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Asagraum - Dawn of Infinite Fire 

I guess one of the few Dutch female fronted black metal bands around? I thought their debut album was okay and this follow up is a definitive improvement on all fronts. Songs don´t drag as much as on the debut album and this album is paced somewhat more evenly which make for a more pleasant listening experience. There a few stand out songs but also quite some fillers in my opinion. It´s nothing you haven´t heard before in black metal except it´s done by a bunch of women. They are heading in the right direction but do they deserve the heap of praise they get from the underground? I have my doubt so far.

Beastcraft - Into The Burning Pit of Hell

Listening to this album reminds me how much Trondr Nefas is missed in the Norwegian black metal scene. Of course Urgehal was his main band but Beastcraft (cheesey name aside) is every bit as good as Urgehal. I love their dirty DIY production on this debut album. Most songs are fast and furious and the Trondr´s raspy vocals sound like a demon screeching from the bottoms of hell. Songs rarely run longer then 3 minutes so they never overstay their welcome and pack lot´s of beefy riffs. This is everything you would expect from black metal and more. Listen to the track Unholy Blood Ritual and tell me it doesn´t kick serious ass.

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Cradle of Filth - 'Eleven Burial Masses' 

This is becoming one of my favourite live albums. It's so listenable. The music is close to perfect, and Dani' sounds great, especially his highs. Just amazing vocalist who never gets the credit he deserves in metal circles. 

The greatest gothic metal band of all time. No question. 

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17 hours ago, Natassja said:

Necrophagia - The Divine Art of Torture

Hail Killjoy! Was recently listening to Necrophagia again and realized how much i miss Killjoy and his band. By far my no. 1 death metal band of all times.

Electric  Wizard- Wizard Bloody Wizard

This one took some time to grow on me, and now i can appreciate it for what it is. But it´s still the weakest album by EW right after "We Live". The riffs just feel lazy at times and the whole things feels somewhat uninspired. They probably shouldn´t have dumped Mark Greening (again). His influence on "Time to Die" was very noticeable and is missing here.

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Aura Noir - Aura Noire

Still gutted that these guys called it quits earlier this year 😥 Gonna miss hearing Blasphemer´s shredding, although we still have Vltimas i guess. But hey, at least they left on a high note with this album. "Out to Die" was a little disappointing but this one sounded like old school Aura Noir all over again.

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    • Whichever tier of thrash metal you consigned Sacred Reich back in the 80's/90's they still had their moments.  "Ignorance" & "Surf Nicaragura" did a great job of establishing the band, whereas "The American Way" just got a little to comfortable and accessible (the title track grates nowadays) for my ears.  A couple more records better left forgotten about and then nothing for twenty three years.  2019 alone has now seen three releases from Phil Rind and co.  A live EP, a split EP with Iron Reagan and now a full length.

      Notable addition to the ranks for the current throng of releases is former Machine Head sticksman, Dave McClean.  Love or hate Machine Head, McClean is a more than capable drummer and his presence here is felt from the off with the opening and title track kicking things off with some real gusto.  'Divide & Conquer' and 'Salvation' muddle along nicely, never quite reaching any quality that would make my balls tingle but comfortable enough.  The looming build to 'Manifest Reality' delivers a real punch when the song starts proper.  Frenzied riffs and drums with shots of lead work to hold the interest.


      There's a problem already though (I know, I am such a fucking mood hoover).  I don't like Phil's vocals.  I never had if I am being honest.  The aggression to them seems a little forced even when they are at their best on tracks like 'Manifest Reality'.  When he tries to sing it just feels weak though ('Salvation') and tracks lose real punch.  Give him a riffy number such as 'Killing Machine' and he is fine with the Reich engine (probably a poor choice of phrase) up in sixth gear.  For every thrashy riff there's a fair share of rock edged, local bar act rhythm aplenty too.

      Let's not poo-poo proceedings though, because overall I actually enjoy "Awakening".  It is stacked full of catchy riffs that are sticky on the old ears.  Whilst not as raw as perhaps the - brilliant - artwork suggests with its black and white, tattoo flash sheet style design it is enjoyable enough.  Yes, 'Death Valley' & 'Something to Believe' have no place here, saved only by Arnett and Radziwill's lead work but 'Revolution' is a fucking 80's thrash heyday throwback to the extent that if you turn the TV on during it you might catch a new episode of Cheers!

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