Posts Tagged ‘USA’

Starless Domain - EOS

Originally released in January this year, ‘EOS’ is a record that truly sums up the name of the band, Starless Domain, in the most perfect way. This is a single track, 58 minute trip into the blackest, deepest parts between the stars; into the vast cosmic abyss where music is just not going to be the same… This is released by Aesthetic Death in my part of the world, and the band in the US.

A mammoth piece, originally split into four movements by technical limitations but now all back to one epic soundscape of galaxial shift and void misery, ‘EOS’ is a vast undertaking. Opening with spacey, dreamy synths and echoing shrieks, it soon devolves (or evolves depending on your point of view) into a howling miasma of suffocation riffs and tones. Pure murk spews from the speakers, while a vortex of icy vocals howl in a relentless hurrican of utter darkness. Eerie effects skitter across the torrent, adding to ther strange ‘otherness’ that permeates this whole work.

There are moments of calm within this blasting density, and punctuated by these it makes ‘EOS’ feel all the more devastating. Wavering, atonal notes shudder in the black. ‘EOS’ is truly haunting; filled to breaking point with unorthodox melodies and eerie effects but still keeping the power of black metal alive. Starless Domain have created something that feels half as long, but just as awe inspiring. ‘EOS’ is more of an experience than just music, so sink in and ready yourself for oblivion.

https://starlessdomain.bandcamp.com/album/eos

https://www.facebook.com/starlessdomain/

https://www.aestheticdeath.com/

I reviewed the tremendous ‘Unutterable Horrors’ from New England’s Scaphism last year here, and they have just released a new two track cassette with their new vocalist Eden Rayz. It promises more of the same old school savagery in the vein of Massacre or Death

Opener ‘From the Bloody Banks of the Phlegethon’ immediately howls with a classic Morbid Angel style riff. The first noticeable difference is the production is murkier, giving that true early 90s feel. Eden Rayz vocally is a little rougher, little rawer than previous and that fits in nicely with the filthier production. Like the river of boiling blood it references, the track burns with energy and torment. ‘Infinite Coil of Auto-Enucleation’ has a bit more of that Immolation style that I liked about their last record; complex and dense riffing serpentines its way around growls and screams like a predatory snake, waiting for the kill.

Often a vocalist change can be a tough time for a band to work through. But Scaphism have hit the ground running and Rayz fits right into their nasty old school vibe. I look forward to what is to come from them, and hope I don’t have to wait too long.

https://scaphism.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Scaphism/

Exhumed - Horror

First published on the Sleeping Shaman: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/album-ep-reviews/review-exhumed-horror/

What more do you need to say about gory death metal icons and legends Exhumed? Well nothing really, as their musical legacy will always speak much louder, so simply put ‘Horror’ is their newest work and it fits into their discography as neatly as a mortician’s saw through bone. Continuing their 2010s comeback with stronger and more mature material, ‘Horror’ is their reminder that they can still shred with the best of them.

Opener ‘Unsound’ is an immediate knife thrust to the jugular, where you’re hit with instant brutality and savage vocals. Maddening solos puncture the assault, as a relentless drumming battery powers everything along at a breakneck speed. Anyone who thinks Exhumed would have mellowed with age have no idea what they are on, as this is as fresh and exhilirating as they have ever been. Beset by some killer thrash riffs, ‘Ravenous Cadavers’ follows suit and the more said about the grinding carnage of ‘Scream Out in Fright’ the better.

Exhumed have really re-embraced their grinding roots on ‘Horror’, with the longest song, ‘Slaughter Maniac’, clocking in at a mere 2:23. The band are going hell for leather with the shred and the grind here, tearing through prime cuts like ‘Ripping Death’ and the superlative grinding of ‘Rabid’ like there was no tomorrow. It always feels good when a band that has been on the go since 1990 can come back feeling vibrant and vicious, not just rehashing the same old songs. It has been a long time since Exhumed were this precisely savage, and it is welcome.

You get fifteen songs in twenty six minutes, which feels both too short and yet absolutely perfect. There is no messing about, just gory guitar work laced with some poisonous vocals and the confidence of veterans just hammering out great material. Not every album needs to be an epic, and in Exhumed’s case this makes you want to experience the whole thing again straight away. I mean, the best song here is called ‘Naked, Screaming and Covered in Blood’, if that doesn’t make you want to throw horns and go crazy then what will?! ‘Horror’ reminds everyone that all these new bands are great, but sometimes there is nothing quite as satisfying as the old school.

https://www.facebook.com/ExhumedOfficial/

https://exhumed.bigcartel.com/products

https://store.relapse.com/

Gatecreeper - Deserted

Originally published at the Sleeping Shaman: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/album-ep-reviews/review-gatecreeper-deserted/

Tucson, Arizona’s Gatecreeper are the latest band to find their way onto the mighty Relapse Records, and the three year wait from their debut ‘Sonoran Depravation’ is going to be worth it. ‘Deserted’ is out on the 4th of October, and is a tribute to the classic Florida and Swedish death metal scenes.

The riffs that open the title track, and open the record, immediately conjures up a feeling of nostalgia for the 90s. The guitar tone is a thing of ancient beauty, the simple chunky riffing, the guttural roar; it is all a certain kind of magic. Kurt Ballou’s production renders everything in a wonderful crispness, despite the guitars insistence on sound like a saw tearing through flesh. There is a certain majesty to the doomy riffing of ‘From the Ashes’, and you’ll find this regularly on ‘Deserted’, that the band do not just tear ahead at all times. Gatecreeper draw heavily from the Obituary school of Floridian death metal, and the ‘Slowly We Rot’-esque thunder of ‘Ruthless’ is a perfect example.

Why no one has really nailed a ‘Entombed playing Obituary songs’ like this before blows my mind. It seems so obvious in retrospect. I suppose because it isn’t just as simple as that. There are so many little elements playing their part here, from the sludgey trudge of the behemoth ‘Sweltering Madness’ with its maddening guitar solos to the early Paradise Lost-esque majesty of closer ‘Absence of Light’. The true greatness of ‘Deserted’s is to be found in the songwriting, where such an overwrought genre feels fresh and exciting again.

In a world where old school death metal bands are ten a penny, and the injection of lumbering doom into it is even more common, Gatecreeper have a sound that pays homage to an iconic past but yet creative enough to never feel boring or trite. ‘Deserted’ is as modern and cutting edge a take on this particular genre as you’ll find and it is a decadent experience.

https://www.facebook.com/gatecreeper/

https://gatecreeper.bandcamp.com/

http://relapse.com/gatecreeper-deserted/

Forever Autumn - Howls In the Forest at Dusk

American neofolk/ambient doom group Forever Autumn released their third full length record ‘Howls in the Forest at Dusk’ (how black metal is that name?) earlier this year, and it is the work of artist Autumn Ni Dubhghail, who mixes doom aesthetics with traditional folk instrumentation to absorb the listener in the ancient sounds of the world. It is out now through Bandcamp.

Opener ‘All My Relations’ is haunting, with driving acoustic guitar working with tribal drumming to create an eerie backdrop for the cracking, shapeshifting vocals. There is a certain wistful gloom that works into every strum of the guitar, as if the strings themselves had the stories to tell. The totally unique vocal style adds a lot to this record; when it almost cracks apart in the ghostly ‘Owl Bones and River Stones’ there is an aching fragility to it. The harsher tones really ramp up the atmosphere too, giving a rasping autheticity to the darkness within. The bleak, whispered horrors of ‘The Forest I Know So Well’ is the peak of this record’s gloom.

‘Howls in the Forest at Dusk’ is an album like no other I’ve heard this year. Neofolk is not a genre I delve into often but the ancient traditionalism seeping through every pore of this record is a thing of beauty. Poignant and dark, Forever Autumn have produced one of 2019’s most haunting records.

https://www.facebook.com/HailWoodlandSorcery/

https://foreverautumn.bandcamp.com/album/howls-in-the-forest-at-dusk

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.

https://www.facebook.com/signsoftheswarm/

https://uniqueleader.com/

https://uniqueleaderrecords.bandcamp.com/album/vital-deprivation

https://www.indiemerchstore.com/b/signs-of-the-swarm

Goregäng - Neon Graves

The debut record from American death metallers Goregӓng, ‘Neon Graves’ is out now through Transcending Obscurity, and the cover will immediately draw your attention to what lies beneath. Tributes to Entombed and Edge of Sanity give you an idea for what is coming…

Immediately the grinding, groaning thrust of prime old school death metal is upon you. Goregӓng don’t hang around either, cramming 12 songs into 34 minutes and there isn’t any wasted motions. There’s piles of awesome, chugging death riffs (particularly in the superlative ‘Plague of Hammers’), and while ‘Neon Graves’ might pay tribute to the legends, at no one point does it feel samey or a mere copycat album. Raise your fists for the crushing title track, bang your head at the thunder of ‘Feeble-Minded Rash’ and roar along with the guttural brutality of ‘Putrid Judgement’.

‘Neon Graves’ is the kind of death metal album you need in 2019. There’s no frills, there’s no gimmicks, there’s just loads of great songs that don’t outstay their welcome and yet probably wouldn’t if they were twice as long. Expertly crafted, with eyes towards the past but barrelling towards a bright, bloodstained future, Goregӓng are superb.

https://goregangband.bandcamp.com/

https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.de/shop-en

https://www.facebook.com/goregang