Virtual Symmetry is a progressive metal act hailing from Milan, Lombardy, Italy. The five-piece came together in 2009 as a solo project from Valerio Æsir Villa who handled everything before turning it into a full-fledged outfit featuring notable vocalist Marco Pastorino (The Ritual, ex-Shining Fury, ex-
Secret Sphere) back in 2012. It wasn’t until the past few years the band became active in the studio, unleashing a debut full-length in 2016, an EP a year later, all following their 2014 single “Program Error (We Are the Virus)”. Now, about nine years later, they present their first ever live release, XLive Priemiere, a two CD and blu-ray recording. But is it any good, or is it too early in the group’s discography to unleash a live recording?
In the realm of the underground black metal scene, finding secretive acts is becoming increasingly common place in a world where mysterious auras and personas are often outed quicker than you could imagine. Of course, happening upon a nameless group or solo act without a member list is just as easy as hitting up the metal directory of Bandcamp utilizing the cassette sorting option, a favorite past time of mine. This is where we find the debut demo from NyreDolk, a two-man operation from Denmark with a visual representation similar to that of Brujeria or Ghoul. This black and punk metal duo have unleashed their first-ever release digitally, as well as in a very short run on cassette through Caligary Records, an independent label that continues to find some of the best the trenches of metal have to offer. But does this first impression four song recording boast anything worthwhile, or is this more a dud in the sea of lesser known entities?
While browsing through Bandcamp on a boring Saturday morning, one band’s logo in particular caught my interest: Chainsaw Castration. A UK-based four-piece (though only three members are credited as of late) composed of musicians from Gorehead formed in 2014, and have since issued a number of smaller releases ranging from singles to EPs to one full compilation. Their latest is a three-song EP titled Doping in the Void, which was released in April of this year independently with the intent of being an example of what their forthcoming full-length album is going to sound like. But was this something truly enjoyable, or does it fail to leave you wanting that future offering?
Upon unleashing their second full-length effort Existence is Futile through Relapse Records back in late 2009, Revocation captured the attention of metal heads everywhere. Their brand of technical death metal crossed with thrash oozed a great deal of aggression and enthusiasm, standing as a young act with plenty of promise in the years to come. As they evolved, so did their fan base whether they liked it or not. Their sound was reaching a more progressive tone to their music that led to 2016’s Great is Our Sin, an effort you either loved or hated due to how dynamically different it was. Fast-forward two years and the band return with what their vocalist/guitarist Dave Davidson calls “[..] our most death metal album to date.” But does The Outer Ones live up to the hype, or is it something more than just a death metal heavy outing?
Witchcult Records in one of the few deeply underground labels I genuinely trust and keep a close eye on. I may not have much of their catalogue, but the cassette only group has yet to really steer me in the wrong direction. So, when Bandcamp shot out the notification of their latest release, a five song tape from UA (which I assume means Unknown Artist) titled WC016 (which is the label code for this particular release), checking it out was a no brainer. No information on the group could be found on the store front, metal-archives, or even Google. with no idea who this entity is beyond it being a raw black metal outfit, the payment waw sent for one of the few physical pressings available without hearing more than a small snippet. But, in hindsight, was it a worthy purchase, or is this insanely obscure piece of metal history better left a hidden legend?
In the background there have been plenty of whispers about the UK-based Bloodshot Dawn. The self-releasing four-piece dropped their debut album self-titled effort in 2012 following a demo and mildly successful EP. Originally a melodic death and thrash metal act, the band has honed their craft in the years to follow, growing into more of a technical melodic death act that continued to sprawl out and incorporate your standard metalcore/deathcore elements, as well as some progressive metal prowess. To kick off 2018, the independent act rebuilt itself after losing all but founding member Josh McMorran to bring us their third studio album, Reanimation, which is being distributed by Hostile Media. But is this act one that is branching out too far for their own good, or have they locked into something that will make the underground scurry with excitement?