Rebel Extravaganza

Heavy Metal And Other Occasional Musics And Cultures

independent

Album Review: Brazen Tongue – Of Crackling Embers & Sorrows Drowned

‘The Weight Of Self’ suffers from a more lightweight guitar tone than the style demands, session drums of Kevin Paradis busy as all Hell, but somehow coming across as laid down after too few listens to the scratch tracks sent ‘cross the pond to result in anything he’s emotionally involved in. Vocalist/guitarist/synth-ist (synthesizerist? synther?) Scott Skopec has a fine death delivery, no doubt heavily influenced by the other guitarist – and only other actual member – Ethan Gifford’s Gothenburg surroundings, and both ‘Metaviral’ and ‘Walking The Parapets’ wave proudly the flag of G-burg’s melodic death past both in arrangement and […]

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: Belushi Speed Ball – Stellkira

It was my sometimes drinking buddy Johnny Vomit who first made me aware of these guys. Goofy ass crossover thrashers from Louisville, KY armed with a wild stage show, numbskull lyrics and…best of all…sizzling thrash riffs to turn your spine to jelly! Having never seen them live, I can’t speak to that part of their repertoire, but when I saw song titles like ‘Garth, Let My Family Go’, ‘My Favorite Color Is Pizza’ and ‘Tater Tot Eyes’, I got some uneasy flashbacks to the metalcore of the early 2000s, which wrote the book on idiotic “ironic” song titles. Well, BELUSHI […]

Wolves Don’t Sleep – Fears & Fractures [EP]

A Nottingham Hot Topic has exploded! ‘House Of Glass’ ticks all the boxes of whatever happened in the early ‘00s that was trying to be metalcore, but without the metal. More breakdowns than the side of the M1, melody, obscenely down-tuned guitars and clean/screamed vox is what we find through ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Shame’, and it seems the sextet has a handful of go-tos that they pull out in every song. That these fellas aren’t trying to add anything of their own to the mix is the real failure here. WOLVES DON’T SLEEP and Fears & Fractures have the look/sound of […]

Album Review: Deliria – Phantasm

Birthed in 2017, DELIRIA had the misfortune of coming into being shortly after the “post-black metal” (I will never understand that term) dam had burst, unleashing a saddened, craft beer-sipping, beard-grooming, horde of L.L. Bean-wearing DEAFHEAVEN fans masquerading as shoegaze devotees into the gene pool. Thankfully, Nausea had enough going for it to pass as more than Muzak made for immersing yourself in during your time at the local Whole Foods Market, and thus…Phantasm. ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ wants to shimmer its way into your consciousness, but there’s just something about the tone of this guitar that’s annoying from jump. Blessedly, […]

Album Review: Sons Of Ra – Tropic Of Cancer [EP]

Instrumental. Avant-Jazz. Fusion. Well, there are three words that sound to these Luddite ears like a recipe for disaster. While I’ve become very intrigued of late with the idea that what most would term “background music” can actually make for a worthwhile listen and fill a space, most times it’s just sonic clutter, and I’m going to hard pass on that alone. Add “Avant-Jazz” and “Fusion”, and I’m truly already wondering why I bothered. Maybe it’s that Jazz has (until very recently) always come across as some inside joke played by the performers to stroke their own already-inflated sense of […]

Album Review: Ischemic – Condemned To The Breaking Wheel

This Canadian band definitely has the potential to make some noise in the burgeoning death-doom scene. They’ve added a couple of members since their last effort and now exist as a 5-piece. I’m glad to see they still have Necro-Nurse Isabelle grumbling and rasping for them. She’s one of the heaviest female vocalists in the scene. ISCHEMIC have matured a lot since their self-titled LP. The sound here is cleaner and more varied…not as sludgy yet still extremely heavy. You sure won’t feel like partying and cruising for chicks after hearing this mournful monolith of sound. Four lengthy tracks are […]

Album Review: Hands Of Goro – Hands Of Goro

‘Prince Of Shokan’ kicks off (and out) the jams on HANDS OF GORO’s self-titled debut here, replete with ‘70s rawk riff glory and pulsing rhythms. These three ain’t no spring chickens when it comes to bringing this sort of thing to the party, members of neo-classic metallers SLOUGH FEG, doomhounds SPIRIT ADRIFT and blackened NITE comprising the crew here. “Metal” is the operative word here, from the fast-paced ‘Demonizer’ to ‘Uncanny’ with its NWOBHM gallop (SAXON, Di’Anno-era IRON MAIDEN). The psyche-progrre-delic freakout of ‘21st Century Plague’ manages to slam some proto-punk into the mix as well. Think THE SWEET’s ‘Ballroom […]

Album Review: Black Absinthe – On Earth Or In Hell

BLACK ABSINTHE was born a little over a decade ago, yet On Earth Or In Hell is only its second full-length. While not necessarily a cause for concern, this will be a sure test of the sophomore slump most bands experience on their second release. ‘Dead Queen’ begins with a snappy riff/rhythm combo, but it seems a bit overproduced for the heavy metal/punk hybrid the trio is shooting for. Still and all, Cerre’s vocals are like a less hammered Lemmy, the mix is full, and none of the instruments are muscling the others out of the way, so let’s call […]

Obsidian Tongue – The Stone Heart [EP]

OBSIDIAN TONGUE weaves into ‘The Stone Heart’, and we, standing in a clearing while gazing toward the shimmering line of grey rain that falls steady, sure on the border with the surrounding forest. The storm shifts, turns inward, closer, then enters us, wreaking havoc. Suspended yet descending slowly, ‘Winter Child’ is ache and melancholia, yet a stark look at the flesh and eyes that gaze back at one from the mirror of truth – unfoolable and unforgiving. Amid the droning vocal harmonies and harsh howl, we bow, scrawling our destiny on frozen ground. Instrumental ‘Bear At The Tree Of Light’ […]