Satyricon – ‘ Satyricon’


Likely to divide fans, this self-centred and self-titled release from Satyricon was certainly not written to please. Instead, it’s obvious that the duo’s art has undergone some serious experimentation, with flickers of their grim past and mannerisms that we haven’t seen from the Norwegians before. There is a large chunk of their irritatingly infectious black’n’roll apparent with simplistic drumming from an ever-militant Frost and the usual mid-tempo, fist pumping, stompy riffs. ‘Nekrohaven’ is likely to be as anthemic as ‘KING’ when in front of an audience, while ‘Pheonix’ offers an epic ballad akin to what ‘They Rode On’ is on the latest Watain. The album from here on in gets more interesting with some blackened doom in the form of ‘Nocturnal Flare’ and a complete change in tempo from frenzied ‘Ageless Northern Spirit. It’s this almost schizophrenic, primitive approach that stops listeners assuming this is just another ‘Now, Diabolical’ and whether or not it is for the better, Satyricon have evolved once again.

Small review published in Iron Fist


CARCASS- ‘Surgical Steel’ [10]


Seventeen years is a bloody long time to wait for a comeback but Carcass make it all worthwhile with an album that not only dusts the dried blood off of the amplifiers but matches in superiority to their previous masterpieces. Their last offering ‘Swansong’ was a poor way to duck out of the limelight but ‘Surgical Steel’ takes the best bits of pioneering favourites ‘Necroticism’ and ‘Heartwork’ and mould them into a perfect blend of melody and madness.

Since their hiatus began in 1996, bands from all over have taken the styles of both these albums, desperate to the reignite the flame of Carcass but regardless of which tools of the trade they chose, it hasn’t quite reached legendary. As soon as intro ‘1985’ fades out  and short but seriously heavy ‘Thrasher’s Abbatoir’ kicks in it is crystal clear this is Carcass and not one of their imposters. As the band slay through grind infused sections of ‘Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System’, the old-school angst remains despite a production so sharp it could slice you up. Former drummer Ken Owen shall forever remain a legend behind the kit, however latest recruit Daniel Wilding has a slight technical edge to his stick work that gives tracks including single ‘Captive Bolt Pistol’ a modern edge that pisses all over newer bands.

While the force of ‘Necroticism’’s blood flows strongly throughout the album, one cannot avoid the melodically genius guitar work that juxtaposes it. Bill Steer may be without Michael Amott but if anything, his solitary position allows him to swoop and solo a la ‘Heartwork’ at his own demise proving, and at times topping, the claim that Carcass invented the melodic death metal sound. Everything about ‘Surgical Steel’ proves that not only is this a magnificent comeback, but it could also be one of the greatest things Carcass have stitched together in terms of song-writing, musical prowess and production.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

‘Surgical Steel’ is out September 16th on Nuclear Blast

You’ll like this if…the thought of ‘Necroticisim being transplanted into the body of ‘Heartwork’ gets you grabbing for your apron

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Aborted @ The Garage, London

It seems to be common knowledge that if a death metal show is on at the Garage, you’re going to be crammed into the upstairs of the venue, making for a claustrophobic yet intimate show and ear plugs certainly required. Aborted were last on our shores back in February supporting Vader and if you thought The Underworld show was crazy, you’re in for a treat tonight.

Opening the night is a convenient yet obscure choice in the form of System Divide. Containing three Aborted members, including vocalist Sven and his wife Miri Millman (ex-Orphaned Land), the band are a far cry from the brutality on the rest of the line up with a beauty and the beast approach on the vocals that falls on its head a bit with this audience. Although the band is pumped up and the overall musicianship is strong, the melodeath tracks from debut ‘The Conscious Sedation’ are predictably commercial and lacking in grit.

London’s own Acrania are up next and the evening is swung to the other end of the heavy spectrum. With a sound akin to the likes of Whitechapel, the youngsters slam through their set of standard deathcore with breakdowns galore. With obvious brutal DM influence throughout, it seems this is enough to sway some of the audience who claim to be “anti-core”. The band may dub themselves as “politicore”, which is cringe worthy in itself, but there is nothing overly powerful about their presence other than the obvious.

The last year has seen death metal Brits Dyscarnate flourish under the spotlight, with great support slots, trips around the world and a well-received sophomore full length. Tonight is a perfect example as to why they deserve the attention. With a set similar to their appearance here earlier on in the year supporting Aeon, it explosive from the word go and it’s amazing to see a trio cause such a wonderful racket. Their straight-up death metal has no gimmicks and pummels you through chunky guitars and blistering drumming. ‘The Promethean’ still stands out as a favourite and with a new album on the way; it’ll be interesting to see how much more this band can evolve.

Celebrating the tenth anniversary of 2003’s Goremageddon album, Aborted are back on our shores after supporting the likes of Vader earlier on in the year. Although, the set list is relatively similar to February’s onslaught, the brutal death metallers show they’re suited to intimate venues, as vocalist Sven rabidly wonders the staged like a man possessed. Blending chuggy breakdowns with face-melting speed, the Belgians swoop through favourites such as ‘Origin of Disease’ and ‘Fecal Forgery’. The sound is tight with each piece of the brutality barricading you into its grasp. The crowd isn’t as mad as you expect but this doesn’t stop the night from being a success with the ending the perfectly bloodied cherry on top.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

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ULCERATE – ‘Vermis’ [8]


It’s been a brilliantly bleak year for death metal; with the likes of Coffins, Gorguts and Altars all bringing truly crushing albums into the world and Ulcerate are looking to join the elite. Fourth album ‘Vermis’ takes the ferocity of previous album ‘Everything Is Fire’ and the brutality of 2010’s ‘Destroyers Of All’ to concoct something that stamps the New Zealanders’ as inventors of pure evil.

Avoiding the standard formulas of death metal, Ulcerate replace speed and chugging with droning riffs and a post-metal vibe that makes any other album described as “crushing” resemble a musical mouse. The fact this album acts like a tidal wave of desolation makes it hard to accept that it was created by three human beings, with tracks such as ‘Weight Of Emptiness’ being lengthy and the guitar parts build up with a serious amount of dread, so you ‘re kept in suspense in the best possible way. With remnants of Demilich and Incantation spattered amongst ‘Vermis’, the album has no sporadic changes in speed or style and it’s this planned order that makes it feel even more terrifying. For those who don’t know ‘Vermis’ is Latin for “worm”, making the title name incredibly apt, as you feel like you are pinned down under a slithering weight, just waiting with no hope for an innovative yet imminent end.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

‘Vermis’ is out now on Sept 17th on Relapse

You’ll like this if… you often see the word “brutal” and feel it’s used wrongly

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GORGUTS – ‘Coloured Sands’ [7]


A death metal comeback is always going to be strongly anticipated but when two pioneering bands of different styles emerge from their studio graves, its mayhem waiting to happen. It’s been 12 years since Gorguts’ last release and although only the founder remains from the original line up, Luc Lemay has kept his roots well and truly grounded in their sound.

Their 1998 record ‘Obscura’ was a game changer on the scene, and though ‘Coloured Sands’ isn’t quite so avant-garde, it certainly confirms Gorguts are back and ready to slaughter. Their technicality is apparent without being arrogant like many younger bands and creates a haunting atmosphere rather than an epic one. The murky sludge of ‘Obscura’ oozes on certain tracks including opener ‘Le Toit Du Monde’ and in true Gorguts fashion, the bass is extremely prevalent causing additional density. The technical bruising and uneasy vocals help ‘Coloured Sands’ fit comfortably in today’s ocean of extremity and the chunky riffs and scatty drumming is bound to appeal, whilst the incredibly claustrophobic aura on tracks such as ‘Forgotten Arrows’ and ‘Absconders’ create a more underground stench. It’s a slow and suffocating experience but you’ll be glad you suffered brutality 12 years in the making. ‘The Battle Of Chamdo’ breaks things up as an orchestral instrumental and despite its softer sounds, it’s still capable of causing dramatic unease like a movie soundtrack and works as a breather before you are truly sucked into the ‘Coloured Sands’.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

‘Coloured Sands’ is out now on Season of Mist

You’ll like this if…asphyxiation via music sounds like the perfect foreplay

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Introducing – Bull Riff Stampede

To go from the unsigned New Blood stage to the SOPHIE Stage at Bloodstock within a year is quite the achievement from an independent band, and one that Bull-Riff Stampede are utterly thrilled by. First forming in 2008, the band predominantly from the South West have been had their current format for a mere year and have ticked off so many boxes on a band’s checklist. Their name is fitting, as their death/thrash metal has spread like wild fire and been trampled into the memories of many.

Their debut album ‘Scatter The Ground’ showcases their blend of all things heavy with a hint of traditional worship and despite BRS’ DIY attitude, you would never guess from the quality. “For us it was the most satisfying way to do it [independently]”, guitarist Jay and bassist Rod explain. “It allowed complete control over the tracking, the mixing, the art work and it’s the best we could possibly achieve at the time. We’re extremely proud of it and we just want everybody to hear it.” In the last few months along, they would have certainly covered a lot of ground, with slots at Hammerfest in March, Wacken Open Air and the second stage at Bloodstock recently, which have been the lads’ favourite gigs by far. “These particular festival billings represent to us the culmination and validation of the hard slog over the past couple of years, setting this band up and getting it out there”, they state. Seeing our name listed on those line-ups, on the same festivals as many of the bands we really look up to and know are kick ass live, it puts us in exactly the right place to give the best show we can. This in turn gives us the chance so many others don’t get, to put our music out the real metal heads who know what they do and don’t like.”


Many of their influences played alongside them at Bloodstock, including the likes of Exodus, Slayer and King Diamond and the fact they’re a part of home-grown festival is overwhelming, especially two years running. Despite all this excitement, the band has already completed their second album which Rod and Jay describe as “nasty, gritty and heavy enough to fall from the moon”.  With a tour this May with Beholder, they’ve been able to experiment with the new tracks and all has gone down well, so with the speed there are going at, Bull-Riff Stampede are likely to reach their ambition – “fourth album by 2018 and the Stampede continuing forward.”


Feature by Lily Randall

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Music vid

ENSNARED –‘Ensnared EP’ [6]


After a name change and move around in 2010, Swedish outlet Gravehammer reincarnated themselves as Ensnared and if you liked their previous form, you’re sure to enjoy their latest offering. In true Gothenburg style, Ensnared offer six songs of death metal muddied with occult themes and old school tendencies. By fusing both American and European DM influences and splattering them with black, the Swedes create a distinctive blend that will keep traditionalists content. Reincarnating rhythms akin to Nihilist and Repugnant keep the band somewhat bestial and whilst Gravehammer were okay, Ensnared sees the band evolving slightly more with harsher consequences.

Unlike their previous demo that included three tracks on this EP, the production is slightly less primitive with the band emerging from their underground caves and allowing their instruments to breathe a little. Needless to say, this by no means makes the EP clean and opening track ‘Adorations’ confirms this with uncompromising riffs and beastly drumming that continue throughout. For those who miss the underground noise of the likes of early Nominon or Entombed with a blackened twinge, Ensnared are an ideal stop gap and with only half an hour to go on this time round, we can only expect more from a full length.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

‘Ensnared’ is out Sept 6th on Nuclear Winter

You’ll like this if…you refuse to live past the nineties when it comes to death metal.

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