Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ghost - "Opus Eponymous"

Ghost's debut album "Opus Eponymous" was unleashed to the world in the early months of 2011, and upon first listen, this reviewer wasnt very impressed. But as months went on and buzz about the band started to grow, I gave more and more listens via Youtube and watched more than a handful of live performances and each time they grew on me more and more and I found myself humming the catchy vocal and guitar lines after I was done listening. So I finally decided to get the album, and if it has left my stereo at all in the past few weeks, it hasnt been for very long. This band bares influence in the likes of Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult and Mercyful Fate. The Fate comparison doesnt stop with musical influence. Their vocalist "The Ghoul with no name" stalks the stage during their live performances adorned with creepy skull faced makeup and dressed in full garb to resemble a satanic version of the pope himself.(Wonder if this review is gonna get me some more flyers from the Fellowship Tract League?). The guitarists, bassist, drummer and keyboard player all perform wearing druid robes with huge hoods and their faces totally hidden from view. But while the theatrics are really cool, it is my humble opinion that their stage show is only the proverbial icing on baphomet's birthday cake. All of the satan praising compositions contained within this album are well written, solid Hard Rock/Heavy Metal songs. The guitars are crunchy and hard hitting, but not too heavily overdriven in the distortion department. This band have a knack for making themselves sound like a vintage act, almost as if they stepped out of a time machine in 1981 to do the dark lord's bidding! The Ghoul does a great job of using his voice to weave great unforgettable vocal melodies over the bands heavy, luciferian dirges and lyrically, the band makes no bones about their loyalty to the "Horned One" as evidenced in songs like "Satan Prayer", "Con Clavi Con Dio" and "Stand By Him". The keyboards add a demented horror flick-like vibe to the songs "Prime Mover" and "Death Knell". The band does their best to evoke mental images of what a true Black Mass experience would be like in my personal favorite track "Ritual" with it's crunchy main riff that calls to mind the Mercyful Fate classic "A Dangerous Meeting". "Elizabeth" tells the story of a woman who most of us Metalheads should be familiar with by now, Elizabeth Bathory, the demented countess who killed young virgins and bathed in their blood in an effort to keep herself looking young. The seething instrumental "Genesis" closes out "Opus Eponymous" with heavy riffs, lead guitar harmonies and a keyboard piece that wont leave your memory once you've given it a listen. Overall "Opus Eponymous" is a solid debut album and I look forward to the next Ghost offering. This CD deserves a place in every old school fan's collection. If you've had it with boring deathcore clones and feel you may lose your lunch if you gotta listen to another group of kids wearing skinny jeans play 75 breakdowns in a row, then Ghost should provide you with a breath of fresh air straight from the bowels of hell!

Sourvein - "Black Fangs"

Next up is the newest release from North Carolina Sludge Metal masters Sourvein. "Black Fangs" is the bands first full length release since 2003's "Will To Mangle". Frontman T-roy has been waiting for the right time and right label to come along to release a full length and Candlelight records provided the band with the right means and promotion for the band to unleash their newest offering. From the album opener "Fangs" to the album closer "Nocturnal/Negative Phase" this album takes the listener on a dark, evil sludge filled journey. Pain, angst, misery and depression reign supreme in this bands lyrical and musical opus. The grooves are slow and dirty, the guitar riffs are tuned way low and extra fuzzy, the Bass is is muddy and bottom heavy and T-roy displays some of the most sickening and writhing vocals ever vomited forth. Quite frankly I cannot fathom how something this heavy can be contained on a plastic disk. Tunes like "Night Eyes", "Gemini", "Flux..." and "Gasp!" make this disk weigh more than a pair of cement shoes on a drowning victim in the Hudson River. Most fans of the Sludge/Doom genre should already know this legendary band and own this album, but for those of you out of the loop, if you like Down, Eyehategod, Bongzilla, Crowbar and bands in that vein you NEED a copy of Sourvein's "Black Fangs". Thanks to Loukemia Labs I recently had the pleasure of enjoying this band live at Popeye's Pub and I can honestly say in my 10 plus years of frequenting shows there, I have NEVER seen/felt/heard a band shake the walls like Sourvein, I literally thought the building was going to collapse on top of everyone and if it had, I would have met my maker in a sludgy Doom filled bliss. "Black Fangs" is definitely one of the top 10 heaviest releases of 2011 and I recommend it to all of you reading this article. Go find Sourvein on Facebook and give them a "Like" and grab a copy of "Black Fangs" and spread the word to all of your Doom loving friends. Sourvein are going to make a 2nd run of US tour dates very soon so go see them when they hit your area and keep an eye out for their next recording which they are in the midst of writing as we speak.


Let me introduce you to my NYDM 5 State brothers Enabler. This is a new project, fronted by Aaron Whitesides, guitarist of the legendary Anal Blast. This debut disk is 10 songs of pure, unbridled Death N' Roll chaos. Short and catchy(No song here is longer than 3 minutes) with a punk attitude, and definitely no loss of a sense of humor, when listening to this disk one can only imagine the fun these dudes had recording and the debauchery that ensued in the recording studio for the sessions! Those of us who get endless hours of enjoyment watching the youtube phenomenon that is Tourette's Guy will LOVE the 2nd half of this recording. With track titles like "Fuck Salt", "Paper Towels" and my personal favorite here "The Last Time I gave a Shit I Got Fucked", quoting actual lines from the most memorable skits over catchy Motorhead meets Suffocation styled riffing. But dont get it twisted, while Enabler are trying to evoke a laugh with humorous lyrical content, the music rocks hard and Enabler's songwriting talent shines through on every track here. "Cocaine and Cheese Curds" is full of punk and sludge metal, reminiscent of Soilent Green until it hit's the thrashy/NWOBHM styled bridge, then comes back for more mayhem. "I Got A 5 Spot(On a 30 Rack to Stop the War)" is 90 seconds of old school Thrash worship that recalls early Sepultura. And speaking of old Roadrunner bands, you gotta love the Obituary vocal influence in "EWWWW!!! (Toddler Metal)". A pleasant surprise here is the inclusion of a hyper death metal rendition of the Black Sabbath classic "Snowblind", turning the slow cocaine love ballad into a 2 minute and 30 second rager of pure adrenalized speed metal. From the start of album opener "No More Again", it's no surprise what your getting from Enabler, short and to the point, blasting, raucous and chaotic. Enabler are bringing it back to a simpler time when Metal was all about fun. Hanging out with your friends, draining a few 12 packs and stumbling home in the morning with your demin vest stinking like "Sweet Leaf". Keeping it heavy and having some laughs in the process, rather than focusing on serious, tough guy attitude and posturing. Find Enabler on Facebook, give them a "Like" and keep an eye out as I'm sure they will be hitting a venue near you sooner or later. I can only imagine how awesome this group is in a live setting...break out the beer funnel and crank up Enabler!!!

Possessed - "Reanimation"

The godfathers of Death Metal themselves, my CADM brothers, the mighty Possessed! The new Possessed album "Reanimation" is brought to us courtesy of Redrum Records, which is owned and run by my NYDM brother Will Rahmer of Death Metal icons Mortician (Who once again did a grand job of violently shaking the foundation at Popeyes Pub this past September thanks to Lou Kemia Labs!). This CD/DVD combo is a collection of vintge performances from Possessed and features all the classic tunes we know and worship in various formats. Their "Death Metal" demo from 1984 kicks the audio side of this disk off and has obviously been remastered to give this old school recording a nice, clean & crisp feel. After that we are treated to a 4 song rehearsal from 1984 featuring 2 of my personal Possessed faves "Pentagram" and "Swing Of The Axe". Following the rehearsal are 2 live tracks from San Francisco in 1984 and then we are presented with a double shot of alternate mixes featuring "The Exorcist (Ashes Mix)" and "Confessions (Brutal Mix)". These alternate mixes showcase some great production value and are a nice addition to this brutal collection of tunes. A couple of live cuts from Ruthies Inn in 1985 are served up next and are followed by 4 live classics from San Diego in 1986 featuring "Seven Churches" and "Satan's Curse", another 2 of my personal favorite Possessed classics. The live cuts on this audio disk are very, very raw recordings. This is definitely old school bootleg quality material at it's finest. You can smell the leather and beer in the air as these tracks blaze from your speakers. A 2004 version of their classic tune "The Exorcist" closes out the audio side of this immense compilation and is definitely my favorite version of this tune by far as it actually begins with samples from the classic movie, slowly fading in with Reagan howling and screaming as the horned one has taken her over completely. Flip the disk over and pop it into your DVD player and you are in for an awesome treat. 2 full live sets from 1984 at Ruthies Inn on December 28th in Berkely,Ca and at the Exodus Club in Baltimore,MD on February 7th, 1987. There's also a double shot from The Stone in San Francisco in 1984 as well. The audio and video here is very raw, loud and extremely heavy. If you were around and going to shows during this period, these videos will surely conjure nostalgia without a doubt, and if you were too young to be around in the scene then, this is the perfect representation of your roots and should be studied and respected as such, I mean this is Possessed, who better to learn from?! Back when people actually moshed, not busted out karate moves in the pit. When running counter clockwise in a circle and banging your head was second nature and you didnt have to look over your shoulder for a flying fist or spin kick. Also back when people didnt have to be begged to come out and support shows, you went out and had fun and went to shows because you truly lived for Metal and you woke up the next day with a sore neck,a mean hangover and an ear to ear grin because you took part in something special. Wether your a tried and true Metal veteran or new to the scene, "Reanimation" deserves a spot in your Metal library and at only $15 for this classic audio and visual compilation of Death Metal history, picking this up is a no-brainer. Head over to www.redrumrecords.net and grab your copy right now, you'll be glad you did. While your there dont forget the season of gift giving is near, so search through Redrum's awesome inventory and grab something for the Metalhead in your life. The gift of Metal is a priceless one indeed, so support the underground and buy your CD's from www.redrumrecords.net. Huge props to my ILDM brother Alfred for doing a killer job putting the artwork & layout together for this release. If your in a band and need artwork or graphic design done for your next project hit him up at www.demonicdesigns.net and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/demonicdesigns. You can hear cuts from this disk on www.brutalexistenceradio.com and if you want your CD reviewed here and spun on the internet's #1 Metal station, send your disk to Left In Ruins P.O.Box 923 Ossining,NY 10562.

Mythology - "The Impaler"

Next up, my Black Metal brothers from Plattsburgh,NY Mythology. They recently released their full-length LP "The Impaler" and it's one crushing slab of old school styled Black Metal! Those of us educated on Vlad Tepes (Vlad "The Impaler") and his story, will take a look at the cover art and the names of tracks like "The Forest Of The Impaled" and "Rebuilding Poenari" and will salivate knowing this disk is somewhat of a Black Metal concept album about the legendary historical figure. Lyrically the album takes you through multiple battles and scenarios recounted from Vlad's bloodsoaked ventures, and more often than not tells the tales from what would be his point of view, which this reviewer feels makes the album and songs in particular that much more interesting and special. "Suffering Unbound" in particular is lyrically one of my faves from this album as the lyrics detail what it's like to be impaled and the suffering that it entails. Musically Mythology arent trying to re-invent the Black Metal wheel. These guys stick to the brutal and fast format and dont deviate much from the path forged by the innovators like Immortal, Darkthrone (track 12 on this disk is a cover of their "Transylvanian Hunger") and Emperor. There are parts where the band does Thrash it up a bit with riffs that remind me of "Hell Awaits" era Slayer in tunes like "Barbaric Warfare" and "1462", bang your head until your neck snaps and circle pit like it was 1986 all over again! All in all, if you want your Black Metal in the traditional style without all the bells and whistles that some of the more symphonic bands go for, if you want it fast and brutal and bare bones the old school way, then you wanna go find Mythology on Facebook and grab a copy of "The Impaler" right now. I've had the pleasure of witnessing Mythology live on a couple occasions and on stage they are just as lethal as you'd think, adorning the stage in full corpse paint and spiked leather regalia, these guys are trying to keep the spirit of what their forefathers created alive and they are doing a damn good job at it! You can hear cuts from this disk Thursday nights on Up From The Underground from 7pm to 12am at www.brutalexistenceradio.com. Want your CD reviewed here and spun on the internet's #1 Metal station? Just send me a disk to Left In Ruins P.O.Box 923 Ossining,NY 10562.

Brick By Brick - "Severed Ties"

Next up are Troy, NY hardcore metallers Brick By Brick with their full length album "Severed Ties". Brick By Brick serve up textbook, old school style hardcore done the right way, but with an extra heavy pounding assault that some hXc purists may say makes them too "Metal" to be "Hardcore", but I say these cats are doing it 100% RIGHT! If you ever wondered what would happen if you mixed equal parts Biohazard, with Pantera, Full Blown Chaos, Madball and Machine Head the end result would be pretty darn close to what Brick By Brick serve up here with "Severed Ties". Uptempo, thrashy pieces give way to street savvy, pavement pounding grooves and skull crushing breakdowns as evident in tracks like the album opener "Cant Be Broken", "Every Ounce Of Blood" and one of my top faves from this album "What Comes Around" which you can actually find a killer video for on youtube. "Liar" packs all the headbanging groove you'd find in Pantera's "Vulgar Display" album along with the intensity found on Vision Of Disorders debut album in one 3 minute track. "One More Fistfight" is a more traditional NYHC piece calling to mind classic Agnostic Front with it's punk fueled verses. "The Ultimate Price" is my go to track on this awesome offering, with it's eerie into provided by none other than notorious hitman Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinsky. Classic Biohazard fused with early Machine Head riffing and rage fueled vocals make this tune the ultimate groove fest. "Your Weeping Eyes" and "The Final Goodbye" close out this rager each with riffs that would surely have Dimebag himself raising the horns in approval and will move the feet and keep the heads nodding of all who crave the hardcore sound. Find Brick By Brick on facebook and give them a "Like" and grab a copy of this awesome disk, I guarantee you will give it plenty of spins!!!

Sapremia - "With Winter Comes Despair"

Next is my review of NJ death stalwarts Sapremia and their 2008 Open Grave records release "With Winter Comes Despair". Sapremia are far from new comers to the death metal scene. Having been an originator in the local scene here in the early 90's, they split for almost 10 years and returned in 2007 with a vengeance releasing a split CD on Open Grave records, then immediately coming back in 2008 with this full length brutal death metal onslaught. From the beginning track "Open Grave", the listener is assaulted with a barrage of speedy technical riffs mixed with brutal stomping grooves. If headbanging and circle pits are what you crave, Sapremia provides the perfect soundtrack to your metal mayhem with this full length. "The Despair Of Winter" showcases sludgier, doomier riffing while keeping the brutal beating relentless. The frantic riffing in "Ambitious Suffering" picks the pace back up and doesnt let up for over 3 minutes. "Life Of Fantasy" is one of my faves here with it's push/pull riffing and extreme timing changes. Bassist/frontman Lou Ferrara has one of the most unique and discernable death metal growls this reviewer has ever heard, no mic cupping here folks, just pure guttural vocals done right! "Cold War" is another top fave of mine from this disk, kicking in with a great guitar run that recalls classic Slayer then gets almost Celtic Frost-ish with it's epic galloping bridge. "Through Sight Beyond" is my absolute favorite here, I cant help but play this one over and over with it's classic thrashing riffs that call to mind Leprosy-era Death with a touch of classic Dismember in the mix. "Ascension" closes the disk out with it's slow creeping intro followed by maniacal guitar runs and lots of great blasting drums, then back again for some doomy groove and just when you've caught your breath, back again with another violent speed attack! Fans of classic era Morbid Angel, early Death, Deicide and Barnes-era Cannibal Corpse will worship at the blood encrusted altar of Sapremia after just 1 listen to "With Winter Comes Despair". Just one look at the gruesome cover art and all you old schoolers will know exactly what you are in for. Go find the band on facebook and hit that "Like" button to keep up on what Sapremia has in store for us in 2012. A new album and new merch are on the horizon as are lots of live performances, so keep your eyes peeled and get ready for the brutality!

Sacrificial Slaughter vs. Enfuneration split album

It's my pleasure to review for you, an awesome split album recently released by 2 of the undergrounds best and heaviest bands, California's Sacrificial Slaughter and my NYDM brothers from Oklahoma : Enfuneration. This disk simply titled "Sacrificial Slaughter vs. Enfuneration", showcases 5 songs of Thrashing Death Metal brutality from each band. SS starts the disk off with the violent fury of "Reign Of The Hammer", featuring guest guitar and vocals spots from my NYDM 5 State chapter brother Aaron T. Whitesides, guitarist of seminal NYDM band Anal Blast and current frontman of the Tourettes Guy obsessed Death N' Rollers, Enabler. (Aaron has also moonlighted as touring guitarist for SS recently) The relentless assault of frantic riffing continues through the next track "80 Proof Justice", with it's neck snapping verse and machine gunning chorus. The bridge only slightly lets up from the relentless assault with a grooving riff that reminds this review of older Goatwhore. "Ruthless & Truthless" is next and is my personal favorite of the SS tracks here. Speedy guitar trills and slamming grooves call to mind a mix of "The Bleeding"-era Cannibal Corpse and classic Internal Bleeding. The vicious mix of low and high vocal growls not just on this track, but throughout the entire 5 songs will have Deicide disciples worshipping at the altar of Sacrificial Slaughter. "Compound Fracture" and "Acid Reflux" round out the SS side of this split with pure hellfire and brimstone. These dudes make no bones about keeping it old-school. Thrash flavored riffage reminiscent of classic Death, Possessed and even a touch of old Sepultura, forged with an amazing low end and a drummer that puts all of Hot Topic's a-list scenesters to shame (go get a tissue, your getting mascara in my beer). Sacrificial Slaughter is a band for the beer swilling, denim clad Metalhead, thank the Metal gods that a band like this still exists! Not a single breath of relief is taken and we're treated to Enfunerations 5 songs of maniacal fury next. "Insidious Domain" unleashes hell right at the get go. Those who remember reading my review of their album "Souls To Burn" about a dozen or more issues back will be pleased to know that Enfuneration dont throw any curveballs here. No breakdowns, no bloated choruses and no overused sweeping arpeggios to be found here. Pure unrelenting riffery, pounding double bass and guttural growls reminiscent of vintage Dave Vincent(yeah, way before he sold out and made disco music) are abound in all 5 of this OKDM bands evil overtures. Speaking of Dave Vincent, if you were unfortunate enough to have bought that abomination of a CD Morbid Angel recently released and were left scratching your head wondering where all the Death Metal went...well, Enfuneration got it all right here on this disk. "Bearing Their Scars" serves up lots of awesome leads that will sooth the savage beast in all you guitar hungry listeners, and has an almost Black Metal-esque feeling with its tremolo riffs and eerie musical passages. "Stygian Darkness" and "Endless Suffering" both serve up tremendous riff-o-ramas, in both of these songs you can tell Enfuneration have spent some time studying at the school of Chuck Schuldiner and if the grooving bridge riff towards the end of "Endless Suffering" doesnt get your head nodding and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, then you might wanna check your pulse! "Grieving Process Denied" closes this disk out, and is not only my fave from the Enfunerations side, but my favorite song on the disk in all. All 6+ minutes of this track are chock full of insane timing changes, frenzied double bass drumming, and slow, apocalyptic doomy riffs that ooze from the speakers. All in all this is one heck of a split album with top notch performances from both bands. If you like it fast, heavy and covered in old-school, then you need to grab this disk immediately and add it to your musical library. You can find both bands on Facebook, give them a "Like" and inquire how to get a copy of this ripping CD. You can hear cuts from this disk and all your underground favorites every Thursday night from 7pm to 12am EST at www.brutalexistenceradio.com