Posts Tagged ‘Transcending Obscurity’

Warcrab - Scars of Aeons

When death metal meets sludge, you’re probably going to be in for the heaviest of musical endeavours, and when you find Warcrab you’re in for a real treat. Their second full length, ‘Scars of Aeons’ is out very soon on Transcending Obscurity, and it could be one of the most devastating releases this year. Prepare to be flattened…

‘Conquest’ is one of the ugliest monoliths of extremity you’ll experience. Chilling murmurs begin to fade behind a dense, Crowbar-esque riff and an insistent drum line. Massive, deathly groove flows like a river, overwhelming you in a torrent of crushing riffs. That almost typical British death metal groove rolls out in full force, but the injection of Deep South sludge sensibilities looms large over the melodies that lurk within. The bulldozing start of ‘Destroyer of Worlds’ is a thing of mighty, brutal beauty.

The mournful ‘In the Shadow of Grief’ is bleak, rolling thunder upon a barren world, while the monolithic crush of the title track provides the final soundtrack to a burning, collaping planet. ‘Scars of Aeons’ finds Warcrab creating a sound that is beyond mere sludgy nihilism and deathly brutality, but a defining place beyond. Nasty, yet undeniably catchy in parts, Warcrab are heaviness incarnate and ‘Scars of Aeons’ is fucking great.

https://warcrabuk.bandcamp.com/album/scars-of-aeons-death-sludge-monstrosity

https://www.facebook.com/WarCrab666/

http://tometal.com/

The delightfully dissonant ‘Pest’ was a highlight of 2015 in black metal, and Norse’s new full length has been a release I’ve been looking forward to for a while. ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun’ is due out at the end of May, and looks to continue the burgeoning reputation of these Australians in the bleak world of black metal.

Opener ‘Supreme Vertical Ascent’ throbs with otherworldly menace, with bursts of double bass meshing into atonal riffs and snarling vocals. Imagine the hurricane of sound that you get from Portal, but strip it down to a less distorted form, losing none of the fear instilled within. ‘Drowned by Hope’ flails wildly, and the crawling menace of ‘Telum Vitae’ is my personal highlight. You would be pushed to find another band on the planet that is taking black metal to such unique, twisted and dark places. ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun’ is some revolutionary stuff.

The storm of ‘Exitus’ tears through the labyrinthine darkness that Norse find themselves mired within. They are ugly, dissonant and thoroughly brutal, when atonal death metal riffs impose themselves throughout ‘Synapses Spun as Silk’. ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun’ looks to be one of this year’s most interesting and most challenging records. Norse have written something inhuman, suffocating and rabd here, and it is simply stunning.

https://norsemetal.bandcamp.com/album/the-divine-light-of-a-new-sun-dissonant-black-metal

https://www.facebook.com/norse.official/

http://tometal.com

Nightmarish death/doom titans Drug Honkey have been twisting the Godfleshian blueprint into darker and heavier forms for many years now, and their newest release, ‘Cloak of Skies’, is yet another progression into psychosis causing metal. Hallucinating carnage and despair is very much a byproduct, and Transcending Obscurity will be lucky to avoid the blame for a host of suicides or mental collapses based on this record!

If you want to hear the visceral rending of the earth, then that opening note of ‘Pool of Failure’ will do it. Apocalyptic, crushing monstrosities of death and doom collapsing stone and earth around you, while maddening growls rumble from the dark. ‘Sickening Wasteoid’ hums with static desolation, while the ugly stomp of ‘Outlet of Hatred’ is reassuringly heavy. Like a terrible psychedelic trip where instead of seeing happiness and joy, you’re confronted by the sheer horror of this world in the haunting ‘(Its Not) The Way’, while the mental weight of ‘Cloak of Skies’ is almost unbearable.

Harrowing, unrepentant and cataclysmic, Drug Honkey are like the back street junkie version of Godflesh. While JK Broadrick imbued his music with industrial heaviness there were often glimmers of hope. ‘Cloak of Skies’ is smothered by despair, drowning in sludge and crumbling under its own existence. Terrifyingly essential.

https://drughonkey.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/drughonkey

http://tometal.com/

Assault are considered to be the hidden secret of Singaporean metal, with a potent deaththrash sound that mixes ferocity and killer melodies into some excellent songs. Their new record, ‘The Fallen Reich’, looks to capture the hearts and minds of those of us lucky enough to come across it, and will be another standard bearer for music from the region.

Opener ‘Enslavement to Torture’ is, simply put, fucking incredible. Visceral and savage, yet insidiously melodic, it hits me right in that part of you that FEELS how good a band are. So does the galloping/blasting ‘Genocidal Conspiracy’, where harsh almost black metal style vocals couple with some great thrash licks and some brutal double kicks to complete the holy trifecta in extremity. ‘Spawn of Rage’ is vicious in its attack, and in parts reminds me of latter day Hypocrisy which is cool.

The crushing ‘Ghettos’ is more like chunky death metal ala Asphyx in parts, which helps show the diversity of what Assault can bring to the table. Galloping thrash, blackened ferocity and death metal heft blending together to create an invigorating record that hits all the right spots. Brutal yet melodic, Assault are to be watched, and really should be shared far and wide as an awesome band with awesome songs!

https://www.facebook.com/AssaultSG/

https://assaultsg.bandcamp.com/

http://tometal.com/

Australian death/doom lords Illimitable Dolor have risen from the reamaining members of  legendary icons The Slow Death, paying tribute to their deceased former vocalist Gregg WIlliamson with this self titled record, full of heart wrenching death/doom songs. It is due to be released in March by Transcending Obscurity, and raises a miserable glass to the memory of their lost friend.

Opener ‘Rail of Moon, a Stone’ is monolithic, painful and haunting. Vast riffs crush melancholic melodies, while a powerful roar intones ragged emotion. Illimitable Dolor show the strength brought by very real grief and pain, and how it can lead to music of fragile beauty. It seems strange to call these kind of massive, weatherbeaten monsters of songs fragile, but the feeling of loss is palpable. ‘Comet Shines or Dies’ leads with weeping guitars and ghostly keys that brings to mind early My Dying Bride, or Mournful Congregation.

The dark majesty of ‘Salt of Brazen Seas’ is enhanced by potent organ melodies at the start, and the mourning growls mix well. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve heard organ used this well since Asva’s ‘What You Don’t Know is Frontier’. That’s one of my favourite funeral doom/drone records ever so that’s a huge compliment. ‘Illimitable Dolor’ is frontrunner now as my favourite doom record this year; a heady mix of the heaviest of riffs and the most fragile of emotions coming together to form a majestic whole. Just listen to the sobbing ‘Abandoned Cuts of River’ and try not to be totally absorbed. I dare you.

https://illimitabledolor.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/IllimitableDolor/

http://tometal.com/

https://www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurityrecords/

Finnish stoner death metal? Sign me up. Finland has a long and beautiful history of heavy metal, in all genres, and particularly in the realms of death and doom. So when Altar of Betelgeuze come crashing from the land of a thousand lakes, dragging their ‘Among the Ruins’ album with them, it is a cause for morbid celebration. It’s going to be out in April from Transcending Obscurity Records, and could be a strong contender for best record the label release this year.

Altar of Betelgeuze take the meandering melodics of stoner doom, and crush it with the dynamic heaviosity of death metal. You’re met with smooth, almost desert rock blues oozing from ‘Sledge of Stones’, coupling the ferocity of death/doom into certain parts to add some depth. The fearsome ‘No Return’ swells with a vintage doom riff, while snarling roars bellow like monsters in the fog. The clean vocals are really effective though, with dashes of Chris Cornell about them in parts.

I love some of the tones in the gloomy shimmer of ‘Absence of Light’, which underpin that titan roar perfectly. Altar of Betelgeuze manage to balance a delicate touch with the innate weight of hefty doom riffs. Death metal growls capture a desperation, a power, that balanaces the fragile melancholy of some of the cleaner guitar moments. ‘Among the Ruins’ strikes me as a lonely record; an album that grows as it progresses from a mere stoner/death crossover into a nuanced and vast piece of work. Expansive and different, there’s nothing quite like it.

https://altarofbetelgeuze.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Aobofficial

http://tometal.com/

When I get personally recommended a record by Transcending Obscurity head honcho Kunal, then I perk up and listen. Ireland’s Soothsayer’s debut record was one I missed, but after absorbing the stuff on show here I need to look out for it. ‘At This Great Depth’ was released just before the new year, so I’m not too far behind!

Two monolithic tracks of atmospheric, sludgy doom are on hand to greet you as you unlock and open the door to Soothsayer’s warm layers of darkness. A gloomy melody peeks from the murk, while a shroud of heaviness slowly descends. This is the black majesty of ‘Umpire’; a collaboration of lurking heaviness just outwith reach and the ghostly, single guitar line that weaves within. Soothsayer’s canvas is a vast, desolate space populated with broken monoliths, a howling vocal wind and bleak loneliness.

‘Of Locust and Moths’ takes on the grinding mantle of ‘Umpire’s finale, and cranks up the uneasiness. The eldritch atmosphere is disturbed by a blasting savagery and unconventional songwriting moments. Accepting the sludgier, more visceral end of doom’s spectrum, ‘Of Locust and Moths’ adds tension, ferocity and variety to a record that shifts form like thick fog.

Emotive, powerful and miserable as hell, ‘At This Great Depth’ allows you brief flashes of hope, before sinking you back into the black, oily tide. Soothsayer hit a crescendo and never look back, and this record is almost too late to be one of last year’s great doom records. So I’m adding it to this year; first great doom record of 2017. Singularly affecting.

https://soothsayerdoom.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/soothsayerdoom

http://tometal.com/