August 2022 Rapid Fires

Tuesday, 6th September 2022

The end of festival season usually gives way to a rash of new releases, of which the Dead Rhetoric staff is ready for. In the immediate future, here’s the August Rapid Fires, our short review column that knocks out reviews quick and dirty (or somewhere close). Up for debate this is month is Brymir (pictured), Conan, End X Cult Leader, Eruption, Fallcie, Grave Digger, Heruvim, Sadist, The Sombre, Syryn and Voodoo Kiss.

Brymir – Voices in the Sky (Napalm Records)
Featuring Battle Beast guitarist Joona Björkroth, Finnish quintet Brymir will gain more attention for Voices in the Sky purely based on aligning with Napalm Records for the first time in their career. Album number four contains a greater emphasis on bigger melodies, choirs, orchestration, plus twin guitar hooks – the triad of symphonic, melodic death and pagan elements creating killer, catchy cuts for fans of Ensiferum, Wintersun, Turisas and Orden Ogan. Vocalist/orchestrator Viktor Gullichsen obliterates through chilling screams/growls, while the soothing clean choirs allow the vicious “Forged in War” to send chills, while the uplifting guitar chords and battle cry voices push “Herald of Aegir” to future festival setlist staple status. Add in a black metal tribute through the Dark Funeral cover “Diabolis Interium” as a bonus and it’s understandable why Brymir garner more praise through successive creative endeavors that showcase the right passion and work ethic which attracts a faithful following. -Matt Coe Brymir on Facebook

Conan – Evidence of Immortality (Napalm Records)
Devastation awaits from UK doom/sludge metal trio Conan once again on Evidence of Immortality. The fifth studio album contains epic bookend tracks of the ten to almost fifteen-minute variety that will crush your soul through lurching riffs, feedback that fuels the next slow sequence, plus savage main vocals from guitarist Jon Davis that emulate Nazareth’s Dan McCafferty next to a clearer Udo Dirkschneider. The radio-friendly “Ritual of Anonymity” shakes the rafters through a solid mid-tempo drum groove and punk-like riffs to push out more of a battle charge. The Viking/Norse and mythological lyrical angles separate Conan from the pack – as this is not for the faint of heart when it comes to obliterating soundscapes. Submit, submerge, survive. -Matt Coe Conan on Facebook

END x Cult Leader – Gather & Mourn (Deathwish Inc/Closed Casket Activites)
If you need a pulverizing shot of heavy, this short split between metallic hardcore acts END and Cult Leader is going to easily win you over.  Both bands known for their rather extreme merger of elements between hardcore, death metal, and more, the short length of this one means that there needs to be absolutely no let up in absolutely devastating the listener.  END starts it off with two cuts that do their best to jostle you, with the scathing “Eden Will Drown” before going into more lumbering industrial and crust influence with “The Host Will Soon Decay.”  Cult Leader wraps it up with monolith but short “Ataraxis” and similarly diving into slower yet still equally intense darkness with “Long Shadows.” A short but sweet one that is prepared to knock your teeth out. – Katarina McGinn END on Facebook Cult Leader official website

Eruption – Tellurian Rupture (From the Vaults)
Ambitious power/thrash from Slovenia, Eruption returns to obliterate minds, ears, and bodies through their fourth studio record Tellurian Rupture. Between the Warrel Dane-esque delivery of Klemen Kalin plus adventurous riffing, transitions, and tempo changes throughout these ten tracks, listeners that savor classic Sanctuary, Forbidden, Artillery, and Coroner will delight in the aural proceedings. The stair-step guitar/bass interplay for “Beyond the Black” as well cleaner to galloping strains throughout “Praise the Serpent Queen” appease on initial exposure, while the circular melodic runs against pounding double kick action for “Maternal Foundry” takes followers back to that late 80’s Bay Area scene. Ripping musicianship, talented players – while this may be niche in appeal, those who love the diverse intricacies should air Eruption on a consistent basis. – Matt Coe Eruption on Facebook

Fallcie – Volcano (darkTunes)
Taking the modern metal formula and giving an emphasis to the more extreme elements has been Fallcie’s bread and butter to date, and Volcano continues to focus on that winning aspect.  Combining the melodic and aggressive elements, but really bringing the aggressive riffs and faster tempos give Fallcie quite an edge over their competition with blistering cuts like “Dance in Neon Light” and scorching lead-off “Alone with the Beast” all but barreling you over with their frenetic moments – also leading to a greater dynamic when they tone it down.  A gem of a band that isn’t getting the recognition they deserve with consistent performances like these. – Katarina McGinn Fallcie on Facebook

Grave Digger – Symbol of Eternity (Rock of Angels Records)
Not many metal acts can claim they’ve released twenty studio albums quite like Grave Digger has now achieved for Symbol of Eternity. Keeping the Teutonic traditional flag waving high, songs like “Battle Cry” and “Nights of Jerusalem” possess firepower riffs, thunderous bass/drum mechanics, plus the established mid-range roar of Chris Boltendahl. Middle Ages folk-like acoustic guitars plus keyboard orchestration gives “Grace of God” that epic, throwback nature while “The Last Crusade” contains those mid-tempo musical parts plus historical lyrical content that have been a hallmark of the band for decades. Serving more of what you’ve come to expect, Grave Digger maintains integrity in the twilight years of their career. -Matt Coe Grave Digger on Facebook

Heruvim – Shadowheart EP (Redefining Darkness)
Certainly any band from Ukraine deserves all the recognition and help they can get at the moment. Heruvim was discovered by Redefining Darkness right after the Russian invasion, thus giving the tech-death quartet an opportunity for a much broader audience. Their Shadowheart EP is stamped with the traditional, jarring trademarks of technical death metal, but has a bit more nuance than the going rate. The opening title track digs in its heels quite nicely near its mid-point and sets up a Chuck Schuldiner-like guitar lead. And ultra-kudos for laying down the groove on “Oppression,” which gives front-dude Nefarious all the more room to operate his intimidating roar. Four songs here, with “Empire Falls” going to nearly eight minutes, making it the requisite labyrinthine workout. May these guys fare well on the metal scene, but more importantly, in their beloved homeland. – David E. Gehlke (Heruvim on Facebook)

Sadist – Firescorched (Agonia)
Long-running, if not totally unappreciated and overlooked Italian progressive death metal outfit Sadist had an unfortunate run at nu metal circa 2000 with their Lego album. Its cover was adorned by something resembling a pacifier, an indication of the target market. Of course, it bombed and Sadist took a break. They re-emerged in 2007 with a self-titled album that was a return to their roots. The trend continues on Firescorched, which, from a production standpoint, feels like it could wriggle its way in with any of the seminal albums hitting the bricks in the 1990s. (Read: It’s nice to hear real, nature drums and bass that pops.) It results in a constantly evolving, challenging album that throws in the occasional quirk (see: “Finger Food”), but always stands on the edge of danger and risk. That’s how progressive metal should be done. – David E. Gehlke (Sadist on Facebook)

The Sombre – Monuments of Grief (Chaos Records)
A one-man doom/death outfit, The Sombre hails from the Netherlands and quickly has released three albums in four years – Monuments of Grief the latest outing. Jong has a vicious, low growl plus potent, penetrating screams, while the clean passages contrast in tranquil elegance to the slow riffs and resting heartbeat tempos. Six songs in under forty-minutes, tracks like “The Mourning Gloom” and “Paradise Regained” fuse together the atmosphere of Swallow the Sun against older Candlemass and My Dying Bride – layers of guitars carrying the bulk of the hooks, hypnotic in ambiance even at a low, lurching crawl. Distant production values add mystique to the proceedings – one for the hordes who can’t get enough in the death/doom category. – Matt Coe Jong on Facebook

Syryn – Heads or Tails (Self-Released)
The follow-up to their 2020 debut album Beyond the Depths that this scribe enjoyed, Syryn is a Canadian outfit in the power/traditional metal realm that continues to mesmerize on Heads or Tails. The stellar pipes of Sloan Voxx as well as thunderous riffs, cultural hooks, and epic/majestic atmosphere spinning stories of pirates, sailors, mermaids, and sirens conjures audience/band unity throughout these eight tracks. The opening bass/drum sequence for “’Til We Drown” has a “Running Free” similarity at slower pacing, plus the low churning riffs and double kick hits for “Fist Full of Daggers” bring about Savatage meets Unleash the Archers accents – while the guest growls from ex-Into Eternity’s Amanda Kiernan within “Succubus Queen” are vibrant in the energetic transitional moments. The Northern neighbors spit out ripping material again that should cause massive headbanging, welts, and fists flying high in solidarity to this anthem-oriented record. -Matt Coe Syryn on Facebook

Voodoo Kiss – Voodoo Kiss (Reaper Entertainment)
A cult band in the late 90’s in their local area of southern Germany, Voodoo Kiss reunite with three original members plus Sacred Steel vocalist Gerrit Mutz as a part of the 25th anniversary of the Summer Breeze festival where they will perform – plus release this self-titled album. A quick hitting eight song effort, the quartet straddle that classic heavy metal style of the 70’s/80’s with a bit of melodic hard rock punch – elements of AC/DC, Accept, Judas Priest, and others in that NWOBHM veneer come to mind when taking in “No Time”, speedier head shaking “The Killer”, plus punk-infused “Bat An Eye”. Visceral, potent tracks that easily appeal to the denim, leather, and bullet belt brigade. -Matt Coe Voodoo Kiss on Facebook

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