One of the oldest Portuguese extreme metal outfits, Decayed has followed their own path since their formation in 1990. This is their 12th album and follows a live release in 2017 and The Burning Of Heaven which arrived in 2016. Of Fire And Evil is a ferocious 40 minutes of rampant black metal which ticks all the right boxes. Plenty of atmosphere, haunting melodies and thunderous visceral riffs which tear at the flesh, claws scraping uncomfortably down the spine. Guitarist J.A does a fine job, massive guitars combining with the brutal bass of lead vocalist Vulturis, whilst GR’s drumming is typically impressive of the genre. If you fancy some true Lusitanian black metal, then tracks such as the marauding Black Moon, the thrashy Firestorm or the rampant Across The Sea with its real old school feel then get your listening holes around Of Fire And Evil. It’s a pure black metal experience. 7/10
Gluttony: Cult Of The Unborn (Gravework Media) [Paul S]
This is the second album from Gluttony. The band featuring Anders Harem, John Henriksson and Max Bergman from the band My Own Grave, and Magnus Odling from Sorghegard on vocals. This album does not mess about, 9 tracks coming in at 31 minutes of fast, slightly grindy death metal. The style is definitely old school, there's a late eighties feel to all the songs. Tight riffs, when there are solos they’re in a screaming, atonal form and don’t hang around for long. The vocals are harsh and growly and fit perfectly with the music.
Although the songs are fast, there isn’t much in the way of blast beats, this adds to the old school feel of the album. The production is also old school, this isn’t a huge, overproduced ‘Nile’ style production, you can hear the individual instruments, it sounds like there was very little messing with the bands basic sound. Cult Of The Unborn is an enjoyable death metal album, it isn’t groundbreaking, it’s style is fairly simple. But, thats one of the things that make it work, the nine songs don’t outstay their welcome, so they never feel boring. Definitely worth a listen. 7/10
Tornado: Commitment To Excellence (Extreme Metal Music) [Paul S]
Finnish thrash band Tornado, formed in 2010, are on their 3rd album with Commitment To Excellence. What have they got for us, other than an album title that sounds like a corporate mission statement? Well, we get 11 tracks (10 of them original) of fairly standard thrash metal. The feel is more American than European. This feels like it’s been influenced by Exodus and Overkill rather than Kreator or Sabbat (although a couple of tracks remind me of early nineties, British band D.A.M.). Unfortunately, it sounds like the less impressive output of American thrash. A lot of this album is a little lacklustre and generic. The band have a nasty habit of starting songs with nice, tight, fast riffs, but as soon soon as the vocals come in the songs slow down and plod. The vocals from Superstar Joey Severance (I didn’t add the ‘Superstar’), quite reminiscent of Bobby Ellsworth mixed in with a little bit of Mike Muir, are quite often a little grating, not the best thrash vocals I’ve heard. The lyrics are also a problem.
They’ve tried to write about social issues (just like late eighties/early nineties thrash bands did), but haven’t done it very well. The band have just had a video removed from YouTube for Hate Speech. The track Global Pandemic features the ’N’ word and the phrase ‘fuck you Jew’. I’ve had a look at the lyrics, and the song is clearly about hatred and intolerance, and they are giving examples of hatred. So the lyrics are well meaning, they just aren’t very well written. The album isn’t a complete disaster the track Endless Forms Of Torment is a pretty great piece of thrash, where the pace is kept at full speed, throughout the track, without descending into mid-paced plodding. But, the good moments are outweighed by the bad. The album features a cover of S.O.D’s United Forces, which is ok, but mainly made me want to go and listen to the original. Although there are the occasional good moments, Commitment To Excellence is mediocre at best. 6/10
Ageless Summoning: Demo (Self Released) [Paul S]
As the title suggests this is a demo, and a first one at that. Ageless Summoning’s members are culled from the ranks of several established UK extreme metal acts; Abyssal, Inculator, Of Spire and Throne, Haar, Uir, Scardatura, Laceration and several others. What we have here is 2 tracks of fairly old school style death metal. The style is fairly reminiscent of early Morbid Angel, second track Salvation In Ash is slower, more like Morbid Angel playing Hooded Menace or Asphyx. I also find it reminds me a little of Ageless Oblivion, but that might just be down to the similarity in the names. But Ageless Summoning definitely have their own sound and identity. The 2 tracks are really good, great riffs, enjoyable solos fantastic guttural vocals. This is also a very well produced demo, it’s not overblown, the instruments sound real and organic. In the last few weeks I’ve listened to several death metal albums that aren’t nearly as good as this. For a demo this is superb. For gods sake, someone give them a record deal! 8/10