Posts Tagged ‘Transcending Obscurity’

Illimitable Dolor - Leaden Light

Australian death/doom lords Illimitable Dolor return with the follow up to their stunning, self titled debut, ‘Leaden Light. Their grasp of atmosphere is definitively still intact, but have they got the songs to back up their aura. The album is out now through Transcending Obscurity.

A crack of thunder and sheets of rain begins the epic opener ‘Armed He Brings the Dawn’, looming from the mist with massive riffs and a mighty roar. Miserable organ seeps through, while the gloom is broken by shafts of excellent lead guitarwork. The whole song feels infused with loss at a base level, melancholic but yet majestic in its heartbreak. The same could be said for the entire record though, through the weeping riffs of ‘Leaden Light Her Coils’ and the heaving roil of ‘Horses Pale and Four’. The moments of glacial calm, like in ‘Soil She Bears’, provide the respite needed to cope with an album of such magnitude.

Some albums feel more like an experience than ‘just a record’. Illimitable Dolor’s debut felt like that, and ‘Leaden Light’ has that same feeling. It encourages your participation as a victim of misery, which we all have been. An imperious, monolithic album that shows fragility through the cracks. Awe inspiring.

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The lumbering, crushing chug of Spain’s Hex is a joy to behold, and their newest record ‘God Has No Name’ brings the finest Bolt Thrower worship to a doom laden set of riffs. Far from being a one trick pony however, these death/doom titans entrust their work to Transcending Obscurity, who have released it just in the last few days.

Opening with a mesmerising build to the crush of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, you can feel a really old school death metal vibe groaning through each riff. There is a real heft to some of these songs, particularly the thunderous ‘Worshipping Falsehood’, and the titanic ‘All Those Lies That Dwells…’. There is cold, clean guitar that oozes throughout, lending a foggy doom atmosphere to the deathly rumble, and the haunting female vocals in ‘Where Gods Shall Not Reign’ give a good dose of old My Dying Bride vibes too. Hex are both brutal as fuck, and yet play with a gothic delicacy that enhances their ruinous assault.

‘God Has No Name’ is a record that neither skimps on the brutality nor just hamers you with one generic style. A layered, multifacted record, Hex should be proud of their accomplishment here. But hey, a band who cranks out some serious Bolt Thrower riffs leaves the Killchain as putty in their bloodstained hands. Excellent.

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The omnipresent shadow of Rogga Johansson looms large over the world of modern old school death metal. Having played on 13 different releases in the last 12 months is insane as it sounds, but the quality of work that Rogga always puts out makes that achievement more astounding. His latest release under his own name is ‘Entrance to the Otherwhere’, out through Transcending Obscurity in July.

The strangest thing about this record is that, surely we all must be totally sick of this sound by now?! But with the darkly melodic chug of ‘The Re-emergers’. Rogga immediately hits a sweet spot that barely drops throughout the whole record. ‘Entrance to the Otherwhere’ is a lot more groove laden than a lot of Rogga’s other records, and there’s a really satisfying crunch to the guitars. Daring melodic breaks, like the soaring ‘When the Otherwhere Opens’, take this beyond just another death metal record into a space of contemplation and multifaceted songwriting. The graceful quiet of ‘Berget vaknar’ is a surprising interlude in a record that delights in its shattering of expectations.

Accompanied by a moody, almost reflective atmosphere in places, ‘Entrance to the Otherwhere’ is another master stroke from one of the true lynchpins of modern death metal. It’s hard to find anyone this consistent and this varied. Treasure Rogga folks!

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Chalice of Suffering’s last record, ‘For You I Die’ was a monument to pure misery and doom, and their new record ‘Lost Eternally’ looks to build on that work and create something truly emotionally draining. It is out now through Transcending Obscurity and is here to sap you of your lifeforce.

When you go for walks in misted woodlands or on rugged fells as a metalhead, you immediately hear music like this in your brain. There is a primal, Gaian sweep to this record, creaking with the weight of a million generations of life on its shoulders. The opener ‘In the Mist of Once Was’ hits you in that same emotional way that My Dying Bride’s earliest pieces did. The haunting pipes echoing in the background speak of lost kingdoms, of shattered ancestry and of lost loves. You’d think that such a gut punch to start couldn’t be bettered, but the band have more ideas.

The groaning growls of ‘Emancipation of Pain’ echo over tectonic rumbles, while the hypnotic grooves of ‘Forever Winter’ wash over you like miserable waves. Every moent is laced with atmosphere, weaving a tapestry of depressive misery into which we can lose ourselves. Chalice of Suffering’s cup runneth over with moments of guttural death, but their subtler touches are the best. The tinkling keys under the title track’s mammoth sway is a mere  glimpse into their repetoire.

‘Lost Eternally’ is a suitable album title, as you will find yourself lost amongst the huge riffs and the heartrending pain summoned through every song. A titanic offering, that will inject your summer with a heathly dose of rain and sorrow. Buy it now!

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This Dutch/German death metal squad contains members of the likes of Dimaeon and Fleshcrawl, and therefore their debut on Transcending Obscurity ‘Trinity of Deception’ is likely to savagely rip some heads off. It is due out in July, and is a ferocious addition to 2019’s death metal lists.

Churning carnage kicks this record off immediately with ‘Crucifixion of the Vanquished’, powered with the sounds of bloodthirsty crowds thunders from the speakers in a torrent of chainsawing death riffs. An example of a record that gets all its shit in then gets out before you could be tired of it, ‘Trinity of Deception’ is only twenty five minutes long but what a blast it is. The title track slips in some eerie samples, and the more said about the neck snapping ‘Days of Dread’ the better. But the whole album is best experienced in one go, rendering you numb with its fury. By the time ‘Tormentor’ drags you back to your grave, you’ll be sated.

There is always a fear that these records will become a bit samey. Burial Remains avoid that simply due to their riff variety. Be it crushing Autopsian death/doom or ravaging Dismember gallops, you’ll be hard pressed to not bang your head frequently. ‘Trinity of Deception’ is a clawing, visceral journey through the primal and focused world of modern old school death metal. Burial Remains leave no survivors, and while their work has plenty of subtle moments, it is mostly death of the most ancient kind. Excellent.

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If there’s one thing that challenges you as a music reviewer, it is seriously long tracks. How do you explain why a thirty minute track is great, or it isn’t, without waffling on for literally half an hour. Well, German sludge doom lords Eremit have challenged me here, with ‘Carrier of Weight’, three tracks of massive atmospheric doom clocking in at over an hour. It is out through Transcending Obscurity in February.

The best way to approach this for me is to imagine it as a soundtrack to a film I can’t see. Opener ‘Dry Land’ is 22 minutes, building from quiet contemplative notes and whispered vocals into vast, groaning riffs of doom. Funereal in its atmosphere, an oppressive heft pushes down upon you, while abyssal growls summon you to the depths. When the riffs vanish, the quiet is almost as weighty. Whatever film I’m imagining is suffocatingly dark, miserable and nihilistic. The shortest track is the second, ‘Froth is Beckoning’, and it has a much more traditional chug to it; almost fast paced compared with the glacial crush of closer ‘Cocoon of Soul’.

That is the pièce de résistance; a vast world of rain, earth quaking riffs and foreboding dark atmospheres. The fact that this is a debut record is absolutely brain melting, and as for my complaint at the top of this review, well frankly I could write a thesis on the majesty of this track. From the creaking wood at the start and the gentle ominousness of the acoustics it takes a full eight minutes before the heaviness appears and then wow. The roiling riffs are mesmerising, crashing off you the way waves crash against cliffs. This is enhanced even further by a droning, humming background swell that increases the scope even further. By the time it fades away to nothing, there’s not much of you left to enjoy it.

Wrapped in a stunning piece of artwork from artist Mariusz Lewandowski, Eremit’s work is a staggering paean to gloom. Misery engulfs you like pitiless rain, leaving you sodden with sadness and doom. Bands that have been doing this years can’t come up with stuff this good, and Eremit are just debuting their primordial crush here. ‘Carrier of Weight’ is glorious.

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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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