Demonic Christ Returns!

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After nearly 20 years on hiatus, Ohio’s barbarous, black metal beasts, Demonic Christ, have announced their long awaited return. For those of you unfamiliar with Demonic Christ, the evil foursome formed in 1992 and is fronted by the unbelievably talented woman, Dana Duffy. They’ve released one full length album, entitled “Punishment For Ignorance”, a few promos and a compilation. Despite being an American band, their sound is very Norwegian. Demonic Christ were pioneers in the American black metal scene.

Having been recently signed to Ohio’s most popular metal label, Hells Headbangers, Demonic Christ are in the studio putting the finishing touches on the second full length album which will be entitled “The Great Purge”. We should expect the album to be released early next year. They are currently streaming the title track via Bandcamp and from the sounds of it, this album will be raw and blacker than ever. In celebration of their overdue reunion, Demonic Christ will be embarking on a tour of the east coast and Canada. The tour dates are below. Be sure and catch them in your town! Happy Listening! Hails!

November 22nd – Columbus, OH
November 23rd – Baltimore, MD
November 24th – Providence, RI
November 25th – Boston, MA
November 26th – Buffalo, NY
November 27th – Toronto, CAN
November 28th – Montreal, CAN @ Messe Des Morts Festival III

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Maryland Deathfest Lineup Confirmed

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Below is the confirmed lineup for 2014’s Maryland Deathfest. Looks like it’s going to be sick as fuck this year, so be sure to pre-order your tickets in October, when they go on sale. The festival will be held in Baltimore on May 22,2014 through May 25,2014 (memorial day weekend). The venue it will be held at is TBA. This is going to be a hell of a time. I’ll see you there. Happy Listening. Hails!

DIOCLETIAN (New Zealand)
EXCRUCIATING TERROR
EXTINCTION OF MANKIND (UK)
GOD MACABRE (Sweden)
GORGUTS (Canada)
GRAVES AT SEA
HEMDALE
MACHETAZO (Spain)
MGLA (Poland)
NOCTURNUS A.D.
SACRIFICE (Canada)
SARKE (Norway)
SOILENT GREEN
SOLSTAFIR (Iceland)
TAAKE (Norway)
TANKARD (Germany)
ULVER (Norway)
UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS (UK)
UNHOLY GRAVE (Japan)
UNLEASHED (Sweden)
WITCHRIST (New Zealand)

Chemtrail X and Blood Coven @ The Outpost

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Music festivals are always a blast and big concerts are an excuse to let it all hang out. The atmosphere I find most enjoyable, however, would have to be those small, intimate shows held at grimy little clubs with 20 or 30 of the band’s closest friends. It’s at these shows that mingling, trading and promoting takes the forefront and the scene gets “deep”.

This was precisely the atmosphere at the acclaimed Kent area metal club “The Outpost”, on Saturday 9/14/2013. A small, charming, dark and graffiti riddled club, The Outpost is an absolute haven for extreme metal. Met with the company of Radiatrix, Sanctify, Blood Coven and Chemtrail X, I prepared for an evening of beauteous gore.

The first band up was Canton’s newest and youngest thrash outfit, Radiatrix. Judging them solely on their youthfulness, I expected this band to be sloppy. Radiatrix proceeded to surprise me. These five skinny teenagers, thrashed harder than many of their contemporaries twice their age. Their sound was evocative of mid era Sacred Reich with a bit of Metallica’s charm thrown into to the mix for added effect. The band’s energy was high, with the guitarists windmilling and the vocalist interacting with the crowd. My only criticism would be that Chase Casterline’s vocals lacked power. While he has potential to become a great thrash vocalist I sensed he was a bit inhibited. Overall, this band writes catchy thrash riffs and given a few years to tighten their sound (they’re still very young) they can become something great in the arena of American thrash. Keep killin’ it Radiatrix!

Next up was Akron’s prog metal act, Sanctify. Radiatrix was going to be tough to follow and Sanctify couldn’t quite make the cut. The problem with many progressive metal bands is that their scope of what they can get away with is so great that many band’s tend to sound too busy, or all over the place. I wasn’t sure how to categorize Sanctify. The sound was confused, with pseudo progressive riffs, splashes of rock and roll and nu metal-like sing song breaks, the vocals were weak and their look was all but ordinary. Sanctify’s only saving grace was their flawless cover of the Megadeth classic, “Holy Wars….The Punishment Due”, but since the song was covered to a tee, with no unique Sanctify flavors thrown in, I’d say the credit still is owed to Dave Mustain. What was truly missing at this performance was unified energy. For much of the time the band just stood there only breaking attention to shout an ill-fitting “Hail Satan” into the crowd or something equally absurd. This band needs to commit to a sound and hone it before I’d recommend them, until then, they remain an opening act.

Finally it was the moment I’d been waiting for. Akron’s black/death hellions, Blood Coven prepared to hit the stage. Three black clad and tattooed brutes bearing armor, graced the stage and bludgeoned an unprepared crowd with an assault 100 times heavier than anything they’d seen thus far. Vocalist Daniel Saladin, prefaced the set with a warning to the crowd. “We’re Blood Coven, from Akron and you probably won’t like us”, he said. I laughed a little to myself and prepared to have my ears bludgeoned. Blood Coven fittingly opened with “Let Rome Burn”, the first track off their 2012 LP “Battle Cult Empire”. The aggression and intensity was beyond measure and their speed was electrifying. The band exhibited enthusiasm and high energy with their stage performance as well, headbanging throughout the set and occasionally executing choreographed and theatrical moves. It was a pleasure to witness the show. Blood Coven played everything from classics like “Godless and Wicked” and “793: The Fall of Lindisfarne” to flawlessly executed covers like Mayhem’s “Freezing Moon”. The set was a shining example of showmanship, musicianship and professionalism, as to be expected.

At last the end of the evening was nigh. Chemtrail X set to hit the stage. Blood Coven was going to be a hard act to follow but Chemtrail X was up to the challenge with their brand of nu-metal. Chemtrail X has a gimmick. Unlike so many other bands who simply settle to be satanic or humorously gory, Chemtrail X has decided to put the evil of the clandestine US government on the forefront and expose the criminals for what they really are. This is not a band you’ll see playing in sweatpants. They were dressed up like military officials and members of FEMA. It was actually pretty cool. The stage show was interesting as well with fog machines and the vocalist occasionally spouting off about conspiracy theories. Although this band doesn’t exactly play the sort of metal I listen to, for what they do, they do it well. Fans of Slipknot and Mushroomhead should take note of these guys, because they are actually more interesting than the aforementioned bands. They played tight and put on a good performance. This is definitely one of those bands that’s better live, but listen for yourself.

Overall this event was well worth the cover charge of a mere six bucks. The crowd was intimate and enthusiastic, the drinks were cheap and most importantly the bands played well. These are kinds of events metal is all about. Be sure to support your local scene for glimpse into the underground and the bowels of Hell. Happy Listening. Hails!

Sarke- Aruagint

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As a metal purist, I often find myself yearning for the primitive sounds of yesteryear. I frequently reminisce of the days when black metal was synonymous with simple blasphemy rather than high esoteric pretenses, the way it is today. Remember when metal was unprocessed, raw and ugly; when it was unapologetic, brutish and insensitive? I certainly do. So does Norway’s newest black/thrash outfit, Sarke.

As a side project of famed, Darkthrone vocalist, Nocturnal Culto, Sarke, formed a mere five years ago and has kept busy, releasing two full length albums to date. Their third LP, entitled “Aruagint”, is set to unleash on September 20th, 2013, through the independent label, “Indie Recordings”. Auragint is an unbridled attack on hipster black metal to say the least. Instead of releasing yet another second or third wave black metal record, Sarke has once again delved deep into black metal’s murky beginnings and dusted off their old Celtic Frost records, to create an LP that is a beautifully grotesque, blast from the past.
From beginning to end, the overall sentiment generated on this LP is that of ugliness and undirected hatred.

Aruagint is highly evocative of Celtic Frost’s debut album, Morbid Tales and Sarke has injected a bit of Motorhead’s primitive candor into its sordid recipe, just for shits and giggles. The riffing found throughout this album is slow and deliberate but not in a doomy or depressive way. The guitar sounds found here are a celebration of metal’s roots; “rocky”, groovy and only slightly distorted. Seductive drum beats and predictable changes add an air of blackened romance to this masterfully crafted LP. Tracks like “Ugly” add a bit of humor to the album. Sarke does not take themselves too seriously.

Perhaps the most enjoyable element found on this LP, are Nocturnal Culto’s foul and repugnant vocals, which are essentially sneers in the face of modern convention. Sarke even adds and air of ambience to this release on tracks like Salvation, furthering their range. While Sarke may not create the most technical riffs, the most intelligent lyrics or the heaviest sounds, the mastery of this band is that they’ve captured the essence black metal’s primitive roots incredibly well. Aruagint is revolting, bad-tempered and a little tongue in cheek. Another stroke of genius from the brilliant mind of Nocturnal Culto, Aruagint is most definitely worth several listens.  So grab a beer and take a stroll down memory lane with Sarke.  Happy Listening.  Hails!

Throne Below- Defy Deceit Destroy

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I’m continually amazed at the scope of extreme metal worldwide. Metal has taken hold in the most desolate European countries, the unrelenting rainforests of South America, practically inhabitable portions of Siberia, and now, even in South Africa. The newest sounds hailing from South Africa are the intonations of a one man project known as Throne Below.

Orlok, the mastermind behind Throne Below, has recently released his debut album, “Defy, Deceit, Destroy”, independently on April 18, 2013 and is single-handedly making a name for South African black metal, using social media and heavy promotion. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this album when I received it. I must say, it wasn’t bad at all.

Defy, Deceit, Destroy opens with a depressive instrumental, entitled “Unholy Cogitation”. The downtrodden bass line and eerie guitar riffs of “Unholy Cogitation” flow right into the title track, “Defy, Deceit, Destroy”. It is here, that the sound brightens. There is definitely a distinct luster emanating from the sounds found on this debut. This quality mostly strips the coldness away from the album, but adds a sort of sensitivity in contrast. There is true emotion radiating from seemingly standard tuned guitars and the vocals are a fervent cry to war gods.

I was rather disappointed, however, at the sound quality behind the drum machine. The drums wilted, weakly behind incandescent guitar sounds. That was what was missing for me on this release. There was definitely a lack of the atmosphere, so definitive of black metal, on this LP and the culprit was lackluster drumming. The blast beats were barely audible and the brightness of the guitars overpowered the sound of the drums, making the album sound a bit uplifting, which is not what one normally expects from a black metal LP. Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed this release. I don’t normally hear such good production and interesting riffing coming from a brand new one man project.  Defy, Deceit, Destroy was an emotive joyride, complete with both riffs that enthralled me and lyrics that moved me. Listen for yourself. Happy Listening. Hails!