Review: Hierophant – Spawned Abortions

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Label: Unholy Anarchy Records

Italian trio Hierophant have had an interesting journey to bring them to where they are today. Initially starting life as a cross between hardcore, black metal, and sludge, their first records were released by hardcore stalwarts Demons Run Amok and Bridge Nine Records. 2016 saw the jump to the arguably more fitting Season of Mist though, and a subtle shift in sound – their approach to sonic devastation become less hardcore, more grind. New EP Spawned Abortions carries on in that style, being a short, yet undeniably vicious slice of black/death/grind, that takes no prisoners.

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Review: Cancer – Shadow Gripped

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Label: Peaceville Records

It’s an old tale: classic band splits. Classic band re-forms a few years later. Classic band releases new material. Classic band releases an absolute clanger of a record. Classic band splits, and we all collectively agree to never talk of said disaster of an album ever again. Classic band splits for the second time. Such was the case with Cancer, the UK’s death metal veterans who released some undeniable classics in the form of To the Gory End and Dead Shall Rise. They also released the horrid Spirit in Flames – but we won’t talk about that. Instead, we’ll focus on the fact that Cancer have reformed again, and have a new album, in the form of Shadow Gripped. And, other than the artwork, it’s an utter triumph. It’s the sound of a band who have learnt from past mistakes, and come back with something that can sit comfortably alongside their old classics. This is no-nonsense UK death metal, as vicious as ever, and it’s just what you want from Cancer.

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Review: Heads for the Dead – Serpent’s Curse

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Label: Transcending Obscurity Records

I want to make something clear at the start of this review: Heads for the Dead are a very good band, and Serpent’s Curse contains some excellent songs. Given that the international band features a whole host of experience – with main member, multi-instrumentalist Johnny Pettersson being in about a dozen different extreme metal bands of various styles – it would be a surprise if that was not the case. But it’s also an album that can be slightly frustrating, where its own ambition gets the better of it. Being a tour-de-force of different styles of death metal, Serpent’s Curse ends up being somewhat inconsistent, and less than the sum of its parts. But despite this, it is still a very good album, and one that I recommend whole-heartedly.

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Album of the Day Recap: 24/09/18 – 28/09/18

At the start of the week, I had the idea that I would try and focus on more beautiful, hopeful music this week. Yet, as you’ll see, by Tuesday that idea was long gone – and by Thursday, and the way the American government seemed to be treating survivors of sexual assault, nothing felt appropriate save absolute rage. Fuck the patriarchy. Burn it all down.

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Album of the Day recap: 17/09/18 – 21/09/18

It’s a hectic time recently, with lots of overtime at work – including weekends. But Album of the Day rolls on, and here’s this week’s recap, with Japanese hardcore; modern emo; soul-destroying doomgaze; brutal tech-death; and blackened screamo. Enjoy!

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Review: Bloodbath -The Arrow of Satan is Drawn

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Label: Peaceville Records

Can I confess something that, to some, will sound like a blasphemy? I’ve not really cared for Bloodbath before now. I’m not exactly sure why. I mean, I like death metal. I like Swedish death metal. I like Swedish death metal that recreates the glories of old, and seeks to do little beyond that. So, in theory, Bloodbath should be one of my favourite bands. And yet, before now, I’ve only ever reacted to them with a shrug. So, that context should be kept in mind when I talk about how excited listening to The Arrow of Satan is Drawn got me. It doesn’t do anything too different from previous Bloodbath albums; and yet, it felt as revelatory as hearing Left Hand Path or Like an Ever Flowing Stream did all those years ago. Can I work out why? Not really. But, when the results are this enjoyable, do I care? Not especially.

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Review: Piah Mater – The Wandering Daughter

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Label: Code666

Sometimes, a shadow hangs heavy over a record; a spirit, haunting every note, whispering in your ear, taking hold of your thoughts. Often, this is a bad thing; a solid enough record rendered less enjoyable because it makes you think of another, better band. And, for sure, the shade of Opeth looms large over The Wandering Daughter, the new album from prog-death band Piah Mater. But rather than taking anything away from the album, the comparison helps make clear just what an achievement The Wandering Daughter is, as this is a style of music many have attempted, but few have done so well, and this can stand right up to the best of those Swedish titans.

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