Friday, 27 December 2013

2013 Highlights - Top 10 Releases

As 2013 draws to a close, we're going to have a look back at all the releases we have reviewed and highlight our favourite releases. It has been a great year for the UK extreme metal scene, with some absolutely outstanding releases. UKEM has not had the chance to review every single release, but have tried our best!!(there are quite a few we've missed, time being an issue!!). The following releases are in no particular order, but are our top 10 favourite releases of 2013 and how we summed each release up!!
 
Nine Covens - On The Dawning Of Light
"It is fair to say that Nine Covens are the leading black metal band in the UK at the moment. There is no faulting this album whatsoever. It has a lot to offer in terms of pace, atmosphere and musicianship (the band putting in a flawless performance). Black metal of THE highest order – it's harsh, its grim, its brutal and melodic and its one of the best black metal albums to come from these shores in recent times (given that we have seen a lot of great black metal releases recently). This is a 'must have' album for black metal fans – ensure you grab a copy, you will not be disappointed. Comes as about as highly recommended as it gets"
 
Cruelty's Heart - Rex Anglorvm Saxonvm
"I think its going to be fair to say that Cruelty's Heart have produced an absolutely amazing piece of music, sounding fully original and full of conviction. The dense atmospheres really draw the listener into the bands world with the harshness of the black metal really adding to the overall appeal of this release. It's another black metal release which really stands head and shoulders above a lot of release out there and coming from one man, it's testament to Bloodletters ability to write a worthwhile song. Harsh black metal that oozes atmosphere and has a melodic, folk inspired musical core, this is about as good as it gets and is yet another release that (if your a BM fan) should be on your “to get” list. But hurry, word is there aren’t many copies left available to buy. Comes extremely highly recommended"
 
Barshasketh - Sitra Achra
"Barshasketh have released an amazing black metal album, packed full of harsh atmospheres with melodies that are instantly memorable and catchy. Used a lot in this review, 'epic' best describes much of this album. The musicianship on show is first rate and its not an over exaggeration to say that this is some of the best black metal i've heard for quite some time. Originally from New Zealand, but now based in Edinburgh it might explain the fact that the bands brand of black metal is quite unique for these shores and is why this album comes very highly recommended"
 
Laceration - Severing The Divine Iniquity
"Hamish has managed to produce an absolute monster of an album that is packed full of songs that ooze everything you want from brutal death metal – blasting drums, raging guitar work, ultra-guttural vocals all played with a technical efficiency that sounds flawless. Hamish’s song writing and playing has taken on a more technical sound than his previous release, but this shows a man improving, learning and absolutely slaying on his guitar and in his song writing and composition/song structuring. If you don’t own a copy of this album, then you’re missing out as it is one of the most brutal releases to come out of the UK in some time and comes very highly recommended"
 
Scatorgy - Scatorgy
"All that you really need to know is that Scatorgy have produced an absolutely monstrous slab on brutal death metal played at speeds that most bands can only dream of attaining, it’s beyond brutal. A lot of words have been used within this review to describe the songs, but once again, punishing, frantic, frenzied and utterly brutal best describe everything offered up. I have no apprehension in saying that I think this is one of the best death metal releases ( I have heard to date) from a UK band this year, if not THE best, it really is that outstanding and obviously comes very highly recommended – enjoy the poo"
 
Sidious - Ascension To The Throne Ov Self
"Sidious have introduced themselves to the extreme metal world in absolutely devastating fashion, producing a debut e.p. that highlights five musicians at the top of their game, such is the dizzyingly high standard of music on display, it’s definitely the highlight for UKEM HQ for 2013 so far. Featuring four tracks of blistering blackened death metal that is as good (if not better) as you are likely to hear anytime soon, this comes extremely highly recommended and if you don’t own a copy, you should"
 
Carcass - Surgical Steel
"Carcass are back and are truly on top form, pushing the boundaries of modern extreme metal to the limits. The whole album balances the bands two classic sounds (Necroticism and Heartwork) brilliantly, neither one overpowering the other, rather acting as partners to create an absolutely punishing and devastating slab of modern extreme metal. Highly anticipated? Yes, but the wait was more than worth it, definitely the death metal album of 2013 so far, it comes very highly recommended"
 
Arsaidh - Roots
"I am in absolute awe of this release, such is its impact. For a debut release it is nothing short of fantastic. The extremely long songs are noting to shy away from as each track is packed full of interesting moods and atmospheres. The use of traditional Scottish instruments mixed with the harsher black metal influenced music stands out at something exceptional, wholly original and massively catchy. As mentioned earlier in the review, the music is “absolutely brilliant” and that description stands firm having listened to the release in its entirety. Atmospheric Celtic metal with a big black metal influence, this is yet another stand out release for 2013 so far and comes as highly recommended as it gets and not having this cd in your collection means you are missing out on something truly special"
 
Cnoc An Tursa - The Giants Of Auld
"Cnoc An Tursa have produced an absolutely stunning debut full length album that is without doubt a genre leader. It’s not very often that a band can write and record such a stunning piece of work on any album, never-mind a debut, but these four Scotsmen have done just that. The mix of black metal and folk/cletic inspired traditional music works so well, the balance is just right that neither one overpowers the other and you just can’t fail to be impressed. ‘The Giants Of Auld’ is an absolute masterpiece and if you haven’t heard it yet then you really should as it is something very special indeed and comes as highly rated as possible, it’s another ‘must own’ from another outstanding UK band"
 
Necrosis - Catatonic Psychosis
"Catatonic Psychosis is as good a death metal release as you are likely to hear for quite some time and given that it is the band’s debut release makes it all the more impressive. Some bands struggle to write well-constructed and memorable death metal songs, Necrosis appear to do it with an ease that will bode well for future releases. This e.p. is one of those releases that punches you square in the jaw, then picks you up, dusts you off, and then punches you even harder leaving you speechless and bleeding….but wanting even more punishment. If you consider yourself to be a death metal fan, then this is a must. Yet another UK band producing a genre-leading release, this e.p. comes extremely highly recommended"
 
 
Some absolutely storming releases and its been hard picking the top ten as we have had to leave out some other amazing releases, especially from ABHORRENT DECIMATION, PARTY CANNON, WRITTEN IN TORMENT, DEAD BEYOND BURIED, SCORDATURA and OVEROTH.
A great year for extreme metal in the UK, here's hoping that 2014 will be even better, there are some great releases on the horizon.
 
Finally, a huge thanks to everyone that has supported UKEM through its 3 years of existence, the support is hugely appreciated. Onwards and upwards!!
UKEM ARE "DEDICATED TO EXTREMITY, SUPPORTING THE UNDERGROUND"
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Fires Of Tartarus - Deathless Gods

Self Released 2013
 
1.Eruption From Chaos 2.Deathless Gods 3.Tartarus 4.Guardians of the Gate
 
(Review By Tom 'Pestilence' Vance)
 
Second e.p. from Hampshire based melodic death metallers Fires Of Tartarus and 'Eruption Of Chaos' starts with a acoustic guitar intro before kicking into an all out assault. The guitar riffs are well played and very melodic sounding. The drums switch between an all out battery and breakdown moments. The vocals are predominantly shouted in a hardcore style and switch to death metal vocals in parts which adds a nice variation. Good use of solos and overall a very melodic death metal feel. 'Deathless Gods' kicks in at a more mid-paced speed and death metal vocals are utilised from the outset. The drums again vary from blasts to more hardcore sounding breakdown parts. Guitars are a good mix of technical and brutal and they also inject a classical section in the middle of the song which works well. Even though it sounds heavy, it always remains melodic in its approach.
'Tartarus' blasts from the outset but then goes back to the breakdown style heard in the previous songs.  Yet again, this song has all the melodic death metal elements from previous songs mixed with a slight hardcore feel. The vocals seem a little different, going for a more high pitched scream and gurgling moan. I can't really make any comparisons, but if you are into this kind of metal, then this band won't disappoint you. Finally 'Guardians Of The Gate' acts as a melodic outro, nothing more, nothing less. If you are into melodic death metal mixed with hardcore then I would highly recommend you get a copy of this, as the musicians are top notch and the production is spot on. It would get a much higher score from me, if I felt that they were "doing it" but I just don't unfortunately.
 
7 Out Of 10
 
Band Page: Here

Monday, 16 December 2013

Necrosis - Catatonic Psychosis

Self Released 2013
 
1.Congenital Abnormality 2.Ruptured And Bleeding
3.Human Abattoir 4.Chainsawodmy 5.Catatonic Psychosis
 
The cover art for the debut e.p. from Bristol based brutal death metal outfit Necrosis leaves nothing to the imagination and leaves you in no doubt as to what to expect musically. Following the short sampled intro, ‘Congenital Abnormality’ bursts open unmercifully in an overwhelming torrent of rabid death metal. Speed is optimised throughout much of this opening track, frantic guitars accompany so manic blast beat leaden drumming which sounds utterly devastating and pummels instantly. There’s a definite feel and sound of Aborted mixed with U.S death metal on display which works exceptionally well. What an introduction to the band, showing massive amounts of promise in this opener. ‘Ruptured And Bleeding’ follows on in a similar theme, absolutely manic, twisted guitars set a ferocious pace and are once again supported by some outstanding drum work. Vocally there are no surprises, harsh and brutally growled death metal vocals bark out malevolence with ease and are backed up every so often with higher, manic screams, sounding not to dissimilar to Gorerotted when the dual vocals are unleashed. ‘Human Abattoir’ is another absolutely massive song; the pace adopted is punishing and very rarely lets up and it’s very much about the speed, in fact its all about the speed!! . When the band do up the pace it sounds extremely tight, they are all obviously well practiced in the rehearsal room! Although the songs are all about speed, the pace is dropped sporadically and when it is adds such heaviness to the songs that it almost draws every last breath from your body. As mentioned, these sections aren’t used very often and the band then return to the familiar faster blast beat heavy sections.
‘Chainsawdomy’ is so fucking brutal, every member seemingly pushing their playing abilities to the absolute limit here, and ability they have, in absolutely massive amounts. There’s such a brutal catchiness to the faster riffs and many bands in a similar genre could learn a lot (from these guys) about writing good, solid death metal songs. The break in the middle of song works very well and adds something extra to the track; the chainsaw samples might be slightly clich├ęd but in amongst death metal as nasty as this, sound perfect! Closing the e.p. is the title track, ‘Catatonic Psychosis’ and what a way to end things on. It’s another blasting example of the band at full throttle and really wanting to close on a high, which they do. Reading the bands biography the say “Necrosis aims to make a major impact on the death metal scene over the forthcoming months” and they weren’t wrong. Catatonic Psychosis is as good a death metal release as you are likely to hear for quite some time and given that it is the band’s debut release makes it all the more impressive. Some bands struggle to write well-constructed and memorable death metal songs, Necrosis appear to do it with an ease that will bode well for future releases. This e.p. is one of those releases that punches you square in the jaw, then picks you up, dusts you off, and then punches you even harder leaving you speechless and bleeding….but wanting even more punishment. If you consider yourself to be a death metal fan, then this is a must. Yet another UK band producing a genre-leading release, this e.p. comes extremely highly recommended.
 
9 Out Of 10
 
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here
Buyon the death metal scene over the forthcoming mont

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Obscene - Architects Of Deliverance

UKEM Records 2013
 
1.Sonderkommando 2.Spawned From Ignorance 3.Of Feeble Minds And Weakness
4.Nex Necis 5.Dreaming The Obscure 6.Carrion Feast
7.Dawn Of Suffering 8.The Heretics Fork 9.The Man The Martyr
10.Architects Of Deliverance 11.Worlds Ablaze
 
Review by Aaron 'Kingsize' Waters
 
This is the band's first full length & I must say, a bloody good one. It has that sort of sound that isn't exactly easy to pin point and say "Oh yeah, they sound like that other bloody band, what's their face!", no, this is one where you get your digits out and try to work it out a little bit. I mean, I'm not going to sit here and say that it's unique or anything, but it's certainly different. It's very old fashioned styled death metal by all counts, but has slight black metal elements to it too. However, it's not blackened death either! It's got thrash under it's belt n'all! And just when you think it's hit every note, bam! They hit you with some old school slams!
Don't get me wrong though, this album is far from perfect. Some might say the production isn't up to scratch, but for me (personally) I like a bit of rough and tumble in the mix. However, I will say the spoken-word part of the album was a bit too cheesy for me and at some points it sounds like there may be a few timing issues. But other than that, it's a pretty solid release. The artwork is fantastic and the all-round musicianship is it pretty much all you can ask from a band and then some! Very talented lads and extremely good at what they do. So if you're a fan of Suffocation's "Effigy" era with a bit of a european Black Metal twang then I'd say this is pretty much the album for you.
 
7 Out of 10
 
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here
 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Cnoc An Tursa - The Giants Of Auld

Candlelight Records 2013
 
1.The Piper O' Dundee 2.The Lion of Scotland 3.Bannockburn
4.Hail Land of My Fathers 5.Ettrick Forest in November 6.The Spellbound Knight
7.In Shadowland 8.Winter - A Dirge 9.Culloden Moor 10.Blar Na H-Eaglaise Brice
 
Epic and atmospheric best describes ‘The Piper O Dundee’, the short introduction song, used to set the tone for ‘The Lion Of Scotland’ which roars open majestically, harsh and melodic all in one folk inspired black metal assault. The folk influence is never far from the band’s sound in this opening track, be it through the use of the guitars or keyboards. Either way, the end result is absolutely stunning and amazingly catchy. The harsh screamed black metal style of vocal used is as you would expect, only delivered without absolute venom and an utter belief in what is being spewed forth. ‘Bannockburn’ allows the themes and atmospheres to follow on perfectly with the pace really being picked up to give an absolute sense of urgency, a need to deliver their message so the listener is in no doubts as to what’s being said. Again, unbelievably catchy and even when the song is at full pace, the melancholic atmospheres are never lost. The keyboards are incorporated into ‘Hail Land Of My Fathers’ so well, adding even more gloomy and eerie atmosphere which works very well when the pace is dropped slightly, although the sense of urgency heard in the previous track is never lost here. The guitar riffs used are relatively simple, but when mixed with all of the other elements work well, there’s really no need to over complicate the song at the risk of losing atmosphere.
‘Ettrick Forest In November’ follows on in very similar fashion, the pace once again slowed throughout much of the song. The band does flirt with faster paces sporadically, which adds variety and certainly doesn’t sound out of place in amongst the slower passages. The opening short passage to ‘The Spellbound Knight’ wouldn’t sound out of place on The Lord Of The Rings; that’s what sprang to mind before the song burst open in a haze of harsh, yet melodic black metal and folk inspired indulgence. The band are definitely indulging themselves here, immersing themselves in their music to compose an absolutely epic song, the folk inspiration at the heart of the composition. Acoustic guitars and whistles break the song up nicely, acting as a short melodic interlude before re-introducing the harsher black metal elements. Think Winterfylleth and Wodensthrone, add a dash of Mithotyn and Celtachor and that’s where you would probably find Cnoc An Tursa sat! ‘In Shadowland’ is another massively epic and majestic song, once again packed full of atmosphere and played with a real tightness, and it is this tightness that gives each and every song a real brightness and standing out as been absolute quality.
The same could be said for ‘Winter A Dirge’ which is another epic monster. There seems to be a real pride in the bands playing, obviously proud Scotsmen which translates through into their music. Not that their nationality over powers the music in anyway, the music remains black metal at its core with different traditional elements combined and utilised to make a final end product that is something truly special. This point is once again proved in ‘Culloden Moor’ which is so unbelievably catchy and monstrously epic, the mix of faster black metal and slower, more folk inspired passages working to maximum effect. Closing the album is ‘Blar Na H-Eglaise Brice’ which is a sorrow filled and heart felt piece of music, the traditional Celtic whistle backed up simply by haunting keyboards, the perfect way to end a near perfect album. Cnoc An Tursa have produced an absolutely stunning debut full length album that is without doubt a genre leader. It’s not very often that a band can write and record such a stunning piece of work on any album, never-mind a debut, but these four Scotsmen have done just that. The mix of black metal and folk/cletic inspired traditional music works so well, the balance is just right that neither one overpowers the other and you just can’t fail to be impressed. ‘The Giants Of Auld’ is an absolute masterpiece and if you haven’t heard it yet then you really should as it is something very special indeed and comes as highly rated as possible, it’s another ‘must own’ from another outstanding UK band!
 
9.5 Out Of 10
 
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here
 
 
 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Abhorrent Decimation - Infected Celestial Utopia

Cold Birth Records 2013
 
1.Monolith Of Destruction 2.A Putrid Vision 3.End Of Days
4.Towards The Gateway 5.Infected Celestial Utopia
 
There’s a definite statement of intent as ‘Monolith Of Destruction’ smashes out of the speakers, a raging snarling death metal monster ready to take your fucking head off. This is Abhorrent Decimations debut e.p, but you wouldn’t guess it from this opening track. Having said that, the band features some seasoned veterans from the UK underground so you would expect the standard to be high, which it is! Jumping from rabid death metal sections into massive, heavy breakdowns seamlessly, this opening track has a lot to offer and as mentioned, definitely lets you know what the band are all about. ‘A Putrid Vision’ follows on in similar fashion, only here machine gun blast beats are used to really up the pace which in turn adds a new dimension to the band’s sound. From a vocal perspective, it’s as you would expect – extremely well executed guttural death metal vocals that really bellow and spew hatred and anger. These are backed up by higher screamed vocals, which are actually used quite a lot and give the vocal delivery that extra dimension and really make them stand out. Although blast beats are introduced, they are used sparingly, the song remaining mid-paced for much of its duration.
‘End Of Days’ is another crushing slab of brutal death metal. Unusually, it’s not so much the music that makes this track brutal, rather the vocals, again been at the forefront of the song, delivering a tirade of aggression and being quite high up in the mix, probably gives them that extra punch. ‘Towards The Gateway’ however is a much angrier affair, the pace upped to full throttle without the use of the blast beats initially. The mix of the faster death metal and another powerful vocal performance really makes this song stand out. Blast beats are introduced sporadically, and when used, really add a potent and dangerous edge to the band’s sound, mainly due to the tightness of their execution – utterly devastating and definitely the stand out track of the e.p! Closing this debut offering is the title track, ‘Infected Celestial Utopia’ which begins life in an absolutely crazed fashion, the riffing and drumming working together brilliantly whilst sounding ‘almost’ out of control, but in a great, technical, almost progressive way. The band are also at their catchiest on this closing track, the chants of “Infected Celestial Utopia” really begin to get stuck inside the listeners head, especially as the track draws to a close and the pummelling double kick drums are introduced to accompany the catchy chorus lines and guide the track to its conclusion. Abhorrent Decimation have produced an absolute Death Metal monster with their debut release and their pedigree as talented musicians really shows in the standard of their playing which results in five fantastic tracks. Brutal, tight and with an massive production, ‘Infected Celestial Utopia’ is an extremely impressive debut release that really has to be on your “to get” list if you haven’t snagged a copy already – comes very highly recommended.
 
8.5 out of 10
 
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Hex Morbidity - Evangelical

Self Released (Demo) 2013
 
1.Oblivious To All 2.Make The Suffer 3.Silence Or Slaughter
 
Debut demo from Swansea’s Hex Morbidity is self-described as “a sinister combination of old school black and death metal, with proto-extreme thrash influences spilling into the mix” which is an extremely accurate description. As soon as opening track ‘Oblivious To All’ spews forth horribly, it is monstrously old school from the outset, the mix of old school death metal and thrash metal riffing suiting the dirty production perfectly. It’s simple, straightforward no frills bestial black death metal which is catchy whilst remaining the right side of horrible. Vocally its gruffly growled death metal vocals with the occasional high pitched screams used as backing, which actually really stand out and add to the gloomy atmosphere. Great opening track! ‘Make Them Suffer’ continues on in a similar vein, slightly more up tempo and with even more catchiness oozing from the speakers. Again, it’s the simplicity to the music which enhances its appeal. It’s not trying to be anything but old school, nasty and ultimately a homage to an era long past. Citing an influence as Autopsy, it’s definitely clear to hear here, this music comes spewing forth straight from the graveyard, worshipping at an unholy blackened altar.
Closing the demo is ‘Silence Or Slaughter’ which offers up more of what we’ve heard previously, which is as you would expect anyway! No massive surprises here other than a heavier and more doom infused beginning to the song which soon breaks into an up tempo old school thrash section, almost (dare I say it) old metallica-esque in sound, only a lot dirtier and much more nasty and evil sounding. It’s actually very refreshing to hear such a young band playing this style of music, which is a big fuck off to trends, scenes and not giving a fuck about genres and what is current. Morbid, old school blackened death metal that sounds like its rotten corpse was buried in the early nineties and has just been freshly exhumed to spread its rotting flesh and rotten stench, this three track demo is an excellent first effort, slightly rough around the edges, but that’s part of its charm. It comes well recommended and let’s just hope the follow up sounds just as horrible!
 
7.5 Out of 10
 
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here
 
 
 

Monday, 28 October 2013

Written In Torment - Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes

Glorious North Productions 2013
 
1.Earth Decimated 2.Eternities of Suffering Endured 3.Beast of the Depths
4.Descent into Total Madness 5.O' Fortuna 6.Grief
7.Solitude 8.Behold the Trinity Maimed and Rotten 9.A Pig Hung in Golgotha
10.Necessary Evil
 
The UK seems to have an abundance on one man extreme metal bands, especially black metal ones and Written In Torment sit quietly in amongst them all, relatively unknown to many. Opener ‘Earth Decimated’ is a varied affair, mixing tempos well from standard black metal machine gun blasting through to slower more morbid passages. What is refreshing to hear is an actual drum kit, as opposed to clinical and over-produced electronic drums. It’s the use of 'actual' drums which probably sets this band apart from many of the other one man bands in the UK, the fact that Leviathan, the man behind the band, is a competent drummer and his skills behind the kit are being put to good use. ‘Eternities Of Suffering Endured’ is an extremely catchy song, the harsh yet melodic guitars really stand out here, being fast tremolo picked with an almost folk element to them, only very slightly however. The majority of the song is played at a fast pace, however, the pace it dropped to allow the haunting and chilling atmospheres being created to really stand out. Keyboards are used sparingly, but when added give the song an extremely unique sound. The song ends in very epic fashion, being almost ballad like as the melodic lead guitars close proceedings. ‘Beast Of The Depths’ is slightly different in delivery, mainly due the drop in pace but to be honest, when the pace is dropped to an absolute minimum and the melodic guitars once again take over, its unbelievably atmospheric and really begins to stir up emotions. ‘Descent Into Total Madness’ blasts open in complete comparison to the ending of the previous track. Furious drums accompany some frantic, harsh yet melodic guitars in typically brutal black metal fashion. However, another aspect to W.I.T that sets him apart from numerous other black metal bands is the use of guitar solos, Leviathan isn’t afraid to use them in extremely melodic fashion and quite frequently which is different, but in a positive way.
‘O’Fortuna’ delves even deeper into the catchy and atmospheric themes heard in earlier tracks, bordering on epic, this is as good as the band has sounded so far. Again, paces are mixed but the song actually works better when the pace is slow and mournful, especially when the morose cleanly sung vocal passages are added. Hate-filled sorrow probably best describes the atmosphere being created. Comparisons were quite hard to draw so far, but as the aptly titled ‘Grief’ opens up, then bands such as Vinterland instantly sprang to mind, mixed with Sacramentum maybe and when such comparisons are mentioned, you know you’re onto a winner. Leviathan does like to end in songs in epic and atmospheric fashion and here is another song which does just that. Instrumental tracks don’t do much to excite me, I’m always left feeling that vocals would have enhanced whatever is on offer and it’s no different with ‘Solitude’ which musically is superb and is absolutely screaming out to have some harsh black metal vocals bellowed out over it. A shame because it’s such a potent track, delivered with absolute conviction and malice but minus the vocal delivery. ‘Behold The Trinity Maimed And Rotten’ sees normal service being resumed. One point to note is the vocal delivery, not the harsh high pitched screams as you might expect but more a growled style used. Quite unusual for the style of music, but they work well and don’t sound at all out of place.  Musically the song jumps from faster blast beat sections to the slower mournful passages and then back to the faster sections which all adds variety and makes for another interesting track. ‘A Pig Hung In Golgotha’ has a real sense of urgency to it, giving off an almost frantic feel when the faster sections blast in. Fans of early Impaled Nazarene would probably really enjoy this track and the same could be said for the opening few riffs of final track ‘Necessary Evil’ which gives off an altogether different feel and sound to everything heard previously. This of course isn’t a bad thing because again, the sense of urgency and frantic nature to the music is openly on display again and makes for a suitably great finish to the album. Leviathan and Written In Torment have a lot to offer on this album and there is a lot to take in when listening to it. The mix of the harsher black metal and slower morose passages makes for an extremely varied and enjoyable listen. He’s quite obviously a very talented individual more than capable of writing and performing some fantastic atmospheric black metal as demonstrated throughout every song on this album and should you be looking to listen to something a bit different from the black metal norm, then Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes offers just that and comes well recommended.
 
8 out of 10
 
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here

Friday, 11 October 2013

Party Cannon - Partied In Half

Autopsy Records 2013
 
1.Duct Taped To A Flag Pole 2.Tyrone, You Put That Sugar Down
3.High Five Ghost
 
Scottish ‘Party Slammers’ Party Cannon could well be conceived to be somewhat of a joke, from the ‘balloon looking’ logo alone, not to mention the song titles. They are far from that though, it’s about having fun whilst playing some seriously brutal death/grind/ slam. Opener ‘Duct Taped To A Flag Pole’ belches forth in a torrent of nasty blast beats and monstrous riffing that is mixed with some truly coma inducing slam elements. There’s a great mix of vocals on offer, snarled rasping screams accompany some ultra-guttural, sub-human death growls, reminiscent to a lot of gore-grind currently out there. The production is perfect for the style of music, being bass heavy as fuck with all the individual elements mixed just right and working well together to produce an absolute monster. ‘Tyrone, You Put That Sugar Down’ is another beastly track, rabid blast beats and frenzied guitar work mixed to maximum effect and when interspersed with those pummelling slams again makes for another brilliantly tight song. The band do sound extremely potent and devastating when they up the pace and allow the blast beats to really let rip, pinch harmonics crawling all over the place. Again, the vocals are a real highlight, varied and extremely well delivered.
Closing this short three track e.p. is ‘High Five Ghost’ which continues the theme heard in the two previous songs. Frenzied probably best describes the sound when the band are playing a full throttle and what really makes the band stand out is when they deliver these faster ‘frenzied’ sections then plunge right into the heavy as hell slams, it absolutely destroys and then mix in some ultra-fast gravity blast laden sections and you know you’re going to be completely ‘spasticated’ (as the intro suggests) not only by this song, but by the entire e.p. Having witnessed the band live I can affirm the fact that Party Cannon are indeed (as these three songs testify) intense as fuck and yes, they really do enjoy playing their music which shows in both the live arena and recorded format. This is a massively great introduction to the band for those that haven’t been initiated into the party and shows the band off perfectly for what they are – an intense and utterly devastating death grind band (with a hint of Gore-Grind to really add impact) that are writing some original sounding songs and playing them with ease. Some out there may have chosen to give these guys a miss by judging the band by their logo, or their sense of humour. That would be a fatal mistake as Party Cannon are yet another band from the UK that have produced a massively impressive, albeit somewhat short, e.p. that stands them head and shoulders above most of the bands out there in a similar genre. The impact the music has is instant and you ignore it at your peril! Join the party and slam, you will not be disappointed, ‘Partied In Half’ comes very highly recommended.
 
8.5 Out of 10
 
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here
 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Nihilism Incarnate - Deconstruct The Aeons

Abyssus Records 2013
 
1.Eat Shit And Die 2.Dark Matter 3.The Lords Prey(er)
4.Butcher Bludgeons Bloodbath
 
The first aspect that grabs your attention as opening track “Eat Shit And Die” opens up is the heavy as fuck production, steamrolling out of the speakers with a massive death metal punch (courtesy of a James Murphy mastering). Describing themselves as Progressive Death Metal, there is a slight progressive influence to be heard, but overall this first track is a quite straight forward heavy death metal affair, the pace being held back at slow to mid-paced. Vocally it’s as you would expect, crushing and guttural death metal growls, not too dissimilar to an early Ill-Disposed type delivery. ‘Dark Matter’ follows on in comparable fashion with similar paces being adopted once more. What differs with this second track is that the band does take on an altogether different approach, the ‘progressive’ element more evident throughout, the guitars leading the technical and at times melodic assault. The song breaks several times into acoustic guitar lead passages which only enhance the progressive theme.
‘The Lords Prey(er) see’s the band experimenting with pace, injecting some faster sections into the mix which are short, sharp forays into something new and sit well in amongst the slower more technical passages. As the song builds it begins to take on a really epic sound and ends on an extremely atmospheric high. Closing this e.p. is ‘Butcher Bludgeons Bloodbath’ and again, it follows on in similar fashion to the previous track, flirting with faster paces, but only very briefly, which is a shame as the songs would definitely benefit from adding varying paces as opposed to being rooted firmly in the slow to mid-paced which is probably why all four songs ultimately lack that killer punch (and reading the list of influences the band cite, it is filled with groups that use speed to add to the extremity, whereas NI don’t, which baffles slightly). However, Nihilism Incarnate’s  ability and musicianship is unquestionable; the technical guitar work is flawless and extremely well composed and delivered and is accompanied by some solid drum work. Technical death metal with a progressive edge, this debut four track e.p. showcases a band that are more than capable of handling their instruments and writing well-constructed and well executed death metal songs. The lack of (mixing) pace is a slight niggling point, but this shouldn’t detract from effort the band has put into this release and it is well worth checking out!
 
7 out of 10
 
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here
 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Necroriser - Violent

Self Released 2013
 
1.Destruction 2.Cleanse 3.Suicide 4.Revenge
5.Slaves 6.Fear 7.Horror 8.Ambush 9.Pain 
 
Originally from Brazil, but now settled in the UK, London to be precise, Necroriser play a mix of death metal and thrash metal. This blend is illustrated perfectly in opener ‘Destruction’ which absolutely pummels from start to finish. Being thrash orientated and from Brazil, it may be too easy to draw comparisons to Sepultura, but actually there are some massive similarities to ‘Beneath The Remains’ era Sepultura, such is the bands riffing style and sound in places. Finishing in a flurry of blast beat laden death metal madness; it’s a great introduction to these Brazilian maniacs. Rooted firmly in the ‘old school’, ‘Cleanse’ is pure old school Slayer worship and is a more trash orientated song. It’s only really the vocals which add the death metal element to their sound, being just guttural enough to be classed as death metal. Next up is ‘Suicide’ and what a track this is, catchy chorus lines are mixed in amongst some exceptionally frantic guitar work and again it makes for a storming track. The mix of thrash and death metal is just right here; neither one over-powering the other. Again, the song is rooted firmly in that “old school approach” which adds to its appeal. ‘Revenge’ is a short and savage affair, blazing along at a whirlwind of a pace with manic guitar solos screaming and screeching in true Slayer style once again – great stuff!
There’s no let up as ‘Slaves’ burst forth in another torrent of brutal, old school influenced death/thrash. What makes Necroriser so enjoyable to listen to is the straight-forward approach to their song writing. It’s all about “just going for it”, which they again do in brilliantly brutal fashion. As ‘Fear’ opens up, it’s become quite apparent that the band are losing the temptation to draw from their main influences and are developing a style in their own right, sounding not too dissimilar to Germany’s own death/thrash juggernauts Dew Scented, a theme which carries on brilliantly into ‘Horror’ with a more European sound to this song, as opposed to the South American influence that was apparent throughout the earlier songs. Living on this side of the world seems to be having an influence on the bands song writing style, and what a great effect it’s had on this release! ‘Ambush’ is the shortest track on offer and being only 1m34 you would expect it to fire on all cylinders and blast brutally from start to finish. As fast as the pace is, there is however a dark and sinister undertone creeping into the slower sections which definitely adds a new dimension to the band’s sound, no complaints here! As the album comes to a close with ‘Pain’ the band are on top form, mixing everything they have in their musical arsenal excellently. The heavier Sepultura-esque riffs are re-introduced as are the manic Slayer style guitar solos which wouldn’t sound out of place on early Obituary albums also. It’s one hell of a way to end an album, and Necroriser do it brilliantly. The Album title ‘Violent’ pretty much sums up each and every track and the album as a whole, the intensity of the music on offer absolutely pummels and slays. The term “thrash attack” is banded about quite a lot, but this is exactly what the band does on every song, they attack you with a brutal assault of death thrash madness that leaves you battered and bruised but ultimately wanting more of the same. Reeking of the old school sound and with a straight forward, no nonsense approach to their song writing, Necroriser have hit the nail firmly on the head with this album as it smashes from start to finish and comes very highly recommended.
 
8.5 out of 10

Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here
 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

UKEM Update

It's been a very busy time for UKEM just recently. As you will have seen from the blog header, we have had a new logo designed by Christophe Szpajdel (Lord Of Logos). I'm sure you will agree, its a vast improvement on the old logo!
We have started using this on all of our online pages and we are now planning a run of shirts and hoodies featuring this new logo. Our Facebook page continues to go from strength to strength and gaining in popularity as we have recently passed the 6000 likes landmark, so a huge thanks to everyone that joins us on Facebook. If you haven't visited the page, it can be found Here
 
Our label, UKEM Records has a several releases out in the last few months including titles from Necrogrinder, The Deathisodes and Primitive Graven Image. We also have had a massive re-development of the online store, making it much easier to navigate and find items with new sections being included and a new and improved shopping cart feature. If you haven't visited the new store, it can be found Here As part of this development and improvement we also introduced a new distro, namely Hell's Hammer Distribution. This subsidiary aims to stock the best titles from international labels and artists and we already have a massive selection of titles to choose from. As with the new UKEM logo, we enlisted Christophe Szpadjel to design the logo for a truly unique identity!
The Hell's Hammer titles can be found in the current UKEM store, however, the link directly to the products is Here
The easiest way to keep upto date with new arrivals is by heading over to the Facebook page and clicking like, we have new titles coming in on a weekly basis. Visit Here
We stock titles from: Nuclear Blast Records, Century Media Records, Metal Blade Records, Sevared Records, Comatose Music, Blast Head Records, Darker Than Black Records, Grindethic Records, Amputated Vein Records, Pathologically Explicit Recordings, Grindhead Records, Glorious North Productions, New Standard Elite Records, Season Of Mist Records + MORE!!! so there's bound to be something for everyone!
 
UKEM Records has also just ended a highly successful run of adverts in Terrorizer Magazine and Zero Tolerance Magazine which has undoubtedly gained us massive exposure to an international audience.
New releases are now in the planning stage for the label, with our next planned release being from old school death metallers THE OBSCENE with their debut full length album "Architects Of Deliverance". Then for 2014 we have a split album from CRUELTY'S HEART and FROSTWORK with another album from ABOMNIUM nearer the middle of the year (the second for UKEM records). So 2014 is already lining up to be a busy year. And needless to say, we will continue to publish reviews here on the blog, although this has become increasingly difficult due to the demands of the label and the new distro!
 
Finally, a massive thanks and horns high to everyone that continues to support UKEM, its really appreciated!
 
we are "Dedicated to Extremity, Supporting The Underground"
 
 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Carcass - Surgical Steel

Nuclear Blast 2013
 
1.1985 2.Thrasher's Abattoir 3.Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System
4.A Congealed Clot Of Blood 5.The Master Butcher's Apron
6.Noncomplience Of ASTM F 899-12 Standard
7.The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills 8.Unfit For Human Consumption
9.316L Grade Surgical Steel 10.Captive Bolt Pistol 11.Mount Of Execution
12.Intensive Battery Brooding*
 
It’s finally here, after months of rumour mongering and excited chatter on the social media sites Carcass return! It’s fair to say this has been the most highly anticipated album from a band this year, if not in recent memory. Having read interviews with the band, their promise to deliver something that mixes Necroticism era and Heartwork era Carcass is extremely accurate from the outset. ‘1985’ acts as a short intro before ‘Thrashers Abattoir’ blasts in at full throttle in a storm of snarling vocals, blasting drums and tight and catchy riffing. Showing their intentions in superb fashion, this is a magnificent way to let everyone know they are back – back to rip your face off! A similar theme is pursued throughout ‘Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System’, albeit in a slightly less frantic approach, with a touch more melody introduced. It’s great to hear those trademark dual vocals back, Jeff’s rasping snarls accompanied perfectly by Bill’s guttural bottom end bellowing’s. ‘A Congealed Clot Of Blood’ is monstrously epic, the pace slowed to a clinical crawl throughout its entirety which gives it an almost anthem like sound. In stark contrast ‘The Master Butchers Apron’ bludgeons the listener with blast bead laden drumming and sharp riffing. The song does then return to the slower pace used in the previous track and almost acts as an interlude, as the faster pace is then re-introduced to end the song brilliantly. Similarly ‘Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard’ smashes open with more blast beats which introduce the track in brutal fashion before a more mid-paced approach is undertaken. The mix of tempos and styles is working really so far and will definitely appeal to older and newer Carcass fans alike.
‘The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills’ harks back to Heartwork era Carcass and the chorus’ are nothing short of inspired, the chants of “Six – Zero – Two – Six – Nine – Six – One” are massively original and sound unlike anything heard before, not only from the band, but in the genre, this is definitely the band at their best and their most inspirational. As if to further prove the point, ‘Unfit For Human Consumption’ is massive, bringing everything heard so far to the (Surgeons) table. It’s catchy, it’s brutal and epic in proportions, the dual chant like vocals really add a new, and welcome addition to the bands musical arsenal. ‘316L Grade Surgical Steel’ again shows a band sounding more sharp and precise than they ever have done, particularly venomous when the savage blast beats open up to accompany the razor sharp guitar work, executed precisely with utter conviction. ‘Captive Bolt Pistol’ is probably going to sound extremely familiar, as this was used as the “album teaser” with all the social media sites, websites and blogs all exposing the masses to its utter brilliance. And why not, it’s definitely the stand out track of the album that sees the band delving deep into Necroticism era riffing whilst mixing the modern edge to their sound perfectly. If you bought the jewel case version, then ‘Mount Of Execution’ is the final track of the disc and it ends the cd in catchy and epic fashion. However; spending a little more on the digi-pack gets you the bonus track* of ‘Intensive Battery Brooding’ which has a slightly different feel and sound to all of the other tracks on the standard version. It’s a dark and sinister offering that musically, has a much more classic heavy metal sound to it with the pace kept to a minimum for the majority of its length. There’s even a slight thrash metal influence on display here, only very slight however – just enough to make you sit up and think “that’s a bit different for them, but it sounds good”. Carcass are back and are truly on top form, pushing the boundaries of modern extreme metal to the limits. The whole album balances the bands two classic sounds (Necroticism and Heartwork) brilliantly, neither one overpowering the other, rather acting as partners to create an absolutely punishing and devastating slab of modern extreme metal. Highly anticipated? Yes, but the wait was more than worth it, definitely the death metal album of 2013 so far, it comes very highly recommended.
 
9 out of 10
 
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Dead Beyond Buried - The Dark Era

Self Released 2012
 
1.Opening the Gates 2.The Rupturing 3.Spirit of the Void
4.Cold Black Stars 5.Shadows Consuming Spirits 6.Utopia
7.Failures 8.Dripping Black Bile 9.The Dark Era
 
First track ‘Opening The Gates’ begins life in pummelling fashion, the bands well-honed brand of brutal death metal sounds crisp, tight and is amazingly savage from the outset. Of course you would expect nothing less from a band that are now unleashing their third full length album and can probably be classed as “seasoned veterans” of the UK underground scene. It’s a good start. As if to prove the point, ‘The Rupturing’ is even more brutal than the opener, and absolute storm of blast beat laden brutal death that destroys. The pace is dropped to a sludgy crawl nearer the middle of the song, not lasting too long; it is then followed by the return of the bludgeoning and blasting death metal. DBB sound overwhelmingly intense when they’re at full speed. As the song ends, the pace is returned to the slower tempo which is a good way to close the song after all of the devastation. ‘Spirit Of The Void’ tricks you into thinking it’s going to be a slower, filler song as it begins slowly, and similar to what was on offer in the previous song. However, just as you settle into the slower pace, blast beats are unleashed without warning, hurling the song into oblivion. This doesn’t last long however, the pace is then dropped and the remainder of the song takes on an almost Morbid Angel feel and sound, an evil and sinister crawl ensues. ‘Cold Black Stars’ is a much more varied affair, utilising everything heard so far to great effect in a well-constructed and crafted song. There’s real power in this track, especially in the choruses when the fast tremolo picked guitars and pummelling double kick drums work in unison to maximum effect and give the song an extremely catchy sound. These passages also show off the bands tightness extremely well, but you wouldn’t really expect anything less really.
‘Shadows Consuming Spirits’ is another monster; being the bastard child of Immolation and Hate Eternal should any comparisons be needed. And again, the band add variety to the song writing by mixing tempos well which in turn ensures the listener is never going to get bored – definitely no fear of that here! The opening riffs to ‘Utopia’ are actually quite melodic, and unlike anything heard so far and almost act as the introduction to the song before the heavier and slower riffs burst open in marked contrast. Vocally the track is actually very sparse as there is a long section to the song which would be classed as instrumental, the drums being given free rein to really ‘do their own thing’ which they do for the good of the song. The more melodic start to the previous track appears to have ‘rubbed off’ on ‘Failures’ as it begins in quite melodic fashion, having an almost anthem like feel to it which may be attributed to the slower pace in part. Personally, the band sound at their best at full speed and this song really detracts what the band are capable of doing, which is playing brutal as fuck, tight and precise savage death metal. Maybe this track is the album ‘filler’? ‘Dripping Black Bile’ returns the album to the heavier death metal which was lacking previously, however the pace is once again held back to the slower tempos which is shame as this is the shortest song on the entire album and anyone hoping they would blast entirely through the three, nearly four minutes will be sadly let down. Title track ‘The Dark Era’ closes proceedings continues on in similar fashion, slower heavier riffs are accompanied by slow rhythmic drumming which lacks the truly killer blow to end the album. It’s fairly obvious the band were opting for the more epic ending which is fair play, epic endings do work on certain albums but as mentioned earlier, DBB are a much greater proposition when they unleash the furious blast beat lead brutal death metal. These are added in towards the close of the song, but only sparsely. Overall, the album is almost a tale of two halves with the opening few tracks bursting forth in suitably brutal fashion and highlighting what the band are truly capable of. Then, as the album progresses, the pace and feel to the album is somewhat relaxed and takes on a more epic, anthem like sound. Thankfully, the differing styles adopted don’t sound “too different” so as to give the album a disjointed sound. The production utilised holds all the songs and the album together well as does the tightness of the playing. Packed full of variety, with a tightness and extremely high standard of musicianship, there will be something to quench the thirst of the majority of extreme metal fans, be it the brutal blast beat heavy death metal assault or the slower, Morbid Angel inspired crawls, this album is sure to please and comes well recommended.
 
7.5 Out of 10
 
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here