Zombiefication - Below the Grief

More Mexican death metal with the fourth full length from Scandinavian worshipping deathsters Zombiefication. Their debut record ‘Midnight Stench’ was more overtly Dismember-esque, but they’ve gradually moved away from that and into their own style. ‘Below the Grief’ is out now through Doomentia Records.

When you experience opener ‘Blood Falls’, there is a certain bloodsoaked euphoria. The drumming is powerful, the riffing is intense and the songwriting and structure is absolutely impenetrable. There’s more than a glimmer of black metal attitude to some of these tracks too; the clattering ‘Deliverance from the Astral Sea’ rampages with crusty aplomb, while the dissonant weight of ‘Hunger Undying’ really adds a new standpoint. Zombiefication have almost completely moved into their own realm, instead of relying on genre tropes that have been done to death. ‘Below the Grief’ is an album with a palpable sense of madness about it.

‘Below the Grief’ is a satisfying realisation of Zombiefication’s true potential. They’ve evolved their sound and embraced a new kind of darkness and evil along the way. Sure, there’s still more than enough death riffs here, but this is no mere old school death metal record. This is the sound of band becoming their destiny, and tearing us apart along the way.

http://www.doomentia.com/

https://www.facebook.com/zombiefication666

https://doomentiarecords.bandcamp.com/

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Soul Dissolution - Nowhere

Belgian black metallers Soul Dissolution are dropping a new EP this autumn in cooperation with Russian label, GS Productions. This two track atmospheric black metal piece is a follow up to the stellar ‘Stardust’, released earlier in the year.

Opener ‘Road to Nowhere’ builds with delicate tones before erupting into grandiose, sweeping black metal ferocity. Soul Dissolution create this fantastic grasp of space, of vastness and bleak, lonely atmospheres. Gliding through night skies, searching for a conclusion to a tapestry of weeping coldness. Soulful lead guitar breaks through at points near the end, adding icy melodies to the piece. Second track ‘Fading Darkness’ pulls a little more from early Alcest, and there are traces of early Katatonia and Agalloch in there too; where a bit of melancholic heft is added.

As a follow up to ‘Stardust’, ‘Nowhere’ is a little more fragile and more drawn out, but nonetheless just as dark and beautiful. Soul Dissolution only arrived on my radar this year, but I am quite taken with them, adn I think you will be too.

https://www.facebook.com/soul.dissolution/

https://souldissolution.bandcamp.com/

Morbid Messiah - Demoniac Paroxysm

Finally! After being wowed by their debut EP, ‘In the Name of True Death Metal’ (reviewed here) back in 2016, Memento Mori are gracing us with the debut full length from these Mexicans masters of death. ‘Demoniac Paroxysm’ is out later this month and is a fitting follow up.

The guitar tone remains as brutal as ever, piling rabid old school riffing on top of corpses left by the roaring vocals. The thrashing ‘Charred Devastation’ is intense, while the grinding chug of ‘Devoured by Darkness’ is an unpolished gem. Morbid Messiah are still lacking all those frills and now they’ve upped the song writing levels to new heights. ‘Demoniac Paroxysm’ lacks subtlety and grace, but that makes it very special. There is no regard for a trend, merely the execution of true death fucking metal. It goes for the jugular constantly and consistently; a flailing and rabid animal.

Memento Mori seem to have a Midas touch when it comes to great, honest death metal bands and they have another here. Morbid Messiah have fulfilled the promise of their EP, and with tracks like ‘Howling from the Grave’ and the savage ‘Fetid Bloodbath’ to wield, it looks like they’ll be slaying for a long time yet. Awesome.

https://www.facebook.com/morbidmessiahofficial

http://www.memento-mori.es/

Plague Rider - Rhizome

Newcastle’s Plague Rider have been a consistent force of excellent death metal vomiting forth from the North East of England, and their new EP follows up 2015’s killer ‘Paroxysm’ EP, which I reviewed here. ‘Rhizome’ is the latest burst of ungodly greatness from these fine lads, and it is out now through Panurus Productions.

‘Rhizome’ basically takes you down a similar path as ‘Paroxysm’, as in it is four tracks of death metal that is constantly straining against the boundaries of the genre. Opener ‘Challenger’s Lecture’ brings forth massive Immolation style heaviness, with the kind of unusual, dynamic song structures as Portal or Mitochrondrian. It never quite delves totally off the grid like those guys, but stabbing riffs sprout from strange, labyrinthine sections. Imagine that inhuman bend in ‘God of Emptiness’, taken to its endless, darkest conclusion and you’ll be on the way. Gargling, roaring madness follows in the vocals, and the whole piece starts to sound torturously insane.

Fuck it’s refreshing to be faced with a band that aren’t just being old fashioned DEATH or bestial black death at the moment. ‘Stagnation Cult’ writhes and thrashes as if stricken with painful poisons. ‘Toil’ serves as the delightfully brutal starter to crushing main course ‘Without Organs’, a twisting and otherworldly tour de force. It has strange, atonal melodies, grindcore crazyness, death/doom crush and guttural belches. If this isn’t the best and most unique death metal record I hear this year, then I’ve got a doozy coming. These guys need to be huge now.

https://www.facebook.com/PlagueRiderUK/

https://plaguerider.bandcamp.com/

https://panurusproductions.bandcamp.com/album/rhizome

Infrared - Saviours

Canadian thrashers Infrared follow up their debut full length ‘No Peace’, a collection of 80s written songs but never released, with their new record, ‘Saviours’. It is a collection of classic 80s thrash worshipping songs, with more than a few nods to the NWOBHM giants who preceded that movement. It is out now.

Opener ‘Project Karma’ is instantly recognisable as a product of classic thrash through a modern filter. The Bay Area chug is in full flight, but Infrared take more of a cue from the likes of Death Angel than Metallica. Galloping and technical thrash riffs are everywhere, as are hooky choruses and a joyous execution of heavy metal thunder. But, as much of a celebration of what made 80s metal great as this is, there are plenty of cool unique moments. The measured guitarplay of ‘Saviour’, the almost balladry moments of ‘The Fallen’ and the (good) latter day Megadethisms of the stunningly good ‘All in Favour’ make a triumvirate of killer mid-album tracks.

Infrared do everything you want in a thrash album, and ‘Saviours’ tears through the competition this year for some of the finest riffs and hookiest metal songs. It’s a perfect modernisation of classic Bay Area thrash, along with plenty of heavy metal nostalgia sprinkled upon it. You’d have to be pretty miserable not to have smiles and fists raised at least a couple of times!

https://www.facebook.com/infraredmetal/

http://infraredmetal.ca/

HeadsForTheDead-web.jpg

I love Transcending Obscurity. Just in the past year, they’ve culled together a slew of magnificent releases, and particulkarly in the death metal camp. Heads for the Dead’s ‘Serpent’s Curse’ is yet another fine wine stacked in the cellar of death metal, ready to be uncorked. It is due for release on the 24th of September, and is much to look forward to.

Categorising music sometimes feels more important than the music itself. But this is pure, crushing, death metal in a pure form. Formed from members of Ursinne, Henry Kane and Revel in Flesh, the whole album throbs with chainsaw riffing and terrifying vocals. Drawing inspiration from old horror movies, ‘Serpent’s Curse’ howls with morbid rage, while raw riffage gouges through. You can almost feel the dead eyes of the album cover staring through your soul as your ears are battered by the magnificent ‘Gate Creeper’, and your breath is drained by the savage melancholy of ‘Deep Below’. Sure, there’s a little dash of Sweden, a bit of Finland, a helping of Florida and even a little South American ferocity in here too, but Heads for the Dead are their own beast. A mighty, snarling beast of fire, doom and death.

The 35 minutes fly in, and by the time the killer Wolfbrigade cover of ‘In Darkness I Feel No Regrets’ comes to a bloody end, you’ll be clawing for the repeat button. Heads for the Dead are breathing new, fetid life into this death metal genre. Too long it has choked on Autopsy and Entombed clones; finally we have something to build upon! ‘Serpent’s Curse’ is a real contender for my favourite death metal album this year.

https://www.facebook.com/headsforthedead

https://tometal.com/

https://headsforthedead.bandcamp.com/

Monsterworks - Scale and Probability

Monsterworks are a group of incredibly proficient New Zealanders, dropping no less than 15 full length records since their debut record in 2000, and ‘Scale and Probability’ is yet another thrashy progressive metal journey. It was released independently in May.

Opener ‘The Great Silence’ contains many different elements throughout its 8 minute run time. There’s some latter-period Tool-esque polyrhythms underpinning some cool soulful leads, while a dose of heavy, deaththrash moments keeps your head nodding. ‘Weight of Emptiness’ rumbles onward with a little bit of sludge heaviness in amongst the proggy bits. ‘Scale and Probability’ is a conceptually challenging record, exploring the mysteries of finding extraterrestrial life and how it’ll probably never happen, but despite this complex narrative, the music keeps you entertained. ‘The Reveal’ is an earworm, before the meandering ‘Ockham’s Razor’ leads us to our finish. That’s the thing about ‘Scale and Probability’; it’s a really good record, it’s just not a great one.

Having no previous experience with the band, I don’t know how their sound has progressed over the myriad releases but their judicious use of death/thrash elements within a progressive framework is interesting, and the labyrinthine song structures never leave you feeling cold and lost. ‘Scale and Probability’ may have a lofty concept, but Monsterworks keep it grounded in a record you’ll enjoy but maybe not rush back to.

https://monsterworks.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/monsterworks/