Posts Tagged ‘Transcending Obscurity’

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Sweden’s Feral play, well you’ve probably assumed already, old school Swedish death metal, complete with huge riffs, a horrendous guitar tone and enough ancient, fetid evil to raise all sorts of madness from the graves of their ancestors. Transcending Obscurity have, once again, unearthed a classic and it’ll be out at the end of the year. Enter the left hand path…

‘Vaults of Undead Horror’ sounds exactly as you’d expect. Massive chainsawing riffs, thrashing their way across devastated landscapes while throaty roars growl and howl above. Swedish death metal never gets old; that guitar tone pulls me in immediately and Feral make no attempt to reinvent the wheel. Instead, that wheel is planted firmly in the massive groove left by Entombed, Grave, Dismember etc, but it is also driven deeper and harder. Feral are just that, rabid death metal flies from the spitting, snarling ‘Black Coven Secrets’, while the crushing ‘Buried’ is a weighty, meaty course of riffs and more riffs. Sometimes it’s ok for all your songs to sound the same, if that sound is AWESOME. Ask Motorhead.

‘Flesh for Funerals Eternal’ is a record of unbridled savagery, and glorious worship of my personal favourite subgenre of death metal. I mean, it would be difficult to do Swedeath badly to be honest, but the directness, the quality and the fearsome talent on display here keeps me up at night. Feral are stunning, and so is this record.

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Greek technical death metallers Cerebrum count George Kolias as a former member, so you know they must have done something right. Their new record, ‘Iridium’, is full of nods to legends of the technical death genre but with lashings of old school flavour and great songwriting. It is out 21st December through Transcending Obscurity.

The chugging, bending riffs of ‘Time Reversal’ open this record with some tasty, early 90s Floridian death metal goodness. The tone is scratchy and rough, but the death metal is surprisingly complex for such an old school sound. You’re getting stuff like early Atheist, where flashes of bass led progression hints at more beneath the ravaging thrust of the old school. ‘A Face Unknown’ also has a lot of that kind of early Cynic riffing, and you can feel that ‘Iridium’ is becoming something special very early. That style of progressive death from the early 90s isn’t always as much of an inspiration as it should be, and Cerebrum pay a special homage to it during the likes of the spiralling soloing of closer ‘Escape to Bliss’.

That serpentine flow of complexity through an old fashioned lens makes ‘Iridium; stand out against both old school death metal and tech death records this year, by using elements of both superbly and yet never overdoing either. Cerebrum are brutal, complex and yet weirdly melodic, creating memorable songs that also contort expectations and minds. Take ‘Absorbed in Greed’ as the best example of an album that doesn’t disappoint at any turn.

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Twisted and experimental black/death metal outfit Veilburner have returned from beyond this world to bring us the superbly titled ‘A Sire to the Ghouls of Lunacy’, due out at the end of December through Transcending Obscurity. This is some dark and mysterious stuff.

The first thing you’ll notice about this record is the intense complexity of each song. Riffs stab off in multiple directions, the drums clatter, blast and roll into almost jazz like patterns at points, and the vocals contort and twist around this maelstrom. The maddening ‘Introvetrovoid’ is only the first example of how Veilburner collapse black, death, math and even some soulful soloing into one writhing whole. The solos are a handhold to grab onto while being swept away in the storms of tech death and black metal, a stability gloriously realised in ‘Panoramic Phantoms’. Also unique is the use of some super melodic moments, and some clean singing even in parts of ‘Upstream and Parallel’.

This is not an album that slows down intensity wise, even with the haunting midpaced ‘Abbatoir Noir’ curling around you with misty tendrils. It fills your mind with moments of fear, of exhiliration, of sheer anticipation of what is coming next. The howling, electronicy gloom of ‘Glory Glory Grotesque’ and the mind rending riffs of the title track live only to serve a greater master. A master of mysterious ichor and madness, that lives beyond this world. Veilburner raise this album as an offering, and with such quality he will surely take it. Fucking superb.

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If you don’t know who Master is by now, get the fuck off my blog. Still here? Good, because the new FUCKING Master album is here, and ‘Vindictive Miscreant’ is, well, Master at their finest. I think the signing of a legendary band like this truly marked that step for Transcending Obscurity from just being a label that put out awesome stuff into being a label that no one in the scene can overlook now.

The title track opens with what only be described as REAL old school death metal. It takes you right back to early Sepultura, Death and Obituary, as well of course as Master themselves. They still play like it is 1991, full of energy and gritty old school charm. Nothing overly technical or shiny, just thrashy dirty death metal. The gurgling, swamp chug of ”Actions Speak Louder Than Words’ is excellent, while the rabid ‘The Book’ has a nasty, punkish edge running through its veins.

With the shortest track running at 4:13, you’d almost be forgiven for thinking some of these tracks are a little longer than necessary, but you never feel it. The rampant ‘Engulfed by Paranoia’ is a highlight for me, although I am a little partial to the speed fuelled violence of ‘Stand Up and Be Counted’ as well. Consistently heavy, with little needed in the way of variety but nothing in the way of mediocre, you can tell this is the work of a band who found their groove and sound a long time ago, and have been honing that razer edge for a while now.

With a lot of ‘legend’ bands, all you can normally hope for is that any new material does not scar their legacy, but ‘Vindictive Miscreant’ stands tall as probably Master’s finest work since ‘On the Seventh Day…’. A legitimate old school death metal album that lives its gimmick, combining thrashy riffing with bile drenched vocals, Master don’t need to write material this good any more; they could just live off their legacy but thank fuck that doesn’t seem to be part of the plan! This is tremendous.

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The legend of the Night Raven is the theme for this new record from original Death and Massacre vocalist Kam Lee and Heads for the Dead’s Jonny Pettersen, and Nattravnen takes that story written by Lee and tells us through the medium of sinister, dark death metal. ‘Kult of the Raven’ is out in December through Transcending Obscurity.

Opener ‘The Night of the Raven’ is brutal, fast and chunky as hell. There is a morose atmosphere permeating each track, but this is much more doomy than black metal. Ghostly synths seep into the crush of ‘Return to Nevermore’, while the endless battering from ‘Suicidum, the Seductress of Death’ leaves you feeling bruised and exhilirated. The vocal performance from Kam is, as always, astonishing; showcasing an impressive ability to retain clarity without losing any of his trademark gurgling roar. Petterson’s riffing and songwriting is nothing short of sublime, creating both the devastation and the misery soaked, like in ‘Corvus Corax Crown’ and ‘The Anger of Despair When Coping With Your Death’ respectively.

‘Kult of the Raven’ is a superb, thick and dense death metal album that ladles plenty of sinister mannerisms on top of a huge pile of awesome riffs. Gloomy and violent, Nattravnen have tapped into the part of you that really wishes Paradise Lost and Amorphis would forget the last 18 or so years had happened. This is dark, destructive and utterly absorbing.

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Due out in December, the tenth album from prolific Greek underground black metal legends Dødsferd is another cementing of their legacy as one of the hardest working bands in the area. ‘Diseased Remnants of a Dying World’ continues their path from punkish black metal into depressive atmospheres to create an album of truly ethereal and poisonous intentions. It’ll be out through Transcending Obscurity on the 14th of December.

The opening section to ‘My Father My Wrath!’ is one of those opens to a song that you’ll never forget. Bleak, ominous and with a measured, icy pace, it sets the scene immediately for the 50 odd minutes of misery to come. Eerie clean vocals follow a winding path, before the black metal torrent that is ‘An Existence Without Purpose’ pours forth like molten magma. A raging black inferno, with spiralling riffing and a great, crunchy guitar tone that you can really get into, it then opens into a more expansive slice of blackened majesty. Once you feel like you’ve grasped what Dødsferd are trying to attain, the goalposts move, and the ghostly shrieks that pervades the title track and particularly the potent ‘Loyal to the Black Oath’ will leave you breathless.

‘Diseased Remnants of a Dying World’ feels like a very introspective black metal record, where speed and fury isn’t necessarily the key to unlock the ethereal mysteries of this world. Taking cue from the masters of soaring, miserable black metal grandness, Dødsferd are here with a record that will delight and confound with every twist.

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Space age black metal is a new concept for me, but Imperialist take the galloping black/thrash greatness of Necrophobic and Dissection, and give it a shiny, cosmic coat of paint with the stunnign new album ‘Cipher’. Expect great things from yet another top end release from my friends at Transcending Obscurity, released today as of this review!

The pseudo grandiosity of intro ‘Continuum’ soon gives way to spiralling cyberpunk black thrash goodness in ‘The Singularity’. You’re faced with some absolutely superb Bay Area style thrash, drowning in a thick, black metal tar that coats everything with a dose of rawness. The gallop of ‘Advent Anathema’ keeps things at a high pace, and the more overtly black metal elements begin to come into play. Raspy but clear vocals are a highlight, as are the cascading variety in riffs. Parts of ‘Chronochasm’ give you that imperious (sorry) vibe that latter Marduk gives you at times, while the icy bleakness of ‘Umbra Tempest’ plays into the vast, heartless realms of space motiff Imperialist are going for.

The icy bleakness of black metal really works with the concept of the endless blackness of space, and Imperialist manage to convey this well. Their songwriting is tight and expansive, and ‘Cipher’ is a record of dizzying highs and impressive scale. Ambitious, sprawling black metal that isn’t blackgaze is hard to find, so grab Imperialist while you can.

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