harmonies that channel a warm sense of inner peace.

Featuring guest keyboardist Kevin Moore “It Comes In Waves” has more prominent prog metal elements with loads of compelling guitar melodies surrounded by soothing ambient layers.

“Westerlies” feels quiet and nostalgic with introspective atmospheres, delicate vocals and a series of smooth inspired guitar melodies.

The title track has spacey electro tinged feelings with intricate yet quite accessible keyboards arrangements and a relaxed mood.

Since Matheos is an experienced and successful musician “Drift” is not your average debut album and its creative ambient/electronica style will certainly surprise the audience.

Beastmaker – Inside The Skull

Beastmaker might be considered an emerging band but with the new full-length “Inside The Skull” the band is eager to show a mature sound spiced up with a macabre mood and intense psychedelic momentum.

“Evil One” opens the album channeling the particular vintage doom soundscape that will have a dominant role throughout the rest of the album, also horror themes and a general darkened mood influence the intriguing guitar melodies.

Besides the obvious lycanthropic atmosphere “Now Howls The Beast” features heavy traditional doom guitar riffs and more mellow yet quite sinister and cathartic melodic passages embellished by guest vocalist Johanna Sadonis from Lucifer. Johanna also offers her spellbinding voice on the track “Heaven To Hell” characterized by slow burning doom guitar riffs and hazy retro rock melodies.

“Of Gods Creation” stands out for the psychedelic accents and hypnotizing guitar solos that just cannot be ignored while the weight of the cascading doom guitar riffs will make you feel dizzy.

“Nature Of The Damned” feels absolutely trippy with enhanced retro mood embedded in the tasteful doom riffs that later gain a blast of higher energy to deliver wild entertaining grooves.

In true doom revival fashion the title track has a raw natural guitar sound that promises a continuous heavy rhythm as lead guitars acquire additional energetic groovy dynamics.

Those who are craving an overdose of darkened retro psychedelic doom will find a lot to love on “Inside The Skull” and even if in terms of songwriting there are few dull moments Beastmaker has definitely achieved an incredibly monolithic sound.

The Wizards – Full Moon In Scorpio

Spanish rock band The Wizards must have found the right inspiration to create the new album “Full Moon In Scorpio” after ‘several intense sessions of drug abuse and hard liquor-drinking marathons at backyard parties’.

“Avidja” introduces the vintage mood of this album as we are stuck in the ‘70s and ready to party all night while chunky guitar riffs confidently keep healthy rock grooves throughout the song.

“Calliope (Cosmic Revelations)” continues to impress with charismatic thick guitar riffing and wild exciting guitar soloing as the whole instrumentation keep a solid enjoyable rhythmic backbone.

“Stardust” still offers gritty spacey grooves but definitely channels traditional ‘70s doom dynamics as tempo and guitars slow down to acquire monolithic weight and darkened dramatic nuances without sacrificing the inner thunderous rock soul.

“When We Were Gods” showcases subtle occult rock nuances and is certainly filled with cathartic darkness. With undeniable passion, vocals pay tribute to Danzig and guitars craft beautiful decadent melodies but there is still space for intense retro rock guitar solos and savage grooves.

The retro rock revival never ceases to amaze and The Wizards demonstrate to know what ‘70s rock is supposed to sound like in fact “Full Moon In Scorpio” turns out to be a wild entertaining album.

Helfir – The Human Defeat

Italian multi-instrumentalist Luca Mazzotta’s solo project Helfir is ready to release the second album “The Human Defeat”.

“Time In Our Minds” immediately showcases Luca’s genuine passion for music. While the style is not astonishingly innovative, this track feature a series of lovely melancholy infused guitar melodies with a crispy clear sound and a mix of growls and clean emotional vocal delivery.

“Light” offers great atmospheric layers and immense melancholy clearly embedded in the well executed soothing arpeggios and whispered vocals.

“Tide” continues to follow a highly melancholic pathway and accessible smooth guitar melodies channel gloomy rainy landscapes and reach a natural acme with an intense guitar solo.

“Chant D’Automne” evokes an elegant emotional sonic palette with fragile lovely arpeggios and relaxed yet highly nostalgic atmospheres.

“Mechanical God” keeps similar nostalgic themes with some heavier guitar driven moments but relies mainly on loads of modern atmospheric electro arrangements.

Overall, “The Human Defeat” holds a pleasant melodic soul and certainly features strong gothic metal influences but tends to go beyond those safe boundaries with the addition of atmospheric/ambient layers.

Chiral – Gazing Light Eternity

Italian one-man band Chiral has released an atmospheric post-black metal album entitled “Gazing Light Eternity”.

“Part I (The Gazer)” kicks off with subtle darkened atmosphere and soon gains ominous rhythmic momentum with steady soaring old school black metal elements but also showcases additional variety with calmer somber guitar melodies.

“Part II (The Haze)” leaves behind the typical black metal fury and crafts quiet melancholic arpeggios surrounded by soothing sorrowful atmospheric layers.

“Part V (The Gazer’s Throne)” showcases a gothic tinged emotional palette perfectly expressed in the minimalist yet quite soulful acoustic guitars and shoegaze oriented mood.

“Gazing Light Eternity” is a cohesive music effort with scattered creative moments and even if there are some raw asphyxiating soundscapes that channel familiar and successful black metal acts Chiral also creates elegant moody acoustic melodies.