They’re small, you know the drill. This week we delve into Katalepsy, Seventh Xul, In Twilight’s Embrace, Hatebreed, Enoid, Mantar, Iron Mountain, Condition Critical and Fleshgore.
From Russia with violence. Moscow’s Katalepsy are all fists and hammers-to-the-face with their second album Gravenous Hour. Grammar aside (their previous album is called Musick Brings Injuries, so maybe they have a theme going on), the album is a dose of brutal death metal that will curl your fingers and clench your jaws in blood-fueled anger. When they say “suffer” and “die” you want to suffer and die. Guttural vocals? Check. Chugs? Check. More double-bass pedal than Gene Hoglan can wiggle his feet at? Check. Thankfully, Gravenous Hour doesn’t descend into total blood-and-guts pig squeals and frog gurgles. There is substance and quality with this album, two things that brutal death metal can always use . RIYL: Deeds of Flesh, Putrid Pile, Gorgasm — 365
A re-issue of an obscure 2010 Greek release with ties to Acherontas, Enshadowed and Nocternity? Sign me the fuck up! While that description may leave you (like it did for me) expecting some archaic themed Hellenic Black Metal, what you’ll actually discover on these two tracks is some mysterious serpentine death metal. The duo lay out just over 10 minutes of tremolo-laden fury that isn’t scared of throwing in some artificial harmonics and staccato thumps to split the turbulent shredding up. In addition to the profane sermons growled by vocalist Acherontas V.Priest, there are a number of raspy whispered passages that exude malice and help to hammer home the sinister atmosphere. After deciding to leave this EP as the sole output of the band by immediately disbanding following its release, Qliphothic Rites of Death will remain a rare cryptic offering. Seek this one out with haste, on 7″ vinyl only from May 27th onwards over at Iron Bonehead Productions. — Lacertilian
When you hear the band name In Twilight’s Embrace you immediately think of a bunch of gloomy glum-glums, hair in their faces, singing about lost loves and the crushing weight of depression. At least, that’s what I initially thought I was going to get with the band’s 3-song EP Trembling. How wrong I was. Poland’s In Twilight’s Embrace churn out a punishing brand of death metal, and Trembling feels like a kick straight to the chest. The music is aggressive and frantic, but with purpose. Riffs abound and moments of melody accentuate viciousness within. Though there are only 2 original songs and a cover on Trembling, the EP is actually a follow-up to their recently released album The Grim Muse. If you couldn’t get enough of that main course, Trembling will serve as a delightful dessert. RIYL: Unleashed, Decapitated, Krisiun — 365
-“MAGGOT!??!?? DO YOU CALL THAT A PUSHUP????”
+”I’m horrible at this, that’s why I signed up for personal tr-”
-” THIS IS HARDCORE TRAINING MAGGOT, AND I’VE HEARD ENOUGH OF YOUR BULLCRAP, YOU WASTE OF AIR. YOU’RE A LOSER, ARE YOU FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF??!!?”
+”I knew I shouldn’t have come to the Gold’s next to the bandanna shop.”
I could hear Hatebreed‘s The Concrete Confessional as the backround music as this scene played out in my head. — Mosh Hoff
Come for the killer album art, stay for the killer black metal. Back with their sixth full-length in just ten years (!), Enoid have honed their specific brand of harrowing Swiss extremity into a razor sharp, white hot implement of destruction. Each of the eight tracks on this release rips and tears, with a cornucopia of blast beats, throat-shredding vocals, and cascading tremolo riffs, but the band shows a wide array of other techniques that keep things fresh and maintain momentum. Some tracks feature a more punk influence with spare use of skank and d-beats, others inject a dollop of dissonance to add that unsettling atmosphere, and some even allow Phrygian modes and somber melodies to take hold as the aggression slowly mounts like floodwater behind a dam (see “Mangez ma chair, prenez ma douleur”). Ultimately, the album art perfectly complements the music: brooding, sinister, unpredictable, violent. FFO: Grethor, Nazghor, Kawir — W.
Quick, name one German slightly-blackened sludge duo that rips faces and takes names. If your answer was anything other than Mantar, your are probably wrong. Bassless as it is, Ode to the Flame is as full as it is hopelessly gritty. The vocals often remind me of a pissed off mix between Death‘s Chuck Shuldiner and Coroner‘s Ron Broder; the riffs change from rockier mid-paced grooves to atmospheric, big chord-led sections, and the drums provide a solid frame for it all. I must say it’s a really solid, well pieced together and fun (the dismal kind) listen from front to back, if nothing really innovative or unique. — Mosh Hoff
I’m not really sure what to make of Iron Mountain, but I’m sure that I’ve never heard a band quite like them before. If you took a strung-out Alcest and Kraftwerk, stuck them in a room together, blasted them with psychedelic rock and Irish folk music for a week, and told them to start writing together, the resulting album would probably sound a lot like Unum. There are parts of this that work really well; folk and post-rock are practically made for each other, and the floating Irish themes and 70’s-inspired rock interludes each add their own unique flavors to the concoction. However, they go a little too deep into the Krauthole for me to fully appreciate this. Still, if you’re looking for some chill prog that’s a little bit out-there, it’s hard for me not to recommend it. — Spear
So you say thrash had its glory days in the last century? While you are correct, that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying at least one album from the catalogues of bands such as Warbringer, Evile, Havok, et al. And while I missed their first full-length release, I’m glad I gave this independent album a shot, as it turned out to be a fun romp across the beer-stained floor of the makeshift pit which periodically forms at that local dive-bar. After originally seeing this touted as Demolition Hammer-worship, I found it to bear a closer resemblence to the bass thumping attack of Nuclear Assault, along with a healthy dose of the aforementioned Warbringer. So I was hardly surprised to discover guest vocals from John Kevill on the track “Voluntary Disfigurement“, which also features Tom Martin of Lich King. If you’re after something a little lower in intensity, but no less boisterous to blast in between those repeated plays of Ripper and Vektor (interview), then look no further. — Lacertilian
Brutal death metal bands tend to be disposable to me; I listen once to get my fix, and I move on. There aren’t many distinguishing features between a lot of these bands, either, so I don’t feel much need to go back to one in particular. Yet for whatever reason, Denial of the Scriptures keeps pulling me back for more. Maybe it’s because of the varied vocal approach. Maybe it’s because the bass gets its time to shine. Maybe it’s because of the frequent grooves that show up, very atypical for the genre. Or maybe it’s because I can actually feel the spite and derision that Fleshgore have poured into this work, and it’s formed a connection with my basest of emotions. Regardless of the reason, I feel that Denial has been criminally overlooked in the wake of other, more celebrated BDM albums this year. — Spear
Crusty hardcore punk n’ roll Cursed worship at it finest. If you know who Cursed is, then pass go and collect two hundred scene points. That’s what this six song release from over two years ago by Catholic Girls prides itself on. The tracks here let loose like crowd of whiskey-fueled protestors throwing haymakers at a wild west saloon. Their foot remains firmly planted on your throat for the duration of the release with dirty punk rockin’ riffs, one note middle finger fuck you guitar solos, excessive use of crash cymbals, distorted bass and up tempo songs all the way through. The singing but not really singing chorus on “Piston” will have you rocking out or clenching your fist. In the wake of Lemmy’s passing, here’s another genre that Motorhead left their stamp on, and the influence is evident all over the place on this release. I only hope that Catholic Girls hasn’t called it quits because there’s plenty of room in the world of extreme music for anyone who wants to ape Cursed at this level. — Ron Deuce