Posts Tagged ‘USA’

With a name like Denim Casket, it’s almost gotta be old school thrash, right? Wrong actually, as this mutated Idaho trio are some bass led, noise mongering chaoticians. Their self released demo is available now through their Bandcamp.

Nasty, grinding sludge/death metal murkiness is probably the best way to describe this demo. The short, sharp blast of ‘Reverse Egg’ leads us to the rabid ‘Ham is Hog Butt’ that spasms and crawls like that terrifying lassie out of the Grudge. ‘Permanent Marker’ is similar, evoking this feeling of dread that is enveloping. Maddeningly heavy, due to their double bass/no guitar assault, Denim Casket grind along at the low, low, low end of the spectrum. Feedback squeals evoke EyeHateGod in the raw, sneering ‘Wrinkled Shirt’.

It is almost difficult to do Denim Casket’s demo justice. It is nasty, brutal music that doesn’t really fit into any real genre. Sludgy, abrasive, scowling; it is the aural equivalent of watching someone get their head kicked in in a filthy alley. Unpleasant but you can’t really look away.



Weathered Statues is not the kind of band that the Killchain normally deals with, but I was so enthralled by the pulsing, post punk vibrancy of their ‘Borderlands’ record I just had to talk about it. Out on Svart Records at the end of April, ‘Borderlands’ is early New Order and Killing Joke for the 21st century.

‘Corpse Candle’ opens the album with a driving post punk riff, and the cool croon of vocalist Jennie Mather instantly adds a smouldering groove to it. The throbbing industrial hooks of ‘Betrayal’ dig into your skin, and leave a trail of darkness behind their more obvious hooky nature. It at once reminded me of what Ladytron would sound like with Jaz Coleman lurking in the background. ‘Heather’ is dirging, glacial pop for the modern downtrodden generation, while the pulsing ‘Hypnagogia’ is eeriely uplifting. There’s darkness here too, in the grinding ‘Sabbat’, the haunting ‘The Widow Sunday’ and the bleak, chugging closer ‘Holy Masquerade’.

‘Borderlands’ is a record I found almost by accident, and is normally totally off genre for me. But Weathered Statues have captured something absolutely magic here. Jennie Mather’s stunning voice ties these glorious melodies and dark undercurrents together in an album that will resonate with me for a long time. ‘Borderlands’ is not metal, but the darkness here is very real and haunting.


Texas death metal newcomers Abolishment of Flesh have certainly struck out at this world with fury and vengeance, with their debut full length ‘The Inhuman Condition’ due out in April on Unholy Anarchy Records. This is a record for fans of The Black Dahlia Murder and the like.

A cacophonous blasting monster emerges immediately, as ‘Inhuman Anatomy’ harnesses the savage energy of Suffocation and Dying Fetus to devastating effect. There’s no slam here though, it is all just hurricane force death metal with moments of immense groove thrown in too. ‘Reborn Abomination’ is more of the same, though you get a more Black Dahlia Murder vibe in this one. This is where Abolishment of Flesh begin to flex their more melodic muscle, with some excellent riffing coming through the blasting madness. The likes of ‘Weeping for the Decayed’ and the brutal ‘Mass Execution’ show how even the overwrought ‘modern death metal’ sound can be twisted into interesting new forms.

Surely Abolishment of Flesh will break through the sea of modern death metal bands and get recognition for what is a stunning debut full length. ‘The Inhuman Condition’ is chock full of killer riffs, and more great songs than some bands manage in a career. If they can get themselves to enough ears, you could be looking at the next big thing. Breaking through will be the challenge, but this is a record to impress.

Khazaddum - Plagues upon Arda

Dwarven death metal eh? Well, being a massive Tolkien fan you could say that Khazaddum was always going to appeal to me but their latest release, ‘Plagues Upon Arda’ really strikes many of the chords I look for in a great death metal release. Out last year through self release, this is almost 40 minutes of axe swinging, orc shredding brutality.

After the grand opening ‘The Halls of Khazad-Dum’, ‘The Deathless Crown’ is ferociously single minded, barrelling forward with bloodstained intent. Combining the grinding low level heaviness of old school death metal with a firm grasp of the kind of speed and hyperactivity that makes Hypocrisy or Deicide so much fun, Khazaddum blast through these nine tracks with power and savagery. The addition of orchestral flourishes really helps to bring that Tolkien atmosphere to life. The books and films are basically beautiful symphonies of violence and majesty, and Khazaddum capture that perfectly when angelic voices soar in the background of the stunning ‘Lord of Isengard’.

From the fiery raging ‘The Fell Rider’s Scourge’ to the grandiose violence of ‘Shelob the Great’, ‘Plagues Upon Arda’ is a savage tribute to the beauty and brutality of Tolkien’s realm. Never boring and always devastating, Khazaddum are once again standing proud upon broken corpses, defending their dwarven kingdoms. Hail, kings under the mountain!


A one man project from Portland, Oregon, Adzalaan are dropping their debut record ‘Into Vermilion Mirrors’ in April through a joint effort by Invictus Productions and Vrasubatlat. This is a record that weaves its way through the black/death genre, realising new progressive ideas within the core ideals while still keeping the atmospheric pressure on.

Opening track ‘Haven to Flesh (Intro)’ is a thrumming, eerie piece of music that hums with a dark intensity. When ‘Succumb and Vanquish’ kicks in, blastbeats torrent through the cavernous vocals and a gloriously traditional guitar tone. This is the blackest of the black, fierce and bleak. ‘False Cleansing’ is more of the chaotic, murky same; oily, thick deathly black metal that is relentless and venomous. The haunting ‘Wretched Oaths Fall from Wicked Tongues’ is my favourite however, a miasmic threatening blackness crawling from the abyss to take terrifying revenge on us all.

‘Into Vermilion Mirrors’ is a twisting, writhing serpent of a record. Black through and though, Adzalaan’s embrace of dark death metal passages really helps to enhance the evil intent possessed within each riff, in each ragged howl, and this gives us a record that is simply great. Never staying still, Adzalaan move within dark tides, and ‘Into Vermilion Mirrors’ is their anchor to this world.

Boethiah worship at the bloodstained altars of Dismember, Asphyx and Grave, and their new record ‘Invocation of the Xenolith’ is testament to the dedication to that sound that they have. An entirely self produced and self released record, these Californians have created something very nasty and rampant. It is out now!

The opening title track contains all the hallmarks of Swedish death that we all love; chainsawing riffs, throat shredding roars and chaotic drumming. Stabbed by some wild soloing, it is instantly appealing. Grinding death metal continues to assault the senses throughout the battering ‘Creation’ and the crushing carnage of ‘Impending Dread’. Boethiah are keeping the spirit of savage Swedeath alive, with riffs and particularly vocals soaking in that classic swampy filth of the early 90s. Combining that with the relentless surge of ‘Voices Beyond’ which feels soooo Bolt Thrower-y, this is a record that will flatten you.

‘Invocation of the Xenolith’ is a beast of a record; keeping the flames of classic death metal burning while taking a firm grasp on their own destiny and their own sound. Yeah, you could argue that you’ve heard everything that Boethiah do before, but you haven’t probably heard it executed this well in years. ‘Invocation of the Xenolith’ is killer, and well worth the listen.


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.