Ephel Duath

Review: Ephel Duath’s On Death and Cosmos EP

Ephel Duath: On Death and Cosmos EPEphel Duath: On Death and Cosmos EP (Agonia, 8/14/12)

“Black Prism”

Ephel Duath: “Black Prism”

Within the tradition of fantasy literature, JRR Tolkein’s Mordor sits somewhere in the borderlands of a dark fantasy world, and just beyond Mordor is what Tolkein’s elves call Ephel Duath — the Mountains of Shadow. Summoning the energy, pathos, and subtle sense of irony culled from these psychic borderlands, Italian progressive-metal veteran Davide Tiso and his Ephel Duath project have conjured yet another potent — if not abbreviated — entry in their increasingly elaborate curriculum mortis.

The Secret

The Metal Examiner: The Secret’s Solve Et Coagula

Every Friday, The Metal Examiner delves metal’s endless depths to present the genre’s most important and exciting albums.

The Secret: Solve Et CoagulaThe Secret: Solve Et Coagula (Southern Lord, 9/28/10)

The Secret: “Double Slaughter”

The Secret: “Double Slaughter”

When Goodfellow Records folded this year, Italian grindcore/black-metal quartet The Secret found itself momentarily without a label following a pair of raging, nihilism-fueled full-length albums.  Those releases suggested (if not insisted) that the group had something new to bring to European metal’s increasingly crowded table.

In the wake of the former label’s dissolution (and the band’s countless lineup changes since), The Secret attempts to regain its footing on Solve Et Coagula, its first outing for Southern Lord and an album almost workmanlike in its sound, structure, and unwavering metal attack.


The Metal Examiner: Autopsy’s The Tomb Within

Every Friday, The Metal Examiner delves metal’s endless depths to present the genre’s most important and exciting albums.

Autopsy: The Tomb WithinAutopsy: The Tomb Within (Peaceville, 10/5/2010)

Autopsy: “My Corpse Shall Rise”
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Following his early stint in death-metal progenitors Death, drummer/vocalist Chris Reifert formed pioneering metal act Autopsy. Like other bands in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Autopsy invented its own rules in its quest for extremity, and its blend of doom, punk, and thrash coalesced into a definitive take on the emerging death-metal sound.

This Month In Metal: Decrepit Birth, Aeon, Cardiac Arrest

Hail! This being my first column for ALARM Press, I thought I’d dip into some overlooked summer releases to get the blood flowing.

Decrepit Birth: Polarity (Nuclear Blast)

First up is the third album from California’s Decrepit Birth, Polarity. This album is a great example of the band’s name and the album’s title bringing to mind two completely different things. “Decrepit birth” sounds like a schlock-y gore-grind band, while “polarity” suggests spaced-out, progressive rock. Truth be told, it’s a bit of both.

Like Necrophagist before it, Decrepit Birth sticks to the old-school, growled, and slightly raspy styles of vocals in addition to its very complex, other-worldly music. This tactic is employed as a foundation: it doesn’t matter what Bill Robinson is growling about; it just matters that he does it consistently and with enough force to keep the album grounded throughout. With that being said, Robinson chooses his phrasing and placement of vocals well, allowing plenty of time for the rest of the band to do its thing, which really begins a minute and a half into Polarity, when there’s a Spanish-influenced guitar break out of nowhere.