Khemmis: Desolation (Nuclear Blast)
Denver based doomsters Khemmis have been whipping up the riffs for a long time now but it's only on their previous record Hunted that they became a noteworthy outside of Colorado, their style of music is quite a modern take on the doom genre, it's slow heavy concrete riffs one minute but then galloping harmonised leads the next. There's a little something for everyone and while the tracks such as Bloodletting are long winding mini epics but they grab a hold of your attention before taking you on a journey. On this third album they have refined their sound even more adding more classic metal influences where they can.
Take a track such as Isolation it's got that battle metal bounce of Grand Magus as Phil Pendergast and Ben Hutcherson trade solos while their voices mesh (although Phil takes most of the lead vocal cues and great he is too). Clad in a cover with strong fantasy imagery the songs take the same cues of wild flights of fancy evoking soundscapes of distant shores and battles fought long ago. It's heroic classic metal born out of the doom scene, if you're a fan of The Sword or Magus then buy Desolation, simple as that! 8/10
The Heretic Order: Evil Rising (Massacre)
The second album from The Heretic Order is a bit of revelation who knew that an occult/classic metal band formed by one of the guitarists of Breed 77 would be so damn popular? Yet here we are and the band yet again are corpse paint amalgamation of Sabbath (Omens), Priest (Unholy War) and of course the master of occult metal himself King Diamond/Mercyful Fate. Evil Rising isn't a drastic departure from their debut record it's some NWOBHM-like riffs with the odd doom passage thrown in to get a steady headbang on and there's also some crepey theatrics you'd expect on Under The Cross Of Pain which also has one of the best solos on the record. Having listened to the band on record and watched them live I have to say i prefer their live show as by the middle of this record I was losing interest a little. I'll listen to both records, watch them at Bloodstock, then listen to them again and see if I change my mind but for now it's: 6/10
Deus Vermin: Monument Of Decay (FHED)
Nice to see respected underground label FHED still promoting heavy music and their latest release is from Leeds blackened death metal band Deus Vermin who kindly emailed me due to our reviews of their buddies Agrona. So it was without hesitation that I put the EP on and it's the dirtiest thing to come out of Leeds since Don Revie and Norman Hunter, a violent maelstrom of thunderous blastbeats, guttural vocal screams and down tuned guitars Monument Of Decay has tasty analogue sounding production to ramp up the feeling of filth, in fact it's so analogue that it is only released on cassette (limited to 50 hand-numbered copies).
Swarms and Inquity take you by the scruff of the neck and choke the hell out of you and it's only with the monolithian fret-slide filled Worms where things slow as doom laden riffs are met with Gojira grooves. These six tracks whizz by in flurry of total organised chaos but as an extra the seventh 'track' is in fact a full live performance from Temple Of Boom festival. Monument Of Decay is a bit more raw than Agrona's symphonic stylings but it shows that the UK extreme scene is at it's hottest ever. 7/10
Born Of Ire: S/T (Self Released)
Born Of Ire are a two piece with Cal taking guitars and Duda on drums and they are kind of like a thrash metal jukebox with the overarching influence being the big slabs of Metallica on Marionette, Spire and the elongated instrumental At The Foot Of The Mountain, there's a Slayer-like battery on InFiction and Liar's Rhythm has the stop-start speed riffs of Annihilator. It's all very well performed and reminds you enough of their influences without slavishly copying them, what I also noticed was it's very well produced for a debut self released title which really adds sound. Born Of Ire is a reminder that the UK does great thrash metal and it's sets them up as ones to watch. 7/10