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Tuesday 18 June 2019

Reviews: Demonic Resurrection, Warcrab, Hex, Samantha Fish (Paul H)

Demonic Resurrection: Live At Bloodstock 2018 (Self Released)

This Bandcamp only release captures the sheer joy that Indian death metal outfit Demonic Resurrection experienced during their guest slot in the Sophie Tent at last year’s Bloodstock Festival. As someone who has seen the band four times, this recording captures everything that is brilliant about the band. Their nervous energy is caught with some clunky links and the odd mistake; but so is their power and passion. Led by The Demonstealer (Sahil Makhija to you and I), the band hammered through a six track set which included tracks from Dashavatar, The Return To Darkness and The Demon King. In between songs, Makhija’s banter and sheer enthusiasm at being in the UK to play are fabulous. If you want to read the review of their live performance then you can find it in our comprehensive BOA 2018 review elsewhere on the website. If you want to relive one of the best performances in the band’s career, buy this album. If Demonic Resurrection are to be no more, as it appears, then this is a fitting epitaph on which to finish. 8/10

Warcrab: Damned In Endless Night (Transcending Obscurity)

Active for over a decade, Damned In Endless Night is the third full length from Plymouth death/sludge beasts Warcrab. My only regret after hearing this quite majestic piece of work is that I didn’t get my backside to The Gryphon when the band played in Bristol a few weeks ago. In The Arms Of Armageddon may be one of the most blisteringly impressive songs I’ve heard for a long time; a sheer wall of crushing riffs, battery after battery of drums and an arsenal of thunder so impressive you’d swear you were under attack. A generous pause of pace mid-track allows you to recompose yourself, the sludgy side of the band enveloping you in a swamp of heavy Sabbath-esque riffage. Whilst the solo carves its way through the primordial soup that swirls, viciously gruesome lyrics are spat out with real venom. 

Heavy isn’t really the word for this band, such is their ability to crush with such passion. Blood For The Blood God contains massive chords, concrete laden drumming and an overwhelming crushing injury, whilst at the same time sparking the odd burst of speed which allows some of the stifling oppression to ease, even if it is with some bludgeoning death metal. With three guitars at their disposal it’s no wonder that Warcrab are able to create such a wall of destruction and no-where is this demonstrated better than on centre-piece of the album, the eight minute plus Abyssal Mausoleum. I’ve never experienced being hit by an avalanche but if there is a soundtrack to such an event, then Warcrab have clearly patented it. This is deadly and punishing. In the never ending quest to hear bands new and old, Warcrab has made it onto another list. Life will never be the same again. 8/10

Hex: God Has No Name (Transcending Obscurity)

Doom, darkness and death. The key themes of the sophomore release from Basque country outfit Hex, whose previous album Deadly Sin was released back in 2014. It’s a solidly crafted release, combining atmospheric sections drenched with misery with blisteringly heavy death metal. Simple yet punishing riffing provide the spine of the album, and there are some gems hidden within the 35+ minutes. The centre piece is the magnificent Daevangelis, which rampages brutally, enhanced by some crushing middle section doom and additional theatrical/movie clips. Pleasingly heavy, gruff vocals from new vocalist Jonathan Garcia (formerly editor of Spanish extreme metal online magazine Pitchline) work in symbiosis with the thick carpet of guitars laid down by Jon and Alfonso WB. The addition of ethereal vocals on Where Gods Shall Not Reign, complete with haunted background screams works well and overall this is a rather pleasing release. The combination of death and doom is impressive and there is plenty of potential to be enjoyed. 7/10

Samantha Fish: Kill Or Be Killed (Rounder Records/Proper Music)

Debuting her impressive blues style in 2009, Kill Or Be Killed is album number 5 for the lady from Kansas City, Missouri. Having seen her rather lacklustre show at The Thekla last month, I was expecting the album to be pretty much as it is. Kill Or Be Killed is a fine album, demonstrating that Fish not only has a command of the guitar that few can match, but also a superb husky and smoky vocal style that works with the music she delivers. Opener Bullet Proof is a demonstration of just that combination; smooth slide guitar and a raucous vocal exactly what one would expect. A foot stomping opening. The title track is boosted by the welcome addition of a brass section and a slower pace with some tender organ and piano starring alongside the ferocious lead break. Love Letters changes pace again, more of a pop song than the blues. 

And by now I’m at the point where I’m conflicted. It’s technically sound, the songs are well composed and delightfully performed. But there isn’t the depth that you might expect. Watch It Die picks up the pace once more, and it’s a song that you could quite comfortably hear Joanne Shaw Taylor knock out. It’s neatly delivered but just so generic. And this is a bit gutting because there is nothing wrong with it at all. My foot was tapping, but it had spun round three times on continuous playback before I even noticed. Is that good? I don’t know but what I’m saying is that whilst it was pleasing to listen to, nothing grabbed me. Nothing at all said “listen to this”. Maybe I’m being harsh, but if I hosted a dinner party and needed something inoffensive in the background, then this album would probably be one on the list. 6/10

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