C.R.O.W.N – ‘Psychurgy’
Imagine the likes of Isis and Godflesh fighting to the death in a black hole, when all of a sudden one of them comes up from their darkened abyss and grabs you, pulling you into their disturbing brawl. C.R.O.W.N may only have two members to create such a disturbingly beautiful debut, but they do it with ease, each riff as mesmerizingly crushing as the next. The terrifying twosome from France may not have a drummer, but the programmed beats that accompany their gloom-riddled galaxy are heavy enough to push the sludge further and add a slight industrial tinge. The atmosphere created by the juxtaposed droning guitars and melodies is enough to keep the hour long album afloat with tracks such as ‘Psychokinesy II’ confirming that C.R.O.W.N’s own vision of delivering “the sound of a molten universe collapsing” is absolutely spot on.
4 out of 5
Immolation – ‘Kingdom of Conspiracy’
It’s often difficult to construct a truly beastly death metal album without turning to the usual checklist of old school production or technicality overload. Luckily US veterans manage to use their previous experience to create a ninth album that oozes with majestic brutality despite such a pristine production. Although it may seem a simple formula, Immolation’s decathlon of death avoids repetition with each song holding its own and beating the crap out of anything in its way simultaneously. The steady stomp of ‘God Complex’ leaves an unnerving trail, whilst ‘Indoctrinate’ is as pummeling as the topics throughout – a hatred of modern life. Although the themes may seem cliché, Immolation portray them with such ease and authenticity that all is forgiven.
4 out of 5
The Amenta – ‘Flesh is Heir’
Many may have described the latest offering from The Amenta as a more accessible listen but the ‘Flesh is Heir’s is by no means lacking in chaos. A slightly more organised chaos than predecessor ‘nOn’ perhaps but this only heightens the maturity the Australians have embraced. The Amenta still blend an array of genres into a thick, suffocating filth, however this onslaught entwines a few moments that allow you to catch a breath without it losing its unnerving atmosphere. ‘A ‘Womb Stone’ and ‘The Palimpesest’ display how industrial samples can create fear, whilst ‘Teeth’ is the perfect example of their feral ferocity of deathly proportions. Although there are moments that sound like Gojira or Decapitated losing their mind in a mental asylum, there is also a blackened tinge that further hammers your head with speed. ‘Flesh is Heir’ is full of a consistent rawness and although certain parts may please the “core” crowd, there isn’t really anything accessible about this terror.
3 out of 5
Shade Empire – ‘Omega Arcane’
You’d think that a band who describes themselves with four different elements of extremity would create something beautiful yet brutal. Unfortunately for Shade Empire, their symphonic blackened melodeath lacks the latter despite the titbits of death. ‘Omega Arcane’ shows a darker side of the Finnish band with more blackened influences but like many of their fellow Finns, they fall into a desperation for epic sounds. The length of particular songs cause your attention to veer off at times and the lack of ferocity in Shade Empire leaves them trailing behind others attempting this sound, such as Septic Flesh or Fleshgod Apocalypse. Bound to be on the checklist of anyone willing to drift off into a fantasy land of sound, this certainly isn’t for the bloodthirsty despite such a flawless display of musicianship.
2 out of 5
Coffins – ‘The Fleshland’
It may have been five years since Japan’s Coffins released their colossal ‘Buried Death’ full length but the doom/death hybrid of horror they’ve unleashed this time round is certainly worth the wait. With Relapse Records getting behind them for ‘The Fleshland’, the production creates the ideal juxtaposition of pristine, musical filth; the sludgy bass and haunting growls we’ve witnessed before from the band stopping you in your tracks. ‘Hellbringer’ and ‘No Saviour’ embrace the speedier side of the deathly grooves, whilst aptly named ‘The Colossal Hole’ and closer ‘Tormentopia’ engulf you in a slow motion manner of misfortune. ‘The Fleshland’ is certainly not going to be the top tourist attraction this summer, unless like us you have a love for musical masochism from Tokyo.
4 out of 5
Entrails – ‘Raging Death’
The saying “persistence is futile” springs to mind when the first notes of ‘Raging Death’ hit your lugholes. Despite being around for the majority of the nineties’ Swe-death revolution, Entrails were slow off the mark in releasing a full length and so by 2010, fellow countrymen had been established as pioneers of the genre. Although all three of Entrails’ releases have been full of groove-laden riffs and old school worship, their constant comparison to Entombed continues for ‘Raging Death’. It almost feels as though the band are trying to come off as some form of tribute act with familiar logo font and a sound so uncanny to the ‘Left Hand Path’, it’s a little cringe worthy. This does however, mean that what is displayed on ‘Raging Death’ is vintage rawness through sludgy, mid tempo death, d-beats and phlegm-riddled vocals. ‘In Pieces’ and ‘Carved to the Bone’ exhibit the formula flawlessly but the lack of originality leaves Entrails trailing behind.
3 out of 5
Reviews by Lily Randall
To be published in Iron Fist #5