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The legendary Dragon Fire scours through the Earth once more, unearthing the latest campfire tales. 

Necrowretch – Numidian Knowledge 

What better way to kick off a session of light reading about music, than with a great wedge of black metal? With a fifteen year history, Necrowretch delivered a diabolical double slice of the evil stuff this week, with their new track, Numidian Knowledge, along with the announcement of their fifth album, Swords Of Dajjal, due out February 02nd on Season of Mist. Check out the first taste of this delicious album below.

Vision leader, Vlad, says:

We spent no less than three years working on the songs, demoeing them and finetuning the details and rehearsing them as a three-piece and six weeks in the studio with Francis Caste (Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, Svart Crown). …We used to be a pure product of the underground, with albums done in just a couple of days …never 100% satisfied with in the end. And once we entered the studio, we for instance spent a whole day just testing different amps just to get the right sound and crunch we were looking for. I even took some singing lessons to gain more depth and power. In a way, it almost feels like a whole new band.

Pre-order the album here.

G. Rag y los Hermanos Patchekos – Cumbia Yerba

Now it’s time to get weird, with G. Rag y los Hermanos Patchekos. It’s not metal at all, but their latest video for Cumbia Yerba (see below) is pretty bizarre, and worth checking out. Complimenting their unusual, eerie latin jazz, they have somehow transformed footage from the old puppet show, Fireball XL5, into a stark, creepy clip, as if directed by Coffin Joe. Apparently, It’s all about marijuna and kitchen cabinets… Their album, Esperanza, is out now on Gutfeeling Records / Broken Silence.

“… the large collective loves unusual rhythms and wacky brass. Mixes jazz, punk feeling, cumbia. Reggae, dub, surf and whatever else belongs to the sound production.”  – MAZ

Order the album here.

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Slope – It’s Tickin’ 

Slope might be a newish band, but their style is a cultured deep-dive into 90s vibes. As can be heard in their video below – It’s Tickin’ – they have perfectly tapped the funkiness of early RHCP, and the urban swagger of The Beastie Boys, and backed it up with slick, chunky riffs. Their new album, Freak Dreams, lands February 02nd on Century Media, and it wouldn’t be hard to imagine it picking up a solid following.

The band say of the album: “Freak Dreams is a mix of all our individual influences and by far our most divers album. On some songs we did a lot of experimental elements that gives the record a different vibe and we couldn’t be more happy with the outcome! The whole process of writing felt like evolving to a new chapter for Slope and we are proud to share it with the world!

Pre-order the album here.

Plaguemace – Carnivores

Next up is some utterly brutal OSDM from Denmark’s Plaguemace. Carnivores is the third piece of absolutely filthy extreme metal from their Napalm Records debut, Reptilian Warlords, which just came out November 17th. There’s something about this band which just makes me believe they are going to make some waves in 2024. If you like things really heavy, but still fun, watch this space.

Plaguemace on Reptilian Warlords:

Reptilian Warlords is the first in a series of concept albums taking place in our own fictional universe. The story has been torn apart chronologically, and will be put together throughout this, and the following releases. So stay tuned to find out what happens next. The themes of Reptilian Warlords include anger, vengeance, desire, war and enraging bloodthirst.

Get Reptilian Warlords here.

Death Scythe – Final Ascent

The underground metal scene exists just about anywhere you can think of. Out in Yucatán, Mayan melodeath outfit, Death Scythe are harvesting some rather tasty heavy hooks. If a memo went out that “melodic” is synonymous with “weak”, these guys didn’t get it. Their new single, Final Ascent, is hopefully a sign of a new album. 

The band elaborates on the legends that inspired the single: “‘Final Ascent’ describes the Mayan legend of Chechén and Chacá, a story of two warrior brothers, Tizic and Kinich, who fall in love with the same woman, Nicté Ha. Their rivalry leads to a deadly duel, invoking the wrath of the gods. After their deaths, they are reborn as trees: Tizic as the poisonous and dangerous Chechén, and Kinich as the Chacá, capable of remedying Chechén’s poison. This legend of Chechén and Chacá teaches us that our choices can weave a complex and enduring destiny. It invites us to consider how our actions, even after death, impact the world we leave behind.

Stream the track and other songs here.

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Catalysis – Gallows

Finally, from Catalysis, a band very local to SDM HQ, comes Gallows. This is just one of a three videos they’ve put out in the run up to releasing their next album, Betrayer on December 15th. After winning both a Scottish Alternative Music Award and Bloodstock‘s Metal 2 The Masses in 2022, they came smashing into this year, and the new long-player is no less of a landmark to close out 2023.

The band say about Gallows: “We did this one with a little help from some friends for the gang vocals, so shout out to the homies in H8teball, Fallen Ashes and our friends Lauren, Steppie, Tub, Gordon, and Wendy! Super fun experience recording the gang vocals on various bushcraft style setups, including having the mic held in a cutlery holder in an AirBNB!”

Pre-order Betrayer here.


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