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Friday 29 November 2019

Reviews: Verthebral, Dawn Of Disease, Rhodium, Tribe Of Ghosts (Rich, Manus & Matt)

Verthebral: Abysmal Decay (Transcending Obscurity Records) [Richard Oliver]

One of the joys of this reviewing lark is discovering bands from countries you didn’t realise had a metal scene. It’s known that South America has a fervent and devoted base of metal fandom but when you think of metal in South America you generally think of countries such as Brazil and Chile so it’s very promising to hear some absolute kick ass music coming from Paraguay in the form of death metal band Verthebral and to hear music this damn good. With their second album Abysmal Decay Verthebral have one mission statement and that is complete and utter savagery.

Verthebral don’t break the wheel by any means when it comes to death metal but just play what they know at an astonishing level. This is death metal very much in the vein of relentless old school brutality such as bands like Cannibal Corpse and Blood Red Throne. The album is aided by a huge sound with a savage guitar tone and a production that is equally raw but also absolutely massive sounding. These songs positively leap out of the speakers and grab you by the throat. It is pretty much a non stop bombardment of cut throat riffing and rhythmic demolition overseen by the thick and intensive roar of frontman Cristhian Rojas.

This album rarely gives you time to catch your breath with the only moments of calm being the acoustic interlude Obsidian Tears and the unusual acoustic section of The Art Of Perversion. The rest of the time it is armageddon for your senses with brutal tracks such as Coronation Of Envy and Testament Of Hate. Abysmal Decay is a phenomenal death metal album by a fantastic band from a country I have previously never heard a single band from. Maybe Paraguay has more metal gems hidden away to be discovered. 9/10

Dawn Of Disease: Procession Of Ghosts (Napalm Records) [Manus Hopkins]

Germany’s Dawn Of Disease are back with a strong effort for full-length album number five. The combination of brutality and delicateness is uncanny, but still seems to be pulled off effortlessly by these talented musicians. The songs are no doubt heavy, but even with chugging riffs, booming drums and aggressive, growled vocals, there’s still a sort of fine beauty to each song, contrasted expertly with the heaviness. The album has a good cohesiveness to it as well, with each song almost naturally leading to the next. Not to say this is a full-blown concept album or anything, but it definitely has a nice flow to it that all bands should aim to have on their albums. Because of its dual nature, this album would work in pretty much any setting, and it’s worthy of a spot in any melodeath arsenal. 8/10

Rhodium: Sea Of The Dead (Sliptrick Records) [Matt Bladen]

Rhodium have only been a band since 2017 but Sea Of The Dead is their second album, with their first being released last year. Now Rhodium are a little bit different to most bands, yes this Greek progressive power metal play the kind of music Helloween originated back in the early 80's, in fact singer Mike Lee is in Keepers Of Jericho a Greek Helloween tribute, thus why he squeals like Kiske at his best. They have brought it in more modern sounds without sacrificing any of the that classic metal melody. Now they are different in the way that Mike is not the bands lyricist that honour falls to Aspa Feanor who draws from numerous themes for the bands songs all linked with the idea of "man and his battle for survival."

Here A Path Of Wrath and Man Of Honor deal with paedophillia, the title track is a tribute to the many who died in the Aegean Sea fleeing Greece, she also has historical themes on The Emperor which is about Emperor Konstantinos Palaiologos. So a very eclectic lyrical base for these songs means that musically they have to live up to it and thankfully they do as Man Of Honour speeds out of the speakers with a thrash sound before Delirio brings a more modern sound as Mike shows his wide vocals range, once again this appears on First Light Of Day which could be a Nevermore song as Loukas Wolv and George Theofilas trade guitar riffs and solos as the rhythm section of Vasilis Sotiriou (bass) and Stelios Pavlou (drums). The mid point of the album is the epic The Emperor which is a cinematic song where the whole band show off their chops as Sister Of Fate features some soprano vocals in a great duet. If prog power metal with a powerful singer and riffs on the heavier end are your bag then I suggest you seek out this Athenian band, I really enjoyed this album which is a far too advanced for just a second release. 8/10  

Tribe Of Ghosts: EP 1 (Self Released) [Matt Bladen]

This EP is the first musical stirrings of Tribe Of Ghosts, a band that employs deafening post-metal soundscapes, full of film samples, ambient waves and crushing riffs. The band features Adam Sedgwick formerly of King Leviathan and he has brought his keen ear for misery to this new band which also features his wife Abby on drums as well as Ben Kitching (bass) and Rob Kuhler (guitar). This three track EP deals with mental health and recovery, channelled through some very loud noise and brooding songwriting. It opens with Ruination which drags it's knuckles across the floor as the samples play over the distortion, it moves into a nice quiet/loud dynamic for the main part of the song as Adam shows off both his emotion drenched clean vocal and the harsh screams as the song writhes into various forms that are all bubbling with rage below the surface.

Sunburner brings more ambient sounds in it's middle section but it also has a very thick chug to it as it climaxes, leading into Nemo which is probably the most straightforward song here built on big riffs and a relentless drum beat. Though it does move into sparse ambience in its middle section as things build again with yet more samples before the cathartic shouts ends the track. You can hear the outright passion in these three tracks, Tribe Of Ghosts clearly have an affinity for loud noises and the more experimental side of metal music, on the back of this EP I will be keeping an eye on this band as they continue to mature as a unit. You should too if post-metal is your bag. 7/10    

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