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Agnes Vein – Duality

Agnes Vein have well steeped themselves in the lore of Blood Fire Death-era Bathory and latter-day Celtic Frost, but at times, the music also hints at the drone and mood of Jesu. There’s also the strong aftertaste of Primordial in the guitar tone. It’s an eclectic mix, but the influences serve them well and Agnes Vein have managed to distill them down into their own secret formula. I highly recommend Duality to anyone whose ears pricked up at any of the aforementioned inspiration.

Roareth – Acts I-VI

Although they aren’t too creative with the written word—all songs are entitled Acts I through VI, and the band name itself is cringe-worthy—Seattle’s Roareth does have something to offer musically with this, their debut album. Take Zoroaster circa Dog Magic, sprinkle in a few non-distorted slow passages a la Neurosis, and a handful of Cisneros bass grooves, and you’ve got a solid 45 minutes of slow-moving sludge.

Introducing: Mares of Thrace

Guitarist/vocalist Therese Lanz and drummer Stefani MacKichan have been part of Calgary’s music scene for a while now, Lanz as frontwoman for grindcore band Exit Strategy and the pair most notably comprising two-thirds of the hard rock trio Kilbourne, but since forming Mares of Thrace it feels like they’ve stumbled upon something special. One album in, they already have a very strong identity, as The Moulting (Arctodus Records) is a blistering combination of the massive riffs and rhythms of Neurosis, the angularity of Unsane and the Jesus Lizard, the intricacy of the Dillinger Escape Plan, and some well-timed melodic passages to boot.

Adrien Begrand speaks to one of Canada’s most exciting new bands, the Calgary based duo known as MARES OF THRACE.

Sleepbringer – Compendium

Another one of those bands I somehow stumbled onto by accident, there’s very little I can tell you about Indianapolis’ Sleepbringer. Born out of the ashes of Heroes Laid To Rest, an Internet search bore only one other short review (so far) of Compendium, although I have the feeling that once this record gets heard a little more, that’s going to change. What I can tell you without a doubt is that this record absolutely crushes, it’s one of the most promising debuts I’ve heard this year.

Woods Of Ypres + Guests @ Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver BC, June 26, 2010

The songs, stripped lean, take on a new sense of heavy immediacy. Intensely focused, David Gold kept the banter minimal, briefly introducing songs, but instead let the music speak on his behalf. And it was that intensity that made Woods of Ypres so amazing to watch live. They’re a band that pour their heart and soul into every endeavour –recorded and live- and that makes all the difference.

Kyle Harcott reviews the June 26th concert by Woods Of Ypres at the Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver, BC

Postcards From Natalie Zed, Part 4

Hellbound readers, we’re sure that by now you are all familiar with our Natalie Zed, right? Natalie was our big grand prize winner way back in January, taking home more than 50 CDs + and shortly after she received her huge box ‘o CDs, Ms. Zed asked us over at Hellbound HQ if we’d be interested in running reviews of her winnings if she did postcard sized reviews of the albums. How could we say no?

So, after a long layoff (sorry NZ!), here is Natalie’s fourth installment (reviews #31 – 40 for those keeping stats at home) in what Hellbound likes to refer to as “Postcards From Natalie Zed”…