Posts Tagged ‘Death metal’

Ashen Epitaph - The Formed Filth Enigma

Serbian death metallers Ashen Epitaph have taken their name from a Benediction song, so you can expect some similarly brutal death metal coming from within ‘The Formed Filth Enigma’. This is their third full length, and is just out on Grom Records now. Think Amon Amarth without the Vikings and adding more death metal, and you’ve got a good idea of where Ashen Epitaph are coming from.

A gloomy intro leads into the snarling ‘Fog, Mud, Loneliness’, a galloping riff laden beast with a ragged, poisonous guitar tone and a firm grasp of memorable riffs. There’s plenty of moments that remind you of Sweden’s greatest melodeath bands, from Amon Amarth to Arch Enemy to further back early Dark Tranquility or In Flames. ‘The Mirrorgallery’ has this feeling in spades, where thrashing death metal crunches through open melodic territory, dragging bloodied corpses behind.

For me though, the overriding joy of this record is how, despite the obvious melodic tendencies, the purity of brutal death metal riffing, growling and blasting drums is never lost. The devastating ‘The Wounds’, the chugging ‘Destroy All False Faiths’ or the brutal smash of ‘One More Nail’ keeps this record fully grounded in filthy, rampaging death metal. Ashen Epitaph have created a record to be proud of here; visceral, relentless and thoroughly enjoyable.

https://www.facebook.com/ashenepitaph/

http://www.gromrecords.net/

Advertisements

Normally I don’t review splits very often, as their juxtaposition of bands can sometimes be a bit jarring for someone that mostly listens to complete records, but I’ve come to enjoy the Chilean contribution to South America’s metal scene recently, and ‘Wrath of Darkness’ is a split between two forces in this underground mecca, Wrathprayer and Force of Darkness. Both draw from a black metal wellspring, but in different yet collaborative ways. This split is coming out on Nuclear War Now! Productions in a mere 2 weeks!

This split is an entirely collaborative effort, from artwork to musical direction and so has a lot more cohesion than a lot of splits do. Wrathprayer take first stab with the creepy intro and the suffocating, oppressive ‘Tria Serpentis’. Howling roars from deepest abyssal plains, belching horrors untold as chasms are torn asunder by dense, rippling riffs of the darkest, deathly black metal. ‘De Profundis’ is even bleaker, led in by tortured screaming and howling winds of blackened death. They leave a huge challenge for Force of Darkness to meet on their part.

Fortunately ‘Wall of Fire’ proves to be more than up to the challenge, with fire breathing ferocity powering us along at breakneck speed. A surprisingly melodic solo punctuates a song that is more waspish, traditional black metal than Wrathprayer’s contributions. ‘Nunc Scio Tenebris Lux’ is another scorcher that, despite its fuzzy guitar tone and screaming vocal, does nothing to stop being the most memorable song here. The powerful ‘The Order’ finishes their contribution as Force of Darkness sail off on black waters through their outro.

‘Wrath of Darkness’ is an excellent release that really showcases two starring lights in the Chilean extreme metal scene. Wrathprayer keeps everything dense and dark, while Force of Darkness has a bit more melody and some furiously catchy songs. Make a note of its release folks!

https://nuclearwarnowproductions.bandcamp.com/album/wrath-of-darkness

http://www.nwnprod.com/

https://www.facebook.com/WRATHPRAYER-184968604887127/

A malignant and serpentine debut, ‘Staring Through the Veil’ is the first record from Cryptic Fog, a two man project that twists and melds the grand tradition of death metal from both sides of the Atlantic into new and abhorrent forms. Blood Harvest is releasing this at the end of October, and it looks to stake a place amongst the most uncomfortable records of 2017.

Progressive, twisting black metal with hints of death metal’s low end come through strong on crushing opener ‘The Grand Berator Walks Amongst the Hall of Misery”; you can feel moments of technical wizardry like Atheist meeting the labyrinthine riffing of Morbid Angel, wrapped within dark realms of suffering. Vocals belch from dank pits, while the deadly riffing spirals in multiple directions, never leaving too many breadcrumbs to follow. There are some proper Dismember worship moments in the stunning ‘Cursed Oil Upon the Abhorrent Idols of Men’, the horrendous violence of ‘Eternal Internment of the Prolific Paradigm; Staring Through the Veil of Aberration’ and the crushing, eldritch finale of ‘Cleansed by the Black Flame of Absolution’ are all great.

The ironically simple pleasure in such a complex and technical record is how you never lose interest, that Cryptic Fog are consistently shifting form and keeping your attention. There’s blasting, chugging Swedeath riffs, wailing solos and grinding brutality, all sewn together into a cohesive, virulent mass of death metal. ‘Staring Through the Veil’ is the archetypal look beyond, into worlds where death metal will grow in new ways.

https://www.facebook.com/CrypticFog/

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/staring-through-the-veil-12lp-cd-tape

http://www.bloodharvest.se/

The work of two bona fide death metal icons, Ursinne brings together Dave Ingram (Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Hail of Bullets) and Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath, Henry Kane) to create ‘Swim With the Leviathan’, one of the densest and most brutal death metal records of 2017. Our favourite record label Transcending Obscurity, dropped this monster in August. Original material meshes with death metal covers of 80s classics in one of 2017’s best and most unique records.

The devastating opener ‘Devil May Care’ is undeniably brutal and straightforward, but it has some nice open spaces in the middles where melodies play around a chugging low end. ‘I, Serpentine’ has that Swedish rawness to its riffs, as well as a healthy dose of Gothenburg meldoy. It is a theme running through ‘Swin With the Leviathan’; brutality in riffs and vocals, but not lacking in memorable melody lines. ‘Bullet Bitten’ is inspired by Lemmy, including a great sample from the great man himself, and the driving bassline underneath is a fitting tribute.

While all the original material is excellent, (in particularly the swooning menace of ‘The Chimes at Midnight’) the real fun begins with the four covers songs. The death metal rendering of The Osmonds’ ‘Crazy Horses’ is pretty odd, but the crushing ‘Turning Japanese’ is killer and ‘Monsters in the Parasol’ features Massacre legend Kam Lee, turning the Queens of the Stone Age classic into something very brutal and menacing. You’ll struggle to find a more different, entertaining and downright heavy record in 2017. Ursinne is a great amalgamation of classic death metal and a sense of the absurd, leading to some genuine year highlights.

https://www.facebook.com/UrsinneBand/

https://ursinne.bandcamp.com/

https://tometal.com/

Swedish death metallers Paganizer have been killing it for almost twenty years now and their newest release, ‘Land of Weeping Souls’, is proof that some bands just get better with age. It is out now on Transcending Obscurity, and is defiantly some of the best old school death metal you will hear this year.

If anything, Paganizer have got heavier and faster since I first came upon them on 2006’s ‘Carnage Junkie’. Opening with the rabid ‘Your Suffering Will Be Legendary’, chunky death metal riffs fly in all directions, while a propulsive drumming performance underpins the whole thing. The ever prolific Rogga Johansson’s vocals are the typically great deep growls, but he seems to have even more clarity than usual. Remember how good it was when Bloodbath returned with ‘The Fathomless Mastery’ in 2008 and it was like Swedish death metal was back? Well, turns out Paganizer have been at killer riff capacity and have been churning out tracks like the vicious ‘The Buried Undead’ and the old school class of ‘The Insanity Never Stops’ for years under the radar.

This record is a strong addition to the old school death metal revival that seems to have been going on recently, and in fact shows most of them how it’s done properly. ‘Land of Weeping Souls’ is flawlessly executed, faithful in its worship of iconic classics and somehow confirms that death metal isn’t always about decay and ‘the end’. Sometimes it is can be the most vital and ALIVE genre out there. I love it.

https://www.facebook.com/paganizersweden/

https://paganizer.bandcamp.com/

https://tometal.com/store/

Bloodstrike’s last record, ‘In Death We Rot’ has already had a bit of praise from myself in the past for being a chunky, old school death metal record of killer riffs and brutality galore. So to say that I’m expecting good things from their follow up ‘Execution of Violence’ is not an understatement. It is due out on the 13th of November through Redefining Darkness Records.

‘Procreating Death’ leads with a piano melody before an Asphyx-sized riff crashes upon us. It sounds MASSIVE, like a monstrous beast dragging itself from the swamps of the old school before harsh chainsawing riffs embrace the cold reality of their Scandinavian heritage and start to run wild. You can see Entombed, Dismember and even some Bolt Thrower lurking amongst the ruins left behind. ‘Creeper’ is a chugging beast, while the galloping ‘Emptiness of Life’ sounds like a missing Grave classic. If there’s at least one thing (and there’s so many more) that Bloodstrike do right, it is capturing the sound and spirit of early 90s death, particularly the Swedeath guitar tone.

Crunchy, brutal, old school as hell; it’s difficult to use any original adjectives for ‘Execution of Violence’ but all apply. This is an excellent record, thoroughly absorbing and pretty much every song induces headbanging and horn throwing. That is all you can really ask from an old school death metal album these days, and Bloodstrike hit it out of the park on ‘Execution of Violence’.

https://www.facebook.com/bloodstrikemetal/

http://www.bloodstrikemetal.com/

https://redefiningdarknessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/bloodstrike-execution-of-violence

https://bloodstrike.bandcamp.com/album/execution-of-violence

Ticking another off my ‘must see live’ list, New York death metal legends Suffocation came to one of the smallest and therefore best venue in Glasgow for a gig that was probably the best death metal gig I’ve been to since Decapitated years ago in Ivory Blacks. I’d read multiple posts about who was supposed to be supporting; some said Hammercult, some said Power Trip, so I made sure I was down early to find out. Turned out there was only the one support, but it was an excellent choice.

Image may contain: one or more people and night

Local heroes Scordatura was that support, whose death metal onslaught was precise, brutal and even managed to get a respectable pit going early on. They were an excellent choice because you can feel how much the headliners have influenced them. I have their awesome ‘Torment of the Weak’ record, and they threw in a  few new songs from their newest album ‘Self-Created Abyss’ that I haven’t got yet but will definitely pick up. Nuanced, chugging carnage.

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage, night, concert and crowd

But Suffocation blew them out of the water. You’d expect that though, coming from these almost 30 year veterans. A devastating mixture of brutal slam and technical wizardry, their new material from this year’s ‘…of the Dark Light’ struck like bombs and while unlikely to receive as rapturous a reaction as the classics, led to streams of crowd surfing and as violent a pit as I’ve seen in years. ‘Liege of Inveracity’ and the fiery ‘Effigy of the Forgotten’ were the highlights closed by the staggering ‘Catatonia’ to send everyone home exhausted, sweat drenched and very very happy.

https://www.facebook.com/Scordaturaofficial/

https://www.facebook.com/suffocation/