Posts Tagged ‘USA’

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

The new EP from Boethiah, ‘Celestial Gateway’, continues their path from their full length debut ‘Invocation of the Xenolith’, which I reviewed a while back, dragging the classic Swedeath sound into science fiction realms. It was released late last year through Camo Pants Records and Rotted Life Records for the CD. The band have also since set up their own label, which they reissued this on cassette earlier this year as well, Desert Wastelands.

The sinister, gurgling intro sets the scene for the cosmic, spectral horror that is about to unfold. First track proper ‘Charting the Unknown’ has all the same Swedeath chugging viciousness that we loved about their debut record, ensorcelled by dreamy spacey weirdness, and it carves out a more unique place for Boethiah in this world of copycat death metal bands. The more midpaced thunder on this EP is a refreshing move away from identikit Swedeath thrashing, and every riff is coated in a darker, oiler tone. ‘Succumbing to the Maelstrom’ is brutally dense and dark, while the stunning melodies of ‘Beneath the Mist’ languish under a steamroller of chainsaw riffing.

‘Celestial Gateway’ is a step up from their last, and Boethiah are carving their own maelstrom of darkness in metal’s galaxy. Far away, ever present and awaiting their time to engulf us all in blackness, ‘Celestial Gateway’ is merely another step on the path to celestial dominance.

https://www.facebook.com/BoethiahBand/

https://boethiah.bandcamp.com/album/celestial-gateway

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEpf5huB9b2KFLim-wjTSMA/featured

https://desertwastelands.bandcamp.com/

GhostHello Album Cover.jpg

Ghost:Hello are a family affair, and the trio of stoner rockers from Ohio are releasing their debut record in September, entitled ‘The Sound of Color in Space’. This is a record that demands repeated listens to unlock its glories, but it is just a little too strange in places?

A mighty slab of synth riddled stoner fuzz is exactly what this record gives you from the start. The driving riffs that open ‘Fingerstache’ are immediately addictive, but what really hooks you in are the surrounding synth lines, weird effects and otherworldly vocals that ensure that you’ve never quite heard anything like this before. The strange gloom of ‘Perfect’, the awesome driving bass of ‘Mouth of the Gift Horse’ coupled with the raw vocal; it is the variety in every song that makes Ghost:Hello such an intriguing prospect. Highlights include the tripped out fuzz of Burnout’ and the closing ‘Poison Swan’, that drifts away in squalling feedback.

Equal parts driving stoner rock and weird darkwave, Ghost:Hello have released one of this year’s most interesting records. The tribal, sleazeblues of ‘Nemesis’ sits right next to the eerie, pulsating ‘Bardo State’ and yet makes total sense. A challenging record, but ultimately a great one.

https://www.facebook.com/Ghosthello/

https://ghosthelloband.com/

https://ghosthello.bandcamp.com/

Fetid - Steeping Corporeal Mess

Oozing from the sodden, ancient Pacific Northwest comes Fetid, a band who is more suited to the bubbling, boiling pits of hell than that grand, tree swept landscape. Their ‘Steeping Corporeal Mess’ record is out now through 20 Buck Spin, and is a journey through the miasma of pure darkness.

The virulent, pulsing chaos of opener ‘Reeking Within’ is reminiscient of the more straightforward bits of Portal; a suffocating tidal wave of crushing death metal that bends and sweeps like prime Immolation. The whole record feels like a rumbling, lava induced death of this world. Everything is consumed in this dark, dense atmosphere that makes songs like ‘Cranial Liquescent’ feel murky and apocalyptic. The low end creaking through this record is ludicrous, with each chugging breakdown sounding like the cracking of the earth’s plates, best felt in the titanic ‘Dripping Sub-Tepidity’

By the time the end comes, through the magnificent pestilence of ‘Draped in What Was’, the poisonous suffocating magma is setting, and you are trapped in the hellacious realm that Fetid have created. A stunning record of the heaviest matter in the universe, highly recommended.

https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/steeping-corporeal-mess

https://www.facebook.com/fetid.death

https://www.20buckspin.com/

Crush the Altar - Abhorrent Oblation

When Redefining Darkness Records puts out a three track demo from a new band on cassette, and said band is ‘blackened thrash meets death metal’, you’ve almost guaranteed yourself a winner. Crush the Altar are that band, and ‘Abhorrent Oblation’ is that record. It is out now!

It isn’t anywhere near as raw and harsh as i expected, but the opener ‘See Mortality’ totally slays in a different way. There is clear definition in the guitar work, not just thrashy necro murk. The altar the band are crushing must be that of prime early Sodom or Kreator, as there is a very Teutonic roughness to it. The riffing is memorable, each song feeling unique and overflowing with lacerating riffing. The chug of ‘Demonizing the Ancient Lore’ is primal death metal gold, while the chunky thrash of closer ‘Discastery Ruin’ is artful in its savagery.

The best demos get in, explain how fucking good they are in 10 riffs or less, and get out. The collaboration between measured pace and breakneck speed push Crush the Altar to stand out, and the fifteen minutes that this demo lasts is not enough. Get ‘Abhorrent Oblation’ as soon as, then start praying for more to come. These guys are excellent.

https://redefiningdarknessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/crush-the-altar-abhorrent-oblation

https://www.facebook.com/redefiningdarkness/