Review: Blessed by Perversion – Remnants of Existence

Blessed by Perversion – Remnants of Existence
Iron, Blood and Death Corporation

Brutally intense with some pulse-pounding riffs and beats, Blessed by Perversion’s second album, Remnants of Existence, is a thrilling album for death metal fans to really engage with.

Ironically (or coincidentally) the Greek band released their album on Christmas Day in 2020. Their six-track album hits the ground running and setting a mood of what they’re trying to accomplish. The intro track, Descending into the Catacombs, is a slow minute-fifteen-long burn as the listener becomes surrounded by the sounds and sights the music creates in their mind. Then come the double kicks and Gallery of Bones picks the album up.

Flowing with mid-paced and rhythmic chugging for a short while, a sudden change in structure is where Hell breaks loose. Guitar and bass change – the tempo picks up and the listener is slammed with a wall of brutality. With an impressive guitar solo and well-placed, almost groovy riffs near the end of the track, the song ends only to be carried by an even heavier track, Atonement Refused.

Feeling more in-place with mid-90s death metal, Atonement Refused rips through with blistering speed. The hefty chugs within the chorus, followed by its technical bridge – and well-placed bass groove – changes up with moments of a Phrygian scale and mirrors something sounding almost from Nile. However, it doesn’t come across like a “copy” as the ideas fits within the atmosphere and feeling Remnants of Existence is aiming to create.

Within Among the Tombs of Absent Gods, the crushing riffs don’t stop. Feeling even darker than the last track, the album continues its descent for the listener. With layered vocals, the growls become more sinister and absorb the listener down the band’s dark path.

In Caverns of Torture, there’s a Cannibal Corpse-y feel to the song with its finger tapping intro and addition to more treble on bass guitar. The pounding chorus with pinched harmonics, along with the slamming snare adds some interesting colour to the already impressive track. After a bit of a break down, the song resets itself with the finger tapping intro and descends into madness with a dark guitar solo and filthy riffs that really pushes out the aggression.

The anthem-like Within Monumental Chaos concludes the album with probably the more memorable chorus on the album. The song features a descending scale with a technical breakdown which, in my opinion, really encapsulates the songwriting prowess of Blessed by Perversion. With a sweeping guitar solo, the song begins its double-kick conclusion as it wraps up the album with an epic, yet dark feeling.

Every song on the album was an impressive feat. While bass could been louder in some moments and kick drums may feel over-processed in some parts, Remnants of Existence floored me with quality in both production and song-writing capability. Rarely do I get to review albums from independent bands that really knock me off my feet.

A technically brilliant and dark, haunting journey, Blessed by Perversion’s Remnants of Existence is an album within the death metal realm that should not be missed.

Blessed by Perversion on Bandcamp

Review: Deathcraeft – On Human Devolution

Deathcraeft – On Human Devolution

Deathcraeft’s debut and concept album, On Human Devolution, features lots of juicy riffs and hefty blast beats with lyrics that explore the socio-political and self-destructing nature of humanity. With clear influences from Testament, Possessed, and Aborted come together, this Greek band offers a surprisingly genuine effort of great arrangements and solid songwriting.

While the The Ritual starts things off with lots of heft and thrash metal influence, The Beginning of the End really kick starts the album with brilliant riffs and chugging that are catchy as hell. The song also starts to showcase more death metal influences in the band while still holding its thrash-like feel – the guitar and bass sounds feel thick and heavy and filled with a groove that almost adds a Pantera-like influence to the song.

Spreading Lies fluctuates with tempos and provides a lot of different highlights throughout the song which feel naturally powerful with its upbeat, catchy chorus.

The fourth track, Welcome to Oblivion, features the closest resemblance to the Possessed/Testament-influence. The groovy descending riffs layered on top of the battering double kicks really strike the listener with intensity. The chorus has triumphant moments which do not detract from the brutality before it, and ripping solos compliment the chorus as it transitions back into the verses.

If there’s one major compliment to give, singer Nikonas Tsolakos offers a wide range with his vocal styles. Whether grunts, growls, screams, or gutteral whispers, there’s a versatile mix of singing provided on the album which keeps the album fresh and easily digestible for listeners who may shy away from the more lower range of death metal vocals.

While featuring one of the better solos on the album, Survival slows down the pace the album has been running with. As a six minute song, it becomes a bit of a fight to bring the album back up again with the next song, Daydreaming in the Abyss, which arguably could have been the slower song transitioning into Paving the Way. However, the slow down allows the listener a bit of breathing room to absorb what they’ve heard before and perhaps realize a lot of the riffs and songwriting had been thematic in many songs – something that can be overlooked and certainly is not common in the death/thrash genre.

With the longest song on the album, Free into the Void is the most climatic song on the album – fitting to conclude the 48-minute concept album off properly – as it closes with a dripping-with-mood conclusion. With some of the heaviest riffs and fastest double kicks on the album, the song’s outro ends rather triumphantly – almost pulling from the folk metal sub genre with feelings of Amon Amarth shining through.

Intense, brutal, and surprisingly progressive, Deathcraeft’s debut throws lots of surprises at the listener to make a impressively creative debut.

Deathcraeft – On Human Devolution

Review: Moaning Silence – A Waltz into Darkness

Moaning Silence – A Waltz into Darkness

Into their second release, Moaning Silence’s A Waltz into Darkness features sonic familiarity which creates both a haunting and mournful album for fans of the genre.

Finding commonality with both early-My Dying Bride and Anathema, A Waltz into Darkness brings simple but dark and resonating riffs into their music – all the while, intertwining some melody for added ambiance and tossing in a few surprises along the way.

The opening track, Rite of Decay, builds harmonies with both male and female-led vocals to climax into a withering sound of despair. Listeners who let themselves get wrapped with the music will find themselves unexpectedly headbanging along; with the lyrical rhymes and drum beat by the end as the next song, The Silence of the Gods, keeps pounding the listener across.

Also surprising is how the keyboards feel like the unsung hero of the album: adding a sense of grandiose underneath all of the sadness. In the track Song for Winter, the piano takes lead among the female-driven vocals and bass tones. Especially near the end of the song, the keys act as a beautiful tie in-between both the sorrow singing and metal instrumentation. The keys can be heard again taking the charge in I Am the Sorrow – shining yet again with its ambiance.

Other surprising moments are the intensity of doom which ebbs and flows within different songs. With the ending of Stormbirds, chords become more uplifting than expected and almost pull the listener away from what had came before it. Yet some of the album’s heaviest sounds are shown in the middle of the track The Lights of Alexandria where the bass, keys, and slow-tempo drums create a tense march underneath a emotionally-driven guitar solo.

While the ebbs and flows within the songs work, one of the few drawbacks to the album was when vocal harmonies would occur as female vocals would tend to overshadow the male’s at some points. In some moments the guitars could have had some added oomph to their distortion, while the snare levels would vary from song to song – or sometimes even within the same song. Upon first listen, it felt as if the band was replicating Anathema’s Serenades in terms of production – which it almost does. However, Serenades was released in 1993.

Still, A Waltz into Darkness is a great album with plenty of introspective surprises for the listener along the way. From start to finish, the consistencies of both the song writing and performances keep the listener involved for the entire, brilliantly-gloomy ride.

Moaning Silence on Bandcamp

Review: Project Renegade – Order of the Minus

Project Renegade – Order of the Minus

Out of Athens, Greece comes Project Renegade – a four-piece metal band which borrows from various genres and blends them into a cohesive sound. Released in the latter part of 2019, their first album, Order of the Minus, brings a mix of electronic, industrial, symphonic, and ambient elements to cement a pretty solid debut.

Order of the Minus opens with the electronic and ambient elements in The Big Boss then envelops the listener with one of their singles off of the album, Liber8. Vocalist, Maria Ioanna Florou, flourishes with a welcomed level of harmonies. The back and forth between samples in the song and Marianna’s singing balances well and feels natural. The feat in the first song continues throughout the rest of the album which surprisingly doesn’t begin to feel repetitive. There’s something going on there.

The album features some incredibly uplifting choruses which could almost confuse the band with power metal. Yet Project Renegade is anything but that. Both rock and heavy metal powers through each song and rarely gives the listener any down time. While songs like Sylar may showcase more restrictive guitar riffing from guitarist Nick K., it’s moments in songs like it which let both the guitar and electronic tones shine through – reminiscent of something off newer Evergrey albums.

Songs like The New Joker or the bridge in the song The Strain, offer some great variation within the album, showcasing drummer Odey and bassist Jay away from the vocals and guitar tones. That’s not to say there’s too much vocals and guitar. In fact, the mix of the album, given how electronic-like it began, does blend extremely well.

Nothing on Order of the Minus feels overproduced or exhaustive. The levels and balancing act in the mix are darn-near perfect. After a few spins, I still struggled to come across any faults with their sound.

If there was anything that came as a surprise to me was the flow of intensity from transitional songs: The Big Boss and A Demon Has Escaped the Triangle. Both transitions featured builds that I felt ended with a whimper. I had expected them to blow right into the next song with full force, but I felt they ended up taking the wind out of the sails. They’re not bad transitional songs – I just felt they didn’t transition well which is surprising given how well every song transitioned into the next, like The Strain into Respirator, or The New Joker into In Another Life.

That being said, the final and longest song, Black Mountain, features some of the coolest effects and transitions in the album. The slow, symphonic and harmonic build, “in search of a harmony,” finds itself as one of the strongest songs, ending the album on a high note.

With an extremely solid debut, Project Renegade’s Order of the Minus brings together a lot of varying musical styles together which can appeal to various listeners across multiple genres. Order of the Minus is a welcome surprise.

Project Renegade on Bandcamp

Review: Black Sun Omega – The Sum of All Fears

Black Sun Ωmega – The Sum of All Fears

Released in December of 2019, Black Sun Ωmega’s debut album, The Sum of All Fears, is old-school thrash metal in a new age.

Mixing both thrash and death elements, Black Sun Ωmega crushes the listener with speedy riffs, pounding percussion, and dirty, raspy vocals.

Songs like Flowing Hate keep your head pounding for a near-six minutes. Hefty riffing and pull offs from both guitar and bass make for an incredible, pulse-pounding good time. Down My Sight is devastating right from the get-go. Like it, most songs evoke the listener to chant along, raise their fists, and run around. If an album can make the listener want to get moving like this one does – mission accomplished.

As for the mix, while I’m never expecting newer Overkill or Testament levels of production with a band’s debut album, The Sum of All Fears feels like a cross between Venom’s vocal styling and early-Voivod recordings, leaving a bit to be desired. As a baseline, the album does feel underground, but not as polished as thrash albums from underground bands like Power Trip, for whatever that’s worth.

However, Black Sun Ωmega’s songs rip. Hard. Ground of God, Arena of Souls, and World’s Demise stand out as what I feel to be the most powerful tracks – especially with World’s Demise guitar solo absolutely slaying. The musicianship is incredible and it certainly shines with each song – there was clear thought and care put into the written songs.

An incredible debut from this Greek band, Black Sun Ωmega’s debut The Sum of All Fears is something worth waking up in the morning to as it will kick your ass into high gear.

With a bit more polish in the back end, I can see these guys making waves.

Black Sun Ωmega on Bandcamp