ACROSS THE BURNING SKY – The End Is Near

The members of Across The Burning Sky had been individually active on the death metal scene for some two decades at the time of this album’s release, but have only been a working unit for a very short time. It took just two years from forming to have settled upon a semi-accessible brand of death metal with which they figured would best represent them on their debut LP, ‘The End Is Near’. Although billed as “melodic death metal”, to be honest, this isn’t much more melodic than a lot of twenty first century death metal. The genre has come along leaps and bounds since 1988, so dropping clean lead guitars in between the huge growls and a barrage of pneumatics doesn’t make too much difference, especially if you’re not of an extreme listening persuasion. However, there are times when the appeal of the band’s angry and brutal stylings come across very well – especially when slowing down – so maybe, just maybe, this album will appeal to a certain listening demographic…“melodic” or otherwise.

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AKHENATEN – Golden Serpent God

Exploring a variety of extreme metal traits and breaking up the intensities with elements inspired by soundtracks and world music, this 2018 release from Akhenaten is very interesting. It certainly isn’t your run of the mill death metal release. But then, you should expect nothing less than a sense of adventure and a progressive attitude from an album that “explores the forgotten paths of history” and is “steeped in the mythology of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia”.

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NIHILISTIC LEGION – The Hunt EP

On this EP,  Israel’s Nihilistic Legion shows how much noise a one-man band can make.  Playing absolutely everything, the mysteriously named Tohu fuses classic death metal sounds with a touches of grindcore and other extremities to create something incredibly forceful. The five songs – four originals and one cover – shows off an artist whom has utter conviction in his art, but production wise, these tracks aren’t necessarily shown at their best. In fact, the chosen mix is so claustrophobic and abrasive in places, it can be rather hard to pick out the finer points of the sound. It doesn’t make for especially easy listening…but maybe that’s deliberate.

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RAM-PAGE – The Grave Of Seven Billion

Formed in 2010, it was less than a year before Russian metallers Ram-Page found themselves in the studio with enough money and support to record their debut album. The resultant LP, ‘The Keeper of Time’ gained enough attention for the band to actually shoot a couple of promotional videos before heading back into the studio to record a second album, eventually released in April 2012. With a similar whirlwind approach, a third release appeared the following year. In metal terms, it seemed these guys were following a similar breakneck approach to working as their 80s thrash and NWOBHM heroes.

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HEATHEN BEAST – The Carnage of Godhra EP

From it’s birth in the coldest extremes of Scandinavia, black metal slowly spread across Europe like a harsh plague, invading territories with a barrage of riffs, twig shaped logos, minimalist artwork and sounds often characterised by especially harsh, thin vocals. Over the years, the style has become more refined, mixing the purer elements with death metal depths and complexities. In allowing itself to be more inclusive of a few other extreme metal styles, it seemed to become even more influential – a huge surprise for a metal subgenre born within such extremities. In short, it’s all come a very long way from it’s roots; it’s no longer about painting your face white and considering burning a church during your spare time.

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