Posts Tagged ‘Transcending Obscurity’

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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.

https://tometal.com/

https://imperialistus.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Imperialistofficial

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A harrowing trip through the psyche of fellow Spaniards Wormed’s Phlegethon, Lifelost are releasing ‘Dialogues from Beyond’ through Transcending Obscurity at the end of October, and despite its short running time is a darkly psychedelic black metal trip that is both expansive and violent. Actually, the Xasthur-esque band logo should’ve given it away sooner…

Opener ‘Malign Emanatio’ is dense, travelling along atonal pathways towards a darkened centre. It follows the same kind of style as the likes of Portal, Deathspell, Blut Aus Nord, with that little something that makes you feel uneasy. The sickening ‘Sepuchral Vault’ roils with queasy tremolo riffing, while rasping groans ooze from slippery melodies. A more oppressive, unsettling record you would struggle to find this year, and while the opening tones of ‘Metanoia’ saw through your nerves, you are reminded how black metal is supposed to be uncomfortable and evocative.

At only 23 minutes, ‘Dialogues from Beyond’ is disappointingly short, as you feel that Lifelost is just getting into its stride when the end of ‘Incorporeal Gate’ comes crashing through. But that will not stop you putting the whole thing right back on again. Like a nasty pharmaceutical addiction, this is a record that feels like you’re being poisoned but yet you cannot stop listening. Essential stuff.

https://tometal.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lifelostband

https://lifelost.bandcamp.com/releases

 

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I love Transcending Obscurity. Just in the past year, they’ve culled together a slew of magnificent releases, and particulkarly in the death metal camp. Heads for the Dead’s ‘Serpent’s Curse’ is yet another fine wine stacked in the cellar of death metal, ready to be uncorked. It is due for release on the 24th of September, and is much to look forward to.

Categorising music sometimes feels more important than the music itself. But this is pure, crushing, death metal in a pure form. Formed from members of Ursinne, Henry Kane and Revel in Flesh, the whole album throbs with chainsaw riffing and terrifying vocals. Drawing inspiration from old horror movies, ‘Serpent’s Curse’ howls with morbid rage, while raw riffage gouges through. You can almost feel the dead eyes of the album cover staring through your soul as your ears are battered by the magnificent ‘Gate Creeper’, and your breath is drained by the savage melancholy of ‘Deep Below’. Sure, there’s a little dash of Sweden, a bit of Finland, a helping of Florida and even a little South American ferocity in here too, but Heads for the Dead are their own beast. A mighty, snarling beast of fire, doom and death.

The 35 minutes fly in, and by the time the killer Wolfbrigade cover of ‘In Darkness I Feel No Regrets’ comes to a bloody end, you’ll be clawing for the repeat button. Heads for the Dead are breathing new, fetid life into this death metal genre. Too long it has choked on Autopsy and Entombed clones; finally we have something to build upon! ‘Serpent’s Curse’ is a real contender for my favourite death metal album this year.

https://www.facebook.com/headsforthedead

https://tometal.com/

https://headsforthedead.bandcamp.com/

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Finland’s Lurk are due to release their new record, ‘Fringe’, at the start of August and it is a multifaceted, layered sludge doom record that incorporates elements of death metal and black metal into a churning whole. Transcending Obscurity is dropping yet another modern classic here, as Lurk take us to strange and alluring vistas of pain.

The baleful opening tones of ‘Ostrakismos’ feel very black metal; cold and gloomy. It has a perfect balance of innate heaviness and a glacial bleakness about it, with whispered growls lurking underneath. Dense and murky, ‘Tale Blade’ lurches forward with tar thick groove and a deathly roar powering it. Imagine coating this powerful beast in the gleaming blackness of Panopticon, or Wolves in the Throne Room and witnessing the soaring black metal presence. The grinding fury of ‘Offshoot’ is brutal, and the unsettling notes at the start of the stunning ‘Elan’ mixes well with the an almost soulful vocal. Both of those, of course, disappear into a void of trudging, suffocating nihilistic rage, crawling from a black filth. ‘Fringe’ is a record that encapsulates much of mankind’s darkest moments, but leaves enough spaces for the odd ray of ethereal hope to shine through.

Mysterious, ghostly but very much rooted in the soul of our blackened earth, Lurk’s magnificent carvings into the walls of sludge doom are a sight to behold. Cavernous yet fragile, visceral and yet soaring, ‘Fringe’ is an album unlike many others. It is capable of touching you in ways you didn’t expect, never losing that primal heft. A unique addition to 2018’s canon of excellent records.

https://tometal.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lurkdoom/

https://lurkdoom.bandcamp.com/

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South Korean thrashers Sahon are onto their sixth full length record since their inception in the late nineties, and play a ripping form of death and black influenced thrash. ‘Chanting for the Fallen’ is their call to arms against the stereotyping of their music as well as a celebration of their Korean heritage. It is out in a couple of weeks through Transcending Obscurity. Having friends living there and being a fan of the culture myself, I am looking forward to seeing what the peninsula can do in terms of metal.

Instantly their artwork stands out as being totally different from most in the genre, and opener ‘Faith in Savagery’ has a razor edge to its galloping riffing. All the tropes of thrash are here, cool as fuck soloing, thrashy vocals and speedy riffing. What makes a great thrash album is not necessarily doing anything new, but it is doing the old stuff well. ‘At the Edge of Cliff’ is a rampant slab of early Kreator worship, with some absolutely awesome riffing patterns throughout, while the frantic ‘Survive’ is seriously speedy. ‘Chanting for the Fallen’ is not overly polished, and that rough edge really gives their songs that killer instinct, particularly in the driving Motorhead-esque beauty of ‘Born to Lose, Live to Win’ and the chaotic closer ‘You Shall Pay’

Sahon don’t need to hit you over the head with any ‘Asian’ stereotypes or instrumentation in their music, instead they hit you with pure enthusiasm and talent instead. ‘Chanting for the Fallen’ combines the best parts of Teutonic and Bay Area thrash, adds a little bit of grime and dirt and asks only that you thrash your ass off while listening. Just what any great thrash record should do, ‘daedanhi gamsahamnida‘ lads!

https://tometal.com/

https://sahon.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/thrashsahon/

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‘Phlogiston Cartharsis’ is the much anticipated new full length from imperious French individual P.H.O.B.O.S, ready to unleash their suffocating blackened industrial doom upon the world after their much acclaimed split with fellow Gallic black metal gods Blut Aus Nord and 2015’s ‘श्मशान काली’ EP. Transcending Obscurity will be dropping this bomb in September.

‘Biomorphorror’ begins with clashing industrial sounds before a hellish riffs drags us to deep recesses of our earth. Submerging us in a Godfleshian nightmare, P.H.O.B.O.S. pour blackened tar over each riff and the almost whispered rasps are deeply unsettling. Imagine Godflesh, Aborym and Sunn0))) all fighting in a tarpit, and you’re approaching the sonic dread reached on tracks like ‘Igneous Tephrapotheosis’. Even the song titles are impenetrable; unknown horrors writhing in galaxial abysses.

‘Phlogiston Cartharsis’ is probably one of, if not THE, most terrifying pieces of music you’ll hear this year. You think you are ready for heavy, or dread but the subtle industrial tinges adds even more to the sonic terrorism on show. P.H.O.B.O.S. are the Mariana Trench of metal; deep, dark, suffocating and unexplored. Join them, they have such sights to show you.

https://www.facebook.com/P-H-O-B-O-S–997291130295639/

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https://megatonmassproducts.bandcamp.com/

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If there’s one important thing Sweden has brought to the world of extremity, it is DEATH FUCKING METAL of the purest and most heavy persuasion. Enter Crawl, another cog in the endless turning wheel of death, and their full length debut ‘Rituals’, brought to us this August by the finder of endless treasures, Kunal at Transcending Obscurity.

It seems totally unfair to do this, but when Crawl come from a country with a whole litany of iconic death metal bands, you’ll forgive me for mentioning them frequently. But ‘Reject the Cross’ is pure Dismember worship, and it is fucking great. The titanic ‘Trail of Traitors’ also channels the heaviest moments of Grave. The riffs have that almost natural chainsaw tone, the pace is chugging and the vocals are dense. There is more than a dash of crust and hardcore punk about this too however; take the pacey ‘Black Rituals’ or the rampant ‘Cowards’ for example. I mean, the whole album is barely 25 minutes, which is a perfect excuse to slap it straight back on when it is done.

Equal parts chainsawing death metal, crust attitude and a love letter to the days of simpler, savager metal, ‘Rituals’ can stake Crawl’s claim to join the death metal luminaries of Sweden. From a label that has treated Ursinne, Paganizer and Henry Kane so well, they’ll be in good company at TO, and ‘Rituals’ fits straight in with that kind of quality.

https://www.facebook.com/CRAWLSWE

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https://crawldeath.bandcamp.com/