Rebel Extravaganza

Heavy Metal & Extreme Music And Culture

Album Reviews

REVIEW RATING SCALE:

6 – Rarely bestowed. An honor reserved for undeniable classics (or that should be). The Apex Predator.
5 – Impressive.
4 – Worthy of recognition.
3 – A primarily solid effort, but things likely could’ve been better.
2 – The participation trophy.
1 – These are the albums that the 2s beat up on the way home from school.
0 – A waste of both our time and yours.

Album Review: Death The Leveller – II

When a band’s first long-player is titled II, two things become starkly clear. One, something has come before – in this case, 2017’s creatively-titled I. And two, that what’s found on DEATH THE LEVELLER’s Cruz Del Sur debut is to be seen as a continuation. And thus, so armed, to Bandcamp I did go, armed with 4 EUR ($4.34 for USsians), and was summarily impressed by the emotion found within I’s four expansive tracks, ‘Gone Forever’ especially showing a band with promise and clearly with its eyes to the future, albeit bleak. Now comes II, and the wailing guitar stunt-doubling […]

Album Review: Smoulder – Dream Quest Ends

The Good Doctor must have been under a sleeping enchantment when SMOULDER’s debut Times Of Obscene Evil And Wild Daring hit the racks last year. How I could have missed an album with Michael Whelan art on the cover can only be explained by sorcery. Now comes the Canadian band’s EP, entitled Dream Quest Ends, which gives me a second chance. Epic sword and sorcery metal with a very doom-laden aura and ringing female vocals is the most succinct way to describe Dream Quest Ends. Imagine MANILLA ROAD played at CANDLEMASS velocity and you’ve hit on the SMOULDER template. And […]

Album Review: Goden – Beyond Darkness

True devotees of underground heaviness and grimness will nod their heads at the mention of the band WINTER, whose brief recording career had a disproportionate impact on the metal scene. They created one of the doomiest, ugliest and most massive sounds ever heard on their landmark 1989 Into Darkness release. That sound has haunted the cobwebbed corners of the underground for 30 years now, though WINTER itself ceased to exist long ago. GODEN (named after a track on Into Darkness) are about as close to WINTER as you’re going to get in 2020 and in fact have former WINTER member […]

Album Review: God Dethroned – Illuminati

GOD DETHRONED has been one of my “go to” bands since the early ’90s, as well as probably the top extreme metal act from Holland. That’s why it pains me to say that their latest, Illuminati, is a very average release, and one that lacks the usual fire and fury we can expect from Henri Sattler and whoever his current cohorts are. It’s not that the band have radically changed their style here, or that this lacks technical skill and ability. Something just seems off about it. It is generally slower than what we’ve been getting from GOD DETHRONED and […]

Album Review: Lychgate – Also Sprach Futura

LYCHGATE’s fourth release (and first for Debemur Morti Productions) seems as good a starting point as any for my ears. Having three full-lengths to its name at this point, and with nary a core lineup change since its inception, LYCHGATE should be settled into what it is and what it is not, thereby providing the new listener an experience of a band at its best. Quite frankly, I’m ashamed at myself, as big a fan of ESOTERIC as I am, not realizing the part Greg Chandler plays as a third of this trio, but rest assured, this isn’t some “pet […]

Album Review: Formosa – Danger Zone

With two albums under its belt (2016’s Tight & Sexy and Sorry For Being Sexy from 2018), and promo photos that make FORMOSA look like either stunt doubles for General Zod, Non and Ursa from Superman II or extras from the Blue Oyster scenes in the first Police Academy movie, I cannot bloody wait to hear this shit. ‘Dynamite’ prances out of the gate, positively poppy, BIBLE OF THE DEVIL at half-speed and ¼ the passion, and ‘Masquerade’ fares not much better, FORMOSA revealing itself to be any one of a thousand club bands you can see in any mid-sized […]

Album Review: XPUS – In Umbra Mortis Sedent

XPUS are a mysterious new death metal force from Italy and they are well worth checking out if you like your DM gloomy, morbid and sounding like it just erupted from a rotten crypt. Although not without a flaw or two, these evil revenants perform the amazing feat of sounding fairly original while evoking the spirit of many early progenitors of death. If you prefer chunky, oozing riffs with the hint of doom, XPUS are your boys. Even their faster moments (and they are capable of DEICIDE level speed) have that essential feeling of sickness and sorrow. There are touches […]

Album Review: Invictus – Eden

Subdued and pastoral, the abbreviated intro is less a standard, bland “intro track” than an opening of a door, a passing through of a gate…that is until the rough ‘n’ ragged guitar tone of ‘The Hammer’ crashes down, frayed around the edges, and the better for it, reminiscent of the passion-over-proficiency so prevalent in the garage days of power/thrash. Not that the Bavarians aren’t skilled at their craft. Far from it, in fact, especially when the pace slows down ¾ of the way through to give the solo room to breath. After the Sacred Heart-era DIO influence of ‘Inside Your […]

Album Review: Thy Catafalque – Naiv

In almost every conceivable case, when I read a line in a band’s PR sheet that says their current album is “their least metal ever”, the hackles on my neck go up and I fear the worst. But not with THY CATAFALQUE, because I know Tamas Katai is in the driver’s seat. He knows where he’s going, he knows how to drive and his grip on the wheel is firm. With THY CATAFALQUE, Katai has consistently proven he’s the rarest of birds in today’s music scene…an honest to God composer. There is something about the way this man writes music […]

Album Review: Primeval Mass – Nine Altars

Now this is a real discovery! I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more from PRIMEVAL MASS, because on Nine Altars they have created a smoking blast of evil metal that rips at every turn. This is even more amazing when you learn that this is basically the work of one guy named Orth, who is influenced by everything from CORONER to STORMWITCH to ABSU to RUSH. You can actually hear those influences, and more, during the course of the album! On the whole, PRIMEVAL MASS is driven by speed, although they are capable of slower and more melodic […]