Posts Tagged ‘Transcending Obscurity’

Cover art

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.

https://fragarak.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/fragarak/

https://tometal.com/

Advertisements

Cover art

Australian black metallers Greytomb have completed work on their masterful new record, ‘Monumental Microcosm’, where they have begun to add new and more dissonant layers upon the already healthy and fire breathing Australian black metal scene. Sharing a drummer with label mates Somnium Nox and Norse certainly adds a sense of comradeship with those bands, who approach black metal a little differently from most. It is out on Transcending Obscurity in December.

Opener ‘Null’ is a mindbending journey through clanging dissonant notes, blizzarding blastbeats and snarling, groaning vocal emanations that bring to mind Atilla Csihar’s performance on ‘Ordo ad Chao’. Intense, twisted and eerie are probably the most apt descriptors to a record that seems to peer from beyond space time from a place of insanity incarnate. Like the dying scream of distant planets, Greytomb feel both terrifying fragile and yet mighty in their wrath.

‘Antimeta’ strides forth from these dark plains of existence wielding riffs of fire and a tortured howl; pausing briefly for toxic air before the storm of blasting returns. ‘Monumental Microcosm’ is an album of dizzying highs and terrifying lows, where unholy melody plays with unchecked brutality in a maddening theatre of cosmic destruction. As ‘Force Majeure’ brings us to a cloying, suffocating end we should be thankful for everything Greytomb showed us before our universe collapses around us.

https://www.facebook.com/Tombofthegrey/

https://tometal.com/

https://greytomb.bandcamp.com/album/monumental-microcosm-atmospheric-black-metal

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/

https://tometal.com/

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.

https://www.facebook.com/paganizersweden/

https://paganizer.bandcamp.com/

https://tometal.com/store/

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/

https://tometal.com/

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/

https://tometal.com/

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.

https://www.facebook.com/jupiteriandoom/

https://jupiterian.bandcamp.com/

https://tometal.com/