Posts Tagged ‘Death metal’

I reviewed the tremendous ‘Unutterable Horrors’ from New England’s Scaphism last year here, and they have just released a new two track cassette with their new vocalist Eden Rayz. It promises more of the same old school savagery in the vein of Massacre or Death

Opener ‘From the Bloody Banks of the Phlegethon’ immediately howls with a classic Morbid Angel style riff. The first noticeable difference is the production is murkier, giving that true early 90s feel. Eden Rayz vocally is a little rougher, little rawer than previous and that fits in nicely with the filthier production. Like the river of boiling blood it references, the track burns with energy and torment. ‘Infinite Coil of Auto-Enucleation’ has a bit more of that Immolation style that I liked about their last record; complex and dense riffing serpentines its way around growls and screams like a predatory snake, waiting for the kill.

Often a vocalist change can be a tough time for a band to work through. But Scaphism have hit the ground running and Rayz fits right into their nasty old school vibe. I look forward to what is to come from them, and hope I don’t have to wait too long.

https://scaphism.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Scaphism/

Eigenstate Zero is a Swedish death metal studio project from Christian Ludvigsson, and his debut full length ‘Sensory Deprivation’ is a mammoth seventy five minutes of shapeshifting death metal that betrays many, varied influences. It is out now through the band’s Bandcamp.

Despite the length of the record, the opening track ‘Fringe’ doesn’t hang around or build a slow burning intro. Brutality is immediate, constant and propelled with some delicious double kicks. You wouldn’t necessarily go as far as describing Eigenstate Zero as progressive death metal, but the technicality on display is very impressive in places. There’s also a myriad of influences playing roles throughout, from the In Flames-esque melodies of ‘1984.2’ to the chugging, sprawling Gojira-isms of ‘The Nihilist’, and the traditional Swedeath attack of ‘Communion’. In fact, Eigenstate Zero’s ability to weave together a number of varied styles into an album that feels like a cohesive whole is highly impressive. The longer tracks are also epic and well constructed, and these are where you get closest to progressive death metal, like the jazzy interludes of ‘Strangelets’.

‘Sensory Deprivation’ is a record that, while occasionally feels a little like an endurance challenge, mostly hits the spot for great songwriting, brutality and will keep you engrossed for a while. The songs have a lot of individuality and the album as a whole feels very cohesive despite a number of stylistic changes. Maybe reel in a couple of the more meandering parts and the next record will be perfect!

https://www.facebook.com/eigenstatezero/

https://eigenstatezero.com/album/sensory-deception

Gatecreeper - Deserted

Originally published at the Sleeping Shaman: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/album-ep-reviews/review-gatecreeper-deserted/

Tucson, Arizona’s Gatecreeper are the latest band to find their way onto the mighty Relapse Records, and the three year wait from their debut ‘Sonoran Depravation’ is going to be worth it. ‘Deserted’ is out on the 4th of October, and is a tribute to the classic Florida and Swedish death metal scenes.

The riffs that open the title track, and open the record, immediately conjures up a feeling of nostalgia for the 90s. The guitar tone is a thing of ancient beauty, the simple chunky riffing, the guttural roar; it is all a certain kind of magic. Kurt Ballou’s production renders everything in a wonderful crispness, despite the guitars insistence on sound like a saw tearing through flesh. There is a certain majesty to the doomy riffing of ‘From the Ashes’, and you’ll find this regularly on ‘Deserted’, that the band do not just tear ahead at all times. Gatecreeper draw heavily from the Obituary school of Floridian death metal, and the ‘Slowly We Rot’-esque thunder of ‘Ruthless’ is a perfect example.

Why no one has really nailed a ‘Entombed playing Obituary songs’ like this before blows my mind. It seems so obvious in retrospect. I suppose because it isn’t just as simple as that. There are so many little elements playing their part here, from the sludgey trudge of the behemoth ‘Sweltering Madness’ with its maddening guitar solos to the early Paradise Lost-esque majesty of closer ‘Absence of Light’. The true greatness of ‘Deserted’s is to be found in the songwriting, where such an overwrought genre feels fresh and exciting again.

In a world where old school death metal bands are ten a penny, and the injection of lumbering doom into it is even more common, Gatecreeper have a sound that pays homage to an iconic past but yet creative enough to never feel boring or trite. ‘Deserted’ is as modern and cutting edge a take on this particular genre as you’ll find and it is a decadent experience.

https://www.facebook.com/gatecreeper/

https://gatecreeper.bandcamp.com/

http://relapse.com/gatecreeper-deserted/

The slow rise of UK death metallers Ashen Crown has come with support slots of some of death metal’s biggest legends (Obituary, Memoriam), and they are finally poised to release their debut full length ‘Obsolescence’. The record deals with the obsoletion of many things, but will it leave their hopes of breaking through the underground obsolete?

Fortunately, that is unlikely. The surgical precision of modern death metal is on show throughout opener ‘Unbroken Faith’; with huge amounts of Black Dahlia Murder riffing and a killer vocal performance, it’s clear that Ashen Crown are setting their sights on a bigger stage and a larger audience. The fretwork is frantic, riffs impatient to spill out and the brutality, oh the brutality is tremendous. The imperious march of ‘Right to Rise’ looms large with some nice melodic guitar work, and the moment when the operatic female vocal soars from the crushing ‘Blood Beneath Us’ is truly glorious.

‘Obsolescence’ is a triumph from start to finish. Ashen Crown have absorbed all the best nuances of modern death metal and avoided the pitfalls. Each song is distinguishable from its predecessor and whether moving at a fast pace or slowing it down with melodious passages, ‘Obsolescence’ never fails to hold your attention. By the time the brooding ‘Under the Leaves’ brings us to a close, you’ll be hooked. Great stuff!

https://www.facebook.com/ashencrown.uk/

https://ashencrown.bigcartel.com/

 

NoxIrae-Bandcamp.jpg

Members of the sadly lost Affliction Gate and the legendary Catacomb have joined together to create the latest monster raiding the French death metal underground, Nox Irae. Their newest release ‘Here the Dead Live’ is out in November through Transcending Obscurity and is pretty much everything you’d expect it to be.

The blistering ‘Phantom Parasite Trauma’ blows me away to start with, with a instant ‘big hit’ of killer riffing and snarling vocals. This is how you want to start a record; not with a moody intro or some kind of swelling orchestral nonsense. The initial hit is so refreshing and when it settles into an old school grinding death metal chug it just feels so right. You can tell immediately that this is a band of scene veterans, as they’re never afraid to slip in a little classic heavy metal influence too. The soloing in ‘All is Over’ is proof of that, as is the thrashy nature of ‘Knife Under Throat’. This is a record that is not afraid to remember how good Possessed, Death and Bolt Thrower used to be; when death metal had a little more thrash about it.

A thrillingly straightforward record that, in only 26 minutes, proves that old fashioned death metal will never die when it is this good. ‘Here the Dead Live’ is short but sweet, satisfied with conjuring that feeling of when you first came across death metal rather than trying to reinvent it. All hail!

https://noxiraedeath.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/noxiraefrance

https://tometal.com/store/

The re-release of atmospheric death metallers Jade’s debut demo through Pulverised Records is a reason to be joyful. Why? Because the wider world gets to hear the burgeoning talent lurking within last year’s digital and cassette only release. ‘Smoking Mirror’ is out in October, and promises to be something special.

Immediately, ‘Jade Emperor’ feels different from the rest of 2019’s death metal. Is it the soaring, almost black metal esque space behind it? The crush of modern death/doom powers along but there’s something very different about the atmospherics here. It is grandiose without resorting to orchestration; spacious without losing the intensity. ‘Dead Stone Mask’ has some almost post metal moments, with the lonely voice crying out in the background, while the ethereal tones lurking in the title track really create something fresh and new. A superbly unique take on death metal.

An excellent and absorbing debut release, and probably my favourite EP of the year. I could listen to this constantly, picking out each subtlety on repeated listens. Jade are a band that are going to become essential within a few more releases, and I’m glad I got in on the ground floor.

https://pulverised.bandcamp.com/album/smoking-mirror

https://www.facebook.com/jadestonemask/

Goregäng - Neon Graves

The debut record from American death metallers Goregӓng, ‘Neon Graves’ is out now through Transcending Obscurity, and the cover will immediately draw your attention to what lies beneath. Tributes to Entombed and Edge of Sanity give you an idea for what is coming…

Immediately the grinding, groaning thrust of prime old school death metal is upon you. Goregӓng don’t hang around either, cramming 12 songs into 34 minutes and there isn’t any wasted motions. There’s piles of awesome, chugging death riffs (particularly in the superlative ‘Plague of Hammers’), and while ‘Neon Graves’ might pay tribute to the legends, at no one point does it feel samey or a mere copycat album. Raise your fists for the crushing title track, bang your head at the thunder of ‘Feeble-Minded Rash’ and roar along with the guttural brutality of ‘Putrid Judgement’.

‘Neon Graves’ is the kind of death metal album you need in 2019. There’s no frills, there’s no gimmicks, there’s just loads of great songs that don’t outstay their welcome and yet probably wouldn’t if they were twice as long. Expertly crafted, with eyes towards the past but barrelling towards a bright, bloodstained future, Goregӓng are superb.

https://goregangband.bandcamp.com/

https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.de/shop-en

https://www.facebook.com/goregang