Feeding Frenzy: 2023 Scottish Winter Special

Feeding Frenzy: 2023 Scottish Winter Special

Feeding Frenzy: 2023 Scottish Winter Special

Welcome to Slow Dragon Music‘s review Feeding Frenzy, where we go snapping and snarling through notable recent and upcoming releases.

***we like to arrange our meals in alphabetical order*** 

Catalysis – Betrayer (album)
Catalysis - Betrayer - Feeding Frenzy: 2023 Scottish Winter Special
Release Date: 15th December 2023||Genre: Metal||Label: Self released
Dundee metallers Catalysis come out swinging on their new full-length.

In my mind, I used to see this lot as a “-core” band. Not sure what-core, but some kind. Their new album, however, is far too fiery and furious for that tag. It is way more death metal, and slathered in melancholic thrash bombast. There are still vocal melody moments, yeah. But they sound enormous in comparison to similar passages on past efforts. So much has been put into the collective riffing here, the whole thing feels well and truly alive. The lead vocals, too, are landed with sprawling vitality, adding the final devastating layer to a slab of superbly crafted numbers. Much more than just a well written opus, Betrayer is one of that rare breed of properly exciting recorded moments. If you know me, you know I’ve been digging this band from the start, but this ripped off even my weathered mug. It’s great to see them now smash out at this level, delivering an absolutely thunderous release. What an evolution!

“A+” (and a bunch of extra “+”s for taking things to another level!)
Slow Dragon

Iron Altar – Promethean (album)
Iron Altar - Promethean - Feeding Frenzy: 2023 Scottish Winter Special
Release Date: 29th September 2023||Genre: Sludge/death metal||Label: Trepanation Recordings
Iron Altar hit harder than ever on their latest album, Promethean

Edinburgh just seems to be spewing out great metal at the moment. Iron Altar have been on the go for some 8 years or so, making them far from newcomers. 2023 has been a bigger year for them though, with a slew of shows outside of Scotland (as well as annihilating Hordes X), they are owning it. Promethean keeps up this momentum. If you recall 2018’s Pillars Of Blood, you’ll know the were onto something with their churning, cthonic death-thrash, adding some sludgy grooves as they grew. Their latest full-length expands on this sound massively. There is a kind of “Edinburgh sound” when it comes to this breed of metal (blame Dog Tired), but Promethean noticeably steps away from that root. At times, the formative orchestration is scorched with black metal, something even darker than where they came from, hurtling into a great ethereal maw. Further defining their approach in such ways has led to a monster of a record. They don’t come like this very often.

Slow Dragon

Feeding Frenzy: 2023 Scottish Winter Special

Misophonia – (De)void Of Peace (album)

Release Date: ?? December 2023||Genre: Gothic death/doom metal||Label: Sliptrick Records 

Glasgow based Misphonia bring dark, continental metal to bear on their debut long-player. 

Earlier this year, we hosted this band at one of the Hordes X Outreach shows. On the night, I remember a sense of familiarity, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It wasn’t until a couple of days later I realised Misophonia reminded me a little of The Blood Divine. While not a glaring similarity, the sensation still stands throughout (De)void Of Peace. They have really mastered the kind of gothic metal which, while birthed in the UK, now finds itself more at home in mainland Europe. This release is focused firmly on the artistic aspect of creation, although it seems at least some of the tracks herein are reworkings of older material. If you’ve heard said offerings, you might be surprised at how much more “metal” they sound in their current incarnation. This is particularly noticeable in the far grittier vocal style of Jay Ross. Sadly, nothing is publicly available for listening as yet, and the release date is still to be confirmed. However, I can tell you, though, that the new approach makes Misophonia a more serious contender. They’ll be crushing some festival stages before you know.

Slow Dragon

Ramage Inc. – Humanity Has Failed (album)
Ramage Inc. - Humanity Has Failed - Feeding Frenzy: 2023 Scottish Winter Special

Release date: 27th October 2023||Genre: Prog/groove metal||Label: Layered Reality Productions

The fifth album from Scotland’s pre-eminent purveyors of prog metal landed this year, and it is epic.

There’s not many bands who can pull off the structures and production which have led to Ramage Inc.’s monumental sound. It has become familiar to many. Humanity Has Failed, though, goes some way to breaking their own mold. It is a little “rawer”, and a bit more diverse in the open display of their influences. Other than Hevvy Devvy, of course. Even up to immediate predecessor, Under The Skin, one would be hard pressed to hear flavours as prevalent as late Strapping Young Lad and Ocean Machine. I’ll be damned though, if that’s not a little crunk of Meshuggah, some cherry-picked Gojira-isms, and other myriad nods. Similar openess to experimentation delivers some lovely, thick bass work, and heaps of considered yet organic drumming. Comparisons aside, Ramage Inc. have always accessed that part in my spine which raises every hair. I was expecting “more of the same”, but HHF sees the band really playing with their sound. Not too overtly, but the freshly scattered spices add delightfully to an already fantastic project.

“A+” (with note of excellence of sheer magnitude)
Slow Dragon

Feeding Frenzy: 2023 Scottish Winter Special

Solar Sons – Another Dimension (album)
Release Date: 22nd September 2023||Genre: Prog/classic metal||Label: Self released
Album number 5 from Dundee’s finest prog metal export takes listeners to a different realm.

Followers of Solar Sons will be familiar with the band’s consistent comparisons to both Iron Maiden and Rush. That sound is still at the core of Another Dimension. In a mild move towards diversification, however, the three piece have merged in some stoner/groove feels. Of course, we still have the inimitable, charismatic vocals of Rory Lee, and fantastic lead guitar skills of his brother Danny, one of the country’s best. A slightly more ponderous offering than past releases, the album still does have its stomping moments, such as is Hell, Fire, Fury. It builds neatly on the band’s back catalogue, and placing any of the tracks in a Solar Sons live set is sure to deliver an emotionally engaging experience for the audience. This is a richly woven tapestry for stargazers and true believers. Have at some celestial indulgence!

Slow Dragon

Splintered Halo – Nightmares, Legends And Gore (album)
Splintered Halo - Nightmares, Legends, and Gore
Release Date: 31st October 2023||Genre: Theatrical metal||Label: Self released
Theatrical metalists Splintered Halo are back with another mashed up selection of horrible tales.

It was Halloween season when this review was written, the perfect time to dive into the encapsulating world of characters created by Glasgow’s creepiest. Like The Splintered Minds Asylum (2016), the new opus is very much based on telling the story of individual personas, portrayed by frontwoman, Evilyn. Each track, if I’m not mistaken, revolves around a female protagonist; Medusa, Lillith, the bride of Frankenstein , and others. Swaying from operatic vocals to revenant rasping, their chronicles are backed by orchestration which might have more in common with musicals than metal. Which is fine by me – I do love a bit of song and dance. If you dig the likes of Sweeny Todd and Repo, this should hit you. The band, and this album, are a great concept, steeped in creativity, and with some brilliant musicianship. I’d love to see the difference a bigger production could have, though. Still, it is a very entertaining release.

Slow Dragon


Feeding Frenzy: 2023 Scottish Winter Special