Category: Feature

Black Metal Demo-lition #1

Black Metal Demo-lition 1 - cover art montage

Hello everyone! Erin here. We’re doing something a little different today, something that I’m calling “Black Metal Demo-lition.” Instead of a longer review of a full-length album, I’m doing four short reviews of some shorter releases that I’ve heard and enjoyed over the past few weeks. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.

Cantique Lèpreux – Sectes

I’ll be honest, if you like your black metal to experiment with the genre and push boundaries, this one may not be for you. If, however, you simply want your face blasted off by pounding drums, dark tremolo riffs, and howled vocals, then Sectes is right up your alley. This EP doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any means, but the wheel it does come up with is solid and well-constructed. Actually, this EP is less of a wheel and more of a tank tread, destroying everything in its path. Definitely check this out if you like your black metal without frills, upfront and in your face. (more…)

“State of your core”: A 2021 deathcore review

Cover art for Hellbent by Impending Doom

Whilst listening to the new release Hellbent from deathcore veterans Impending Doom (skip to the review by clicking here), I was inspired to look at the overall state of deathcore in the year 2021, which could be one of the most important years in the history of the genre.

Never has there been such a buzz in the scene largely due to the variation of styles within deathcore, bands going in new directions and new figures leading the scene. There had been a view that it has been in decline in recent years largely due to lack of ideas, outright disgusting behaviour from numerous band members in multiple bands and generally an audience outgrowing their tastes. Before we look into why the buzz has returned we need to look in the rearview mirror and see what has brought us to this point. (more…)

Top ten 2021 – Kieran

Well, well well. How the turntables.

Me: AOTY lists are silly, the variety of music we listen to renders the exercise futile.

Also me: Here’s ten of my favourite releases this year because they deserve far more attention.

🙄

To be fair, that’s the whole point of this blog. We strictly only cover stuff we think is so good that more people deserve to hear it. And while you may heave heard some or all of the below records, and while they may have appeared on a few lists you’ve read already, they are on mine because I’ve absolutely rinsed each one so many times throughout 2021 that it would be a crime not to. (more…)

Top 10 2021 – Lisa Coverdale (Hold Tight)

I find it hard to pick albums of the year as there’s simply so much music I’ve not listened to yet. In 6 months time, I’ll still be discovering albums from 2021 I missed, still working my way through friends albums of the year lists and discovering something new albums via them. So these aren’t the definitive albums of the year, but they are shit I enjoyed over and over and over again.

Deafheaven – Infinite Granite (Sargent House)

I’ve loved Deafheaven for years, but their pivot away from blackgaze to producing pure and soaring dreamscapes was unexpected and yet incredibly welcome. This is beautiful music to get completely immersed in and lost within its walls; music to course wildly through your veins and make your heart explode in starbursts. I’ve cried my heart out to this album. I’ve had some of my happiest moments whilst listening to this album. I don’t care what genre they are or are not. I’m just glad they exist. An incredible band.

Paysage D’Hiver – Geister (Kunsthall Produktionen)

Chris from Winterfylleth introduced me to Paysage D’Hiver and ever since I’ve been absolutely enthralled. I love black metal, I love everything about it and when it’s good, it’s possibly the best genre in the world. I love the journey into dark oblivion. I love the simplicity, I love the rawness and what Geister delivers here in droves is old school black metal ambience, atmosphere and minimalism. A devastating listen. (more…)

Top 10 2021 – Tommy Concrete

My album of the year is…

Silver Lake – Esa Holopainen

What can I say, my favourite songwriter, contemporary lead guitarist and Amorphis (my fave band) guitarist does a solo album with guest performances from my three favourite vocalists. Namely Anneke Van Giersbergen (The Gathering, DTP), Einar Solberg (Leprous) and Tomi Joutsen (Amorphis). It’s a no brainer that I was going to love this and I do. It’s not as heavy as Amorphis, but saying that it doesn’t really resemble the lighter moments of Amorphis either. The album has an epic feel, whilst also managing to be a grounded and to-the-point affair that does not outstay its welcome. It has a wonderful flow and is full of Esa’s unique magic.

Here is a quick run-through of ten other albums I loved released in 2021, in no particular order. (more…)

Top 10 2021 – Dave Edmonds

10. Brand of Sacrifice – Lifeblood

This album is everything you want out of a modern deathcore record. This band is young and has a ton of potential and this might only be the tip of the iceberg.

9. Whitechapel – Kin

Speaking of deathcore…. Whitechapel used to be the blueprint for it, now they have transcended the genre and with this record have become something way bigger and maybe even heavier. I think knowing the lyrics are autobiographical for Phil Bozeman gives a dimension to this album that other records just can’t match. (more…)

Top 10 2021 – Myles

10. Darko US – Darko

Starting off with some devastatingly heavy chaotic deathcore, we have the debut full length by Darko US masterminded by Tom Barber (Chelsea Grin and Ex –Lorna Shore) and drummer Josh Miller (Emmure). The musical equivalent of a fever dream. Futuristic sounds, incredible vocal performance and brutally heavy. The emotionally powerful and cleanly sung Donna just highlights that this band can pick and choose their style and have equally impressive results. Deathcore needs more bands who push the boundaries, incorporate new elements into the genre and take risks.

9. Brand of Sacrifice – Lifeblood

Deathcore has reached a stage now where we have genres within a genre – blackened deathcore seems to be the most popular currently but we also have what I think of as Chaotic Deathcore (Chaoscore?) Brand of Sacrifice is the perfect example of this, spastic rhythms at times glitch like a virus have been downloaded into the music. It’s an absolutely punishing experience, relentlessly heavy and one of the best vocalists in the genre. During the song Ruin, I truly believe a portal to another world was opened with one of the most devastating breakdowns you will hear: as if the floor beneath you is being taken away or having your soul taken from you. (more…)

EP Roundup #3 – The Past

All four EP cover art

I’ve recently had a change of heart. Previously, I rarely posted reviews past a record’s release date. The main reason for this was for SEO purposes. In general, people are more likely to read about something that is yet to be released than they are to read a review of something they can just go listen to themselves. It wasn’t terrible logic on my behalf to try and get reviews out two weeks prior to the release date and then work on promoting those reviews to bring in more traffic and more ears to the music.

The reason I’ve changed my mind on this is simply that there’s just too much music coming out every week to possibly keep on top of it all, and too many fantastic records were falling through the cracks. This EP review is evidence of this. I’m writing this in December and some of these were released in October. Ok, that’s partly tardiness on my side too, but the point stands.

So, behold. Some of the EPs and shorter albums I’ve been listening to a lot but haven’t promoted on the blog yet. This is part one of two, covering things from the past. The next will be out a few days later and focus on the present and the future – more recent stuff and releases for you to pre-order. (more…)

Sifting Through The Embers Of War With Christian Muenzner (Eternity’s End)

Christian Muenzner is a man with almost as many bands as there are notes in his average riff. Known for his extremely fast, technical guitar playing, Muenzner brings his style to a whole breadth of genres from death (Obscura) to thrash (Paradox) to extreme prog (Alkaloid). He also heads up a power metal band, Eternity’s End, whose third album Embers Of War saw its release recently.

After reviewing Embers Of War and loving it, we caught up with its mastermind to find out more:

A Certain Taste: How would you describe the sound and the concept of Eternity’s End in 2021?

Christian Muenzner: I mean, we’re a power metal band but with the term “power metal” nowadays, everybody thinks something different. There are so many schools of power metal, so maybe I’ll start with what we’re not. [laughs] We’re not one of the pop power metal kind of bands, although we have very catchy choruses and accessible songs. We’re not really classical metal because it’s faster than that and it’s more technical. You have big choirs, reminiscent of the German power metal scene but it’s more related to the heavy or aggressive riff-dominated power metal. I like to call our music “technical power metal”. When we started, on the first album, we were pretty much a neo-classical metal band in the Malmsteen or Symphony X kind of school but then we moved more into the speed and thrash metal direction and I think we found our own niche by doing that.

ACT: Definitely. I think every album has gotten faster. (more…)

Interview – The Demonstealer

If you follow death metal in any capacity, it’s hard to miss Sahil Makhija. Also known as The Demonstealer, Sahil has been at the forefront of Indian death metal for over a decade. Not only did he co-run India’s first death metal festival, Ressurection Festival but he also runs Demonic Studios, his own label Demonic Resurrection as well as working with the band Demonic Resurrection (across five studio albums and a live album), and releasing his own solo music as Demonstealer. We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions ahead of the release of the new Demonstealer EP, The Holocene Termination (review here).

A Certain Taste: You talked a lot about being in a slump musically. This is something that happens to all creatives, but how did you get out of it?

Sahil Makhija: My slump has never been a creative block as much as it was about my frustrations with the music industry. I’ve been struggling with my band Demonic Resurrection for 2 decades and especially the last 10 years with regards to touring and being able to book shows. Despite having booked and played some of the biggest metal festivals things did not get any easier. I won’t get into details but a lot of things like this just broke me and made me want to quit and it took a while for me to find the drive and motivation to continue making music. I love the music more than anything and I’ve spent my entire life trying to get somewhere with the music. I guess it was just time that helped me get out of the funk I was in.

ACT: The new EP features a relatively large roster of guest musicians. Can you talk a little about how you managed to pull together this group?

(more…)