Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of February 3, 2015

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Atomicide - 'Chaos Abomination' - Iron  Bonehead Productions

Atomicide – ‘Chaos Abomination’. Iron Bonehead Productions

Atomicide – ‘Chaos Abomination’ (Iron Bonehead)

Genre: Death/Thrash Metal
After releasing several demos over the past decade, the Chilean trio Atomicideunleashed their debut album a couple years ago. They follow that up with Chaos Abomination.

It’s raw death metal with thrash influences. The tempos are generally fast, with dense riffs and flailing drums. The guttural vocals have plenty of echo and are low in the mix. It’s a chaotic ride at times when the speed becomes nearly blinding, but just before heading off the rails they dial it back into a groove for a bit before stomping on the accelerator again.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Black Cilice – 'Mysteries' - Iron Bonehead Recordings

Black Cilice – ‘Mysteries’. Iron Bonehead Recordings

Black Cilice – ‘Mysteries’ (Iron Bonehead)

Genre: Black Metal
Listening to Mysteries, the third LP from Portuguese one-man black metal entityBlack Cilice can be a trying endeavour. The mysterious project takes the idea of lo-fi very seriously on these six tracks of frost-bitten kvlt black metal.

Most listeners will likely have a hard time reconciling the distant percussion, the tremolo melodies (however beautiful they may be) hiding in the mix, and the static, cracked and ancient sounding synths/vocal howls. No doubt intentional production values aside, the parts that make the whole are well done and effective at invoking feelings of cold bitterness and deep-rooted melancholia. It’s just too bad it didn’t sound better. Then again, it’s not supposed to.

Rating: 3
(Matt Hinch)

Callisto – ‘Secret Youth’ - Svart

Callisto – ‘Secret Youth’. Svart

Callisto – ‘Secret Youth’ (Svart)

Genre: Atmospheric Sludge Metal/Post-Hardcore
Feeling moody? Good, so are Finnish quintet Callisto and their fourth full-length release Secret Youth, a record that hears a lighter approach to the band’s otherwise heavy and emotive footfall. It’s a post-hardcore party, for sure, and while the punch is definitely spiked with typically somber guitar passages, the overall effect is quite haunting.

Helmed by the plaintive vocal work of Jani Ala-Hukkala, whose cleans greatly outweigh the album’s occasional bursts of harsh roars, Secret Youth wields a distinctly subdued and partially gothic mélange, like some muddled pairing of Beastmilk and Mouth of the Architect. Not every song hits a softened nerve, but tracks like “Lost Prayer” and “Ghostwritten” manage to find their way under your skin and into your bloodstream in rapid succession.

Rating: 3.5
(Evan Mugford)

The Clan Destined – ‘In The Big Ending’ - Hammerheart Records

The Clan Destined – ‘In The Big Ending’.Hammerheart Records

The Clan Destined – ‘In The Big Ending’ (Hammerheart)

Genre: Folk Metal

Fronting the likes of thrash icons Sabbat and the innovative folk band Skyclad, vocalist Martin Walkyier has endured and been hollering out his melodies since the mid ’80s. His latest band is The Clan Destined, who unveil their debut offeringIn the Big Ending. Their sound fuses straightforward metal and punk with the familiar folk melodies that were featured throughout his Skyclad project.

The EP features five originals and a Julian Cope cover as it clocks in at just under thirty minutes. Walkyier’s melodies are infectious and unique as he consistently presents an individualistic style. Originally recorded in 2004, it is finally seeing the light of day despite the fact that Walkyier is the only member still in the band since the recording.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Daemon Pyre - 'Daemon Pyre' - New Justice Records

Daemon Pyre – ‘Daemon Pyre’. New Justice Records

Daemon Pyre – ‘Daemon Pyre’ (New Justice)

Genre: Death Metal
Daemon Pyre hail from Sydney Australia, and were formed from the ashes of the band As Silence Breaks. Their self-titled debut album is diverse, but also cohesive.

The songwriting is excellent, blending memorable grooves and pounding riffs with atmospherics that add even more depth. Some parts are dense and technical, but the next groove is always right around the corner.  Vocalist Sam Rilatt also delivers a varied performance, his harsh vocals ranging from guttural growls to tortured yells. The album wraps up with a guest appearance from Psycroptic vocalist Jason Peppiatt.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Dead in the Manger – ‘Cessation’ - 20 Buck Spin Records

Dead in the Manger – ‘Cessation’. 20 Buck Spin Records

Dead in the Manger – ‘Cessation’ (20 Buck Spin)

Genre: Grindcore/Black Metal
Dead in the Manger’s full-length debut layers on contemptuous attitudes and seething fierceness on par with their first EP Transience. The members keep their identities cloaked in secrecy, putting all the focus on the raging music. Their black metal/grind hybrid is amped up, as is the melodic leanings present on most tracks.

The pacing switch from manic to reserved has no hitches. For an album this cerebral, there are moments that could be considered tranquil, however fleeting they may be. Like their EP, with the songs being labeled in parts, Cessation is invaluable as a complete listening experience.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Devilish Impressions – ‘Adventvs’ - Hammerheart Records

Devilish Impressions – ‘Adventvs’. Hammerheart Records

Devilish Impressions – ‘Adventvs’ (Hammerheart)

Genre: Black Metal
Three years after their last release, Poland’s Devilish Impressions are ready to unload a stopgap EP before they finalize their latest full-length album.Adventvs is two tracks that clock in at seventeen minutes and is the perfect amalgamation of different genres. Rooted in black metal, they also combine death and symphonic elements throughout for a diverse affair.

“Adventvs Regis” is a torrid ten-minute ambitious track that blends blast beats, gothic overtones and groove inspired riffs all coinciding with vocalists Quazarre’s hellish shrill vocals. The tremolo picking and orchestration of “Meteoron” brings to mind modern day Septic Flesh that includes a melodic breakdown showcasing their strong songwriting.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Gnaw Their Tongues - ‘Collected Atrocities 2005-2008‘ - Crucial Blast Recordings

Gnaw Their Tongues – ‘Collected Atrocities 2005-2008‘. Crucial Blast Recordings

Gnaw Their Tongues – ‘Collected Atrocities 2005-2008‘ (Crucial Blast)

Genre: Black Metal/Experimental
Prior to the release of 2007’s An Epiphanic Vomiting of Blood, Gnaw Their Tongues released a set of ultra-limited EPs and tracks, which quickly went out of print. Here, they are presented in all of their disgusting, grimy, densely layered glory.

Each track, simply put, sounds like the soundtrack to something terrible happening. Utilizing influences from noise, doom metal, drone, black metal and industrial, Collected Atrocities 2005-2008 turns out to have a pretty apt title.

Rating: 3
(James Gamble)

Goryl – 'Father of Witches & Father of Evil Witches' - Medusa Crush Records

Goryl – ‘Father of Witches & Father of Evil Witches’. Medusa Crush Records

Goryl – ‘Father of Witches & Father of Evil Witches’ (Medusa Crush)

Genre: Minimalist Metal
Father of Witches & Father of Evil Witches is the combination of two EPs by those names receiving a very limited cassette release. Both appeared last summer and are the work of the instrumental one-man unit known asGoryl, who takes a minimalist approach using only a slightly overdriven lone guitar.

There’s plenty of feel here as it sounds like he’s just letting his heart dictate what the fingers are doing. Bluesy, droning passages repeat with minor changes that never take away from the recording’s emotional heart. It’s not very exciting though as it’s the sort of contemplative music that could soundtrack sitting in a rocking chair on the porch thinking about life’s triumphs and tribulations.

Rating: 3
(Matt Hinch)

Hellish Outcast – ‘Stay of Execution’ - Listenable Records

Hellish Outcast – ‘Stay of Execution’. Listenable Records

Hellish Outcast – ‘Stay of Execution’ (Listenable)

Genre: Thrash Metal
Hellish Outcast are a thrash metal band from Bergen Norway who are excellent when blasting away your eardrums at the beginning of this album. One track that stands out is “I Can No Longer See The Sun.”

After a solid first half of an album the consistency drops quite a bit as some of the songs go on for a bit too long and tend to drag. If you are looking for some decent thrash early in this calendar year then perhaps Hellish Outcast are for you.

Rating: 3
(Tom Campagna)