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Saturday 23 March 2019

Reviews: Devil Master, Forsaken Corpses, Damon Johnson, Brymir (Paul H)

Devil Master: Satan Spits On The Children Of Light (Relapse Records)

Vicious, relentless and rawer than freshly carved meat, this debut album from the punk infused black metallers from Philadelphia burns a hole in the flesh from the open strains of Nightmares In The Human Collapse. Devil Master formed in 2016 and this sinewy flexing of unadulterated filth follows 2017’s Inhabit The Corpse EP. Unworldly guttural vocals, frantic thrashing and searingly sharp edged guitar work combine with the bludgeoning bass lines and insane drums to pull together one of the most ferocious albums since black metal crawled out of the Newcastle gutter in the early 1980s. Whilst the comparison with Venom is the obvious one to throw into the pool, this is no rip-off copycat approach. Vomited up from the bowels of hell, there is a blistering pace to tracks such as the chaos induced Skeleton Hand, Black Flame Candle and the big beats of instrumental Nuit which contains some of the filthiest riffs ever heard. 13 tracks, 37 minutes and a hollow feeling of violation when it ends. This is some album. 8/10

Forsaken Corpses: Chambers Of Undying Oblivion (Self Released)

This is the debut release from death metal outfit Forsaken Corpses, a four-piece from Thessaloniki in Greece. Combining the smallest elements of doom with a huge slice of old school death metal, the eight tracks on this release are pulverising. Huge, bone shattering riffs, monstrous concrete breaking bass and insanely intense drumming converge to create a slab of death metal the weight of which it’s virtually impossible to hold. It is crushing, with vocals that make the ‘Corpsegrinder’ sound like Aled Jones. Soul Desecration switches from lumbering mammoth riffs to frantic all out thrash style death, repetition used to massive effect. The harrowing effect of Eternity In Limbo certainly reflects the title of the song; another spine-smashing intro leads into repeat scales at blistering pace, sinister roars echoing above the cacophony of blast beats and lead heavy guitars. The band comprises Stelios on vocals, Axel on guitar and vocals, Stathis on guitar and drummer Kwstas. With five of the eight tracks here providing a lengthy pummelling, this is an album you really need to have a medical for. Lesser people have found it all too much and needed medical attention. I’m sold on the intensity and loyalty to the old school style. It’s a yes from me! 8/10

Damon Johnson: Memoirs Of An Uprising (Double Dragon Recordings)

You may well be familiar with Damon Johnson. The American guitarist/singer/songwriter has a solid CV. After forming Brother Cane in the late 1990s he joined Alice Cooper’s band and played on the album Dirty Diamonds as well as completing five tours with the master of shock rock between 2004-07 and 2009-11 when he left to join one of the many incarnations of ‘Thin Lizzy’ with fellow American Scott Gorham and drummer Brian Downey [the only remaining original member of the band]. From 2012-18 Johnson was guitarist with Gorham in Black Star Riders before leaving to work on his fifth solo album, Memoirs Of An Uprising. Unsurprisingly, the music on offer from Johnson sits very much in the style of the bands he’s worked with before; radio friendly, accessible and inoffensive all round. There is nothing here to get too excited about to be honest. It’s not a band album by any stretch with a tight and competent band playing it well, but as you’d expect, the saccharine rich comfortable style may just be too much for many. Tracks such as We Got A System, Call It A Trade [complete with an irritating chorus] and the upbeat album closer Glorious are routine lightweight hard rock. I did manage to get through it all, but it won’t be a go-to album anytime in the near future. 6/10

Brymir: Wings Of Fire (Out Of Line Records)

After a massively chaotic opening this third album from the Finnish melodic death outfit Brymir improves immensely. Combining symphonic, power and death metal in a horrible cacophony of sound had me struggling massively after Gloria In Regum and the title track has finished. It’s frantically delivered, and I got the same feeling that being a passenger in a runaway car with no brakes would experience! Totally out of control. Thankfully things take a turn for the better about half way through and by the time we get to the thumping heavy Starportal there is structure and focus, despite the continuation of the chaotic 100mph feel. I’m not sure Brymir know what sound they are aiming for. Symphonic elements dominate whilst the growling vocals add a more demonic twist. The piano opening to Vanquish The Night releases more blast beats and frantic drumming whilst the epic Lament Of The Ravenous allows for some soaring guitar work and clean chorus singing. At times this album is quite gripping, but the overblown nature of its overall style and delivery means that it’s also a bit wearing and somewhat repetitive. Power metal fans who like their music a bit heavier might well get stuck into this release, but it isn’t one that I will be returning to very often. 5/10

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