Written by: The Administrator
Before the music journalism Inquisition rakes my haggard frame over hot coals, let me make something clear: I don't make it a practice to read reviews of music I plan to write about. I like my thoughts to be my own, uninfluenced--willingly or no--by what others have said. But some rules are made to be broken, especially when the band's first EP cites, on bandcamp, a god-awful review in lieu of a typical about-us section. Seems like required reading in my book.
Despite what said review will have you think, the duo that constitutes Revered and Reviled Above All Others is not mediocre. Neither is their output boring, nor (my personal favorite) "listless music." While this release's six brand new tracks and accompanying Napalm Death cover admittedly bear a vague mark of maturity in contrast to their previous effort (which are repackaged on the cassette version of Toppling the Rotten Pillar), I am here to wholeheartedly assert that none of those prior adjectives apply. Y'know, in this scribe's humble assessment.
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: Lord Hsrah
This year has brought us doom metal in bunches and numbers so far, and there's much more to come. Different people feel things in different ways, and this impacts their way of translating it into art--music, more specifically. We associate doom metal with a variety of feelings and emotions, which are invoked by the myriad of different forms they are offered by different bands. But with Poema Arcanvs, it's a different ball game altogether, as they bring forth a slamming, crushing and heavy slab of doom that's an abstraction of its own. Ladies and gents, I present to you: Stardust Solitude!
Long standing flagbearers of Chilean doom metal, Poema Arcanvs (pronounced 'arcanus') have acquired a legendary status over the years, having churned out impressive albums, one after the other since their inception in the early 90s. Their sixth offering, Stardust Solitude, is the next in line to be branded with the Poema Arcanvs stamp, and let me tell you, it's an absolute juggernaut! Drawing inspiration from the early works of the famous Peaceville Three (that's My Dying Bride, Anathema, and Paradise Lost for those who don't know) among others, and blending in their own style to create a monstrous fusion of exquisite doom, Stardust Solitude is tailor-made to be this sonic powerhouse whose sole purpose is to beat down on your ears as your brain ejaculates litres of serotonin and adrenaline in your body!
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Barbarity, menace, misanthropy. These three words alone could very well describe the sound of Primitive Man, a noisy and fucking terrifying 3-piece band from Denver, Colorado--but you probably already know who they are. These guys are really rising in the underground, and for good reason. They make excruciatingly slow, noisy, and painful death/sludge. So with Immersion being their third album, and second with Relapse Records, do they finally give in and start making more accessible songs? The answer is absolutely fucking not: they increased the barbarity ten-fold and created an even noisier, more punishing, and twisted album, and it's great!
Immediately you are greeted to feedback in opening track "The Lifer." Just like that, Primitive Man begin this journey. First I have to point out the unhinged, tortured, and agonizing vocals of Ethan McCarthy. His vocals are so fucking visceral and hateful. He really sounds like he is using all of the energy he has to do these vocals. A vicious way to begin this new opus.
Written by: Lord Hsrah
Imagine a heavy/power metal band formed by Piet Sielck (Iron Savior) and Michael Ehre (Gamma Ray, Primal Fear)--two of the German power metal scene's most seasoned, experienced and well known musicians, coming together to create their own brand of some of the most scintillating fusion of Teutonic heavy metal and Euro power metal. Something, in other words, over which millions of power metal fans all over the globe would jizz themselves. If you're a power metal fan, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Now imagine the same, but for two colossal doom forces merging together as one to create some of the most iciest low frequencies, out of an already frigid country like Finland, and you get the funeral doom behemoth that is Convocation. It's a grim ride of ruin, and of sorrow, into their sophomore album, Ashes Coalesce, and I'm going to show you around. Come, take my hand, and let us walk.
Written by: Volt Thrower
Being born into a bible bashing religious cult/family is a traumatizing experience for a curious child. Something I've only started to fully grasp after countless hours and thousands of dollars in therapy. So when I saw the press release for a Bible Basher record featuring Tich of Temple of Coke, Joe E. Allen of Kurokuma and the doom doc featuring the UK underground, plus members of Archelon and Spaztik Munke, I knew I had to have it. I purchased a cassette copy instantly, I don't even own a tape player but I guess I'm on the lookout for one now.
Scathing, sacrilegious, supergroup sludge from Sheffield, UK, is exactly what the doctor ordered for this 2020 hellscape. “Words from the bible, riffs from hell.”
Written by: Blackie Skulless
It took me only a couple seconds to realize that the band was not named after the programming tool of the same name, but in relation to Valhalla. Considering the ancient themes and warlike attitude of the music, this would become quite obvious. Condemnation is the forth record by the Italian death metal quartet, dropping loads of life and layers on what is a generally darker sound.
For a good majority of Condemnation, the songs avoid the typical layout, and instead build themselves on unconventional riff patterns and sprinkle in melodeath tactics. Those allow for extra bridges thrown into areas that don’t necessarily lead into a solo, but perhaps an entirely different sequence of sounds. Depending on the transitions, this can help or hurt. Some points feel natural, as if they go above and beyond the norm. “Divination - Marked By The Unknown” is one of the best tracks here, as it blends this with heavy synth presence, ultimately kicking out a longer track. The doomy outro of the title track was also a neat touch.
Written by: Volt Thrower
Winnipeg, Manitoba: a misunderstood and often unknown entity on the global stage. Easy to overlook, easy to make the butt of a joke--but those who have spent time here know there is a veritable treasure trove of historical or natural beauty to stumble upon. There is of course a dark history (and present) of racial injustice and a growing class divide, but this observation isn’t meant to politicize the intro--just a quick backdrop for sources of inspiration that manifest themselves in a sometimes devastatingly beautiful art scene. One such iteration of that specific art is the burgeoning sludge metal scene, an umbrella I'm willing to stretch a bit just to shine a deserving light on some local artists who know how to bring the heavy.
Now: on to some music, shall we?
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Oh, Finland. What a glorious country--with your beautiful scenery, and, of course, your DEATH METAL. Yes, Finland, has produced some of the greatest death metal bands of all time: old Amorphis (love their new albums still), Convulse, Mordicus, Demilich, and of course Purtenance. The latter, topday's band in question, formed in 1989 under the name Purtenance Avulsion but shortened their name in 1991, releasing an EP and debut album before disbanding. Buried Incarnation is their third album released after reforming in 2012. But what awaits me on this audial journey? Let's begin.
"Into the Arctic Gloom" is quite the introduction. It's epic, sinister, and full of atmosphere. I really love the eerie melodies they use for the keyboards in the background, which only give the song more atmosphere.
Sometimes, this particular scribe finds it useful to glance backward and spend some quality time with an album defined by good memories, high spirits, and the sweet taste of familiarity. In that spirit, we post a lot of brief retrospective reviews over on our Instagram, but said pieces seldom make their way here to graze in greener pastures. Here are eight brief write-ups of death metal albums that we have revisited over the past few months--a veritable death metal menagerie. Enjoy! - Ed.
GOJIRA - From Mars to Sirius (2007)
There are few albums that remain so influential in my indoctrination into the chrvch of riff-centric music. Mastodon's essential Remission, perhaps, tops the heap, but Gojira's multiple efforts cycle through rotation on a remarkably consistent basis. From Mars to Sirius is a monstrosity of an album, demonstrating the heaviest of riffs within the confines of a striped-bare (yet progressive) mentality. Here, Gojira's trademark conceptual and thematic underpinnings are on full display--not preachy, but immediate. And never have whale sounds sounded so utterly massive. In short? If you've missed this album in favor of their more popular releases...you should probably get on that.
HOODED MENACE - Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed (2018)
Although this was released early on, no other album impressed me in 2018 with such a finely-tuned ability to straddle the line between death’s crushing riffage and funeral doom’s dismal gloom. Harrowing and heavy, the layers of grotesque yet melodically lofty leads form a near-tangible environment for these Hooded Menaces to dwell. Despite these leanings,“cavernous" remains an apt description for the atmosphere. I mean, just look at that album cover. Precision and restraint in the percussive department-- and a killer vocal tone--further delineate Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed as a masterful album, easily their best (and most ominous) to date.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!