Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Decibel Magazine 2016 Tour: Abbath, High on Fire, Skeletonwitch, Tribulation

    A Tuesday night show is usually faced with the challenge of trying to get people to show up, since most of them will have to go to work the next day. However, when you have an artist like Abbath with additional bill support from High on Fire, Skeletonwitch and Tribulation, people won’t care what day it is, and show up ready to bang their heads to massive riffs of savage extreme glory. 

    When the Decibel Magazine 2016 tour announced a Bay Area date, I made sure to secure a ticket right away. Abbath has not been to the United States in awhile and even when he was in Immortal, the band very rarely made the trek out to the States. When I was in high school during the All Shall Fall Tour, they only played one California date and that was all the way down in Los Angeles. So, getting to see one of black metal’s most iconic and well respected members was something I just could not pass up. 

    Arriving at the Regency Ballroom after luckily finding decent parking (SF parking can truly be a nightmare), I noticed a fair amount of metal maniacs hanging outside the venue. I felt like a majority of the people attending this show would be their for Abbath, but with High on Fire and Skeletonwitch as openers, you knew their was going to be a strong turnout of loyal fans from those bands too. Tribulation was the wildcard band for me since I had not heard anything from them before seeing them live, but they turned out to be one of my favorite bands who performed. 

    Starting off the show with incense burning and an ominous stage set up that could be used as scenery in a Hammer Horror film, Tribulation began their set by cranking out a dark jam of blackened rock horror. Their dynamic sound incorporated elements of black metal, doom, old school death metal, hardcore horror punk and seventies psychedelic hard rock. Each member seemed possessed by the music and they looked as if someone just dug them up from the grave and told them to play some unholy sounding music. One guitar player had on a cape and would run around enthusiastically playing his guitar and cranking out some solid leads. I was really taken back by their whole stage presence and musicianship. Plus, the ambience that they created while performing perfectly complimented the music. The one track I enjoyed the most from them was, “Melancholia.” Their two guitar players were jamming on some sinister riffs that also had this slight surf rock and classic punk groove going. Overall, I am glad I showed up early to catch such an awesome live act who I will be listening to more of this week. 


    Taking the stage after Tribulation was the Ohio based extreme metal act, Skeletonwitch. I have always considered them the working man’s extreme metal band and find their brand of blackened thrash to relate to the type of metal fan looking to let off some steam after a stressful day at work. I could tell that they have been playing for some years now, because the musicianship was solid and the energy from their performance was really resonating with the crowd. By midway through their set, I started noticing more people showing up, especially the more fanatical fans who were starting to form a mosh pit. One of Skeletonwitch’s guitarists even noticed how energetic the fans were becoming by saying how this crowd was better than the Los Angeles crowd. Getting back to the band, their vocalist Adam Clemans had a monstrous vocal presentation with such aggressive force that matched the thunderous drumming and wicked riffs. Their two guitar attack was slaying throughout the entire set which allowed for plenty of headbanging opportunities. 


    Once Skeletonwitch finished to an enormous applause from the ravenous audience, High on Fire began setting up for their head crushing set of battle sized riffs. This Bay Area doom/stoner metal trio has been around since the late 90s after guitarist and singer Matt Pike left the band Sleep. Matt Pike is one of my favorite guitar players and I was really looking forward to seeing him live. Being a Bay Area band you knew they were going to receive a major welcome home from the fans. As all three members walked out on stage, the place erupted into complete chaos. High on Fire opened their set with the song, “The Black Plot,” which is off the new album. Personally, I thought choosing this song to open the set was an extremely good idea. The energy that comes from the main riff has this doom mixed with thrash vibe, which is the best way to get a crowd moving around. I think during most of the band’s set I was banging my head. Matt hammered away on his guitar with tremendous force and offered plenty of insane guitar solos. All around the band was giving one-hundred percent effort and their stage presence was at top level. 

High on Fire

    Finally, after waiting for many months, I along with the other metal fans in attendance would finally get to see the mighty Abbath. When the lights dimmed and some epic sounding cinematic intro music began, the venue shook with the force of people yelling and clapping for the Norwegian black metal musician. Coming out on stage in his signature corpse paint and black body armor looking ready for battle, Abbath tore into the first song, “To War!,” by viciously striking a chord on his v-shaped guitar. Abbath began his set with a couple songs from his new solo release, with my favorite being the song, “Winterbane.” Also, I should make note of the other talented musicians that are part of Abbath’s band. On bass you have King Ov Hell who is known for his work in Gorgoroth and many other collaborations such as the release him, Abbath and a couple other black metal musicians put out called, “Between Two Worlds.” On second guitar you had Ole AndrĂ© Farstad who was a skillful player and handled the material very well. On drums was, ‘Creature’ (Gabe Seeber) blasting away at intense rhythms to support the triumphant frost bitten riffs of northern darkness. 


    Abbath’s set was comprised of an almost equal amount of new solo material and classic Immortal songs. Some fans kept shouting for him to play more Immortal songs, but I understand why he wanted to play the new music. Plus, I think the new tracks are solid crushing extreme pieces of music and a majority of the fans were rocking out to them. Also, I thought it was great when he did the song, “Warriors,” from the “Between Two Worlds,” release. Of course, once he broke out songs like “Tyrants” and “One by One,” the venue would become overly fanatical. I had drunk dudes pushing past me trying to get to the stage and their behavior was down right annoying. Another part during Abbath’s set where I was not exactly thrilled, was when Abbath finished a song and for a few minutes just walked around throwing his arms up in the air getting the crowd to react to his epic looking Abbath poses. I swear, he could have added another song to the set list! To make up for the time wasted, at least I was treated to some of my personal favorite Immortal classics like, “Solarfall,” and, “Nebular Ravens Winter.” The band finished the set with, “All Shall Fall,” which brought about a thunderous reaction. The crowd kept roaring for one more, but the band did not come out to play an encore. Disappointing that there was no encore, but Abbath still put on a great performance.

    All around this tour delivered in brutal and epic style, so thank you Decibel for putting together one amazing tour package. Not only did I get to see the mighty Abbath, but I watched High on Fire, Skeletonwitch and Tribulation offer up extremely impressive performances of their own. I think the energy from the bands on stage stood out the most, and there was not one dual sounding moment on that stage. Yes, Abbath doing his epic poses was rather silly, but when you are a black metal icon you can do whatever you want. As long as you play some killer songs, people will be rocking out the whole way! Hail Abbath!  \m/ 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Concert Review: Satan, Night Demon and Hell Fire in SF

Night Demon

     Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday, happened to be the perfect night to see the legendary band called, Satan. San Francisco and Bay Area metal fans were given quite a show with three excellent heavy metal acts.  

    The line-up of Satan, Night Demon and Hell Fire sure delivered a solid live experience for those metal fans who attended. Being one of NWOBHM’s most respected bands, I knew that there was going to be a decent turnout. Honestly, I did not realize the amount of people who really fanatical Satan fans. When I arrived at the venue after searching almost an hour for parking, the line to get into the Elbo Room was surprisingly very long. Also, you had metal fans ranging from young to old, drunk to super drunk, but mostly looking ready to rock out to some killer music. 

    Opening the show was SF locals, Hell Fire, who were also celebrating the release of their first album. I saw Hell Fire play with Night Demon two years ago at the Knock Out, and was rather impressed with their take on classic style heavy metal. However, the band’s singer who I saw at the Knock Out was not with them anymore, and I personally thought he played a crucial role in their overall sound. Though, the band’s new singer was someone who I did find to be a suitable replacement. Jake Nunn, the band’s new singer, played in a band called Hysteria who I had seen a few times. I really enjoyed the band’s live energy and could tell they have been working hard at developing that tight heavy metal sound. The riffs were fierce and the music flowed with great synergy. For an opener they did a solid job getting the fans ready, especially when Jake challenged everyone to try and match his vocals. He may have lost 59 times before, but I think he can count last night as a win for putting on a wicked live set. 

Hell Fire

    Taking the stage next after Hell Fire, was Ventura, CA’s very own, Night Demon. One of heavy metal’s most electrifying and talented bands around, Night Demon take’s listeners back in time to the NWOBHM period with some brilliant songwriting and one passionate live experience. Once they took to the stage supported by a phenomenal lighting set up and epic looking background, the band owned that space and unleashed killer song after song. Also to point out, this would be the band’s first show with new guitarist, Armand Anthony. Again, I have a hard time adjusting to when certain bands make line-up changes, especially when the band was firing at all cylinders like Night Demon. However, Armand did a tremendous job for his first show and seemed to have all the guitar parts down. I also liked how he added to the band’s stage presence. Him and bassist/singer Jarvis Leatherby were a strong live presence and their playing matched up perfectly. Dusty Squires was a monster behind the kit and has such a powerful sound that maintains an extremely supportive rhythmic backbone. 

    Song’s like “Full Speed Ahead,” “Curse of the Damned,” and “The Howling Man,” sounded simply amazing. During their song, “The Chalice,” from Night Demon’s first EP, the band’s mascot “Rocky” made his way out and seemed to get a big pop from the audience. The band’s performance was one of their best in my opinion, which is saying something, because the other two times I have seen them were exceptional sets. I think the crowd also really enjoyed the band’s performance and people were throwing the horns up until the very end. 

    After Night Demon finished their killer set, the band of the night began getting ready. Satan definitely was the reason a lot of fans were there, and when they came out on stage, everyone seemed to make their way to the stage. The venue was so packed I felt like a sardine in a can. Holy crap! I did not realize how many people were fanatical Satan fans. Once the band cranked up the guitar distortion and kicked into the first song, I could understand why people showed up in full force. Satan for an older band sounded very solid and does not let their age prevent them from rocking out with kick jams. Singer Brian Ross has an amazing voice along with unbelievably great stage presence. The guttering playing from Russ Tippins and Steve Ramsey was truly smashing, especially the lead guitar playing. Bassist Graeme English and drummer Sean Taylor were very good players as well and added to the band’s overall sound. 

    I respected how they played a decent balance of new and old material. Some fans were shouting for them to play more old songs, but I find those people to be either drunk, or just completely ignorant. Satan’s new songs sounded just as exciting and well written as the band’s work from, “Court in the Act.” Yes, “Trial by Fire” and “Blades of Steel,” were really awesome to hear live, but the new songs from “Atom By Atom,” happened to be well received. “Farewell Evolution,” hands down was my favorite song during their set. 

    Well, there you have it folks, an amazing night of heavy metal for Bay Area metal fans to always remember (unless they drank so much that they blacked out). I think this was a well put together bill that showed a classic metal band that still knows how to put on a killer live show, and also give a couple of up and coming bands the opportunity to offer their crushing heavy metal music. In the end, if you went to this show, you did not lose out on a great heavy metal might have lost some money thanks to parking, but the music hopefully made up for that.  


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Nucleus "Sentient"

    Unspeakable Axe Records unleashes upon the metal community yet another solid extreme band, this time taking science fiction themed lyrics and monumental sounding death metal compositions into more extreme directions. Nucleus, based out of Chicago, disintegrates listener’s speakers with their debut full-length release, “Sentient.” 

    I can honestly say that once the first riff began, I had this premonition that some brutal force was coming my way. Nucleus summons the bombastic sounding aggression from old school death metal bands, but adds their own noticeable distinct stamp of ass kicking music. They really do a solid job crafting their own sound, which helps separate them from those generic sounding old school extreme metal copycats. To think of it, most of the bands I have reviewed on Unspeakable Axe Records tend to be very talented and incorporate a variety of extreme influences into their music, while expressing their own original ideas. 

    The songwriter is very consistent and as I noted earlier, I just felt like this group was going to deliver some massive and brutal sounding death metal tunes. Following the opening instrumental piece called, “Sentience,” song number two, “Dosadi,” gets the adrenaline pumping with a mean sounding riff. I swear, you just want to break everything in your path as the singer growls over the slamming instrumental parts. For the next song, “Cantos,” the band perfectly transitioned into a crushing tsunami of old school death metal worshipping horror. Every instrument is record at such a precise level that one can really appreciate the musicianship that this band put into the track. Plus, I think it is important to point out how Nucleus does not overwhelm listeners with technicality by seeing how fast they can play. Songs like, “Cube,” and, “Insurgent,” are well crafted tracks that do not need all that extra technical skill to get the band’s point across. Each musician is able to contribute their talents equally, and I don’t think one player solely steals the show. 

    Overall, they are a well rounded group of musicians that can offer such powerful pieces like, “Ancient.” To think it, I think Ancient was my favorite track on the entire album. Every riff, drum part and lyric, paint this sinister sounding world that makes for one unforgiving death metal song. The final track, “Starflyer,” was a close second favorite and forcefully shuts the lid on this extreme ride through brutal and tormented musical landscapes. 

    From top to bottom, there is not a dual or simplistic moment on, “Sentient.” Nucleus throws down deafening sounds of extreme music to show people that there is no settling for something boring and basic when offering brutality. Highly worth checking out if you are a fan of pure kick ass death metal...and happen to be drawn to any band that has album artwork done by Dan Seagrave. I swear, his artwork compliments the music every time...Any band with a Dan Seagrave album cover is certified brutal in my book. 

Check out their song "Cube" below:

Nucleus Facebook Page:

Unspeakable Axe Records Facebook Page:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Concert Review: Thought Vomit, Sean Rivera and Contortion at Gale's Central Club

    After attending a killer punk and metal show the week before, I found myself returning to Gale’s Central Club in downtown Petaluma for yet another crushing evening of live music. The line-up consisted of Sean Rivera from MSG, Contortion and Thought Vomit. Also, there was no cover charge for this show, so those of you who are tired of paying outrageous ticket prices at the movies, need to start dragging your lazy dimes down to these shows. 

    Even with the weather being extremely poor and there being very little promotion, there still was a decent turnout. I am glad that someone sent me a text the day before, otherwise I would have been unaware of this event. Arriving at the bar, I could see the punk and metal crowd already enjoying some music from guitarist/singer Sean Rivera, who also plays in a rock band called MSG. Using a pedal board, Sean was able to change up his guitar sound which complimented the change is his vocal tone. He could really hit those high notes at times. Most of his songs fell into the hard rock category with a few metal like riffs here and there. I was impressed by his fingerpicking piece that contained a pleasant chord progression. For a solo artist he did a solid job, especially opening for more extreme bands, with one being know to create insane mosh pits where dogs will somehow end up in the pit. 

    Following Sean's set, Contortion started bringing their gear into the bar. This four piece metal band was from Southern California, and they were currently on tour. Their music conveyed quite a few political messages that expressed disillusionment with certain aspects of the American system. They had one song that raised issue with how America has the largest incarceration rate for a first world country. Musically, the band played a very basic form of metal that didn’t sound horrible, but was not anything new. For a two guitar attack, I felt like they offered up more generic riffs than dynamic leads. Then again, some people are more into just writing simple and catchy headbanging riffs. Contortion’s drummer was really destroying behind the kit and looked like he was giving every ounce of energy he had during their set. For the most part the band put on an enjoyable performance, which the crowd seemed to enjoy since a few people were beginning to push and attempt to get a pit going. 

    After Contortion finished up and passed a tip jar around to get some money to help out on their tour, Thought Vomit began setting up. I have seen these fanatical punk thrashers numerous times before, and writing reviews about them is always fun, because there are some many memorable moments during their a dog in the mosh pit. Tonight the band seemed ready to turn the place up side down which the crowd was ready for. Singer Spencer Clark was in the zone once the band started playing their opening song, “Wreck Shop.” Guitarist Chris Meyer cranked out brutal riff after brutal riff, while bassist Jordie Hilley hammered away at his instrument. Drummer Clay Prieto maintained the thunderous beat, while hit his cymbals with wicked force. Unfortunately, Spencer’s mic kept cutting out which made it hard to hear his vocals at times, but he did not let the problem prevent him from screaming his heart out and soldiering on throughout the set. Also, shout-out to Jordie Hilley for throwing in some wicked bass solos. For those people who think bass players only know how to follow along to the rhythm, Jordie showed some impressive skill traveling down the neck. Since this was a twenty-one and up show, I am going to say that the pit was not as large as it could have been. However, the songs were great and the crowd responded well, especially to the new material. 

    So, there is another account of the awesome music that this area has to offer. Keep your eyes and ears open, because these shows are worth attending. Plus, the bands who played last night are definitely worth checking out. Again, affordable entertainment that does not cost an arm and a leg, along with the chance to see solid punk and metal talent right in front of your eyes. Who needs 3-D movies when you have members of Thought Vomit literally walking and running around in the middle of the crowd...Thought Vomit 3-D concert movies...could be a big deal...

Thought Vomit Facebook:


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Review: "Conjurations Upon the Impending Demise"

    Although people may come from different countries, the passion for extreme music can be a great unifying factor. Titled, “Conjurations Upon the Impending Demise,” this nine song split features two bands who happen to be from different countries, but play a similar style of unforgiving extreme music. Impure Consecration from Southern California and Putrid from Lima Peru, team up for one sinister ritual of riffs, blast beats and tormented growls from the crypts of eternal darkness. 

    The brutality and extreme raw aggression that comes from both bands is quite impressive in the sense that their extreme music worship vividly stands out during each track. Compared to the gimmicky bands who just play the same chord progressions song after song and poorly throw in some exaggerated death growls in an attempt to portray themselves as bad ass satanic mothers, both bands on this split come up with clever compositions that contain solid extreme metal elements. 

    Kicking off the split is, Impure Consecration, who I had not heard of before being sent this release. After listening to the first song and being reminded of certain old school extreme acts who took metal down a more intense and unforgiving path, I became instantly interested in their music. “Succumb to Impurity Fire,” begins with a crushing mid-tempo riff and then explodes into a chaotic frenzy of blast beats. The singer delivers a blasphemous sounding vocal style to present the lyrics. 

    Track number two from Impure Consecration, “Apparitions of a Malevolent Spirit,” was hard to make out at times due to how the recording sounded. I think the guitars should have been recorded louder since there were a few solos that I wanted to hear which sounded really well played. Same thing with track number three, “Grave Maledict.” The band has some really enjoyable sounding brutal old school style riffs that could maybe use a different recording quality. I understand the desire to have this harsh raw underground sound, but Impure Consecration is one of those bands who does not need to cover up their lack of talent by using a poor recording quality. The last two tracks that are live recordings of the band, happened to be my favorites. I could hear the instruments better and thought the live energy from their performance was well captured in the recordings. 

    The last four songs on the split come from one of my favorite up and coming black metal acts, Putrid. These guys are part of the growing underground extreme music is scene in South America and perfectly conjure that classic black metal spirit in their music. The first unholy sounding piece from them, “The Crown of Damnation,” is a simple yet scorching cut of musical terror. Putrid’s singer adds to the malevolence by unleashing some gruesome sounding growls that would strike fear in the heart of any priest. “Tearing Souls Apart,” continues the speed picking riff attack while, “What Preys on These Ruins,” gives off a very early Morbid Angel like sound. There are these bursts of bombastic noise that come from the drummer and guitarist to seriously wake up the listener. “Impalement Rituals,” finishes up the extreme ride of musical chaos by laying down some skull crushing compositions. Once again, Putrid unlocks the sounds of the damned to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the world of extreme music. 

    To wrap it up, you have two solid extreme acts that don’t mess around and simply convey a brutal style of music. Impure Consecration and Putrid are two bands I strongly recommend checking out. “Conjurations Upon the Impending Demise,” is a split for all fans of extreme music which can be used to wake up evil spirits from dark abysses... or more music to wake up your non-metal loving neighbors. 

Preview Song: Impure Consecration "Apparitions of a Malevolent Spirit" 

Impure Consecration Facebook: 

Putrid Facebook: 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Concert Review: Nor Bay Pyrate Punx Presents "Amnesia, Cheap Squeeze, End All and Heap of Stone"


    Sometimes looks can be deceiving and a small dive bar can be the optimal setting for a crushing hardcore punk, sludge and doom show. Gale’s Central Club, located in downtown Petaluma, happened to be the best place for an earsplitting and exciting show on a Sunday night. 

    The bands who played were Amnesia, Cheap Squeeze, End All and Heap of Stone. This would be Amnesia’s first live show and being past guests of my radio show and really good friends, I made sure to show up and give my support. Also, I was interested in hearing the other three bands live and seeing what they had to offer. Upon arriving at the venue fairly early looking to get out of the pouring rain, I noticed that there were already some crusty looking punks gathered inside ready to unleash some pent up rage. I was hoping that compared to my last punk/metal show experience at Gale’s where I saw two fights with one guy getting body slammed, that the crowd would be able to keep themselves in check. Luckily, there were no violent altercations and just some top quality up and coming acts.

    After moving the pool tables to the side and laying down the carpet for the bands to play on, Amnesia began setting up for their first official live set. The Santa Rosa, CA based sludge band takes influences such as Negative Approach, Eyehategod, Saint Vitus, Acid Bath and simply has fun experimenting with a variety of extreme compositions. Guitarist Luis Olguin began hammering right away at ominous sounding chord progressions, while drummer Chris Olney Burnett pounded on his drums with plenty of brutal force. Singer Alex Hernandez took the mic and became possessed by the wicked sounding instrumental compositions to where he knew exactly when to come in with his unforgiving harsh vocal style. The band sounded unbelievably tight, especially during the quick hardcore punk mixed with grindcore parts. Chris was playing at break neck speeds and even when a drum stick flew out of his hands, he was able to maintain the rhythm while grabbing a new one and recovered quite impressively. Best song during their set in my opinion was, “Hallowed Voices.” The band turned up the extreme dial and Alex channeled his inner Mike IX. Once finished the crowd gave the band a thunderous applause and congratulated them on a smashing first show. 

    Following Amnesia was Cheap Squeeze, another local Sonoma County band. Cheap Squeeze definitely offered more of a classic hardcore punk sound and I think the fans appreciated it, because I saw a few people feverishly nodding their heads and digging the punk instrumentals. Their sound reminded me of groups such as the Subhumans, Agent Orange and Black Flag. Their drummer and bass player did a solid job providing a strong rhythmic backbone. The band’s guitarist/singer seemed to be on the money with his riffs and vocal presentation. I thought they had a few songs with very catchy choruses and the backing vocals provided by the drummer and bass player amplified the lyrical content with an extra pop of energy. 

   Third band after Cheap Squeeze was End All. These guys drove up from Martinez, CA to demonstrate their aggressive and vitriolic style of hardcore punk that had some metal elements thrown in here and there. Using minor chords to create a sinister intro, the band then exploded into a furious onslaught of extreme noise. The level of energy that was coming from their music definitely took people by surprise. I thought they had a solid sound and exhibited tremendous passion. Their singer would scream into the microphone while staring straight ahead and had such a hellish vocal delivery. During their set they announced that they had free demos which caused one guy from outside to come rushing with enthusiasm. I made sure to grab one myself before that guy could come back and take them all. Towards the end of their set it was no surprise that the crowd wanted an encore, and End All was generous enough to play a couple more for the ravenous demo crazed fans. 

    The last band to play was Petaluma locals, Heap of Stone. When I saw their guitarist bring in an Orange Amp, I knew these guys were going to unleash some doom upon the crowd. Heap of Stone cleverly combined doom, sludge and progressive metal elements to put on a devastating performance. Also, for a trio they had a full and powerful sound which I think is impressive for only three dudes. At times they would go into these long Sleep like instrumental jams and knowing that there were some Sleep fans in attendance, Heap of Stone was truly playing to crowd's musical preferences. I think their singer/drummer was feeling a bit under the weather, because I could not hear the vocals that well. Although, his drumming was still spot on. By the end of the set all three members looked dog tired from riffing away on loud and solid pieces of doom. 

    For a free show at a dive bar on a Sunday night, all three bands played great and there was a solid turnout. It is sad that there are not shows like this more often, so give credit to Nor Bay Pyrate Punx for getting these four bands together. Also, I would really like to see these bands keep playing live gigs. Their hard work stood out the most and if they keep working at coming up with killer songs, who knows what they might be able to achieve down the road. So, if any of these four groups is playing in a city near you, I recommend making your way down. Even if the venue is not exactly a five star establishment, the music and atmosphere will be something that you will never forget. 

End All


End All:

Cheap Squeeze:

Heap of Stone:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Hemotoxin "Biological Enslavement"

    For some bands that second album can be a challenge and the sophomore slump is something most would like to avoid. However, Hemotoxin rises to the occasion on their sophomore full-length release, “Biological Enslavement.” Also, this is their first album to be released on one of my favorite metal labels, Unspeakable Axe Records. 

    The Pittsburg, CA based band has really grown as musicians and songwriters. Taking from various influences, the band molds a technical death/thrash sound that features melodic and progressive elements to add great depth to their songs. I remember seeing them when they opened up for Havok a few years back and I could tell they were trying to tear themselves away from that generic death/thrash label that so many bands just can’t escape from. When I saw them in September of last year, I felt that they were headed in a positive direction musically. “Biological Enslavement,” is an example of their determination, hard work and expanding skill level which makes this release such an amazing listen. 

    Focusing on the songwriting, Hemotoxin’s whole approach is quite refreshing and the musicianship helps formulate some killer tracks. The album begins with an explosive chord pounding instrumental piece, "Decadence." After a quick transition, song number two, “Regression,” unleashes a wicked sounding guitar riff. I found the vocal presentation to offer tremendous raw emotional expression. The song’s lyrics articulated some very serious political and social topics that demonstrates how metal people are quite informed about the world around them. Track number three “Minus Human” definitely displayed the band’s technical talents, while maintaining a heavy groove. The bass playing especially in the beginning of the song added some extra emphasis to the main guitar riffs. 

    Track number four, “Not of this World,” opened with a feverish guitar jam and the drumming seemed to be set on rapid fire cruise control the entire time. Following it up, “Forgotten Faces,” featured the two guitar players shredding through various scales as the lyrics happened to leave a vivid statement that stayed with me after the song was finished. One line that stood out was, “How do we determine, the value of human life.” I liked how certain verses that followed played off this one simple statement and really made for a powerful piece of music.  As much as the lyrics were my favorite part of track number five, I thought track six, “The Alchemist,” contained some creative and dynamic instrumental compositions from each member. The band dives into an intense thrash tornado of souls and the vocals come roaring through the noise to make truly strong lyrical statements. Plus, I have to give major credit to the exaggerated growl that reminded me of something Chuck Schuldiner would do.  

    A song like, “Bleak Prognosis,” remains very true to the previous tracks in structure and towards the end the band does not throw in any filler to finish out the release. “A Journey Through Dreams” and “Transparent Eyes” are actually the two tracks I enjoyed the most. I especially need to raise attention to, “A Journey Through Dreams.” Being a fan of instrumental rock and metal songs, I thought Hemotoxin did a spectacular job writing an exciting and engaging instrumental piece. Their use of a variety of tempos and intricate guitar leads kept the music constantly flowing and never sounding redundant or simplistic. The final song “Transparent Eyes,” closed the album by truly raising the aggression bar along with more phenomenal guitar leads. 

    Hemotoxin’s “Biological Enslavement” happened to be a perfect example of why young up and coming bands need to never give up and keep pushing themselves. Listening to their previous release and this one is almost like night and day. Now, I am not trying to imply that their debut full-length was a massive failure. “Between Forever...and the End,” was a decent first release for a beginning band. However, their talents really came together when making this new album. I think my only critique is, where will they go from here? I mean, how can they out do this album? I hope Hemotoxin continues to find ways to further push themselves as songwriters, because they are on a great path right now. Seriously, get this album and support a band who is truly keeping the passion for technical extreme metal moving forward. 

Preview the song "Transparent Eyes" Below:

Hemotoxin Facebook:

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