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.
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.
As someone who spends a lot of time listening to over-the-top music, the notion of scarcity is one that I admire--even if that means gazing longingly from across the vast expanse of the promo pit’s turbulent waters. And so, my ears a-buzz from that which came before, I cast about looking for something that doesn’t dwell in complexity. A band that breaks their craft down to the basic elements. To this end, a two-piece instrumental death metal band seemed like it would do the trick--guitar, drums, and nothing else to complicate the matter. And so, without reading any biographical info beyond that, I fired up Fermentor, expecting some straightforward death tunes, sans vocals. In other words, the “lo-fi beats to chill to” of the death metal ecosystem.
...And man, was I ever wrong.
To be frank, I approached Four Dimensional Flesh with immense trepidation. Brutal death metal and/or slam aren’t exactly locales I find myself frequenting with any kind of regularity--if I pass through, it’s usually a lone track in the midst of an otherwise innocuous playlist. While the dedication to slammin’ riffs and woodpecker-on-a-hot-tin-roof percussive fills are certainly attractive bedfellows, the trademark drainpipe gutturals and resonance chamber bree-brees really ain’t this scribes cup o’ vox.
And yet here we are, plumbing the gurgling pipes with a grim sense of glee. Why? Because Afterbirth, much like Wormhole, strives to make slam interesting. And it is this quality that remains Four Dimensional Flesh’s greatest strength amongst strengths.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
We as human beings have to struggle. We all have our issues and faults, but it takes pure bravery to pour yourself into your music and lyrics. That's where Benighted in Sodom comes in. Matron Thorn (Reuben Christopher Jordan) is an enigma and a dime-a-dozen musician. Since 2006, Benzo (as he abbreviates it) has been the vessel for Thorn to release the pain and tragedy of his life in a healthy and therapeutic way. So in 2019, after a few years of no studio output, he returned with two new albums, and Carrier of Poison Apples is the most recent. Described by the man himself as his life story, Carrier of Poison Apples could be seen as his most personal album to date. As for the content of the music, let's find out!
Well, here we are. The belly of the riff-lovin' extraterrestrial beast. You'll inevitably be subjected to a veritable cosmic load of Blood Incantation hype in the weeks to come prior to Hidden History of the Human Race's November 22nd release, so I'll keep this intro brief.
Blood Incantation's meteoric rise to the upper echelon of underground death metal carried with it a burden of expectation. 2016's Starspawn hit the scene with an expansive roar, solidifying Blood Incantation's reputation as an outfit willing to inject a little intensity and exploration into their forward-thinking approach to atmospheric death metal. How do you follow up a flawed-but-remarkably-promising debut? In an ideal world, by removing said flaws from the picture, while simultaneously pushing onward and upward so as to avoid stagnation. No small order.
To assess Blood Incantation's latest offering, two Village-dwellers took up the pen, making for a rare double review 'round these parts (and quite possibly a triple, if I can get my doddering ass into gear). Without further ado, I'll let them do the talking.
Written by: Loveloth
Portal's monstrous shadow inspired many a band to push the boundaries of extreme music, and Basque's Altarage is one of many that follow the Aussies' sinister footsteps. Shrouded in anonymity, the three (formerly four) masked figures exploded on the scene with Nihl in 2016 and caused quite a ruckus. The band wasted no time and released Endinghent just a year and a half later, and here is where I found out about them. I found the record decent, basically a more accessible and stripped-down version of Portal, which is OK but not enough. Cue The Approaching Roar that was released last Friday. I have to say, my opinion on this band has changed. Let me explain.
While the Portal influence is undoubtedly here, The Approaching Roar is more or less (more on that later) its own beast. Vile dissonance, inhuman howls, spastic drumming and angular riffs are still all the rage but, unlike Endinghent, is overall a more memorable and diverse experience. Things start off hellishly great with "Sighting," where you are greeted by a few unpleasant guitar plucks before a wall of noise encircles you. It's swift, vicious, and overwhelming. The best course of action is to stop resisting and simply give in and let the band guide you through their carefully crafted and terrifying soundscapes. However, these alone do not make this record shine, it's firstly the fact Altarage decided to mix things up and I realized this with the arrival of "Urn". Its initial churns and bellows are more akin to Sunn O))) or early Earth, and not only does this change the pace but also continues the sonic onslaught. It also attacks you differently, and I feel that this was lacking in Endinghent.
Like the songwriting, the quality of the production also improved and is surely one of my highlights, as the record walks a very thin line between being disgustingly dense and murky, yet somehow crisp and clear enough for you to properly hear what's exactly happening. Funnily enough Portal did the same thing with ION last year but for my money, this sounds better. I mentioned songwriting and I have to commend the guys for doing an excellent job, although some parts like that outro in "Cyclopean Clash" linger for too long and some songs can be hard to distinguish from one another, but you can only do so much with this style of death metal and Altarage mostly succeed. As for the individual performances, I only have praise. The vocals are gnarly, guttural and perfectly complement the absolute chaos that are those angular and dirty riffs and astonishingly fast and precise drumming that will make fans of Deathspell Omega or Ulcerate very pleased.
Overall, The Approaching Roar is a seemingly infinite abyss that was carved by a band I now think of seriously. I am completely aware how many times I namedropped Portal but make no mistake, Altarage are carving their sound before our very eyes. Expect seeing this record popping up on some year-end death metal lists as its content, no matter how bleak and seemingly impenetrable, hides many treats for you to discover. You only need to be brave or insane enough to dive deep into the approaching roar of Altarage.
Altarage - The Approaching Roar was released Jan. 25th from Season of Mist Underground Activists
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!