Pit Lord: Seasonings in the Abyss to be released on Vinyl!

Do you like BBQ? Do you like death metal? Then you’ll love this duo from Davenport Iowa, known as Pit Lord. They deliver some deep smoked BBQ-themed death metal with a slathering of brutal riffs.

On July 24th they plan to release a full length album entitled “Seasonings in the Abyss” on a beautiful purple vinyl, limited to 250 copies. The wonderful full-cover artwork was done by Jason Grevas of Nooses, from Pheonix, AZ. (Check out their album of grind-infused Misfits covers here, pretty cool!) Jason is also a tattoo artist at Next Level Studio Tattoo & Piercing shop in Pheonix. Lyndon, bassist for Pit Lord, used to play with Jason in another band called Helmsplitter.

If you’re lucky enough to live in the area of Rock Island, Illinois, there’s a special event to commemorate the release of this album. Since they haven’t opened back up for shows since the Covid-19 shutdown, they’re just serving up some BBQ and slinging tunes and brews at WAKE Brewing, spinning record from their own collection and of course selling this vinyl as well as tshirts, patches, Aprons, Spatulas, and other various merch. The album and merch will also be available on their bandcamp also on July 24 for those of us not in the Rock Island area.

You can find Pit Lord’s previous releases and merch on their bandcamp, as well as stream them on Spotify. Check out the first single from Seasonings in the Abyss below.

Album Review: Limb Hymns by Cynicism

Releasing just in time for the July 3 bandcamp event where the service waives their profit sharing for artists, Boston’s Cynicism releases this illustrious debut album of grind-laden, gore-filled death metal songs with “Limb Hymns”.

This album is an excellent collection of death metal songs that are sure to please anyone who is a fan of those nasty riffs, pounding blast beats and fills with lots of *ting* and lots of chug, lyrical themes centered around cerial killers and dismemberment, and clever song titles that indicate dark humorous undertones. This one made me really miss live shows right now, there’s nothing like a good death/grind show, and I can tell this shit would be super fun to experience live. Hopefully when the virus chills out, I’ll get to see these guys make a stop through Rochester.

Check it out available now on their Bandcamp, in digital or CD format and with a cool little merch package available too! Good stuff. Hope to see you all on the road soon!

Bandcamp Day July 3 2020: Rachel’s Recs

It’s time for another bandcamp day! Today, July 3, Bandcamp is waiving fees for artists for 24 hours, which means when you buy a band’s album they get all your money. Pretty cool right? For the past events I’ve written a list of recommendations in case anyone out there isn’t sure where to spend their dollars to support their favorite underground artists. And I’m back with another list of albums I think deserve some attention.

Sweven: The Eternal Resonance

Were you, like me, massively heartbroken when Morbus Chron announced that they were splitting up after they released that incredible album Sweven? Well good news, if you didn’t already know about it, Robert Andersson, the driving creative force behind that sound, has gone on to found a new project titled appropriately “Sweven” which delivers more of that atmospheric reverb-laden, progressive, melodic death metal. I was beyond delighted when I discovered this one. The Eternal Resonance carries on in the same spirit that Morbus Chron ended with. If you opt to get the Vinyl, the artwork is just incredibly beautiful.

https://sweven.bandcamp.com/album/the-eternal-resonance

Convulsing: Grievous

Anyone who knows me knows I always prefer things that fall into the progressive and avant-garde categories. Convulsing is one such project that is a little bit death metal, a little doom, a little whatever. But it’s definitely extreme and heavy as fuck.

https://convulsing.bandcamp.com/album/grievous

Disembowel: Echoes of Terror

Sometimes you just want some regular old death metal – but GOOD death metal, right? Disembowl’s got that for you AND it’s available on cassette if you so choose to opt for that. I love everything about this down to the highly colorful gruesome artwork.

https://disembowel-maggotstomp.bandcamp.com/album/echoes-of-terror

Tines: EP

One of my favorite groups currently in the Buffalo area, these guys mix up a whole bunch of cool things like psychadelic, progressive rock, old school heavy metal and blues… and there’s keyboards! Sometimes it reminds me of Iron Maiden, sometimes Thin Lizzy, sometimes Boston? This little 2 song EP is just 2 killer tracks, and just $2! You can’t go wrong.

https://tinesrock.bandcamp.com/album/2-song-ep

In the Silence: A Fair Dream Gone Mad (2019 Remaster)

Back in 2013 In the Silence dropped this incredible alternative progressive metal album, and I’m pretty sure I bugged anyone and everyone I knew who was even kind of into this style to make them listen to it. I don’t know if I won them any fans then… but they popped back up on my radar recently when I realized a band I put on my list last month sounded a lot like this one… and it turns out they remastered this album last year. It’s a hard one to pin down, with elements of gothic metal, prog rock, a bit of atmosphere, but high energy, fast-paced riffs and lots of really cool stuff going on.

https://inthesilence.bandcamp.com/album/a-fair-dream-gone-mad-remastered-2019

Galar: De Gjenlevende

“Jorge Blutaar, the band’s lyricist, recently briefly explained the concept behind the album, which draws its inspiration from Pan-European folklore, ontology, and elegies. “Its five contemplative texts tell of the utter dreadfulness that haunts both the human mind and body when the season of winter holds every living thing in its grasp. Winter is the time of utter gloom, enfeeblement and inescapable death, which challenges mankind, beasts and plants equally. Yet, as long as there is life, there is hope, and eventually a new era of the Sun will bring to an end the seemingly eternal darkness of winter. With the arrival of spring hope and life will flourish once more. It is a portrayal of this cyclical process of transformation that is as old as the history of mankind itself””

All I can say is that I listen to this one a lot in the winter… it’s like… perfect for that. But also a good album any time of year. An absolutely haunting and beautiful blend of folk and black metal.

https://galar.bandcamp.com/album/de-gjenlevende

מזמור(Mizmor): Cairn

This is a one-man blackened doom metal project from Portland Oregon and I know what you’re thinking. But this is a standout for sure. It’s a truly stunning mix of black metal, doom, drone, and avant-garde metal, lots of brooding atmosphere, and also that artwork is pretty sweet.

https://mizmor.bandcamp.com/album/cairn

Acârash: Descend to Purity

This is the second album from Norwegian black-doom outfit Acârash. I believe I put their first album on one of my earlier lists. But they have truly outdone themselves on this one. I just love the mood and the sound of this band. They mix the bass right up front which I love, and there’s just an amazing tone on both the bass and guitars. The end result is beautifully dark and unclean the way good black metal should be.

https://acarash.bandcamp.com/album/descend-to-purity

Sno: Transcendence

If you’re reading this from the WNY area you probably now Sno as the guy behind the kit for Rochester legends Sarcous, Malformed, Nokturnal Hellstorm, Ancalagon and most recently Halothane. This is his avant-garde, progressive metal solo project. Purely instrumental. Throw the guy some bones, he’s an incredible musician that can do way more than perform the task of being the human metronome with blast beats.

https://snoofficial.bandcamp.com/releases

Sulaco: The Prize

Another Rochester band, these guys are uncategorizable, but if we tried we’d say they’re a little progressive, a little grind, a little death, a little noise, a little whatever. Just like a Rochester classic garbage plate, we like it all mixed up (with extra hot sauce please)

https://sulaco.bandcamp.com/album/the-prize

Kraków: Diin

I would say that ANY of Kraków’s albums are worth getting. Although I really hate the term “post-metal” I suppose it’s a genre name we’re stuck with now, and I guess that’s what I’d use to describe these guys. They’re all over the place as well, very experimental with elements of black metal, doom, sludge, psychedelic, “space” and progressive rock. This album also features some guest vocals from Enslaved’s Grutle Kjellson.

https://krakow.bandcamp.com/album/diin

You can also check out my previous lists from May 1 and June 5 because I still stand by all those recommendations as well. Happy shopping!

EP Review: Ascension by Thirsting Altar

Black metal serves the purpose of exploring the darkest parts of human nature. It gives voice to primitive dark emotions that we no longer have adequate names for. It’s a feeling most humans try to forget. Those of us that embrace our darker elements are drawn to these most extreme forms of music. If you’re a fan of extreme metal, I’m sure you know that feeling I’m talking about. It weighs heavy in your head, makes you grit your teeth and ball your fists, and sits right in the pit of your gut.

When I first listened to Ascension, the 3-track debut EP by the Portland-based two-piece black metal project Thirsting Altar coming out on July 14, I was hit with that feeling that made me fall in love with black metal the first time I heard it. With pounding drums, heavy and driven riffs, and the same adventurous experimentation that the pioneers of the genre have demonstrated throughout the years, it evoked all those old feelings that made me want to paint my face and hang out in the forest at night as a teenager – with a little less cheese. 

Thirsting Altar’s debut EP, “Ascension” is a concept album about a man who, driven to despair, turns to the dark path of the occult, allowing the opening of a gateway to the chaos realm. Disgusted with his world, longing for a way out, he turns to darkness. Through this isolation and loathing of himself and others comes transformation, but first must come self-annihilation. His spiritual path reaches its zenith as he surrenders, witnessing chaos’ ultimate plan and pledging himself as servant to its design.

This is a short and sweet one, so I’ll keep this review short and sweet. Thirsting Altar delivers a brooding, bold and sinister modern interpretation of the black metal genre with this EP. And I will be bookmarking these guys as an artist to watch in the future. Excited to hear more!

You can check out the EP for yourself when it is released digitally on July 14th through Spotify, iTunes, Google Play and Bandcamp.

Homecoming Signs with Blood Blast Distribution

Back in April I gave a shining review for Homecoming‘s debut Album LP01. It’s an album that just became an instant favorite for me, with an ambitious mix of progressive, stoner, sludge, atmospheric, post-metal and influences all over the spectrum of heavy music and beyond.

Just this week they’ve announced they have signed with Blood Blast Distribution, which specializes in releasing extreme music to digital streaming platforms, to put this album on popular streaming services like Spotify and Apple music. Now you can take Homecoming with you wherever you like to stream! And of course, this makes it so easy to share with your friends.

The first release is the single Planeswalker, and the rest of LP01 is set to be digitally released on July 24, 2020 worldwide. Of course you can always order a CD from the band’s Bandcamp if you’re like me and prefer to have physical copies of your albums.

Spotify
Apple Music

Album Review: Dethlehem – Maelstrom of the Emerald Dragon

Our longtime love of the warriors of Dethlehem is not a secret. This RPG themed melodic death band from Pittsburgh, PA was our go-to headliner for every Metal Webzine anniversary show; including this last one which didn’t happen due to COVID. From the first time I ever saw them at Broadway Joe’s back in 2013 or so, to the first time I bought out their supply of foam swords for an epic battle at Rockin’ Buffalo Saloon in 2016, these guys have been a Metal Webzine STAPLE. I’ve never found a “gimmick” band at their level so appealing before. Sure, many bands do the medieval armor thing, coupled with their own mystical lore, but Dethlehem have a personality all their own, and that’s why I’m once again happy to review a new record from them.

The album is called Maelstrom of the Emerald Dragon. It includes 5 theatrical tracks and 8 musical tracks, all telling the story of the dark elf, Veldras, who seeks dominion over a cosmic force known as the Emerald Dragon. With this force, she seeks to conquer the realm, and of course, it’s up to the warriors of Dethlehem to stop her at the behest of an ancient wizard.

Right off the bat, we’re greeted with a tale of the end of the universe and an ominous message claiming that the warriors of Dethlehem are dead. The eerie voice informs the listener that they’re about to take a journey back to the dawn of creation, leading us into a brilliant acoustic passage that makes me happy to be alive. This all acts as a segue to the first actual song, “A Tale that Time Forgot”.

Layered with thrashy drums, harmonized, quickly alt-picked, note driven riffing, and a beautifully syncopated harsh vocal pattern spinning a story of ancient times, it’s impossible for any fan of melodic death not to fall in love. And as is typically the case with most Dethlehem releases, the word “epic” just doesn’t do it justice. Fantastical lyrics, beautifully intertwined clean vocal breaks, heavy, chunky chorus riffs and higher registered guitar melodies founded in classical music, all make up Dethlehem’s captivating sound. It doesn’t matter if you’re not all that into melodic death metal or Dungeons and Dragons either. Another brilliant thing about the band is that despite their ultra specific themes and get-ups, they’re still very accessible to most fans of metal and hard rock music. They even throw in the occasional “breakdown”, though I don’t see anyone in the fan base doing spin kicks or fighting “the invisible ninjas” anytime soon. Dethlehem write tasteful “chunk and chug” in moderation, leaving the hardcore kids disappointed and the metal kids out of breath.

I love this band.

I could go on and on about every track, but I’ll just wrap this up with a favorite. My top track on MOTED is DEFINITELY “On the Backs of Giants”. I think it’s one of the more diverse tracks, but it also has the best riffs and the catchiest clean vocal melodies in my opinion. It also toggles back and forth between melodic/epic riffing and tasty grooves quite a bit, while keeping everything hooky and note driven throughout. The bombastic sounding keys/synths that come and go throughout the album also add a special something, giving the intros, choruses and outros big evocative boosts across the entire record.

Once again, the warriors of Dethlehem have produced a gem. And I won’t be spoiling the ending of this epic tale, so you’ll just have to grab the album for yourselves to discover the fate of the universe!

Due to COVID, there will be no CD release show for MOTED, however the band is planning a live Facebook event, complete with skits and a full playthrough of the album. Both the album release and the Facebook event take place on July 17, 2020.

You can find the event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/255296479092685/

Dethlehem are:

The legend of DETHLEHEM began in the realm of GHORUSALEM many eons ago. During their journey, the warriors of DETHLEHEM have traveled through time and space to do battle against dragons, wizards, warlocks, leviathans, shape-shifters, and a shit ton of other things that needed to DIE.

MEMBER BACKSTORY:

BRUTALITUS THE BLOODBEARD
LVL-30 (War Cry)

Brutalitus hails from a Dethlehem of another time…before the first cataclysm. Born into royalty, he was once a honorable protector of the land alongside his brother Sulumor. An ancient evil was accidentally unleashed by his brother and covered the world in darkness, also cursing his left eye which is referred to as the “Eye of the Abyss”.


BOVICE
LVL-32 (Lead Axe)

A virtuous White Knight who holds a strong bond to the good spirited, yet holds no remorse in his ferocity. Bovice has an unprecedented power to reach Insanity LVL-10 if his Intimidation check is high enough. However, even without a modifier, Bovice’s Pretentiousness is MAX LEVEL.


OVERLORD BROM
LVL-?? (War Drums)

Brom is a very powerful brute knight who never takes his helmet off unless he gets hot and is always prepared for battle. Rumor has it that he slipped out of his mother’s womb with ease when the midwives greased his helmet with old butter. Today, Brom enjoys the three Bs of life — beer, boobs, and battle!

GRIMSHAW LONGFELLOW LVL-12” (Guitar With Less Strings) Grimshaw is the ranger of the group. He’s a dude. Legend has it that he is still a virgin.

Immortal Terror 2020

First of all, who decided to tug on my heart strings by releasing a “new” Immortal Terror album in 2020?! In all seriousness though, you can’t beat this tracklist. Right off the bat, I must admit that this will be more of a nostalgia piece than an album review.

Since I didn’t enter the metal scene until 2000(ish), I completely missed The Skyroom. I’ve heard many stories, but none of them really did the place justice. I didn’t feel like I ever truly learned the vibe of the place until I heard this latest Immortal Terror release.

Immortal Terror were, for all intents and purposes, Buffalo’s first grind band. And as such, this collection of IT’s “big hits” comes jam packed with both live and studio material. More importantly, it’s also an homage to guitarist Jeff Budziszewski, who recently passed away.

Roughly the first 12 tracks on this album were recorded live at Skyroom on September 16th, 1990. I was just entering kindergarten at the time, so I couldn’t be there. I’m really sorry, guys. I tried my best, but my teacher was too busy locking us in a room and preaching country music.

Getting back to THIS music, I love these live tracks, mostly because the “in-between song banters” weren’t edited out or cut down at all. At least, they don’t appear to be. You can hear the awkward frontman segues and the even more awkward communiques between the band and the sound guy about levels. You can also hear the crowd and even pick out the voices of people who clearly know the band members personally. Getting in the zone during this listen, I could smell the piss and beer on the concrete floor. I could feel the stickiness of the floor under my sneakers, due to spilled beverages. I could even smell the Marb Reds sparking all around, since people were smoking in NYS bars back then.

And another thing that really takes me back is the “old school demo sound” when getting into the studio tracks. After talking with Jim Santillo (drums), he informed me that both the demo and live tracks that appear on this album were recorded at Skyroom. And I must say, for a grindcore band, the demo quality present on these recordings is perfect. All in all, this is a FILTHY sounding album. This latest Immortal Terror release is 25 tracks of pure, fast, grimy grindcore.

Though, not all the credit can be given to Immortal Terror in their original form. This album also includes an unreleased 1991 demo from Casket, a 2018 track from Casket and a 2019 track from Anthropic – Jim’s current band.

Casket, was a project of Jeff and Jim’s that never got off the ground …UNTIL NOW!

It’s also worth mentioning that A LOT went into putting out this CD. This stuff isn’t available online and due to the pandemic, Jim had to mail me my copy. However, I can’t complain about any of this, because it just added to the throwback experience of it all.

In putting out this album, Jim had the live and demo recordings remixed by Doug White at Watchmen Studios. Doug has been cranking out recordings for local bands since 1995 and he’s a pillar of the scene to be sure. The Casket material was remixed by Glenn Szymanski (Tines), Brian Pattison (Anthropic, Glorious Times) and Doug White (Watchmen). Furthermore, Bob Bieber (Lucky DeVille Tattoo) designed the album cover. The cover logo was designed by Lamont Bell and the photo on the back is from the earlier referenced 1990 Skyroom show.

Fans of all grindcore and (most) death metal, and ESPECIALLY WNY metal scene natives NEED this collection of great tunes and nostalgic moments in their album collections!

Again, I tried to make this an album review, but in the end, I couldn’t. I have far too much bias in me at the moment. If you are part of this scene now, or have ever been before, and any of this means anything to you on an emotional level, contact Jim through Anthropic and get your hands on this disc!

Album Review: Wasted Space – I Repeat Myself When I’m In Distress

From the creators of Squatch, comes a brand-new arrangement of groovy riffs and heavy tones for WNY to sink its teeth into. Wasted Space‘s EP, I Repeat Myself When I’m In Distress is a fun listen on YouTube, catering to fans of sludge, hardcore, modern death metal and even a dash of punk rock. Much like with Squatch, Jeremy Swartout is back with his usual arsenal of simple grooves, chaotic speed picking patterns and cacophony of dissonant chords, providing a nice, thick layer of “CHONK” beneath Matt Lupkin’s harsh vocals.

Vocally, this EP I feel, has a lot in common with Poison the Well, Norma Jean and The Chariot. So, basically, the tones at the forefront of this album hearken back to the metalcore and hardcore bands leading the scene in the early 2000s. All this being said though, it’s hard for me to find anything wrong with this release. The nostalgia I feel when listening to I Repeat Myself When I’m In Distress makes it difficult for me to be objective. But on THAT note, could this album be “dated”?

After two full listens, I’m confident that there’s enough modern influence in these songs to cater to a younger crowd. People fairly new to the scene who are into this style will probably like it, while at the same time, this EP will GREATLY appeal to people like me in their mid-thirties, who were coming up in the scene twenty years ago and LOVING all the aforementioned bands leading the charge for metalcore and hardcore.

Switching gears now, I’ve heard Collin Folger (drums) play a number of styles proficiently. From straight forward heavy metal, to deathcore, to progressive, to the amalgamation that Wasted Space have become, Folger has definitely set a bar for himself and others. Speaking as a former drummer, he always has me guessing and his choices and arrangements are always spot-on.

Yet, the same can also be said for guitarist/bassist, Jeremy Swartwout, when it comes to his diversity as a player. Between Squatch and Wasted Space, Jeremy has brought a nice versatility vibe into the scene that will hopefully continue to churn out quality for years to come.

Personally, I’ll be tucking I Repeat Myself When I’m In Distress into my stack of almost twenty-year-old metalcore albums, and sneaking it into an online playlist of Poison the Well, Norma Jean and Dillinger Escape Plan songs. But again, younger fans of these styles should also love this. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last twenty years, it’s that breakdowns, dissonant chords, “chonky” riffs and bloodcurdling screams aren’t going anywhere. It doesn’t matter how “modern” your sound is, or how hard you “djent” in this crisp, digital metal age we are living in. Wasted Space’s sound is just as accessible now as it was twenty years ago. I look forward to more music from them. Cheers.

Wasted Space are:

Drums – Collin Folger
Guitar/Bass – Jeremy Swartwout
Vocals – Matt Lupkin

Check out the new EP on YouTube here:

Bandcamp Day 3: Rachel’s Recs

On March 20, Bandcamp held an event to help artists during the Covid-19 pandemic where they waived their revenue sharing for bands and artists, so that all purchases made that day went directly to the artists. The event went so well that they decided to do more, again on May 1, June 5 and July 3 (the first Friday of each month). For each event I’ve made recommendations (although the first one was just posts on my Facebook and not an article). But keeping with tradition, I’m returning once again with a fresh list of recommendations in case you’re not sure where to spend your dollars to help out these artists on June 5.

Elfspell: The River Giant Rises

This is/was project band by some superstars of the Rochester scene laying down some heavy fantasy-laden doom. But also, they have decided to dedicate all proceeds from this album to The Innocence Project which uses DNA evidence to acquit wrongfully accused persons of crimes – many of them on death row.

http://elfspell.bandcamp.com/album/the-river-giant-rises

Lesser Glow: Nullity

Just recently I gave a review to this album. It’s short and sweet, because honestly I feel this album speaks for itself. It doesn’t need me writing a bunch of words about tone and composition and atmosphere… it just IS fantastic. Some crushing heavy sludge, but also melodic, atmospheric post-metal passages, and just as I like, a little big progressive.

https://lesserglow.bandcamp.com/album/nullity

Eira: Lacrimosa

This beautiful gem came out in 2014 in Buffalo. A 2-man studio project by some of Buffalo’s most underrated and talented players. It’s a melodic progressive blackened death metal gem… but that hardly adequately describes the sonic landscape painted here. Give it a listen, and consider giving your dollars too. They’re only asking $4, but this album is worth so much more. Hopefully we’ll see some more from this project again someday!

https://eirametal.bandcamp.com/?fbclid=IwAR0nzJJQFSoiYWkSO1q-3zcF2oq0QuUcBOsM45OX147QRuz9TXmwKfgK9X8

Halothane: The Serpent’s Gaze

Obviously I HAD to include this recent release from Rochester’s forerunners of Melodic Death Metal with bits of prog. With echoes of old Dark Tranquility, In Flames, and Opeth, their most ambitious release is sure to get your booty shaking. Check out our review and interview and then check out the album!

https://halothanemusic.com/album/the-serpents-gaze

Votum: :KTONIK:

Hailing from Warsaw, Poland, Votum delivers an absolutely stunning, melancholic dark progressive metal laced with electronic and ambient passages and a good balance of clean and harsh vocals. I stumbled on this one right after I published my last list and bookmarked it for this one. 

https://votum.bandcamp.com/album/ktonik

Cemetery Echo: Come Share My Shroud

We’ve covered Cemetery Echo here before. Veterans of the Buffalo metal scene came together to bring us this delightful spooky metal/death rock mashup they’re calling haunt n roll.

https://cemeteryecho.bandcamp.com/album/come-share-my-shroud

Oak Pantheon: Sol

Some wonderfully melancholy melodic neo-folk metal from Minneapolis.

https://oakpantheon.bandcamp.com/album/sol

The Death Wheelers: I Tread On Your Grave

Some sleazy doom with lots of fuzzy distortion about a motorcycle club come back from the dead, what’s not to love?

https://thedeathwheelers.bandcamp.com/album/i-tread-on-your-grave

Axion: Haunt

Axion is the synthwave project of Rochester’s Josh Mason (Throne of Wilderness, Nazgul, Acrylazea, Verdus and many more) and this is the latest release under that name. There’s also an option to buy all his releases for a discounted price here.

https://axion.bandcamp.com/album/haunt-2

Vultur: Drowned on Gangrenous Blood

Here’s some old school style death metal from Athens, Greece that’s sure to get your blood pumping.

https://vultur.bandcamp.com/album/drowned-in-gangrenous-blood

Deathronation: Hallow the Dead

More excellent, dirty death metal from Nuremberg, Germany.

https://deathronationvanrecords.bandcamp.com/releases