Not to be confused with the Dewsbury outfit or the many other bands who also use the name, this is album number three from the death metal band from Lombardy. Formed in 1998, the band waited until 2008 for their first release, before following up a mere eight years later with Ritual Theophagy. This is uncompromising death metal very much in the vein of Ex Deo and Kataklysm, with an underlying anthemic quality that is overlaid with traditional brutal approaches. Blistering blast beats, guttural vocals and distorted tremolo riffing are all very much in evidence. Opener Let Him Be Crucified leaves you in no doubt what the band’s subject matter focuses on whilst Hail, King Of The Jews continues the anti-religious themes.
Although only guitarist Simone Brigo remains from the original line-up, Blasphemer are a cohesive unit, who deliver intensity at machine gun speed. There is sufficient interest and quality to satisfy the death metal devote, whilst the basic pattern of style also provides enough interest for those whose palette may require a wider menu. The searing solos in The Robe Of Mockery for example, cut through the wall of sound with a. Clarity rarely heard. The range is narrow, with Blasphemer focusing on their strengths. And that’s okay with me. It’s solid from start to finish. 6/10
Machinations Of Fate: Self-Titled (Redefining Darkness Records)
Formed in 2012, Machinations Of Fate hit hiatus in 2014. The Kentucky outfit had released Tyrannous Skies in 2012 but having reformed in 2019, this release sees Ash Thomas revise the drum sound and blend it with his original vocals, guitars of Jason Pate and lead work of Brian Henn. When it rolls what we get is some ferocious death metal that pounds hard with bludgeoning effect. The album is interspersed with some quieter moments, such as the two-minute instrumental Planetary Chaos (A Dirge For The Cosmos) but it’s where the full-frontal assault commences that the real meat on the bone is revealed. Tracks such as Bedlam in the Far Reaches and the seven-minute The Malformed Archetype are ferocious, punishing and sound fresh from start to finish. Revised, renamed and with a facelift on all fronts, Machinations Of Fate have punched hard and will no doubt appeal to those who dine on Dissection, Kreator and the like. Whether they can make an impact on an ever-shrinking pond of opportunity is debatable but for now, this is a solid thrash/death metal album. 6/10
Frozen Dreams: Awaken The Darkness (751075 Records DK)
Yet another multi instrumentalist who clearly needs to get out a bit more. Frozen Dreams is a project comprising of Weird, or as his mum probably calls him Markus (Sjodahl). Formed in 2017, Awaken The Darkness is the sixth album released since Journey Through The Realms. Badged as atmospheric black metal, with topics including nature and adventure, what the album does have is a slightly different take on a genre which is saturated with average music. If there is one genre that is struggling to provide inspiration at present, then it is this one. Heavily reliant on the synths and effects, Sjodhal brings a lighter touch to his music with some distinctly Eastern sounds, such as on End Of Life where there are alternative percussive approaches. However, there is a repetition in the song writing that leads the listener to drift away and on my first listen the album went round on loop three times before I realised. Self-production often leads to a tinny sound and that is the case here. Whilst Sjodhal has talent in spades, taking time to refine his craft may well be of benefit in the long run. 5/10
Aggro: The Shift Of Balance (Self Released)
Despite only forming in late 2018, Surrey based metal outfit Aggro’s debut five-track EP The Shift Of Balance demonstrates a maturity in writing and a pleasingly solid approach to song structure. Opener Ruins pins the KSE influence up front and central whilst the chug of Your Turn, complete with Dan Gallop’s snarling vocals oozes groove. The band sound tight and together, the interplay of guitarists Phil Williams and Rob Joyce focused and sharp. Whilst Aggro stick closely to a tried and trusted formula, there is plenty to enjoy in this EP. This Burden gallops along, the mix of clean and gruff vocals working well whilst the riffs rain down. Drummer Jon Moore and bassist Ant Rosher keep everything tight in the engine room. The music is short, sharp and in your face. No Fucks Given with its Dan Lilker bass lines is closer to the metal core style I was expecting but with a twist in the delivery. It’s no surprise that the filthy Sambucca bastards Gutlocker are on the bill for the EP launch as there are similarities between both outfits. The Shift Of Balance is completed with Stalemate, a Machine Head/KSE hybrid with enough meat to get any room bouncing. This is a decent release. 6/10