Written by: Izzy
I’m noticing a bit of a trend in the world of metal music recently. Maybe I’m just oblivious and this has been happening for a while, but in the last two years especially, I’ve noticed what I’d dare say is an old-school deathcore revival.
In 2019 we had Knocked Loose, Fuming Mouth, Vatican, Serration, and Venom Prison (the lattermost being one of my favourite albums of that year), then just out of 2020 so far we've got Gulch, Xibalba, Year of The Knife, Umbra Vitae, and…Venom Prison again? Maybe 2020 isn’t so bad after all. At the very least, this will be a great opportunity to talk about one of my favourite and most underlooked styles in metal!
Village stalwart Izzy is stepping up the retrospective game, and will henceforth deliver a fresh one every Friday! Make sure to check in weekly for a dose of nostalgia. - Ed.
Written by: Izzy
Glass Casket are a bit of a personal gem. While they’re far from being the first deathcore band, their 2004 album We Are Gathered Here Today… is, in my mind, one of the most iconic and seminal deathcore releases out there. It is one of the earliest examples of a modern-ish sounding deathcore release, and, without a doubt, one of my all-time favourites.
But as with many amazing bands, they are sadly overlooked, because their work was sandwiched in a period of time just before deathcore blew up. Glass Casket, alongside many others, ended up getting forgotten in favour of their contemporaries who would go on to bring the genre both its popularity and infamy.
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).
Written by: Continuous Thunder
I’m pulling something from the deep recesses of left field for you today. But when you’ve listened to as much music as I have, left field can provide welcome, refreshing, if sometimes puzzling breaks from the norm. (There’s a reason music critics praise experimental music so highly.) The harsh sounds of heavy metal’s more extreme sub-genres make them excellent sonic palettes for experimental artists. The best artists will recognize the similarities in different styles of music and bring them together, or they will contrast two very different genres that otherwise would never mix. The latter can be found in Fire-Toolz, who juxtaposes the clean, hazy, and nostalgic sounds of vaporwave with the harsh and oppressive sounds of black metal, noise, and other extreme genres.
Written by: Izzy
For those who aren’t familiar with the deathcore and tech death scenes, Beneath the Massacre are pretty well known and recognized amongst both communities, and dare I say even beloved, certainly at least by some. They first popped up in 2007 around the second wave of deathcore when it really became popularized. As such, most of their notoriety came from the deathcore scene despite “true” fans swearing they were technical brutal death metal; granted, their first two records were more like deathcore flavoured tech-death so that was somewhat valid at the time, but nowadays this and their last record are very much...tech-death flavoured deathcore. I’d never actually listened to this band before because of my phobia of bad tech-death and bad late 2000's deathcore joining forces, but figured since this is their first album in 8 years it’d be worth checking out for posterity, especially given all the praise I’d seen for it amongst both reviewers and my friends.
Written by: Alex, Bringer of Payne
Attempting to retrospectively describe Italian deathcore outfit Drown in Sulphur is a little tricky, as unfortunately the band has been mired in conflicts since the release of Blackwind. Ultimately, it appears to have split the band, with several members departing to found Defamed, while the drummer has tethered himself to Drown in Sulphur, and repopulated it with a fresh new lineup. Group politics aside however, both the band and Blackwind are pure meat and potatoes deathcore. Thick, pulsating blast beats are layered upon chugging bass and pitched down guitars to create a monochromatic whirlwind. It’s a tried and tested technique that has been a dominant force in extreme metal since being popularised by Job for a Cowboy and Whitechapel, amongst others, almost two decades ago. Remaining fully faithful to the genre, Blackwind is sonically coloured with brutality and themes of violence.
As you are undoubtedly aware, a team of battle-scarred (yet remarkably personable) scribes have recently moved into our humble Village. First out of the gate is the mighty Ancient Hand. Best give him your undivided attention voluntarily, lest he demand it. - Mgmt
Black Tongue’s sound is made to be the heaviest thing in the known universe. There’s no flash or unnecessary showiness in their music; it simply wants to be as heavy as it possibly can. On their last record (2015’s “The Unconquerable Dark”), Black Tongue did an incredible job blending funeral doom and deathcore to create a deep, heavy, and monumental record that bridged the gap between two very different sub-genres of metal. Now, in 2018, Black Tongue have undertaken a follow-up release that seeks to solidify their sound and add new elements on top of it.
Right as the record kicks off, it’s clear that Black Tongue is trying some new things out. The ambient guitar work that builds to an ominous breakdown drips with dark atmosphere. The opening track itself, “The Eternal Return to Ruin,” features lyrics that elevate the album to heavenly heights, while also featuring vocals that sound as though they were birthed from the deepest pit of Hell. The lyrical themes are consistent throughout much of the release; the afterlife, pain, death, hopelessness, and the abuse of God and people are all used to create one of the darkest records of the year.
This record also features heavy influences from black metal that the band pushes to the forefront of many songs. Most notably, the beginning of “The Cathedral” burns with the same intensity of Norway’s churches in the early 90's.
In addition to wearing black metal influences on their sleeve, Black Tongue covers Celtic Frost’s classic “A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh,” and, to my surprise, they do a wonderful job. Singing is retained for this song (its only instance on the entire record), but Black Tongue still manages to make it their own with their signature sound towards the end of the track. Other songs to note are the punishing “Contrapasso” and the crushing “Parting Soliloquy.” The former also makes use of black metal influences from shrieks to tremolo-picked guitars, and the latter features some of the most haunting vocals I have heard all year with the repetition of “Please don’t leave me here” layered over harsh noise that sends shivers down my spine after multiple listens.
Overall, this record brings Black Tongue to the next level. It is very clear that they mean business, and their goal of blending these two seemingly contrasting sounds of deathcore and doom metal can still have even more sounds added into it. With a release this varied in metal influences, lyrical quality, and consistency between songs, I think it’s safe to say that Black Tongue have created one of the most punishing, dark, and stellar metal albums of the year.
Written by: Ancient Hand
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!