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Invictus Burst the Curse Review
Invictus comes to us from Germany, and is a brand new power metal act composed of some experienced musicians in the underground. Three come from the band Avator (who recently saw a revival with two new albums issued last year) as well as vocalist Nicolas Peter of Beerhammer. Guitarist Fabio Winter is the only member with no prior band experience credited to his name. Despite that, one can look at the line-up and assume this to be a strong new entity within the metal world. But does their debut EP establish them as an act to watch, or does it show a group that needs more time honing their sound and direction?

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Polish extreme metal veterans VADER are pleased to announce that they will release a new EP titled Thy Messenger on May 31st this year. The effort will contain four of the five songs that were recorded over a week-long period in January and February at Hertz Studio in Białystok, Poland under the supervision of the Wiesławski Brothers. The cover art was painted by Wes Benscoter, who previously worked with VADER on the De Profundis LP and has collaborated with such bands as SLAYER, KREATOR and SINISTER. A new full VADER album will be recorded later this year for a tentative autumn release.

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Lunaar Among the Dead Stars Review
Lunaar has joined the ranks of the mysterious underground black metal arts. An entity hailing from New Castle, England, the faceless project’s date of birth is as unknown as anything else about it outside the label the project has signed with. Handled by Death Kvlt Productions, home to a small collective of unknown groups within the style including Blodpest and Ühtceare. They handled the debut two-song offering Among the Dead Stars as a digital only release until later in January of 2019 with a strictly limited to fifty hand-numbered copies on cassette. But is either version worth sinking the time and money into, or is it nothing but another over glorification of all things analog?

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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?

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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?