Some mammoth offerings from the month of metal madness that was March.
Cobalt – Slow Forever
by Nathan Hare
Phazam – Scornful Of Icons
by Nathan Hare
Phazm’s first album in eight years, Scornful of Icons, is a change in direction for the band. Muted, but not entirely absent, are the band’s death ‘n’ roll influences—Phazam is now a more straightforward death metal band with some eerily awesome croaking vocals on the album’s choruses. More importantly, the album has plenty of solid death metal cuts. Riffs, choruses, melodies, percussion-everything on Scornful of Icons is rock solid.
Vredehammer – Violator
by Joshua Bulleid
(Artillery’s utterly fantastic Penalty By Perception may have edged Violator a late run for its money, but since that record only came out in the last week of the month and I’ve spent a lot more of my March being blown away by what Vredehammer have to offer, we’re gonna stick with it.)
Vredehammer’s phenomenal blend of thrash and black metal elements is utterly propellant; driving Violator through the listeners’ skull—in the most pleasurable way imaginable, of course. The band’s previous outing, Vinteroffer (2014), was nothing to be sneezed at, but the enhanced drive and layered, Naglfar-ian textures and Satyrcon-esque scatterings that populate Violator which see these bombastic Norwegians—lead by ex-Allfader axeman Per Valla—more-than-coming into their own. Although it might have flown in somewhat under the radar, Violator is a blackened thrash affair not to be missed.
Zun – Burial Sunrise
By Jamie Casndale
Records like this seem to come but once in a lifetime these days. Not only is Burial Sunrise a grand collaboration with some of the finest musicians the desert rock scene has to offer; it is a rich tapestry of gliding guitars, grooving basslines and hypnotic vocals painting the sky with all the colors of the universe that allows you to sit back with your eyes closed and let the music take you to places far beyond the realms of consciousness. The way the album shifts from John Garcia to Sera Timms and back again is nothing short of beautiful as they bring different auras to the table yet complement each other effortlessly. Gary Arce has proven here that he is the undisputed godfather of the scene, and Burial Sunrise will be one of his crowning achievements. Pure sonic bliss.