Profile: James McBain of Hellripper

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One man band Hellripper is a fierce blend of black and speed metal, tinged with the stylings of NWOBHM outfits such as Motörhead, Tank and Warfare and drenched in an extra dose of first wave black metal for good measure. 2017 saw the release of debut full length Coagulating Darkness, an album as infectious as it is articulate. Relentless in speed and delivering some of the filthiest, most memorable riffs in recent history, the only real flaw here is simply that you’ll wish the fun lasted longer. James McBain was recently kind enough to take a pause from other projects (Lord Rot, Lock Howl, Rats of Reality) to answer our set of Profile questions. Check out what he had to say and make sure to give Coagulating Darkness a listen while you’re at it.

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Album Review: Lady Beast – “Vicious Breed”

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“Throwback metal” feels like a disservice to what bands like Pittsburgh PA’s Lady Beast are doing for the scene.  Keeping the torch burning for melody, galloping guitars and harmonized leads, bass that’s never content to merely double, and rock solid drumming in service to powerhouse vocals is vital to keep the heart and head, shoulder and fist in sync with that most glorious of terms, HEAVY METAL.  And on third album Vicious Breed the band carries the torch high, indeed.   Continue reading

Second Circle: Maligner and Obscure Evil

Second Circle of Hell

In Dante’s Inferno, the second circle begins the proper punishment of Hell, a place where “no thing gleams.” It is reserved for those overcome with Lust, where carnal appetites hold sway over reason. In Nine Circles, it’s where we do shorter reviews of new albums that share a common theme.

Was it really more than 10 years ago everyone started proclaiming thrash was back? When Municipal Waste blasted out with Hazardous Mutation ¹ (which you can argue is more Crossover than Thrash ²) and unleashed a glut of Exodus and Testament clones, most of which weren’t old enough to remember the dirt glory that was the 80s? I admit I may have reinforced some of the more questionable aspects of the movement (though I’ll never apologize for Toxic Holocaust and S.S.S.) but the reality is the genre never really went away — just ask Overkill. And despite being claimed “dead” by a number of online sites and magazines look across the border and things look just fine, particularly when you look at two great releases coming out this week from Maligner and Obscure Evil. Continue reading

Album Review: Grand Magus – “Sword Songs”

Grand Magus - Sword Songs - ArtworkAs their career has worn on, Stockholm-based Grand Magus have morphed from a relatively standard old-school doom metal outfit steeped in the aesthetics and lyrical themes of Norse mythology into a leaner, meaner beast that combines aspects of NWOBHM, traditional heavy metal, and some slivers of speed metal. Their core sound, however, has remained intact, always reliant upon the rhythmic power and memorability of their guitar work, battle-bred lyrics, and the compelling delivery of the vocals. Their latest, Sword Songs, changes little of what they’ve established on the past few albums; it’s a fun, accessible set of war hymns, but it reaches back into some of the band’s earlier doom roots to make it even more infectious.  Continue reading

Sepulchral Saturday: Stone Magnum – “Holy Blessings to None”

stonemagnum_holyblessingstononeIf there’s one thing that the revival in “retro doom” has done – just like any revival in a style – it has clearly separated the sheep from the goats. Since the uptick in the number of doom bands has started since the 2000s, it has become frighteningly easy to pick out the tired Electric Wizard and Windhand clones from the bands that are putting out the goods. Indiana-based quintet Stone Magnum, for as little fanfare as they’ve received, has been a consistently excellent band who continues to refine their cocktail of epic doom metal and NWOBHM on their latest full-length, Holy Blessings to NoneContinue reading