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  Punk & Hardcore Appreciation Post 2024 releases Bootlicker "1000 Yd. Stare" (Neon Taste Shock & Static Shock Records, 2024) Bootlicker Official Bandcamp Castillo "Signs of a Different Time" (Mendeku Diskak, 2024) Mendeku Diskak Official Bandcamp Litige "2 Degr​é​s b​/​w Je crie & Ca Reviendra" (Echo Canyon Records, 2024) Echo Canyon Records Official Bandcamp Lion's Law "Si le Ciel Vient à Tomber" (UVPR Vinyles, 2024) UVPR Vinyles Official Bandcamp
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Mischievous Wraith “Hemlock and Belladona” (Medieval Prophecy Records, 2023) Medieval Prophecy Records has been, for a while now, the perfect vessel for the proliferation for quality Black Metal. Examples like Phlegethon's Majesty, Crypts of Wallachia, Selenite Scrolls, Forbidden Temple, etc., have shown the World how to play Black Metal the old way. Each band has its sounds, however there is always a link, a sonic link that connects all these bands and creates a scene, a circle, in a way. I forgot to mention that all these bands, along with the label of course, are Belgium, and although the country’s biggest Black Metal export are Enthroned and Ancient, the local scene lives off from bands that play a different sound. Mischievous Wraith is the most recent entity to come out of the dirty and mouldy Belgium Black Metal underground scene, with members coming from various exquisite Black Metal acts (Phlegethon's Majesty, Crypts of Wallachia, Regnum Tenebrarum, Selenite Scrol
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  Castle Rat “Into the Realm” (King Volume Records, 2024) Brooklyn, New York City, New York. In come a bunch of freaks in costumes, swords, and all things weird. Well, this ought to be funny and interesting. And indeed, it is. Checking in on the band’s Bandcamp we get this message: “Castle Rat is a Medieval Fantasy Doom Metal band led by the Rat Queen on a mission to expand and defend ‘The Realm’ from those who seek to destroy it. She is joined by The Count, The Plague Doctor, and The Druid. Together they face the relentless wrath of their arch nemesis: Death Herself — The Rat Reaperess”. Well, little old geeky me just frown his eyebrow, looked at it once again, and pressed PLAY. And into an Old School RPG we were dragged. Musically speaking, Castle Rat sounds Doomy and Old School Occult slow paced Rock n’ Roll, very embedded in Black Sabbathian mystic and atmosphere. Not a huge fan of Doom Metal, but I do love some classic sounding Doom Metal, the one that sounds… like Sabbath a
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  Short Days “Direction Nowhere” (Destructure Records, 2024) Music reviews do not always need to be long and heavy, difficult to understand and pseudo-intelligent; they can simply be immediate and straight to the point. A bit like the music I like, at times. French Hardcore Punk is one of those scenes I adore. The language is one of the things I love, but the way the French structure their music... it sounds so romantic, at times. Odd, right? We do not expect a romantic sounding band, and the word "romantic" might be misplaced here, but... understand some will. So yeah, let's go! Guess who is back? Well, you might not guess it, but I was not expecting for these lads to be back with new music, but here they are… Short Days is a band from Lille, France, and they play this Hardcore Punk the French way. The fuck is “the French Way”, you ask. Well, now that is a thing you do not teach; that is something you absorb after listening to large amounts of quality Hardcore Punk fro
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  Frozen Wreath Melancholic Melodies of Old This interview came to be after a review I did of Frozen Wreath's last album, the 2023 release, "Mea Culpa" , and it was planned to be published via Team Brutal. However, plans not always go as expected, and it was impossible, but Cláudia was kind and sent me the file. iIf you have never heard the band, go ahead and listen to it. A very interesting sound, and an interesting pair of Artists. Read all about it, below. First, thank you very much for your time and words. Let us start off with the new album, “Mea Culpa”. What is the core subject of this new album? Zoltán: I am greeting the readers and thank you for the opportunity to talk a little bit about Frozen Wreath. ‘Mea Culpa’ is our second album and lyric-wise it is a concept album, again, just like our first album, ‘Memento Mori’ was. The previous album was about the finality of human life and now we returned to death as subject, but this time Roland specified all his l
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  Brakel “Wranger Wanen” (Signal Rex, 2024) Belgium once again. The Belgian scene is a special one, and I have stated this more than once in the Past. Their approach to Black Metal is very “outside the box” most of the times. This time, Brakel, an unknown act to me, delivers a very trance like Black Metal… in a way. This lives within the realm of Raw Black Metal, very enrooted in the Clandestine Circle of Aldebaran – which is a win in my book – and adjacent sonic experiences. “Zonderling En Drang” might be one of the more special tunes I had the pleasure of listening to, this year. That melody, the dark atmosphere that surrounds it. It is special and delicate; it is a delicate tune, no doubt. But the overall atmosphere is amazing! This is not your standard Raw Black Metal act; this is not some basic, tasteless sonic experience, no! This is a very special release, that needs to be absorbed slowly, but steadily. It works as an experience if I may. One sees himself pulled into this bl
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  Kratti “Matka Kohti Kosmista” (Signal Rex, 2024) “Kratti are the ascending newcomers of the bleak fields of Finnish Black Metal!” That is one bold statement, right? You need to be good at something before you go out and say that. Well… let’s find out. Kratti is a 3 man Finnish straight to the throat Black Metal act. They do have a point when they state they are the “…ascending newcomers…”, for their sound is stone cold ripping Black Metal. It is Finnish, and you can almost feel it in your bones. The melodies merged with that Finnish violence – that is not violence, but a harsher approach – that we all love. Come on! It is hard not to enjoy what the Finns have been doing for decades, their mastered sound, their own vision of Black Metal… Kratti goes down that path, successfully, and oh man! I was never into complex music, maybe due to my Hardcore Punk background, so when a band goes straight to the point, I am in for the ride. To say that these lads are doing something that ne