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?
Technical death metal outfit
Artificial Brain was forged in 2011 by musicians from the likes of Luminous Vault, Afterbirth, as well as Revocation. Since then, there has been a demo and single issued the year of formation, an EP in 2013, as well as a debut full-length titled Labyrinth Constellation, which was issued through Profound Lore Records. While a largely underground entity, the group gained some mainstream exposure with the song “Absorbing Black Ignition” having appeared on an episode of the CBS television series Elementary [according to metal-archives.com]. It wouldn’t be until a little over three years that a follow-up effort, Infrared Horizon, would be released. So is it well worth checking out, or is the complexity on display not all that awe-inspiring?
Celestial Grave is yet another nameless entry into the underground world of black metal. The two-piece act from Finland first made their presence known with their 2016 demo Burial Ground Trance, which was issued by Iron Bonehead Productions, the label handling their follow-up two-track seven-inch EP Pvtrefactio due later this month. But is there anything substantial lurking within that vinyl, or is it just another typical entry you won’t soon remember?