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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Howling 'A Beast Conceived' album review.

This release hit me like a swift kick between the legs. That was the first surprise this album had for me. The brutal, old school death metal contained within writhes from the speakers and proceeds to beat you into submission with serpentine riffs and pounding and blasting drums, all slithering around Vanessa Nocera's inhuman bestial growls and screams. The vocal performance on this album is certainly something to behold, but more on that later.

The early 80's was an amazing time for death metal. Fans were inundated with bands influenced by obscure gore and horror movies, the covers to their albums accentuating their love of the macabre and brutal. Even though nothing could prepare you for the ungodly music contained within, the artwork certainly managed to capture the feeling. Looking at the cover to Howling's debut release, waves of nostalgia flooded over me. The band logo alone, complete with skulls, claws, worms and slime gives you a good idea of what you are letting yourself in for. Then their is the cover itself. Drawn by Slasher Design owner Justin Osbourne, it captures a feeling of terror and horror perfectly. A woman looks terrified as she is seemingly torn apart by two ghostly werewolves in the middle of the woods. This band wears it's horror influences with pride, of that you can be assured.

Throughout their debut, the band, who are Vanessa Nocera on Vocals, Tony Proffer on guitar and bass, and Elektrokutioner on drums, pay tribute to many horror movies, such as The Howling, Halloween III: The Season of the Witch and The Fog. The music is reminiscent of Autopsy, with touches of New Wave of British Heavy Metal influences. The numerous tempo changes and melodic solos in each song keep things interesting, and don't allow the listener to become bored.

The vocal performance is one of absolute power. I must admit to not being a fan of female fronted bands. Ever since being totally underwhelmed by Lita Ford and Vixen as a young child, it left a bad taste in my mouth when it came to females in metal. I didn/t feel they had the power to carry off the music behind their vocals. I can safely say that Vanessa Nocera's performance on this album has certainly changed my mind. The growls and screams that are featured on the record are inhuman, bestial and simply some of the most frightening vocals I have heard in death metal since the early days of Autopsy.

The riffs are relentless, melodic and bring to mind Iron Maiden, Autopsy, Possessed, Celtic Frost and Heartwork-era Carcass amongst others. It is a thrilling combination that creates a refreshing abrasive style that fits well with the harsh vocals. The mid paced drumming, sometimes moving into blast beat territory holds things together perfectly. The band enjoy keeping things straightforward and simple, but not so much that things become repetitive and predictable, and this certainly works in the songs power and effectiveness.

There isn't a single poor track on the album. The primal essence of old school death metal flows through every second of music, but the band create something so different, so brutal and dark yet so memorable, that  'A Beast Conceived' is one of the greatest releases of death metal this year.

'A Beast Conceived' is released by Razorback Records and is out to buy NOW.

Go on over and give the bands Facebook page a 'Like' by clicking HERE.

Darkest regards......Dani.

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