United States’ Regimental Records has launched attack after attack without mercy and here, Forbidden Magazine puts two of them under the microscope…

First up is ‘The Victorious’, a two track 7″ from German masters of ‘technical black metal’ (is that even a genre?) Nordafrost. I don’t know what else to call them and don’t really care, the material on this release is solid in musicianship and aggression, although I felt the vocal performance set it back slightly. A bit up front and dramatic in delivery, the title track’s feel good, positive lyrical message caught me unaware. Since most extreme metal preaches about ways to ruin your life, it is rather nice to hear empowering and confident lyrics. I guess life isn’t so bad when you can tune your guitar, play your ass off and afford a case of top shelf as opposed to only forty ounces of swill…

I wasn’t too blown away by the half-time guitar over blasting drums routine but the harmonies are solid, the songs flow well and there is plenty of energy in the music to move a crowd of rabid festival-goers. The 666 copies are hand-numbered in white vinyl with a foldout insert for lyrics. The track ‘Through Depths of Cold’ was kind of annoying at first, with it’s lyrics dedicated to snow and ice (like the band’s name along with the aforementioned foldout winter landscape insert isn’t enough) and bouncing back-beat that felt a touch too much like disco. I have heard that 2/4 groove with Germanic metal previously and once I remembered those rabid festival-goes, it all made perfect sense.

Now, I turn my short-tempered attention span to the Ascended /Helcaraxe split. Yet another band who takes their name from Tolkien (the name is of a frozen wasteland…surprise!), Helcaraxe offers up barely four and a half minutes of driving death metal attacks before it’s time to flip the record over. The choppy kick and snare syncopation of ‘The Morbid Force’ aligns well with the guitar pattern and reminds me of hammering nails into a roof…you know, with plenty of leverage and dislike for what you are doing. ‘Dark Sorcery’ follows suit, drawing your ear to an aggressive bass guitar and gang-vocals repeating the title which did little but amuse me. The guitar leads and solos that slice in and out of Helcaraxe’s side of this 7″ are razor sharp and work well with their all-too-short material.

Rounding out the Regimental releases are Finnish monsters Ascended, who despite having no full length to their credits, have built a loyal following due to their dedication to the art of old school death. ‘Abhorrent Voices, They Whisper’ sets the tone for the ritual with barely audible vocal samples littered about this otherwise all instrumental track. You may ask, ‘what do the abhorrent voices whisper’? I have no clue…the instruments are mixed solid and deliver quite a punch but ¬†these whispers only add an air of mystery to the tracks. Mood builds slow with crawling bass lines and agonizing vocal groans while the hand that once idly caressed your neck begins to grip tighter. Soon the blasting starts and you struggle to break free. Horror, pain and sinister motives are present on ‘Spirits of the Passage’, pounding earth and flesh into one. Strong vocal delivery, haunting atmosphere and caught-in-the-grinder guitar riffs make this track my favorite.

http://www.regimentalrecords.com/