Death Metal Roundup: Enemy Reign + Ramesses + Forlorn Path + Insanity + Venomous Maximus

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Reviews by Paul Castles

The latest fistful of fury to land at the feet of our extreme metal scribe Paul Castles encompasses the old and the new. Fortunately he likes what he hears and now wants to share these destructive diamonds with you.

  • Enemy Reign – Tormented To Oblivion
  • Ramesses – Misanthropic Alchemy
  • Forlorn Path – Man’s Last Portrait
  • Insanity – Death After Death
  • Venomous Maximus – Beg Upon The Light

Enemy Reign – Tormented To Oblivion

Tormented to Oblivion is a slightly unusual package as it features both of Enemy Reign’s two former frontmen. But regardless of whether it’s Sherwood Webber or Stevie Boiser at the mic what we have here is a straight down the middle barrage of death metal – and coming from this correspondent that is not meant as a criticism. By the time the Denver deviants hit these shores for a few dates earlier in the year Ben Pitts had taken over the vocals. While stability may not be Enemy Reign’s strongpoint they remain capable of conjuring up some destructive diatribes played, on tracks such as ‘Abducted,’ against an incessant barrage of blast beats and frenzied fretwork. This 15-track bouncing ball of speed is a remixed and remastered package taken from the band’s Diametrically Opposed EP and previous full length recording Between Hell and Oblivion. Tormented to Oblivion is currently available on either vinyl or as a download with slightly differing tracks so check before you buy – more tracks on the download version. If you’re happy to have your head gripped in a vice-like hold while being subjected to a full-on seismic shock of aggression then you won’t be disappointed with this untamed beast.

12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Make Enemies
  2. Tormented Masses
  3. Diametrically Opposed
  4. The Truth Hurts Suffer
  5. Haunted
  6. Seven Deadly sinners
  7. The Heretic’s Will
  8. Realm Of the Hungry Ghost
  9. Lalaurie’s Chamber
  10. Forged From Suffering’
  11. Abducted
  12. Cidium
  13. Bathed In Flames
  14. These Cursed Eyes
  15. A Viral Evolution

 

Ramesses – Misanthropic Alchemy

Ritual Productions

Having announced their split earlier this year, Ramesses have at least left us with this remarkable legacy. The two-hour opus, Misanthropic Alchemy, is a double album of such poise and power that it will leave you feeling exhausted and exhilarated roughly in equal measure. After a livelier start than might at first have been expected, Ramesses steadily regress back into the darkness with some staggeringly oppressive sounds. What some may perceive as repetitive, such as the sustained spinechilling intro on ‘Terrordactyl’, others would delight in the resoundingly harmonic grooves. The fireworks are there all right just not in the sky. The real explosions with Misanthropic Alchemy are to be found down in the desperate depths of despair. ‘Lords Misrule’ crawls through the sludge-lined swamp with a hostile chilling starkness. Adam Richardson seamlessly switches vocal styles to the ambiance of the track with deep death metal rumbles penetrating what is essentially a wonderful doom laden treasure trove. The intermittent damsel in distress wails merely heightens the sense of fear and foreboding that pulses through this epic double measure of despair and desolation. The Dorset doomlords’ farewell is essentially seven tracks with a mixture of former releases, EPs and some live stuff for good measure. Gone but not forgotten.

Ramesses – Misanthropic Alchemy

9 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Ramesses Part 1
  2. Ramesses Part 3
  3. Lords Misrule
  4. Coat Of Arms
  5. Terrordactyl
  6. Before The Jackals
  7. Earth Must Die

 

Forlorn Path – Man’s Last Portrait

Independent release – download the album for free on their Bandcamp site here

As debut albums go Man’s Last Portrait from Forlorn Path is as polished as they come. The New Jersey trio have created a moving majestic release that darts between blackened metal, melancholic doom and in places rasping death metal vocals. This self release is the full package and it’s no surprise that it has been instantly embraced by metal’s movers and shakers. Opening track ‘The Coming of Winter’ is the first of two purely instrumental numbers. It’s great sweeping blanket of doom and despair that stirs the blood but before rigamortis has time to set in ‘Empire of Decadence’ kicks in to ignite Forlorn Path’s blazing fires. Forlorn Path are reminiscent in places of Katatonia, sorrowful waves rolling over you, each more powerful than the last. While the tempo can switch between funereal and slightly pacier, the dark foreboding atmosphere never fades. Featuring melodic monsters of mythical status, polished tight rhythms, thoughtful interludes and satanic scowls, Man’s Last Portrait is the kind of album it’s impossible to tire of listening to.

Forlorn Path 20138 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. The Coming Of Winter
  2. Empire Of Decadence
  3. Words Only Wind Can Speak
  4. Masquerade
  5. A Moment Of Silence
  6. As Hope Fades
  7. Ghosts
  8. Man’s Last Portrait
  9. What Lies Beyond
  10. Relics

 

Insanity – Death After Death

Hell’s Headbangers Records

Death After Death will pick up its 20-year long service award next year so this reissue is all about spreading Insanity among a new generation. Although they have never shared a branch at the top of the death metal tree with the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Immolation or Dying Fetus, as you can see from this frenetic fistful of gore-slapped hostility, Insanity were never too far behind. This remixed beast (vinyl only) is of its time and as such is really thrash driven rather than the grinding death metal annihilation we hear today. It even has a Metallica feel about it in places such as on the extended guitar intro to the longest track ‘Rotting Decay’. Tracks such as ‘Morbid Lust’ are pure Bay Area thrash and Exodus fans will know what to expect. Death After Death is a primal beast with guitar solos breaking out in every direction and drums beaten to a pulp. Confusingly the band have just issued a Facebook message explaining that there was a mix-up during the recording and the wrong vocals were used. The sound now is more death metal than thrash and the second pressing will embrace the heavier sound.

Insanity - Death After Death6 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Attack of Archangels
  2. Fire, Death, Fate
  3. In Memory
  4. Rotting Decay
  5. Morbid Lust
  6. Blood for Blood
  7. Possession
  8. Death After Death

Venomous Maximus – Beg Upon The Light

Napalm Records

Venomous Maximus may sound like one of Harry Potter’s spells but the magic weaved by these Houston harbingers of doom is a match for anything conjured up by the spotty bespectacled conjurer’s wand. Beg Upon the Light is a mesmerising meander through the creepy corridors of the dark side. Vocalist Gregg Higgins has a distinctive sinister style – part spoken part sung – that rests perfectly within this atmospheric goblet of sludge. On tracks such as ‘Moonchild’ and ‘Path of Doom’ Venomous Maximus lay down some soaring sweeping sounds that swim in the seas of doom, kept afloat by wave after wave of granite-shattering riffs. The aptly named sticks master Bongo maintains a pounding rhythm throughout and judged on recent reports of the support slots with Down, the Texans are able to capture their sound just as effectively on stage as in the shadows of the recording studio. Venomous Maximus have created a witches’ brew of majestic medieval mysticism that takes you on a broomstick ride headfirst into the gloomy catacombs where the occult’s blackened heart still beats. Hop on and enjoy the ride.

Venomous Maximus 20139 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Funeral Queen
  2. Path of Doom
  3. Give Up the Witch
  4. Father Time
  5. Dream Again (Hellenbach)
  6. Moonchild
  7. Battle for the Cross
  8. Venomous Maximus
  9. Mother Milk
  10. Hell’s Heroes