Feeding Frenzy: Helfró, Plaguemace, & more – 01||12||23

Feeding Frenzy Helfro Plaguemace 01 12 23

Feeding Frenzy: Helfró, Plaguemace, & more – 01||12||23

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*** 


Cobra Spell – 666 (album)
Feeding Frenzy: Helfró, Plaguemace, & more - 01||12||23
Release Date: 01st December 2023||Genre: Heavy metal||Label: Napalm Records
Where the hell do I start! The cover alone of Cobra Spell’s devilishly “80s metallic rock inspired debut” is something else.

A flurry of John Hughs v’s Tron-esque beats in title track 666 opens the floodgates to the first single, no hold barred S.E.X., and Kristina Vega’s shattering high, and ahem, orgasmic, so it seems, vocals. Bad Girl Crew teases hefty, sleazy guitars with “untameable and unapologetic feminine power” assuming a Steel Panther vibe, I flick through the promo pics. Co-chanting and throbbing drums pass by as these ladies appear “the real deal”, not my fleeting presumption. W.A.S.P. comes to mind in both musical influence and the old leather department. 80’s movie vibe returns with electro influence for Fly Away (think of the montage scene; bleached permed teen falls for the leather clad, biker outcast, needs to dance about it before declaring their love). Warrior From Hell harmonises us towards the last tracks of the release and although there’s no doubt of Kristina Vega’s vocal talent, lyrically I’ve become less invested and it’s Sonia Anubis guitars that are pushing me forward at this stage. It’s all a bit of fun, but I’m left contemplating if last track High On Love is on the Rock of Ages soundtrack? Nope, but it may as well be, and for that reason I’m going to revisit some old classics.

“C+”
AVZD


 

Helfró – Tálgröf (album)
Feeding Frenzy: Helfró, Plaguemace, & more - 01||12||23
Release Date: 01st December 2023||Genre: Blackened death metal||Label: Season Of Mist
Formidable Icelandic duo, Helfró follow up 2020’s self-titled release with new album Tálgröf.

A slap to your speaker, Jarteikn kicks in full pelt before the first of two album-teaser singles in the form of Fláráð Fræði reminds me of weeks of agonising anticipation in readiness of the album. There’s a coldness, bleak and uninviting in Fláráð Fræði. Translating to Deceitful Theories, carefully sculpted lyrics lay in wait of the eerily familiar blackened metal guitars that echo wistfully, then with rage, as we cascade into Helfrós clutches. If we’re going to get pedantic, the singles suggested Tálgröf leant more toward blackened death metal than the traditional black metal feel of their debut album, (nothing wrong with that!) but lovely to hear roots in Fangelsaður í Tilvist að Eilífu – instantly one of my favourite tracks. A strong set of opening songs indeed. Second single, Ildi Óhreins Anda, translating to Oxygen for the Unclean Spirit, creates an uneasiness from the start, almost apostolic. Introspective and thought-provoking themes through genre-bending exploration.

“A”
AVZD


Feeding Frenzy: Helfró, Plaguemace, & more – 01||12||23


On Thorns I Lay – On Thorns I Lay (album)
Feeding Frenzy: Helfró, Plaguemace, & more - 01||12||23 - On Thorns I Lay

Release Date: 13th October 2023||Genre: Goth/death/doom metal||Label: Season Of Mist 

An expansive career straddling thirty-years, Greece’s pioneering gothic-death-doomers, On Thorns I Lay continue to explore genre non-defining, out-of-the-box productions.

Some may say they numerously reinvented themselves, but to me, their first album release with Seasons of Mist is a curiosity box of all delights. With six songs and nudging forty-five-minutes, we are comfortably cradled along, starting with the voluptuous Fallen From Grace. Gently building anticipation for a good minute-and-a-half before venturing into the doom with drudging drums penetrate familiar gloomy riffs and growls. In contrast, Newborn Skies hits a powerful punch; quicker-paced, gruelling guitars, whilst the folksier opener of Crestfallen paves way back into classic death-doom. A cocktail of influence, this could have been muddy, yet the symphonic melody throughout these tracks, bridges the difference, creating a cohesive journey. Old school number, Among The Wolves’ guitars creep layer by layer, dancing with gothic influence, and dare I say, a romance* as Peter Miliadis gives his vocal chords a good stretch. The deepened doom tones of Raise Empires almost suffocate whilst vocals cut deep with a mix of sharpness and out-worldly expulsion. Sweetly, Thorns Of Fire concludes with melodic magnitude before delicate piano releases us, full circle, satisfyingly and happily exhausted.

* For further Valentines Day suggestions, AVZD suggests the following: Anal Cunt, Bathtub Shitter, Cattle Decapitation, Dying Fetus, Eyehategod, Funeral Rape, Goatwhore, Heaven Shall Burn, Impaled Nazarene, Judas Iscariot, Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat, Leatherface, Meat Shits, Nashville Pussy, Obtained Enslavement, Prostitute Disfigurement, Quit, Revolting Cocks, Satanic Slaughter, Toxic Holocaust, Urinals, Virgin Snatch, Wank for Peace, X-pulsion, (The) Yuppie Pricks and Zyklon-B.

“A-” 
AVZD


Plaguemace – Reptilian Warlords (album)
Feeding Frenzy: Helfró, Plaguemace, & more - 01||12||23

Release date: 17th November 2023||Genre: Death metal||Label: Napalm Records

Anyone that saw label mates Nervosa in the UK this spring, may have caught self-acclaimed “new generation of old school death metal” heads Plaguemace.

Their debut album is a ten-track tsunami; annoyingly energetic and youthful for those that get sore legs after watching a three-band bill. Five-and-a-half minutes in and three songs down already, here we go! Cannibalicious kicks the fury off whilst Rhythmic Demise provides a little sludge amongst brutal soundscapes. Midway breather, Warcries from the Crypt, is a surprising arrangement that’s going to find itself on an indie flick, I’m sure. With a little less chaos than previous tracks, Reptilian Warlords stands out and showcases a magnitude of talent. Tight, focused guitars alongside Matias Zacho’s groovy beats, produces a mix of licks and kicks familiar to Entombed or Obituary. The theme continues with next track Misantropical Breed, and it feels that the band have grown into their own, chronologically, track by track. This opened as a what-it-says-on-the-tin record; fast, wild, a little obnoxious, but gradually the Danish lads took us to third base with a skilfully rounded injection of their own take on old school genre. A cheeky wink to this with closing track Carnivore and you’re sold, you know this isn’t the last you’re going to hear of them so limber up now – you’ve been warned!

“A”
AVZD


Feeding Frenzy: Helfró, Plaguemace, & more – 01||12||23


Sublation – On the Advancement of Decay (EP)
Feeding Frenzy: Helfró, Plaguemace, & more - 01||12||23 - Sublation - On The Advancement Of Decay
Release Date: 08th December 2023||Genre: Technical death metal/black metal||Label: Self released
Philadelphia’s Sublation get to churning out their EP On the Advancement of Decay.

This kicks off as a good wedge of technical death metal. Within the first moments of Sublation’s new EP, one can easily pick up deference to many of the best in the business. Death, Suffocation, Revocation, and more, all get a tip of the cap. The production is maybe a little red-lined for some of the more beard-stroking types. For others, it will just make things seem more authentic, and powerful. Especially when the band land some stomping grooves or doomy swathes. From track three, Eclipse Awe, things veer jarringly away from the more intricate musicianship. I’ve just got my shred head on! Not a bad number, but odd after what has passed. The noodling stays low for following tracks, but things go way more blackened, and so the tension is brought back to bear. It’s good stuff, but it’s hard to believe this is the same band. Are the two modes too different to appear on the same short record? For me they are separate moods, and I’d love to hear a full album of each, individually. Or blended into one cohesive sound. Still recommended listening, mind.

“B+”
Slow Dragon


Voice Of Ruin – Cold Epiphany (album)
Release Date: 01st December 2023||Genre: Death metal||Label: Self released
Voice of Ruin envelope the full spectrum of heavy music with album number five.

Setting an eerie tone with acoustic opener, Prelude To A Dark Age, Swiss outfit give the impression that Cold Epiphany is going to be a bit of a gothic affair. The album title suggests the same, and there is a faint element of velvet cloakery, with vampiric keyboards and orchestral vocals in the background of a few numbers. The prevailing character is a kind of groove/death metal, however. Even melodeath, perhaps. Or are those guitar-monies and extension of the aforementioned gothicisms..? There’s something new lurking round every corner, from female lead vocal spots, to black metal tremolo, to croaked spoken word. While made up of disparate-yet-identifiable component parts, this sound is fairly unique, without becoming alienating. It’s actually quite accessible in the extreme metal stakes. It’s a bit of a masterstroke if you think about it. Darker than your average death metal album, but far heavier than its creepy contemporaries, Cold Epiphany is one to dig in to.

“A”
Slow Dragon


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Feeding Frenzy: Helfró, Plaguemace, & more – 01||12||23