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photo by Joey Wharton

“We were always clear on wanting this record to sound live and feel like it could have been recorded in an earlier time, and to steer clear of the sort of slick, modern rock sound that some people prefer.” – Jay Lindsey

Richmond, VA doomy psych philosophers BOOK OF WYRMS are a band who completely rocked my socks off the most unexpectedly this year thus far. This is not to say I underestimated them but rather that I had never heard their hearty blend of intensely immersive and vibey riffs, haunting vocals and ‘feels like you there’ production before. Suffice to say it was an incredible and welcome discovery.

It makes sense such a trippy but earthy band comes from such a beautiful and complicated state.

I knew I has to corral members onto these here blog ‘pages’ and get an interview. Their new full length Occult New Age is an essential tool for uplifting yourself through heavy and yet empathic creative roads. I work nights and so often have kind of crazy dreams in the day and just woke from one where there was a sort of mentally blocked character who became destructive or was almost choosing to be a killer, I’m trying to remember. He was kind of bullied in a small town for being sensitive to otherworldly forces by his own estimate and so was sort of frantic to prove or discover them around him to show he was telling the truth. But people pushed him down instead of nourishing his gifts so he was also almost resentful of the unknown. It was sad, actually. Waking from that and knowing I was going to publish this piece today, I couldn’t help but wonder what this dream entity/character’s life would have been like in their ‘story’ if they had a record as steeped in channeling and understanding these concerns as Book Of Wyrms have managed to write.

Occult New Age really feels like both a refuge and a tool as much as a place for your mystical, doom loving ears to call home.

Read more below.

One of the few good things about this pandemic life has meant time for people to dig deep and soul search for an even more meaningful sense of self-expression. After all, we have had reminders daily that time is precious and you ought to be true to yourself, right? As a writer it has also been a good chance to have random email convos with incredible and talented cool folks and Suzi Moon is certainly high on the list of radness level as far as “rad people I have gotten to communicate with” in recent times goes.

Suzi Moon radiates the essence of punk attitude and makes the balance of sweet and sour seem effortless in glam gutter songs like “I’m Not A Man” or the rollicking “Nuthin’ To Me” that you can snarl or sing-a-long with like nobodies business. Yes, the Civet and Turbulent Hearts alumna is going solo and has delivered a fantastic video for the instantly memorable “Special Place In Hell” track from upcoming debut EP CALL THE SHOTS.

Read our chat BELOW.

 

‘This album is essentially a reflection of the societal ills that hold us back from having the grand culture and community the United States loves to pretend it has.’ – KZ

Hello dear readers and happy Trans Day of Visibility. Hope people are lifting one another up today and feeling good and loved. I need cold water thrown on my face after the inane stupor I entered from just reading an article about how friggin’ Michale Graves might testify on behalf of some loser Proud Boy Jan. 6th insurrectionists. Uh, that’s your character witness? What is he gonna do? Get up there and go ,”You’re lookin’ through the eyes of a Psycho! An American Psycho (Whoa-oh!).” The sad part is I don’t know if that would work in the fash mob defendants favor more or less considering how compromised many of our courts are.

One thing that DOESN’T make me want to scream in frustration (at least not in a bad way) is listening to the cathartic and brilliant new record Modern Grotesque from melodic post-screamo East Coasters Dreamwell, pretty much the most impressive shit I have discovered in a long time. This record , especially after the shared PTSD of 2020 we are all semi-thawing from,  just feels like a massive release of hope, heart and triumphant defiance. A cry for a more caring and dignified world for people who are different, sensitive or just genuine… for the lovers, dreamers and you (to get more Kermit than Pepe up in here). It is an album that reminds me that feeling things is not weakness and which has some of the fiery and passionate type of playing that first got me into bands like UOA, At The Drive In or On The Might Of Princes.

Modern Grotesque also boasts some of the most impactful melodic playing I have heard in a long time this side of really good Modest Mouse, moments that just take artful twists and turns that couldn’t have been generated through a cynical aim and only through vibrant and vulnerable love for the music.

Please enjoy my chat with vocalist KZ as much as I did.

Read more BELOW.

Photo Credit: Jared Shute

photo by jarko mikkonen www.jarkkomikkonen.com

Vertigo from Finnish occult psych metal hybrid Jess and the Ancient Ones is nearly here, a brilliant bouquet of bold songwriting, deep mental excavation and explosive creativity. The Svart backed record (order HERE) releases this May in time for some of the finest weather for celebrating the sacred planet we inhabit -and too often regularly abuse- as well as the wider cosmos. It is an album that defies easy categorization even as it revels in nostalgia, riding waves of late 60’s bliss turned to unease through the dark heart of our current disoriented moment of mass ptsd and hopefully out the other side to better horizons. Rarely has escapism sounded so timely and alive, a defiance of folding up and dying without making a joyful, organ-steeped noise.

It is one of the most exciting, colorful and living testaments to rock you will hear this year and is in heavy rotation in my home, one of my favorite releases of 2021 yet by a long shot. The tornado on the cover might seem foreboding byt is also a fitting symbol of the intensity of the soaring vocals and enlightened playing within! It was a pleasure to pick the brain of guitarist Thomas Corpse about the release and other topics related to the band and their orbit.

Read more BELOW.

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Upstate, NY heavy hitters SICKBAY have become a staple of the regional heavy scene, putting out material consistently and always upping their dark and deadly game. Death metal with a slight amount of hardcore crossover in the mix, Sickbay are clearly not worried about trends and just intent on creating the special blend of brutality that makes them tick. Jim Sinon stops by Metal Riot today to discuss the band’s history, latest bludgeon-fest Death’s Cold Grip and more BELOW.

Skeletal Remains have built up a reputation for being a reliable source for some of the best death metal around where old school feel and fury and the ‘raw’ stuff manages to coincide with technical aspects without the scales being tipped. Plenty of stuff your Death or Massacre addict could vibe with and champion while still retaining the attention of people looking for something new, The Entombment Of Chaos is a must hear record for anyone who wants to properly get a grasp on a comprehensive list of the best stuff that came out this year. Despite some upheavals, the current incarnation of the band have released their most essential, confident and potentially career defining release yet! Even if you are not some scholarly metal cleric in a dusty tower, you can casually pick this up and find a killer outlet to both channel rage and have fun.

I spoke to Mike about the new album, coping with Covid, being part of the storied history of death metal, love for the fans and more RIGHT HERE!

‘Each song is teeming with rancor and a profound disgust with the things we see happening every day in the world, in the news, in our cities, in our backyards… the title, Detest is violently appropriate for the mood of this EP. Music is art and art has always been a non-bastardized, unfiltered version of history as told through those who lived it in their own words.’ – Matthew (vox)

Hell’s Teeth have made an explosive statement on their new DETEST EP. This metallic hardcore infused deadly extreme metal band could be huge if they get the right support, but either way they will make powerful and corrosive, heavy art. Fans of everyone from Power Trip to The Black Dahlia Murder to Turmoil to Baptists could hang hard with this release. Honestly though, with a band this legit and driven it is lazy to simply compile easy ‘sounds a little like sometimes’ points. You’d be selling yourself and the band very short if you didn’t hear their original vision for yourself free from bias.

Made up of scene die hards from the Hudson Valley area, Hell’s Teeth are just the shot in the arm the scene could use to keep things enthusiastic, no bullshit and venomous. I spoke to some of the band about this exciting release, tracked by Sean Paul Pillsworth (of Nightmares For A Week, The Inevitables) at Nada Recording Studio in beautiful Montgomery, NY. You wouldn’t believe such a serene setting could produce a recording this hostile!

Read more BELOW.

band photos by Michael Mannhaupt

Ghösh are raising the bar for exciting acts to follow in 2020. “Nu Junglism. Digital Hardcore.”Whatever you wanna call it, this Philly duo have a fierce and kinetic, living punk energy that is a refreshing mutation of numerous styles into an explosive and vital sound. The tracks on their Bandcamp blew me away with a fresh poetic attack and a DIY vibe of anarchic, creative freedom. Party starting and with something subversive to say. Plus an unexpected take on a Limp Bizkit classic.

I really can’t rave about this group enough. Not many acts can pry me out of my current Entombed, Pink Floyd and Sun Ra rabbit holes, but when it happens of late I am probably listening to these freak flag flyers. Please check out the full convo with Symphony and Zach below.

Scott Harris

‘I’m using a black metal format with an intro piece and ending piece (ala Bathory) and how Mortician uses their intro and outros on tracks with movie excerpts, except I tune them down for a more trippy freaky effect’. – Scott Harris

Welcome to Hororhaus. A blend of 80’s synth, horror creep, goth and black metal inspired elements, the Scott Harris helmed project released one of the best EP’s of 2020 with the low key underground banger Entrance EP. Check out a full stream below and an exclusive interview about this sophisticated mercurial marvel of murky and menacing body moving music below. It is one of the best and most haunting escapes you could take during this surreal time.

READ MORE HERE.

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Enchantya are a progressive, gothic metal group from Portugal who have been growing their fan base and making a mark on the world scene. “Mother Hope”, their latest single, is a rallying cry to remember our common humanity and to not abandon our principles or forget the fragility of our shared ecosystems. In other words, this is just the song for 2020 and great to have come out of a genre that people often just associate with death worship. Enchantya is so much more than that.

It was an honor to communicate with their vocalist Rute about her band’s coping skills during Covid-19, her musical background, the metal scene in Portugal and how she is keeping hope alive with the band and fans during this time.

Read more BELOW.

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KILLVEIN is one of those inspiring rare types of artists who seem fueled by a frenzy to create, a high level of passion that palpable in the air like when you know there will be a storm soon. The self-taught producer and multi-instrumentalist charges up everything with purposeful intent and has released a lot of material the last few years, drawing from a diverse pool of sounds ranging from hooky trap to black metal to rock.

Recently Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe fame was impressed enough by the up and coming artist to feature KILLVEIN on two tracks from the forthcoming Tommy Lee solo release ANDRO. I heard a rowdy rock cut. “Knock Me Down” is so ripe with pent up, ready for the mosh pit bravado that it is more closely resembles an explosion than a song (while still, in actuality, being a good song).

Read our chat with KILLVEIN below.

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Bleed From Within have built upon their humble origins with each release, nowadays a powerhouse of kinetic energy and irresistible groove heavy metalcore that draws as much from NWOAHM as deathcore. Fifth album (!) Fracture is their most cohesive release yet and the metalcore standout release thus far in 2020. It is certainly an album that ought to generate a lot of excitement.

A few weeks ago I sent questions to the Scottish band’s own Steven Jones who shares thoughts about recent global events, the new album and more! Be sure also to join the ambitious group on Facebook this Friday from 7pm BST as they go live, discussing all things Fracture listening to the album, and answering your questions!

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Stitched Up Heart are a hard rock/alt metal band who have been absolutely exploding the last few years due to their high energy, melodic power and connection with fans. With numerous top 30 mainstream rock hits, over twenty million worldwide streams and a lot of fresh eyes on them, this band is not only headed places but ALREADY somewhere many acts never reach. New album Darkness explores a dynamic range of emotions while managing to be huge, catchy and electrifying.  It is sure to appeal to those enduring angsty growing pains or older rock fans looking to feel new energy.

Singer Mixi took some time out during this crazy and horrible pandemic to talk about the new album with me, her approach and some philosophy as well as getting through this time as a planet, animal fostering and vegetarianism.

All the best to this band and make sure to check out Darkness. They sound better than ever.

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Thrash act BONDED released a pulverizing debut Rest In Violence back in January via Century Media that you will want to make sure you get to hear a little of before it burns your skull to cinders. It is actually now a German stamina test to see how much of the record you can withstand before your ears burst into flame, at least in my quarantined imagination. This album will make you feel passionate about the bonds in your life, keep the fire in your step and help give you the will to fight through the clouds in your mind.

Formed by scene veterans Bernd “Bernemann” Kost (Guitar) and Markus “Makka“ Freiwald (Drums) in 2018 after their exit as longtime members of SODOM, musical partners Marc Hauschild (Bass) and Destroy Them / ex Suicidal Angels member Chris Tsitsis (Guitar) were quickly added to the ranks in order to continue working on new own song-material as well as to develop the concept for a new entity, which was finally completed with the addition of Assassin frontman Ingo Bajonczak (Vocals) and consequently named BONDED.

Get to know this amazing project and read our exclusive new interview with Bernemann BELOW!

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Dark Fortress social distance by staying 666ft. apart and of course dwelling in dark fortresses.

Dark Fortress have sculpted a new masterpiece of black metal drenched with the blood squeezed from a death metal shroud. Spectres From The Old World is a significant piece of work and surely due a lot of attention from the metal community if there is any justice left on this plague-ridden rock.

The band was just forced to cancel release shows due to Covid-19 in March but we are pleased to publish at last a recent conversation with musical genius Morean (also of Alkaloid and Noneuclid renown) about the new record to help lift some of the sting or perhaps steer people towards this great 2020 Century Media release if they were unaware. (Buy merch HERE)!

MYE. Spectres from the Old World is an intense and powerful album, highly anticipated by fans. I loved the album title. Do you think we are always haunted by the past or sometimes we actually forget it too quickly and repeat tragic things? It is also good to know where things come from, like musical styles. Some older bands like
yours and also God Dethroned come to mind as having great new music this year, still fighting for the dark metal legacy!

Morean: As a species, that’s definitely true. Just look around you and what mankind is discussing right now. I remember that at the turn of the century, I felt like the human race might be at the eve of an evolutionary quantum leap. Now, twenty years later, it’s obvious that the monkey part of us that throws feces at the monkeys in the other tree is not actually that far in the past. At the same time, we can transform the Earth into one giant telescope to take pictures of black holes, land probes on comets, genetically engineer organisms and so on. I think our technical evolution is so far ahead of our mental and emotional evolution that it’s still a big question if progress will have the upper hand in the near future, or if we just go to some dystopian Mad Max-like society, only postponing its last degenerate breath. Time will tell, but we’re far from being able to relax about it. The “old world” of this album is something else entirely though; it refers to the universe of the previous album, where the protagonist has transformed into a being of pure light and reincarnates here as the sentient fabric of a newborn cosmos, in great agony. It’s black metal after all.

Read MORE BELOW.

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