Category Archives: Album Review

The Trials of August 11, 2017

Cormorant Return with Some More Black Metal from the Bay

The name Cormorant should be somewhat known to some both in the underground metal scene and in the Bay Area. But for those who aren’t, this quartet is known for being serious about remaining independent despite how many sources claim otherwise. With that tidbit aside, Cormorant have released their fourth album Diaspora independently. Unlike their previous 2014 album, Earth Diver, the band takes the approach of Wintersun and delivers in 4 track album with songs over 7 minutes long.

The album kicks off with “Preserved in Ash,” Brennan Kunkel’s drums open the 10-plus minute long Pandora’s box and is then followed by vox/bassist Marcus Luscombe’s screaming vocals. The best way the Klown can describe this song is if Opeth’s style of prog met with a lot of underground black metal influence such as Morphesia. With “Sentinel” and “Migration” the band makes a 180 and features more of a doom influence, switches it back to progressive becoming nearly 16 and 26-plus minutes long, respectively.

In “The Devourer” the band returns to the progressive black metal brand that they are known for and has guitarist/backing vocalist Matt Solis and Kunkel sharing the mic creating a ghastly and harmonic chorus. This album was quite a surprise given the band’s original poison of choice is black metal. The Klown highly recommends this album if you are looking to expand your tastes in the prog and doom field. You can check this quartet’s album out in their Bandcamp.

5 out of 6, Doomtastic  

Porky Vagina Release their Third Installment

Porky Vagina’s name alone will leave a lot to the imagination. Nevertheless, this Polish trio is back with their new release titled Astroschwein and was released independently. From the very beginning, “Chlew I Honor” plays on the sounds of Western movies but immediately turn to the sounds of grindcore  and remains experimental. Aside from this being the running theme of the album, the Klown can best describe these sounds as a marriage between Nekrogoblikon and Igorrr who conceived a lead singer that plays with his vocals and can mimic the pig squeals.

“Fekal Disko Party,” “Call of Knuru” and “Anal, Flaki I Prosiaki” are great examples of what the Klown speaks of. “Jan Maria Rakiela” sounded like an unheard of Asesino track if frontman/bassist Tony Campos decided to test out his Polish. Do you like Ghoul and are curious to know how they would sound like with a bit of rockabilly? “Czas Pogardy I Musztardy,” “Polej Smalcu” and “Oberiva ov Death” are the tracks you definitely want to give a try.

“Wunderschwein,” however, starts off with the rockabilly influence but was more of a mash up of the metal subgenres, some electronic, and a rowdy chorus. At first the Klown didn’t know what to make of it but he will admit that this was a good album and can hook anyone in if you are having trouble deciding what you want to listen to. You can get a copy at the band’s Bandcamp to check it out for yourself.

6 out of 6 That’s All Folks

Incantation Shall Offend the Unworthy with Latest

The pioneering trio known as Incantation has released their tenth album through Relapse Records. The newest album Profane Nexus will remind you why Incantation is a legend in the New York City death metal scene. The album first takes off with “Muse” in which frontman/guitarist John McEntee’s slow riffs build up quickly and features his harsh, growling vocals to boot.

“Rites of the Locust,” “Xipe Totec,” and “Messiah Nostrum,” however, really bring back the powerful sounds that Incantation has been known for. They will destroy your eardrums in a good way and will have you clamoring for more of McEntee’s vocals and riffs accompanied with Kyle Severn’s excellent drumming and Chuck Sherwood’s strong bass strumming.

The band tones it down with “Incorporeal Despair,” “Omens to the Altar of Onyx” and “Ancients Arise.” Additionally, the songs will make you feel like you are listening to a Six Feet Under track minus the guttural vocals of Chris Barnes and, much like SFU, the tracks pick up tempo in between and continue their sluggish brutal sounds as well.

The trio’s latest installment will have any diehard fan begging for more and will leave them speechless to what they have heard. Most importantly if you loved Immolation and Suffocation’s latest releases, you will definitely love this album. If you want to challenge the Klown’s opinion on this, then mosey on up to the band’s Bandcamp and see for yourself.

6 out of 6, Phresh 

Venom Inc Will Have You Singing Hymns About Their Return

The legendary gods of the early black metal scene are back in full swing and with a vengeance. Okay… the majority of the said gods… the point is Venom Inc promised a new album and delivered with their latest debut installment Avé through Nuclear Blast Records. Before the Klown proceeds to type up this love letter, he wants you to know that this album just seemed to have everything and more.

The trio begins with “Avé Sathanas” which has a dramatically slow ominous sample with some deep, growling spoken word serving as a catalyst to Jeff “Mantas” Dunn’s guitar riffs and frontman/bassist Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan’s powerful bass strums. The pace immediately picks up with “Forged in Hell” and features Tony “Abaddon” Bray’s superb drumming as the opening sounds to this awesome track. The band also managed to make a new anthem for us metalheads and adds the speed metal element with “Metal We Bleed” making this a fresh and superb track.

The trio takes it old school in terms of elements and speed with “Time to Die” and “The Evil Dead” and will have you remembering that this group was also responsible for “Black Metal.” “Preacher Man” tones it down and has Abaddon thundering his double kicks and cymbals clashing as the founding element of this song. Remember how the Klown brought up “Black Metal?” You should since it’s still in this piece!

Venom Inc’s closing track is the awesomely titled “Black’n’Roll” which shows us everything the trio gots. This track has an awesome guitar riff from Mantas, all the drumming prowess and skills of Abaddon and the Demolition Man’s commanding vocals and bass that defy speed and logic! The wait for this current incarnation was well worth the wait and will have anyone being exigent for more. Luckily the Klown can tell you that you can get a hold of a copy of this current sacrament here.

6 out of 6, The Poison of Champions, Hallelujah! 

*UH OH! Jenny Oh has thrown in her 2 cents! There goes her life savings again.*

Empyrean Throne Are Dripping With Glory

Suit up! We are headed to the front lines to defend the Empyrean Throne who are thirsty for glory and are ready to conquer with their debut LP Chaosborne via M-Theory Audio Records. The Californian melodic black metallers celebrate their first conquest as a signed band by unleashing their infernal cavalry with “The Twilight Order” and release the rabid “Usurping the Obsidian God” (which is just as badass live!)

Prepare to be thrust in to the darker side of their empire and in to the ominous and theatrical “The Devouring Mark.” That middle instrumental sequence in this track is the perfect build up to this swan song. Empyrean Throne create a beautiful illusion with “Follow the Plaguelord Part II: The Harbringer ov Pestilence” by reeling you in with clean vocals from Andrew Knudsen and a beautiful acoustic melody to flow with his voice before Knudsen shows you his inner Shagrath.

Empyrean Throne continues their vicious campaign with the ominous “From the Mouth ov the Black Gods,” “Stormrite Ascension,” and “And None Shall Rise…” The infernal lords are sure to awaken the ancient spirits residing in their domain with the beautifully crafted “Haereticus Stellarum Part I” where the fiddle continues to add more ambience and emotion along with the percussion and spills out the dramatic chanting and drum tempo in “Haereticus Stellarum Part II.”

Empyrean Throne shine brighter than the crown Knudsen dawned at the Helheim show earlier this year. Every epic adventure has a beginning and what better way for this band to begin this new chapter in their story with Chaosborne? The metallers from Lake Forest deliver a full length debut album sharper than Excalibur and possess a stronger magick than the Sanderson Sisters! Yours truly can’t find the appropriate words to describe the superb theatrics, instrumental work and vocals in this album. So head on down to their bandcamp to get your copy and join this campaign by exploring their previous releases.

6 Out 6, We will gladly bend the knee

 

The Trials of August 4, 2017

Accept ‘The Rise of Chaos’

Accept is back bearing gifts. The heavy metal icons are here to supply us with a great soundtrack applicable to everyday life with The Rise of Chaos via Nuclear Blast Records. These legends begins this mayhem with the honorable “Die by the Sword,” and keep the epic overtone going with “What’s Done Is Done”  which will amp you to finally stand up to that cardboard cutout of He-Man’s ‘cause it’s been looking at you funny for some time now.

Not everything is all fun and games with Accept, especially after they warn us with the catchy “Koolaid.” Which only makes yours truly crave the sugary and processed elixir a little more especially while looping this track, and yes this track might sock you right in the childhood if you’re not too familiar with the reference, young one.

After issuing their warning against the beloved drink, these metal vets showcase their heaviness and great riffs in their single “The Rise of Chaos,” “World’s Colliding,” and “No Regrets.” Accept maintain their iconic sound and are one of the few OG metal bands that have stood the test of time. This record will make you rise with your horns high up in the air. Get yours here and check it out!

4 Out Of 6, Still Got It 

Dead Cross Debut Lives!

For those unfamiliar with Dead Cross, this is quite the supergroup which has the master of percussion Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies), vocalist Mike Patton (Faith No More), fellow San Diegan, bassist Justin Pearson (Retox), and guitarist Michael Crain (Retox). Together, they have finally released their highly anticipated self titled album via Ipecac Recordings.

You know you’re going on a volatile ride when you begin with “Seizure and Desist” which has a great and dramatic chorus while letting you peek into some dystopian mind. This first track ends just as abruptly and mysteriously as it started…which hooks you in because curiosity fed the cat!…Addicted to the erraticism? So was yours truly! So when “Idiopathic,” “Divine Filth” and “Grave Slave” blasted in to these weary eardrums you bet it melted my prized ear wax reservoir!

Now the J-Oh’ster must publicly declare her love for Dead Cross’s take on Bauhaus’s “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” This collective add a new layer of grimness, grit, and angst and I just jizzed myself. Another song that made me feel warm and fuzzy inside is the death rock-esque “Church of the Motherfuckers.” You better believe these two particular songs were replayed quite a few times in the Ugh Metal fortress…okay maybe not just these two songs.

Patton slays and showcases his many interchanging vocal ranges and the rest of the band shine along with him. Patton is NOT just the dude from Faith No More, Lombardo is NOT just the ex-Slayer drummer and Pearson and Crain are NOT just some legendary punkers from Retox. Dead Cross is a testament of what gifted musicians can do together and damn… Experience this and grab your copy here and catch them in San Diego and stop by our hood on August 19 at the North Park Observatory.

6 out 6, The J-Oh’ster’s speechless

Bonehunter Unleashes Their ‘Sexual Panic Human Machine’

This Finnish trio is here to do THE business. Bonehunter is here to seduce you into the dark side with their sophomore album Sexual Panic Human Machine via Hells Headbangers Records. Bonehunter slap us silly with their hefty, blackened speed metal and add a little bit of foreplay before saying “nah,” and getting down to business with “Enter Satan’s Dimension,” and “Electric Nightmare” to name a few.

What’s that? Fuck the foreplay you say?! Okay ‘cause you asked for it raw and straight to the point, “Digital Evil” and “Spectre of Sex Vengeance” will cum at you hard! The title track and “Devil Science,” however, have a slower tempo making you soak in all the great beats from drummer S.S. Penetrator, the bass foundation from Witch Rider and Satanarchist’s high black metal growls.

Bonehunter’s black speed metal is NOT like their label mate Midnight’s brand of naughty. The trio from Oulu adds more emphasis on the Norwegian branch of black metal but beef it up with tremendous agility. Bonehunter used the feather tickler a little more this time around and know the power of a great build up. Most of these tracks will tease you before it turns animalistic, and will sandwiches you in between a slow breakdown before it slowly ends again…Woooo! Someone get me a frozen Blackout Lemonade! Get your copy at the label’s bandcamp right here and see what I mean and because you know you wanna see the FULL cover 😉

6 Out 6, Bonerrific

Click the link to their Bandcamp to see the FULL surprise 😉

**The Klown Has Cracked Open A Fresh One**

Russkaja Roll Out Their Fifth

The Klown is back with this gem! Although Russkaja is from Austria, the Russian singing Ska Punk septet has returned with their latest album titled Kosmopoliturbo via Napalm Records. The opening track “Hey Road” and “Cheburashka” are great examples of the band’s famous Ska and Russian polka brand of music. The euphoria of upbeat trumpet sounds for Ska combined with the sounds of the fiddle, the potete trumpet for some Russian polka influence will fill your ears. Georgij Makazaria’s screaming baritone vocals complete the mix.

“Alive” was an extremely pleasant surprise to the Klown. Why? The group incorporated some hip hop samples to the mix which enhanced and didn’t deter the song. Are you still longing for bae? Russkaja once again reintroduce a breakup song with “Still In Love” but unlike the previous album they present the hopeful but slow ballad “Send You An Angel.”

Just like the previous album they incorporate other languages into their music such as “Mare Mare” which feature Makazaria singing in Italian. Another example is the combo of Russian and German with “Volle Kraft Voraus” accompanied by the rest of the band’s loud and harmonious chorus.Lastly Makazaria shows off his Spanish vocals once more in this album with “La Musica.” This became one of the Klown’s favorite song not just because he understands it but because of the lyrical content. The song’s message being translated as music is our religion which is something the Klown and his peeps can all agree with. You can get a hold of this record here and see what the Klown is overselling!

6 out of 6, These Russians Can Putin Their Music Anywhere

The Trials of July 28, 2017

Prong Gives Us ‘Zero Days’  

Prong returns with their 12th studio album Zero Days via SPV/Steamhammer records and this album is here to make an impression. Now the J-Oh’ster (Klown, c’mon tell me if I’m doing this right!) must admit the first track “However It may End” made the J-Oh think she played a new Slipknot track minus the beep-beep-scratch sounds…Have those green Cali fumes FINALLY messed with yours truly?! Don’t know. The title track will make you grab your shit and run and start your own rebellion. Great track! Which is complimented by “Divide And Conquer,” where Tommy Victor shows off his nice set of pipes in the chorus and also keeps shining in the angsty ballad “Blood Out Of Stone.” *replays* They get it! They get me!

Now Prong is not one to shy away from in-your-face tracks or songs about how they are being wronged! NO!! They throw “Self Righteous Indignation” right at you, which prowls with a calculating pace rather than charge right at you. RAWR! Want something more serious with a foreboding sense of doom? “Wasting Of The Dawn” and “The Whispers.” Victor’s vocals AND riffs continue to shine along with the Art Cruz’s definitive drum pounding and the base foundation from Mike Longworth. It should be a crime that the J-Oh’ster FINALLY mentioned Victor’s riffs ‘cause he’s not just a pretty voice!

This album will more than suffice the Prong lover and will cause a nice head bopping for the casual metalhead. Though yours truly is not an avid Prong follower, the J-Oh’ster’s gotta admit that this was a very nice personal buffer between listening to tar black metal, decaying death metal, grimy industrial tunes, and the magical wonders of Loreena McKennitt and Bjork. That’s right kids, there’s no in between with the J-Oh’ster and she can go on and on! So with that being said, Zero Days provides that pleasant middle ground for anyone. Be sure to snag a copy of this baby before you head in to your bunker here and bask it in.

5 Out 6, The Final Countdown Was Good!

Alice Cooper Conjures Up The ‘Paranormal’  

The father of shock rock is back to show us a whole new type of nightmare with Paranormal via earMusic Records. Alice Cooper kicks off with the title track which has a nice and acoustic riff before the brief and epic electric riffs strike you down. The title track has an appropriate feel as the intro track because it has a haunting and welcoming tone and Alice Cooper’s melodic vocals will stay with you.

The sextet switches gears with “Dead Files” and “Fallen In Love” which had some faint bluesy overtones which was awesome. Now there’s a very special guest in “Fireball,” and you are right it is the organ! Why enjoy this so much? Because it made this track so much stronger. Why is the J-Oh’ster too excited over the organ? Because shut up that’s why.  which for some reason amuzed me and we hear a guest appearance from the organ in “Fireball” which makes this baby sizzle. The boppy and rebel with a cause “Genuine American Girl” is the track that will steal your heart and break it before taking off to Broadway.

Alice Cooper revisits some of his older style in vocals and sound in “Paranoiac Personality,” “Private Public Breakdown.” Cooper adds a little bit of bluesy noir to his rock n’ roll in “The Sound Of A,” which the J-Oh’ster must admit is her favorite song of this album. This legend flirts with different musical influences without straying away from his classic and signature sound. Paranormal will make a believer out of you and is sure to appeal to the youngins. Contact and receive your copy with open arms here.

6 Out of 6, We believe!

‘Ultu Ulla’ Is A Different Kind Of Species

We’re going to Saturn, dude. To the Rings Of Saturn to be exact!  And you bet we’ll be blasting their latest Ultu Ulla which made its way out in this universe via Nuclear Blast Records. Those beginning riffs from guitarists Lucas Mann and Miles Dimitri Baker in their first track “Servant of this Sentience” heighten the anticipation of what’s to come in this album and deliver a track that flows nicely.

“Parallel Shift,” however, shakes things up with their tempo and even throws in some good ol’ keyboards adding that a faint sense of mystique considering we’re breaking supersonic barriers in this journey! Now these guys don’t just stick to the brutal side of things and add some spice to this album. Nope, these guitarists add some pizzazz to this album by showcasing their strumming chops and give us a great acoustic intermission in “Unhallowed” and the pleasant and epic instrumental “The Macrocosm” where they mix some technical and brutal influences with acoustic elements, and lest we forget the predominantly acoustic snippet in “Inadequate.”

Rings of Saturn don’t just remain in the deathcore side of the spectrum and dabble in a lot of technical death metal influences in Ultu Ulla. This album is a different species that is in the middle of evolving from its previous form.  The Bay Area quartet are ready to hunt and convert new fans with the new influences they are playing with. Book your ticket to Ultu Ulla here and prepare to get your mind blown.

6 Out 6, I Have A Feeling This Isn’t Just Deathcore Anymore

*Look what I found at the bottom of my Comic Con bag! That lil sneak!*

Mosh to ‘The Overlord Messiah’

Nearly three decades later, David DerMinasian, ex-member of 1988’s AVATAR (no not James Cameron’s blue man group or the eccentric Swedes), not only returned to the metal scene with a new band called Retched (pronounced “Retch” ‘cause they’re cool like that) BUT they also released The Overlord Messiah via Alone Records on July 21. Something worth noting about this EP is that it was recorded as AVATAR in ’88 before they split, and the former member had to sit on this record until last year when he released it through Bandcamp. Do we need more reasons to love Bandcamp!?  The Greek record label then swooped in and released it to the masses last week.

Flash forward to 2017, where the two piece SoCal thrash band not only delivered a big surprise to their faithful legion but also have the potential to wow thrashers and casual listeners alike. “Black Leather And Me” is the perfect 80’s montage music for a metalhead and oozes that OG coolness. “Insane” and “Lost In The Night” will make you wild with their intro riffs and don’t even get me started about that breakdown!

The title track “The Overlord Messiah” lives up to its name and is a divine ruler no one would dare challenge! Yours truly can continue breaking down all six tracks of this EP but yours truly has said more than enough. It would have been a sacrilege of metal proportions had this EP not made it in to our ears. The multi talented DerMinasian’s voice is a whole new level of heavy metal magic, not that the J’Oh-ster is downplaying his riffs.

With Retched due to release a full length album in Nov. 2018, we can’t wait to see what this duo will produce in their new chapter. Become a believer and get it in their bandcamp OR get the sweet bundle pack at Alone Records’ site.

6 Out 6, King of the mosh pit

The Trials of July 21

Nine Inch Nails Continues to Tease with Latest EP

Assuming you keep up with the Klown’s album reviews, Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails made their first Ugh Metal appearance at the beginning of this year with their December 23, 2016, release Not the Actual Events EP. Mr. Reznor has returned with another teasing EP titled Add Violence through Reznor’s own label, The Null Corporation.

The EP begins with “Less Than” which gives an upbeat 80’s throwback sound in the beginning which remains so throughout the rest of the song and reminded him a bit of the 2013 Hesitation Marks album. The Klown can describe as rather ambient like the Ghosts albums but with vocals. In fact, this would be a running theme throughout the majority of the EP up until “Not Anymore.”

“Not Anymore” brings back the old school NIN sound with some ambience and had Reznor’s vocals somewhat faded and autotuned. “The Background World” was the final and longest track of the whole EP and it was rather reminiscent to that of the 1994 Downward Spiral album in term of sounds, pace and mixing and with some lengthy heavy, and distorted bass. The album was a pretty nice surprise given the fact it came out of nowhere. You can get your copy of this EP here to check it out.

5 out of 6, It will Soothe Your Violent Tendencies

In This Moment Contemporary Turns Headbanging into Rite

The female fronted quintet known as In This Moment has released their sixth album Ritual through Atlantic Records and manages to surprise fans. This album begins strongly with “Oh Lord”  and starts out rather slow but bluesy, and industrial in terms of sound. Frontwoman Maria Brink uses autotune to sing adding reverb and to simulate some fading effect in her voice.

The real treat comes immediately when legendary frontman Rob Halford lent his renowned vocals for “Black Wedding” which a plays around a bit with Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” famous verse y’know? “It’s a nice day for a white wedding,” the difference being the color. Although Brink and company teased a cover with “Black Wedding” she delivers in covering Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight,” which the Klown rather enjoyed. The song has a darker touch and presence by being a song about taking someone back, tearfully and, at least in the Klown’s opinion, the feminine touch adds more of a significant perspective. It’s almost as if Collins’ had unintentionally written for a female vocalist. No matter the case it was well done and will have you feeling the feels.

ITM give a shout out to Rob Zombie with “Witching Hour” not only does it have a B-movie role sound bite in the beginning and follow up with a bit of the groggy, stoner influences. “Half God, Half Devil” was a great song and almost felt like they took a page out of Rammstein’s book in terms of sounds and lyrical content because it was rather powerful giving the song more meaning.

This album finishes with the dark ballad “Lay Your Gun Down” which seemed like the perfect ending given what seemed like a running theme for this album as well the chance to enjoy some of Brink’s clean vocals and piano performance. You can get this album here and hear for yourself.

6 out of 6, Go On, Enjoy This Album this Very Moment

Decrepit Birth Release their Most Brutal Album to Date

The Californian quartet known as Decrepit Birth have released their fourth album Axis Mundi through Nuclear Blast Records. The album blew the Klown’s nose off once the “Vortex of Infinity… Axis Mundi” played because it was a powerful beginning. Although the track is extremely brief, the song commences with a sample before the combination of Matt Sotelo’s opening riff, Sean “Angry Face” Martinez’s bass and Sam “Samus” Paulicelli’s double kicks blasting the Klown’s eardrums, the Klown knew he was in for a treat.

“Spirit Guide” will be your technical death metal spirit guide if you would like to continue on the path of technical death metal bliss and add the sounds of a harpsichord towards the end. As for the pure “classical” sounds of technical death metal, “The Sacred Geometry” and “Transcendental Paradox” are just a few examples of some pure technical death metal. The band as a whole showed off their skills in these tracks which consisted of Sotelo’s killer guitar riffs and solos,  Samus’s speedy double kicks, Angry Face’s heavy bass and Bill Robinson’s brutal snarling vocals.

“Embryogenesis,” on the other hand, gives you more technical without vocals and plays with synthesizers which at times had classical strings which made for a pretty good intro for Metallica’s cover of “Orion.” Decrepit Birth also covered another classic   “Desperate Cry”  from Sepultura’s 1991 Arise, which the Klown will admit enjoyed a lot. The Klown can say that this song was given a much-needed revitalization for the Sepultura faithful and reach a new potential audience who have never really been exposed to the classics.

Lastly, the quartet finishes this album with a cover to Suffocation’s “Infecting the Crypts.” This album was awesome and the Klown recommends you wrap your ears around this album especially if your thing is technical death metal. You can obtain a copy of this album here.

6 out of 6, You’ll Die, Happy

 

Wintersun, At Long Last, Releases their Album

Jari Mäenpää’s project known as Wintersun has finally returned and delivered to its patient fans a new album as promised.  After much turmoil and tribulations, the third and latest installment The Forest Seasons has been released through Nuclear Blast Records. The contemporary record starts off with “Awaken from the Dark Slumber (Spring)” which the Klown can describe as lengthy but awesome as hell.

Mäenpää and crew take you on a journey filled with folk and symphonic death metal to make a perfect harmonious marriage. The Klown is well aware that Wintersun is not a death metal band before you staunch heads start to call out the Klown for probably thinking that Amon Amarth may be the same. Nevertheless, the Klown assures you that during that 14-plus minute song there is some symphonic death metal incorporated and is a great beginning.

“The Forest that Weeps (Summer)” follows up with some pretty bitchin’ folk and contains some wind instrumentals highlighting Mäenpää, Teemu Mäntysaari and Jukka Koskinen’s vocals, making the song feel more like an anthem than just an ordinary Folk metal song. The track includes some harp sounds and an epic male choir chorus for added effect. “The Forest…” also has an array of all stars within the Scandinavian metal community that lend their voices for the choir such as Heri Joensen from Tyr, Markus Toivonen from Ensiferum, Mitja Harvilahti from Moonsorrow, and various member of Turisas just to name a few.

Wintersun makes a 180 turn for “Eternal Darkness (Autumn)” by showing off some epic black metal with his folk much like the trailblazing Bathory did years before them. This must be the first time the Klown has heard Mäenpää showing off anything black metal related. The frontman’s vocals were understandable but harsh  and were accompanied by a chorus and featured Kai Hahto really thunder his treble and double bass drums like the living drumming legend Jan Axel Blomberg aka Hellhammer from Mayhem. The song also contains some synths and samples to justify the Klown’s take. This song had the Klown thinking that he was probably listening to a lost Dimmu Borgir track from Death Cult Armageddon .

The album finishes with “Loneliness (Winter)” which features Mäenpää perform clean and harmonious vocals which have the ability to make a hard ass weep. “Loneliness (Winter)” felt like the perfect closer to this long awaited release. The Klown highly recommends you get a hold of this copy because it was really worth the wait. Speaking of acquisitions, you can immediately obtain a copy through the Wintersun’s Bandcamp.

6 out of 6, Well Worth the Wait!

The Trials of July 14

Boris Is One Manic ‘Dear’

Experimental rockers Boris are back with a love letter for us weirdos with Dear via Sargant House Records. The Japanese trio set the mood of whats to come with the “D.O.W.N- Domination of Waiting Noise” which appropriately makes you feel like you’re about to begin an acidic journey and piques your interest. Ready to travel to the other side? Well hold on to your pantalones ‘cause the eerie “Deadsong” will slowly pull you across THE ghostly veil. Wata’s silky smooth voice and Takeshi Ohtani’s clean vocals will make you want to follow them till the very end of “Beyond.” After everything, you will want to go back because you’re so damn happy they both trapped you with their riffs.

Loving the clean vocals? Then the ambient “Biotape” and “Memento Mori” will keep fulfilling that craving and which feels like it has a dash of a cinematic feel to them. You will bow down to the mighty power of Boris’ riffs in “The Power.” The penultimate eleven minute and a half “Dystopia-Vanishing Point” slightly amplified the cinematic element was ready to prepare you for some type of resolution until the tormented “Dear” swoops in to give you a memorable end.

Boris will keep you on your toes and are notorious for being audibly fluid. Experimental fiends will certainly love this and for those that are not so open to this wild child, it will certainly be an interesting and pleasant journey into the WTF courtesy of these legends. Make Dear in to your dear and get it at Boris’ bandcamp.

5 Out 6, Your manic  dream.

Execration Take Us In Back In To The ‘Void’

These Norwegian death metallers continue to blacken their death metal with their latest Return To The Void via Metal Blade Records. Their first track “Eternal Recurrence” slowly fades in THE riffs till this hellhound comes straight for that bag of Doritos you’re holding right now! Execration starts out strongly and spews out more of that blackened death metal goodness in “Eternal Recurrence” which stays fast and feisty till the end and the calculating “Hammers of Vulcan.” Why calculating? Because this firecracker briefly takes a rest a little over the halfway point and gathers its strength before striking you down for one final match.

Execration continues to release the old and elusive spirit of Norwegian black metal with “Unicursal Horrorscope” and the title track “Return to the Void.” Execration end their album powerfully with the memorable “Det Uransakelige Dyp,” where bassist Jonas Helgemo and drummer Cato Syversud take the lead before guitarist/vocalist Chris Johansen and guitarist/vocalist Jørgen Maristuen hop in. This song feels a little different than the rest of the tracks and it’s a brutal and bumpy ride deeper into the void.

Execration deliver another great album and are without a doubt the light within this ‘Void.’ The J-Oh’ster (Am I still doing this right, Klown?) enjoyed this Return to the Void a little too much and continues to play this album on the Ugh Metal Spotify account for the 10 billionth time now! If you love Execration, some death metal with a beautiful black metal fusion, this is your album. Don’t be a wiener and Return to the Void here if you dare! Not sure? Check it out on the band’s bandcamp their Spotify or our Spotify!

6 Out 6, Two one way tickets to the ‘Void’ Por favor!

Ewigkeit’s ‘Cosmic Man’ Will Make Major Tom Proud

The ultra cool James “Mr. Fog” Fogarty is ready to take us aboard his black magic spacecraft and beyond with his latest Cosmic Man via Svart Records. We cross the universe with Mr. Fog at the helm with the instrumental intro “Quantum Eraser” which sets the mood perfectly before we give in to “Cold Souls.” Now that we’ve made it to deep space we and enter choppier terrain with “Death Is The Portal” a track where Mr. Fog adds more mystique with his clean vocals.

Things get more psychedelic with the keyboards shining brighter than any star in the Disney ride “Neon Ghoul Ride,” okay maybe it’s not a ride yet but if this song is blasting in this rollercoaster along with the instrumental “Space Horse” count us in times 50! Ewigkeit seems to pay homage to my brudda from the same mutha, the Klown, with “Running Away From The Circus” though it was the other way around, but you didn’t hear that from me *sips coffee*, anyway this track makes you feel the fear the circus feels from the Klown!

The Jenn-Oh (Well Klown?) could give you a complete breakdown of this album and go on abu the beauty of “Thieves in the Sky” and Mr.Fog’s rendition of “Two Minutes To Midnight” but not this time. Ewigkeit delivers a great and cosmically different follow up to his 2013 heavily underrated and predominant black metal album Back To Beyond. Take a trip with the Cosmic Man and get it here. Iffy about it? Pay Decibel Magazine’s site and stream it for free and then buy it right here!

6 Out 6, Out of this world

Bloodclot Waves Its ‘Arms’ In The Like It Just Don’t Care

This anarchist supergroup is here with Metal Blade Records and their latest Up In Arms and are ready to get your sleepy butts up and in to that pit! After taking a nine year break, Bloodclot mean business and they ain’t playing around with their first track and title track “Up In Arms” which is guaranteed to cause some many many pits. Need more pit feed? “Manic” and “Kill the Beast” is here to save the day and nourish your pet pit to be big and strong! This beast never sleeps and jumps right into “Prayer” which will make you sympathize with this beast and feel enlightened with “Siva/ Rudra.” Just when you think all is Zen, at the end John Joseph belts out a vicious

Hungry for more? The J-oh’ster was and so Side-B fulfilled my hunger and kicked off with the “Soldiers of New Babylon” which fuels the anticipation by fading in Joey Castillo’s drumming and Todd Youth’s riff as an amazing chaser. The power of fading in man! If you think you have time to sit down on your La-Z-Boy, no! “Kali,” “Slipping Into Darkness” gives you that jolt of energy and the J-Oh’ster must mention that the J-Oh’ster (WELL KLOWN!?) thinks that “Slow Kill Genocide” has a catchy chorus.

Bloodclot came and conquered with Up In Arms and it makes all the more exciting to see them share the stage with fellow ultraviolet hooligans Nails on Aug.6 at the Brick By Brick. Get pumped up for this tour and get you copy here because if you don’t you will have every reason to go up in arms. You will eat this sucker up! Visit Metal Blade Records’ Youtube channel to stream the whole LP and get it here!

6 Out Of 6, Bloodclot kick started our hearts and manifestos    

The Trials of July 7

Melvins Keep Up with their Contemporary Album

The name Melvins should be rather familiar to you especially if you grew up with or were big on grunge #only90skidsremember. If you’re not, that’s okay because the Klown shall indulge you. The hobbyhorse of frontman/guitarist Roger “Buzz” Osborne and skinsman Dale Crover have been around longer than the Klown and they have manage to pump out more material. Although the band came to light, more-or-less, during the rise of Grunge the current trio don’t relegate themselves to one genre altogether. There was a time where the band was predominantly sludge metal. Enough on the bio, the Klown shall now talk about A Walk with Love and Death which was released through Ipecac Recordings.

The album begins with “Black Heath (Death)” which contains the sounds of indie/alternative with some easy going house and snare drumming of Crover and the ambient guitar strumming by Osborne. Melvins bring back the sludge/stoner sounds for “Sober-delic (Acid-only) [Death],”“Euthanasia (Death)” and “Christ Hammer (Death).” They bring back the Grunge influences for “What’s Wrong with You? (Death).” As you’ve probably figured out by now the album is divided between death and love as a concept and not just a part of the title.

The quick summary of the love concept is that it begins with “Aim High (Love)” and that it was purely experimental, not much to highlight other than that. This album was pretty good especially if you enjoy the sounds of the Melvins with a  bit of curve ball added to the mix. You can check this out on the band’s bandcamp to hear for yourself.

5 out of 6,  Still Better than Seattle’s Best Coffee

Take a walk with the Melvins it will be rather eye opening

Apothesary Bring Forth their Latest Album

The Concordian quartet known as Apothesary has returned with their second album Accept Loss Forever through M-Theory Audio Records. Ever since these gents were snagged by M-Theory Audio, they have been making quite some noise in the metal world. Enough fluff, this album begins with “Sensory Overload” which the Klown can describe as a great start for this album it begins heavy with guitars, drums and frontman/rhythm guitarist Jared Eandi accompanying the glut with his harsh vocals which are then met with guitar solos from Clayton Cagle and powerful double kicks from Greg O’Neill.

“1976” and “Woodland Critter Christmas” take a page out of deathcore and feature Cagle’s backup vocals and guitar solo accompanying Eandi’s growling vocals. The group picks up the pace with “Accept Loss Forever” and  transition to punk in the middle of the song till the finish. “Knight” tones it down about a bit and features more of a prog metal influence with its easy going play. It is worth noting that this album features guest musician in the form of I Am Morbid’s guitarist Bill Hudson with “Tempest (Even Tide).” This album closes rapidly with “Expressionless Me” which slows down a bit with some autotuned spoken word vocals and some slow vibrato applied to the guitar for some ambience.

This album was a great sophomore from the group and demonstrates why M-Theory Audio did right in snagging them from other potential label suitors. The Klown recommends this album to those fans of Whitechapel, Cattle Decapitation and The Ocean. You can check out this album in the band’s bandcamp.

6 out of 6 This Album is Not a Loss

Apothesary will make you get over things through Death Metal

Limbonic Art Continue to Pump Out Material

For those unfamiliar with the underrated Norwegian black metal band Limbonic Art, you are in luck for the Klown shall indulge you once more. Limbonic Art is one of the few lesser known NBM bands. It had an unpredictable future because of a mass member departure but has returned as a one man project under one of the originators, Vidar “Daemon” Jensen. Now the one man project releases Spectre Abysm through Candlelight Recordings after a seven year hiatus.

The album begins with the lengthy but fast and somewhat raw sounding “Demonic Resurrection” with Daemon’s vocals showing range from growls, cries, chants and spoken word. “Omega Doom” and “Requiem Sempiternam” brings back the classic sounds of the Norwegian Black Metal Scene. “Disciplina Arcani” takes an ambient approach to the album. The album finishes just like it began but with its time slightly cut with “Through The Vast Profundity Obscure.” This album was a treat given the unknown status of the band. The Klown highly recommends this album to those who really fancy themselves lovers of the Norwegian black metal scene. You can get the album here to get your hands on a copy.

6 out of 6, Kvlt AF!

Another OG from NBMS, Limbonic Art making itself be heard

Decapitated Unveil their Newest Release

One of the fathers of Polish death metal has graced us with a brand new seventh installment titled Anticult through Nuclear Blast Records. Before the Klown even got the chance to hear it, he already heard many things about this album. In fact, the Klown wanted to know how good Anticult really was,  it  even made it into the Billboards charts.

So without further ado, the album begins with “Impulse” which starts slow with some guitar on a whammy pedal for some ambiance and picks up the pace after the breakdown. The momentum continues with the help of Michał Łysejko drums which eventually accompanied with Rafał “Rasta” Piotrowski’s harsh vocals. “Deathvaluation” keeps the noise going and features an awesome solo by Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka.

The Klown’s favorites in this album are “Kill The Cult,”“One-Eyed Nation” and “Earth Scar” because they remind the Klown why Decapitated is on top of the food chain in the death metal scene and why Rasta was chosen to take up vocals for the group. They also feature Kiełtyka’s solo and Łysejko drumming exquisitely without leaving Hubert Więcek’s bass far behind from this mix. This new cult classic finishes with “Amen” which is best described as a band session with Rasta screaming somewhere in between either as a reminder that he’s around or as a glimpse on how the band operates when coming up with new material.

The band evolved a little and tried something new,  in terms of sounds but still managed keep their usual alongside with it. This album was short but sweet proving that to be satisfied, you don’t have to overindulge. You can get your copy here or, if you happen to be in San Diego for the Comic Con, you can get a copy from the Nuclear Blast Records’ booth.

6 out of 6, Warning: This Album May Cause Some Serious Headbanging, You May Lose Your Head.

Decapitated will make your head roll from too much headbanging

The Trials of June 30

The Acacia Strain Wants To ‘bloom’

After three years, The Acacia Strain delivered Gravebloom via Rise Records and begins with the angsty and frustrated “Worthless,” which is a dark hymn that a perturbed individual would recite before going postal. The Acacia Strain then unloads its frustration with “Plague Doctor” and “Bitter Pill”  before taking things down a notch with “Big Sleep” and the title track “Gravebloom.” “Gravebloom”  starts more in your face and simmers down its tempo giving way to lead guitarist Devin Shidaker’s soothing riff to close off the song.

The slow burning “Abyssal Depths” is the perfect embodiment of the mysterious oceanic corner of hell and slinks out quietly and calmly till Vincent Bennett’s growl and the rest of the ensemble swoops out of the darkness and slaps you silly! If you’re missing the more “in your face” then prepare yourself for the “Dark Harvest.”

Gravebloom was a pretty slow paced album especially for those that crave the fast paced, foaming at the mouth type of deathcore. Deathcore may not be yours truly’s cup of tea but The Acacia Strain is one of the very few bands The JOh’ster (Am I doing this right, Klown?) enjoys. However, like I mentioned before, this album felt a little too mellow and didn’t pull me in as much as I hoped it would. Fans, however, may appreciate this album a lot more and enjoy the connection The Acacia Strain provides by voicing the frustrations and disdain we may feel at some point in our lives. Us? Feel?! Blasphemy, right? Snag this baby over here!

2 Out 6, Maybe it needs a hug?

Origin Takes You To A Different ‘Universe’

The technical death metallers along with Nuclear Blast Records are here to take you to an Unparalleled Universe. In case you were not aware who Origin was or what type of metal they play, they do a nice reminder right from the beginning and unload all that is technical with the first three tracks “Infinitesimal to the Infinite,” “Accident And Error” and “Cascading Failures, Diminishing Returns” though “Accident…” will bite you right in the ass! They showcase more brutality and a little less technicality in “Mithriatic” and “A Burden Of Prescience” though the technical death metal gopher peaks out a bit on “A Burden..” Vocalist Jason Keyser, lead guitarist Paul Ryan, drummer John Longstreth wastes no time and dive in head first.

Longstreth and bassist Mike Flores take the reins in “Truthslayer” and though this song is a little less than three minutes, man well let’s just say quality over quantity! ALWAYS. Hold on to your band tees with “Dajjal” because it will take you on a bumpy ride without a warning especially those riffs courtesy of Ryan. Those riffs possess an enviable energy and stamina we here at Ugh Metal are constantly searching for. Origin finishes things off with their take of Brujeria’s “Revolución” with guest vocalist and actress Jessica Pimentel from Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black who also happens to be the vocalist of extreme metal band Alekhine’s Gun. This album will appease the technical death metal gods and fans alike and if you just can’t get enough of them catch them on tour at Summer Slaughter (August 13 here in San Diego at the HOB) and snag that bad boy here!

6 Out Of 6, Technically super good!

Stone Sour Returns After A 4 Year Drought

Corey Taylor has safely stashed away his Slipknot mask and flashed his pretty face along with the rest of Stone Sour with Hydrograd via Roadrunner Records. The playtrack “YSIF” builds up and spills into the anthem “Taipei Person/Allah Tea” and pulls back that energy with their singles “Hydrograd,” and the catchy “Song #3” where Taylor lets out his impressive clean vocals anyone can appreciate and gets in your face with “Fabuless.” Dust off your angst with the beautifully troubled “The Witness Trees” which will surely tap in to that misunderstood teenage you deep inside you…if that makes any sense.

Stone Sour ditches the distress and picks things up mid way and venture in to country music territory with the ballad “St. Marie.” This track uses a lot of the signature acoustics heard in country music and a nice little chorus and though this ballad threw yours truly off, it was a pleasant little surprise. Yeah ballads are nice once in a while but ready for more in your face stuff? Well tighten that belt and get ready for “Whiplash Pants,” hot pants! Like the end of any wild journey, Hydrograd concludes with the slow and wistful “When The Fever Broke” which perfectly voices the desire of returning home after you knowingly burned bridges in the midst of self destruction. Whoa that escalated quickly…

Yours truly may not be a Stone Sour aficionado but Taylor and company bring their best to fans after a four year drought and dare to let their hair down and experiment. Stone Sour lovers will love this baby and one has to admire the quintet for showcasing different musical elements bands shy away from for the sake of sticking to their “sound.” Stay tuned to see what the Klown thought about their live performance in our Vegas adventure but in the meantime, get this sentimental wild child right here.

5 Out 6, Bear Hug Magnet

**Uh Oh! The Klown has cracked open a fresh one!**

Beekeeper Unleashes their First Swarm

Assuming you keep up with Ugh Metal, Beekeeper should be somewhat familiar to you. In fact, the last time they were featured in Ugh Metal we talked about how they almost blew away the Brick by Brick… brick by brick. Now they make a triumphant return to our site with their debut album Slave to the Nothing which they released independently.

Right away the local trio start powerfully with “Vargas” a great opening riff and cymbal snares done by frontwoman/guitarist Ally Levine and drummer Dylan Marks, respectively, which hooks and serves as the catalyst for a great but brief thrash metal jam session which immediately transition to Levine’s unique vocals which range from screaming, growling and high notes. Beekeeper use the momentum from the previous track and keep you invested in the rest of the album with “Fictitious,” “Picket Fence Death Night” and “Instant Death” which can be described as absolute thrash metal bliss.

Dragonball Z fans will also get a kick out of this album as they pay homage to the series with “Vegeta,” who is one of the most popular characters of the series. For those nitpicky DBZ fans, the answer to the question you probably were not going to ask: yes the lyrical content did justice to the prince of the Saiyans. Also worth noting that this song truly features bassist Adam Wollach showing his strong bass strumming which compliment Levine’s guitar riffs and vocals. The trio pay homage to the mascot of our genre with “Satan” and finishes this debut with “Trials of the Shredder,” sorry Ninja Turtle fans it’s not about that shredder but is very thrashy. The track features a very harmonic chorus between Levine and Wollach and teases its ending quite a bit as if it knows that you’re going to be asking. The Klown was very happy to obtain this album. For those missing out, listen to this beauty in Beekeeper’s bandcamp.

6 out of 6, Gold and Pure like Honey