Few individuals are as important to the history of Greek black metal as Jim Mutilator and The Magus. Jim was on bass and lyrics duty for all Rotting Christ material through Triarchy of the Lost Lovers, and did bass, songwriting, and lyrics for Varathron through His Majesty at the Swamp. The Magus (George Zacharopoulos) has been just as important, and has done bass and vocals for Necromantia since the beginning and has done the same in Thou Art Lord from the start as well.
Formed at the onset of popularity of the retro thrash movement in 2005, Nekromantheon have largely outlasted and outperformed all of the bands that were their peers through the rise and fall of thrash revivalism. Targeting from the start the deeper underground and always avoiding the party-heavy themes and aesthetic that plagued their contemporaries, Nekromantheon built a cult following for their intense velocity, witching thrash mentality, and incredibly high quality over the years.
Death metal has changed quite a bit since the birth of the genre. Every aspect of sonic extremity that could be conceived has been pushed, be that the tempo, production, level of consonance (what’s usually called “harmony”), chromaticism, vocals, and everything in between. Formed in 1987 in California, Autopsy have seen all of that evolution from the very start and always chose during their formative years to be a part of the group pushing boundaries, ignoring at all times what might prove to be more marketable or trendy to pursue their own form of sonic barbarism and their own always-disgusting horror aesthetic.
There are few genres more inherently focused on the underground than the niche fusion of black/thrash metal. A special handful of bands have managed to get on and stay on big labels- particularly classic ones like Desaster, who have a new album coming later this year on Metal Blade- but for most of them, a significantly smaller label is the end of the line.
Most modern death metal isn’t scary, dangerous, or controversial—except perhaps in how much people think it sucks. Death metal is a genre that has largely found a comforting groove to settle into, and most bands are happiest when they find an approach that lets them dream of courting big labels, playing big festivals, and getting attention from whoever the latest hyped darling band is.
For the very first time, Cardiac Arrest’s Haven for the Insane is coming soon on vinyl! Pre-sale up today, release on 04/23. Very stoked to have this as Nameless Grave Records’ first vinyl release!
Formed originally in Chicago in 1997, Cardiac Arrest have been terrifying audiences since before half of the current wave of death metal bands were alive, always as stalwartly untrendy as they were fierce and uncompromising. Haven for the Insane in particular should appeal to fans of Autopsy, Funebrarum, Impetigo, and Master. I am a big fan of this record in particular, so I’m to be a part of the Cardiac Arrest legacy in even this very small way.
This week we will be talking about one of the most promising newer bands out of France, Herzel. Herzel are an epic heavy metal band that formed nearly a decade ago now, but until this year only had a single powerful demo out, 2015’s Unis dans la gloire. That one demo was strong enough to set the underground ablaze, and years of buzz prior to their new album had reached a boiling point by the time that Le dernier rempart was announced as a Gates of Hell Records release, finally releasing last week.
Thirty years ago to this day, one of the ultimate landmarks of death/doom metal dropped. Coming only a scant year after Paradise Lost’s debut album, Lost Paradise, Gothic represented a reverberating shift through the burgeoning genre and made waves that are still being felt today. It also stands unique within the band’s discography as a transitional work between their early days playing death metal and their long mid period where they shied away from it (with repeated mentions in places like 1993’s Chamber of Sorrow Zine #4 about all of the issues that they had with the record after the honeymoon period had worn off after its release). Gothic was their last death metal record for almost two decades until they more recently began slowly re-integrating that sound with In Requiem, and, though of course it’s worth checking out all of their material, Gothic is the one that was the most influential and special of their early works.
StarGazer has a lot of history, and with that, a lot of high hopes whenever they drop new material. As one of Australia’s longest-running extreme metal bands and one of their best, fans are always ravenous for more. Though StarGazer’s lineup certainly keeps a lot of new music flowing via side projects, full length releases under the StarGazer name are a relative scarcity, and Psychic Secretions comes some seven years after the band’s last full length back in 2014.
It’s a rare demo that hits with the force of a good album, but it’s not the biggest shock that an experienced talent such as Reuben Storey, who is best known for his time with Christian Mistress, Funerot, and Quayde LaHüe, would be the first one in 2021 to make a big impression. Dropping with no buildup and in an age of online-only promotion, it’s easy for an independent demo like this to get lost, but Iron Exile is already making waves with the strength of its spirit and passion in its heart.