31 Aug 2016

Nordland: "The True Cult of the Earth"

Another shot of British black metal
There are countless examples where a band's second effort falls short of the first. Often, the first album is the result of pent up inspiration and ambition, where the sophomore album in many cases seems like an effort driven by necessity or expectation rather than the will to create. Upon Nordland's mighty - and highly recommendable - 2012 album of the same name, the British band stands before a gruelling task in creating something that even comes close to the debut.

29 Aug 2016

Written in Torment: "Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes"

Triumphant black metal from Harrogate
The fact that Written in Torment - an anti-Christian black metal band - hails from a town as scenic and picturesque as Harrogate, England, is testament to the fact that you can find even the most extreme genres in all places, unlikely though they may be. Mike Hardisty, working under the name Leviathan, created the band in 2003 and has since recorded a few releases more or less on his own. From The Uncreation EP in 2006, it wouldn't be until 2013 that the world would once again be exposed to Written in Torment's vile doctrines.

26 Aug 2016

Hobbs' Angel of Death: "Heaven Bled"

Hobbs' Angel of Death makes a return, but not so much a return to form
What year is it!? The Stranger Things series inspired by classic Spielberg and the like is a huge hit, while synthwave artists are spreading their neon glow all over the world, and Hobbs' Angel of Death - Australia's prodigal thrash metal son - has returned with the first album in over 20 years!

24 Aug 2016

Master Fury: "Circles of Hell"

Obscure heavyweights on CD for the first time
No doubt the US played an essential role in the rise of thrash metal in the 80s. While bands like Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth, Testament, Overkill, Flotsam & Jetsam, Forbidden and more are usually the first that come to mind, hidden gems like Holocross, Heretic, Powerlord and Master Fury must not be forgotten.

22 Aug 2016

Gates of Eternal Torment: "Imprisoned Beneath the Ice of This Cold Black Void"

Uncultivated tremolos with too little substance
Though the whole mysterious obscurity deal in black metal is now little more than a token shtick, it does at times add to the whole atmosphere surrounding a band. Little is known about Gates of Eternal Torment - Its only member, Firthornn, hails from USA's garden state New Jersey. His lyrics and music revolves around a blackened core of dark subjects, the mass of which pulls in all light like a cosmic black hole.

19 Aug 2016

Nite Funk: "Nite-Funk"

Night-time funk for your favourites-list
The heavenly match that the world deserves, Nite Funk is the union of singer/keyboardist Nite Jewel and jack-of-all-trades Dâm-Funk. The Nite-Funk EP cleverly and seamlessly combine elements of retro and modern in a mix that could best be described as half funky retro disco and half post-modern vocal pop.

17 Aug 2016

Cryptodira: "Recursions"

A mixed bag of tricks...
To shake things up, Long Island-quartet Cryptodira have spiced up their brand of progressive metal with trace elements of many different styles and genres. Their second EP, Recursions from January 2013, impresses with a surprisingly professional sound to present their music.

15 Aug 2016

Malichor: "Ancient Brew"

Return of the Australian warlords
TONEwood has previously lauded Malichor's earlier EP, Lurkers in the Crypt from 2012, and now the time has come for Ancient Brew to continue the black-thrash legacy of the Australian band. With four tracks Malichor certainly aren't about to waste any time with lengthy intros of nonsense shenanigans. Instead, they continue in their uncompromising ways, living and dying by the riffs.

12 Aug 2016

Anno Domini: "On This New Day"

Progressive folk rock for fans of the hard-to-find
Anno Domini are a well kept secret of the Irish 70s rock scene. The quartet only ever amounted to one LP and a single in '71 in the usual semi-progressive, folky, half-psychedelic sound of the early part of the decade. Fetching hundreds of Euros the two original pressings (on Deram in the UK and Polydor in Germany) are probably too rich for any but the hardest core of collectors. Should this be the case, South Korean label Wohn Records did a reissue in 2010 faithful to the original Deram pressing.

10 Aug 2016

Anatomia: "Dead Bodies in the Morgue"

The gorefest that is Japanese death-doom beckons to those who live for death
To connoisseurs of gore-soaked Japanese metal, and aficionados of death-laden doom, Anatomia should already ring a bell. Since their debut album in 2005 - aptly named Dissected Humanity - the band has, together with the likes of Coffins and Grudge (both of whom also appeared on the 2007 split between the three bands), put Japan on the map with their endless offerings of the heaviest and filthiest death/doom metal.

5 Aug 2016

"Strange Requests and Comic Tales from Record Shops" by Graham Jones

And the prize for most fitting book title goes to...
During his career as sales representative for various record companies, Graham Jones has visited more record stores in the UK than most people. Throughout his (mis)adventures he's been gathering up stories from the various store owners, managers and employees he has come across, and finally he has put all these in book form as Strange Requests and Comic Tales from Record Shops. It serves as a collection of lively stories of impossible guesswork, colourful characters and regulars, misheard lyrics, singing music fans and die hard employees.