Posts Tagged ‘USA’

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Released in the last few days, the second record from Boston’s Scaphism is titled ‘Unutterable Horrors’, and it looks to improve on their debut ‘Festering Human Remains’, out in 2012. Horror Pain Gore Death Productions is handling this one, and it looks like they have found another low key gem in the American underground.

Opening with the excellently titled ‘Gruesome Unmentionables and Unutterable Horrors’, Scaphism immediately strike you as a band influenced by the early, rough and raw death metal bands. They lack the razor sharp finesse of modern death metal, coming across much more as disciples of early Death, Massacre or Malevolent Creation, and this suits thems well. Clattering drums assault the landscape while twisting guitar riffs layer labyrinthine walkways for us to travel upon. ‘Vaults of Pestilence’ has a cool, crawling chaos vibe that reminds me of Immolation’s earlier works, while the rumbling, rusted melodies of ‘Trepanate the Undesired’ is an unconscious earworm.

Simple but deathly effective, ‘Unutterable Horrors’ is a record designed purely to bring the thrashy roots of death metal back to the fore, and meld that into a modern sense of ugly and miasmic death metal. Scaphism’s work here is solid and utterly charming in its execution, reminding us all about how death metal used to sound before Pro-Tools and shiny artwork took over.

http://horrorpaingoredeath.com/

http://scaphism.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Scaphism

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The debut recording from Indianapolis death metal squad Obscene is dropping on Horror Pain Gore Death Productions in early January, and it is a repressing of their cassette release ‘Sermon to the Snake’.

The gloom pervading the opener ‘Body of Tears’ is somewhat not what I was expected, but it is welcome. I mean, most death metal bands go straight for the one dimensional jugular attack on their debut, and while Obscene could definitely be accused of that, there is a murk here that is very endearing. Musically you get vibes of Immolation or the maddening howl of Obituary. ‘Shadow Burial’ is very doomy, with heavy low end rumbling from deep in the abysses of hell. This doesn’t fall into any safe category; not ‘old school death metal’, nor the hyper active modern tech death. This is, well, just DEATH metal and that is perfectly fine with me.

‘Sermon to the Snake’ isn’t your standard death metal EP. Taking from cues from the greats but forging their own path, Obscene look to stand out by being as true to the basics of the genre as they can. This is simply frantic, heavy as fuck metal, played with heart and feeling. Just what we all need sometimes.

https://www.facebook.com/obsceneDM

https://obscenedeathmetal.bandcamp.com/releases

http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/

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The new record from Californian ‘space sludge’ band Archons is another trip into the unknown, powered by riff and wrought from psychedelica as much as doom. It was self released by the band in October of 2017, and if you enjoy a rumbling, doomy record full of hooks then ‘Lords of Light and Thunder’ is probably for you.

The burning, smoky groove of opener ‘Galaxians’ mixes the thick riffing of the likes of Kyuss or Crowbar but adds a little bit of White Zombie weirdness to it. Gruff vocals couple with the swaggering groove, and yet something otherworldly is in there as well. Strange bleepy samples appear, while the driving ‘Black Lotus’ interjects a little Baroness into the mix. ‘Lords of Light and Thunder’ is a record full of muscular riffing, throaty roars and psychedelic atmospheres; it is difficult not to enjoy the grinding warp of ‘Red Shift Demon’ or the grimy ‘Kid Nitro’ when each chunky riff slaps you across the face.

Not an easy genre to differentiate yourself in, but the spacey sludge effects of Archons helps. Their riffs are derivative but still great, and each track is at least recognisably different from the previous. Unfortunately there are a lot of bands peddling this kind of primal rage filled stoner doom/sludge and it’s going to be difficult for Archons to stand out. ‘Lord of Light and Thunder’ should not be missed though, as it is a fun album with plenty of great moments, particularly the monstrous ‘Mysterians’.

https://archons1.bandcamp.com/album/lords-of-light-and-thunder

https://www.facebook.com/archonsdemandcontrol/

Grethor - Damnatio Memoriae

I reviewed Grethor’s ‘Cloaked in Decay’ EP a couple of years ago, and found that to be a scintillating and unusual approach to extremity. So when given the opportunity to tackle their new record, ‘Damnatio Memoriae’, it was something I could not miss out on. Due out at the end of January 2018, ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ is a step toward further acclaim for this north Virginian monster.

While marking their debut full length, Grethor have been around for almost a decade, and in that time they have honed their craft and experimented to find their sound. That sound is leaning more towards the melodies to dying planets, as opener ‘The Imminent Unknown’ will attest. Like a warped mixture of ‘Covenant’ era Morbid Angel and the mind bending guitar patterns of Gorguts, Grethor pull you in spasmodic directions. ‘The God of Eugenics’ gallops into the abyss, riddled with blastbeats and infectiously bleak melody. The grinding pressure of ‘Tongue of Argent’ begins to break apart, allowing for the development of breathing space in amongst the heaviness. The most rewarding part of this album is the discovery of new hidden nuances with each listen. The gloomy opening to the churning ‘Weaponized Madness’ is probably going to be underrated, as is the spiralling bombardment of ‘Manic Nostalgia’.

The varied patterns of carnage and obtuse melodic directions keeps ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ constantly surprising and interesting. This is a record designed to confound, to expand then obliterate consciousness. Obtuse, impossible to grasp on a first listen and desperately heavy, ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ is a challenge for both mind and body. But, unpick each convoluted thread and you’ll find a record that is both technically stunning and emotionally draining. Not often you get both in equal measure.

https://www.facebook.com/grethorofficial/

https://grethor.bandcamp.com/album/damnatio-memoriae

 

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American sludge doom lords DeathCrawl have lumbered from the fetid misery of Cleveland, Ohio (full disclosure: I’ve never been to Cleveland, and I’m sure it is a lovely city but if these guys are anything to go by it sounds like a post apocalyptic wasteland) to deliver us their third full length, ‘Acceptable Level of Misery’. The band are self releasing it and it is out now!

The crumbling, nihilistic belch of noise that opens the brutal ‘False Oracle’ is somewhat typical how this record is going to go. Sludge is this amazing genre where true aural fucking hatred and disgust is personified perfectly. Death metal doesn’t manage it as well, neither does black. If gangrenous wounds could play music, it would sound like this. ‘Universally Diminished’ is a monstrous, lurching beast with that ugly, bluesy groove that most sludge bands slide under the radar. Another thing about sludge; it can be almost primally catchy in parts. The swaying, Mastodonian ‘Corrupted Earth’ is a standout for me.

DeathCrawl may stick mostly to the sludge/doom blueprint, but their work is visceral, intense and enveloping. An album that you can put on anytime and be sucked into, ‘Acceptable Level of Misery’ is a more than acceptable level of awesome.

https://deathcrawl.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/deathcrawl/

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Haunt is the solo work of Beastmaker vocalist/guitarist Trevor William Church, and his day job’s two albums on Rise Above Records have received critical acclaim, but Haunt are more of a classic, early 80s NWOBHM act. Your nearest reference points are early Maiden and Angel Witch, so you know you’re in for a grand trip!

The opening title track has some great riffs; absorbing some cool hard rock stylings with a darker edge. The fuzzy guitar tone betrays the doomy influences but the melodic passages are pure heavy metal. Infectious, vibrant and instantly memorable, Church’s smoky, haunting vocals play off the bluesy guitar tones perfectly. ‘As Fire Burns’ is just as good, with a choral hook that’ll have you coming back repeatedly. There’s an honesty about Haunt, where bewitching gloomy riffs can draw you in so entirely that you feel you already know this record, and you’ve known it for a long time. Closer ‘Fallen Star’ is a contender for my favourite track this year, so good is its melody and riffing.

‘Luminous Eyes’ is a record that instantly makes you comfortable;  drawing on the rich history of heavy metal leaves you hearing nothing original but everything good. Haunt is full of that good, from the massive melodies to the fuzzy riffing and the cool as fuck vocal styling. A tremendous introduction to a project that will hopefully keep producing material.

https://www.facebook.com/hauntthenation/

https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/luminous-eyes

https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com/

‘Blood Feud’ is the third album from Arizonian doomsters Twingiant, and it is a rather sizeable chunk of granite riff laden groove. Following on the heels of 2014’s ‘Devil Down’, these folks are seemingly aiming to bring the whole world down about them with this new record, and Argonauta Reocrds are here to help! Out at the beginning of October, ‘Blood Feud’ is something of a pleasure to behold.

Striding out with power and intent is opener ‘Throttled’, which comes from the Conan/High on Fire axis of crushing doom and guttural roars, before inklings of psychedelic melodies seep through near the end. ‘Poison Control Party Line’ has more of an early Clutch groove about it, while vocalist Jarrod LeBlanc’s primal bellow is soaked in that southern, ‘cigarettes and whiskey’ timbre. Truly embodying the power behind each track, the vocals are my favourite part of this record. It isn’t just your average desert rock croon but gives ‘Blood Feud’ a rougher, more bloodied edge to it. ‘Shadow of South Mountain’ is one of my favourite tracks of the year.

From the heft of the rumbling ‘Re-fossilised’ to the swinging axe blows of ‘Kaishakunin’, Twingiant are more than your copycat stoner doom band. They’ve got a bit of grit, some scars and a broken smile that helps them carry the weight of those massive riffs. It is an honesty that is appealing in this world of endless genre repeats, and ‘Blood Feud’ is refreshingly rough and ready.

https://twingiant.bandcamp.com/album/blood-feud

https://www.facebook.com/twingiant/