There’s prolific, and then there’s the Revelation/Against Nature partnership of John Brenner, Bert Hall and Steve Branagan, who have released no less than twenty two albums since 2005, most of which were self-released through their own Bland Hand Records. That said, the nineteen albums in the Against Nature catalog have consumed the lion’s share of the guys’ time.
Posted in Review
It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s been four years since Suffocation weighed in with Blood Oath. Could it be that we’ve gotten to the point where we’re taking the prospect of new Suffocation for granted? The latest snarling behemoth from these death metal titans is a boot on the throat, shocking us from our lassitude and reminding us that Suffocation is as vital and essential as ever.
Suffocation has been gathering speed since its reformation roughly ten years ago and Pinnacle of Bedlam may well be the high water mark of the Read the rest of this entry →
ClawHammer PR has offered up this killer trio of Shadow Kingdom releases! Hopefully you’ve already gotten the heads up on Corsair and Deceptor from my reviews, but just in case I’ve included review links below. There are also links to stream all three albums at the Shadow Kingdom Bandcamp page.
Entering is easy. Just send an email with “ClawHammer” in the subject line to Terrible Certainty Zine AT gmaildotcom. Although not required, I also suggest liking the ClawHammer and Shadow Kingdom Facebook pages and the Clawhammer Twitter feed. Good luck!
Bolder Damn - Mourning (Reissue)
Shadow Kingdom Records is a true stronghold for yesteryear, preserving the past and unearthing old gems. But Deceptor, like new label mates Corsair, are intriguing new additions to the SK roster, as they don’t cleanly fit that mold, yet uphold the values of the label while pushing traditional styles into the contemporary. Both acts have undeniable ties to vintage metal yet are indelibly modern in their application.
Deceptor is a British three-piece that combines a handful of classic styles and then bends and Read the rest of this entry →
Sweden’s Kongh has racked up plenty of critical praise in its short career, and although it seemed as though they were on the edge of a breakthrough with 2009’s Shadows of the Shapeless, they never quite got the payoff they could have. Should have. But something tells me Sole Creation’s going to push Kongh over the brink and in front of a wider audience. And truly the band covers enough ground to appeal to a broad cross-section of fans. After all, on the first track alone Kongh channels the tumbling locomotive momentum of High on Fire crossed with the rise and fall dynamics of Cult of Luna infused with the melodic hooks of Mastodon. They’re all bands that get lumped into the doom/sludge camp, simply because they don’t really belong anywhere else, and Kongh is among their ranks.
Before I get to War of the Gargantuas from the venerable Phil Anselmo and Bruce Corbitt’s (Rigor Mortis) Warbeast, I want to take a moment to remark on the terrible loss of Rigor Mortis legend Mike Scaccia. I don’t think it’s possible for young listeners of today to truly understand the impact of Mike’s guitar playing on the self-titled Rigor debut in 1988. His blinding speed and aggressive tremolo style was unlike anything of the time and helped propel that album to its (largely uncredited) influence on the forming death and black metal movements. He was of course a part of some of Ministry’s best years, as well as Revolting Cocks, Lard and others. And no one seems to have a bad word to say about the guy. Mike Scaccia was a tremendous talent and the world will miss him. Godspeed, Mike.
One-man metal typically falls within the hateful purview of the black metal realm, but that ain’t stopping Cincinnati’s Andrew Lampe from planting a rare flag for the death metal horde. The Wakedead Gathering is all Lampe, and his second effort, Dark Circles, is a satisfying platter of old school ghoulish death metal.
The churning rumble of The Wakedead Gathering’s take on classic death metal hits the spot and demonstrates Lampe’s devotion to the classics, as Dark Circles owes a serious debt to American legends like Immolation and Incantation, but also adds ribbons of European melodies and Read the rest of this entry →
Corsair is one of those bands you root for, and they’re as deserving as any indie act of label support to further its efforts. The Charlottesville, Virginia collective has been toiling away doing the DIY thing for several years and three compelling releases. They’ve managed to turn many a head, including, it seems, the folks over at Shadow Kingdom Records, who’ve been absolutely gushing about Corsair‘s latest offering. They signed the band and promptly reissued their self-titled record.
It is a damn fine album, if not the masterstroke it’s being labeled. Corsair is a strange bird to dissect. Initially one is struck by the flagrant Thin Lizzy-isms—the twin guitar harmonies that accentuate the band’s clean vocals and rock drumming. In this way they fit in alongside the Slough Feg, Bible of the Devil, and even Argus contingent, albeit it through a more generalized rock approach. Corsair doesn’t have a retro sound mind you, so much as they display a strong vintage sensibility.
The Christmas season: the time we’re all busily making our lists and checking them twice, pouring over release dates and stacks of albums, wringing our hands over the precise ordering… That’s right, it’s end of the year list time (which seems to come earlier each year), and I’m happy to unveil Terrible Certainty’s inaugural list of the best albums and EPs of the year. So without further ado, here’s the year’s best metal. Get busy buyin’ or get busy dyin’. Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in Lists
Tags: A Tree of Signs, Agalloch, Altar of Oblivion, Argus, Best Metal Albums of 2012, Blut Aus Nord, Dordeduh, Down, Enslaved, Evoken, Fall of the Idols, God Seed, Hellwell, High on Fire, Incantation, Malignancy, Manilla Road, Metal Album Reviews, Nekromantheon, Neurosis, Pallbearer, Pharaoh, Pig Destroyer, Revelation, Terrible Certainty, Ufomammut, Witchcraft, Wodensthrone
Terrible Certainty focuses its energies on the new stuff, but after my review of T.C.F.’s thrashtastic dark horse Where Madness Reigns, Malevolence Records sent me a fat stack of promos, so I figured the least I could do is give a couple a spin and spout off. So here’s a quick take on Kaos Among Us, the second effort from California brawlers Kaos. It was spawned in 2003 and was reissued by Malevolence in 2006.
Kaos are cousins to T.C.F. in that they deal out good old fashioned red-blooded crossover thrash. But they’re very different animals. T.C.F. offer up a classic crossover style in legacy of Nuclear Assault, S.O.D., D.R.I. and the like. Kaos play a style rooted in 80’s thrash but executed with a pronounced contemporary voice, much like how Lamb of God fused a modern fingerprint onto its thrash. Kaos sport a very lean, crisp sound, and I was honestly surprised to see two guitarists in the lineup as I could easily see this as a lean and mean three-piece.
In the first part of this week’s coverage of new Candlelight releases we dissected the debut from Iceland’s Kontinuum, and now we’ll set our sights on the third effort from label-mates Zatokrev. Turns out rumors of its death have been largely exaggerated, as the erstwhile post-metal troupe return a mere six years after the release of Bury the Asheswith The Bat, the Wheel and a Long Road to Nowhere. One can hope the band didn’t spend too much of their time off crafting that title…
Zatokrev continues to offer a heavily derivative but generally enjoyable post-metal in the vein of Neurosis. It’s true that the post-metal boom has run its course, and at this point the genre may be a tough sell for any but the biggest names in the movement, but although it occasionally falters The Bat, the Wheel and a Long Road to Nowhere will make a solid entry into the genre.
Looking for something different? Iceland’s Kontinuum is here to help. Their debut album Earth Blood Magic is an impressively eclectic concoction of dark metal that touches, however tentatively, upon black, doom, and post metal (Please come shoot me if I start spouting bullshit like “post-doom.”). As metal goes, there are diluted bloodlines back to the likes of Katatonia, but this progressive troupe is as indebted to the nonmetal world, from the prominent gothic crooners of the ‘80s to The 3rd and the Mortal and its guitarists Trond Engum’s The Soundbyte.
Just a few words about Argus’ Blood, Fire, Beer EP. Not too many, mind you, because you’ll only become increasingly frustrated that there are no longer copies of this extremely limited EP available to purchase. From what I can tell most of the 100 copies were snatched up during the band’s recent trip to Ireland to play Dublin Doom Days, but I was lucky enough to get a chance at one of the remaining copies. And in typical Argus fashion, it does not disappoint.
Blood, Fire, Beer kicks off with “The Hands of Time Are Bleeding,” the lone new original on the collection. It’s a heavy, mid-tempo stomp loaded with the tantalizing twin guitar harmonies that are the band’s bread and butter. In other words, it’s just what you’d expect from Argus, a band that bridges doom and traditional metal without truly belonging in either camp. They’re stubbornly rooted in classic metal but deliver it in a way that defies the expected trappings of stodgy “retro” metal. In other words, what they create is not only excellent, but vital to the continued tradition and evolution of classic metal. “The Hands of Time Are Bleeding” is vintage Argus in its slower, crunching verses that make way for instrumental passages of speedier, bright melodies and lead work. The song whips its way into a crescendo with a thunderous twin melody that I’ll bet Tom Phillips of frequent gig partner While Heaven Wept would appreciate—it’s an impassioned, epic conclusion to a gem of a track that will hopefully find its way onto the next Argus full-length.
Sentinel is the third effort from Spectral Lore, or more accurately from Ayloss, the moniker Chris Daritsis dons for his one-man black metal machine. I’ve heard loads of these independent one-man black metal records—more often than not they’re round-filed. This one’s the real deal.
Spectral Lore seems to serve up a dense, chaotic black metal in the vein of Deathspell Omega. Furious dissonant shards of riffing clatter against and contradict well-programmed rhythms, in a cavernous, noxious darkness. I said “seems to” because Spectral Lore pulls one hell of a bait and switch. Sentinel is an experimental and heavily layered work that is nearly always both in harmony and conflict with itself, both in style and element. Instrumentation and vocals layer both atop and across one another, and the album ranges from its caustic, modern black metal to a more traditional approach and even some symphonic and nearly folkish melodies. Read the rest of this entry →