Posts Tagged ‘Blackened Death metal’

Godhead Machinery - Aligned to the Grid

The unorthodox second album from Swedish blackened death metallers Godhead Machinery came out earlier in the year through Inverse Records, and ‘Aligned to the Grid’ is a record that takes a little while to unpack, but the music within is something really special.

The labyrinthine ‘Tithe II’ starts us off, with chunky death metal underpinning a nasty black metal vocal rasp. The songwriting is maddeningly complex, with elements of Behemoth sneaking in, as well as tech death and even some of the more esoteric black metal out there. The drumming is an intense backbone to everything here, clattering blastbeats keeps everything powering along, while the guitar work show off ethereal melodies and some absolutely brutal riffs. The haunting rage of ‘Alpha’ is a highlight, but there are so many little details that create the overall art. The piano in ‘The Existential Strive’, the spoken word story running through ‘Call of the Banner’, the relentless battery of ‘Impassive Atrocity’ or the imperial gloom of ‘Illusion’; Godhead Machinery weave complex tapestries for all of us to worship.

Godhead Machinery do not ply the furrow of blackened death metal as others do. The music is heavy, thick, brutal while the atmospheres and vocals are pure black metal. An unholy marriage of genres in the right way, where each play to their strengths without being swamped by the other. ‘Aligned to the Grid’ is certainly unorthodox in places but it doesn’t confound you completely.

https://www.facebook.com/GodheadMachinery

http://www.godheadmachinery.com/

Behemoth - I Loved You at Your Darkest

Behemoth need no introduction for anyone who subscribes to this site, and I recently saw the Polish black/death juggernaut destroy a sold out venue in Glasgow in the most impressive way. In light of that, I decided to revisit their latest opus, ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’, released just last year.

After the ominous chanting of opener ‘Solve’, the fiery assault of ‘Wolves of Siberia’ carries on the legacy of ‘The Satanist’. I read a lot of criticism of this record before I heard it; about how it’s just ‘The Satanist Part 2’, or that Behemoth are creating a more accessible sound to get a bigger audience. Frankly, I don’t see the latter at all, and the first one makes sense as ‘The Satanist’ saw the band drawn into a new sound that works well, so they’re continuing that direction. Their mixing of their black metal heritage with a fearsome dose of death metal ripples through the Rotting Christ-esque ‘God=Dog’, while the anthemic ‘Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica’ maintains their blasphemous grip on melodies. The grandiose ‘Sabbath Mater’ weaves those Middle Eastern melodies round some severe neck snapping riffs.

‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ is a much more melancholic and layered record than Behemoth’s previous work however, like the gloomy gothic tones of ‘Bartzabel’, and I guess this type of experimentation is where the ‘accessible’ criticisms comes from. But it is far better to attempt different things than to just smash away with songs that are repetitive and one dimensional. And if you crank up the ravaging howl of ‘Rom 5:8’, you can never accuse Behmoth of going soft.

‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ is a triumphant follow up to one of my favourite records ever, and cements Behemoth as a true giant and icon in extreme music. It rips and tears as heavy as much of their recent back catalogue, but also displays a wonderful grasp of dynamics and melody that you may not have imagined. Behemoth are the best in the business; trailblazers, innovators and definitive legends, and ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ only serves as an exclamation point on that.

https://www.facebook.com/behemoth/

https://behemoth.pl/

 

Haiduk - Exomancer

I reviewed (and subsequently got myself a copy) Haiduk’s ‘Demonicon’ record from 2015, available to read here, and found it to be well written if lacking a little in variety. Well their new record, ‘Exomancer’, does not fall into those same issues, and is out now self released.

Opener ‘Death Portent’ is a roiling, weaving black metal thrillride, with awesome riffing, evil melodies and it just sets up what is to come beautifully. ‘Exomancer’ is a record full of moments where the music makes you just feel right. The spidery riffs in the middle of ‘Doom Seer’, the creepy tonal changes of ‘Icevoid Nemesis’ and the blistering savagery of ‘Blood Ripple’ are all points where you just say ‘FUCK YES!’. It is always refreshing to get that in an album these days. The almost Eastern tones of ‘Unsummon’ reminds me of Melechesh, and those tones emerge at numerous points throughout. This is not an album that says a lot through vocals, but a lot comes through the songwriting.

‘Exomancer’ has banished the sameyness of Haiduk’s previous work to become the beast we all hoped it could be. Sinister, spiralling, atonal and dark, ‘Exomancer’ is going to be an underrated gem from 2018, but let’s hope that it gets more attention. Haiduk’s work is glorious, cosmic darkness.

https://www.facebook.com/haidukmetal

https://haiduk.bandcamp.com/

https://www.haiduk.ca/

https://www.youtube.com/user/HAIDUKplague

Abhordium - Omega Prayer

Finnish blackened death metallers Abhordium have released their sophomore record, ‘Omega Prayer’, follow up to their 2011 debutĀ  ‘When Depravity Incarnates’, and it is another dark and devastating tour de force through twisting and winding death metal, coating in black metal atmospherics.

Opener ‘The Chronology of Decadence’ is a thunderous, churning beast of a track; featuring a Belphegor-esque intensity and a roaring, pitiless vocal performance that doubles the power of the blastbeat riddled riffing. This is an album of strength, of rumbling density and savage ferocity. Each song brings this directly to you with little fanfare or distraction. The brutal vastness of ‘Asebeia’, the focused ‘From the Depths I Slithered’ or the cold horrors of ‘Perpetual Desertification’ each assault your ears with surgical riffing and a nasty, black metal throatiness that really suits these tales of woe, death and hatred. Many blackened death metal bands either get lost within the overly technical aspects of the death, or the esoteric atmospherics of the black and become somewhat aimless. Not Abhordium.

‘Omega Prayer’ is a refreshingly simple yet all enveloping album. Brutality smashes you into the ground, destroying your earthly shell while the bleak, hopeless black melodies pick at your rotting corpse like crows. Graceful yet carrion. Beautiful yet ugly. Abhordium wield genres like threads, weaving maniacal tapestries of violence and hatred, but each song is a masterwork. Get this record, immediately.

https://abhordium.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Abhordium

http://abhordium.com/

Image result for derealized isolation poetry

Normally when you hear ‘France’ and ‘death metal’, your mind is instantly drawn to heavweights Gojira. Well, Derealized are here to make you realise that there is more to French death metal than that. ‘Isolation Poetry’ is the debut full length from a band that are prepared to dazzle you with technicality as well as razor edged savagery. It dropped last year through Finisterian Dead End Records, but I have been remiss in giving it the proper kudos until now.

The creaky, rumbling opening to ‘Devil’s Got Green Eyes’ soon dissolves into a whirling dervish of blasting, growling and spiralling riffs. This is a devilishly technical record, coating all the maddening death metal riffing with a blackened, poisoned edge. The demonic ‘Opium Den’ is a personal highlight; where you can sense real Aborted or Cryptopsy influences burrowing through. Vocalist Myriam Fischer is particularly fearsome; her throaty roar accompanies you upon this winding journing through the crevasses of darkness.

‘Cover Your Eyes’ comes as a welcome respite in between titans of extremity. The constant barrage can be a little much at times but you can’t really fault the band on their desire to display what they can do. In fact, the quieter sections do what they did in early Opeth records, providing islands of calm within the oceans of stormy death metal. And this is death metal as base, with chugging deathcore moments battling the howling black metal influences to create something varied and engrossing.

My only real issue with ‘Isolation Poetry’ is some of the songs seem like they are longer than they need to be. Don’t get me wrong, this kind of progressive technical death metal is great, but sometimes it feels like a little reigning in of the songwriting would help. But if you’re looking for an example of wonderful technical abilities, meshed with genuine atmospheres of dread and blackness, then ‘Isolation Poetry’ ticks those boxes. If you can’t get enough of the likes of Anata, Cryptopsy or Psycroptic then Derealized should be next on your list.

https://www.facebook.com/derealizedband/

http://finisteriandeadend.com/en/

Cover art

Serpentrance have crawled from ancient Russian voids to belch forth their debut EP ‘The Besieged Sanctum’, first released in 2015, and now being rereleased by Blood Harvest Records. It’ll be out on the 10th November, and is probably one of the most devastating releases of 2017.

Opener ‘Sin’ is a growling, lumbering beast of horrendous black/death metal; riffs hewn from the abyss crash upon you while a fell voice utters atrocities that wind around blasting drums and crawling riffs. This trade off between ferocity and slow doomy passages gives way to fears of what these rituals will draw forth, especially with that toll of the bell at the start of the frantic ‘The Aphotic Temple’. Serpentrance are indeed like their name; a snake like entity that moves with dark grace but waits with evil intent to snag you and entrance your mind. Hypnotic dirges leave you little light or air to survive on, and the titanic miasma of ‘Among the Timeless Tombs’ is the high point.

‘The Besieged Sanctum’ is a piece of art; devastating extremity layered with massive low end, brutal vocals and a vibrant yet crushing riff set that will strike fear into the hearts of men. Serpentrance are chaos, death and abyssal evil, and this release is the epitome of those principles.

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-besieged-sanctum

https://www.facebook.com/Serpentrance-243700699154518/

http://www.bloodharvest.se/

Kentucky trio Tombstalker are releasing a two track 7” in follow up to their devastating 2015 debut ‘Black Crusades’. The band has had a slew of splits and EPs since their inception in 2008, and ‘Chaotic Devotion’ drops two new tracks of molten, rabid blackened death metal into our laps. Due to be released on the 19th of September by Boris Records.

The first track, ‘Scared to Death’ has a killer opening riff with a nasty as fuck guitar tone. The fretwork is awesome, and there’s a definite Swedeath influence here. Urgent, vibrant and lacking any fucking about, Tombstalker are here to slay you with riffs. Grinding bass kicks off ‘Treads of War’, and the low end on this track is very prevalent. ‘Chaotic Devotion’ is two excellent tracks of chunky death metal with a savage, black edge to them. Short but ultimately very sweet.

https://borisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/chaotic-devotion-7

https://www.facebook.com/tombstalkerband

http://boris-records.com/