DIMWIND / BREATHS – Seasons (split EP)

At the beginning of 2022, the world found itself in complete turmoil. Humanity was still battling against the coronavirus pandemic – something that’d threatened to kill everyone – and an escalating war between Russians and Ukraine led to a worldwide tension, fuelled by a power hungry dictator with his finger hovering over the metaphorical self-destruct button. With everyone effectively amid a new cold war, there didn’t seem many reasons to remain positive. Adding to this palate of complete dread and fear, environmental issues were still of a massive concern. The world was now a ticking time bomb in more ways than one.

Drawing attention to those environmental issues that appeared to have taken something of a backseat during the year’s first quarter, US one man band Breaths and Sweden’s Dimwind teamed up for a split release featuring material specifically focusing on the vitally important issue. Amid the two lengthy workouts on their ‘Seasons’ EP, the message of eco-preservation is sometimes telegraphed almost as clearly as the massive riffs themselves, and the results are both harrowing and intensely brilliant in equal measure.

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CULT BURIAL – Oblivion EP

On their self titled album from 2020, London’s Cult Burial served up an interesting mix of extreme metal sounds. Tracks like ‘Abyss’ and ‘Chaos’ assaulted the audience with a take on doom metal that injected the slowness with elements of blackened death and thrash, whilst the (relatively speaking) more melodic ‘Forever’ presented an ambitious hybrid of post-hardcore, thrash and black metal which pretty much sounded like no-one else. It seemed to be the kind of album where – assuming you could brace yourself for its onslaught and manage to absorb more than two songs at a time – it was possible to actually pick out different musical flourishes with each listen. Impressive, considering that on first hearing the whole thing seemed like a relentless outpouring of anger. One thing was for certain: their arrival had challenged Allfather and Kurokuma for the crown of “Britain’s Heaviest Band”.

Barely nine months on, the band began to hint at a follow up. It was to be a timely return; the UK had started to make their way out of a pandemic hell and the live music scene had started to gain some tentative traction. Massive riffs were certainly needed, and although their new EP would arrive too late to soundtrack the summer for a Bloodstock Festival crowd, Cult Burial were in time to hammer a new season into the advertised ‘Oblivion’.

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German noisemakers Zeit return with minimalist video ahead of new release

Between 2015 and 2017 German trio Zeit carved themselves a niche within the world of extreme metal with three enjoyable – if challenging releases – that fused black metal intensities with an almost industrial abrasiveness. Further releases combined the black metal elements with heavier and doomier riffs, very much showing a band willing to stretch out without any concession to lightening up.

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Stream a new track from Frank’s Enemy

An extreme metal act from Miami, Frank’s Enemy have been making intensive noises since 1992.  Often combining grindcore, death metal and doom elements, the band’s sound has never been for the faint of heart. Their 2020 album ‘Abnormalized’ was scheduled for release in September, but as of January 2021, it’s still “under construction” with new tracks being added sporadically via their Bandcamp site.

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ANGELIC DESOLATION – Quorum Of Unspeakable Curses EP

By fusing a truckload of old-school death metal riffs, a pinch of black metal vocal and the relentlessness of grindcore, US extreme metallers Angelic Desolation create a sound they’ve dubbed “American Razorgrind”.  Their third release, the catchily titled ‘Quorum of Unspeakable Curses’ delivers three more relentless slabs of riffery, coupled with the kind of vocal that could clear a room of any listeners not so keen on demonic growls. It doesn’t do much that genre fans won’t have heard before, but between some amazing technical abilities and a lot of force, Angelic Desolation still have plenty to offer the world of extreme metal.

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