Posts Tagged ‘USA’

Skullcrush - Visions of the Firestorm Eclipse

The debut EP from Arizona’s Skullcrush, ‘Visions of the Firestorm Eclipse’, immediately strikes you with the monochrome cover, which is unusual in today’s death metal landscape, but yet totally fits their primeval roar. This dropped in July through Camo Pants Records, and is a hefty four tracks of death.

The second most striking part of this EP is the nasty guitar tone, that runs through opener ‘Spectacle of Suffering’ like a rusting chainsaw, while a cavernous roar howls like a fell wind from above. Primal and manic, Skullcrush immediately strike for the fences with a strong opening. ‘Mists of Blood’ stalks like a death-like predator, lumbering upon victims and clawing limbs to shreds. If you like your death metal in the form of Bolt Thrower crossed with the evil atmospheres of Immolation, then Skullcrush is the stuff for you.

‘Entrails Ablaze’ is great too, but the closer ‘Hellwater’ is where Skullcrush shine brightest. A monstrous, churning miasma of death, Skullcrush really nail their sound here. Definitely worth tracking down this EP, and hopefully some more stuff will appear in the near future, as ‘Visions of the Firestorm Eclipse’ is a brutal opening salvo!



I reviewed Draghkar’s ‘World Unraveled’ demo last year, (you can read here: and was pretty impressed by the crush and nastiness on display. Well, these Californians have returned with their latest EP ‘The Endless Howling Abyss’, which by the sounds of it is going to be much more upbeat and positive…

Oh wait, no it is more of the same murky, devastating death metal as the first demo. THANK FUCK! ‘Traversing the Abyss’ crawls forth with deadly intent, exploding into a wonderful slab of pure Autopsy worship as cavernous death growls echo around you.  The rough production really adds to the feeling of death, decay and darkness on display in the malevolent horror of ‘Eternal Disintegration’. The guitar tone has, somehow, sunk even deeper into the abysses of primeval death, and the grinding ‘Fade Into Emptiness’ is one of the heaviest things I’ve heard this year.

‘The Endless Howling Abyss’ could be one of the more aptly titled reocrds this year, because Draghkar have conjured all sorts of madness from the depths. The kind of death metal that reeks of ancient chambers hiding eldritch magicks and terrors, this is four tracks of primordial, nameless doom.

siege column - cover.jpg

Due out next week is the vinyl of the debut of New Jersey death metallers Siege Column. The CD edition came out early July, and ‘Inferno Deathpassion’ looks to be another rabid gem in the Nuclear War Now! Productions arsenal. Count me in for rage, crust and filthy, filthy death.

Opener ‘Agonized Corpse’ is low fi, crusty death metal with a nasty attitude and raw production to match, and that really is the modus operandi for the whole record. Maddening solos scream from tortured guitars, while rough and ready riffage spills forth from your speakers and necrotic vocals vomit forth blasphemies from beyond. The guitar tone is very Swedeath chainsaw in places, but the likes of ‘Blasting the Moongate’ has a dose of old school, deathly Finnish melancholy woven into it too.

‘Inferno Deathpassion’ is a record that, despite feeling a little one dimensional on the surface, gradually reveals subtleties over repeated listens. A murky mix adds to the intensity to the faster and aggressive parts, while some of the slower elements have this eerie, melodic quality that I really dig. Siege Column can play both ends of the spectrum, and this makes ‘Inferno Deathpassion’ a much more nuanced record than first impressions dictate. Fantastic stuff.

‘Mental Turmoil’ is a long lost tape from defunct American death metallers Thrombus, released in 1993. This is being released on CD through a new underground metal label from Colombia, La Caverna Records, and it is out right now.

Opener ‘From Beyond’ is instantly ‘of the time’, with a creaky death metal riff summoning ancient creatures from the US death scene of the early 90s. Chunky riffs, blood spitting growls and a dense low end all collide in a frenzy of old school death metal. Or as it was known at the time, death metal. There’s shades of Immolation in the thick low end, the rabid frenzy of early Deicide and it all comes to a bloody head in the superlative ‘Structured’. The ugly closer ‘What a Waste’ has some of the coolest, low end Morbid Angel rumbles this side of ‘Covenant’.

Thrombus definitely feel like a band that are due a bit of a revival. There’s plenty of ‘old school death metal’ bands out there peddling music that isn’t as good as this and doing well. ‘Mental Turmoil’ is an awesome snapshot in time, where death was real and the scene was thriving. Hopefully this rerelease will inspire enough interest to get another recording….?

Extremity - Coffin Birth

Californian death metallers Extremity burst onto the scene with last year’s ‘Extremely Fucking Dead’ EP, and they’ve got a full length record out very soon on respected label 20 Buck Spin. ‘Coffin Birth’ looks to be another stellar 2018 death metal release, and we’re on for a year that’ll rival the great years of death metal in the past.

The ghostly organ notes opening the record is a little bit of a swerve, as when the brutality kicks in after a minute or so you are caught off guard. Then pummelled mercilessly for another 40 minutes as Extremity smash you with every old school death metal trope under the blood red sky. The chunky riffing of ‘Where Evil Dwells’ is excellent, and you find little influences from bands sneaking in, like the atonal melody of the Immolation-like ‘Grave Mistake’, and the grinding madness of ‘Occision’. Extremity don’t necessarily reinvent the wheel here, but their wheel is highly polished, covered in blood and spinning in the bloody carcasses of the recently deceased.

Piles of corpses litter the world that Extremity live in, where their death metal rages with tremendous force and venom. ‘Coffin Birth’ is a record that’ll appeal to all but the most soulless death metaller, as it is full of gore soaked riffs of dewath. And it is so damn fun!

Beldam - Pasung

Sludge doom collective Beldam’s sophomore record, ‘Pasung’, is a statement regarding true nihilistic heaviness. Dropping in late January, Horror Pain Gore Death Productions have put this out and it truly is one of the nastiest things to be released this year. Join me on a dark journey through misery, filth and black abysses.

New vocalist Randall Guidry really elevates this record instantly with the tortured, rasping growls he lays down in opener ‘Vial of Silence’; a choking, roiling swamp of a track where massive riffs rumble with tectonic depth. Abyssal rage coughs from the suffocating ‘Sunken Sorceress’, who coils black magic tendrils about this sludgey menace. Absorbing the grinding doom from early Sabbath and filtering out some of the more abrasive moments from EyeHateGod, Beldam drags this genre into new and terrifying locales. ‘Shed the Coil’ has a brutal, almost Autopsy vibe to it in parts, while the driving groove of ‘Carrion Feast’ is righteous in its nihilistic grind.

‘Pasung’ is a record that I have overlooked in the past six months, but now hearing it for the first time realise that there have been few records that truly capture the feeling of hopelessness found in Beldam’s work. This is raw emotion, coated in thick blood and set to mighty riffs of doom. ‘Pasung’ is a record that should not be lost or ignored, but raised on a filth encrusted pedestal as a monument, and a warning, to those who follow.