Posts Tagged ‘Death metal’

Desolate Shrine are nothing but productive. ‘Deliverance from the Godless Void’ is their third album for Dark Descent Records in six years, and their fourth overall. It is another exercise in pure, devastating aural darkness and hatred. If you like black metal, doom or death, this is within your wheelhouse. A miasmic fabrication of extremity awaits.

‘The Primordial One’ comes pouring from the speakers like a molten river of blackened death metal lava. Blastbeats smash down upon devastating riffs, while brutal roars echo from caverns of darkness. Desolate Shrine are immediately dense, pushing waves of sound at you in an unstoppable force. But they cannot stay one dimensional, with eerie melodies seeping from the gloom in the dissonant, doom laden ‘Unmask the Face of False’. ‘Deliverance from the Godless Void’ has no regard for the boundaries of black, death or doom metal. Desolate Shrine take these genres and combine them into a set of songs that crush not only your ears but your soul, your mind and your hope. For me, the centrepiece and masterpiece is the massive storm of ‘The Graeae’, building from desolate clean guitars into a galaxial riff that envelops everything in its path. Metaphors run short when trying to describe the titanic weight and power of such a song.

‘Deliverance from the Godless Void’ is disgustingly heavy, weighing you down mercilessly until you crumble into nothingness. These songs may be lengthy but never overstay their welcome, and the almost hour running time feels like no time at all. It does feel like your delivery from the Godless void is nothing but a trip to hell. Not a hell that burns, but a hell that suffocates and tears at your weak flesh. This is stunning.

https://www.facebook.com/desolateshrine/

https://desolateshrine.bandcamp.com/

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/deliverance-from-the-godless-void

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Portuguese death metal titans are unleashing upon this doomed world their new record, ‘The Undivided Wholeness of All Things’, and it is set to be an exercise in pure carnage and destruction. It is due out in a mere couple of days (28th November) from Nice to Eat You Records, and looks to establish Portugal as a underground hotbed.

You can guess exactly what you’re going to be up against with an album cover of such lurid threat; chugging riffs built with the densest guitar tones echoed immediately in the opening ‘M.A.S.S.’, leading into the churning thunder of ‘Universal Dismal Collapse’, which plows the deepest furrows of heaviness. Like a titan beast risen from the depths of the oceanic abyss, Annihilation belch forth brutal death metal that doesn’t quite slam, or widdle, it just crushes. Imagine latter Suffocation with that otherworldly feeling that prime Morbid Angel gave you and you’re almost there.

Brutality is second nature for death metal bands these days, but Annihilation seem a little off centre, which helps their riffing and songwriting remain interesting. The modern classic that is ‘The Illusion of Time and Space’ acts as a tectonic centrepiece to an album that shifts, changes, evolves from mere one dimensional brutality to fourth dimensional destruction. The menacing crawl of ‘Omniverse’ personifies this record perfectly; Annihilation sneak up on you slavering and ready to devour.

https://annihilationband.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/annihilationpt/

http://www.ntey.wz.cz/ntey.html

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Indian death metallers Fragarak have outdone themselves here. ‘A Spectral Oblivion’ is a mammoth opus, coming in at 84 minutes of progressive death metal that would give the best a run for their money. Coming out on, of course, the great Transcending Obscurity at the end of October this year, Fragarak look to become your new favourite Indian band. Of course, if you have the staying power…

One of the most ambitious records you’ll hear from the sub continent, ‘In Rumination I: The Void’ opens the gates on our journey with graceful acoustic guitar and choral voices before a serpentine death metal riff takes hold. There is clearly some influence coming from Indian legends Demonic Resurrection and Demonstealer, with crisp death metal riffing wrapped in some nasty black metal coating. The sense of adventure is palpable, with odes to the likes of Amorphis on the gloomy but melodic epic ‘In Rumination II: Reflections’. Each song builds with glorious style, where you are reminded of Behemoth and Opeth and Demonstealer all at the same time.

Double disc records always run the risk of being bloated, but ‘A Spectral Oblivion’ is varied enough in both riffing and songwriting that it rarely becomes an issue. Masterful changes between acoustic passages and punishing death metal, Fragarak have created something that is to be admired and respected. Few bands would go this far on their second record, and ‘A Spectral Oblivion’ is a progressive tour de force.

https://fragarak.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/fragarak/

https://tometal.com/

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Irish death metallers Coscradh’s debut demo last year gained international acclaim (including me:  https://thoseonceloyal.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/review-coscradh-coscradh/) and Invictus have brought us yet more of this devastation with their latest EP, ‘Of Death and Delirium’. This takes everything the band achieved on ‘Coscradh’ and cranks everything up. Prepare to be brutalised…

Opener ‘Disappeared’ is a horrifying, miasmic hurricane of sound; tar thick riffing splattering everywhere while inhuman vocals spew forth wretched bile and filth. It’s exactly what Coscradh needed to do, dive headfirst into improving everything from their previous work (which would be a challenge given the quality of their output) and this is surely an auspicious start. The scalding ‘Hangwoman’ is next, grinding riffs suffocating underneath oppression and hatred. Nothing matches the ambitious darkness of ‘Saor sa hAnbháis’ however; waves of ugly, dissonant death metal crash upon you while hands of dread claw at your, determined to drag you under. Torturous, gloom death metal of the highest order here at the end.

‘Of Death and Delirium’ is hellacious, murky death metal that continues to showcase the steps towards Hell that Coscradh are taking. Their music gets deeper in the abyss, and where they will go from here I don’t know. But I’m looking forward to finding out.

https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/track/hangwoman

https://www.facebook.com/Coscradh/

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/

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/