New Venom album – From the Very Depths

Spinefarm Records

From the Very Depths is the 14th album by legendary extreme metal progenitors Venom. Following in the vein of 2011’s Fallen Angels, Cronos’s bass is present but the guitars take over most of the record. From the Very Depths is riddled with power chords, making the teenage metal fan in us all swoon. Loud, heavy and fast is on the menu for most of the record with only a couple songs slowing down.

“Temptation” delivers the speed metal the band adopted in later years (post Abaddon and Mantas) and the chorus is so catchy you might find yourself dancing around the kitchen to it. “Long Haired Punks” features fist pumping, crowd chanting lyrics that’ll make their fans thrash around, arms raised to the sky. Moving on, “Evil Law” evokes the delivery of the infamous line “Evil, In League with Satan” from Venom’s second full-length, 1982’s Black Metal, as Cronos growls “Evil” with his characteristically snarky smirk and high pitched tone. All told,From the Very Depths delivers what one wants from Venom: it’s dirty, wild, and rude.

By Serena Navarro

Listen to From the Very Depths on YouTube: Grinding Teeth

My favourite and slowest song on the album, Smoke

Thanks to Beatroute for providing the album to review.

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Want bizarre, jarring, grind/death psychotic tales?! Cretin – Stranger

Relapse Records

Cretin’s sophomore album is eight long years in the making. It has been well worth the wait.Stranger has numerous musical changes and pummels the soul with crushing buzz-saw guitars, double kick spurts and punkish rhythms. This is grind that worships Repulsion, which comes as no surprise given guitarist Marissa Martinez’s stint in the band and musical history.

Lyrically, Stranger has some strange lyrics. “Mary is Coming” is a guttural screamed tale about a lady who wants to give birth to a Mary (of the Judeo-Christian Bible variety) who actually inserts a doll in her vagina “but it got stuck in there.” The lady ends up in jail.

On “How to Wreck Your Life in Three Days,” Martinez howls a psychotic tale about a boy who “fixes” a crazy three days of mayhem by setting fires to everything, up to and including himself. Ending with an eerie guitar solo that resembles an ambulance siren while blast beats leave the listener gut wrenched, it sums up this bizarre, jarring grind/death album astutely.

By Serena Navarro

Thanks to Beatroute for providing the album to review.

Pallbearer -2010 Demo released on vinyl

20 Buck Spin

Heavy metal vinyl collectors rejoice! Pallbearer, an American doom metal band from Little Rock, Arkansas, just released their 2010 Demo on vinyl for the first time via 20 Buck Spin. It features an early rendition of “Devoid of Redemption” and “The Legend” both of which appear on their 2012 breakout Sorrow and Extinction. Alongside those tracks is a cover of the infamous “Gloomy Sunday” written by Hungarian composer Rezső Seress in 1933.

Beautifully packaged, the cover art for the demo was done by longtime collaborator, Animetalphysical, while Mike Lawrence, whose striking black and white artwork is marked by strong lines depicting death and nature themes, did the B-side etching. At first listen, the demo is more emotional and guttural than the tracks heard on Sorrow…, an invigorating change. The guitars are loud, deep and distorted. Brett Campbell’s voice is fresh and soaring. That said there are subtle differences between the demo and polished songs of Sorrow and Extinction such as the missing echo of lyrics in “Devoid of Redemption,” which detract from the song. In a great addition, there are shouting vocals on the demo. Finishing up, Pallbearer does a marvelous job of infusing even more sorrow and pain into “Gloomy Sunday,” the song also known as the “Hungarian Suicide Song.” All told, the release does doom metal aficionados justice.

By Serena Navarro

Thanks to Beatroute for providing the album to review.

Deafheaven, Sumac, Balance at Rickshaw Theatre – December 4th 2014

VANCOUVER — Thursday night started off with beers at Buick 6, a bar down the street from the Rickshaw Theatre. My friends and I were waiting with excitement to hear Sumac and Deafheaven take over the Rickshaw Theatre. Balance, a band from Vancouver, took the stage a little after 9 p.m. and got the crowd going with a hardcore sound.

Sumac is a supergroup with Aaron Turner (Old Man Gloom & Isis), Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists) and Brian Cook (Russian Circles). Sumac was a treat to watch and Aaron moves and shakes with excitement with every scream and guitar riff. Sumac officially played their first-ever live show and graced our ears with gradual progressive riffs that lead into sludgy crevices but kept the listener afloat with high pitch guitars. It was lovely.

Deafheaven (George Clarke and Kerry McCoy) came up on stage and started setting up their guitars and mics themselves. They then left the stage for a more ambient entrance with dimmed lights. They played songs from Roads to Judah (2011) and their most recent full length, Sunbather(2013).

Heavy metal music is a staple in my diet and Deafheaven walks that metal line well. Their live show was entertaining mostly because frontman Clarke convulses with the passion and love of his music. There is no doubt in my mind that music is his life. McCoy played the guitar with little movement or excitement in his face, a major contrast to George.

The crowd busted over with excitement when George announced they were to play their single, “From the Kettle Onto the Coil.” This fast black metal-laced song with crushing drums, vocals and beautiful guitars ended the night on a high note.

Photo and review by Serena Navarro

Thanks to Beatroute for the opportunity to review this show.

Numenorean: What’s in a name, eh?

CALGARY — “In Tolkien’s Middle Earth, The Black Númenóreans were a race of men who eventually died out because they let greed and power ultimately corrupt them. We have destroyed our earth for that very same reason. Our full-length will be based around those themes and on the collapsing human condition.”

Numenorean started as a two-man project by brothers Byron and Brandon Lemley in 2011. They’ve since grown to a quintet and are officially releasing their two-song demo in December, a self-titled affair released by Winnipeg’s Filth Regime Records. Written and played by Byron with all vocals by Brandon (save for a touch of help from Aiden Crossley on track one, “Let Me In”) the release is their first, a cathartic exercise in post-black metal that conveys a grand emotionality. Well-placed acoustic guitars and fast high-pitch electric guitars create a bipolar crux of deep crevices and high summits.

“Working on our first release I was dealing with depression and a longing for something I don’t think even exists,” explains Byron. “The music is written in a way that you feel the different stages of grief and sorrow throughout, be it calm, ethereal clean parts… then into a wall of aggressive melancholy, similar to the ups and downs one must go through after such a devastating change to their life. Both songs end in similar ways, a climatic change of tone and feel that takes you into not necessarily a happy place but a place where you have accepted who you are and what you’ve become.”

Given Calgary’s heavily saturated thrash and death metal scene, finding members to round out their line-up was a difficult task. After two years of passing around demos, they finally cemented one, featuring Roger LeBlanc on guitar, Steven Tillapaugh (Vaalt) on bass, and David Horrocks (Moradin) on drums.

A full-length album is in the works with all members contributing. For now, however, performing live takes precedent.

“[It] can be an exorcism or a baptism through fire, that’s the joy of putting yourself up in front of people, you invite them into your emotional landscape and they will either explore or experience what we have to offer or vandalize and spit on it,” says LeBlanc.

Inevitably, Numenorean’s “baptism through fire” and demo release show will be vulnerable and destructive; don’t miss it.

By Serena Navarro

See Numenorean at the Nite Owl on Friday, December 12th.

Thanks to Beatroute for publishing my article.

Want grit, heavy, opaque, twisting melodies with some beauty?! Usnea – Random Cosmic Violence

Relapse Records

Usnea, a Portland Oregon metal band, suggests on their Bandcamp that their second full length,Random Cosmic Violence is “one of those rare records that elevates itself above the boundaries that its genre typically self-imposes.” This is evident on Random Cosmic Violence as it takes a journey through funeral doom, black metal, sludge, death and doom genres. The album clocks in at just under an hour with only four songs. Justin Cory and Orion Landau crafted the album’s artwork, which is simple yet grand.

The rhythm and lyrics of the entire album are tribal in nature with twisting transfixed melodies and a rhyme similar to a beat poet. There are several highlights elevated by vocals drenched with grit, such as the opening of “Healing Through Death.” The title track does exactly what the title suggests. The lyrics are opaque and the sound is piercing and heavy. Usnea even adds acoustic guitar to the mix to calm the spirits before hurling down the cosmic highway with rolling drums. Usnea want to “explore the universe for the origin of how this all happened” and if you yearn for that journey, you should listen along.

By Serena Navarro

Thanks to Beatroute for providing the album to review.

Want some chaotic death/doom?! Swallowed – Lunarterial EP

Dark Descent Records

Lunarterial is a filth-encrusted, ethereal, and chaotic death/doom album from Finnish duo Swallowed. It has been four long years since Swallowed released their self-titled EP, and the reason why is obvious within the dense song construction. Lunarterial features rolling, deep, double-kick drums, keeping this album on pace while the guitars, numerous crash cymbals and guttural vocals paint a turbulent picture. The songs sway back and forth, swaying between a chaotic balance of slow rhythm and a pummeling erratic tempo.

It works, it’s weird and it’s a strangely beautiful and morose piece of art. Album highlight “Reverence Through Darkness” crafts another dimension of horror and disorientating sounds that swallow (pun intended) your soul and eardrums. Truly, the album inspires one to drift away into a soundscape filled with complex, melodic structures and blast beats. Meanwhile, your heart pumps madly. The second half of Lunarterial is a murky doom swamp ending with the lengthy “Libations.” Clocking in at 25 minutes, it’s a journey of calculated chaos that aptly concludes an excellent album.

By Serena Navarro

Thanks to Beatroute for providing the album to review.