Posts Tagged ‘Death metal’

Pemphigoid are an old school death metal group from Nottinghamshire, UK, and their debut record ‘Where Compassion Comes to Die’ is the work of a hard touring band that takes its name from a rare autoimmune blistering skin disease. So you can kind of guess in what direction the lyrical content goes at least…

Very clearly influenced by early 90s death metal, particularly British luminaries Carcass, opener ‘Surgery’ gurgles with deadly intent immediately. Eschewing much of modern technicality, Pemphigoid instead go straight for a crunchy Obituary riff with a sickening vocal for devastating effect. The guitar tone is thick like clotting blood, and with various samples and creepy interludes ramping up the horror throughout, this does feel like a bloodied B-movie record. Reeking of fetid death, the groaning heft of ‘Bite Radius’ is a raw gem, as is the chugging misery of ‘Endophagia’.

‘Where Compassion Comes to Die’ is a solid reproduction of classic death metal values, and while the rough production hinders some of their songs from embracing their true greatness (the too murky ‘Necrolatry’ for example), Pemphigoid have definitely got something here to work on for future releases. Brutal, simple and utterly charming in its raw form, ‘Where Compassion Comes to Die’ is DIY death at its most viral.


De Profundis have slowly built a reputation within the UK and world underground for being a solid bet when it comes to creating a modern extreme metal album. Their fifth full length, ‘The Blinding Light of Faith’, is due for release in May on Transcending Obscurity and looks to solidify their status as one of the leading lights in the UK death metal scene.

Opener ‘Obsidian Spires’ comes tearing from the gate with guttural roars and flesh searing fretwork. They’ve moved away from the more long, winding songs of their back catalogue and focused on what can crush and kill most efficiently. That isn’t to say that this is a simplistic record; quite the opposite in fact. The anti-Abrahamic religions stance that the band thread throughout this album is well done, and for me totally agreeable! De Profundis wear their influences on their sleeve, and you can pick little parts of bands out on every track. The chugging power of Vader lurks beneath ‘War Be Upon Him’, while a nasty Swedeath tone runs through the savage ‘Bastard Sons of Abraham’. But De Profundis always sound like De Profundis, and that is a truetestament to the back catalogue they have put together.

After being mesmerised by the progressive swerves of ‘Opium of the Masses’ and the particularly crushing ‘Godforsaken’, I can safely say that there is some serious competition here for the best death metal you could hear this year. These UK guys have really kicked it up a gear, and ‘The Blinding Light of Faith’ is a evocative, harsh and truly brutal slab of effortless death metal glory.

Depravity are Australian, so sadly it isn’t the much awaited return of the ghostly Finnish legends BUT that is no bad thing, as these toxic Australians are bringing death metal to new realms of savagery, punishing us all with their debut full length ‘Evil Upheaval’. Due out at the end of April on Transcending Obscurity, this is another gem of a record unearthed from Down Under.

Is Australia so hot because it’s closer to Hell? Because this goddamn album comes roaring from the underworld with precision, insane riffing frenetics and some absolutely beastly vocals. Opening tracks ‘Manic Onslaught’ and particularly the crushing ‘Insanity Reality’ smash forth with unholy fire and murderous intent. Imagine if Morbid Angel had dropped ‘Altars of Madness’ today, and you’d be on the way to imagining the serpentine brutality of Depravity. Maddening solos stab outward from hurricanes of blastbeats, while swirling dark melodies wreathe dense growls in atmospheric glee. The malignant loom of ‘Repugnant’ is monstrous, while the chaotic sensibilities of ‘The Great Divide’ provides the merest hint that this record could descend further into madness if provoked. Depravity channel the greats of modern death metal like Hour of Penance while also conjuring the uneasy atmosphere of the likes of Immolation.

Not often can a death metal band capture both the essences of old school and modern death metal in one record. ‘Evil Upheaval’ is a new benchmark in soul destroying death metal this year. It is so heavy, so brutal and yet so accessible. Instantly gratifying and unrelenting, labyrinthine song structures begin to unfold with multiple listens, while it never loses any of its hard hitting impact. You’d struggle to top this for pure death metal fury this year.

‘The Secret Art’ is the sixth full length from Metamorphosis, a long running German atmospheric black/death metal band that has been going since 1994. ‘The Secret Art’ is the latest in a series of solid records by this one man set up, and they take much influence from Marduk, early Amorphis and even some early Paradise Lost. It is out now through Devil’s Ground Productions.

The opening title track builds with cold melody, while rough tremolo riffing cascades over harsh vocals and a more mid paced drumming. This isn’t your standard one man bedroom black metal set up; a beefy production injects body into the clattering carnage, but not so much as to lose that ‘kvlt’ edge that this genre so highly praises. Entwining ambient, instrumental passages in songs helps to set Metamorphosis apart, but the glorious savagery help them stand out. ‘Night on Bare Mountain’ is a striding icon of blackness, capturing a very early 90s European feel that continues throughout. The spoken word occultisms are also very cool, giving it a truly old school blackened death feeling.

The eerie tinkling chimes running through ‘God of the Dead’ is enough to make even the hardest of us feel uneasy and it is a trait that Metamorphosis keep running all the way through. Instrumentation and sounds appear and disappear, flickering throughout a black metal album of great songs and riffs. Simply doing these little cool things helps to make sure you won’t forget ‘The Secret Art’ any time soon.

Boethiah worship at the bloodstained altars of Dismember, Asphyx and Grave, and their new record ‘Invocation of the Xenolith’ is testament to the dedication to that sound that they have. An entirely self produced and self released record, these Californians have created something very nasty and rampant. It is out now!

The opening title track contains all the hallmarks of Swedish death that we all love; chainsawing riffs, throat shredding roars and chaotic drumming. Stabbed by some wild soloing, it is instantly appealing. Grinding death metal continues to assault the senses throughout the battering ‘Creation’ and the crushing carnage of ‘Impending Dread’. Boethiah are keeping the spirit of savage Swedeath alive, with riffs and particularly vocals soaking in that classic swampy filth of the early 90s. Combining that with the relentless surge of ‘Voices Beyond’ which feels soooo Bolt Thrower-y, this is a record that will flatten you.

‘Invocation of the Xenolith’ is a beast of a record; keeping the flames of classic death metal burning while taking a firm grasp on their own destiny and their own sound. Yeah, you could argue that you’ve heard everything that Boethiah do before, but you haven’t probably heard it executed this well in years. ‘Invocation of the Xenolith’ is killer, and well worth the listen.

The longest running death metal band in Italy, Horrid’s fifth full length ‘Beyond the Dark Border’ is another step out of the shadows of European underground death metal. Crushing the opposition since 1989, Horrid dropped this early last year on Dunkelheit Productions, but don’t let it pass you by. This is a dynamic, traditional death metal record that pulls no punches and builds upon a timeless sound.

Opener ‘The Black March’ is a thick, crunchy riff machine that rumbles with devastating power. You can sense the underlying Bolt Thrower influences, but there’s also a lot of subtle pieces of melody that really strike me, such as the eastern parts of ‘Cursed Dunes’ that evoke Nile’s more straightforward moments. Echoes of Celtic Frost resound throughout the full record, and other European death metal styles are equally present in places, such as the Demigod-esque ‘The Statement’. The songwriting is solid, the performance is flawless and the atmospheres are morbid without being overbearing in murk.

‘Beyond the Dark Border’ is a record that will help you fall in love with old fashioned death metal once more. A love letter to the finer, simpler days of early 90s death, when riffs were heavy, vocals were brutal and death was death. Awesome shit.

Rotheads - Sewer Fiends

Romanian death metallers Rotheads have emerged from the dense, ugly underground to bring us their debut full length, ‘Sewer Fiends’. In a stunning turn of events, this is yet another high quality record released by Memento Mori Records, which is frankly becoming THE label for underground death metal to be heard and appreciated. ‘Sewer Fiends’ is out now.

As you could guess from the artwork, this is a record dragged from the depths of sludgey, slimy death metal filth. The opening title track has the kind of guitar tone that feels like it has been steeping in fetid waste for years, and the creeping melodies that lurk beneath are disturbing. This is chaotic, disgusting metal of death; the kind that you’d find dredging a swamp. ‘From the Glowing Goo Rise’ has that kind of crawling chaos vibe about it, a monstrous rumble echoes throughout while cavernous roars belch vile incantations. There’s a reek of ancient Finnish death, like Demigod or even a hint of the likes of Grave in there too.

It all comes to a writhing, miasmic head in the megalithic ‘The Mad Oracle of Seweropolis’, a near eleven minute opus of swampy, Autopsy worshipping death metal of the highest order, punctured only briefly in places by islands of eerie melody. ‘Sewer Fiends’ is a magnificent accomplishment, where Rotheads have immediately dropped a potentially future classic with their first full length. Murky, mouldy and morbid, this is truly special.