Rebel Extravaganza

Heavy Metal & Extreme Music And Culture

Dr. Abner Mality

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: 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: 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 […]

Album Review: Sepultura – Quadra

Few bands are more frustrating to analyze than modern day SEPULTURA. They’re always on the edge of a major breakthrough but never seen to make it. They are at the nexus where ambition meets pretension and it’s hard to tell which side is going to win at any time. I’ve always been someone willing to give the Cavalera-less band a good chance, and for the last few albums, flashes of brilliance are there. So is some really banal groove-thrash. The last album, Machine Messiah, seemed like a disorganized mess where they reached too far past where they should have. I’m […]

Album Review: Beast Of Revelation – The Ancient Ritual Of Death

There’s some high-powered veteran offense on display in BEAST OF REVELATION. Vocals and bass are delivered by no less than John McEntee of INCANTATION and FUNERUS fame, a man who’s had his gnarly finger on the pulse of rotten death metal for about three decades now. That’s a major component right there. Adding drumbeats to the BEAST is Bob Bagchus once of ASPHYX, now a part of INFIDEL REICH, HELLEHOND and more…another solid veteran. The agonizing guitars come from A.J. Drenth from the bands TEMPLE and THRONE. I’m not too familiar with them, but I’m guessing they don’t play pop […]

Album Review: Kawir – Adrasteia

No band symbolizes the essence of ancient Greece more than KAWIR. They never fail to evoke the timeless spirit of the old Greek gods and myths with their music, and Adrasteia is no exception. While I can’t say this is my favorite KAWIR album – that would be Father Sun, Mother Moon -, I can say that it has every attribute that makes these guys such a mesmerizing listening experience. Just six tracks here, but all are well developed. The opener ‘Tydeus’ is a bit of a slower burner, starting with a lot of chanting and a moderate pace before […]

Album Review: Haunt – Mind Freeze

HAUNT keep whipping them out like it’s 1972! Back then it wasn’t unusual for bands to release 2 full lengths a year. It hasn’t been much more than six months since the last HAUNT album If Icarus Could Fly came out, and that doesn’t even include HAUNT main man Trevor Church’s other band, BEASTMAKER, (now sadly defunct due to HAUNT’s success) having their own album out. Sometimes this kind of quantity affects quality…is that the case here? Mind Freeze is really what the new ANGELWITCH album, Angel Of Light, should have sounded like. It has that dark, musty production that […]