Written by: Blackie Skulless
Not far from my hometown comes a compilation that dropped late last year consisting of two releases from the Philadelphia-based band Alement. One side consists of the EP Onward, which dropped in 2019. The other bears The Hunter from two years prior, thus the two smashed together as Onward / The Hunter. Caligari Records was swell enough to drop both onto one compact tape, as they fit a lot into a quick six-track listen.
Across the board, you get a sense of punky riffs and attitude that pass through thrashy territory, creating lots of sweaty angst and hard rhythms. Painted atop due to harsh soundscapes and production comes a crust-drenched tint. This works well with the use of build-up and suspense, thanks to noisy gradients. Moreover, bass takes a very high precedence here, teaming up well with the raspy and grunt-like vocals.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Here's an interesting question: why are we as human beings fascinated with serial killers? Is it the psychological aspect? Perhaps maybe the impulsive nature of said actions? This is something that we all differ on, but it's still a fascinating subject.
That brings us to Macabre. For 35 years, the masters known as Macabre have been serving up their "murder metal" to the masses--and excelling at it, I might add. Here's another interesting aside: Macabre were one of the first death metal/extreme metal bands I was fond of. I can't recall the first time I ever listened to them, but I do recall that the first album I ever bought from them was Dahmer. I believe I was either 12 or 13 years old, so as you can imagine, I have a soft spot in my heart for them. With regards to that, it's always a momentous occasion when the masters release a new album. And here we are with Carnival of Killers, their 6th full-length. Are you ready for the circus to come to town?
Written by: Shane Thirteen
Gravehuffer! If you haven't heard of this mid-west juggernaut, you will in the near future. They hail from Joplin Missouri, and if you have ever been to Joplin in this century you will know that it is famous for a few things. The first: almost being wiped off the map by a giant widow maker tornado in 2011. The second thing its is known for, far and wide, are the "Spook Lights," an active and annual documented haunting of a nearby farmer's meadow in the area.
What does this have to do with Gravehuffer, you may ask? Imagine, if you will, growing up in a place known for killer tornadoes and dead things literally walking the Earth outside your fucking city. Just milling about. Ya know, like the dead do. So lets examine the name for a moment. Gravehuffer. To huff or to breathe in the rotting putridness of a grave or corpse. To take in to your sinus cavity the rancid smell of rotting flesh. The stank of the dead, as it were.
But what else makes Gravehuffer sound as they do? Undoubtedly some good ol' mid-west oppression from the religious class and a healthy dose of knowing what is on the wrong side of the tracks. Why do I bring all this up? Why is all this prudent to explain Gravehuffer? You have to understand the mid-west mindset to fully understand what these geniuses are doing. What comes together in the middle of the country to influence heavy music fans and musicians? Everything. Everything American, culture-wise, flows to the center. We get it all. Gravehuffer is a regional band for me. I have seen them live a few times. They are solid dudes. Scene leaders undoubtedly. Gravehuffer is the perfect example of culture conglomeration. There are many hybrid bands out there these days, but Gravehuffer is one of those units that brings together everything from punk, thrash, death, and doom to deliver an entirely different vibe and sound to metal. That being said...if you are a fan of heavy you will love what Gravehuffer is bringing to the light of the world: pure Heavy Metal.
Black Doomba Records is releasing NecroEclosion January 15th, 2021, and you better sit down when you listen to it for the first time. Strap in: you are about to go on a trip you won't regret. There a few surprises on this album. I have it looping on my speakers for a while now, and every time I listen to it I find something new. Horns (not Dio horns, but as in brass horns!) Horns in metal? I have never heard it successfully pulled off until Gravehuffer did it on this album. Completely surprised.
Speaking of surprises: spoiler Alert! Gravehuffer has enlisted some heavy hitters as guest players on this album. Voivod's Dan “Chewy” Mongrain and Curran Murphy of Annihilator and Nevermore. If you are fans of any of those bands it is worth your time and effort to own a piece of their history, and history it will make. I fully expect NecroEclosion to launch Gravehuffer to the next level. They have elevated their game. The work done on this album is everything I need out of fast and heavy metal. In my old age I gravitate more towards the stoner doom. But having seen these guys live I knew what was coming. They have delivered something unique. It has covered every heavy metal base for me, including making fun of dance music, which is one of my favorite hobbies. To sum it up: it's all here, kids. Humor, fantasy, thrash, speed, death, hardcore, punk rock, sample babble.
Gravehuffer has something for every fan of heavy and aggressive music. Track them down. Find them on all social media platforms. Smash the like button. On Jan. 15th, share NecroEclosion with your friends.
Gravehuffer - NecroEclosion will be released Jan. 15th, 2021 from Black Doomba Records.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Skeleton are another one of those bands we get a couple of per year that blow up seemingly overnight. Hailing from Austin, Texas, they bring forth a common but solid brand of death/thrash/black metal that touches many a fanbase. Pairing this with the fact that they’re (apparently) big in their local scene, they’ve caused a lot of hype. More often than not, this leads me to disappointment, but thankfully that isn’t the case with their debut record Skeleton.
Getting it out on the table now, this band is all over the place. Certain things can be picked out to observe each style. The riffing aesthetic is from a thrashier standpoint, the drumming and rhythmic integrity comes from the death metal ideals, and the vocals cast blackened mold that seeps into the foundation everywhere else in small doses. But even with that rather stable construct, the songwriting jumps all across the spectrum, running into hell and back. Admittedly, this is Skeleton’s only flaw, seeing how often the mood jumps around. The lack of flow forces the blackened feel to act as the only adhesive.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Nothing like a good ol’ slice of death metal from an area not far from me. Spesimin are an upcoming act out of Philadelphia, PA, and their debut EP Born In The Crypt is an instant burst of in-your-face discomfort. With only thirteen minutes of runtime, they certainly gauge a healthy idea of what they’re all about, as they waste zero time opening on such a harsh kick.
Composition wise, Spesimin injects a surprising amount of thrashier elements. It’s quite riff oriented in that sense, boasting plenty of bounce and energetic life under a harsher mix. This allows for a solid balance between melody and chaos--the former being lesser in quantity. Most of this comes from a crustier, punk-like push that can be heard especially in “Violent Sanctification.” It’s your perfect moshpit banger with plenty of sharp leads breaking the buzzing rhythmic surface.
In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally. The next guest in line to graciously offer a retrospective in this series is Llaves of thrashy blackened outfit Witchurn (a band which we incidentally A. love and B. wrote about here!) Read on:
Written by Llaves:
Back in 2016 I was perusing the vinyl collection at Earwax Records, a record store in Madison, WI dedicated to metal and punk (which has sadly closed its doors). I had been through a few independent record stores with a few token thrash or NWOBHM releases, but this place had all kinds of stuff I’d never heard of.
Flipping through some of the black metal collection I found Portals to a Better, Dead World by Cara Neir. I’d heard the band name before but had never actually sought them out. The cover alone sold me, a grim portrait of a decaying man chained to a wall. Weirdly perfect for my first winters in the Midwest, cold, isolated, frightening. It felt right.
I put the needle down and 40 minutes later came out of a fugue state.
Written by: Arzou
2020 has been quite the year and we aren’t even halfway done with it. For almost six months we’ve been dealing with pain, sorrow, anger, resentment, and of course, political and social issues. So much so that it’s safe to say that most people have felt like they’re going insane! I know I have. I’ve been cooped up indoors for 69 days! (nice). Luckily, grindcore duo Human Obliteration felt the same way and instead of writing countless facebook posts about how shit sucks, they instead released their latest album “Definition of Insanity” for us to eagerly enjoy with our ear holes.
Straight off the bat, if you haven’t listened to this album: do it. It’s 18 minutes long, which is shorter than your average episode of anime. Trust me, it’s worth it, and a much better use of your time. It’s okay. Your body pillow and cheap instant ramen can wait.
Now that I assume you’ve listened to the album we can continue. If you haven’t that’s okay. I don’t forgive you.
Ten minutes is, in the grand scheme, not a whole lot of time to assert yourself. Nor is it much of an allotment if you’re looking to make a profound point. But, despite a tendency to maintain a certain established aesthetic, the world moves quickly in the collective grungy underworld of crust punk, grind, and powerviolence. Bands operating in this arena do not debate--rather, they launch a vicious diatribe and disappear back into the crowd, eschewing reflection or extended discussion in favor of immediacy and brevity. I don’t know why I’m lecturing at this stage, though. If you like this particular flesh-peeling brand of extreme music, you already know the score. All this is to say, then, that on their latest effort, UK’s raging Negative Thought Process stick to this tried-n-true approach, delivering a blistering onslaught in less time than it takes to make breakfast. I know this because, in the course of making breakfast today (and the day before, and the day before that,) I was able to get the full dose of stomping aggression before my toast was done.
Written by: Izzy
The instant I heard the single “Earth and Sky," I knew I wanted to review To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse. Only once in a blue moon does a song that genuinely makes me want to destroy something appear, densely packed with crushing riffage and percussion--and this feeling was only solidified by the second single “I, Flatline,” which remains one of the most standout tracks on the album. At that moment it was decided, and here we are with our self fulfilling prophecy.
Much like the album in question, I wish not to waste even a moment before throwing you into an endless pummeling torrent that ends before you realize it’s over, leaving you dazed and confused for hours to come. In the case of To Dull The Blades of Your Abuse, the sophomore LP from Manchester’s Leeched, you will be brutalized by 36 minutes of back-to-back noisy, vicious, and unforgivingly heavy riffs that make you wanna punch somebody's lights out. In the case of my review, it’ll be the unnecessarily obtuse verbosity I write all my analyses with to make me sound smarter than I actually am that leaves you confounded as to what the hell half these words mean and why couldn’t I just say “Hi how are ya this album kicks ass you should listen” instead of writing this massive thinkpiece.
But that’s showbiz, baby! If the writing ain’t soaked in glue and glitter it ain’t gonna get no attention, so I invite you to enjoy some kickass brutal jams and expand your English lexicon with me this fine evening. [Or whenever I actually post this - Ed.]
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!