Archive for December, 2018

Neter - Inferus

Spanish death metallers Neter are back with a new record full of death metal brutality and glory. ‘Inferus’ follows their great debut ‘Idols’ from 2015, and is out now through Satanath Records.

Opening with a delicate piano intro ‘The Cords of Sheol’, the beast is awakened with the ominous thrust of ‘Faceless’, a track of immense weight that takes a measured pace and brings to mind ‘Demigod’-era Behemoth. There is a wonderful depth to the songwriting here; it doesn’t just feel like a collection of cool riffs and brutal vocals, it feels like a coherent journey throughout a cohesive whole. Neter take influence from American and European death, leaving the chainsaw frozen north alone which is a welcome change at the moment. It seems that everyone has gone all Swedish, so this is a great thing! The production is warm and thick, like cloying blood, wrapping the ferocity of songs like ‘Blazing Fallout’ and ‘Galvanize’ in a smothering embrace.

‘Inferus’ is a superb album. It feels like a regal overlord of the more flailing and savage records of this year, carrying gravitas and weight rather than simple minded savagery. Neter’s work is remarkably mature and deep, and this record shows their flair for the grandiose and density. Excellent.

Spawn of Annihilation - Insurrection

Mexican brutal death metallers Spawn of Annihilation have been around for almost a decade but their debut full length only just came out this January. ‘Insurrection’ is out now through Brute! Productions, and will appeal to fans of Hour of Penance, Suffocation and Dying Fetus.

Bursting forth with a mesmerising display of technical brutality, Spawn of Annihilation hit all those sweet spots you’ve been waiting to itch since the last Suffocation record. The low end is massive; rumbling and dense. The guitarwork is frenzied and intricate, without losing any of the powerful chug. The songwriting is tight and the vocals are guttural, doom-laden roars. Basically it ticks every box you need it to. You have both speedy (‘Absolution Through Death’) and destructive, chugging, neckwrecker tracks (‘The Era of the Vengeance Will Begin’), both careening through a gritty production that enhances each and every flesh stained note.

You’d be hard pushed to find any wasted motion on ‘Insurrection’. A cannon of devastation aimed squarely at the planet, Spawn of Annihilation have dropped one of the most engrossing and well written brutal death metal records this year, and it will crush you.

Fetal Bleeding - The Quest of Immortality

Indonesian death metallers Fetal Bleeding have released their debut full length record ‘The Quest of Immortality’ through Brute! Records, and they’ve been going for about 8 years now. I’m looking forward to sampling this musical massacre.

Opener ‘As Torture Becomes Lust’ hits you immediately with a very dense bass, chunky riffing and devastating vocals. Brutality reigns supreme through this record, with barely a space to breathe within the suffocating miasma. The production helps this feeling too, layering a thick tar over everything, increasing that black heaviness. Your obvious musical touchstones are Aborted, Suffocation, early Dying Fetus. Breakdowns crash upon you, rumbling drums constantly pound into your skull and a cavernous terror stalks the fields, destroying anything in its wake. I love the relentless violence of ‘Legion of Delusion’, the cacophonic mania of ‘Grief Cavity and the savage beating of ‘Salvation by Death’.

The record is just the right length for this style as well. You’re faced with all the awesome brutality you can cope with, but it doesn’t outstay its welcome. Riffs pile devastation on all those who listen, while bile soaked vocals churn and roil under a massive low end. Fetal Bleeding are destruction through music, and this record is great.

Northern Crown - Northern Crown

The thunderous doom and smoky atmospheres of Northern Crown’s debut record has returned on their newest, self titled record. ‘Northern Crown’ is out now through their Bandcamp, and it oozes with the early Deep Purple and Black Sabbath influences that pervaded their first record, but engages you on a more visceral level.

Opener ‘I Am Your Slave’ reeks of classic Candlemass; vast thrusting riffs laden with organ and a commanding vocal performance. Vocalist Frank Serafine has a similar voice to Rob Lowe of Solitude Aeternus, and there is a subtle power and magic to it that gives this album a feeling of grandeur. The stomping ‘Merciless, They Let You Suffer’ is a killer track, ripe for any ‘hit songs of 2018’ playlist, with a galloping nature that reminds you of classic rockers like Rainbow. But Northern Crown approach all facets of heavy music with the same magnanimity, paying tributes to prog (‘The Desert and the Wind’), as well as miserable Yorkshire doom (the My Dying Bride cover ‘Your River’) and gloomy, occult and organ laden proto doom (‘Forged from Nothing’)

‘Northern Crown’ is a statement. Northern Crown are a band that are almost chameleonic in their worship and execution of classic doom, when the differences between that, classic rock and classic heavy metal were blurred. Sometimes an album comes along where you struggle to pick the best song. Few albums this year have achieved this so well, and Northern Crown’s journey has only just begun.

Wurm Flesh - Excoriation Evisceration

Sacramento, USA is the home of brutal death metallers Wurm Flesh, whose debut record ‘Excoriation Evisceration’ is out now through Comatose Music. A visceral and savage beating through death and devasation awaits those who enter the lair of the Wurms…

After the obligatory intro, the chugging Suffocation-esque low end thunder of ‘Deceased and Festering’ sets the tone immediately. This is dark and horrendous brutality, not overly concerned with slams and pig squealing but more with a guttural, bowel scraping heaviness. ‘Enshrined in Rot’ has a sickening groove to it that struggles to stay afloat under a swampy bass and relentless blasting. Wurm Flesh don’t mess around here; they are in and out in 25 minutes. Each song has its purpose, doesn’t overstay its welcome, and most importantly slays with the most brutal of intentions. In fact, the longest track here is probably the best, ‘House of Flesh’, and it shows that if Wurm Flesh wants to, the song lengths can increase without losing quality. The short sharp assault approach works perfectly in a debut however.

Ferocious riffing, inhuman vocals and a thick, saturated production that really enhances the low end engine powering this vehicle of murderous death and cruel sadism along, ‘Excoriation Evisceration’ pretty much nails everything a fan of brutal death needs, and it does it so quickly you’ll be reaching for the repeat almost immediately. Killer stuff.

Sumeru - Summon Destroyer

Bruising Australian heavyweights Sumeru have released their new record, ‘Summon Destroyer’ through WormHoleDeath and on a limited cassette run on Medusa Crush recordings. Prepare to feel the rumblings of the earth itself beneath each mighty step of the Destroyer.

After the ritualistic hum of ‘Inanis Kultis’, the lumbering grooves of ‘The Temple’ come striding from olden places, and a mesmerising Eastern vibe begins to flow. Sumeru feel like the less esoteric parts of Mastodon given new life, each song vibrating with a primal thunder and power. There are also little moments that are reminscient of the dreamier end of stoner doom, like Baroness. The chugging, droning title track creates a rend in the universe from whence flows the Mastodonian worship of ‘Embrace the Cold’, while the polished enormity of ‘Durga! Durga!’ is a wondrous shrine built to the greatest of the Neurosisian riffing. The best surprise is the gloomy violins of the introspective closer, ‘A New Ritual’, which is the strongest piece on an album full of good tracks.

‘Summon Destroyer’ is an album that doesn’t necessarily sound like anything new; in fact it is this mighty grasp upon the metal of old and the addition of a nice, raspy guitar tone that makes Sumeru such a grand prospect. But they aren’t just a one riff pony, and in fact their mighty roar hides a fragile heaviness.

Sektarism - Fils de Dieu

Funeral doom from the darkest and most miserable orthodoxy of France, Sektarism have returned with their third opus, ‘Fils de Dieu’, out now through End All Life Productions and distributed by NoEvDia. Two tracks, forty five minutes of crushing, soul draining experiences that leaves you an enlightened husk, a shattered soul in a world of death.

‘Oderunt Dum Metuant’ opens with a solitary beat, quietly building as groans and chants begin to haunt the music. Like a dissonant religious ritual, the intensity of the screams grows as cymbals and gongs appear. The tension this is creating is unbearable; it feels like when the crescendo comes, the world is going to collapse. This isn’t a ten minute intro, this is the preparation for the ceremony ahead. You’ve been anointed with the unholy oils, prepare to meet your doom. ‘Sacrifice’ is indescribable. First of all, destroy your perceptions of what makes a ‘doom’ record. There are no massive chugging riffs here, stench of weed or galloping axe wielding battles. This is doom as it is in the most primal; inexorable fear of death, torturous glimpses of the unknown. The guitar work shimmers in feedback, teasing you with moments of recognisable heavy metal before going back to draining your life force.

They say good music can feel like a religious experience. This album is what you’ll hear when Jesus comes back and you discover everything was a lie and the eternal void is all that waits for us. His bloodied hands, leading us into our death and disintegration from existence. Nothing matters. Except maybe buying this album. You’ll need to get ready for the end…