Get these beauties in your lug-holes…..you won’t regret it!
Abyssus – Death Revival [Greece]
Genre: Death / Thrash
Released: January 21st, 2022 via Transcending Obscurity Records
With Greek old-school death metallers Abyssus focusing on a late 80’s Possessed meets Death meets Obituary meets Malevolent Creation– esque approach, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d heard this shit a million time before. And you have. Back in the bloody 80s.
However, a complete lack of originality aside – and with the title of Abyssus‘ sophomore album more than suggesting they understand how derivative this is – doesn’t detract from the fact that Death Revival is an absolute blast!
Short, snappy and savage, these 7 tracks whip by in a frenzy of death/thrash belligerence; relentlessly doffing their cap to all the aforementioned bands and yet still making this over-familiar sound their own. Ridiculously enjoyable! 8/10
Æthereus – Leiden [USA]
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Released: January 14th, 2022 via The Artisan Era
We feel sorry for any humble technical death metal band attempting to forge a career (or even get noticed) amidst the current glut of supreme technical beings currently ruling tech death’s vast kingdom. Standards are high and the task is huge….thankfully, Æthereus are more than up to the challenge.
Progressive, dissonant and yet blessed with an ever-present hint of ‘melody’, it’s the likes of “The Living Abyss” which perfectly showcases Æthereus‘ technical audacity and songwriting nous. A mind-blowing epic which moves through a multitude of soundscapes, “The Living Abyss” is Leiden‘s centrepiece; one that is flanked by the more aggressive and direct “Behold, The World Eaters” and Leiden‘s brutally atmospheric title track.
Æthereus are no longer toiling away in the formidable shadow cast by Archspire, First Fragment, Inferi etc. Instead, they’re basking in the light of their own making…..a great start to the technical death metal year! 8/10
Ancesthor – White Terror [Mexico]
Genre: Progressive/Technical Thrash
Released: Independently on January 7th, 2022
A raucous blast of techincal thrash, Ancesthor have thrown everything at their 5th album (no, we don’t know how we missed then until now either) and while the results can often be overwhelming, there’s no denying that this is a monster of progressive/technical thrash!
There will no doubt be many who accuse White Terror of being a mess of influences, with its cacophonous mix of all-out aggression, love ’em or hate ’em vocals and dalliances with symphonic elements proving difficult to consume in one sitting. However, there’s no doubting that Ancesthor are a talented bunch and fans of both neo-classical thrash and the kind of dissonant rage perpetrated by Vektor (particularly in their early days) will surely get a kick out of what these Mexicans have to offer.
Thrashing terror awaits! 7/10
Big Scenic Nowhere – The Long Morrow [USA]
Genre: Stoner / Desert Rock
Released: January 14th, 2022 via Heavy Psych Sounds
The result of a three day jam back in November of 2019, The Long Morrow finds Bill Bach (Fu Manchu), Gary Arce (Yawning Man), Bill Stinson (Yawning Man) and Tony Reed (Mos Generator) – collectively known as Big Scenic Nowhere – conjuring magic from their desert sessions and releasing yet another batch of world-class stoner/desert rock in the process.
As ‘big’ as the vistas that inform their sound, the songs on The Long Morrow are epic yet loose, comfortingly warm and rich with ideas. The psychedelic lounge act of “Lavender Bleu” is an undoubted highlight but it’s topped and tailed by equally impressive, heavier, vignettes. However, The Long Morrow‘s sun-bleached piece de resistance is its 20 minute closing salvo – a self-titled gift of a song that morphs from a psychedelic Pink Floyd-esque trip into pure stoner nirvana and back again. Rambling? Not in the slightest? “The Long Morrow” is sun-bleached bliss. It’s the sound of 4 like-minded individuals simply coming together and jamming until something sticks….and these jams sure are sticky!
With Big Scenic Nowhere retaining a core stoner sound – but ever-encroaching on more progressive, shape-shifting sands – this is one band that’s rapidly becoming the pre-eminent stoner/desert act of the genre. 8/10
Dark Millennium – Acid River [Germany]
Genre: Progressive Death/Doom
Released: January 7th, 2022 via Massacre Records
Let’s get one thing straight from the outset. Dark Millennium’s Ashore The Celestial Burden (1992) is a masterpiece. It’s a staggering work of progressive death/doom that remains virtually peerless and if you haven’t heard it, you should do yourself a massive favour and resolve the situation post haste! Now that we’ve got that particular public service announcement / reprimand out of the way we can fast forward 30 years and concentrate on the release of Dark Millennium’s 5th opus, Acid River.
Perhaps due to the ongoing COVID situation, Acid River actually finds the band in a playfully nostalgic mood, honouring their own illustrious past with another batch of constantly challenging, highly immersive and atmospheric songs that are very much in the vein of their classic releases; the aforementioned Ashore The Celestial Burden (1992) and 1993’s follow-up, Diana Read Peace.
With lead single “Threshold” being the kind of multi-faceted beast you’d immediately expect from this band, any notion that Dark Millennium are resting on their laurels is swiftly dispelled. In comparison, “Godforgotten” is relatively upbeat….that is until prime death/doom kicks you in the soft bits – and normal service resumes. 9/10