Category: Feature

[Exclusive Video] No Coffin – All Life Must End

If you think Slayer would be more awesome if they compressed their best songs into far less time, then Florida’s No Coffin are the band for you! Their second release, All Life Must End will be self-released on 10th September and we have an exclusive video of the title track right here! (more…)

A Certain Taste Staff – Best Of 2020

Back when it was reasonable to put out an article like this it was mostly just me on my own putting out articles and reviews.

When I hit a mental health bump in July and the site suffered as a result, I realised that I needed to bring in some more writers to do justice to the mountain of promos sitting waiting.

I figured the best way for both me and you to get to know the new writers I’ve brought in would be to ask them to jot down a few lines on their top three releases from 2020.

Fortunately for me, we all enjoy a diverse range of music. I wasn’t surprised to find that there are no points of agreement in our favourite 2020 records at all. It makes a lot of sense that we all have our own “certain taste”.

Unfortunately for them, the contracts state they will receive payment in “ACTcoin”, my yet to be launched cryptocurrency. Hopefully they can eat “experience and exposure” until our ICO.

(more…)

EP Roundup #2

And we’re back! Another instalment of A Certain Taste EP Roundup, where I look ahead at stuff I pretend is an EP if it lasts less than 30 minutes, whether the artists themselves call the release an EP or not.

This time we have 22 tracks split over four releases that will take you less than 90 minutes to listen to from front to back. We’re covering prog rock, mathdeath(?), grungy stoner and angular post-hardcore so strap in and buckle up! (more…)

Interview: Mountain Caller

One of my top records last year was a concept album that (almost) contained no vocals and was arguably not even metal. Mountain Caller’s Chronicle I: The Truthseeker is a magical 40-minute journey through doomy post-rock soundscapes that arrived with little fanfare but left a huge impression on me and many others. July will see the band release Chronicle: Prologue, a 3-track EP covering the start of their protagonist’s story. Ahead of reviewing the EP, we caught up with drummer Max Maxwell to chat about how the band came together, where the concept and story came from, the band’s writing process and more.

A Certain Taste: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions. Can you kick us off by talking a bit about how you all met and came to form Mountain Caller?

Max, Mountain Caller: Thanks for talking to us! The band was formed when guitarist Claire tweeted that she wanted to form a heavy band based in London, and that was retweeted onto my timeline. I wouldn’t normally reply to that kind of thing, but looking at her profile showed she had an immaculate taste. Reflections Of A Floating World by Elder had just come out at that point, and I think that was a real touchstone record for both of us, so seeing that Claire was a fan as well gave me high hopes that we’d be on a similar wavelength.

Claire and El, our bassist, had known each other for many years as well, moving in similar musical and friendly circles. So we set a date to meet up in a rehearsal room, just to jam some covers and get to know each other. Mountain Caller was formed from us playing together and seeing how our personalities intertwined, as friends and musicians. (more…)

Interview: Epiphanic Truth

With the release of Dark Triads: Bitter Psalms To A Sordid Species, Epiphanic Truth has been added to the list of bands who have taken up the task of explaining the why behind the extreme metal rather than just demonstrating the how.

Svalbard speaks very clearly in song titles, lyrics and actions about what they stand for, believe in and are angry about. Dawn Ray’d recently released a double-A side where they state their position very plainly. Këkht Aräkh, while not political, also fit into this category by making what can only be described as romantic black metal and covering topics such as losing love and social exclusion.

These bands do not simply sing about gore, satan or detached, abstract anger. They explain the why. Epiphanic Truth does the same but in a slightly less straightforward and earnest way.

“Vainglorious and malicious.
Incapable of error, embellishing truth.
Convinced of their own charm and grace.
Exploring a gap beyond reality.”

Epiphanic Truth – An Inescapable Verdict

Dark Triads is the anonymous group’s debut album, which was released on 21st May through Church Road Records. We reviewed it on the site, so if you haven’t read it then jump over here and do that.

We spoke to the band about their lyrical content, musical inspirations, the general state of the world and what to do about it. Erm… and biscuits. (more…)

“Yn falch o’n hiaith” – A discussion on Welsh extreme metal

Metalheads are no stranger to lyrics in languages other than English.

From the more mainstream such as the German Rammstein and the Japanese Babymetal to more niche Icelandic and Finnish black metal acts like Misþyrming and Havukruunu, there is a lot of music popular within the wide genre of metal not performed in English. And we don’t shy away from it. In fact, bands singing in their own tongue are often seen as more authentic.

This idea of authenticity and thus worthiness of attention or respect is a big thing in metal. We are no strangers to gatekeeping in metal, after all. And what better way to stamp your authenticity than with your native language?

While English itself is a bastard language with a number of different influences making up what we recognise as modern English, the UK also has a number of native languages: Scottish and Manx Gaelic, Welsh, Cornish, Scots and of course Irish.

You’re more likely to hear music sung in these languages in folk music, but the sense of self often found in national identity and the desire to produce art you feel is authentic means non-English UK minority languages are gaining popularity in metal, too. (more…)

Music so dangerous it was (probably) removed from Bandcamp by Iran

A lot is made of the idea that metal, specifically black metal, should be dangerous. Those who talk the talk but shy away from walking the walk are branded as posers, merely adopting the aesthetic and notoriety of others; the true believers, the church burners, the blasphemers. The kvlt.

After that first wave, not much has been truly dangerous in black metal. Sure, you might see Adam from Behemoth accused of blasphemy in deeply Catholic Poland (does this coincide with Behemoth announcements?), and then there are those who flirt with or fully believe in neo-Nazi or fascist ideology who see this as forbidden knowledge and thus dangerous. But being told to stop saying stupid shit isn’t the same thing as being dangerous.

Back in September I bought an album titled Eternal War on Bandcamp by an Iranian blackened death band, Death Squad. Yes, the same Iran that sees musical instruments as haram – banned. Metal musicians have previously faced blasphemy charges in Iran, for which one of the punishments is death.

Standing up against woke lefties by following the same bullshit culture war playbook as Viscount Rothermere and Rupert Murdoch doesn’t seem that dangerous in comparison.

The blackened death on offer here pulls influence from a wide variety of sources but fans of earlier Morbid Angel will find a lot to like here, and the slightly rawer production adds rather than detracts from the music.

This has since been removed from Bandcamp for reasons unknown – probably removed by the state of Iran to be honest. I have no evidence of this but there are other cases of Iran taking over online account in order to remove forbidden music.

Fortunately, it’s also been posted to YouTube. I’ve translated the band name, album title and track names from Farsi to English using Google Translate so any mistakes are my fault.

  1. Forgotten
  2. Road to Hell
  3. The Lost Mind
  4. Exile
  5. Night of Blood
  6. Congestion
  7. Steel Nerves
  8. We Are All Dead

Listen here

Thank you so much to @trendcrusher for helping me work out more about the band!

Enter the Doomgeon

Doom had never really been on my radar. Sure I’d heard some Black Sabbath, and a few Candlemass tracks but I never sought out more.
What a fool!
My favourite release of January was Garganjua ‘s Toward the Sun. I thought of it more as post-rock than I did doom.
Listening again, upon hitting the halfway point of the first song, The New Sun, I believe any doom fan will appreciate the absolutely massive riffage.
I bought it instantly after my first play-through and it’s up there with my most played vinyl. My collection is small but that doesn’t diminish my point.
Earlier this year Loviatar released their debut album, Lightless, after a string of EPs and singles.
I don’t know what convinced me to hit play on a doom record, but the purpose of this project is to listen to new music so why not also dip my toes in a new genre, right?
While only six tracks long, this clocks in at close to 40 minutes. I didn’t realise this pattern is common in doom at the time.
I also didn’t realise at the time that these six tracks would give me a really good feel for the breadth of the genre as a whole.
Loviatar uses classic doom as a base and build upon that with soaring, emotive clean leads, inventive drum composition and tempo changes to keep things fresh.
I find myself going back to this album consistently since first listening in April.
Come August and it seems like everyone is masturbating furiously over some band called Atramentus who are about to drop their debut album.
On further inspection, I learn it’s a funeral doom project with music initially written in 2012, based around a fantasy concept.
Intrigued.
Again, I did not expect to be into funeral doom, and I’m still on the fence, to be honest.
Stygian by Atramentus is one of the heaviest and most brutal records I’ve heard and definitely the slowest.
Because the tracks take so long to build up, there is time and space to actually build and for the suspense to grow with each new layer or change introduced.
The concept, with all the little touches to sell it, really makes this record stand out for me.
I’ve dipped my toes in a bunch of different doom since, including spending time with Bell Witch and the discographies of both YOB and Pallbearer.
As well as those three, here are some other bands I’ve learned I enjoy:
Black Trillium – The Fatal Shore
Exgenesis – Solve Et Coagula
The Funeral Orchestra – Negative Evocation Rites
Solothus – Realm of Ash and Blood
Vacant Eyes – A Somber Preclusion of Being
Frowning – Death Requiem
Yatra – All is Lost
Ahab – The Call of the Wretched Seas
That last one, by Ahab, is a masterpiece by the way. The drumming on that album blows me away.
Whether you have been a fan of doom for a long time, or if you are new to the genre like me, I’m keen to hear suggestions based on things I like above.
Caveat: I’ve not been keen on the stoner doom stuff I’ve heard.
I guess the moral of the story here is that I’m an idiot for not expanding my musical experiences sooner, but what better genre to get into as you age gracelessly than doom metal?

The 25 best albums from 2019 according to me

I took an extended break from new music for a few years, and only really dipped into new stuff towards the end of 2019 so I had a lot of catching up to do. With that in mind, there’s probably stuff I missed. I’m still finding things that I enjoy but haven’t listened to enough for it to appear here.

This is a mix of straight up death metal, technical death metal, black metal and stuff that kind of surfs genres. Admittedly, I didn’t drop into black metal as much as I should have so this is probably where the biggest hole is. I’ve even added the new Svattjern album to my playlist (see the link at the bottom) to bulk it out a little.
The top five from the full list for me are:

  1. Warforged – I: Voice
  2. Xoth -Interdimensional Invocation
  3. Vale of Pnath – Accursed
  4. Dawn of Nil – Culminating Ruins
  5. Misbyrming – Algleymi
The full list, in no order:

  • Warforged – I: Voice
  • A Novelist – Folie
  • Singularity – Place of Chains
  • Xoth – Interdimensional Invocations
  • Hannes Grossmann – Apophenia
  • Infant Annihilator – The Battle of Yaldabaoth
  • Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas
  • Flub – Flub
  • Fractal Universe – Rhizomes of Insanity
  • Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race
  • Hath – Of Rot and Ruin
  • Equipoise – Demiurge
  • Godeater – All Flesh Is Grass
  • Ceremony of Silence – Outis
  • Inanimate Existence – Clockwork
  • Pathogenic – Pathogenic
  • Vale of Pnath – Accursed
  • Distaste – Deibel
  • Belzelbubs – Pantheon of the Nightside Gods
  • Venom Prison – Samsara
  • Dawn of Nil – Culminating Ruins
  • Serpent of Gnosis – As I Drink from the Infinite Well of Inebriation
  • Immortal Bird – Thrive on Neglect
  • Misbyrming – Algleymi
  • Firelink – The Inverterate Fire
I’ve made a few playlists to cover different genres, mainly so I can pick a mood when I’m working or in the car. I’ll pick a random album and blast it out. There is stuff on these that didn’t make the top 25 as well, so definitely worth a look.
Death Metal
Technical Death Metal
Black(ish) Metal
So what did I miss? Comment below and tell me how wrong I am.