Virulent Specter’s 3rd demo, the first of two this year, summoned from far outside the cosy Instablack paradigm in seclusion and shadow. Ghoulish US Raw Black Metal of possession and phantasmagoria – disgusting raw fuzz crush Guitars working whirling phasmic chords ripe with off-kilter melody and cruel droning harmony, nightmarishly base and foul Bass frequencies swarm across the rancorous barre chord riff structures, lurching drums with incredibly heavy flam strikes pummeling out tight, heavy mid-paced marauding stomping beats  full of wickedness, punctuated with unclear appearance of accursed prowling phantom vocal rotating head, spitting rattling highs and blasphemic scornful lows, shimmering with feculent analogue delay. Bass heavy, lurid, horrid and orgiastic Raw Black Metal, writhing in pestilent sonic frequencies and riddled with demonic presences. If Nature truly is Satan’s church, then Virulent Specter is of the forsaken dirt and soil itself.

Esfinge de la Calavera

Brash, fun, toothless Harsh Noise Guitar carnage from Schakalens Bror. Blood-drenched guitar strings wound into booming psychedelic feedback live improv, a mad axe man swings his terrible weapon in front of a huge steaming amp stack, notes bending and warping in rote primitivism, searing blasting unmixed (?) abandon, simple pedal effects stomped in and out, strangling high end spikes choked from the axe neck – little moments of fleet fucked flubbed fingered runs appear in the third track from within the haze, conjuring an abused, demented, inept virtuoso feel. Cheap, nasty and lo-fi. Total Guitar butchery. Grab some of their shit from Team Boro Tapes.


I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a gutful and a half of the oleaginous flagshaggery that’s been clogging the arteries of this blighted nation since a certain overprivileged nonagenarian turned up her toes. Sanctuary from the forces of the fawning is urgently required and who better to provide it than ex-Napalm Death drummer and iron-fisted ringmaster of Circus Dubquake, Mick Harris. A timely reactivation of his fearsome Fret alias, ‘Because Of The Weak’ is industrial techno armed to the teeth and with mayhem in mind; a shockingly graphic illustration of man’s inhumanity to machine with little apparent purpose other than to destroy and be destroyed. Imagine the breakbeat-strewn arrhythmia of Skee Mask or the Zenker Brothers fermented and condensed to a toxic black magma and you’re in the vague vicinity of this mile-deep bomb crater, but the severity of the punishment Harris metes out here has precious few parallels. The menacing tone of track titles like ‘20oz Gripper’ and ‘Shut That Dog Up’ is reflected in the music’s withering hostility. Asteroid-sized kicks and breaks smash through ramparts of chest-crushing bass like boulders launched from a trebuchet, parabolas of ionised dub and hi-hat hiss glowing blood red in the fallout. Released via New York’s L.I.E.S. imprint whose roster of sickos and seditionists have long plied their trade at the seedier end of the hardcore continuum, ‘Because Of The Weak’ melts down techno’s hedonistic throne and recasts it into stun grenades. Obscenely wealthy monarchs, consider yourselves warned.

L.I.E.S. Records

Ärid is a one-man Black Metal project from the States, seemingly bent of reducing the current romanticism and Goth leanings of the Raw Black ‘scene’ to greasy cinders and returning the sound to something minimal, ugly, bleak and animal. Melted, necrotic Black Metal grounded in gnostic cadaver worship with extremely intense drumming and dead, thanatologist ambient atmosphere – grinding, rattling and gurgling in lunatic hyperblasting anti-human Black Metal putridity, scathing boiling extra-fill abstruse blasts forming the basis of hypnotising Raw Black Metal of rancorous, scabrous chords in minimal diving drone patterns, bending, warped noise guitar parts scaffolded to horrifically violent atavistic drumming, detailed with clattering fills, with some slower moments to let the pestilence breathe between rictus tom rolls, resplendent with subhuman croaking grotesque goblin vocal. Many of these songs register in a similar fashion to the best Grindcore, careening at inhuman speed through a dirge of chords in demented, frothing abandon before abruptly concluding. This album shimmers with black flames of irradiated necrotic energy and anti-human spite, truly fulfilling a descriptive remit as simple as ‘Raw Black Metal’ with supereon, fevered energy and filthy, phlegmy, necromantic abandon. A scowling masterpiece.

Eerie Silence Productions

Peerless is an epithet lazily ascribed to legions of artists who are patently nothing of the kind, but in the case of arch dreamweaver Sam Shackleton, it’s the only appropriate term. From the arabesque dubstep extrapolations of his Skull Disco years to masterpieces of polyrhythmic psychedelia like ‘Music For The Quiet Hour’ and ‘Departing Like Rivers’, his trailblazing exploits in the sphere of contemporary electronic music have resulted in a discography that, in terms of sheer eye-popping originality, is all but unparalleled. His first release on Honest Jon’s in five years, ‘The Majestic Yes’ is Shack in microcosm; a gravity-defying exposition of rhythm as rapture that showcases his trademark rococo sound design in arguably its most otherworldly iteration since 2018’s lavishly abstracted ‘Furnace Of Guts’. Comprising three long-form tracks structured around the shamanic rattle of Senegalese percussion maestro Beaugar Seck’s sabar drums, this is expansive, sense-heightening music of the first order; swirls of opalescent synth, harmonium-filtered glossolalia and crepuscular sub-bass that permeate every quadrant of the soundfield like a cloud of opiated pollen from some alien species of orchid. It’s a scintillating, if concise, tour de force, but it doesn’t end there. To the majority of producers, remixing an artist as singular as Shackleton would be a poisoned chalice and then some, but his idol Mark Ernestus steps valiantly into the breech, splitting the difference between Basic Channel and Ndagga Rhythm Force with an arachnoid, dub-frosted (in)version of ‘The Overwhelming Yes’ that closes the EP on a deliciously sinister note. Majestic? Yes.

Honest Jon’s Records

Debut 7″ from scene veterans Guerra Final. 7 cuts of outraged crusading Crust Punk with a fat Anarcho Punk streak in the songwriting and vibe  – slashing, angry Guitar forms rudiments of chord rage reminiscent of classic Punk Metal glory like English Dogs, with fierce, slick, short/sweet solos ablaze, lithe Bass prominent within the mix and extending the furious melodies beneath the Guitar work, swinging drums with plenty of heart and sweat and gruff vocal outcry – gnarly, hellacious, hard-charging d-beat bangers delivered in a furious froth, swollen with urgency and heroic despondency. Falls more on the Hardcore Punk end of the Crust spectrum, songwriting supercharged with fervent, simplistic gut punch intensity the order of the day. Fucking pissed!


Split 7″ from Necrodeity and Brahmastrika – Insane anti-cosmic DETH Metal from the ever fertile Kolkata underground scene. First up, Necrodeity offers a savage track of blasting Black Death Metal with almost Brutal Death Metal/Grindcore drum dynamics, dry hectic snare blasts front in the mix, merciless riffing cast in ancient obsidian Necrovoric forms of archaic Death Thrash style with babbling, ravenous, devil-tongued hissing vocal delirium, sealed into dry and noisy production. Repugnant, blaspheming. Then Brahmastrika’s contribution to the ritual bombards and saturates with perplexing arrangements of vortex Death Noise Metal, leaning into opprobrious Power Electronics sounds, extra-black carbonisation Noise and irradiated vocal, explosions of coiling percussion with some patches of discernable war riffing. Exceptionally discordant and earbleedingly violent. Killer split – Hail Kalikshetra Raktachakra!

Iron Bonehead Productions

Inexplicably more energetic than their debut full-length, The Chats’ second album is a total ripper. They seem more pissed off this time around and I’m all for it. Sure, the Aussie punk humour is still there in tracks like “6L GTR” and “I’ve Been Drunk in Every Pub in Brisbane”, but then there’s “The Price of Smokes” which starts off seething in its indignant displeasure before boiling over into a maelstrom of bloody-eyed lividity, railing against the cost of living. They’re a truly formidable power trio here – like I said earlier, they’re drawing more energy than before but have also become frighteningly tight; every song blasts through with the power and precision of a laser cannon. New guitarist Josh Hardy seems to have a few more tricks up his sleeve than the last fella, peeling out occasional Hendrixisms and surf tones with blitzkrieg efficiency. On the subject of efficiency, this little dose of aural amphetamine clocks in at only 28 minutes, so when The Chats tell you to “GET FUCKED”, you’ll have time to do it over and over again.


Portland, Oregon’s Purification, with their third full length in as many years. Deeply morose, darkly florid psychedelic Doom of a dogmatic yet experimental mode, moldering in a musty stoic trip-state, drawing influence from many corners of psychedelic Rock, Traditional Doom and Old Skul Heavy Metal.  A sort of drugging and muddling of Trad Doom revivalist sounds like Reverend Bizarre, adding shades of psychotic purple and infernal green to an already lurid palette of sound and blurring the audial edges with mouldy production fuzz und drang phantasia  –  foreboding and prosaic psychedelic Doom dripping with pungent atmosphere. Stately Guitars shimmering and swimming, unfurling prideful/mournful melodies and some smoker leads, astride a rather separated armoured Bass low end and dripping slow Drums full of swing interlocking wickedly, topped with demented vocal dramas of the insane clergy, fervent and possessed with the rapture of antitheist irreverence. ‘Dwell In The House Of The Lord Forever’ plays a bit like an EP, soaked as it is with ambient passages and instrumental dirges, and features two exceptional covers from the deep recesses of obscure Doom. This one’s still available on CD from their bandcamp page – dig it, sinner.


Radiation sickness in aural form from Hamburg-based sound-mangler and theorist David Wallraf who lands on Deal’s increasingly vital Brachliegen Tapes with an incendiary 3-track EP as uncompromising as it is imperative. ‘Нет Войне’ (literally, ‘No War’) is the horror of the age made manifest; politicised post-industrial dub that counters oppression by institution with oppression by sound in incisively stringent fashion. Opening track ‘I Hate My Government And I Hate Your Government’ (hearts are worn firmly on sleeves here) sets an ear-razing precedent, churning up the tarmac on the road to dissolution like a damaged, post-apocalyptic reincarnation of My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Slow’. Woody beats thwack against buttresses of excoriating bass-riven noise until the pressure becomes unsustainable and all falls eerily silent. ‘Congagement’ is just as steely yet more surreptitious in its approach to sedition, but Wallraf reserves his most withering attack for ‘Всё Идёт По Плану’, almost 10 minutes of acrid, dub-diseased discord rent asunder by a monstrous doom-laden bassline that sidewinds through the scree like a starving anaconda with a caiman in its sights. With all proceeds going to Nash Svit, a Ukrainian LGBTQ advocacy group, this is one righteous racket you simply cannot do without. Grievously good.

Brachliegen Tapes

Sakatat’s 2012 7″ ‘Bir Devrin Sonu’ is a masterpiece of the Grindcore form, hyperactively dynamic and creatively concise to the point of abandon. Superblasting devotional megafast fleet-of-one-footed-kick drums & super snappy snare sound cuts like a knife, humming with irradiated energy, bassless Guitars screeching treble attacking in cruster chord patterns tumbling briefly into thrashing aplomb or downcast breakdown death kickings, perfect-pitch vocal in pants-shitting low/deranged squawk high trade offs, technical and precise through sheer force of bloodthirsty will, devastatingly utterly fucking fast, dynamic and fucking heavy, the equal measure to any any heavyweight Grindcore band of repute and reverent to Repulsion, Discordance Axis, Terrorizer and Excruciating Terror in a single insane exhalation of tripartite energy and audial disgust – old school grinding madness, honed and concise as it gets. It’s a fun nostalgia trip to read the hype snippets from the killer grind blogs of (not that) old on the Bandcamp liner, too. The first place I was given the opportunity to write reviews was for Alex at the formidable Grind To Death. His style was impeccable, a colossal influence on my writing – “All hell breaks loose as Sakatat pour every last joule of energy, every lesson learnt and every bit of protest they have into a dense 8 minute rupture last felt in Krakatau 1883”. Perfectly surmised. Anticapital annihilation.


Disinclined to toe the self-limiting line of genre fundamentalism, Brooklyn-based imprint Ohm Resistance may be a broad church, but the primacy of bass over all other sonic prerogatives is, and always has been, its raison d’être. The fourth, and apparently final, instalment in OR’s annual sampler series, ‘Perihelion Infinite’ is a comprehensive showcase of the label’s lurid, low end-led aesthetic, featuring sixteen exclusive tracks (un)lovingly crafted to rupture every gas main within a 9-mile radius. Despite the occasional nod to stylistic orthodoxy (‘Subterranean’ by Metalheadz stalwart Jaise is a case study in drop-forged industrial jungle), the majority of these beasts are defiantly chimerical; scaly, multi-appendaged hybrids with their gaze fixed firmly on the future. Atsushi Izumi’s ruthlessly overdriven ‘Casaurius’, for example, fuses drum & bass and techno at the spine whilst a cannonade of scimitar-sharp breaks ensures the happy hardcore sugar rush of DrillBasser’s ‘Even’ leaves a distinctly sour aftertaste. Elsewhere there are forays into critical mass post-dubstep (DEFCE’s suffocating ‘Pain Centers’) deconstructed breakcore (the alarmingly vertiginous ‘Eat Sleep Repeat’ by Belfast belligerents Slave To Society) and even Emeralds-esque kosmische (Bob Rogue’s luminescent ‘Asteroids’), but the predator at the apex of this sub-chomping food chain is Sagana Squale’s nightmarish ‘Blood Goddess’, a paranoia-wracked bolus of malice aforethought trip-hop Portishead would have killed to concoct. Embrace the bass.

Ohm Resistance

An inspired collaboration between Burkinabè urban griot Kaito Winse and Belgian noise-punk ne’er-do-wells Arnaud Paquotte and Benjamin Chaval, Avalanche Kaito follow up their astonishing ‘Dabalomuni’ EP from earlier this year with an incendiary debut album that refashions their crotchety head-wrecking clatter into a cornucopia of exotic new shapes. Never a band to abide meekly by the ossifying precepts of ‘world music’ (fuck that self-complacent A&R doublespeak and the donkey it rode in on), Avalanche Kaito bring the noise by the truckload, ram-raiding the repository of outernationalist wonder once plundered by freebooting firebrands like Faust and 23 Skidoo. Lashing together an exoskeleton of plangent bass and corkscrewing polyrhythms with sinews of caustic electronic dissonance, Paquotte and Chaval are the Igors to Winse’s Frankenstein who jolts this fire-breathing postmodern Prometheus to life with his high voltage vocal callisthenics. Able to switch seamlessly from incantatory croon to the sort of strident glossolalic hectoring that was the late, great Grandmaster Masese’s stock-in-trade, Winse is an unstoppable force here, spinning lyrical gold from the proverbs of his homeland amidst a heat-haze of twanging jaw-harp and effervescent peul flute. Picking favourites is next to impossible but ‘Goomde’, a paranoid psych-dub lurch that sounds like World Domination Enterprises on the wrong end of a three day speed comedown, is heavy with a capital H. Not black midi, THIS.


Archival release from Pain Jerk, featuring both tracks that would make up their abortive first 7″ release, and the track ‘Rocketry’ from the ‘ペイン・ジャーク’ cassette release of the same year, an early 90’s work of out-and-out Harsh Noise. These tracks are some of the few that feature Pain Jerk as a two piece operation. A fascinating fulminated electronic howl, catastrophic conveyorbelt channel-switch mayhems of early-ish so-called Japanoise, featuring abstruse cut up technique and volume immersion/endurance testing, battering extreme temperature maligned signal electronics to sear and confuse, dotted liberally with mangled, half audible bludgeoned sampling. Extremely hazardous and ego-killing. Archaic, difficult and perfect. Even as early as ’93 Pain Jerk was already setting new standards in the Noise of coldly implacable cut up electronics, removing new perceptions of objectivity and furthering the genre into furtive plateaus of electronics enmity and extremity. Pain Jerk’s Bandcamp page is a Noise fan’s nirvana, be sure to check through the various other releases hosted within.


Savage shockwave Stenchcore from Crust warrior cult Nuclear Death Terror. ‘Equinox’ stands amid their fearsome discography as the furthest within an epic Stenchcore sound with lots of Metal influence, melted skylines and carbonised thrashing bodies, dynamic cloud burning mid-paced deathfog of Metalpunk! Snaking, chugging Metal riffage with moments of clean, downcast melody slung across hard driving deathgroove Crustcore, muscular Bass and concussion Drums march fearlessly into the mushroom cloud of tomorrow’s end, distorted deathly cruster vocal, scalding lead Guitars sounding a demented funereal dirge, hefty heavyweight production – merciless and miserable, Geiger counters screaming as the clock strikes midnight, mankind in the motherfucking microwave!  Despite being only three tracks long ‘Equinox’ leaves a marring impression, like a putrid blood and mercury taste in your mouth, crammed with murderous riffing and hopeless stench atmospheres to ride out the slow-motion apocalypse. Get disintegrated.


I found this trawling through To Live A Lie’s main label page on bandcamp and realising that they separately host a bunch of their older releases here, all available to download for free. Lapse’s complete discography, lean and mean as FUCK brutal Hardcore/Grindcore amalgam, pummeling limb crushing arrangements switch tempos from smash and grab grinding blast to slow beatdown toothless carnage, ugly and nasty like a spiked fucking bat – bright burning Guitar, mid Bass strangle/bulge, stacked snappy drumming and baited breath teeth gritted/low burly vocal of outsider pain and rage. I first discovered Lapse from their excellently savage split with Eddie Brock (tracks 1-3 here, some of their best), and I’m chuffed to have gotten around to listening to the rest of their killer output. A Hardcore/Grind alloy to alienate yourself from your ‘peers’.

To Live A Lie

Released in 2011 on Feral Ward, ‘Farewell’ is Direct Control’s nasty, gnarly Skel masterpiece(piss) stamped in 12″ wax – furious skate thrashing Hardcore for freaks only, an acid cruster rager deranged and off the rails. Super raw guitar scratch riffs tearing across mad manic thrasher Bass twang with perfect punchy blown out sound, careening drums just on the right side of in-time and super sick aggro kid vocal dripping with demented energy! Channels the mutant waste of Cryptic Slaughter and Excel’s early melted Crossover Thrash sound right into the eye of their DC Hardcore, and draws from the spirits of old Heavy Metal and Hard Rock too, with little Surf  passages and jams here and there, warped from some rad dimension and psybeamed into Richmond VA. 15 minutes of far out fast-as-fukk Hardcore/Thrashcore perfection, deep fried in shitty blasting in-the-red production where the drums sound serrated and the vocal booms like a motherfucker. I don’t often throw a link to youtube on here but I had to revisit this record and it’s not on bandcamp. But who cares, it looks like it’s still available on wax – get one and hesh the fuck out! RIP Brandon Farrell.

Grave Mistake Records

Sorry State


The Gates Of Slumber’s 2006 epic second album ‘Suffer No Guilt’ is a near perfect record of horseback Frazettan Doom enthralled to groovy Crom. Possessed of the warring spirit, this is Doom drawn from the ore of it’s rich mineral Heavy Metal influence and ground to a deathly stern edge, slow and ponderous, muscular and intensely powerful, driven to destroy in exalted power-trio-sound battle – dry, melodic psychedelia of the warrior poet, acoustic/medieval atmospheric passages and winding warcamp percussion interludes serve as chapter headings in a tale of godless bloodshed written in booming, blood crazed, heaving Heavy Metal of the Manilla Road/Cirith Ungol variety, via Saint Vitus downer blues-oriented psychedelian heavy Rock and the ancient foreboding Doom of Candlemass. Songs driven with obstreperous melodies that spiral into mournful dissonance, galloping mid pacers and triumphant marching rhythms written in stern granite drumming and stout, taught Bass standards, mercurial, rapturous dude vocal, power trio excellence and might in the solo sections where the dominating, battling Bass lines are laid bare beneath pealing, dazzling guitar solos – the sound of ancient death in the exalted Metal master form with many turns into stoned oblivion groove – Thunderous! The production is nicely balanced and plenty rough and clattering, yet stately and solid as fuck. There’s good reason this was slavishly reviewed at the time of its release. It’s worth reappraising yourself with the axe. RIP Jason McCash.


Butcher ABC’s 2017 full length ‘North of Hell’ is a grand guignol of bloodthirsting groovy fucking DETH – they’ve been kicking it since the early 00’s and this is their only full length so far. It’s a festering triumph! Goregrinding Death Metal mastery full of Crust and Thrash, super enormous hell Guitar and Bass barbarities with hades groove riffing and surprisingly melodious metallicrust denouements and soaring leads, domineering heavy as fuck drumming with lots of single foot blasts and slobbering pitched low vocal grotesqueries with crusty old school outcry vocal, too. Loud and booming production job. Head-banging crusty Gore/Death with lots of simple as sin Death and Roll influence, this really is a drunken orgiastic delight. Bullldozing, grinding, disgusting, gurgling, and totally deadly, striking a masterly match between metallic melody and punk provocation. If you enjoy Carcass, Sacrilege, Autopsy or CBT (who doesn’t?) wait no longer!


Power It Up