Yep, it’s the time again! Time to delve into the wonderful world of smaller metal releases. Let’s see what delights we have this time…
Band(s): Living Altar
Title: Scythes Towards Psyche
Style(s): Black/Death Metal
Duration: 22 minutes
Release date: February 12, 2018
Here’s something I really, really like. Living Altar’s first EP, after a demo and a split, is a firm contender for bestial black/death metal surprise hit of the year. Okay, so that’s probably quite a narrow category, but there you go. To be honest, this style of savage, primitive black metal (with added death metal) usually gets quite stale with me quite quickly, but there’s something about Scythes Towards Psyche that’s just insanely enjoyable. I loved this, and I make no bones about it.
Style(s): Industrial Metal
Duration: 20 minutes
Release date: December 23, 2017
A release like this makes me quite nostalgic in many ways. Imagine the first Slipknot album enhanced with extra Fear Factory cybermetal industrial influences, and you’ll have an idea of what Kontagion sound like. I’ll admit, on paper this sounds quite awful, but the reality is that KO[R-!-E] is really quite enjoyable. Well, for someone that grew up listening to a lot of 90’s nu-metal it is, at any rate. The singer knows how to deathgrowl with the best of them too, which is always nice. The last track is somewhat of a letdown, as it mainly consists of a bit of noise and such, but other than that I really liked this EP.
Band(s): Endorphins Lost/Osk
Duration: 8 minutes
Release date: February 1, 2018
GRINDCOOOORRREEE! Grind with a healthy dose of punk and powerviolence, to be more specific. This is a split 7″ release between these two bands, who are from the US and Canada respectively. Endorphins Lost provide four songs of crusty hardcore grind, and have a charismatic singer that seems as punk as it comes in his vocal performance. Osk contribute three songs, giving listeners a destructive groove laced with savage speed and throat-shredding screams. I like a 7″ release that’s good violent fun, and this is joyously unhinged and dangerous. Check it out.
Band(s): Spawned from Hate
Title: Promo 2018
Style(s): Death Metal
Duration: 6 minutes
Release date: January 10, 2018
Although suffering from a deeply unimaginative title, this is, I suppose, exactly what it says it is. I have to say that it doesn’t do justice to the brutal delights offered within though, as these two tracks of death metal carnage are extremely satisfying and compelling. I particularly like the singer’s deathgrowls; clipped and efficient versions of the ubiquitous cookie monster style, I could probably listen to him all day. Yep, two strong songs dropped by this very promising UK band. I can’t wait to hear more. MORE I SAY!
Band(s): The Exiled
Title: Break the Chains
Style(s): Melodic Death/Thrash Metal
Duration: 26 minutes
Release date: September 29, 2011
I leave you with a relatively obscure gem from 2011. This UK band released this absolutely storming EP in 2011, developed quite a good Twitter following, were poised to release a new EP, and then in 2014…nothing. As far as I can tell the various band members are now dispersed across the UK doing who knows what. Although they don’t seem to be technically broken up, it seems highly unlikely that they’ll ever release anything else, which is a huge shame as the music on Break the Chains is massive. MASSIVE!
In my humble opinion this is a band that had the talent to strike it big, although this would have required the usual amount of luck and backing, of course. The musical skills, however, were there in spades. Each of the songs on this EP is a veritable classic. Catchy and memorable in all of the best ways, with top riffs, top vocals, melodies that won’t quit, and the type of songwriting skills that some of the larger melodic death metal bands would kill for, Break the Chains is one of the best releases that most people who like this kind of thing have probably never heard. Don’t be one of those people anymore, listen to this now.