Scarab – Martyrs of the Storm – (VICISOLUM PRODUCTIONS)

The Egyptian gods are back with a good new offering.


First of all is almost impossible to separate Scarab from Nile, for obvious reasons: they talk about the very same subject.

But the comparisons stop here. Nile is a more technical and faster death metal while Scarab is what I call a “normal” death metal band. Of course, by normal I don’t mean mediocre and even if I say they are not technical, they are. Not technical in the math sense, but what good death metal is NOT technical?

That being said this is their third full length and this album cements definitely their name in the extreme music scene: The guttural and marking vocals of Necropotence and the  breathtaking riffs and introductory part of Blood Moon Shadows (that is VERY Morbid Angel by the way) are lethal weapons for those who are not part of the death metal cvlto: solid as heck, these headbanging tunes are sure to make the happiness of the most die-hard metalhead.

However, they don’t  sound “old school” although being clearly influenced by Old School bands: they never force the production to sound like Entombed or Autopsy on purpose, their sound is absolutely contemporary and aren’t fit EXCLUSIVELY for old farts. Everybody who admires quality metal of death can dig them.

The closer they get to Nile (at least in this album) is on the song Circles of Verminejya, when the bellows are like invocation of spirits of old in a immemorial ritual of sacrifice and disgraceful metal: although not exactly sing along, these cats have what it takes to put some real esoteric approach to their tunes…

Another good song with a LITTLE nod to melodic death metal (they are not melodic) is Saturnian that makes good use of guitar harmonies.

Scarab is a great death metal band, that is slowly leaving its mark and make people notice their existence (which is TOO MUCH if one considers the number of bands competing nowadays). One more good work and they put their name for eternity. Just like the great pharaohs.

Rating: 8,5/10

Rodrick Totentanz

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Canis Dirus – Independence to the Beast – Bindrune Recordings

The other side of the obvious.


Every time we are challenged to make something out of the black metal that SAYS they put something new, but at the end it is just more of the same. I’ve been told that this band was a mix of DSBM and Atmospheric Black Metal, but life isn’t that simple, you see?

Canis Dirus is a duo formed back in 2000’s in Minnesota, just northwest of Minneapolis and released their first effort in 2009 titled A Somber Wind from a Distant Shore. Granted, it’s something very Burzum-like, European shrieks and all the jive.

A sophomore (and different album) was released not long after.

But you see, eleven years passed since their inception and this time around they bring us their third and definitive release called Independence to the Beast and it’s very tempting to label them as the aforementioned styles at a first spin. Things here are not as it sounds.

Canis Dirus brings to the fore a sophisticated form of black metal which one can call progressive but not so fancy as Norwegians of Borknagar or Enslaved which are great bands but there (are) nothing to do with the ensemble cited here. Things go to a labyrinthine form (thus making it unique) of Burzum and Drudkh. It’s strange because it’s not ambient or atmospheric, or something lazy. It’s something in between that got them some work to create.

The quality of the sound attests to this “new” form of traditional black metal in American lands: the first track is a bona fide black metal attack with difficult to understand lyrics but the second called Father is an ode to the strange, meaning that the sound goes full Swedish mode resounding bands like Skogen or even Stilla. But I insist: it’s not an imitation, it’s just a reference model to give a non-musical dimension to a sound.

By the way it’s hard to fathom the influences of these cats: while the repetitive approach of a 15-minute song called Unyielding may push their sound to something people used to call hypnotic, in this very same tune, things go to utterly aggressive to quiet and oneiric vibes.

But I digress: I can only assure that this is the next chapter in their sound that will make people pay attention to them. Time will tell if this is a natural-born classic. But if it is not, sure the next one will be.

Independence to the Beast is out this Friday, March 6th on Bindrune Recordings in LP, CD and Digital formats.

Rating: 10/10

Roderick Totentanz

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INNARDS (Portugal) – Back From The Grave, Straight In Your Face – (Transcending Obscurity Records)

Follow the trail of the old school!


Coming from Portugal, Innards is a Death/Grind ensemble, that brings the true and best in real death attack like a blast from the past!

The power trio Rui Gil (bass), Rolando Barros (drums) and Hugo Andremon (vocals and guitars) bring(s) the legit feeling like a strange mix of Autopsy, Mortician and Death, mainly on the first track called Night of the Anthropophagous which is a delight for those who seek the sick. Horror intro, guitar-bent riffage, bona fide guttural fiesta, this track is a banger like I haven’t heard in times.

Notwithstanding, the second track called Enlightenment Through Hate has some hidden thrashy elements, but not as a self-indulgent mix of styles, fucking NO! The case here is that the track has Kam Lee (Massacre/Death/Mantas) and Frank Blackfire (Sodom/Assassin, ex-Kreator) contributing by naturally changing the musical algorithm of otherwise the same musical MO. Great as fuck.

The third and last track (yes, it is that short, unfortunately) called The Fog continues the death spree.

As aforementioned the fatal mistake of this release is that it is just an EP, leaving the listener begging for more and more of this formula. But beware… some bands are born to do this kind of thing, so don’t try that at home!

Back From The Grave, Straight In Your Face by Innards is out now via Transcending Obscurity Records.

Rating: 9/10

Roderick Totentanz.

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