Rebel Extravaganza

Heavy Metal & Extreme Music And Culture

Dr. Abner Mality

Album Review: Stormruler – Sacred Rites & Black Magick

These guys are from ST. LOUIS?! After listening to the utter blackened majesty of STORMRULER, I would have picked Sweden or Finland as their stomping grounds. Or even more likely, the realm of Gondor, or perhaps the frozen North of Tad Williams’ fantasy tales of Osten Ard. At any rate, these two warriors have conjured up a feast of gloriously over the top melodic black metal that embraces the epic. Yes, this is maximalism, not minimalism. And it works. The two major touchstones of STORMRULER’s sound would have to be DISSECTION and IMMORTAL. They draw upon the former’s freezing cold […]

Album Review: Amon Acid – Cosmogony

Looking for suitable musical accompaniment to a massive bong session or an experimental dive into psychedelics? I’m hard pressed to think of a better soundtrack for such activity than Cosmogony by space wizards AMON ACID. I was quite impressed by 2020’s Paradigm Shift – and while I don’t think this record tops it, except in terms of length -, this duo is now a serious player in the spaced out doom metal category. The record is quite a massive one, packed with droning, languorous riff-fests that virtually force you to explore the depths of the universe. Imagine a collision between […]

Album Review: Defleshed – Grind Over Matter

This is unbelievable. I’ve been covering metal music for close to a quarter of a century and I have never heard a band that’s been out of commission as long as DEFLESHED pick up right where they left off so seamlessly and completely as this. Their last record was in 2005. Grind Over Matter sounds like it could have come out in 2006. It’s like nothing happened! These guys have always had laser-like focus on the kind of music they want to produce and that has absolutely not changed here. If anything, it’s intensified. DEFLESHED has always put out albums […]

Album Review: Metalian – Beyond The Wall

Hailing from Nova Scotia, this band really knows how to deliver some true metal thunder! Here they’ve dished up a metallic poutine of NWOBHM, JUDAS PRIEST and early speed metal influences that get the blood pumping. This is one of my favorite “true metal” releases of 2022! ‘March To the Death’ is a rather deceptive opener, as it starts slow and gradually builds up layers until it finally cuts loose with a track reminiscent of Stained Class-era PRIEST. Band leader Ian Wilson has got a strong, sharp voice that can occasionally cut loose with some really high-pitched screams. And he’s […]

Album Review: Venom Inc. – There’s Only Black

A pretty bland cover on this one and the font for the band name is about as basic as it gets. But fortunately what’s within pulses with plenty of energy, as VENOM INC. continue to put out strong releases as if they are on a mission. And I think maybe they are… This is probably the fastest VENOM INC. album so far. Only the last two tracks ‘The Danse Macabre’ and ‘Inferno’ ease up on the pedal. Most of the cuts are quite thrashy and drummer Jeramie Kling proves his worth, knocking out rapid fire beats that old Abaddon could […]

Album Review: Gematria – Gematria II: The Spindle Of Necessity

“Gematria” is not just another made up word used as the name of a metal band, but an ancient system of Jewish numerology that reduces words to numbers which reveal inner meaning. OK, that’s out of the way, how about the band of the same name? It’s a two-man combo that actually uses the process of gematria to put together their music, which can best be described as progressive instrumentals with elements of metal, jazz and electronica. Whatever magic or method they use, it works! Gematria II: The Spindle Of Necessity is a delightfully energetic romp of coherent instrumental music […]

Album Review: Belphegor – The Devils

I have a great admiration for BELPHEGOR. Helmuth and his cohorts have very much created their own world and a distinct, evil sound to go with it. Naturally, we’ll have the usual cultists who insist only on their earliest material, back when they sounded like a thousand other bands instead of themselves. It takes vision and a certain amount of guts to break with the usual death and black metal cliques and come up with something fairly original. With The Devils, we get a distillation of the modern BELPHEGOR sound. There’s low tuned and blasting death metal touches mixed with […]

Album Review: Balls Gone Wild – Stay Wild

Something tells me we’re not going to get a deep discussion of gnostic hermeticism from a band called BALLS GONE WILD. Now some wags might call them BALLS GONE MILD, but honestly, these guys are shooting for simple hard rock, not skull-crushing metal. With that being said, this is a pretty forgettable release. The press sheet describes them as “AC/DC meets MOTORHEAD” but BGW doesn’t have anywhere near the grittiness of those two bands. It’s not even on the same planet, although the basic riffs do bring AC/DC to mind on occasion. But to me, it sounds like AC/DC filtered […]

Album Review: Mantar – Pain Is Forever And This Is The End

Every few years these guys pop up and the more hipster division of the metal press loses their shit over them. Then they soon disappear without a ripple again. Well, it’s time for MANTAR to surface again, this time on Metal Blade with an album title that sets itself up for parody right away. Or maybe it’s getting too close for comfort… Anyhoo, let me dive into it. How to describe MANTAR? Well, they certainly are not what I would call death, black or thrash metal, but they are quite heavy and morose. Their deceptively simple and basic style seems […]

Album Review: Pharmacist – Flourishing Extremities On Unspoiled Mental Grounds

Where on Earth do I start with this one? How about this…record of the year? The band CARCASS has inspired a ton of other metal bands over the years. There used to be quite a flourishing scene of bands imitating the gruesome grind of their first two albums. And you can say that arguably the entire melodic death metal scene was kickstarted by Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious and its followup Heartwork. I will be honest. Necroticism is in my opinion the greatest death metal album ever recorded. Now we have PHARMACIST and what this band has done is almost beyond […]