The second record from German sludge/doom band Turin Horse, ‘Prohodna’, follows last’s year’s debut ‘Uncleared’ with more thunderous riffing, oily atmospheres and a powerful vocal performance, but has it got what it takes to take Turin Horse out of the shadows? It is out now through the band’s Bandcamp page.

The churning, sludgey horrors of the title track immediately comes grinding forward, with shredded vocals roaring over a tar thick riff. Hypnotic dirges of nasty, blackened doom loom and lurch from the darkness, while ghostly clean guitar floats amongst the miasma, creating brief interludes of light and space. The majestic heave of ‘Every Seed Every Stone’ is glorious, while the dissonant ‘I Am the Pain’ adds a new, uncomfortable edge. The thick low end helps with the aural density and the visceral roars that accompany tracks like ‘A Hunger’ really add to the nastiness.

‘Prohodna’ is a thunderous, constant barrage of harsh vocals, churning EyeHateGod riffs and a poisonous, smoggy atmosphere. Turin Horse are violent, smothering and raw, and this record does everything to hit that home hard. There are a few moments of respite (the title track), but they are as dark and mesmerising as the brutality. I love this.

https://turinhorse.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TurinHorse666/

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Era of Ephemeris - Among the Stars

Swedish symphonic metallers Era of Ephemeris have just released their debut record, ‘Among the Stars’, and it looks to catapult them into the conversation as top prospects for this style of operatic, melody and symphony laden metal. However, there is a deep and heavy darkness underneath that proves to be an interesting contrast.

There is a rich vein of symphonic, operatic metal running through Era of Ephemeris, immediately apparent with the soaring opening of ‘When a Leaf Falls’. The band however possess a thicker backbite than your Nightwishes or Within Temptations. The chugging riffing releases their Swedish death metal roots, and the combination of stunning female vocals and this heaviness is magical at times. The ethereal ‘Farewell’ leads with more orchestration, while the thunder of ‘Ancestral Vision’ keeps the death metal elements to the fore.

‘Among the Stars’ is a record of crushing riffs and haunting beauty, where soaring melodies don’t interfere with a brutal crunch. Gloriously epic, Era of Ephemeris have debuted very strongly here, and I look forward to what else is to come.

https://www.facebook.com/eraofephemeris

 

Illimitable Dolor - Leaden Light

Australian death/doom lords Illimitable Dolor return with the follow up to their stunning, self titled debut, ‘Leaden Light. Their grasp of atmosphere is definitively still intact, but have they got the songs to back up their aura. The album is out now through Transcending Obscurity.

A crack of thunder and sheets of rain begins the epic opener ‘Armed He Brings the Dawn’, looming from the mist with massive riffs and a mighty roar. Miserable organ seeps through, while the gloom is broken by shafts of excellent lead guitarwork. The whole song feels infused with loss at a base level, melancholic but yet majestic in its heartbreak. The same could be said for the entire record though, through the weeping riffs of ‘Leaden Light Her Coils’ and the heaving roil of ‘Horses Pale and Four’. The moments of glacial calm, like in ‘Soil She Bears’, provide the respite needed to cope with an album of such magnitude.

Some albums feel more like an experience than ‘just a record’. Illimitable Dolor’s debut felt like that, and ‘Leaden Light’ has that same feeling. It encourages your participation as a victim of misery, which we all have been. An imperious, monolithic album that shows fragility through the cracks. Awe inspiring.

https://www.facebook.com/IllimitableDolor/

https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.de/shop-en

https://illimitabledolor.bandcamp.com

Degragore - From Sin to Redemption

Hungarian brutal death metal sounds like a fine way to spend a wet Wednesday afternoon, and the devastation wrought by Degragore on their latest release, ‘From Sin to Redemption’ is crushing even by those standards. It is out now through Satanath Records.

You know what you’re getting when you see the cover. Guttural growls, a dense chugging low end not unlike early Devourment, and full of horrifying samples to really get the violence and sickness of the music across. Each big slow riff bleeds with the influence of Bolt Thrower and Immolation, packed with an uncomfortable level of swaying misery, while there is plenty of grinding speed (”) when required. A personal highlight for me, ‘Redemption (Believe in Yourself)’, is chunky fucking death and carnage and is just what the doctor ordered. There are a couple of quieter interludey moments, but generally it is just balls to the wall brutal death riffs and incomprehensible growls.

‘From Sin to Redemption’ is a record to put on when you want your brain pummelled into mush and nothing else. Expertly one dimensional, the brutality on display is fearsome and Degragore should be applauded for their dedication. Not every record needs to be overly complex and inventive. Sometimes you just need this, and Degragore do it superbly.

https://www.facebook.com/degragoreofficial/

https://satanath.com/

https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat213-degragore-from-sin-to-redemption-2018

Canadians VHS have never been one to take themselves too seriously, and their latest full length ‘We’re Gonna Need Some Bigger Riffs’, is a fine example of their infectious, riotous take on death metal. It is out at the end of July through Rotten Roll Records and HPGD Productions.

After a suitably sinister and dramatic intro (‘Full Scream Ahead’), VHS charge into the fray with the thrashy chug of ‘Zombie vs Shark’. Lacking any semblance of subtlety but riddled with virulent riffing, VHS immediately infect you with a desire to bang your fucking head. Imagine if Municipal Waste played death metal and you’ll be on the right track. It isn’t all high speed stuff though, as the grinding ‘Rooting for the Villain’ adds a nice change of pace. At a sprightly 30 minutes, that change of pace isn’t needed but it is still good to have. The worst thing a band can be in today’s scene is one dimensional, but VHS have that covered.

VHS have got a great sound, and are doing something a little unique in the world of death metal. The riffs are heavy, the brutality is real and yet there is a true sense of fun and irreverence. ‘We’re Gonna Need Some Bigger Riffs’ is definitely worth checking out, and with songs as strong as ‘Oozing Bubbling Black Mass ‘ and the crushing ‘Marine Monstrosity’, you’d be a fool to ignore them.

https://www.facebook.com/vhsthunderbay/

https://rottenrollrex.com/en/vhs-cd-were-gonna-need-some-bigger-riffs-pre-order-26-july-2019

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/were-gonna-need-some-bigger-riffs

Fetid - Steeping Corporeal Mess

Oozing from the sodden, ancient Pacific Northwest comes Fetid, a band who is more suited to the bubbling, boiling pits of hell than that grand, tree swept landscape. Their ‘Steeping Corporeal Mess’ record is out now through 20 Buck Spin, and is a journey through the miasma of pure darkness.

The virulent, pulsing chaos of opener ‘Reeking Within’ is reminiscient of the more straightforward bits of Portal; a suffocating tidal wave of crushing death metal that bends and sweeps like prime Immolation. The whole record feels like a rumbling, lava induced death of this world. Everything is consumed in this dark, dense atmosphere that makes songs like ‘Cranial Liquescent’ feel murky and apocalyptic. The low end creaking through this record is ludicrous, with each chugging breakdown sounding like the cracking of the earth’s plates, best felt in the titanic ‘Dripping Sub-Tepidity’

By the time the end comes, through the magnificent pestilence of ‘Draped in What Was’, the poisonous suffocating magma is setting, and you are trapped in the hellacious realm that Fetid have created. A stunning record of the heaviest matter in the universe, highly recommended.

https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/steeping-corporeal-mess

https://www.facebook.com/fetid.death

https://www.20buckspin.com/

Crush the Altar - Abhorrent Oblation

When Redefining Darkness Records puts out a three track demo from a new band on cassette, and said band is ‘blackened thrash meets death metal’, you’ve almost guaranteed yourself a winner. Crush the Altar are that band, and ‘Abhorrent Oblation’ is that record. It is out now!

It isn’t anywhere near as raw and harsh as i expected, but the opener ‘See Mortality’ totally slays in a different way. There is clear definition in the guitar work, not just thrashy necro murk. The altar the band are crushing must be that of prime early Sodom or Kreator, as there is a very Teutonic roughness to it. The riffing is memorable, each song feeling unique and overflowing with lacerating riffing. The chug of ‘Demonizing the Ancient Lore’ is primal death metal gold, while the chunky thrash of closer ‘Discastery Ruin’ is artful in its savagery.

The best demos get in, explain how fucking good they are in 10 riffs or less, and get out. The collaboration between measured pace and breakneck speed push Crush the Altar to stand out, and the fifteen minutes that this demo lasts is not enough. Get ‘Abhorrent Oblation’ as soon as, then start praying for more to come. These guys are excellent.

https://redefiningdarknessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/crush-the-altar-abhorrent-oblation

https://www.facebook.com/redefiningdarkness/