Postcards From Natalie Zed, Set #9

Hey Hellbound Readers, welcome to the first Postcards From Natalie Zed for 2011. We met Natalie just about a year ago now when she won our big year end contest, taking home more than 50 CDs, records, posters and t-shirts. In a surprise move, Natalie then asked us if she could review her winnings for us. How could we say no?

Well, Natalie is all done with her original batch but has decided to keep on doing her postcard sized reviews for us. So, without further adieu, here is part nine of her ongoing series which we like to call “Postcards From Natalie Zed”.

Aborym – Psychogrotesque (Season of Mist)
A shuddering, shambling zombie-dance between two types of decay, Psychogrotesque is a startlingly eloquent album in the medium of rot. Vacillating between the abjection of decaying flesh and the grind of decaying machinery, Aborym evoke the buzzing of flies and the groan of rust with equal skill. Balance between the mechanical and the physical.

Dawnbringer – Nucleus (Profound Lore)
The guitar work is absolutely mouth-watering and the leaps between styles (traditional metal to thrash to sludge to southern rock) are as nimble as they are strange. Also, my cat loves this album. As soon as I put in on, she sat on my subwoofer and purred like a thundercloud.

Kylesa – Spiral Shadow (Season of Mist)
This album has a beautiful thickness to it, a complexity that is about richness rather than complication. Kylesa‘s two-drummer setup makes Spiral Shadow hum like it has a V-12 under the hood. There is a fantastic depth and suppleness to the percussion that sets Spiral Shadow apart.

Castevet – Mounds of Ash (Profound Lore)
Shockingly bright for a piece of black metal. While Mounds of Ash is certainly heavy, even grim, in terms of its atmosphere, it is also uplifting. This album is lovely in the way a profoundly overcast day can be lovely, the way a landscape that looks cold under direct sunlight suddenly becomes warm and welcoming, lit from within, when a fog rolls in.

Survivors Zero – CMXCIX (Cobra)
This is great, violent melo-death, but the real star of this album is the quality of the production. The mix is perfect, crisp and clean and expertly balanced. I admire this attention to detail; if an album wants to stab me to death with it’s brutality, it’s always best to use a beautifully forged, honed, and weighted blade.

Aeternam – Disciples of the Unseen (Metal Blade)
A Canadian band playing (European) melodic death metal with a distinctly Middle-Eastern/Egyptian flavour. Aeternam is quite the loveable mutt of a band, especially when they embrace their innate power-metal-ness. Right now, khol-lined-eyes and whisper-of-sand aesthetic is laid on quite lightly. I’d love to see them push their identity and concept further.

Sean is the founder/publisher of; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.