Rebel Extravaganza

Heavy Metal & Extreme Music And Culture

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Album Review: T.O.M.E. – I-III

Though from the hotbed of black metal of all discernable forms that is Finland, T.O.M.E – formed nearly a decade and a half ago – is only now seeing its debut realized for wider consumption. Originally independently released in 2009, I-III now bears the mark of Spread Evil, and, as such, is the herald of future material. Distended notes hang in the chilled air, no semblance of warmth at the start of ‘I’, near-doom tempo and plod ala AVSKY, yet fanged and clawed, let not the slowness be mistaken for lethargy or laziness. By 3 ½ minutes in, what’s come […]

Album Review: Witherfall – The Curse Of Autumn

While Nocturnes And Requiems and its follow-up, A Prelude To Sorrow, quickly established California’s WITHERFALL as modern prog-power players on a field that simply doesn’t have that many worthy competitors in the band’s native US, I confess a bit of trepidation when it came to The Curse Of Autumn. Would this be just another disappointment when it comes to third albums released thus far in 2021, or would the quintet finally find their own sound and wake the sleeping giant I felt might lie dormant within? After the neck-snapping rhythms and skipping riffs of ‘The Last Scar’ revealed itself as […]

Album Review: BRÆ – A Thousand Ways To End It All

Here we go a-fucking-gain. That’s it, after this one right here, I’m not reviewing anything with the word “ambient” in the one-sheet by choice for at least two weeks. I mean, all the boxes were ticked, in fairness to BRÆ. 40+ minute album, two songs clocking in at over 20 minutes apiece. Reverences to “faceless beings”, so on, and so forth. But “insane shrieks” and “raw” were mentioned, so there was hope I wasn’t going to end up in another DEAFHEAVEN album hearing critical darlings / Pitchfork dandies whine about their “feelings”. As the lone piece on A Thousand Ways […]

Album Review: Arepo – Arepo

In the ridiculously varied phases and moods of music I’ve gone through in my near half-century on the planet, this one seems to be new. Amid the standards – ‘70s guitar rock, doomed-out sludge, pagan black, Southern hymnody and Neofolk – this ambient thing has thrown me. Maybe I’m appreciating what background music can be? Damned if I could tell you, but here’s AREPO, a duo with a past in everything from BLEACH EVERYTHING (who I have heard and enjoy) to HARMONIC CROSS (who I haven’t, but will after this). Okay, the one-sheet referring to the album as “the most […]

Album Review: Spectral Lore – Ετερόφωτος

It’s hard to believe just one man is responsible for everything you hear on this release. The Greek title is a pain in the ass to reproduce, but that doesn’t change the fact that SPECTRAL LORE aka Ayloss is one of the very best black metal bands in the world. This is a massive effort that actually takes up two vinyl albums and more than 75 minutes of time. Almost all of that time is deeply fascinating, and packed with both raw energy and great musicianship. You can call SPECTRAL LORE philosophical black metal that leans towards the grandiose. Only […]

Album Review: Bizarrekult – Vi Overlevde

Sixteen years after its initial formation, and now trimmed down to a duo, it’s BIZARREKULT that I’m trusting to give me a break, however short, from this ambient / instrumental mode I’ve been in of late. Having never heard a note of its music, I’m putting a lot of faith in a band who’s only now releasing its debut full-length. And thus… Of course an intro, of course of the ambient sort I’d just mentioned trying to get a respite from, but still different enough from what I’ve been hearing that I’m not perturbed. Mercifully, ‘For 1000 Ar Siden’ arrives, […]

Album Review: Screamachine – Screamachine

I don’t doubt that this Italian band’s heart is in the right place, but it takes more than good intentions to create worthy metal. It takes good songwriting. The band claims to be doing classic pure metal in the vein of JUDAS PRIEST, ACCEPT, HELLOWEEN, etc. but they are just not on that level. The songs here simply do not stay with you the way that tunes from those legendary bands do, and that makes their debut record a rather forgettable experience. In the first half of the album, a certain PRIEST-ish tone is detectable. The plodding crunch of ACCEPT […]

Album Review: Culted – Nous

Cults are always problematic for me, largely because what – on the surface – seems a calling to “abandon false religions” and “leave society behind” almost invariably becomes religious in practice and elitist, societal, “hive mind” in psyche by the time the Kool-Aid starts getting passed around. Especially within the realms of our beloved “extreme” music, the term “cult” gets thrown around with the same abandon my generation used to declare things “radical”, “bitchin’”, or “hella”. But I’ll leave this for another day. CULTED has been at it a little over a decade now, and is one of the ever […]

Album Review: Wheel – Preserved In Time

It’s pretty obvious that we will not be getting another album from SOLITUDE AETURNUS, and who knows when the next CANDLEMASS will show up? Well, lovers of epic doom metal at the highest level will no longer need to starve themselves, because the mighty WHEEL has rolled in from Germany. This is a flawless example of melodic, epic and sorrowful doom that is totally in the mode of the first classic albums from SOLITUDE AETURNUS. The sad feeling, the clear and piercing vocals, the massive crushing riffs are all here, and they are used in just the right proportion…a trick […]

Album Review: Swampbeast – Seven Evils Spawned Of Seven Heads

In a different era where not every single band that wants to get signed does, where quantity doesn’t crush quality every single day of the week, SWAMPBEAST would be hot news. They are a rough and brutal death metal band that understands what it takes to make strong and honest DM. Unfortunately, they are in the third decade of the 21st century, where every fucking day brings an onslaught of “product”. Only the very, very best can fight through the flack to make a true impression. What I like about this record is the great natural sound to it. The […]