Due to the way we’ve decided to divide up the time zones, correspondence with an international audience from the humble southern continent of Australia often feels akin to looking into the past. Yet, despite this perceived futurism, Australian culture often trails its American and European counterparts by some distance. So it is that, while the northern thrash revival has come and (more-or-less) gone, the Australian metal scene is currently experiencing the biggest genre boom it has undergone since thrash metal originally emerged in the mid ‘80s. Back then, we brought our own quality acts to the fold, most notably in the form(s) of Mortal Sin and Hobbs Angel of Death, and the Allegiance in the '90s. Yet, while the style had effectively remained dormant since then, the last five-to-ten years have seen an explosion in the amount of world-class thrash metal bands to have emerged from these southern shores.
Despite having made a fairly triumphant return to form with their last album, 2015's Hammer of the Witches, Cradle of Filth seemed to be doing everything in their power to quash that momentum in the lead up to to their twelfth full-length offering, Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness of Decay. The album's hokey artwork only added to the off-putting nature brought on by its clunky title, and the two uninspiring singles and the seemingly rushed and seemingly un-selfawarely camp videos that accompanied them did little to drum up confidence in the forthcoming record. Add to that the release of Carach Angren's similarly-themed Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten—released earlier in the year to widespread acclaim and popularity—and it really looked like the Brits had painted themselves into a corner from which there was little hope of return. Fans of the band needn't have worried, however, for Cryptoriana is yet another surprisingly solid entry into one of the most consistent catalogues in the history of extreme metal.
Sydney's Polaris have quickly become one of Australian’s most promising acts. The melodic metalcore crew certainly aren't reinventing any wheels, but the sheer vigour and precision songwriting they bring to those templates previously laid down by the likes of Architects and Periphery render them entirely refreshing nonetheless. The band have just announced their debut, full-length album, The Mortal Coil, which is set to be released in November, and if the two singles they've release off the album so far are anything to go by, it's going to be an absolute rager.
Welcome back to Part 2 of our retrospective on one of black and extreme metal's paradoxically most popular and overlooked acts: Cradle of Filth. This part covers everything from 2004's Nymphetamine to the present day and tries to pin down exactly why their reputation has suffered during this period, even though they've still been putting out some fairly decent albums. Refresh yourself with Part 1, and follow through to the end for a quick wrap up and some speculation on what the future holds for the band nearly a half-century into their sordid career.
Cradle of Filth have become one of the most recognisable and quickly dismissed names in extreme metal. Yet, although the band are widely regarded as populist, entry level rendition of the black metal formula, a closer look at their extensive catalogue reveals a far more innovative and surprisingly consistent act than their reputation suggests. Since their discography is so extensive—the band have released eleven full-length studio efforts to date, with one in the pipeline as we speak, and numerous and often notable tidbits here and there—this survey has been broken up into two sections. This first offering examines what many would consider to be the band’s classic period: moving through their early, formative years, up until their commercial breakthrough and (only) major label release in 2003; while part two will pick up from 2004’s Nymphetamine and carry through to the present day.
Just because you've never heard of them doesn’t mean Art Far Away didn’t release one of the best debut records to come out in recent times, and also one of the best albums you’re likely to hear from any band at any stage of their career. The sound of 2014’s Verisimilitude & The Second Estate is tough to pin down. Art Far Away are certainly a progressive act, and it’s certainly a progressive record. Yet it’s equally certain that the Swedish five-piece don’t fit the traditional “progressive” metal mold.
Djent had an explosive entrance into the world of heavy music, around the start of the decade. It was a truly exciting occurrence, with first-wave acts like Periphery, Animals As Leaders and Cloudkicker filtering the technically-driven progressive sound of acts like Meshuggah, Sikth, and those of the budding “Sumeriancore” movement, into something altogether more accessible, while still retaining much of their forebears’ technical and progressive edge. Yet, like most new sub-genres, djent quickly devolved into pastiche and gave way to over saturation—perhaps a little bit quicker than most. Djent, it seems, has had a propperly ballistic trajectory, and—in 2017—as its momentum trails off, it's hard to get excited about this once-promising phenomenon.