Rebel Extravaganza

Heavy Metal & Extreme Music And Culture

Season Of Mist

Album Review: ABBATH – Dread Reaver

Black metal’s Uncle Buck returns to action and I’m not quite sure what to make of Dread Reaver. Yes, a lot of the ABBATH (and by way of osmosis, IMMORTAL) trademarks are here, but this has a different sound and approach than the man’s last two solo efforts. For one thing, the sound is rawer…a lot rawer. That’s not always a bad thing, to be sure, but the precision of previous ABBATH and also the last few IMMORTAL records is not here. Everything sounds a lot looser, almost like jamming in the rehearsal room, and the riffs don’t stick in […]

Album Review: Cynic – Ascension Codes

Conceived as a mind-journey – as, if we’re being honest, most CYNIC has been – pollen blown from Olias Of Sunhillow / Song Of Seven JON ANDERSON is evident from ‘Mu-54*’ and ‘The Winged Ones’, which is much pleasing to these ears, oft’ jaded and haggard from guitars with gain cranked to 11 and tempos that have more in common with arcane ritual than art given time to let the music breathe. ‘Elements And Their Inhabitants’ is positively otherworldly, and it’s here that newfound drummer Matt Lynch first slips into his role, as comfortable as an ivory finger into a […]

Album Review: Gaahls Wyrd – The Humming Mountain

Black metal thrives on controversy, whether intentionally created by the artists/bands themselves or a by-product of media hype. In that realm, few have lived that life to the degree of Gaahl. I don’t need to rehash, and won’t as a cursory web search can do that for those interested. GAAHLS WYRD’s debut album in 2019 was a chance for Gaahl (the man) to move away from Gaahl (the media/meme fodder) and simply record as an artist with like-minded comrades – and it succeeded. 2021 brings The Humming Mountain, a self-described “mini-album” that swims in the pre-history first explored on GastiR […]

Album Review: Thy Catafalque – Vadak

Reliability is a rare commodity these days, be it in personal relationships, professional commitments, or certainly in the arts. To find one of those bands – you know, the ones that worm under your skin and into your soul, to the point that you view each new release with hope instead of trepidation – is a true gift, indeed. Recorded in no less than 12 countries – aided by guest musicians and, indirectly, by the current isolation we all feel to some degree – ‘Szarvas’ ushers into Vadak with ULTRAVOX-worthy synthscapes, bolstered by bristling guitars that could as easily be […]

Album Review: Hooded Menace – The Tritonus Bell

Well, Lasse Pyykko and his band of merry noose-knotters are at it again. Wisely removing themselves from the utter dreck that was 2020, HOODED MENACE return to ring The Tritonus Bell, and, in turn, our ears…we hope. For the first time since 2008 debut, Fulfill The Curse, the time between full-lengths hasn’t been stop-gapped by at least one EP or split, leading one to believe that ol’ HM really did pour everything it had into the cauldron, churned it up with a femur, added one eye of defrocked priest, one hymen of promiscuous nun, the blood of a somewhat perturbed […]

Album Review: Withered – Verloren

Dense, depressing and heavy, WITHERED arise from the Georgia swamps once more with Verloren. This band is an ever-changing enigma, but one thing you can always be certain of no matter what album you pick up: the music will be darker than the bottom of a well. Verloren keeps pace with the nightmarish age we find ourselves in. This is a suffocating kind of album, one that doesn’t allow much light to escape. WITHERED’s sound has always been hard to make a comparison to, but it’s thick, smothering death metal with touches of sludge and the Gothic. ‘By Tooth In […]

Album Review: VREID – Wild North West

Sogndal’s favorite sons, VRIED, return with album number nine, having kept to a reliable schedule of an album every 2-3 years throughout the entity’s nearly two-decade career. While never veering too far from the path originally embarked upon in Kraft, the outfit has managed to remain reliable in quality as well thus far. To be honest, Wild North West was one of those albums that, even before listening, I entered upon the assumption that it would rise to the same watermark as the formers had. At first look, there was that rare sight of a vibrant cover, bursting with Frank […]

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: Gearea – Limbo

It worried me when I saw that Portugal’s GAEREA had not-one-not-two-but-three (count ‘em!) songs past the 9-minute mark on its sophomore release, Limbo. Now I’m all for exploration, sonic and otherwise, but I’d truly enjoyed the 40-odd minutes of Unsettling Whispers in 2018, and its been my considered opinion that genre-wide, black metal slips most easily into wandering tangents when it should stay right where it is, and stop trying to be so fancy. I’m looking at you, UADA. Hence, when GAEREA pulled not one single punch, getting down to the monolithic, tower of fuckoff that is the beginning of […]

Album Review: Green Carnation – Leaves Of Yesteryear

While 2006’s EP, Acoustic Verses, was phenomenal, and would have been a worthy finale to a career of majestic highs and Hell-deep lows, something just didn’t seem quite finished. I, for one, was affected more than I thought I’d be when GREEN CARNATION announced its end only 2 years later. In 2014, the band teased live appearances, delivering on the promise to great acclaim, but alas, no new music was offered. And that, my friends and fiends, is why Leaves Of Yesteryear is such a special album. Comprised of largely the same lineup responsible for 2003’s A Blessing In Disguise […]