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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Dead Infection drummer is gone. Sad Day for grindcore!

Polish grindcore drummer Cyjan passed away today.


Born on September 12, 1970, Cyan, real name of Sławomir Cywoniuk saw fame in the second extreme band from Poland (Vader -formed in 1983 – being the first according to the site Kurier Poranny, Behemoth was formed in 1991, one year later of Dead Infection).

Still according to the site, he was a great fan of the progressive rock band Electric Light Orchestra, but also, of course, a greater fan of Carcass, whom he saw live in 2008 in Czechia (Czech Republic) and according to the famous polish actor Paweł Małaszyński ( from the Oscar-Winning film The Pianist by Roman Polanski – who was his personal friend) he even shed a tear while watching the band. Also, according to Mr. Małaszyński, Cyjan (who was known by his BRUTALITY) was a man of “British” humor, who loved movies and even collect soundtracks from them.

Still, according to the Polish media outfit, he had pressure ulcers, and the treatment was very expensive, something about 30,000 zł (roughly $7562 or £5,874).

Although Cyjan didn’t make a living from the band (he didn’t even have a car), Dead Infection (and his other band Evil Machine) were when he got his kicks.

Sławomir Cijan Cywoniuk was 49.

Roderick Totentanz

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Ensnared (Sweden) – Inimicus Generis Humani — Invictus Productions / Dark Descent

New wave of old school death metal still has something to say.


Firstly, albeit being Swedish, these cats play true American old school Death Metal in the vein of Morbid Angel and Autopsy. Of course, something of Entombed or Dismember appear here and there but is not the norm.

Second: they make good use of what they have in hand without being a cheap imitation of the bands of yore. They own something original… something that I’ve being saying, it’s very rare nowadays.

That being said, Inimicus Generis Humani is not the utmost essential album, and, despite being a unique band, that doesn’t mean they are creative. That sounds like an oxymoron and maybe they have only themselves to blame.

That’s not to say that the album is terrible, on the contrary, this is just indicated for those who like this type of approach in death metal. How come? They sound all the same except for the third track, that is very earworm called The Throne Of Transformation.

Between 5 tracks of “real music” there are three interludes that honestly doesn’t add anything to the opvs. Last track, the long Black Hole Accolytes, however has the two worlds (the incidental music and the real deal death metal). The track clocks in at 9 minutes.

All in all is a good album but working on the safe side of death metal, with good sound and production, satisfactory delivery, but only serves the most purist fans of old school death metal. Without showing blatant difference between tracks, it fulfils its proposal to bring true death metal to the fore.

Inimicus Generis Humani by Ensnared is going to be available TOMORROW on Invictus Productions / Dark Descent. 

Rating: 7/10

Roderick Totentanz

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Serpent Noir – Death Clan OD – W.T.C.Productions

Serpentine Sensations.


Formed in 2016 and with their first release in 2010, Serpentine Noir reach their third full-length called Death Clan OD with less than 40 minutes of pure Greek culto!

The band counts with the vocalist Kostas K. from Embrace of Thorns and although that adds lots of fuel to the fire, Serpent Noir is a different demon.

Tackling with the more melodic side of black metal (not symphonic or atmospheric, mind you) with a bit of death metal technique applied to the general formula, this is an intriguing album that is unfathomable  while spinning it for the first time, mainly because they sound Greek (like the names of the past from Hellas) yet original at the same time and that kind of stuff really gets into the listener, at least on the first hearings.

For example, the track Hexcraft creates a myriad of atmospheres that unfurl in front of the audience where the initial riff is very melancholic (yet dirt!) just to go to a syncopate drumming that varies from fast to mid-tempo, and then a strong beating and a blasphemic solo throws one back and the end of the song has a sort of upbeat sound (still dramatic!) being the typical case of the song that starts in one way and ends on another.

On the other hand, a song like Astaroth The Jaws Of Gha’Agsheblah is more insistent on its affirmation of pure evilness, even though having different phrases the great majority of times the tune escapes the mid-tempo (which is present of course) and appeals to a really fast approach.

The last track called GOEH RA REAH Garm Unchained shows a simpler and definitive grasp of their sound summarizing the whole album. Simpler because of some repetitive riffs but with subtle changes of tempo.

There is a fine equilibrium between styles, subtle passages, heavy but melodic approach, which delivers a consistent work that is great both in form and fury.

Death Clan OD by Serpent Noir is out TODAY on W.T.C.Productions.

Rating: 8/10

Roderick Totentanz

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Kawir – Adrasteia LP/CD/TAPE – Iron Bonehead

The Hellenic Gods’ return.


One of the most epic (if not the most) bands from Greece, Kawir, is back with what may be their boldest album to date: Αδράστεια (Adrasteia).

Comprising of only 6 tracks, one has left wondering how much a black metal band can achieve with their sound in terms of originality. Let me say it: a lot!

The opener Tydeus and its outstanding epic(ness) – even if this word doesn’t exist – leaves no doubt about the grandiose of the album in which there’s not much technicality but a lot of folkloric elements in a good mix to keep it going on and on.

Atalanti, the second track for example, appeals to folk instrumentation to show that the Greek gods are alive. Everything (mainly the drums) are produced with diligence.

The most aggressive track of the album, the third one, called Danaides is the track the shows more elements, a good deal of serpentine solos, different phrases, even if the song per se doesn’t sound too oblique.

One of my absolute faves for sure is Limniades that really throws one back in time. But don’t let the intro wrong you: this is pure black metal heathenism in musical form.

Colchis is totally acoustic as in a song done by Orpheus himself. Beautiful female chants in a metal-free expression of art.

Medea packs the album with a large than life sound and being back to black metal it throws the grimness of the darkest vocals and the impureness of the harsh riffage.

Now that’s an album that is not too complex to understand but it has a good deal of different musical ambiences to permit a time travel. 2020 started well for metal.

Adrasteia is out now on LP/CD/TAPE on Iron Bonehead.

Rating 8/10

Roderick Totentanz