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Myrkur - "Skaði (Demo)"

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Normally, I wouldn't make such a big deal over a demo, but this new track from the one-woman black metal project known as "Myrkur" comes with a pretty interesting announcement: Not only is the cut embedded above going to be featured on the forthcoming Myrkur LP on Relapse Records next year, but this project is also going to see some production assistance from Mr. Ulver himself, Kristoffer Rygg. There will be some instrumental accompaniment from members of Dodheimsgard and Mayhem as well.

That's a pretty hefty endorsement, and all of this for a project that seemingly came out of nowhere.

But here's something Myrkur's PR campaign has kind of omitted in the promotion of this project: Myrkur is actually Danish singer-songwriter and model Amalie Bruun. Ms. Bruun has actually released a handful of pop-flavored solo albums, sung in the band Ex Cops, and even collaborated with R.A. The Rugged Man. From hip hop to black metal, Bruun's musical tastes seem pretty diverse, and that can only be a good thing.

While I was somewhat underwhelmed by the debut Myrkur EP earlier this year, I'm hoping Bruun's past experience in releasing records yields more exciting results. I don't see how it can't considering minds like Rygg are going to be involved. Plus, this new track isn't half bad, too!

Black Anvil - "Until the End"

New Trackstheneedledrop2 Comments New York black metal outfit Black Anvil has dropped a new single from its upcoming third full-length effort Hail Death. "Until the End" is the project's third single and effectively confirms this new record to be the band's most ambitious yet. Like the previous two singles, it clocks in at around seven minutes, longer than any song on their first two LPs; moreover, it contains beautifully harmonized guitar leads like  those within the disc's nine-minute-long opener "Still Reborn."

Give the track a listen above and look forward to Hail Death arriving on May 27 via Relapse Records.

Morta Skuld- Through the Eyes of Death: The Early Demos

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My good friend Derek accompanies me yet again for an audio review. Yes! Awesome! Excited! Thankfully, the sound quality on this review is much better than the previous one, which I stilly APOLOGIZE humbly for. Sorry, seriously. Sorry. So, me and Derek dude go way back. We've been sharing music for ages. Recently, as I'm sure you guys know, I've been pretty interested in death metal. Partially, it's thanks to this guy and this book. Mostly, it's to do with the sound.

Anyway, Derek is pretty new to Death Metal, and I had these demos sitting in my lap. They were just begging for a review. Basically, I'm trying to kill two birds with one stone. Mission accomplished, I think.

Stream or download the review below, and find some links to some tracks from this demo set there, too. This release is out now on Relapse.


Steam: Morta Skuld- "Preacher of Lies" / "Feast From Within"

Video: Morta Skuld- "Prolong the Agony"

Morta Skuld- "Preacher of Lies"

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Like any other genre, death metal has its classics. Even though the style has remained relatively underground, pioneers like Death, Morbid Angel, and Atheist are considered seminal by metal fanatics. More contemporary groups such as Gojira and Opeth have altered the sound for an even more widespread appeal.

Considering the chromatic riffing, deafening distortion, tempo changes, and death growls, it's no wonder this stuff was relegated mostly to demo tapes in the late 80s and early 90s. The fortunate bands made it onto extreme music labels such as Earache, but even that didn't guarantee widespread success.

That was the case for Milwaukee's Morta Skuld. Not to say the group wasn't active in the death metal scene at the time. I'm sure the group's early career was a wild ride. In its heyday, Morta Skuld received favorable reviews, released several albums, and performed with metal greats like Slayer.

Still, time managed to forget about these guys, but Relapse records, I suppose, is making an effort to change that with a reissue of the band's early demos: Gory Departure and Prolong the Agony. These two EP-length releases have been combined with a few bonus tracks to create Through the Eyes of Death: The Early Demos.

In a time of glossy, overproduced death metal, the sounds on these demos are especially filthy. Plus, since these tracks were released in the early 90s, there's still a really prevalent thrash metal influence in the riffs. That's especially true of the track streaming above: "Preacher of Lies." Lyrically, this one's a strong jab at money-hungry preachers who siphon cash from their congregations. Sonically, it's an assault that I think has gotten dirtier over time.

Try out two more tracks from this demo reissue here and here. Like I said, find this thing on Relapse Records.

Toxic Holocaust- Conjure and Command

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On Toxic Holocaust's fourth album, the Portland band takes a leaner approach to its grimy fusion of punk and thrash metal, lowering the black metal influences that were once prominent on the band's earlier releases. While there's not a lot of variety to be had on this release, it's not something I really ask for from this album. It's quick, 33-minute shot of rough riffs and tooth-gnashing ferocity.


Toxic Holocaust- "Nowhere to Run"

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I heard about Toxic Holocuast's new LP, Conjure and Command, from one of my most trusted sources on all that is metal: JGC Sound.

If it wasn't an easy guess from the album cover and band name, this is a thrash metal album. And it's nice to see that the style isn't dying. The recent string of thrash revival bands have, for the most part, kept true to the sounds origins while putting their own spin on things.

Unlike other thrash groups I've reviewed, Toxic Holocaust is more about guts than flash. The music is much more driven by grooves and riffs than it is impressive solos and musicianship. It might even be easy to just call it crossover thrash, a hybrid of thrash metal and punk. The aggressive vocals and lean drumming certainly make it sound that way.

Listen to the track "Nowhere to Run" above, and look for this album on July 19th via Relapse Recs.