Offal / Zombie Cookbook – Split 7” EP



There is a certain individual sickness to the visceral charms of Brazil’s most prominent and inventive extreme metal bands, an insidiousness which seems to coat riffs, grooves, and indeed songs. That sickness is a creeping toxin flavouring the new split release from Offal and Zombie Cookbook too; a poisonous and malevolent offering which worms under the skin with infectious temptation. It is not a release which actually startles, not initially anyway, but over time emerges as a visceral sonic assassin to which imagination and emotions become playthings. A swift and lethal scourge of the senses from two bands which are potently emerging on the broader extreme metal scene, the 7” split comes courtesy of a label, Black Hole Productions, which is no stranger to unleashing underground treats from band such as Lymphatic Phlegm, Xxx Maniak, Haemorrhage, and Gruesome Stuff Relish.

Offal is first up on the release, a quartet from Curitiba consisting of vocalist André Luiz, guitarist Tersis Zonato, bassist João Carlos Ongaro, and drummer Igor Thomaz. To the release of their well-received self-titled debut album in 2006, the band has added a second full-length and a string of splits with bands such as Bowel Fetus, Anatomia, Decrepitaph, and Mausoleum, all helping to increase their reputation and stature in the underground. References to Autopsy and Carcass have been cast over their sound, and as opener Dementia Trash. The Cult Of The Low-budget Cin devours ears it is something to agree with yet only slightly flavours the band’s voracious sound. Riffs are an immediate scrub of aggression in the song, swiftly offal1-680x406backed by the thunderous and turbulent assault of rhythms. Lorded over by the dark coated cavernously toned growls of Luiz, the track is a mix of predacious stalking and rabid intent. It is a rather compelling proposition gaining greater strength of persuasion across its length, imposing sonically and in success as its narrative courts the craft and blood-fests of cinematic gore/cult b-movie movie pioneers like Herschell Gordon Lewis, Ed Wood, and Roger Corman.

A great incitement for ears and imagination, the band’s second proposal Spinal Extractions Fiend For Blood is a more savage and irritable, no make that violent encounter, and just as highly palatable even at its mere 45 seconds. It hangs around enough to get the teeth into and to ignite a healthy appetite but is too short to get as much satisfaction out of it as wished, though that want is soon fed impressively by Zombie Cookbook.

foto-para-pagina-BHP-680x451The band’s name and indeed that of its members, in vocalist Dr. Stink, guitarists Horace Bones and Ed The Dead, bassist Purgy, and drummer Dr Freudstein, alone provide colourful and mischievous bait, a lure instantly backed by their first track Motel Hell. There is thrash bred ferocity to the charge and hostility of the song, energy and creative adventure which is as psychotic as it is groove infectious. The vocals equally have a character and captivating rabidity to them which only ignites ears and enjoyment, bringing a chunk of the originality which revolves within an accomplished if familiar template of sound.

Its voracious appetite and body only gets more deviously addictive and magnetic over time, much as that of its successor Eredità Maledetta. The first of the band’s two songs ends on a great finale of pure unbridled thrash contagion, a sonic tirade plainly contrasted by the demonic seeded entrance of the second, though it does not take long for the track to expel a spiteful breath and leap into its own ravenous destructive tempest. It also is much shorter than its companion, but does offer two minutes of furious extreme metal combat to reinforce a greedy appetite as sparked by the EP to explore the band, something which applies to Offal also.

It is hard to suggest you will hear anything dramatically new on the split but with undeniably impressive songs both bands make invigorating additions to the full underground arena of extreme OFFAL & ZOMBIE COOKBOOK - Split 7-ep - CAPA PROMO ZCKmetal. Both Offal and Zombie Cookbook could be looking at infiltrating the broadest spotlights sometime soon too, especially if they continue uncaging beasts like those on their shared offering.

The 7” Split EP is available now via Black Hole Productions @

RingMaster 05/03/2015

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Carnation – Cemetery of the Insane


Old school in breeding but stoked by a creative voracity which roars with modern hostility, Cemetery of the Insane, the debut EP from Belgian death metallers Carnation is an introduction all fans of extreme metal will want a slice of. Consisting of six tracks which savage the senses and ignite the imagination, the release has every essential death metal essence in compelling abundance, but twisting them into its own not dramatically original but certainly refreshingly inventive designs. The result is a bestial onslaught to fearfully embrace and greedily devour.

With a name seemingly inspired by The Carnation Massacre, a mass murder occurring on December 24th 2007 near Carnation, Washington, the Heist-op-den-Berg band was formed in 2013 by guitarist Jonathan Verstrepen (Incinerate). Swiftly bringing in bassist Yarne Heylen (Decross), guitarist Bert Vervoort (ex-Decross), vocalist Simon Duson (Prematory), and drummer Morbid (The Reckoning), Carnation set about their intent of bringing old school death to the Belgian metal landscape. Embracing both Swedish and US influences, as merged impressively on Cemetery of the Insane, the band has stepped forward on its back as one new and exciting proposition in not only the Belgian but European extreme metal scene.

The release opens in the dank cellars of Explosive Cadavers, flesh and bone being quietly but openly devoured before the song, with cinematic might, reveals its portentous drama. Once the scene is set, guitars snarl and descend on the senses with instantly contagious and addictive riffery, bait matched potently by the grizzled might of the bass and the sonic grooving holding ears. The track swings along but has greater intimidation and hostility waiting in its air, a threat which frees its restraints for a nastier twist in the nature of the song before entwining both for the rest of the encounter. It is a scintillating start, the excellent vocals of Duson as guttural and insidious as you would wish yet with a quality allowing clarity to the narrative, whilst the venomous rhythms of Morbid take no prisoners whilst casting their anthemic baiting. Similarly the sonic enterprise of the guitars is as invitational as it is corrosive, everything aligning for one virulent insidious persuasion.

The EPs title track is swiftly at the jugular next, Cemetery Of The Insane rampaging with hostile fervour yet also instilling a predatory prowl within its tempestuous walls. The song stalks carnationand seduces the senses with the strong mix of vocals and guitars continuing to impress with just as instinctively barbarous invention. Further lust is dragged from song and appetite by the throaty bass growl and already by this point it is hard not to be enslaved by song and release, especially once the tendrils of sonic colour and the increasingly insatiable torrent of sharp grooves and bruising riffs add their persuasive weight to the temptation.

Both Rituals Of Flesh and Delusions Of Power keep the impressive intensive provocation soaked in venomous and gripping animosity, the first of the two managing to be nastier than those before in touch and sound yet just as imposingly infectious and inventively magnetic. The track almost dances with its rhythmic rabidity and destructive tendencies, revelling in its bloodlust and sonic nagging whilst sculpting a pinnacle for the release. Its successor without quite matching its toxic majesty has its own blistering sonic tapestry of raw riffs, spiky grooves, and bass predation to share, resulting in another seriously enthralling and incendiary ravaging to thoroughly enjoy.

The Great Deceiver closes things off; it’s more restrained and sonically colourful entrance the scenery to oppressing shadows and subsequently, a torrent of abrasing riffs and searing melodic endeavour. As the excellent final foraging of ears and psyche shows, though tracks may not surprise with knee buckling effect there is a great unpredictable trait to them which keeps the listener intrigued and unsure of what is on the encounter’s near horizon.

Definitely a must for all with a taste for the likes of Entombed, Dismember, Gorguts, Autopsy, and Entrails amongst many, Cemetery Of The Insane should be heading all must check out lists.

Cemetery Of The Insane will be available through Final Gate Records digitally and on CD/vinyl from February 6th via

RingMaster 05/02/2015

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Antropomorphia – Rites ov Perversion

AntropomorphiA - 2014PR#2

The return in 2009 of Dutch death metallers Antropomorphia brought with it a potent impact on the extreme metal scene especially through the band’s acclaimed 2012 second album Evangelivm Nekromantia. Now the Tilburg quartet unleash its successor Rites ov Perversion, another accomplished and compelling savaging to put a spark into the heart of death metal. It is not an encounter to reshape or offer new realms for the genre but over time certainly one to thrill and add another tasty flavour to its impressive year.

Formed in 1990, Antropomorphia embraced inspirations from the likes of Celtic Frost, Possessed, Death, Autopsy, and Venom as they honed their own uncompromising and honest sound. The demo Bowel Mutilation in 1992 gripped attention, subsequently becoming a long sought after encounter among underground metal fans. Its release led to the band signing with Swiss label Blackened Recordings and the unleashing of Necromantic Love Songs a year later. Its well-received release was followed by band member’s time being taken up by their other projects and Antropomorphia being put on indefinite hiatus from 1999. They did not restrain from writing songs though and in 2009 the band sprung back to life, going on to sign with Metal Blade Records and unleashing Evangelivm Nekromantia. Reawakening interest and drawing new attention to the band, as well as almost getting banned by German authorities because of its violent and occult themed topics, the album led to festival appearances for the band at Neurotic Deathfest and Extremefest. Now Rites ov Perversion is poised to stir things up with its vicious and raw intent, as well as easy to suspect a greater hunger for the band’s imposing presence.

There is no escaping the force and ferocity of the album as opener Temphioth Workings draws up to ears on a crest of rampage riffs and thumping rhythms, all orchestrated by the vocal roar and vehemence of Ferry Damen. Expelling Antropomorphia - Rites ov Perversioneven greater malevolence through the dark tones of Marc van Stiphout’s bass and the increasingly vindictive swipes of Marco Stubbe, the track proceeds to ravish and seduce the senses and imagination respectively. Grooves nag and thrill throughout as the sonic invention of Jos van den Brand and Damen persistently entangle thoughts and song. It is a great start with nastiness to its breath which is just as rich in the following Carved to Pieces, an openly contagious and irritable proposition. Grooves again steal attention and passions, veining the inhospitable climate and intensity of the thrilling offering for an irresistible persuasion.

The pestilential predation of Inanimatus Absqui Anima comes next; its body a crawling ruinous enticement which stalks ears and emotions yet expels a swing to its beats and grooves which belies the toxic animosity drenching its appealing heart. Its success is matched by Crowned in Smoldering Ash, another rapacious proposal from the band taking its time to size up its victim before spilling demonic and sonic toxicity through its hostile design. Neither track matches the heights of the first pair of songs yet bind ears and thoughts in a healthy dose of creative malevolence to keep appetite for the album greedy.

     Nekrovaginal Secretions is a romantic little number if being smothered in venomous riffs and salacious sonic causticity lights your fire. Grooves twist emotions around their acidic flame with ease, again seducing without reserve as a punishing and creative tsunami of rhythms from Stubbe shows little restraint to their precisely skilled animosity. It is a glorious violation of the senses swiftly matched by the ravenous presence of Gospel ov Perversion. The track is a maelstrom of enterprise and raw hostility, merging a twisted melodic radiance with blistering sonic endeavour and rancor.

Through the hellacious and addictive bad blood of Morbid Rites and the intriguing and riveting Tevfelskvnst, band and album reinforce their already virulent animus with compelling force and charm. One thing about the album is the familiarity between groove structures and at times sound, yet they are woven into the individual characters of songs with an imaginative touch which defuses any over familiarity as strongly shown by the second of the two. The track rumbles and snarls from start to finish, the bass of van Stiphout especially inescapable bait within a torrential and impressively evolving landscape.

Completed by a powerfully enticing cover of the Death track Open Casket, the album is a formidable and thoroughly exciting proposition. Certainly it is not venturing into realms unknown but for primal yet organically inventive death metal there have been few releases better this year.

Rites ov Perversion is available now via Metal Blade Records @

Ringmaster 17/09/2014

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Lesch-Nyhan – Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome


The first album since their return, Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome makes a ravenous and richly satisfying confrontation from US death metallers Lesch-Nyhan. The successor to the band’s 1991 demo Indistinguished Remains, the seven track savagery is a rewardingly imposing and thrillingly incessant beast of a proposition, a bestial encounter recalling the seeds and original toxicity of the Philadelphia quartet whilst equally holding an unhealthy dose of modern intrigue and fresh faced twists. It is not an album to blow extreme metal away but certainly a ravaging to make Lesch-Nyhan’s comeback a highly joyous and thrilling one.

Formed in 1989 by vocalist Gary Hadden with brothers, Mark (drums) and Anthony Delacandro (guitar), Lesch-Nyhan was soon completed by bassist Greg Oreski and guitarist Mike Carr. Quickly getting to play live shows with the likes of Suffacation, Incantation, Crucifier, and Ripping Corpse, the band released their demo in 1991 from which the band was invited to play a showcase in front of numerous label representatives. What followed though was the demise of the band; a slow falling apart which new members could not bring any halt to with the band stopping in 1994. Fast forward to 2012 and a discussion between Hadden and guitarist Rob Vanderveer (a member of the last line-up of the band), about reigniting things, to “Put our stamp on this shit”. A year later saw Lesch-Nyhan reform with a re-issue of Indistinguished Remains on Horror Pain Gore Death Productions, just as the new album. With guitarist Jack Carmichael, bassist Chris Miller, and drummer Mark Stainthorpe alongside Hadden, Lesch-Nyhan has produced a riveting scourge of sound and intent with Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome, a furious hostility sure to excite those with an appetite of bands such as Autopsy, Bolt Thrower, Carcass, Gorguts, Immolation, and Napalm Death.

Recorded live in the studio helping to bring the raw brute creative force of Lesch-Nyhan to life, the album opens with World Destruction, a track as expected from its title with all the hostility and rancor to bring all before it to its frontcoverknees. It also comes with a passions binding groove which from its first breath grinds and worms deeply into the psyche as rhythms cascade voraciously down on the senses. Complete with the barbarous rancor of Hadden’s throat and the nagging contempt of the bass, it is an irresistible blast of insidious feuding which ignites appetite and passions just as forcibly as the album itself.

Its stunning start is not quite matched by the following Septic Hole and Flock Of The Misfortunate, though it is more to do with its might than their failings. The first of the two again is offering a scathing infection soaked groove around with rhythms bring a barbaric unpredictability and guitars a sonic smog of contagious endeavour. Vocally Hadden lurches syllable after syllable across the senses, his delivery breeding a pestilential persuasion which is as sinister and merciless as the predacious sounds scarring his way. It is another masterful proposition if without bringing too many surprises, similarly as its successor. The album’s third track prowls with purposeful weight and predation, every riff and rhythmic provocation concentrated in its oppressive incitement which an emerging fiery but respectful groove cannot defuse. With the vocals at their most demonically intimidating and caustic, the track sends primal shivers down the spite but fails to find the same spark to ignite the passions as the opener and subsequent tracks hold.

Bathed In Phlegm returns the senses to a tempestuous torrent of frenetic riffs and rhythms bred from the darkest despair. It is a storm which has a rein on its hunger though, switching intensities of gait and ferocity for a filth clad waltz of insurgent sounds and rabid animosity which ebbs and flows in its voracity and ultimately success. To be fair though it is a proposal which ears and emotions welcome with open submissive arms, but one again only stirring up the passions rather than igniting them. The following Regurgitation Through Decapitation has little problem in seizing imagination and those passions, such its corrosive beauty and invention. Marking the moment where the album reveals it’s most potent and addictive nature, the song thunders against ears with a wall of barbaric rhythms and an intensively fused swarm of riffs. It is tsunami of spite and malignancy turned into a sonic vendetta in turn driven by a great dual squall of vocal spite from Hadden feverishly backed by Miller. The song stomps and rages with little regard for the health of its recipients, bass and drums crafting a frame of tortuous entrapment which any dungeon would be proud of whilst the guitars and vocals lay waste with an emotion violation of hellacious enterprise.

The glorious rhythmic coaxing which brings the title track into view is one of those instinctive baits there is no resistance to, an insatiable coaxing which only increases its toxic potency when aligned to the serpentine bred vocal cancer brought by Hadden. It is not long before the enthralling leviathan tones of the bass stalk air and guitars spread their caustic waves, the emerging blend of ferocious rapaciousness only reaching deeper into the psyche and greedy hunger inspired by the album. Roving with pack like relentlessness, the track is a predator of sound and bestial appetite, its grinding incitement and gutturally shared narrative an evil suasion to unrelentingly and sublimely excite the whole body.

Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome is brought to a powerful close by Internal War And Hate, a final purge of hope and security brought with an increasingly dangerous consumption of single minded grooves and scarring riffs within a network of bass rabidity and rhythmic enmity. It is an outstanding end to a thrilling encounter, not one as we said to turn extreme metal on its head but a release to easily place Lesch-Nyhan back in the heart and intensive spotlight of death metal.

Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome is available now via Horror Pain Gore Death Productions @


RingMaster 16/07/2014

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Violation Wound – Self-Titled

violation wound pic

The fact that Violation Wound is the brainchild of Chris Reifert, a musician who has been a major genre shaping instigator through Death, Abscess, and Autopsy alone, is enough to make his new proposition a must investigation. The fact that it and its self-titled debut album is a rigorously exciting and enjoyable fury is an extra unbridled bonus.

Violation Wound is Reifert creating a dirty uncompromising brawl of punk rock and metal with hardcore ferocity, a sound and release which finds its seeds in old school punk/HC whilst forging its own distinctive voice. It is not a sound which rips up templates but certainly one which makes Violation Wound a fresh and viciously attention grabbing prospect. Reifert formed the band in 2013, the response to an ‘itch’ to play traditional pissed off punk rock. Moving from his usual position behind the drums to guitar and vocals, he enlisted friend and ex- Fog of War bassist Joe Orterry and current Fog of War drummer Matt O’Connell into the idea and band. The trio set to work creating and uncaging their punk ferocity which is perfectly caged within the album. Also featuring guest appearances from Autopsy guitarists Danny Coralles and Eric Cutler, the release like its sound is as raw and honest as it comes. The production is minimal in many ways and also as raw as it comes, allowing the heart, passion, and hostility to songs to breathe without restraint. The album plays like a collection of tracks brought together from different times or recordings, acting with an almost ‘fly on the wall’ like presence over a torrent of live performances. You feel and smell the sweat and aggression in the songs; immerse in their primal essence and emotion as they roar at the world. It is not a release for those without an appetite for the origins of punk in its most vicious guises, but for those where fire in the belly burns with vicious causticity, it is a must.

The album starts with a ferocious bang, opener Don’t Believe It a fire of abrasive riffs and crunchy rhythms over which Reifert snarls and violation wound coverart growls out the lyrics. Sex Pistols like hooks also sears the oppressively raw encounter, adding to the instantly contagious lure of the song. It is a tremendous start, especially with a great expulsion of guitar enterprise towards its conclusion, which leaves the next up Eyes Red And White in its wake. To be fair the track flies at the jugular with jaws clenched ready to rip out the throat of the senses for another riveting and blistering thrill but it is unfortunate to be sandwiched between the strong starter and the excellent Seeing Scars. At even at this point assumptions are set for the feel and voice of the album which the third song pleasingly confirms with its caustic graze of sonic hostility, vocal maliciousness, and rhythmic predation.

It all makes for a formidable and compelling entrance by the band swiftly put into context by the brilliant Glue Trap. Again riffs and rhythms are just a crescendo of vitriolic energy and intent to lay down an appetising canvas. A base which is then dealt exhaustive exploits of heavily throated grooves, spiteful hooks, and a flame of harmonica toxicity. It is barely over one minute of classic punk mayhem, a mix of Circle Jerks and The Exploited with just a touch of Stiff Little Fingers and quite outstanding.

Band and album continue to excite and impress in varying degrees, the likes of the Dead Kennedys sounding Everywhere is Nowhere with its irresistible niggling barbed hook and anthemic chorus and the surely Motorhead inspired rock ‘n’ roller Brian In A Sling casting new infestations into thoughts and passions whilst tracks such as the emotionally grizzled metal fuelled In My Veins and The Ramones kissed Disposable Soul without reaching similar heights still inspire and ignite a greedy hunger with their sonic and muscular vehemence. To be honest there is not one track which does not leave an invigorating and lingering mark, the depth of the savage rancor and occasionally the raw production helping choose some tracks over others as favourites, as well as of course the richness of hooks and shapely riffs, but all songs easily spark new strains of greed towards the album.

Bigger highlights of the album come in the eye balling intense Disconnection and the ridiculously catchy Complaint Box, a song which in fifty two seconds simultaneously bewitches and ravages ears through to emotions like a dangerously peeved tornado. Their triumphs though as soon exceeded by the abrasing animus of Off The Rails and the even stronger alienation of Circle of Wounds, a track where discord and anthemic potency align for a mouthwatering slice of brutal invention.

Brought to a potently solid and enthralling close by the lethal punk croon of Learn and Burn and the heavier rock bruising of Nothing To Say, the album is an excellent bridge to old school punk and modern ferocity which sparks an anticipation of much more from the band, hopefully this not a one off project. Flaws on the album, if they can be classed as real issues, is the production which meanders too much across the songs and as evidenced by the last two tracks, at times there is a too close a similarity between some tracks. That though is more than anything just finding something to temper the enthusiastic recommendation we can only make to all wanting honest merciless punk rock.

Violation Wound is available via Vic Records @ now!


RingMaster 27/05/2014

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Alexanred – Rest After Result


Upon covering Non-Stop Non-Stop, the debut single from industrial metallers Alexanred near the end of last year, we admitted though the song strenuously impressed it was too early to make a judgement of the band as much as the potential seeded real anticipation for future endeavours. The release of new single Rest After Result brings two more songs into the equation and all the promise and thrilling attributes of that first song have now been reinforced and pushed on. The new release is a thumping and rousing anthemic roar of electro and metal invention, again not one diving into brand new undiscovered territories but a proposition to ignite imagination and passions with a predatory virulence.

Alexanred is the solo project of Finnish industrial metallers 2 Wolves’ guitarist/synth player Aleksi Susi. Formed in 2012 and taking influences from the likes of Rammstein, Lacuna Coil, Type O Negative, Cradle Of Filth, Paradise Lost, Septic Flesh, Rob Zombie, Prodigy, Autopsy, Nile and more, many of which loudly call out within both of Susi’s releases, the band makes a rigorously compelling persuasion with its raucous energies and ridiculously addictive qualities. As its predecessor, Rest After Result infiltrates the ears with a voracity and hunger which virtually stalks down thoughts and emotions, demanding attention and ultimately submission to its fiery charms. It is a predator of the senses but one which just as potently takes them on a stomp of electro adrenaline aligned to industrial rapaciousness within a web of metallic antagonism.

The title track launches its predacious crawl from a deep breath, electro teasing uniting with raw thrusts of guitar as beats place their heavy fingers into the mix. It is a menacing start which takes little time to remove the reins on a feisty energetic chorus spurned on by electronic urgency and melodic infectiousness. It is highly anthemic bait which is prepared to slip back into portentous shadows as the track slows back into its initial prowling intent, happy to lie there waiting for its moment to again fill and incite ears and passions. In many ways especially around the chorus there is a strong essence of early Ministry to the song, the time before Al got all macho on us, whilst the darker evocative and intimidating passages holds a Nine Inch Nails breath to their imagination.

It is a thoroughly enjoyable encounter which is straight away exceeded by the accompanying Effective. From its first second soaring melodies soak the flight of the synths whilst guitars and beats paint a sinewy aggressive canvas clad in shadows and challenging textures. Right away thoughts of Rammstein come to the fore through the vocal and muscular drama of the emerging song, but with evocative keys and unsettling twists in the gait of the song there is plenty to temper any over familiarity with the Germans. Feet, body, and neck muscles are soon given an intensive workout as the song pumps through their veins inciting full involvement though respite is given when the track unexpectedly and extremely pleasingly slips into a cavernous epically cast scenery. It has thoughts and imagination racing with pleasure before the previous inescapable toxicity merges with the new landscape for an exhausting climactic finale. It is a glorious track revealing more of the invention within Alexanred than arguably the other two songs from Susi together whilst continuing to seduce and infect a growing appetite for the man’s sound and imagination.

Rest After Result and Alexanred are not offering anything openly new in industrial metal but it sure is a frighteningly exciting proposition and that is good enough for us.

Rest After Result is available via Inverse Records now.


RingMaster 22/05/2014

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Gravehill – Death Curse


For a pestilential onslaught of black, death, and thrash metal, moulded into one voracious tempest of raw and dirty metal it is unlikely many releases will surpass the new uncompromising ravaging of US corruptors Gravehill. The band’s third album Death Curse is a bestial examination of the senses; savaging violations soaked in causticity and stripped to their primal bones and intent. At times an anthemic contagion and in others simply a predatory gnawing of the senses, the album is an increasingly potent annihilation which evolves an initial strong showing into a truly impressive and exhausting incitement. There is no wastage of frivolous trickery or excessive showing off just concentrated undiluted primeval metal at its best.

The Californian band was formed in 2001, a trio which took little time in unleashing debut demo The Practitioners of Fell Sorcery; it was short lived triumph though as Gravehill disbanded soon after. 2006 saw the band reform, original drummer/founder Rhett “Thorgrimm” Davis linking up with vocalist Mike Abominator. A second demo Metal of Death in 2007 was followed by the EP Metal of Death/Advocation of Murder and Suicide the following year from the quintet. First full-length Rites of the Pentagram was next uncaged on Enucleation Records to strong reactions in 2009 as also its re-release in a package with a third outing from the band’s first demo via Ibex Moon Records a year later. The line-up saw a change in 2011 with guitarist Matt “Hellfiend” Harvey (Exhumed, Dekapitator, Repulsion) joining the band before second album When All Roads lead to Hell on Dark Descent Records. The next year saw another shift in personnel with both Hellfiend and fellow guitarist Rob “Bodybag Bob” Babcock leaving due to extensive touring demands with Exhumed to be replaced by CC DeKill and Hell Messiah.

With the new members slotting in with ease alongside Thorgrimm, Abominator, and bassist J.T. Corpse, Gravehill set about creating what CDBO04.pdfhas emerged as their most ferocious and destructive triumph to date. Again out through Dark Descent and featuring guest appearances from the likes of Chris Reifert and Eric Cutler of Autopsy as well as Kam Lee (Massacre, Death and Bone Gnawer), Death Curse is a masterful protagonist of the senses from the exceptional artwork provided by Christopher Moyen (Incantation, Blasphemy)to its last lingering venomous note. Though the introductory opener Gates of Hell does not show the storm to come, its epically sinister portent of sonic certainly brings an intimidation to bear on the senses, a brewing threat soon realised with the explosive entrance of the title track, riffs and rhythms a merciless rampage whilst the coarse even rawer vocals scar air and ears. Eager in its thrash driven gait and acidic in the eruptions of sonic enterprise, the track is a magnetic encounter which maybe does not trigger an immediate hunger but with good variation to the vocals and a resistance proof groove certainly has full control of attention.

At Hell’s Command is much swifter in taking a submission from senses and passions, its yawning sonic bait from the first second irresistible and the spark to an incendiary examination of a brutal rhythmic battering and a venomous and compelling sonic intrusion. There is an insidiously commanding element to the song, and subsequently the album, which manipulates the imagination and emotions into subservience either instantly or over time as in the case of other songs, but always succeeding in its intent. The guitar toxicity of CC DeKill and Hell Messiah is especially impressive and tempting, their designs as in all aspects of the release, skilled and striking but never dosed with a wasteful indulgence.

The following Open Their Throats emerges from the fluid gothic like link between it and its predecessor to prowl around the ear with a doom bred stance. The song stalks with venom dripping from its rhythmic jaw and slavering riffs whilst the guttural intense vocals add further insatiable predation. Intensity and violence waits in the shadows before being freed from their reins for a fiery antagonism driven second half of the impressive rage, vocals and guitar craft again formidable lures within an equally compelling rhythmic enticement.

Both Fear the Reaper and Unending Lust for Evil take release and passions to another level, the virulently contagious drum and bass entrance to the first opening a doorway to thrash anthemic glory within a death seeded animosity whilst its successor digs deeper inside itself for a blacker toxin with which to infest song and listener, its constantly shifting attack and creativity a ridiculously infectious almost salacious offering. The pair of tracks marks the pinnacle of the album, though to be fair its whole range is never far from the lofty filth encrusted heights of the two as proven by the rapacious malevolence of Black Blood Rising, the blackened scourge a welcome primordial predator in modern extreme metal.

The album is at its strongest in its latter half with the final two songs continuing the intensive potency and senses gorging maliciousness of the last few offerings. Crucified is the loudest boldest anthem on the album, an irritable nagging soon recruiting full allegiance with its group vocal baiting over heavy booted rhythms and riffing. Speared by excellent sonic craft from the guitars, the song is a leader of rebellious intent igniting the pulse rate ready for the closing doomy weight and thrash swing of The Ascending Fire to exploit with its equally anthemic power. The song makes an outstanding last assault to an addictive treacherous plague, a Death Curse which violates and thrills with even voracity.


RingMaster 02/04/2014

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