Album Review: Desolate Shrine – “Deliverance from the Godless Void”

Desolate Shrine - Deliverance from the Godless Void

When you were a child, chances are that when you went to the beach, you felt the desire for being buried in sand, leaving only your head above the ground to enjoy the sunshine and watch people splash merrily in the water. Somehow, at some point, that innocuous playful urge transformed into a paralyzing fear of being buried alive. On Deliverance from the Godless Void, the hooded pallbearers of Finland’s Desolate Shrine provide a soundtrack for your premature burial and eventual asphyxiation with a monstrous wall of noise that will drown your futile screams and the tortured sound of your nails scratching hopelessly on the interior of the coffin. Continue reading

Best of 2017 (mid-year report): Zyklonius’ list

I'd Buy That for a Dollar

Thanks to the demands, deadlines and drudgery of my day job, this stocktaking listicle was delayed two weeks past its intended publication date at the half-way point of the year. In the intervening time, additional waves of releases were unleashed, a reminder of the golden era of quantity and quality we are currently living in. It has become increasingly challenging to stay on top of must-hear releases, even with obsessive research and vigilance, but the untold satisfaction of unearthing new records that hit you like a brick in the face, make being a metalhead in this day and age such a thrilling glory ride.

I had a difficult time narrowing the following list (in alphabetical order) down to only ten releases (ultimately, the aforementioned day job dictated its final length) that have made a lasting impact in my heart of hearts during the first six months of this year, thanks to their creativity, vision, emotion, pummeling ferocity, gripping melody, riff mastery, headbangability, confident musicianship and that certain je ne sais quoi that elevates some albums and the whole genre to dizzying artistic heights. Continue reading

Receiving the Evcharist: Subetroth and Stoutella

Receiving the Evcharist

Greetings! Summer has finally arrived here in New York City but we are still awaiting the sweltering heat and oppressive humidity to fully descend upon us and smother us into a state of perpetual stickiness, urban delirium and genocidal misanthropy. In the meantime, have I got the goods for you this time. The Metal: Subetroth’s Agnozia. The Booze: Knee Deep Brewing’s Stoutella.


The Metal: Subetroth’s Agnozia

Subetroth - Agnozia

You shall be forgiven for thinking, upon hearing the deep sleazy grooves of the first notes of Subetroth’s latest release Agnozia, that the band hails from the clammiest swamps of New Orleans instead of Modesto, California. Subetroth’s self-described “hooker party doom from the West” tastes, smells and sounds like a warped version of the American Dream daydreamed by malaria-stricken Hunter S. Thompson who passed out drunk and high while reading Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s The Preacher. The production is absolutely massive, thick and viscous. If you have ever wondered how low you can tune your stringed instruments, look no further. Guitars roar and slide with slippery swagger and you can physically feel the downtuned bass plow the benthic zone of a tar pit and scrape off the top layer of asphalt softened by the sun. It takes special skill and cojones to employ banjo and harmonica (the latter right after an especially punishing blast beat section) and make it work without falling flat or resembling a tacked-on afterthought. There is heartfelt pathos too, like on “Preacher, Drunker Killer” which starts as a somber yet gnarled ballad for the age of decay and disintegration, complete with an angelic, ethereal vocal duet before sinking deeper and deeper into an increasingly crushing muddy vortex, until suddenly joinked back to the surface for lungs to be refilled with sweet oxygen. To quote the lyrics of the closer “Rubber Band Moan”, these fine gentlemen “mine, bore, gouge, gut, and maim”, painting a vivid, feverish and sweaty picture of the human condition in the process.


The Booze: Knee Deep Brewing’s Stoutella

Knee Deep Stoutella

Well, if you are going be eaten alive by a pack of alligators or mauled by the Tron-ox-bear portrayed on the cover of Subetroth’s 2016 debut Native Alien, you damn well need to enjoy your grisly demise with a suitably special beer. Gods of beer have heard our collective prayers and ordered Auburn, California’s Knee Deep Brewing to prepare an offering to friends of stout and Nutella. Yes, you read that right. Stoutella is one delicious beer, a stout with plenty of chocolate and hazelnut, brewed with cacao nibs. Quite surprisingly, and in a pleasant way, it is softly roasted and has a body that stays below imperial levels of thickness and avoid overblown sweetness. In fact, this is outright addicting and besides beer connoisseurs will inevitably attract and degenerate a generation of underage drinkers. Actually, make sure you hoard every can you manage to find in your trusty beer store before the nation-wide moral panic begins and the National Guard rolls into town. You can thank me later.


I wish you have a chance this weekend to kick back, grab a beer and blast metal, preferably outdoors with a bunch of mates. While you are at it, please raise your flagon to brother Vincent and for his speedy recovery from his battle wounds and his triumphant return to the helm.

Vorwärts!

– Zyklonius

Album Review: Psudoku – “Deep Space Psudokument”

psudoku-deep-space-psudokument

Oh, the fine art of avant-garde! All too often launching headfirst into cartoon territory or utterly incoherent and lacking catchy hooks. All those sudden shifts in style and tempo detached from the overall flow and harmony; the price to pay when striving to defy the listener’s expectations and violate the borders of musical comfort zone and keep one constantly guessing where the wrecking ball will land next. Leave it to the avant-grind spaceball unit Psudoku to snicker at such lethal snares with the adroit madness captured within its latest release Deep Space Psudokument, delivered from the future for our enjoyment and deciphering. Continue reading

Sepulchral Saturday: Voidthrone – “Spiritual War Tactics”

Voidthrone - Spiritual War Tactics

At immense risk to my metal cred, let it be known right off the bat that I’ve never learned to appreciate or enjoy overly dissonant metal. That is why I approached the assignment to review Voidthrone’s debut album Spiritual War Tactics with slight unease and trepidation.  Although I respect its cerebral nature and modus operandi of challenging the listener, in my ears dissonant metal usually devolves into a quasi-academic exercise in frustration that sounds marvelous only at the level of grand theory. The lack of catchy riffs, meaty hooks and cathartic release evokes a feeling of experiencing colossal constipation when suffocating in an overcrowded New York City rush hour subway train with failed AC on the warmest day of summer, while the tie around your neck begins to feel like a noose and you can hear your fellow passengers grinding their collective teeth in anger and frustration. Hence this young destruction crew, formed in Seattle, Washington in early 2016, faced an unenviable challenge of dispelling my prejudice and convincing my sonic sensibilities. Could they hope to succeed where scene veterans have largely failed? Continue reading