Written by: Blackie Skulless
If this album cover doesn’t catch your eye immediately, then I don’t know what will. There’s so much to look at, just as there is so much to listen to with the debut Universally Estranged record. Entitled Reared Up In Spectral Predation, this is a (pretty obviously) space / sci-fi / alien themed technical death metal album with a drop of synthwave. Yes, you read that correctly, and thankfully it doesn’t try to be a combo of the two, rather it uses passages to join different ideas.
So it should go without saying that you’re going to be immersed in wildly fast and intricate strum and riff patterns with sporadic solos all over the place. Nothing we haven’t seen before, right? Well, somewhat. Universally Estranged is actually pretty left-field even for an already niche style. The synths aside, there’s an extra layer of cosmic flavors strictly from the guitar tones casting noisy auras crossed with crystal clear solo wankery. Neat as it sounds, I found it to be overwhelming.
Let it be know: Sleeping Village stalwart Izzy doesn't skimp when it comes to year end lists. As such, we'll be publishing, over the course of the next few days, a series of genre-specific Top 20 lists proudly bearing the Izzy stamp of approval. As "death" in and of itself tends to be a broad descriptor the assorted sub-genres existing under the umbrella have been labeled for yer convenience.
Says Izzy in regards to this list: "A summary of 2020's death metal to me is "everyone else liked it but I don't get it", very few of the years most popular releases clicked with me, so while I don't think any of my picks here are controversial, I think there is more underground-ish releases. Enjoy!"
Written by: Blackie Skulless
I’m not really sure how I missed this one, as Dark Descent Records is a label that really doesn’t get much past my radar. But here we have a striking discovery of mine by a striking new band from Denmark called HAD, translating to “hate” in English. Not too many other words could fit any better for the way they sound. Simply titled Debut EP, this is a horrendous and chaotic ride through a death metal roller coaster.
Underneath a muck-filled ocean of marshy atmosphere lies an extremely solid mass of death riffs that work as more of an experience than anything. Because of this production, nothing jumps above the surface save for the constant blasting of the drums and the occasional wail on the guitar. Repetition is the key ingredient to keep everything stable here, looping horrendous rhythm patterns with cavernous vocals that invoke the feeling of being stranded in such a place.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Have you ever listened to an album so heavy and bludgeoning that you don't even finish it? And instead, you just say "Jesus Christ, this is so crushing?" 'Cuz that is what happened to me with The Entombment of Chaos.
This is the fourth album from the California death metal quartet, and like with Mortal from Necrot, this album was highly anticipated. Skeletal Remains have already made a big name for themselves for their groove-laden, highly catchy, and downright viscous brand of death metal, mixing in the catchiness of old-school death metal and the technical brutality of modern death metal. So with all of that said, do Skeletal Remains continue their ascent into modern death metal legends? We shall see...
Written by: Loveloth
George Carlin was a genius. A philosopher in comedian's cloth, an astute social commentator and a dude who was way ahead of his time. His ability to confront people with difficult-to-stomach facts in a hilarious way remains to be topped. Among all his numerous (and brilliant) bits, a few stuck with me, so today I will showcase a quote from his “Saving the planet” bit--which, like most Carlin routines, is even more relevant today:
“We’re so self-important, so self-important. Everybody’s gonna save something now: “Save the trees! Save the bees! Save the whales! Save those snails!” and the greatest arrogance of all: “Save the planet!” What?! Are these fucking people kidding me?! Save the planet?! We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet! We haven’t learned how to care for one another and we’re gonna save the fucking planet?!”
Keep in mind he said this in 1992, in a time where grunge was becoming a serious deal, and way before Al Gore, Kyoto's convention and the whole “Save the Earth” hype that is cool today. Now, as a the filthy palaeontology nerd that I am, and to have as smooth of a transition as possible, it is my duty to showcase you any band that decides to tackle such matters. The Ocean do it, Endolith does it, and now Thecodontion do it on their debut Supercontinent.
We covered this album during last week's edition of Fresh Meat Friday...but Pyrrhon is far too significant of a band to gloss over with such egregious brevity. As such, our very own gibbously non-euclidean amalgamation--aka Loveloth the Omniscient--took the reins. Hence: enjoy this expanded review! - Ed.
Written by: Loveloth
Three years ago, a more impressionable, less jaded Loveloth scoured the plains of the Interwebz in search of new, exciting music. One faithful day, I was doing the usual, which translated to me religiously reading Angry Metal Guy. Anyhow, here I am scrolling through and chillin' until I see this insane album cover. It features a mangled dog snarling, whose paw got stuck in a rusty iron trap. The beast has multiple wounds and is clearly malnourished. The surrounding area looks nice though as it's filled with leaves, but the dog and washed out color palette evokes a feeling of discomfort. Needless to say, my interest was piqued and one quick glance later I see the title. Pyrrhon, What Passes For Survival. The two r's in the band name were weird, sure, but I was not prepared what was to come.
You see, there is this guy named Kronos who writes for AMG, and he is known for his hot takes and penchant for the most extreme forms of metal. What I absolutely love about his style, apart from his vast vocabulary and superb phrasing, is how convincing his points always were. Sure, I would disagree with him, but his hot takes never felt cheap and that is pretty rare these days. But now: back to the epic, overlong intro.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
20 Buck Spin is killing it lately. They continually release engaging albums that are a joy to listen to. I have to be honest and say that I was not privy to Ulthar before I received this promo, but because of the sheer pedigree of releases 20BS has, I knew I had to give this a chance. Providence is their second studio album and comes a year a half after their previous opus/debut album Cosmovore. I was not prepared for what horrors would await me upon clicking on the link, but as always, I kept an open mind. Here is my experience.
If there are two words to describe this album, they would be "horrifying" and "other-worldly." Atmosphere is crucial to the vibe of this album, but not in a soothing way--moreso in a "visionary" way. Each song transports you into a world outside of our own, a world of twisted and deformed creatures with a lust for carnage. Each planet seemingly more viscous and unrelenting than the one before. But enough of that, let's talk about the music. As soon as you click play, you are absolutely decimated by "Churn." This mighty opener is a viscous and brutal attack of the senses. Jagged riffs and dissonant melodies saw through battering blast-beats with such precision and malicious force.
Written by: Volt Thrower
Hailing from Milan, Italy, is the lone and sole cosmic black death metal unit Cosmic Putrefaction. The mysteriously monikered G.G. is back to provide all vocals and instruments on the second full length release for this project, The Horizons Towards Which Splendour Withers, on I, Voidhanger Records, out May 22nd. There has been some considerable hype surrounding this album in the metal twittersphere, and it absolutely crushes expectations. I feel truly blessed to have been given a sneak peek at an album sure to crack many end of year lists. So far it has been a brutal blackhole of a year, but the metal releases have been solid and consistent, somehow managing to escape the devastation of the shitty supernova known as 2020. Cosmic Putrefaction manages to put their name straight to top of the list with this scathing, six song symphony of destruction.
Written by: Izzy
Much like the band in question, Methwitch, I will not waste any time beating around the bush. Rather, I'll just throw you immediately into this torrential review, spanning not only the album in question, but also providing a look into the bands previous efforts too, as I felt unable to discuss this album properly in depth without sharing my own short story that goes alongside my initial listen of this album.
Methwitch is a one-man deathcore band led by Mr. Cameron McBride, a guy who’s been around for quite a while and played in a number of different bands I haven’t heard of. However, this latest offering from Methwitch has a especially flavourful addition that caught my attention far more than your run-of-the-mill deathcore group. INDWELL is a noisy, chaotic, and industrial album, but in contrast also has some melodic moments strewn throughout as well. Calling it mathcore would absolutely not be a stretch, many moments bringing to mind bands like Frontierer, Car Bomb, or even The Dillinger Escape Plan (which to even be compared to them is high praise in my book).
Given the wide display of personal taste we've curated amongst our cabal of scribes, it's not often that the Sleeping Village as an entity is collectively all a-buzz about the same album. But Ulcerate's high-quality track record is, in many ways, a great unifier. Thusfar, their career has been a remarkably blemish-free endeavor. Moreover, their continued reinvention of extreme metal motifs has led to some of the best examples of genre-melding madness the metal community has had the joy of witnessing. It seems, frankly, that they can do no wrong, and--spoiler alert--Stare Into Death And Be Still only further cements their status as legends. Equal parts technically adept and emotionally bombastic, this album is going to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on quite a few year end lists. Mark my words.
To assess Ulcerate's latest offering, two Village-dwellers--Izzy and Loveloth-- took up the pen to express their views, making for a rare double review 'round these parts. Without further ado, I'll let them do the talking.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!