Reviews by Mike SOS



Unsettling yet unoriginal, eerie Georgia death metal unit Father Befouled ape their spooky style mainly from Incantation as documented on their haunting 11-track album MORBID DESTITUTION OF COVENANT. Despite an incomprehensible yet menacing lead vocal (“Paradise of Desecrated Nothingness”), succulent slow churned riffs (“Vomiting Impurity”) and some intriguingly unexpected blistering to listless tempo changes, this band’s version of doom encrusted death metal wallows in shared desperations and broken spirits from some of the most foul bands from the ‘90s a bit too stringently, ultimately demeaning some of their unholy impact. Bolstering their foreboding cacophony with a bevy of evil echoes and waves of unsteady feedback seemingly collected from the bowels of Hell, Father Befouled’s blasphemous barrage of unorthodox heaviness renders an excursion in true evil.



Southern California grindcore veterans Phobia have produced a virulent 17 track affair in a 14-minute span, making their latest release UNRELENTING an album truly worthy of its title. Finding a middle ground between crusty D-Beat (“Life’s Animosity”) and ferociously spastic grind (“Sign of Times”), this long-running unit has had its share of lineup changes through the years, yet their vocal shredded velocity-fueled brevity remains unfettered by the changes (“Dying for Who?”) and sounds as feral as ever (“Rehashed”, “Out of Control”). If you need a brutal soundtrack to break faces to, look no further than this band to get the job done.



Broughton’s Rules invite you to join their free-form musical mission on BOUNTY HUNTER 1853, this jagged Pittsburgh, PA quartet’s debut offering. Featuring former members of Don Caballero, this mainly instrumental offering falls somewhere between spaghetti western jam band, jazzy ambiance, drone metal repetition and heavy psychedelic rock with strands of space rock looming in the distance (“Disaster of the Week”). Spearheading a pensive post-rock exposition garnished with the occasional haunting vocal when not exploring cinematic themes with soaring guitar lines and pulsating backbeats (“Moonsick”), Broughton’s Rules have merged a collection of heavy rock techniques with atmospheric dream-like explorations to create their own blend of captivating music seemingly perfect for film (“Night Smoker”).



Richmond, VA squad Cough has unleashed an oppressively heavy five-track collection of tunes entitled RITUAL ABUSE. This trio demonstrates an appreciation for all things doom with the use of deliberately suffocating tempos and cavernous riffs leading their cloudy charge (“Crooked Spine”). Clocking in at a weighty 53 minutes, this disc’s overall lumbering nature is accompanied by a slew of slow crawl riffs and ethereal vocal warbles that summon drug-induced despair from the depths of the soul (“Mind Collapse”). Juxtaposing Black Sabbath, Eyehategod, and Electric Wizard, Cough has crafted an album full of bleak atmospheres with the right amount of oddly melodic psychedelic dread permeating through thick slabs of sludgy doom.



Sanford Parker and Bruce Lamont plus a handful of pretty stellar drummers comprise the Chicago industrial unit Circle of Animals, whose release DESTROY THE LIGHT embraces the patented mechanized metallic sound championed by hometown heroes Ministry. This eight-track offering presents clinically calculated electronic rock much like Al Jourgenson and company made in their prime right down to the vintage approaches taken to capture machinery whirs and churns (“Invisible War”). Creating cold and dark music harnessed by the redundancy of automation, Circle of Animals produce an authentic representation sound-wise yet meander in between soulless repetition and meandering monotony throughout to come off more tedious and dull than hypnotic.



Hero Destroyed is a hybrid heavy unit from Pittsburgh, PA whose abrasive 11-track potpourri pummels eardrums from start to finish. Equally capable of blasting out a grind beat (“Army of Draccoons”) or scraping the bottom of the heavy riff barrel to come up with spastic shards of six-string nastiness (“You Might As Well Go With Plan B”), this quintet callously exhibit a dastardly sense of dexterity with unabashed hardcore heft and rounds of razor sharp metalcore (“Justifying the Hypothetical”) anchoring their punishing presentation (“The Last Upper”). Despite yielding a clinical feel that flattens out the overall experience, Hero Destroyed unleashes a collection of songs fueled with undeniable raw power and dissonant aggression and should appease those into cross-pollinated modern metal.