When it comes to metal from Lithuania, there really aren’t a lot of options due to the size of the country itself. If you happen to search Metal-Archives, you will only get one-hundred and sixty-eight returns, only eighty-three of which are currently active at the time of writing this article. One of those few bands alive and kicking is the post-black metal four-piece Au-Dessus, which is French for “above”. Consisting of current and former members of Pergalė, Paralytic, and Exile into Suffery, the group formed in 2014 and only lost drummer Džiugas a year later, who was replaced with Šarūnas Bedulis shortly after. Little time was wasted before catching the eye of Witching Hour Productions to release their self-titled debut five-song EP. But does this introductory piece really stand as something worth taking note of, or is it something far less spectacular?
Singapore’s Assault formed back in 2006, but has been fairly silent as far as studio time goes. In fact, their debut recording was The Exceptions of the Rebellions back in 2011 roughly five years later. This was followed by another five years without anything new until this year with the brand new outing The Fallen Reich through Transcending Obscurity Records. But does this six song effort finally put the band’s name out into the crowd beyond their home country, or is it something a little too late to matter?
Before the guessing game begins, this is the Ruin from Phelan, California, and not the one from Massachusetts, Florida, New York, Maine, or in the number of various countries across the globe. What once was a three-piece now stands as a duo featuring the only remaining founding member Mihail Jason Satan on vocals and guitars, as well as a drummer named David who is also involved with Aeternum and Oscuros. And don’t worry if you never heard of this Ruin before. 1991 saw the Sickening Ruin demo, and silence until the 2015 demo Spread Plague Hell, followed by some splits and a compilation into this year. Drown in Blood marks the debut full-length, but has the wait been worth it, or has the idle time done the group in somewhat?
Helsótt (“Fatal Illness” in Old Norse) is a folk/thrash metal group hailing from Menifee, California. The group came together in 2010, features ex-Shroud of Bereavement‘s Steph Robinson on keyboards and additional female vocals, as well as all original members save for lead guitarist David Watson who joined in 2013 to replace Tristan Nightingale. While the band has been active for a good while, there hasn’t been much in the line of studio output. 2012 saw the release of their first EP Fólkvangr, and the debut full-length Woven in 2014. For 2017, they are issuing a new five song EP titled The Healer, which is being handled by M-Theory Music. But does this American act deliver with this effort, or does it fail to capture the pagan spirit in which it is birthed from?
God Dethroned has been quite the staple act within the death metal community for some time. One of the driving forces behind the style’s success in the Netherlands with their signature blackened touch, their groove-laced exploits have solidified them as a force not to be reckoned with. Their sound, however, has been mutating over recent years, offering up something relatively fresh with each new endeavour. From horror themes and pissed off tributes to war anthems and nightmarish landscapes, one can never accurately predict what is coming you way next. This slight uncertainty is where we find ourselves with their tenth full-length offering, The World Ablaze. But what kind of God Dethroned do we get, and is it any good?
John Frum is a brand new four-piece entity forged by former members of The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Faceless, John Zorn, and more. Originally formed on November 11th, 2011, the band’s mixture of technical/psychedelic death metal and mathcore elements has been coming to a slow boil, eventually leading to the group’s signing with Relapse Records to unleash their debut full-length album A Stirring in the Noos later this month. But has the brew been perfected, or could it use a little more time to age?