Rebel Extravaganza

Heavy Metal & Extreme Music And Culture

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Album Review: CMPT – Mrtvaja [EP]

Clocking in at a goat’s breath shy of 20 minutes, Balkan entity CMPT has its work cut out for it. With only two songs, almost evenly cleaving Mrtvaja in twain, not a second of space can be wasted, even one minute of aimless wandering would taint the purity I’m sure CMPT is seeking to display. Built on indigenous ways and Slavic folklore, ‘Mrtvaja Part 1’ lures, hypnotic before a blazing, triumphal chaos unfolds, enfolds the listening ear, offering no chance of escape. Rhythmically impressive – and it’s satisfying to hear the drumming so clear, so prevalent in the mix – […]

Album Review: Angstskrig – Skyggespil

I always get a little worried when a group/band/gathering of entities feels the need to tell us they are “shrouded in mystery” or esoteric. Shouldn’t such things speak for themselves, after all? Shouldn’t the darkness, the obscured lure the listener in? Even more is the concern when it seems the duo of ?? and ?? have been tutored from a young age in the ways of black metal by some sort of occultic Svengali, so as to execute all aspects of their art “correctly”. It’s not often I preview an album by watching a video, but ‘Lucifer Kalder’ was helpful, […]

Album Review: Memoriam – To The End

Since The Hellfire Demos announced Karl Willetts’ return to Death Metal at the helm of MEMORIAM in 2016, it’s a mere 5 years on, and we’re already looking at the band’s fourth full-length. On its own, that’s not saying much. A good many bands are as productive. Often, though, such a rigorous writing/recording regimen can cause the quality to suffer, at times. Thankfully not so here, as ‘Onwards Into Battle’ is a true call to arms, majestic as the quartet has ever sounded, as ready for havoc, but united, in lock step with Spikey T. Smith’s rhythm engine, which doesn’t […]

Album Review: Fuoco Fatuo – Obsidian Katabasis

Italy – possibly not surprisingly, considering the iron grasp of the church of Rome, and the sense of the liturgical ensuing – has been a stronghold of doom for many years, the organ-driven NOCTU, the more traditional ABYSMAL GRIEF, and SEPULCHRAL VOID coming to top of mind. Enter Lombardy’s FUOCO FATUO with Obsidian Katabasis, its third full-length celebrating its first decade of existence. Comprising three more extended pieces, each over 13 minutes in length, and divided by shorter, yet no less important, instrumental movements, it’s easy to see the album as a concept. It may well be that, but not […]

Album Review: Bewitcher – Cursed Be Thy Kingdom

This record took a while to really hit its stride, but it finally got there. BEWITCHER is a SoCal act kind of following in the footsteps of several “evil rocking metal” bands, and they didn’t strike me as anything too special in the first half of the album. After a bluesy intro of ‘Ashe’, they lead off with ‘Death Returns’, which sounds like a not so thrashy MIDNIGHT. Dirty rock meets heavy metal…it’s always a good formula, but pretty well worn. ‘Satanic Magick Attack’ sounds a lot like ‘2 Minutes To Midnight’ with different vocals and some minor tweaks… I’m […]

Album Review: Steel Bearing Hand – Slay In Hell

The last 25 years of metal never happened as far as Texas’ STEEL BEARING HAND is concerned, and that’s alright by me. These Lone Star Lunatics have constructed a love letter to the death and thrash metal of the late ’80s and early ’90s on Slay In Hell, steadfastly ignoring any “progression” since those days. By focusing on what they know and love, they’ve pretty much whipped the ass of any banger who lays ears on this. The album is just six tracks and pretty brief, but packs a lot into its length. The best thing about Slay In Hell […]

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 […]