Posts Tagged ‘Transcending Obscurity’


Greek black metallers Nigredo contain members of such genre luminaries as Embrace of Thorns and Ravencult, and they are taking the way we view black metal and turning it this way and that, trying to find a new angle. Their debut full length ‘Flesh Torn-Spirit Pierced’ squeezes elements of thrash and death into their black template, and it is due out in April on Transcending Obscurity.

Nigredo is an alchemical term for decomposition or putrefaction, the first step in creating the philospher’s stone. This is apt as Nigredo shape the black metal genre to create their holy grail, and the opener ‘Ten Repellant Antiforces’ is a surging, vibrant piece of fury. Rampant blastbeats thrust through blistering riffs, while a pervading eerie undertone slithers beneath. The fiery ‘Necrolatry’ thrashes like old school Marduk, while ‘Choronzon Possession’ begins the journey into the more swirling occultisms that become prevalent in the later half of this record.

The atonal melodies stabbing through the excellent ‘Mental Glimpses at Cosmic Horrors’ betrays the band’s influence by the likes of Blut Aus Nord or Deathspell Omega. ‘Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced’ is a perfect alchemy of the traditional meeting the avantgarde, where icy tremolo riffs collide with unusual arrangements. While not as out there as some black metal that heads in this direction, Nigredo keep the attention firmly locked upon what they are going to do next. The dissonant ‘Sons of Worthlessness’ is a perfect example of the revelry found within this sphere of discordance.

‘Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced’ is one of 2018’s more interesting records. Comfortably within the established black metal dominion, their steps outside of the pentagram are the most interesting moments, when the tones and the melodies take on that otherworldly nature. Beginning tethered to the frozen north, it gradually leads you beyond, to a maddening world beyond the icy safety of the forests. Fantastic.


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.


Belgian grinders Marginal have focused their particular brand of grindcore on the crustier end of the spectrum, enschewing much of the overly gory stuff to have come out recently. That doesn’t mean to say this sounds any less sickening, and ‘Total Destruction’ is a record that takes their rage very seriously. This is out on Transcending Obscurity now!

‘Barbarian’ showcases this take perfectly, coming across as a modernisation of classic Napalm Death or Discharge songs. Driving, with a nasty guitar tone and a throaty roar, the nasty ‘Delirium Tremens’ is next and from there there is very little let up in the pace. While not ultra full throttle like Nasum or Bezerker, Marginal inject a pretty decent turn of pace and their socio-political lyrics fit very well within this framework. The barrelling ‘Impaled’ is a personal favourite, but you would struggle to find a bad track here.

Rampant, grinding and raw, ‘Total Destruction’ is a non stop ride through a world of industrial misery, corruption and greed where everything is fucked. Except the music. The music is very good. Marginal are bringing you the apocalypse, and it is a bloody and brutal ending.


I’m not sure what Australia has done to black metal bands, but so many seem to have gone off the deep end when it comes to their interpretations of the genre. The latest in a long line of seriously good Australian black metal is Arkheth, and you can tell by the artwork to ’12 Winter Moons Comes the Witches Brew’ that this isn’t going to go the way you’d expect. Transcending Obscurity are dropping this in February.

Opener ‘Trismegistus’ immediately strikes you with dissonant weirdness, with atonal riffing shrieking through a warped cosmos of black metal. Based on the teachings of Hermeticism, you can feel the otherwordly forces at work here; each riff and impassioned rasp is informed with magicks and voices from beyond our realm. ‘Dark Energy Equilibrium’ oozes with a quiet menace; layers of Deathspell Omega-esque work cascade between calm yet dangerous moments. ‘Where Nameless Ghouls Weep’ is like a horrendous psychedelic trip gone wrong, with queasy guitar tones stabbing through the folds of reality. Imagine White Zombie crossed with Blut Aus Nord. Isn’t that wrong? Yes, but Arkheth makes it seem almost right.

This is Arkheth’s third record, but their journey feels like it can only just be beginning. This duo have found a way to cross into other dimensions with ’12 Winter Moons…’ and it feels like the sound they bring back is only the start. The kind of madness one can weave with this talent is tantalising, frightening and addictive all at once. Wildly experimental, yet somehow cohesive and enthralling, Arkheth are disappearing into their own universe, and dragging us with them.


Spanish death metallers Come Back from the Dead’s new EP ‘Caro Data Vermibus’ is probably the quintessential example of what bands aim for when we come to old school death metal. Featuring members of Nashgul and Bokluk, Transcending Obscurity have brought us yet another gem and Kunal rarely misses on these things. It’s out now!

‘Vomits of a Demonic Infestation’ is very aptly titled, sounding like a bloodied, crusted mix of Autopsy and some nasty Swedish stuff like Dismember. Wild soloing punctures the riffs like a violent stab wound, while manic growls roar over the din. It’s all very simple, brutal and thoroughly effective. The production is swampy but there’s no issue with the clarity. Madness stirs in the churning title track, possessed by a malevolent main riff. The horrifying artwork speaks volumes for the music within, as each track is delivered with a keening insanity, whether it is the relentless Endless Bloodshed’ or the miasma of ‘Carnivorous Craving From Beyond’.

Coated in that strangely alluring Iberian darkness, Come Back from the Dead have dredged up some ancient Scandinavian/Floridian death and brought it forth with a gleeful, bloodied smile. Cacophonous, vibrant and desperately filthy, ‘Caro Data Vermibus’ has no filler and will leave you with a taste for more.

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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.