Posts Tagged ‘Relapse Records’

Exhumed - Horror

First published on the Sleeping Shaman: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/album-ep-reviews/review-exhumed-horror/

What more do you need to say about gory death metal icons and legends Exhumed? Well nothing really, as their musical legacy will always speak much louder, so simply put ‘Horror’ is their newest work and it fits into their discography as neatly as a mortician’s saw through bone. Continuing their 2010s comeback with stronger and more mature material, ‘Horror’ is their reminder that they can still shred with the best of them.

Opener ‘Unsound’ is an immediate knife thrust to the jugular, where you’re hit with instant brutality and savage vocals. Maddening solos puncture the assault, as a relentless drumming battery powers everything along at a breakneck speed. Anyone who thinks Exhumed would have mellowed with age have no idea what they are on, as this is as fresh and exhilirating as they have ever been. Beset by some killer thrash riffs, ‘Ravenous Cadavers’ follows suit and the more said about the grinding carnage of ‘Scream Out in Fright’ the better.

Exhumed have really re-embraced their grinding roots on ‘Horror’, with the longest song, ‘Slaughter Maniac’, clocking in at a mere 2:23. The band are going hell for leather with the shred and the grind here, tearing through prime cuts like ‘Ripping Death’ and the superlative grinding of ‘Rabid’ like there was no tomorrow. It always feels good when a band that has been on the go since 1990 can come back feeling vibrant and vicious, not just rehashing the same old songs. It has been a long time since Exhumed were this precisely savage, and it is welcome.

You get fifteen songs in twenty six minutes, which feels both too short and yet absolutely perfect. There is no messing about, just gory guitar work laced with some poisonous vocals and the confidence of veterans just hammering out great material. Not every album needs to be an epic, and in Exhumed’s case this makes you want to experience the whole thing again straight away. I mean, the best song here is called ‘Naked, Screaming and Covered in Blood’, if that doesn’t make you want to throw horns and go crazy then what will?! ‘Horror’ reminds everyone that all these new bands are great, but sometimes there is nothing quite as satisfying as the old school.

https://www.facebook.com/ExhumedOfficial/

https://exhumed.bigcartel.com/products

https://store.relapse.com/

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/

Coffins - Beyond the Circular Demise

Originally published on the Sleeping Shaman: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/album-ep-reviews/coffins-beyond-the-circular-demise/

Legendarily prolific Japanese death/doom lords Coffins have returned with their first full length record since 2013’s ‘The Fleshland’, but they haven’t been quiet. Lots of splits and EPs have filled the gap, but there’s nothing quite like a full length Coffins record. ‘Beyond the Circular Demise’ releases on the 20th of September through Relapse Records and looks to be another record of superlative quality.

I’ve followed these guys since their superlative 2008 record ‘Buried Death’ and they’ve rarely disappointed. Immediately grinding out a nasty, Swedeath riff in the opener ‘Terminate By Own Prophecy’, the guttural death growls belching untold blasphemies. The doom is strong in the crush of ‘The Tranquil End’, but it neither overshadows nor gets lost in the crunchy death metal. Coffins balance the two genres perfectly, making the transitions from savagery to imperious, monstrous riff feel so natural. And the doom comes with churning intensity, with the monolithic opening riffs to ‘Impuritious Minds’ being an immediate standout but not the only one.

What I’ve always enjoyed about Coffins is that their brand of death/doom has never been the vast, clean doom riffs layered with brutal growls. They have always felt like a true amalgamation of nasty, raw death metal and the crushing nihilism of someone like Winter or Burning Witch. Their music has never seemed majestic or imperious; it feels like a true musical representation of death and decay. The gut wrenching weight of ‘Gateways to Dystopia’ possessing aching riffs, while the savage growl of ‘Hour of Execution’ maintains that nasty edge.

Coffins have created an art form out of this style of music. ‘Beyond the Circular Demise’ is yet another exhibit in their gallery of gore, death and rumbling decay. Lots of bands claim to make music that feels like the end of the world. Coffins actually do it, and while their tectonic riffs help our dying planet on its way we can all bathe in the glory of it. All hail visceral, toxic, TRUE death/doom.

https://www.facebook.com/intothecoffin/

https://store.relapse.com/

https://coffins.bandcamp.com/

Originally published here: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/reviews/album-reviews/h/hooded-menace-darkness-drips-forth/

Hooded Menace are what people are talking about when they think of death/doom these days, even if they don’t know it. The Finnish masters of darkness have long been crafting a career from the sludgy, endless void of riffs, summoning Lovecraftian beasts to serve as their inspiration. ‘Darkness Drips Forth’ is their new record, and while only four tracks, serves us some of the most tortured, dense and punishing death metal since their last emanation.

‘Blood For The Burning Oath/Dungeons Of The Disembodied’ belches from the starting blocks in typical, cavernous fashion.  A threatening, monotone hum drones from your speaker, screams begin to echo amongst it and then it happens. The riff descends from its place amongst the Dark Gods and comes slamming down upon us mere mortals. The voice of Hell erupts with malevolent intent; a gurgling, bilious roar that shakes the ground. Hooded Menace do creeping, crawling fetid death better than almost everyone, and ‘Darkness Drips Forth’ is a perfect encapsulation of their sound. Even when the pace is upped slightly, nothing is lost from their sickly death.

Hooded Menace do more than just shamelessly worship the likes of Autopsy or Coffins. They drag you along a journey, a quest of sorts, through the realms of death and decay. In anyone else’s hands, ten plus minute dirges of death metal would become tedious and repetitive. Hooded Menace have mastered this art. It’s swampy but never unintelligible, as the mammoth lurch of ‘Elysium Of Dripping Death’ shows. Vocalist Lasse Pyykko belches immensely brutal vocals, while each riff drips with a malevolent tone.

‘Ashen With Solemn Decay’ looms from the fog with a Cthulhuan might, like an ancient titan of death and doom. Hooded Menace reaffirm their status as the pinnacle of this genre with ‘Darkness Drips Forth’, because the extended song lengths allow them to create slowly, to build and to nurture that riff. In the same way a wave can build to a tsunami, ‘Beyond Deserted Flesh’ builds the rumbling drums, the icy Swedeath chainsaw riff, the unholy utterings, into something that, by the close of its ten minutes, is an unstoppable cliff of death metal and doom.

Hooded Menace may continue this path, they may revert back to their shorter songs. But either way, ‘Darkness Drips Forth’ is undeniable proof that they are the undead kings of death/doom, and their ashen granite throne shows no signs of cracking. Unbearably heavy, and unspeakably dark.

https://hoodedmenace.bandcamp.com/album/darkness-drips-forth

https://www.facebook.com/HoodedMenace/?fref=ts

So, after our mammoth five hour anniversary show on Live Funeral Radio this Sunday night, I got to thinking about my show for Tuesday. Now, we all work hard on our shows for Live Funeral, and we appreciate everyone who listens in. I don’t even know if Kalde wants me telling folk this but we’ve even had positive feedback from guys at Relapse recently about what we’re doing. Fucking Relapse are aware of Live Funeral Radio? Fuck that blows my mind.
So it got me to thinking, this year marks 25 years of Relapse Records as an essential entity in not only the promotion of extreme music but in my own particular evolution. I’ve picked out my playlist this week of tracks from my favourite Relapse artists past and present. May they ever protect the riff…

1. High on Fire – Devilution
2. Cephalic Carnage – Endless Cycle of Violence
3. Red Fang – Prehistoric Dog
4. Baroness – Rays on Pinion
5. Nile – Smashing the Antiu
6. Burst – Where the Wave Broke
7. Incantation – Devour Death
8. Mastodon – March of the Fire Ants
9. Nasum – The Masked Face
10. Windhand – Woodbine
11. Tombs – Beneath the Toxic Jungle
12. Dying Fetus – Insidious Repression
13. Amorphis – Black Winter Day
14. Primate – March of the Curmudgeon
15. Mumakil – I
16. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants

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