Posts Tagged ‘Unique Leader Records’

Afterbirth - Four Dimensional Flesh

Long Island’s Afterbirth have been caving skulls since 1993, and their pioneering brutality shows no sign of softening with age on their newest release, ‘Four Dimensional Flesh’. It is however evolving into new and intriguing ways and taking us in directions hinting at through that gorgeous, ‘Dune’-esque artwork.. It is out now through Unique Leader Records.

‘Four Dimensional Flesh’ is an interesting dichotomy. With the bulldozer crush of ‘Beheading the Buddha’ or the slamming gutturals of ‘Never Ending Path’, Afterbirth hit all the genre standards. There are some very nice flourishes though, like the gross rumblings and almost Atheist-like atmospheres of ‘Spiritually Transmitted Disease’, but the real surprises are the progressive metal interludes, replete with synth and the kind of glacial melody that Devin Townsend has perfected. I did not see this coming when I turned this on. On the previously mentioned ‘Never Ending Teeth, the latter half of the song is a thrilling mix of the guttural and the sublime spaciousness. ‘Dreaming Astral Body’ feels like a perfectly dreamy bridge between the styles, like a rainbow bridge between dark voids.

A truly enigmatic and exhilirating listen for brutal death and prog metal fans alike, ‘Four Dimensional Flesh’ plays on your expectations and delivers with power. The expansive ‘Blackhole Kaleidoscope’ or the destructive ‘Swallowing Spiders’, either will sate the hunger of all but the most jaded of extreme metal fans. ‘Four Dimensional Flesh’ is nuanced, evolutionary and markedly different from most of their peers, and for this Afterbirth should be applauded.

Signs of the Swarm - Vital Deprivation

The follow up to their devastating second record, ‘The Disfigurement of Existence’, Pittsburgh’s Signs of the Swarm are releasing ‘Vital Deprivation’ this October through Unique Leader Records. Are you ready for some SLAMZ?! Because this record is full of them. Oh, so much brutality.

This is so brutal even the ‘intro’ track is fucking crushing. You probably know what to expect here, just over half an hour of the slammiest breakdowns you’ll hear this year, with that interplay of growl/scream/pig squeal vocals and a relentless hammering of your senses. But Signs of the Swarm do occasionally slip in the odd respite, maybe even the odd melody in there which does help the variety. Most of the time you’ll find the songs beating you down, harder, into the ground like a concrete jackboot.

The slower pace of ‘Celestial Ascendence’ allows a melodic guitar solo time to breathe, whereas the Meshuggah-like chug of ‘Lost Within Reflection’ is absolutely fucking great. Deathcore is normally designed to destroy pits, and with some of the mammoth breakdowns on show here, that will not be a problem. I suppose, if you aren’t totally sold on the merits of deathcore you may find this a little samey by the end, but for me it hits all the right notes.

‘Vital Deprivation’ is crisp, almost unbearably brutal at points but add enough interesting wrinkles to keep them placed above the more boring, one dimensional deathcore bands. Signs of the Swarm have got all the bloody tools to carve out a good career bludgeoning people with this style, but they’ve got to avoid the pitfalls of the genre. So far, they’re steering a brilliant course.

Disentomb - The Decaying Light

It has been 10 years since Disentomb first appeared from the dangerous and violent Australian underground, and ‘The Decaying Light’ is their third record of tight, brutal death metal. It is out now on Unique Leader Records, which will assure its quality at least!

Opener ‘Collapsing Skies’ sets the tone with guttural roars, dense guitar and blastbeats galore. You know what’s coming. Thirteen tracks of masterful, endless brutality, where caving heads in is a guarantee. It isn’t always easy to review brutal death, as it is a genre that tends not to experiment a lot with the sound. But Disentomb do throw in some nice dissonant sections, along with a little more melody than you’d expect. But then you’ve got the chugging earthquake of ‘The Droning Monolith’ that does everything you need death metal to do. Other highlights include the visceral annihilation of ‘Centuries of Deluge’ and the crushing ‘Invocations in the Cathedral of Dust’.

This record is the guttural death rattle of the end of time. Violent, vast and an assault on the senses that even I was not ready for. Disentomb are devastating, and ‘The Decaying Light’ is a display of brutal death metal like no other. Superb.