Review: Assault - The Exceptions of the Rebellions

Assault_-_The_Exceptions_of_the_RebellionDid I miss the Scandinavian invasion of Singapore? Is one of the last few city states in the world now known more for its top-three finishes at elite level hockey tournaments and Nordic event dominance at the Olympics than it is for its vaunted multiculturalism and clean streets? If not, how else could you explain a band like Singapore’s Assault pulling off the melodic death metal sound, forged by the likes of Swedish luminaries such as At the Gates, In Flames, and Dark Tranquility so well?

Assault has well and truly arrived with its first EP, The Exceptions of the Rebellions, a four track effort many years in the making. Featuring great production, not just for an indie release, but genuinely clear, powerful production, blackened, clearly enunciated vocals, and Euro inspired riffs and tone, the mini album kicks off with “Subversion.” The track features the patented harmonized guitar attack during the verse, heavily inspired by the many European melodeath acts that have come before. It’s both catchy and dramatic, with soaring hammer on and pull of solos over a straight ahead, driving hard rock/metal beat.

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Review: Expurgo - Burial Ground

Expurgo_-_Burial_GroundAfter putting out a collection of split releases and a demo, Belo Horizonte, Brazil's Expurgo finally came out with their debut full length album, Burial Ground, in 2010 on Black Hole Productions. The ten-year veterans of gore and grind have sharpened and honed their craft like a well-used machete, and are hitting the sick in the head masses with 29 tracks and 39 minutes worth of horror-inspired, full bore blood and guts grind.

Leading off Burial Ground is “Blast of Truth, a blazing track of pure grind. With gravel throated vocals courtesy of Egon and desperate backing proto-grind screams from guitarist Phillipe, this track is heavy on the groove. Precise and pummeling are the words that spring to mind like a serial killer from the shadows on the next song, “Only the Depressive Trades”, a Napalm Death-inspire approach to old school death and grind with some punk panache thrown in.  Egon possesses a rapid fire vocal delivery throughout the disc that breathes thick, flammable sputum, while Phillipe and drummer Anderson channel Terrorizer's Jesse Pintado, the grindfather himself, and Pete Sandoval respectively.

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Review: Sargeist - Let the Devil In

SargeistLetTheDevilInCDFinnish blacker than all things black metal act Sargeist, having been around since 1999, have released three full length records along with an unholy host of splits, EPs and demos. The latest full length offering is 2010’s Let the Devil In, a bleak and blackened altar awash in razor riffed anti-Christian and anarchistic filth.

“Empire of Suffering” sets the idol ablaze with some blast-addled black metal, screeching and void of all light or hope. It slows to foot-on-monitor black n’ roll, and creeps back to blast, chaotic and melodic all at once. It’s almost classical in its influences, Wagnerian but not overly symphonic. “A Spell to Awaken the Temple” follows with a standalone guitar intro riff that ignites into the typical black metal busy blast you would find on a Marduk or Limbonic Art album. It’s furious and whipping like winds ripping in from the Arctic Circle, cold and militantly Satanic. Whirling black metal riffs sweep violently across the mix, complementing the throat scarring vocals.

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Review: Offal - Macabre Rampages and Splatter Savages

Offal_-_Macabre_Rampages_and_Splatter_SavagesBrazilian gore mongers Offal have returned with their latest disc of horror-inspired gratuitous carnage, Macabre Rampages and Splatter Savages. The album sets the tone with an eponymous intro that is dark, old school, and twisted, with some modern slam and psychopathic bounce. Things then kick off in earnest with “Feast for the Dead”, with its dripping wet, gory vocals, simplistic and menacing lead riffs, and old school rhythms. The focus is on atmosphere and blunt brutality, with tips of the hollowed out cranium to acts such as General Surgery, Death Breath, Autopsy, and Massacre. Offal takes the listener back to the dead old days when true evil in death metal first revealed its disgusting, hybrid form.

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