Posts Tagged ‘USA’

A new two man project of death from Richmond, Virginia, Priests of Prometheus released their debut EP on New Year’s Day 2020 so it seems like a good record to start the year with. ‘Lodestar’ is out through their Bandcamp.

Opening with the visceral ‘Omnigore’, it is clear that main songwriter Justin Wolz has really managed to put together a great collection of songs here. A dose of grandeur dissolves into an acidic Swedeath riff, but that sense of majestic space returns and the crunchy guitar tone really breathes well here. A genuinely different take on modern/old school death, punctuated with glorious soloing. The battering, Cannibal Corpse-esque assault of ‘Darkened’ is superb, as is the chugging Suffocation-like thunder that powers the indomitable ‘Lacuna of Forgetfulness’.

Closing with the sweeping, brutal and technical tour de force of ‘Enlightened’, ‘Lodestar’ pulses with potential for what a full length could do. Priests of Prometheus have made a stunning start to 2020, and this will remain in rotation throughout the year. Great stuff!

https://priestsofprometheus.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/PriestsofPrometheus/

The Osedax - Meridians

The third album from Virginians The Osedax is an odyssey through the possibilities of sludge doom majesty. ‘Meridians’ is out in January next year, and plays with shades of heavy in ways that is refreshing and honest. Named for a bone burrowing deep sea worm, this is definitely something crafted at benthic depths.

Opener ‘Offen’ is a truly majestic piece; trawling the greatest moments of Isis and Neurosis and melding that to a sense of scale that is staggering. The ebb and flow of the primordial crush, sodden with glacial weight, is inspiring. Almost as inspiring is the eerie calm of ‘Beacon/Ox Eye’s opening few minutes, when the quiet ambient hum is only broken by an occasional note. As the riff begins to appear, shimmering like a mirage over a salt flat you are suddenly bombarded with dense, raging catharsis. It is almost black metal in places, with the shrieks echoing throughout, but nothing can outplay the crushing deepsea trench riffs that ooze from the cracks in the earth. ‘White Horse/Tempest’ has this same beautiful juxtaposition of haunting ambient noise, almost whale song-like, before thunderous guitar avalanches through, and closer ‘Ratlines’ is bleak and mesmerisingly peaceful.

There will be an almighty fight for this to be beaten as my album of 2020. It speaks to me in such a primordial way, that I pity what will follow. ‘Meridians’ is glorious, and The Osedax are the gods of these ancient, deep waters. Preorder this now

https://www.facebook.com/TheOsedax/

https://theosedax.bandcamp.com/

Bethledeign - Iconography of Suffering

The debut of American death metallers Bethledeign, ‘Iconography of Suffering’ takes much from the likes of Deicide and The Black Dahlia Murder. Despite it being material written almost a decade ago, the mind behind Construct of Lethe (Tony Petrocelly) has reanimated his former work and the band wish to add themselves to the pantheon of death metal greats from the US. Can this be the opening salvo in a new career direction, or ‘just another death metal album’? It is out now through Edgewood Arsenal Records.

The potency of opener ‘Domain’ is plain for all to see, as waves of dense, blasting death metal spills forth; a magma torrent of rage and hate. The guitar tone is thick and the riffing is meaty and technical. The barrage of blastbeats keeps a relentless pace, while the vocals are fierce and savage. ‘Invoking the Apostasy’ has a touch of Belphegor’s blackened fury, and you get the sense of a melting pot of modern, well, 2010 modern death metal influences throughout. The chugging mayhem of ‘Besieged by Night’ and the waspish fury of ‘Eight Pointed Star’ are two particular highlights, but you could almost pick any track here to have a great example of what death metal in 2019 is all about.

‘Iconography of Suffering’ is a tremendous slab of crushing violence; a meal laced with strychnine and forcefed to you. Nothing about it sounds like it is almost a decade old, that is how cutting edge it would have been back then. Bethledeign have started back with a vengeance, and I look forward to anything else they have coming out. Death fucking metal indeed.

https://www.soundclick.com/artist/default.cfm?bandID=117643

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/