Castle – ‘Under Siege’ (Prosthetic)
Genre: Heavy/Doom Metal
The word that best describes Under Siege, the third release from San Francisco classic metal trio Castle, is power. This release is overflowing with powerfull riffs, powerful hooks and especially powerful vocals, thanks to singer/bass player Elizabeth Blackwell. Sounding stronger than ever, Blackwell belts out each song with angry abandon.
Classic fist-pumping melodies are the order of the day here, with a slight element of doom to keep things interesting. Standout tracks include “A Killing Pace” and the sinuous “Pyramid Lake.” Things bog down a bit with “Powersigns,” but pick back up again with “Labyrinth of Death and “Temple of the Lost,” before ending strong with “Evil Ways.”
(Karen A. Mann)
Comet Control – ‘Comet Control’ (Tee Pee)
Tee Pee Records
Genre: Psychedelic Metal
Comet Control might have had difficulty unplugging their Quest for Fire pedigree, but Comet Control yanks that connection and stands on its own as a psychedelic statement crafted by the some of the best musicians in the genre.
The five piece led by Andrew Moszynski, highlights Chad Ross and Nicole Howell’s downplayed vocals throughout in ways that Kylesa and Jefferson Airplane fuse to enhance the chemical colors of lysergic dream state. From the enchanting melodic guitar in the wonderful “Blast Magic” to the time-warp visit of underground sixties rock on the shamelessly entitled “The Soft Parade,” Comet Control is a view through a window pane into the haze of futures passed.
Hell – ‘Trilogy’ (Pesanta Urfolk)
Genre: Blackened Sludge/Doom Metal
If you missed out on getting the ultra-rare first edition cassette and second edition vinyl versions of Hell’s first three releases, Pesanta Urfolk has your answer. Trilogy, a four-LP picture disc box set will include vinyl versions of the band’s I, II and III releases as well as a poster and an insert, housed in a heavy box.
That’s an appropriate repackaging for this mysterious Salem, Oregon mostly one-person project. Each Hell release to date has been a dense fog of pure, soul-crushing heaviness, with elements of drone, ambient noise and black metal, all housed with carefully crafted extras.
(Karen A. Mann)
Infernal Curse – ‘The End Upon Us’ (Iron Bonehead)
Iron Bonehead Productions
Genre: Black Metal
The Argentinean skies must burn red with hellish flame as the earth cracks open to reveal the darkness of the abyss each time the mighty heathens Infernal Curse take up their instruments. Their newest occult-filled EP The End Upon Us is the group’s newest, and proves to be good, sacrificial filler between studio albums.
The four-song EP features three originals and a cover. Every track is filled with solid riffs and frenzied dive bomb solos. Blackened, thrashy, and noisey, The End Upon Us delivers the evil goods. The only distraction: enough reverb/echo to kill a goat or two.
Infirmary/Aetherium Mors – ‘Split’ (Bindrune/Eihwaz)
Bindrune Recordings/Eihwaz Recordings
Genre: Death Metal/Black Metal
Infirmary originally formed back in the early ’90s, and reformed a few years back. This is their debut release. The U.S. death metal band shares the split with the British outfit Atherium Mors, whose full-length debut was released in 2012.
Each band gets four tracks. Infirmary are straight ahead old school death metal. The songs are raw and groovy, and portend well for a future full-length. Aetherium Mors have more of a black metal vibe with raspy vocals, but also add elements of thrash and death metal. Their songs are extreme, but also varied and dynamic. Both bands deliver excellent performances.