Death Metal Or Die Trying!

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The cream of the crop from this year’s death metal.

I did not originally intend to have any other theme here than simply collecting some of the year’s best DM albums/EPs. But after I had included a few bands it started to seem that each and every band came from the land of the ice and snow that I call “home”. So it became evident I would have to choose the rest from this fabled location as well. I don’t even feel bad, these are most likely better than whatever you were listening to before, so have at you!


Shrapnel Storm

I’ve already reviewed their full-length, Mother War, here so I won’t say much about them here. But this list simply wouldn’t be complete without them, and I want to take this opportunity to tell you to drop whatever you’re doing and go listen to them.

Facebook, Twitter, Spotify (for a two-track demo from ’14)


Vorum

Vorum doth hail from the island of Åland. a demilitarized and autonomous island, legally a part of Finland – enough for me to include them in Finndeath. Founded under the name Haudankaivaja, the band released their debut EP, Grim Death Awaits in ’09 with the line-up of Mikko Josefsson, Jonatan Johansson, bassist John Finne, and – I suspect – Bruce Campbell and appeared out of nowhere before next year’s Poisoned Void LP. With each release they have somehow managed to show a new side of their sound. Personally, I can’t fathom how people can consider this a standard – for me it’s a huge bonus if a band manages to reinvent themselves while staying in the frames of their respective style. Vorum is one of the few bands that do deliver when it comes to this. Grim Death Awaits was a ferocious game opener. Songs mostly on the shorter side and vicious attitude met captivating riffwork. Poisoned Void was a more refined effort with some longer songs and overall featured a tad catchier riffwork than before, yet it carried a more “occult” feel, if you know what I mean. Now they have released a disturbingly neurotic EP, Current Mouth. Easily their most dark and raw effort, it features grimier and even noisier songs than before. Still, it retains a good portion of their memorability, possibly rising to take its place as their best release.

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Bruce “Matti Jalava aka Matt Dillon” Campbell at Steelfest 2015

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Carnalation

Back in 2012 Carnalation released one hell of a deathgrind album in Deathmask. So when the news of their upcoming EP having more twists and turns first broke, I was not amused. Not only is the EP a perfect format for thorough blasting, but it is also quite far from what I wanted. You see, what I wanted was riffs as crushing as “I Am God“, riffs as tight as “Omega Hour“. I wanted another Cadence of Insects and maybe another Floods. What I got was something completely different. And after a few spins it started to sound goddarn good. Ghosts is an EP full of killer modern death metal with an unusually strong emphasis on songwriting dynamics and feel-heavy moments that mostly serve to unnerve and unsettle. This is not to say that Ghosts would be without ferocity like its predecessor – “Passengers” features riffs that would not have been off on Cretin’s It. On other occasions the guitars weave heavy riffs and Teh Fabled Feels together in a way reminiscent of Dead Congregation – if even them.

Facebook, SpotifyHear the full album streaming here.


Amputory

Old school death metal is a classic case of easy to learn, impossible to master. The genre relies on more or less simple riffs, and only very few who have attempted to bring anything else to the table have succeeded. Naturally, this simplicity is therefore the downfall of numerous bands – it isn’t always easy to tell the bands apart or to really place one release above another, which is why it’s so delightful that Ode To Gore, while definitely a nod to the legends, sounds fresh. It’s an album filled with vital energy, crushing riffs, and memorable hooks. If you’re looking for a taste of tech, shades of obscvrity, overt originality or play on atmospherics: GO AWAY! In it’s construction, it’s very simple – catchy as hell tremolo riffs followed by very mosh-worthy, headbanging groove riffs. Immaculate in design, a putrid stench emanating from its sound and rotten (in a good way) production work, the band’s vision remains strong throughout. There’s really only one anomaly on the album, the outro to “Aghori”. An instrumental solo recalling influences best described as eastern and tribal provides a welcome breather doing its part to maintain attention. As expected, the lyrics are mostly what you would expect from an album called Ode To Gore, but “Cleansing By The Blade” seemingly breaks this mold a bit, telling tales of people mutilating themselves in order to feel better. Charming.

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Cult of Endtime

While Cult of Endtime’s music is undoubtedly based on death metal, there lie many other elements as well. On many occasions you find yourself lost in the swirling sludge riffs leading into more straightforward doom riffs right before you are ripped back. While In Charnel Lights takes no time to set the stage with a flurry of powerful riffwork, a thick atmosphere, and a squeal (!), soon the melodic qualities seep in. The album is full of content but well balanced, and it’s impossible to say whether the riffs or the melodies carry the songs more. Think of Vallenfyre without the crust (especially “Hidden Gods”). Most of the album moves through mid-tempo and a modified approach to verse-chorus-bridge guide to songwriting. Cult of Endtime attempts to keep the listeners on their toes by injecting both slower and faster passages and moreover, as I pointed, a modified version of the basic songwriting scheme. Yet in their experimentation they remain conservative, perhaps deviating most on the two or three occasions they set their riffs to stoner. Riffs are carefully crafted into multiple variations that may at first remain unheard – one more agent of their careful formula. This album was composed to be a grower. The only true complaint I have is drummer Tiera. His accentuated style has been one of Kuolemanlaakso’s biggest strengths and is as good as ever here – and he quit. Sami Ratilainen is going to have a long way ahead of him if he’s going to become an apt replacement.

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  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    I have not heard the full album yet, therefore it ain’t here but based on this one song The Devil’s Epoch by Pimeydentuoja is fharcin’ awkwesame! (also, linked Ratilainen’s other band for interested parties in his name, in case ye missed it)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-Jv6xhvNd4

  • The amount of great music out in the world today is just too much. I hear about 10 new bands every single day that deserve ample listening but who has time to devote to that? I feel terrible that all these bands get a listen or two from me but largely end up being lost in the hordes of other bands we are all exposed to.

    I guess much of the joy is discovering a band the really tingles your jimmies just the right way. It is quite a joyous occasion when this happens!

    Great write up, BearGod!

    GL

    • Disgustache

      I sometimes question why I come here and keep reading all these articles for the same reason you just described. But I have found some really great bands as a result, so the latter part of your statement is also valid.

    • I feel you, GL. I am driven almost to the point of despair by the monsoons of new music brought to us by the Toilet. But at the end of the day–even though only maybe 5% of that music makes it into my collection–I am still grateful for having heard it all.

      The Toilet is the National Geographic of metal.

      • Dubzlinger

        I’d say you contribute more than your fair share to the monsoon 😉

        • I live to moisten things and decrease driving visibility. :p

          • Dubzlinger

            Ha! Fun fact: rain is often considered to be more dangerous for driving conditions than snow.

          • This is most certainly the case for Phoenix; a mere drizzle causes panic and multi-car pileups. (I miss driving in the snow.)

          • Dubzlinger

            Yah. Thankfully, people tend to slow down on ice and snow, often reducing the severity of crashes. You don’t see as much of a speed reduction with rain.

          • “Fun fact: rain is often considered to be more dangerous for driving conditions than snow”

            -RESEARCH PROVIDED BY: THE EARTHWORM COUNCIL FOR SAFE ROAD CROSSINGS

          • *applause*

          • I am glad someone understood what I was getting at 🙂

          • KJM

            For once, I did not understand the reference.

          • KJM

            MIND BLOWN.

          • Rain drives earthworms out of the ground and onto the road where they get squashed by cars by the dozens, or millions.

          • KJM

            Ah, that’s right.

          • Disgustache

            Well that escalated quickly.

          • Um . . . whaaaa?

          • Disgustache

            “Dozens, or millions”

          • I need to lay down now.

            NO RUNNING ON THE ESCALATORS!

          • Kim Boz Un’s Bozstralia

            And we have you to thank for making it possible to share all this good music, you magnificent bastard! 😉

            http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lgxgqlAnqo1qad0ml.gif

          • Stanley

            When I was a nipper and we wanted to go fishing, we would fill a bucket full of soapy water and then pour it on the lawn. After a few minutes bait would miraculously appear.

          • DCLXVI

            *in places where snow is unusual

          • Dubzlinger

            Yes, that’s a good point!

          • KJM

            Unfortunately, I do not live in one of those places.

      • Disgustache
      • RFI

      • Vladimir Poutine

        I beg to differ. National Geographic is chock full of ads and it’s often difficult to find the article you want.

        • Granted, it’s been about 10 years since I’ve cracked an issue . . . but I remember it fondly.

          • Vladimir Poutine

            It has pretty pictures, that’s for sure.

      • OldMetalHead

        although with less native nudity.

    • Kim Boz Un’s Bozstralia

      Don’t feel bad. Keeping up with all the good music here on the Toilet is fuck near impossible unless you’re MODOK or something. That’s what kinda irritates me about people saying there’s no good music out there. And I know right off the bat that that’s people who let their musical tastes be dictated by top 40 bullshit. I figured out at 12 years old that underground music is where it’s at, and like Pablo Picasso said “If you can imagine it, it’s real”. Any musical style you can literally imagine, and every combination possible, is out there and being done well.

  • Le Tapir The Based

    Cult of Endtime is on my “This is a good” list.

  • Scrimm

    Good stuff. No Finnish band is topping Desolate Shrine for me this year.

    • Disgustache

      Scandinavia has to be a bloodbath fucking gladiator arena for competing bands. So much good music comes out of there it’s unreal.

      • Scrimm

        The amount is mind boggling.

        • Disgustache

          I just went and looked into them. I was not prepared.

          • Dubzlinger

            Desolate Shrine? We’ve been hailing them round these parts.

          • Disgustache

            I must have missed them. There are some days I cannot come flush, but my bowels are begging for release.

          • The Fish Boz

            Their album dropped early this year, so that might have been it.

          • Disgustache

            Tell you what else dropped is this coffee dump this morning. AYYYYYYYYYYYYY

          • The Fish Boz

            I ate a cheeseeverything last night. It went out quickly this moning, but still did some damage.

          • Disgustache

            Cheeseeverything sounds pretty American. Proud of you, boy.

          • The Fish Boz

            You can find it on pretty much every corner junk food here in Brasil, written as “X-Tudo”. It has hot dog franks, cheese, ham, a hamburger, a fried egg, chicken, pork, lettuce, tomatos, onions and bacon.

            Pretty healthy.

          • Disgustache

            If you ever have a chance, grab a loco moco which is a Hawaiian staple from what I understand. Hamburger patties, mashed potatoes with gravy topped with fried eggs. Accompanied by potato and macaroni salad.

          • The Fish Boz

            Holy shit that sounds amazing. And dangerous.

    • i shall give this a listen… for Scrimm!!!

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      Still not into it 🙁 I did have another few goes at Ghoulgotha though and I’m starting to feel it.

      • Scrimm

        Surprised but at least you gave it a shot. That Ghoulgotha isn’t great or anything but there is some good stuff on it.

    • DCLXVI

      this Desolate Shrine is dank, thanks Scrimm

      • Scrimm

        Glad to be of service

  • Fuck yes, exactly what the doctor prescribed to me: DEATH MEROL.

    One more time, Beargod: Cult of Endtime is very good. Want to check the entire album right now!

    Good quality.

  • Disgustache

    I just got this album today after being blessed by the paycheck god. Read about them on here a long time ago, and they are great! Sick band from India. So heavy.

    https://dunkelheitprod.bandcamp.com/album/sthoopa

  • DCLXVI

    sweeeet

  • Damn, that Vorum is pretty intense. That recording suits them well. Digging Carnalation as well.

    • The Fish Boz

      That crusty production is tingling my tinglable parts.

      • Disgustache

        Crust for the crust god

    • SHIT’S EVIL, BRUH!

      Very cool aesthetic. Like it.

  • The Fish Boz

    THIS IS STILL DEATH METAL YOU BASTARDS
    DUN DUN
    DECADES AGO, A TIME NOW LONG GONE
    DEATH METAL HAD ITS TRUE FORM

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      VOCALS ARE POOR, LIKE FROGS IN A MOOR!

      • Disgustache

        VOCALS ARE FROGS
        ARISEN FROM BOGS
        LEGENDS LONG PAST
        STILL KICKING YOUR ASS

      • The Fish Boz

        I DONT CARE
        MARTIN VAN DRUNEN
        AAAAAAAAAARGH

        I love Martin Van Drunen’s vocals hehe.

        • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

          I love MVD, those be lyrics from Deathhammer, fool.

          • The Fish Boz

            I know. I just wanted to say that he be the top frog among the frogs in the moor.

          • The Fish Boz

            Also, Into The Timewaste + Deathhammer is one of the sickest 1,2 musical combos of all time.

            Both songs are killer for doing HIIT and sprints.

  • The Fish Boz

    The tremolo riff around the 2:10 mark on “Tri Ennial” (Vorum) is the SHIT. Great moment.

  • There’s been a ton of good death metal this year. Gruesome, Desolate Shrine, Defaced, Entrails, Feral, Jungle Rot, Percussor, Skinless, Noisem, Sulphur Aeon, Torture Pulse, and Prion have all had great albums this year.

  • KJM

    If you thought the “Sad Satan” thing was cool, I present The Conet Project. 4 CDs worth of numbers station broadcasts.

    https://archive.org/details/ird059

    • Dubzlinger

      Hey, I watched Banshee Chapter the other night.

      • KJM

        Ooh, then you might not want to press ‘play’ on the first file on that page unless you want to be spooked bigtime.

        I thought the concept was way better than the execution, but ‘Banshee’ is still a worthwhile watch. How’d ya like it?

        • Dubzlinger

          The jump scares were a bit meh, but the moments where they actually let the tension build were great. Plus it was cool seeing a strong woman as the lead.

          • KJM

            Ted Levine was cool too. It would’ve been easy for him to steal the show but he didn’t.

          • Dubzlinger

            He made a great faux Hunter S. Thompson.

          • KJM

            He sure did. I can only imagine if the real HST had a Lovecraft obsession, probably would’ve made things worse.

  • Dubzlinger

    In Charnel Lights is aight.

  • Void Dweller

    Sweet Satan does that Vorum EP kick ass.

    • The Fish Boz

      T’was my favorite release in this post.

      • Void Dweller

        I can see why. Nasty, evil shit always prevails.

        • The Fish Boz

          Give it a crusty production, maybe add some feedback and you got me.

          • Void Dweller

            Bingo.

            Edit: Reverb too.

          • sweetooth0

            Fenriz had it as a band of the month release, so there’s that too. The guy’s usually not wrong.

          • sweetooth0

            Pissgrave and Vorum should team up for a filthy death metal tour

          • Void Dweller

            Very true.

  • CT-12

    The snare on that Carnalation song rubbed me the exact wrong way. Every other band here sounded pretty good otherwise, thanks for the post Karhu!

  • Lacertilinger

    Damn @nordlingritesovkarhu:disqus, I’ve had Amputory wishlisted for so bloody long it is buried with dust, must fix.