Monday, March 28, 2022

Full Length Review: Ravenfield "Pain" (Alster Records) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Ravenfield
Location: Dachau
Country: Germany
Genre: Dark rock
Full Length: Pain
Format: CD
Label: Alster Records
Release date: March 18, 2022
I have to tell you, it’s been quite a while since I’ve covered an Alternative/Metal album and it’s refreshing as hell! Time to talk about this new 10 track record which is the second studio album by Ravenfield.
You know as I’m sitting here listening to this album I can’t help but hit a wall of nostalgia because this is the kind of style I would binge back in my ever so ‘cloudy’ youth. I would play albums by bands like
-Stone Sour
-Alter Bridge
-Rev Theory
I mean these guys put me into a mood that not many other genres could replicate and for that reason I have a soft spot in my heart for this unique type of sub-genre.
Back to THIS record, I love everything about this. First all the gentle yet encapsulating experience the production gives off is WILD! Because you have that classic Alternative trademarks with the amazing clean vocals and those groovy, catchy instrumentation patterns and notes, the type that stay stuck in your head for days or even months to come!
I love how every track has its own personality and character, although it all flows together as one solid collection of songs the magic is the fact that each piece of music can stand on its own two feet. Each track has its own catchy chorus, its own original vocal harmonies that don’t try to copy any other song on the same record, each song feels refreshing and can stand alone as a single to represent the craftsmanship of the band members involved.
Another thing I really love is the vocals, I know I already technically touched on that a little above but man Polo you are the man (literally and figuratively) his singing ability (even for alternative metal standards) is unbelievable, truly this is some of the most captivating singing and harmonies I’ve heard not only all year but in the sub-genre period, he knows how to capture every note, every vibe, every notion has a reason and every guitar note a purpose.
At the end of it all, the only word I can find myself saying is ‘WOW’ this thing left me beside myself and then some! It’s beautifully produced, polished and executed. I felt like I was in some sick sense of euphoria, thrown back and forth into some new world inside my own mind that I didn’t want to come out of.
I advise all you readers to check out this band from Germany, they kick ass in more ways than one and this album could easily be ‘metal album of the year’ contender for sure. Link below don’t be a fool, check it out! Corban Skipwith

Polo: Vocals, guitar
Marco: Guitar
Uli: Bass
Rio: Drums

Track list:
1. Faith To Hate
2. Obsession
3. Killer
4. Circles
5. Monster
6. The Pain (feat. Michelle Darkness)
7. Autumn
8. Downfall
9. Fast And Curious
10. Chains

Saturday, March 26, 2022

EP Review: Matt Springfield "Poplife!" (AKA Music) by Corban Skipwith

Artist: Matt Springfield
Country: France
Genre: New wave, pop punk, synth
Format: Digital
Label: AKA Music
Release date: 2021
Words can’t describe how good it is to have something different arrive on my doorstep so to speak! I feel most times I review so many of the sounds and sub genres! (Not that I don’t love these sounds) but to have the occasional curveball land on my lap makes me such a happy guy and today I can tell you this record is one of the most unique and groovy I’ve heard all year (even though It came out last year).
So this EP comes with five tracks
-Poplife! (Radio Edit)
-Things I’ve Said (Jelle Haasnoot Mix)
-The End Of Life
As the EP’s name may suggest this is best described as a ‘Pop Punk’ record with a hint of ‘Synth Pop’ flowing through it and honestly it sounds brilliant! Sometimes the best albums are the ones that execute the ‘Quality over Quantity’ method and this EP is the shining example of that.
The entire listening experience for me was so fun it just made want to dance around and get active! very few records I’ve listened to (for review purposes) have made me feel this energetic and lively, Matt took the best elements of Punk, Pop and Synth and created a five track paradise where anyone no matter how you feel or what you’re going through in life can play this record and just vibe to your hearts content.
Personally this reminded me of ‘Green Day’ if they became more Pop influenced, the singing style and the instrumentation just reminds me of their later era which I mean isn’t a knock on either Matt or ‘Green Day’, just an observation on what I believe the sound came from in my personal biased.
Every song on here is great, every song has a groovy, irresistible beat, the vocals are infectious and easy to sing along to and the track lengths are the perfect size to not be too long to the point where it becomes ‘stale’ or ‘over staying it’s welcome’. It’s absolutely perfect in structure, production and groove.
Overall, I haven’t had this much in years! It’s the perfect example of what can happen if you want to have fun and just groove! I can definitely see myself replaying this over and over again. Please go check this out when you can because you won’t regret it. Corban Skipwith

Track list:
1. Poplife! (Radio Edit)
2. Things I’ve Said (Jelle Haasnoot Mix)
3. Haunted
4. The End Of Life
5. Poplife

Friday, March 25, 2022

Full Length Review: Various Artists "A Time Of Sorrow" (Ocularis Infernum, Black Tears) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Various Artists
Full Length: A Time Of Sorrow
Format: Digital album, CD
Label: Ocularis Infernum, Black Tears
Distributed by: Wine & Fog Distribution, Nadir Music
Release date: December 25, 2021
We are officially back guys and today we are discussing a compilation album created in 2021 and released on Ocularis Infernum and Black Tears with fourteen tracks featuring the following bands.
-Angel Of Anger
-In Autumn
-Forsaken Legion
-Seraphs From Hell
-Obscurum Malum
So, first impressions? This is some kickass collection of various Metal with each band giving their own refreshing take, direction and stamp on the respective sub genres. This is where having a compilation album has it’s pros because honestly I’m not the biggest fans of those types of records unless it’s a soundtrack to something but as I said the one thing good about them is that it can show many different sides and variety of a certain sound which can be great for the sonic palette.
I will say, I like the overall ‘dark and brooding’ nature of this record. It has this real doom feeling to it that I really like, among all the bands and songs they seem to all feature these incredible display of expert drumming, technically sound guitar and some absolutely groovy base. I also love how despite the ‘heavy’ nature of the record they know when to switch it up and bring something new to the record.
For example the third track in ‘What’s Done is Done’ which sounds like this Symphonic metal/Alternative Metal hybrid that is angelic to the ears, it has this amazing melody for the chorus, such a soft spoken yet hypnotic singing combined with those long, captivating guitar patterns in the background as he’s singing only to be followed up by a short guitar solo it’s all perfectly timed!
This is what I was talking about earlier about compilation records, for those who aren’t down with listening to a full album by a band or artist because they don’t want to hear the same sound for a certain length of time then these things provide the perfect amount of mystery, diversity and new sounds that help those types of people enjoy multiple different styles at once.
Do I find this an album I would personally play on repeat? Honestly I’m not the biggest fan of these types of records but considering the amount of really great tracks, the top notch production and the level of pure ability each artist brings to the table then yeah there’s no reason why I wouldn’t play this in the background while I’m walking my dog, cleaning or playing PS4.
Do you fit the description of someone who needs a whole collection of styles to keep you entertained? Then this is the perfect record for you. It’s purposely shuffled in sound, it’s masterfully created and It’s just a fun show bag of ‘what’s what?’ all wrapped up in an absolute banger of a record. Go check it out below! Corban Skipwith

Track list:
1. Natron (Death Metal): Undead Awake
2. Angel Of Anger (Black/Death/Gothic Metal): Ars Moriendi
3. In Autumn (Death/Dark Metal): What’s Done Is Done
4. Desecrate (Melodic Death Metal): Burning Books
5. Forsaken Legion (Black Metal): Inner Shadow
6. Gorepest (Black Metal): Ceremony Of Xul
7. Humangled (Death Metal): Wallstreetcleaner
8. Stormcrow (Alpine Black Metal): Nanga Parbat
9. Orve (Black Metal): Unmasking The Lamb
10. Kryptonomicon (Death/Black Metal): The Experiment Of Dr. K
11. Cronoth (Raw Black Metal): Uncrowned King
12. Seraphs From Hell (Death/Black Metal): Cynical Raid
13. Dowhanash (Draco Metal): O.N.W.O.
14. Obscurum Malum (Raw Shaman Black Metal): Phantasma

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

EP Review: 156 "Humanize/Dehumanize" (Independent) by Corban Skipwith

Band: 156
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Country: USA
Genre: Experimental noise
Format: Digital, 5" and 4" plexi-glass picture disc lathe set
Label: Independent
Release date: January 1, 2022
Oh man, what do we have here? I can already tell this is going to be one of the weirdest releases I’ve covered all year!
For context this is a four track EP with two different types it seems of the first two tracks.
1. Humanize (5″ Version)
2. Dehumanize (5″ Version)
3. Humanize (4″ Version)
4. Dehumanize (4″ Version)
So get this, this is the actual description given on the Bandcamp link.
The record (as well as the digital download) features the track “Humanize”, which is meant to also be played backwards, as is the track “Dehumanize”, and they are brief meditations on sickening tortures carried out by authoritarian regimes - and even supposed “democratic countries” - the world over.
How fucking insane is that? My mind is blown by this. What kind of person even has an idea to do this? Or make this kind of album? Truly the world of music is an endless abyss and the more you search for the bottom the more strange the results you find. This EP is insane for so many reasons, firstly the idea behind it described above! Secondly the sound which honestly sounds creepy as fuck, it’s a combination of
-Dark Ambient
-Meditation all of the ingredients needed to make a fucked up sonic pie with extra chills. I’m going to go out on a limb and say I won’t find a project more unsettling, more deranged and morbid then this. The whole time I was listening I felt my nerves standing up, my brain was having a panic attack and my soul was breaking apart piece by devastating piece. The album is done and I can still feel the sounds crawling around in my head, truly unsettling stuff, wow.
I don’t say this often but listen at your own discretion. This thing may be short in length with only four songs but it has the power of a fucking hammer. This EP is a fine example of what someone or a group of people could do when given the ultimate, unrefined freedom to create anything they want and chose to create the sonic equivalent of fear, pandemonium and internal panic. I’m not kidding guys it’s been well over ten minutes since I listened to this thing and I still feel uneasy writing this! Check this out if you have the balls because you’ll need a large pair to get through this nightmare of a record. Corban Skipwith

Adel Souto: All instruments

Monday, March 21, 2022

Full Length Review: Muert "Haeresis" (Immortal Frost Productions) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Muert
Country: Spain
Genre: Death/black metal
Full Length: Haeresis
Format: Digital album, CD
Label: Immortal Frost Productions
Release date: January 28, 2022
Oh my! You guys ain’t ready for this!!
What’s up everyone, today we will be discussing the January 2022 release by this Death Metal/Black Metal beast of a band! And the 8 new tracks they’ve blessed the Metal community with.
Now, from the very moment you push play on the intro track your senses are sent into overload by this devastatingly devious instrumentation that can only be described as Lucifer’s personal sonic entourage! The opening track KICKED MY ASS holy shit! Talk about brutal! It’s none stop face melting drum patterns and guitars without a single pause or break to breathe, ironically the intro track is called ‘Metal’ because there really is no other way to describe the pure carnage we are witnessing!
You know it’s my personal opinion (and experience) that when a band tries to identify themselves as both Black Metal and Death Metal it ends up turning into either one of these scenarios.
1. They always lean too heavily to one side of the genre and completely leave out the other.
2. Try way too hard to mash both sounds together, resulting in a ‘forced’ mixture of both which just ends up sounding like unpleasant noise in the end.
But even though that’s normally the case, this band has hit the nail right on the satanic head with this record. They have seemed to found that preverbal ‘sweet spot’ incorporating the best attributes and trademarks of both and blending them NATURALLY to end up with a river that streams both sounds.
You have the vocals which heavily resemble the Black Metal side of things with those heavy growls and raspy screams that could terrify the hardest hardened criminal! Then combined with those absolutely terrifying vocal performance you can hear that bursting instrumentation! Those heavy handed guitar riffs that sound 100 pounds per string just weighting down the world around them, those faced paced, face melting drum patterns that resemble to me ‘Cannibal Corpse’ the Godfathers of Death Metal in their ferocious nature and sickening accuracy and technical ability.
It really isn’t fair that a band this savage, this grotesquely talented can pull off such a remarkably sound, balanced and creative record! It has literally everything a metal head could want from the acclaim of making one of the hardest records I’ve heard this year so far, to having the technical ability to pull off such a fusion to the creative aspect of the patterns and the instrumentation.
If you’re a metal head then this record is a no brainer. Trust me it’s Christmas day and ‘Muert’ are motherfucking Santa Claus. Corban Skipwith

Ebola: Vocals, guitars, bass
Guayota: Drums

Track list:
1. Metal ¡Enajenación!
2. Axantemir
3. Dámaso, El Brujo
4. La Maldición de Laurinaga
5. ¡La Niña de las Peras!
6. Las Brujas del Bailadero de Anaga
7. El 4° Jinete Sobre la Adelantadía
8. Majanos de Chacona

Immortal Frost Productions Youtube:
Immortal Frost Productions Bandcamp:

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Full Length Review: Nick Vasallo "Apophany" (Neuma Records) by Dave Wolff

Artist: Nick Vasallo
Location: San Fransisco, California
Country: USA
Genre: Classical extreme metal
Full Length: Apophany
Format: Digital album, compact disc
Label: Neuma Records
Release date: March 18, 2022
Metallica emerged from California’s Bay Area in 1982 to change the face of music forever, just when it was needed. Perhaps history will repeat itself forty years later. An artist from the same area has pooled all his resources for his fourth studio album. “Apophany” blurs the lines between extreme metal and classical music, drawing from a wider range of influences than most bands doing classical metal would dare to explore. By doing so, Nick Vasallo creates something so intense it’s profoundly frightening.
As a member of the Bay Area band Antagony who he helped found in 1998, Vasallo played a key role in the invention of deathcore, a combination of death metal and metalcore. Even then, the band combined death metal with hardcore, grindcore, doom metal, and tribal drumming to push the envelope beyond expectations. Similarly to Metallica, Antagony became one of the foremost underground bands from the Bay Area, sharing the stage with artists such as Incantation, Pig Destroyer, Brujeria, and Cattle Decapitation.
Besides being a groundbreaking musician who helped create a new subgenre, Vasallo holds a doctorate degree, is a classical and film score composer, has won an impressive amount of awards, and lectures and teaches at several universities. A recipient of the President's $21k Dissertation-Year Fellowship of 2010/2011, his compositions have been performed by string quartets and ensembles. His other band, Oblivion, combines death, black, and thrash metal, as well as subtone singing to traditional death metal vocals.
Classical metal isn't a new expression; it has been around since Yngwie Malmsteen in the 1980s. Vasallo has taken the liberty of playing around with both genres, diving deep into their most fundamental nuances to create something that is both open and liberating. After fifteen years and four studio albums, he has finally reached it; still, it has the potential to redefine metal that goes beyond criticisms about limiting oneself or being a so called gatekeeper. "Apophany" demonstrates that you don't have to be a gatekeeper to grow on your own terms.
It took Vasallo ten years to complete "Apophany", the band's next studio album following "Monuments Emerge". This recording was released relatively quietly and without much hype, but its strength is its fusion of chamber music, goth, chant, operating singing, dark ambient and the avant garde compositions of Iannis Xenakis and Edgard Varèse, with the passion and ferocity of extreme metal. Vassal makes this formula work so well that you wonder why it wasn't tried before. One group that came close to this potency was Elend on "Les ténèbres du dehors", another brilliant album from 1996 that I would consider recommended listening.
"Apophany" takes the crossover between metal and orchestral music to an unprecedented level that, yet again, is a logical progression. With its variety of instrumentation and unorthodox musicianship, it is so passionate, hot blooded and fanatical that it would most definitely crush the minds and souls of the most battle-scarred metal fans. As it progresses, it becomes increasingly stranger and more intense, until it feels like it’s crashing in on you. Think of the most surreal horror movie ever released and you have an idea.
Through Vasallo's intensive experimentation, the instruments assume human qualities, conveying dreadful sentiments of isolation, longing, loss, consuming anguish, and despondency. The delivery is not as dark as you might think. In the end, the presentation is as decorative and magnificent as it is disconcerting. I only wish the link to the album on Bandcamp included some kind of synopsis of the narrative Vasallo based the songs on. It’s still unclear but I don’t mind exercising my imagination while listening. –Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Ein Sof
2. When the War Began
3. The Prophecy
5. The Eternal Return
6. The Moment Before Death Stretches on Forever, Like an Ocean of Time…
7. Ozymandias
8. Inches Away from Freedom
9. Black Swan Events

Official site:

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Full Length Review: Abanglupa "Of Rats and Swine" (see review for labels) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Abanglupa
Location: Pateros
Country: Philippines
Genre: Grindcore, hardcore
Full Length: Of Rats and Swine
Format: Digital album, cassette, CD (Esagoya Records)
Label: Lower Class Kids Records (Germany)
Nuclear Family Records (UK)
Ugly and Proud Records (Bulgaria)
Audacious Madness Records (USA)
Bent Window Records (Canada)
Esagoya Records (Japan)
Helldog Records (Poland)
Release date: February 22, 2022
Today, I’m here to discuss the debut album of the band all the way from the Philippines ABANGLUPA released in February of 2022 with 10 hot tracks to grace us with.
Firstly, I want to comment on the general nature of this project because man, this album goes hard as hell! what we have here is a combination of ‘Garage’, ‘Punk’ and ‘Thrash Metal’ all rolled up into one chaotic project that brings so much energy to it that it’s insane. I love how the intensity dial is turned all the way up to 11 and the way they play their instrumentation with those fast paced, action packed, methodically brutal components all of it just make this a beast of a project.
I also love how in some parts you’ll get a more ‘Sludge Metal’ vibe with the middle of the song ‘Edge’ for example. I love how almost ‘evil’ it sounded to slow things down to as I mentioned before more of a ‘methodical’ pace in between such frantic instrumentation and kickass punk influence!
One thing I feel I should also point out is in classic ‘Punk’ style most of the songs here are under a minute long! So what you’re getting here is a collection of fast, short bursts of energy that have no room for error or filler just straight up passion and rebelliousness for an album that would be barely 13 minutes long. I have to say I’ve heard many short albums in my life but never quite as short as this one and the amount they were able to cram in and the things they were able to accomplish not just sonically but technically, creatively and musically are nothing short of amazing for the time they gave themselves.
So overall, I would definitely recommend everyone try this record out. It’s fast, fun and ferocious in more ways than one. Corban Skipwith

Ronaldo Vivo Jr.: Drums, vocals
Ronnel Vivo: Bass, guitars

Track list:
1. Misery Chambers
2. Forced Dementia
3. Of Rats and Swine
4. Erase
5. Ignorance is Order
6. Lansagin
7. Desolation Machine
8. Blood Owed
9. Decorated Vultures
10. Abanglupa

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Interview with Ronald Jimenez (Master Butcher) of Necrogod by Dave Wolff

Interview with Ronald Jimenez of Necrogod

One of your musical projects Necrogod released “In Extremis” on Transcending Obscurity Records last summer. I noticed it’s received many favorable reviews and the LP Box Set has sold all its copies. Explain why you released it in different formats?
The album came out in 2021 via Transcending Obscurity Records, which I think is great because that label is a well-established name in the underground scene. They have released several killer albums from great bands like Master, Wombath and Paganizer. Besides their band roster their releases come in killer CD and LP versions, plus they have tons of merch, box sets, shirts, sweaters and so forth. It’s really cool to see your work treated that way. The decision to work with several formats is a call from the label and I think it helps to push their bands by giving the customers a high quality product accompanying the center of all, which is the music.

How many formats is “In Extremis” currently available in? Tell the readers about all the formats and the merch you have available for the album?
“In Extremis” was released in Digipack and LP 12” formats. For both there were some limited boxsets. The release was also accompanied by some cool t shirts, long sleeves, hooded sweaters and girl t shirts as well. The LP version comes in three colored variants gatefold and a metallic texture really cool. The same with the digipack which is five panels.

How long did it take to record, mix and master “In Extremis”? Was there outside assistance or was all the work independent?
I would say it was about a year to have music, the lyrics and the vocals ready for In Extremis. I must say the whole album was finished four years ago approximately, so it took longer than expected to come out. This time we went again with Patrick Bruss for mixing, then to Ronnie Bjorsotrm in Sweden for mastering. The sound at the end is what we wanted to be, you know, sort of modern but a bit old school without ultra-compressions and all those plastic artificial elements we don't like.

Describe the subject matter of the songs you recorded for the new full length. What inspired the lyrics and how relevant would you say they are?
Most of the lyrics in the projects I am involved, are written by me. Subjects may vary but in general terms I write about abstract concepts related with religions from a twisted perspective, mental ills and deviations such as schizophrenic disorders, psychopathic behaviors, etc. I like so much psychiatric/psychological themes. Sometimes I write about human behaviors such as envy, resentment, anger... all the things that make us what we are as species. Most of the time they’re in English but in recent years I have written a couple of songs in Spanish.

Why do you prefer recording with a compression-free old school sound to recording with artificial elements?
That’s how we feel this music should sound. That artificial/robotic approach does not represent us in any way and we try to stay away from it as much as possible. From an “artistic” point of view, when everything is over compressed, the chances to create or transmit certain atmospheres or textures get lost, and in the end those bands sound exactly the same and completely sterile.

Give some examples of bands that display the sound of the classic era.
There are many. Krypts, Void Rot, Sedimentum, Noose Rot, Rotted, Graceless, Rexul and Digrace Worm among many others. All these bands emulate certain “old school” approaches but preserve their identity which is very valid. I mean, it’s not just a matter of copy and paste a classic band's riff like Gruesome, which for me is a rip off of the first four Death albums.

Is digital recording equipment solely responsible for music that sounds thin and sterile, or can it occasionally create depth and atmosphere?
That's a good question my friend. Obviously the equipment plays a major role in terms of the final outcome when it comes to music. But I would add another element to consider, the "overall concept". I mean what are you trying to communicate with your music?
When you get that clear you can seek for that atmosphere fitting better your intention. One of the most common "mistakes" (in my opinion) is the need many bands tend to have to pay too much attention to "sound brutal and enormous". The problem with such approach is basically making the bands sound exactly the same.
Music is a form of art, and so is extreme metal music But it seems things have evolved to more technical aspects in detriment of the expression itself, which let me tell you is the foundation of all the rest of things.

How well does the classic/old school sound fit the material composed for “In Extremis”? Was it composed with that sound in mind?
At least in our case we don't say “let's make an old school album”. We do things we the way we know and we like. For me things have to sound heavy and brutal without falling in an excessive use of compression for example, because that takes apart the organic feeling we want. So as you see it’s not because we are old school. It's because of the way we think our music should sound.

How well-established is Transcending Obscurity Records as an indie label? Do you know bands who are signed with them or did you hear of them by word of mouth?
I think it’s a good label. Kunal has been working very hard all these years and now it seems that the label has gained a good reputation. Not only for the bands signed like Wombath, Master, Officium Triste and Imperialist to name a few, but also for the way he manages to release the stuff in different formats. That's some added value that makes the difference.

Where can people find Transcending Obscurity Records if they’re looking for new bands on the web? How well does the label handle mail order?
The label site is If you want to know some of the bands, there are label samplers with most of the bands they've released.

How many releases did Necrogod release before “In Extremis”? Before Transcending Obscurity, were you releasing material independently or through other labels?
Our debut work was an MCD called “Inexorable Deathreign” which came out right after forming Necrogod as a project. It was released by IBDC Label from México in 2015 and served well to present the band. Later, in 2017 if I'm not wrong, we released a 7” split EP along with Morbid Stench (another project I'm involved with) and this came out through Morbid Skull Records from El Salvador and Evil Domain Prods from Ecuador. It’s called “The Bifid Tongue Of Doom And Death”. It is a special release for us because was the first one in such format and the overall comments were pretty good. For that release Necrogod contributed with a brand new song called “Burning In Disgrace” while the Morbid Stench track is “The Malodorous Crucifix”. To the last part of your question, we've never considered self-releasing Necrogod’s stuff. If we put something out it’s because there's a label behind it. Why? Doing it ourselves is very time consuming and expensive, and at this point in our careers, we don't see ourselves in that position.

How much has Necrogod evolved as long as they’ve been an active band?
I think most of the evolution comes in the voices. The music is strong and catchy and that's what we need. As for the voices and having thirty years doing it. I want not only to make great voices. Also I want to bring new elements in terms of phrasing, vocal combinations and some other additional elements that I think will help to make things more interesting and at the same time, develop my own style. The Master Butcher style ha ha ha. You know, brutal, sometimes intricate sometimes simple. Much more rhythmic than US or European vocalists due to my Latin American background.
I have nurtured my style mostly from US/European vocalists but I add additional elements to make it real and not just an imitation of other's voices. I want to reflect my inner self through my voices and style. That explains how I live this music I guess.
I don't want to be in a position like this guy from Behemoth, Nergal who instead of improving his vocal skills decided to take the easy path of focusing on his cheesy costumes on stage. That's pathetic. When one succumbs to that kind of things he is not an artist anymore, just a mere entertainer. Nothing wrong with that but don't confuse concepts.

Mexico and South America have long had die hard underground scenes. How well known has Necrogod become there?
Both places have cool scenes and through the years we've seen some interest in Necrogod. In México, we have many metal heads that know about us, given that our first release came out through a local label called IBDC Label. In South America we've seen people from Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Peru writing us to find out how to get our stuff, but we've seen interest from folks in the USA and countries in Europe following up on Necrogod.

Despite the differences in styles, do bands you’re in touch with from different countries transcend those boundaries through their love of extreme music?
The passion towards this music is the common ground connecting different cultures, countries and backgrounds. It is some sort of a tribe with its own distinctive characteristics.

Is “In Extremis” available directly from the band? Where can people go to order your vinyl release of “In Extremis” and how many copies will be available?
We have copies in digipack format available through our Facebook. We are taking preorders for the LP 12” version which comes gatefold in three different splatter options. The LP version has been limited to 255 copies.

How much of a comeback is vinyl making based on the amount of preorders you’ve seen? Can underground bands still benefit from vinyl releases?
Based on what I've seen, it seems that format has been growing. For example I've been asked for the vinyl version of Necrogod’s album more than the CD. How can benefit bands from such format? Well, it will depend on how the band can distribute it. Many bands have problems with that because they self-release it and later don't know what to do with the remaining copies after selling some to friends and taking few others in consignment to shops. It's possible to end up sitting on a pile of LPs, CDs or tapes and scratching your head asking what to do with all that stuff?! That's why I feel it’s so important to know the “underground neighborhood”; the labels, distros, webzines, etc, so you know where you are in the scene. Who are the main bands in that niche and what are the trends? That's the kind of questions bands need to ask themselves more than focusing on X or Y format.

How much research do you put into which labels, distros and webzines support audience trends from country to country?
In my case as well as Morbid, we're both pretty active due to his label Morbid Skull or my distro TMB Metal Distro. With that said, we pretty much know what labels are doing. So I wouldn't say there's a research process in a formal way. It’s more interactions we usually have as part of our activities with several people.

Are Morbid Skull and TMB Metal Distribution part of the label network supporting all your bands? How long have these labels been active and how far reaching are they when it comes to correspondence and orders?
Not that much to be honest. Morbid Skull is a full label while TMB is an extreme underground distribution service. From time to time I get some of the Morbid Skull releases, but not always.

TMB exclusively supports classic death, black, doom, grind and thrash bands. Some people might say this is a narrow minded and elitist attitude while others may say it’s sticking to one’s guns and placing emphasis on the diversity of each of the genres mentioned.
The way I see it, TMB is an extension of my personal taste and that's why it is strictly focused on specific genres. If someone is looking for classic or underground extreme metal, this is a good option. If someone is looking for emo melo death core, power metal or mainstream cheap artists should go somewhere else.

I noticed TMP deals in vinyl releases as well as CD. Do you receive sufficient vinyl orders to continue offering them? How many labels do you know of that likewise sells vinyl?
Both formats have good reception. Not only for the format itself, but also because of the item. I am very careful with the music I import from several labels from around the world.

Name some new releases from TMB and describe how well they’ve been received.
We’ve recently received copies of the Necrony demo, the Severe Malignant Postule reissue in slip case digipack, the Demigod 1992 promo and the Centinex demo End of Life, both in tape format. Also the Necrogod album in LP 12" and Digipack versions. The reception has been good because I know these are interesting stuff for metal maniacs and collectors.

Another band you were involved with, Insepulto, released their last full length “The Necrodex” in 2015. Is this band still active today or have they parted company?
Not quite sure to be honest. I mean, I recorded the vocals for the album plus four additional tracks for an MCD or split about a year ago and nothing happened. In practical terms the band is dead. We just haven't made an official announcement I guess. The stuff is good and hopefully gets released some day because these are probably going to be the last recordings for Insepulto. Unfortunately the band was going nowhere and I just didn't have time to invest in something like that.

How active was Insepulto in the 1990s and 2000s and when did their activity begin to slow down?
During the 90s there was not much activity, just a photo session that at the end got lost. The band remained “forgotten” until 2012 when it was resurrected and we released our debut album “Morbid Spawn Of Resurrection” on Psycho Records from Poland. A reissue the next year took place by Concreto Records in Mexico. Later we had the opportunity to release our second album The Necrodex through Memento Mori Records in Spain. After that all the activity stopped, unfortunately.

Is Insepulto’s material still available in physical and digital formats? Do you think a comeback of sorts would happen for the band?
Not through us. We haven't spoken with the labels. I guess maybe they still got copies of the first albums. Maybe if someday the new stuff gets released that would make people feel interested in the previews stuff.

Morbid Stench just completed mixing and mastering a new album. What is the working title and how soon is it expected out?
With Morbid Stench we've just completed the recording, mixing and mastering of our second album called “The Rotting Ways Of Doom”. After our debut album in 2019 we released a 7” split EP with a Dutch band called Anarchos through Blood Harvest Records/Morbid Skull Records. All through 2021 we kept working on different aspects of it, like the cover (which was brilliant) and the overall layout. We expect to have it released sometime this year.

Is Morbid Stench's debut album and split with Anarchos available on CD or digitally?
Not sure about the digital format. I've never liked it too much, but the album and the split are available in physical format. It's called “Doom And Putrefaction” and is available in LP 12”, CD and tape. It actually has a reissue with an Argentinian label called Alkolic Holocaust. The split with Anarchos is available in digital format with Blood Harvest Records.

Do your bands usually have the same artist working on your covers and layouts or do you work with different artists?
Usually that changes depending on what we look for. Sometimes we need a color cover, some others a black and white one. We’ve even started to use not only drawings but also photos. That's what we did for Morbid Stench’s first album and for the upcoming one.

How much does singing to multiple independent labels, no matter how small, help a band make a name for themselves?
That’s pretty much the approach with Morbid Stench. Instead of looking for a bigger label, we want to have the chance to work with several labels that could help us have the material released in different versions through different labels. Bigger labels tend to be more rigid in terms of conditions. They give a percentage of royalties (usually some copies of that release for the bands to sell) and that's it. Let me give an example between Morbid Stench and Necrogod: with the first we have released a couple of reissues with labels from Poland and Argentina. Probably there will be other deals with a Mexican label and a Brazilian label. With Necrogod some time ago a guy from Chile wrote to know if we were interested in re-releasing “In Extremis” so, being Transcending Obscurity Records a “bigger” label than the ones who released Doom and Putrefaction, I said for the guy to talk directly with the label, and that was it. Never heard back from him. I am not complaining at all; it’s just how things differ from label to label. I am really happy with the way both bands are being worked.

How often did labels discuss distribution with you only to never contact you again? Do you think labels that are more consistent with contacting their bands last longer?
We have never had that problem. Usually when we get an agreement with a label it’s because they are interested in the stuff.

Do you make a point of choosing labels that work well by word of mouth (spreading fliers, promoting online) as well as distribution?
I think it is important to find a label who knows what they're doing no matter what format they prefer. I say this because there's a bunch of new labels getting into business because they think it’s “cool” to have a label but after a few releases they end up with a pile of discs in their bedroom and don't know what to do. Then again if you have a new band and get an offer you should definitely take it!

Are labels that release their bands on streaming platforms becoming better known in other countries, due to accessibility and reduced shipping costs?
That's a good question. I think it all depends on the type of the customer. For example let’s take Memento Mori Recs from Spain. They are out of any audio streaming platform and their clients seem to prefer the physical CDs. In other cases, labels go the other way but if you ask me, due to the type of people I interact I don't see much benefit to have my work in Spotify or places like that. Millions of other bands are doing the same so what's the point? But I am a bit “old school” in this aspect and I must confess I don't use any streaming platform other than free Youtube. If I want something I try to buy the item in question.

In what ways is your bands’ latest releases lyrically relevant to current world events, as well as being musically relevant?
About the lyrics, I've never had any message to give. They are more introspective and conceived to remark and enhance certain music moments. However in certain moments I've written about humanity like in Necrogod's song “Human Misery” from our MCD 2015. More than the message for me is the cohesion of lyrics, vocals and music all together should make synergy.

What lasting impact do you want to see your bands have on extreme music in general?
I want to think that I will be able to develop certain particular style for extreme vocals and people will note it. I've had access to US, South American and European stuff so maybe all those influences will contribute shaping my style, which is some sort of mixture of brutality, catchy phrasings, sometimes with complex voices combinations, some others pretty simple. But at the end my own personal approach.

Transcending Obscurity Records (Youtube):

-Dave Wolff

Monday, March 14, 2022

Full Length Review: Tattva "Naraka" (Geistraum Records) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Tattva
Country: France
Genre: Blackened death metal
Full Length: Naraka
Format: Digital, protape, CD
Label: Geistraum Records (USA)
Release date: February 7, 2022
This is the second full length project by the one man band all way from the south of France and bringing with him eight new tracks to not only appeal to the metal masses but to also close off a trilogy? If I’m understanding that context correctly.
Anyway, this is a very interesting record. At first I thought this would just be your standard ‘Black Metal’ experience but I was gladly mistaken because this features so many interesting turns and stops, styles and aesthetics that just bring a subgenre like this to life in more ways than one.
First of all, I have to give something to those vocals because man oh man are they equal parts impressing and terrifying. I haven’t heard ‘Black Metal’ vocals like these before, they are just so rough around the edges, haunting and twisted. It sounds like I’m listening to a recently possessed corpse come back to life via the devil himself and start formulating sounds that resemble as close to the heart of Lucifer as possible.
The production provides a lot of interesting things itself, to me it sounded like a combination of
-Dark Ambient
-Tribal music
-Grindcore (in some of the more extreme parts)
Very unique combination of sounds yet they work home the less, not only that but each element brought in understands its role within the record and knows how to run independently which is nice and refreshing to hear because too often a sample or sound or inspiration will come to a song or album but because it’s so overwhelmed by too many other styles overlapping it, it will get lost in the chaos and you wouldn’t be able to truly appreciate whatever it was the artist/band was trying to accomplish.
But on this album, there’s nothing to worry about. Each sound can work on its own and you can pin point where each thing fits and is placed, very great editing and production work by the man.
Overall, as I mentioned already this was a very creative and interesting take on the subgenre, it’s not only brutal as hell but conceptual, thoughtful and entertaining! Go give it a try and tell me what you think! Corban Skipwith

J.: Vocals, all instruments

Track list:
1. Anima Oppressi (vinyl exclusive)
2. Hell's Path / Naraka
3. Judgement / Manu Shya
4. And...Death... / Jati
5. The Wheel Of Life / Karma
6. Liberated / Prani
7. Ethered / Peta Yoni
8. Expiate / Nama Rupa


Full Length Review: Bloodywood "Rakshak" (Bloodywood Media Private Limited) by Dave Wolff

Band: Bloodywood
Location: New Delhi
Country: India
Genre: Indian folk/rap/metal
Full Length: Rakshak
Format: Digital album, digisleeve CD
Label: Bloodywood Media Private Limited
Release date: February 18, 2022
Listening to this album reminds me again of Sam Dunn highlighting the countries where bands incorporate traditional music with near deafening guitars on his “Global Metal” documentary. I still can't describe Bloodywood's debut in such a straightforward manner since they add so much more to their formula. There are overt influences such as Five Finger Death Punch and Linkin Park on "Rakshak", but other influences are added with such understatement that the end result is majestic and monumental.
Bloodywood may come as a surprise to you if you are talking about diversity, or the lack thereof, in extreme/underground metal, based on what they've done with their music since they formed in 2016. Initially, they covered Bollywood songs in the nu metal style of the bands Rage Against The Machine, Slipknot and System Of A Down. By covering "Heavy" by Linkin Park, the band caught the attention of publications such as Metal Hammer, who thought their version of the track was an improvement. As they retained these influences, they moved on to Indian folk music, covering the Bombay Rockers' "Baari Barsi".
Bloodywood's music draws heavily from Indian folk culture and Indian cinema, but their songwriting is hardly limited to them, extending far beyond and making it work like you wouldn’t expect. Their high potential to transcend the oversaturation of bands doing "the same thing" in metal nowadays has garnered them a lot of press attention, as well as their ability to expand their horizons without trying. My guess is they avoided most streaming sites, looking to their own culture before exploring other options to consider.
Is it effective? Interestingly, their own documentary "Raj Against the Machine" states that their first tour was a huge success in 2019 when other bands took years, which shows how well they've caught on and gotten advertising with the major magazines. Is their inventiveness sufficient to justify their recognition? The documentary will provide more answers, as well as surprises of their own.
"Rakshak" is epic, not only because of the raw energy of their live performances, but also because of the range of musical styles it encompasses. In reality, it sounds more like what a band active for a long time would have released. Their song and music video for "Dana Dan" hooked me because of their nu metal and Indian influences, as well as their elements of industrial, groove, hip hop, melodic death metal, goth and electro, all rolled into a pulsating ball of energy that overwhelms you from the get-go.
My attention was so captured that I felt compelled to watch another promotional video, “Gaddar”. The groove and hip hop influence were as strong as ever, with Indian folk guitars and robotic keyboards complimenting the heavier riffs. I was amazed by how compelling these two tracks were, so I sought out their album and documentary. "Gaddar" is the album's first track, and it was a fitting choice to introduce the band. The song is a passionate attack on societal and governmental oppression that makes no secret of the band's determination to make things better. This sentiment recurs in the songs to follow.
Bloodywood have had a wider reach than I initially thought as the album progresses. This album combines traditional music from Ireland, Scandinavia and South America, acoustic guitars, new age vocals, gothic metal, electro, synthpop, chanting, thrashing and Latin dance music. Bloodywood doesn't care if their influences are metal or not metal as long as they channel as much vitality as possible. Their energy is directed toward issues others deem more important.
This early in their recording and touring careers, Bloodwood seem to be attracting listeners regardless of ethnicity or geography. I urge you to look into this as soon as possible. –Dave Wolff

Jayant Bhadula: Vocals, growls
Raoul Kerr: Rap vocals
Karan Katiyar: Guitars, flute, production, composition
Touring members:
Sarthak Pahwa: Dhol
Roshan Roy: Bass
Vishesh Singh: Drums

Track list:
1. Gaddaar
2. Aaj
3. Zanjeero Se
4. Machi Bhasad (Album Version)
5. Dana Dan
6. Jee Veerey (Album Version)
7. Endurant (Album Version)
8. BSDK.exe
9. Yaad (Album Version)

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Full Length Review: Luna 13 "Gorgo" (Cleopatra) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Luna 13
Location: Los Angeles, California
Country: USA
Genre: Black metal, bass, industrial
Full Length: Gorgo
Format: Digital album
Label: Cleopatra
Release date: September 13, 2021
Back again and today I have quite the interesting album for you to check it out, it was something I definitely wasn’t expecting but one that grew on me none the less!
Gorgo by LUNA 13
So, this is the September 2021 release by the band and features 9 tracks (one of them being a Lil Nas X cover of ‘Montero’) but as I said going into this I just expected your run of the mill metal album based on the album cover and album title but that’s the furthest from what I received.
This album is what you’d get if you combined elements of ‘Black Metal’, ‘Nu Metal’ and ‘Industrial’ all into one big pot this would be the end result, it features some of the strangest yet catchiest instrumentation and production I’ve heard on a metal album to date!
Although I will say now that I feel this is the kind of project that not everyone will warm up to as easily as I did but still would provide a lot of interesting sounds, aesthetics and all around vibes that you’re not used to getting on a metal album!
Take for example the song ‘Upside Down’ I feel it’s the track that represents the ‘Nu Metal’ aspect to a tee. You’ve got that electronic production elements combined with some heavy yet rhythm based guitars and drums. Then you’ve got that repetitive hook said over and over ‘Upside Down, Upside Down, (Party to the ground) Upside Down’ I put brackets over that sentence because I wasn’t exactly clear on what was said there but the point is that hypnotic set of sentences said over and over in that chorus like style definitely reminds of something Korn or Limp Biskit would do on a track if they had thought of it first.
For the majority of the album it features heavy ‘Industrial’ elements with tons of experimental sounds and samples, noise inspired keys and rhythms added on top of the prominent ‘Black Metal’ vocal performances and instrumentation which does help in setting itself apart from all the other stuff I’ve heard lately and I’m sure will go a long way in standing out for not only that year but for years to come!
I really enjoyed this album and I feel if given the open mind and chance you will feel the same way. It’s risky, creative, different and brutal! What more can you ask for? Corban Skipwith

Lilith Bathory: Vocals
Dr. Luna: Microbrute, drum machine

Track list:
1. Till There's Nothing Left
2. Dig
3. Unborn
4. Gorgo
5. Her Infernal Majesty
6. Hear My Call
7. Upside Down
8. Ghosts Of Night
9. Montero Cover

Thursday, March 10, 2022

EP Review: Krayl "Schwarzer Krieg" (Independent) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Krayl
Location: Kalyan
Country: India
Genre: Black metal
EP: Schwarzer Krieg
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: March 6, 2022
Back again today with another album review! We are taking another familiar step back into the world of ‘Black Metal’ with 6 new cold hearted tracks to indulge in!
First of all, let me start off by saying this record is savage as all hell, it’s got the exact characteristics you’d expect from a Black Metal project and Krayl really embraces the mannerisms, sound and trademarks of the classic Norwegian style era of the sub-genre which is the coldest and most ruthless it can be.
The production on this album is the definition of ‘no nonsense’ it’s nasty, raw and will blow your mind right out if you’re not careful! Combine that almost lo-fi equivalent production with those faced pace, brooding instrumentation and you’ve got yourself a recipe for pure and utter chaos!
The drums on this one sound more chaotic and evil then I’ve heard on a project in quite some time, the way those guitar strings move and play sound literally straight out of a psychopath’s mind and it’s an eerie thing to hear let alone try to comprehend!
The vocals on here deserve some mention to because my goodness are they brutal, first time I heard them they literally gave me shivers because of how plain ‘evil’ they sounded, we’re talking early Mayhem, Gorgoroth type vibe and it’s truly not for the wow of hearted.
I feel like for this 6 piece project it really does bring out the absolute best out of Krayl and his sonic intentions are stuck right to his sleeve and I love how transparent and straight forward this record is, it’s just 16 minutes (give or take) of just pure unadulterated madness and as a fan of Black Metal I couldn’t be prouder of this work done here!
So, are you a Black Metal fan looking for something new? Something to test your musical palette? Or just need something heavy enough to wake you up in the morning? I guarantee this will accomplish all three in spades!! Corban Skipwith

Svartblod: Vocals, all instruments

Track list:
1. Sterben für das Vaterland
2. Ratten überall
3. Madame Gaz Empoisonné
4. Frontsoldaten
5. Le caporal et son cannibalisme
6. Verbrenne die Rottöne


Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Full Length Review: Fumigation "Structural Extermination" (CDN Records) by Corban Skipwith

Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Country: Canada
Genre: Death metal
Format: Digital album
Label: CDN Records (Canada)
Release date: February 18, 2022
What’s on the menu today my friends? Looks like it’s a hot serving of DEATH METAL! Dig in!
Fumigation (Structural Extermination)
So, this is the February 2022 release by this Death Metal band featuring 10 songs all varying in length from 0:44 second to 7:20 and everything in between.
First of all what I love about this album is the tongue and cheek aspect of it, think of a band like Dethklok and how they make those over the top, satire songs about all different kinds of situations and topics well this is the same deal here. Although while listening to this album I wasn’t thinking of Dethklok as much as I was Cannibal Corpse because to me that’s who they sound like more than anyone.
You can hear that real strong ‘meat and potatoes’ style that Cannibal are widely known for, those heavy guitar riffs and thick drum patterns sound nothing short of deadly! I love how brutal, extreme, sadistic and deranged they sound on this album (even if it is tongue and cheek).
Throughout this project they do tend to add a small amount of variety here and there in use of small doses of random noises and sound effects to give certain songs a more ‘out of this world’ feel to them but nothing to go crazy about.
I feel like since they were doing such a satire/black comedy style of Death Metal then adding a lot more big influences and styles would have actually been a pretty sick idea! It could have had the potential to be so much more memorable had they added maybe elements of Synth or Groove or anything funky really to compliment the nature of the album.
But look that’s just me throwing my 2 cents in, I’m sure they did what they did for a reason and as far as the entirety of the album goes there’s nothing actually wrong with it, it’s just given the ‘nature of the beast’ so to speak I felt like it would have benefited more from more variety.
Regardless, excellent edition for a Death Metal album, if you’re a fan of that sub-genre then you’ll absolutely love what they have to offer and as an added bonus you get to have a bit of comedy with your meal! What are you waiting for? Order up! Corban Skipwith

Dan Rogers: Vocals
Matt MacIvor: Guitar
Vitto Oh: Guitars
Chris Humeniuk: Bass, keyboards
Tom Hansen: Drums

Ryan Michael (Gutted Alive): Guest vocals on Centipede Stampede
Lyndon Quadros (Mors Verum): Guest vocals on Close to a Burrow Below
Jeff "Sludge" Udall (Dievertor/ex-Fumigation): Guest vocals on Pinworms & Anal Burns
Dominic Vorster (Bleeding Spawn/Displeased Disfigurement): Guest vocals on The Barren Hive
Jason Kurz (Bastard Son): Guest vocals on Servant of The Queen

Track list:
1. Vanier Shack (unit inspection)
2. Fly That You Fear
3. Centipede Stampede
4. Close to a Burrow Below
5. Pinworms & Anal Burns
6. Botfly Incision
7. The Barren Hive
8. Mosquitos in my Taquitos
9. Like Moths to a Flame
10. Servant of The Queen

Monday, March 7, 2022

Full Length: Car Bomb "Mordial" (Holy Roar) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Car Bomb
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Country: USA
Genre: Math metal
Full Length: Mordial
Format: Digital album, compact disc, vinyl, blue vinyl
Label: Holy Roar
Release date: September 27, 2019
Damn! It’s so good to take a break from reviewing a ‘Black Metal’ album, not that I don’t love the sub-genre but every now and then it’s good for a shake up and that’s exactly what we have here! And just as the band name implies this is one hell of an explosion!
So this is the 2019 album by Car Bomb featuring twelve songs that honestly all kick ass!
First of all, I love the combination of intensity and diversity featured on the project! There’s so many sound elements and influences I can point out!
-Nu Metal
-Alternative Metal
It’s just a bucket list and a half of different sounds and aesthetic and all of them surprisingly work! You’ve got some songs with heavy Metalcore breakdowns that are suddenly accompanied by some really nice clean vocal harmonies! Then you have moments of what sounds like the Nu Metal influences with that Electronic/Hip Hop feel to them.
Then you’ve got that lingering attitude of Punk in the background and in the vocals you can hear the distain and rebellious nature in his personality and outlook on the record! You’ve even got some moments representing the Grunge nature in the way those guitars and drums work!
It’s insane that so many elements can be found in one project, normally one or two styles is common and something to except but this many? And then to make it feel welcoming and interesting instead of bloated and unnecessary is crazy unique and something I have to take my hat off for them doing!
I feel like people will see this as the perfect mix bag of treats (Metal edition) it’s got so many variables to indulge in yet still maintains that tough, metal exterior for metalheads to headbang to! This is a fine example of a band putting their influences on their sleeve while simultaneously giving the middle finger to the world!
It’s the perfect combination of creativity meets brutality and I’m all the better for having heard it!! –Corban Skipwith

Michael Dafferner: Vocals
Greg Kubacki: Guitar
Jon Modell: Bass
Elliot Hoffman: Drums

Track list:
1. Start
2. Fade Out
3. Vague Skies
4. Scattered Sprites
5. Dissect Yourself
6. Xoxoy
7. HeLa
8. Blackened Battery
9. Mordial
10. Eyecide
11. Antipatterns
12. Naked Fuse