Rebel Extravaganza

Heavy Metal & Extreme Music And Culture

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Album Review: Embalm – Prelude To Obscurity

The mid-‘90s were a strange time for death metal. From its arrival in the late ‘80s, the genre quickly expanded, various tentacles reaching and sucking the marrow from the bones of (it seemed) every other form of metal to come before – and more. OBITUARY, IMMOLATION, NIHILIST; they all had their own definable sound, but were resolutely Death Metal. It is into this world we return with Prelude To Obscurity, a compendium of the entire available output of EMBALM. Hailing from the unlikely lands of the upper Midwest, the foursome already had something going for them that they probably didn’t […]

Album Review: Strigoi – Viscera

Arising from the ashes of VALLENFYRE, STRIGOI are trying to establish more of their own sound on Viscera, their second album. The best word for that sound would be “gloomy”. The album still retains brutality, but things are more claustrophobic here, with a bigger emphasis on doom and Gothic atmosphere. That does give STRIGOI more of its own sound for sure, but they are not as immediate as the ferocious VALLENFYRE. The album’s tracks break down into longer, more atmospheric songs and shorter bursts of brute force where the scent of early British grindcore predominates. First cut ‘United In Viscera’ […]

Album Review: Bloodclot – Souls

NYHC (New York Hard Core for those new to the game) has always built its reputation on the short sharp shock. Get in, get down, get out. Lyrically it’s the same. Not a lot of pontificating or fancy $25 words when a simple “Fuck you!” would do, and this is BLOODCLOT’s home turf on Souls, no doubt about it. Bolstered by a lineup featuring current and former members of CRO-MAGS, QUICKSAND, AGNOSTIC FRONT and MADBALL, these four horsemen couldn’t be more NY if they tried, ancestrally deep in the sewers, squats and boroughs as they are. Throat man John Joseph […]

Album Review: Gaerea – Mirage

GAEREA’s sophomore release, Limbo of ’20, was one of the surprises of that year, both showing a band successfully expanding upon the debut, yet remaining true to themselves – not so much a reinvention as a reworking – and ended up on the Best Of 2020 lists of myself and many others. All-important third album Mirage sees the Portuguese troupe keeping the 8 songs to around average length for the band, yet still under an hour for total playing time. While the extended tracks that bookended Limbo were grand, ‘Memoir’ captivates from the start, shimmering, hazy as a mirage itself, […]

Album Review: Black Anvil – Regenesis

This New York black metal crew pop up every few years with a new album, which gets talked about for a month or two and then promptly forgotten until the next cycle begins. With the title of Regenesis, perhaps they see themselves as reinventing the band and their sound. The album is well produced and competently played, but leaves me pretty cold. I know that past BLACK ANVIL works were more aggressive and darker than this. They do try to mix things up here and they succeed in giving each track its own identity, but the songs are generally softer, […]

Album Review: In The Woods… – Diversum

After a huge shakeup in membership shortly after 1999’s Strange In Stereo, IN THE WOODS… became, for all intents and purposes, sole original member Anders Kobro’s project. Resurfacing with a revamped lineup for 2016’s Pure and Cease The Day of two years after, we now behold Diversum, featuring (surprise, surprise!) a new bassist and vocalist. Lineup shifts aside, IN THE WOODS… has always marched to the beat of its own drum, and its early work – if we’re being honest – to varying degrees was influential in such revered bands as ENSLAVED and OPETH’s transformation into their current sound(s). Subtle […]

Album Review: Stormruler – Sacred Rites & Black Magick

These guys are from ST. LOUIS?! After listening to the utter blackened majesty of STORMRULER, I would have picked Sweden or Finland as their stomping grounds. Or even more likely, the realm of Gondor, or perhaps the frozen North of Tad Williams’ fantasy tales of Osten Ard. At any rate, these two warriors have conjured up a feast of gloriously over the top melodic black metal that embraces the epic. Yes, this is maximalism, not minimalism. And it works. The two major touchstones of STORMRULER’s sound would have to be DISSECTION and IMMORTAL. They draw upon the former’s freezing cold […]

Album Review: Interesting Times Gang – The Spirit Of Science Fiction

As much a fan as I am of noise behemoths KOWLOON WALLED CITY, I’ll admit I’ve never felt the need to investigate bassist Ian Miller’s electronic project INTERESTING TIMES GANG, largely due to lacking a background or experience with the genre. Album number 6 (!?) though, and it warrants at least a cursory glance. Unexpectedly, a lo-hi trip-country ala a sparser ALABAMA 3 leads off The Spirit Of Science Fiction with ‘Lago Agrio’. You can already sense Miller’s enjoying himself, playing with sound and technology just to see what comes out. The rainbow FUNKADELIC carpet is rolled out for ‘If […]

Album Review: ZËLOT – Supplices [EP]

Part of black metal’s draw is its ambiguity when it comes to the artists who produce it. Pseudonyms are modified and sometimes outright changed depending on the project, other members, musical style and aesthetic. What is the message being put across? Is it hails, horns and laying “down your soul to the gods rock and roll”? Is it esoteric explorations of the Lesser Key Of Solomon? This determines your entity, dress, and the true aesthetic of what the band/project is. I have an idea this is what’s been done with France’s ZËLOT, but as it’s all about the art, let’s […]

Album Review: Darkthrone – Astral Fortress

Anyone who’s read my drivel for any length of time knows the importance I place on a band’s third album. Well, DARKTHRONE is at its 20th, so if they haven’t figured out what they are by now, there’s no point in bothering. And I suppose that’s why it pained me so much that 2021’s Eternal Hails……, the band’s self-proclaimed love letter to doom and prog, was such a disappointment. Now, off to strap on our skates and travel to the Astral Fortress. ‘Caravan Of Broken Ghosts’ begins interestingly enough, building in a way that brings anticipation. Never straying too far […]