Rebel Extravaganza

Heavy Metal And Other Occasional Musics And Cultures

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ViOS – SlaveForm [EP]

While the words “progressive instrumental metal” often cause a nervous tic when first heard together, that’s what Steve Lewis is on about with his ViOS project. ‘Druj’ captivates from the start, as if NEVERMORE had made more use of keyboards, or PENAL COLONY had made more of guitars. TRIBE AFTER TRIBE percussion, and time signature leaps that actually make sense. More accessible on its face, ‘Abort’ is no less interesting, and the beauty of what’s on offer here is that it wasn’t written for vocals, enabling Lewis true free rein. ‘Saturation’ breathes out sonic cosmology, quite darkly alluring. I’m not […]

Album Review: Julie Christmas – Ridiculous And Full Of Blood

Fourteen years after the laudable debut from JULIE CHRISTMAS, The Bad Wife, she of the many projects and of the many voices returns with Ridiculous And Full Of Blood. With a backing band is composed of members from CULT OF LUNA, CANDIRIA and KENMODE (as well as others), ‘Not Enough’ begins, tribal, percussive and ritual, a “calling up” of spirits before drifting into trip-hop/electro momentarily, more reminiscent of the singer’s past than much found here. Tom Tierney’s ever-present keys take the lead for much of ‘Supernatural’ cementing, as they will come to throughout Ridiculous And Full Of Blood, how much […]

Album Review: Saltpig – Saltpig

‘Satan’s War’ is lo-fi ‘70s CROW and ICECROSS worship, yet that’s not to say the sound is thin or otherwise deficient; rather, the rough ‘n’ ragged mix adds to the draw in this age of even “occult” bands sounding fresh off the factory floor at Baphomet-Mart. When the song builds and builds…and builds to a rousing climax, you know the duo are both worshippers and students of the craft. A boogie-type riff and blues rhythm form the backbone of ‘Demon’ Fabio Allesandrini destroying preconceptions and displaying himself as not only a competent but sonically interesting drummer out from behind the […]

Album Review: The Antikaroshi – L’inertie Polaire

“Those” labels are few and far between; the ones where – even if you don’t vibe completely with everything about a band or album – you can, at the very least, respect the artistic endeavor, the honesty of the work itself. Germany’s Exile On Mainstream has long been one of those, which makes me even more reluctant to admit that L’nertie Polaire will be my introduction into THE ANTIKAROSHI, six albums into its discography. Truth, though. That’s what ya get here. Inspired by/interlaced with concepts described in the Paul Virilio tome sharing this title, L’inertie Polaire opens, moving forward with […]

Cathari – It Will Hurt The Entire Time You Are Alive

‘Philadelphia’ is a steamroller bristling with railroad spikes and vitriol, while ‘It Will Hurt’ is the relentless rage of a parking lot fight. Where the track – and this quartet – wins overall, though, is the shifting from the band’s doomed roots into the jagged realm of Hydra Head Records and Tortuga Recordings ala KEELHAUL and THE GERSCH without losing themselves in the process. ‘Weight’ is neither catharsis nor purge, more a failed exorcism of the doubt and mistrust brought on my disappointment in self and others, yet somehow, it’s healing to know you’re not the only one. Noise as […]

Album Review: Noroth – Sacrificial Solace

Seattle’s NOROTH returns for it’s third attempt at sonic obliteration after the solid “enough” It Dwells Among Us of 2021 and the following year’s even more weighty Harbinger. After a brief intro, ‘Black Serpent’ begins with all the subtlety of a cage match with a six-legged goat on bath salts who also happens to think you fucked his girlfriend. It’s that level, yes; a bit of HELLHAMMER groove to the riff in spaces, but always head down, always onward. ‘Symphony Of Decay’ is more straight-ahead death metal in execution but loses none of its energy or enjoyability for its simplicity. […]

Halcyon Way – Night Crawling [EP]

ProgPower USA hometown boys HALCYON WAY return with… Okay, I understand no one wants to hear another version of ‘Smoke On The Water’, but a MILEY CYRUS cover? ‘Night Crawling’ reeks of THEATRE OF TRAGEDY’s techno dreck, tossing in a bit of ‘White Wedding’ for extra tee hee hees. ‘Insufferable’ lives up to its name, everything from jumpdafucup moments to MOTLEY CRÜE’s Generation Swine to DRAGONFORCE-Lite (if you can believe that) gets a run-through. It’s only with ‘Stand For Something’ that the HALCYON WAY we know and appreciate allows us a glimmer of hope for upcoming material. Even for an […]

Di’Aul – EP II [EP]

‘Azazel’ is wrapped in the fuzz for which DI’AUL has been known, the band moving at a plod, yet managing to keep from walking so slowly as to fall on its face. The “solo” is less an actual solo than a few notes wrung out from the consistent rhythm-based riffs. Tasteful, minimalist, and fitting the song. Continuing the measured gait, ‘Golgotha’ hefts itself forward only by sheer force of will, but we find DI’AUL becoming more adept at using the open spaces that seemed to be filled with nothing in its early output. With as many EPs as full lengths […]

Album Review: Blaze Of Perdition – Upharsin

BLAZE OF PERDITION has made a name for itself in a country known for a blistering, early SLAYER-ized take on both black and death metal by adding a fluidity and sense of peaks and valleys that has thus far set it apart from the more known exports of Poland. On its second for Metal Blade, the band has taken the bold step of releasing Upharsin in their native tongue, a first for them when it comes to full lengths. At once, ‘W kwiecie rozlamu’ seems more outwardly abrasive, but soon enough moves into a mid-paced (don’t call it a) groove […]

Album Review: Black Totem – III: Sacrifice Tonite

Well, BLACK TOTEM has reached it; that time in a band’s career when I would normally be giving my trademark, copyrighted, and infallible spiel about how important a band’s third album is. But I won’t, as these Finns are all about keeping things short, simple, and to the point. Might as well join the party at the cemetery… ‘Hex Hood’ sneaks in under the fog, but only briefly, as the cryptkicker drums and fiery riffs ignite torches around the perimeter, and you know you’re in trouble. As guitarist/vocalist Spit Poison so aptly, well, spits “This is Hex Hood, ain’t no […]