Battlesword is one of those bands you may have heard of in passing, or not at all if you don’t live in their home country. This German melodic death metal act formed way back in 1999, remaining active ever since. Even though the group is approaching eighteen years, they only issued a few demos alongside a 2003 debut album titled Falling in Triumph. It wouldn’t be another thirteen years before their long-awaited follow-up, titled Banners of Destruction, would be released by the band directly. But has the wait been worth it, or does this effort show the rust from age and studio inactivity?
Jumalhämärä wrapped up 2017 by issuing both a full-length effort,and another extensive one-track EP. The latter is the ominous experimental piece known as The Black Coming, a mostly instrumental affair that acts more like another ambient driven piece of nightmare fuel than anything else. It was also issued through Triumph Transgressions, a small Finnish label that put out a new Altar Stomper recording, as well as a reissue of Hail‘s Inheritance of Evilness. But is this creation from the four-piece of the same country yet another interesting one, or is it more a generic horror-tinged composition?
Death Keepers is a spanish-based heavy metal four-piece that came together in 2011, though hasn’t really made their presence known from the studio as much as you’d expect by this point of their career. The group’s ranks remained fairly stable over the years, allowing them to unleash their independent debut EP On the Sacred Way before parting with bassist Alan Prieto a year later, then drummer Noel Corredor in 2015. It wouldn’t be until about four years later the band would release their first full-length, Rock This World, through Fighter Records and kicking off 2018 with a strong dose of traditional heavy metal with some hard rock influence at times. But is it a solid enough effort to make up for the silence since the previous outing, or is there little shine to this potentially hidden gem?
Originally formed in 2012, avant-garde blackened psych-doom act Eye of Nix stormed on the scene a year later with their well celebrated demo recording. In the time that followed, the band expanded beyond the normal four to five-minute track length and further explored their sound to become the abrasive act they are come their debut full-length effort Moros. Another two years later and we find the evolution continuing with their latest album Black Somnia, being handled by both the band and Scrye Recordings on vinyl and digital mediums. With a scrutinous eye hovering above them since, has the four-piece outfit reached a new plain of existence, or have they gone back on their recently discovered output?
Originally formed under the name Subterranean Drilling Machine in 2013, Greytomb officially came to life through a proper name change in 2015. The now three-member outfit composed of current members from Adamus Exul, Ordnance, and ex-Wreak have been lurking about the depths of the underground for a little while now as an atmospheric black metal act, releasing their 2015 one-song demo The Mourning Field and debut full-length A Perpetual Descent a year later through Bandcamp. For 2017, the tides have changed with Transcending Obscurity Records releasing their latest EP Monumental Microcosm to wrap up the year. But does this effort offer a truly blackened experience, or does it fail to hit the mark on setting the proper mood for its chosen style?
Cleveland, Ohio is proving to be one of the dominant sources behind new talent in the US death metal world. With the likes of Embalmer and Shed the Skin being two of the leaders of this charge (ironically both on the same label), it should come as no surprise that one of the latest talents in the brutal death metal world, Limbsplitter, hails from the same neighborhood. Originally formed as Bellicosity in 2011 until 2013, the five-piece outfit released a two song demo in 2013 under the new moniker, and then went silent as far as studio time went. It wasn’t time wasted, however, as four years later they released their debut full-length effort Chloroform Cocktail themselves in June of this year, then teaming up with Unmatched Brutality Records for further distribution by Unmatched Brutality Records. But was it an investment well worth making, or is this new outing nothing much to brag about?