Nocturnal Breed – Napalm Nights (Agonia Records, 2014)

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I’ll always consider myself a student of heavy metal rather than an expert, but sometimes I’m still boggled by the bands that manage to fly below my radar.  Case in point; I was entirely unfamiliar with Norwegian blackened thrash outfit Nocturnal Breed until the fine folks at Fresno Media put them right under my nose.  Surprising considering my fondness for this type of thing, but better late than never, because their latest album Napalm Nights totally rips.

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Sun Splitter – Live on WFMU (Sol y Nieve, 2014)

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Longtime readers of THKD know that I’m typically not big on live recordings. But, I am big on Sol y Nieve; the upstart Idaho-based label has already released two of this year’s finest slabs of black metal in the form of Nemorensis’ The Lady in the Lake and Hellebore’s Anouof Thwo, so if they deem a live release to be worthy of the same treatment, then I’ll sure as hell give it a listen.  I’m glad I did, because Sun Splitter’s Live on WFMU is a sonic nightmare of ultra-corrosive industrial metal that’s more than managed to win me over in spite of my admitted prejudice towards live material.

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Vampire – s/t (Century Media, 2014)

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With a name like Vampire, you might expect this mysterious Swedish quartet to be some kind of sappy, quasi-gothic nonsense, but fortunately for you, dear headbanger, nothing could be further from the truth, as evidenced by the gritty, greasy metal of their self-titled Century Media debut. Indeed, the infernal racket found here recalls the likes of Venom, Bathory and perhaps Darkthrone’s more recent work, but the vamps instill the tunes with enough of their own punky, garage-rocking fervor to distinguish themselves from the retro-metal hordes.  Imagine Cronos, Tom G. Warrior and Fenriz jamming in said garage and you’re getting pretty damn close to the hellbound underground sound of Vampire.

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Interview: WILDERNESSKING

Wildernessking-2014-Anke-LootsBack in 2012, South Africa’s Wildernessking came seemingly out of nowhere with The Writing of Gods in the Sand, an album that combined the progressive black metal maelstrom of Enslaved with the sweeping, epic attack of Primordial to create music that was as uplifting and cathartic as it was dark and heavy.  After releasing a follow-up EP that same year, the band went quiet; a surprising move given the notoriety they’d quickly gained on the strength of those two excellent releases.  Fast-forward to 2014 and the Cape Town-based quartet have broken their silence with The Devil Within, an EP that showcases the band at their most scathing; I got in touch with bassist/vocalist Keenan Oakes to discuss this new release and find out what the future has in store for the mighty Wildernessking…

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DISMEMBERMENT GIVEAWAY!!!

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It’s been a far too long since THKD has done a giveaway, so I’m excited to announce that we’ve partnered with up-and-coming black/death/thrash metal band Dismemberment, Horror Pain Gore Death Productions and Dewar PR to give one lucky reader the mad hookups!

Dismemberment is giving away a t-shirt and CD of their killer new album Embrace the Dark to a THKD reader who will be chosen at random.  All you have to do to enter is go to the THKD Facebook page and find our post about the contest, “like” and “share” the post and you will be entered for a chance to win!  You can also go to the THKD Twitter page and find our tweet about the contest. “Favorite” and “re-tweet” our contest tweet there and you will also be entered!  The contest will run from 3/31/14 to 4/7/14, at which time a winner will be chosen at random.  You can check out the album at the link below!

http://dismemberment.bandcamp.com/album/embrace-the-dark

Good luck and thanks for entering!

Behemoth – The Satanist (Metal Blade, 2014)

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I hadn’t intended to review The Satanist; Behemoth has long been a favorite band of mine and I had planned to enjoy their first new recording in five years purely as a fan. Sometimes it’s good to just kick back and blast an album at top volume without having to analyze its every nook and cranny, and I was looking forward to doing just that.  But the thing is, while I certainly didn’t expect Behemoth to disappoint, I also didn’t expect them to take such a stunning turn, releasing one of their best albums to date a full twenty-three years deep into their career.

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Hercyn – Magda (self-released, 2013)

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It’s a testament to the amount of great metal released last year that I’m still playing catch-up three months deep into the new year.  One of the “ones that got away” in 2013 is Hercyn, a quartet hailing from Jersey City, New Jersey who are off to a most impressive start with Magda, their self-released debut demo.  Consisting of a single track that clocks in just shy of twenty-four minutes, Magda is proof positive that even at this early stage in the game, Hercyn are already aspiring to be much more than your run-of-the-mill black metal outfit.

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Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus – Synkkä Tuuli (Horror Pain Gore Death Productions, 2013) and Väinämöinen (Infernal Kommando Records, 2013)

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Try as I might to seek out and cover as much worthy US black metal as humanly possible at THKD (and Backlit), it’s inevitable that some bands slip though the cracks.  I’m just one man and as such it’s physically impossible for me to listen to everything that gets released over the course of a year.  Fortunately, a few bands have the stones to be proactive and put their music in front of my face rather than wait around for me to stumble upon them. One such band is Nihilistinen Barbaarisuus, who put out two stellar releases last year in the form of Synkkä Tuuli and Väinämöinen.

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Ritual Decay – The Conquering Darkness (Caligari Records, 2014)

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Hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, Ritual Decay are a power trio plying a particularly nasty-ass brand of blackened death metal.  On The Conquering Darkness, their debut demo from the seemingly unstoppable Caligari Records, the band aren’t likely to be accused of being innovators anytime soon, but their patently ugly, primitive assault more than makes up for their staunch traditionalism.  It’s a ripping opening salvo from a trio of musicians who are obviously dedicated to their craft.

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Hellébore – Anouof thwo (Sol y Nieve, 2014)

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Hellébore’s Anouof thwo is the second of two cassettes recently unleashed upon the unsuspecting masses by the great Sol y Nieve. Whereas the other release, Nemorensis’ The Lady in the Lake is an exploration of black metal’s earthy, elemental qualities, Hellébore’s take on the genre reaches for the deepest, darkest corners of the universe.  Indeed, the giant telescope gracing Anouof thwo‘s cover art is telling, as this solitary project delivers just over forty minutes of raw yet infinitely astral black metal.

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