Posts Tagged ‘Transcending Obscurity’

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/

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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.

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A new band from an old hand, Affliktor is the work of Toby Knapp whose guitar work you’ll have heard spread across classic records like Onward’s ‘Evermoving’ or ‘Reawaken’. Affliktor is all about the old school blackened thrash riffs, and the simple fact that ‘Affliktor’ is the work of only one man is even more mindblowing. Transcending Obscurity are due to release this on the 20th of October.

The matching of a neoclassical guitar player and the traditionally one dimensional blackened thrash genre feels, at first, like it’ll never work. But Knapp’s fretwork is nothing short of mindblowing, and in fact imbues this record and style with a new impetus to be fresh and exciting. The blasting ‘Storm of Demogorgon’ is a defining moment for the record, and the following songs strive for the same excellence every time. Parts of the croaking ‘Born to the Breeder’ remind me very much of early Immortal, while the chunky ‘Burn the Earth’ is prime Sodom riffs coupled with an early Bathory attitude. The most exciting part of the whole record is how the essence of blackened thrash is captured within songs that are easily identifiable from each other.

This record is a blasting half hour of joyous, nasty as fuck thrash metal. Galloping like classic Exodus or Kreator, but delivered with a Venom sneer and scowl, ‘Affliktor’ is a record that is not to be trifled with. The snarling rage of ‘Planet Rogue’ is the highlight of a record full of high points; riffs galore and glorious thrashing sections are what Affliktor is all about!

https://affliktor.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Affliktor/

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A collaborative effort between elite members of the Indian metal scene, ‘supergroup’ The Minerva Conduct are breaking genre boundaries across the sub continent. Featuring alumni of Demonic Resurrection, Albatross, Gutslit and a former Animals as Leaders drummer, ‘The Minerva Conduct’ is a record that is scintillating, brave and mind bogglingly technical in parts. It is out 15th September.

Instantly precocious, proggy and thunderous, opener ‘Vile’ snaps into juddering Meshuggah-esque territory with some dazzling fretwork. Open spaces begin to appear within the chugging riffs, and this is where the Minerva Conduct begin to realise the potential of their collaboration. Soaring atmospheres meet heavy djent riffing; propulsive drumming coalesces with twanging bass riffs into a driving engine under stabbing guitar riffs. And this is only the first track! This is an album that effortlessly jumps from electronic, almost ambient soundscapes into brutal death/djent riffing without losing a step. I was six tracks in before I realised there were no vocals, a fact that does no harm to the evocative nature of the music.

‘The Minerva Conduct’ is a shape shifting beast; with progressive metal a vague catch-all genre title that never does the music enough credit, the band manage to construct an organic piece where songs are constantly evolving. The ethereal moments of calm in ‘Desertion’, the Gojira-esque closing to ‘Metanoia’, the electronic highlighting in ‘Appetence’: these are all high spots in a record that never fails to surprise, invigorate or impress. Hopefully The Minerva Conduct are just getting started, because I could listen to this stuff all day.

https://theminervaconductband.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/theminervaconduct/

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Brazilian atmospheric doom/sludge from one of my favourite record labels?! SOLD! Transcending Obscurity are bringing us this slab of massive riffs ‘Terraforming’, which is a pleasure to find as your immediate thoughts on South American metal is howling, raging Satanic black/death/thrash. Isn’t nice when your perceptions are shattered? ‘Terraforming’ is out on the 15th November.

The groaning strength of ‘Matriarch’ begins this record with a swaying riff and a lurching, atonal melody that floats below cavernous roars. Think of the mournful power of Swallow the Sun, and couple that with a rusty Louisiana groove and scowling guttural roars and you’ll be about there. The atmospheric ‘Unearthly Glow’ is an early highlight, and I like how Jupiterian mix a sense of the vast beauty of death/doom with the ugliness of sludge. The title track is dark and creepy ambience, benefitting greatly from an appearance from Maurice de Jong of Gnaw Their Tongues.

‘Terraforming’ is a titanic record, built upon massive riffs that appear from the darkness like cliffs of granite. A record that has a deep sense of uneasiness about it, whether in the vocals from hell or the odd melodies seeping out of the guitars. Jupiterian are vast, primal and unbearably heavy at points. Shimmering black metal moments in ‘Us and Them’ are a mere example of the atmospheric, limitless possibilities hidden with ‘Terraforming’. Mark your calendar for this one.

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https://jupiterian.bandcamp.com/

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It would feel lazy to instantly compare Israeli black metallers Arallu to Middle Eastern legends Melechesh, but that’s not what I want to do here. What I want to do is really get across how fucking GOOD ‘Six’ is. An album built upon thrashy black metal and enhanced by traditional instrumentation, Arallu do what labelmates at Transcending Obscurity Rudra do, but with a different ethnic focus. The record is out on 22nd September.

After the mysterious intro, opening track proper ‘Only One Truth’ builds with a chugging menace, while layers of Behemoth-esque black metal grandeur builds throughout the majestic ‘Possessed by the Sleep’. Arallu’s record is not only interesting due to their use of ethnic instrumentation, but the shapeshifting nature of their black metal base. Potent and grand one minute, savage and visceral the next, ‘Six’ is exciting and different. The very Middle Eastern sounding ‘Subordinates of the Devil’ is more overt in its influence, while the howling title track (‘The Univers Secrets (Six)’) bleeds it in more subtly.

Arallu are a thrilling prospect, and I feel ashamed that on their sixth album they’ve only just found their way into my sphere of awareness. I’m going to go back and look into their back catalogue and experience the journey from the start. ‘Six’ is intriguing, drawing you in with mysterious Orient ways before gutting you with savage riffing and bloodcurdling screams. This is jumping up my albums of the year list with each listen.

https://www.facebook.com/ARALLU666/

https://arallu.bandcamp.com/

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If there was ever a band that can truly speak to the foul corruptions of government, it is India’s Heathen Beast. Their new release, ‘$cam’, is a scathing indictment of the Indian government and their practices, wrapped within a barbed wire petrol bomb of a release. ‘$cam’ is 21 minutes of some of the fiercest political grindcore you’ll find, laced with a black edge. It is out now on Transcending Obscurity.

The inspiration behind ‘$cam’ is the mass demonetisation of the sub continent’s currency, leaving 90% of banknotes worthless. This has seemingly left the poor so much worse off than the rich, tax avoiders it was designed to take down. Heathen Beast tackles the issue with visceral intent, including such potent song titles as ‘It’s Only a Minor Inconvenience’ and the disturbing ‘If You Disagree You Are Anti-National, Go to Pakistan’. You get the idea of how the government seem to approach the issue. Musically the musical is a ravaging mix of Rotten Sound, Napalm Death and Impaled Nazarene, where nasty riffs meet shrieking rage and whirling drums.

When matched with soundbites echoing the real life effects of this scheme, ‘$cam’ takes on a whole new urgency. In a place where this kind of outward criticism could lead to serious consequences, Heathen Beast are even more vital and pertinent. The odd flourish of traditional instrumentation keeps you in the moment, and the intensity feels real. Get a hold of this before they go, and learn about something outside your comfort zone.

https://heathenbeastindia.bandcamp.com/album/cam-blackened-grindcore

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