Archive for the ‘Year end lists 2019’ Category

Abrasive Audio 2020 – Part Thirteen

abrasive audio header gif

I’m at it again! Metal from all across the globe and from wide across the varied spectrum which makes up the extreme audio realm. In this installment you’ll find Doom, Black and Death and a few things in between. Hopefully I’ve found something to tickle those pleasure receptors. Feel free to drop me a note and tell me which one(s) “did it” for you. I’m intrigued.

March Releases

Dawn of Ouroboros album

Dawn of Ouroboros (USA) – The Art of Morphology

https://dawnofouroboros.bandcamp.com/album/the-art-of-morphology

Release – March/30/2020

Rain Without End Records

ARTWORK – 82

Classical with a splash of cosmic nature yet overlaid with ominous tones perhaps an indication of the music within? Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 88

Drenched (literally) in haunting atmosphere this track transforms the listen to a stormy day environment invoking the mood to match. Ambient tones, emotion and ferocious black metal. An excellent mixture guaranteed to leave any listener mouth agape eagerly awaiting what’s to follow.

INITIAL LISTEN – 90

Epic effective atmosphere encased in a variety of vocal approaches; spoken word (poetry), angelic singing and a ferocious assault makes for an intriguing listen that’s far from traditional. Progressive elements (including a hypnotic instrumental outro of sorts) and a whirlwind, blistering, percussion cavort playfully amidst the arrangements adding depth and the desire to dig deeper within future experiences. DoO (which is an obvious abbreviation) have managed to rein in a fluid approach here which others only attempt with unfruitful results. Transitions are masterful and the flow exquisite a testament to the bands vision, a stellar spin on the Beauty and Beast approach with a myriad of elements one might not expect resulting in an album which one can find themselves lost within. Major props go out to Chelsea Murphy who’s solely responsible for the stunning vocal range exhibited throughout.

Favorite Tracks; Hypnotic from beginning to end.

FFO; Gates of the Morning, Akercocke, Emperor.

April Releases

Caustic Wound

Another Void Recc
Caustic Wound (USA) – Death Posture

https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/death-posture

Release – April/10/2020

Profound Lore Records

ARTWORK – 78

A raw BnW image of a face stripped of flesh shattered like a mirror. Makes an impression and leaves little to Imagination as to what to expect from the audio.

FIRST TRACK – 78

Pulverizing OSDM with a deviant raunchy tone and gutteriffic vox.

INITIAL LISTEN – 83

Blast beats, chaotic dirge riffs, tumbling over each other, fighting for supremacy, enough diabolical groove to start a Goblin mosh pit in the catacombs, a gargling sewerage vocal approach and a nostalgic aura part Crust, part Brutal Death which tosses one gleefully back to the late 80’s/ very early 90’s extreme underground scene. There’s plenty to get excited about here!

Favorite Tracks; Cematary Planet, Black Bag Asphyxiation, Blast Casualty, Uranium Decay, Acid Attack, Guillotine, Catackysmic Gigaton.

FFO; Fetid, Repulsion, Terrorizer.

But wait for it…Void has a few words to share on this one

Spawned mostly from members of Mortiferum and Cerebral Rot / Fetid, Caustic Wound’s debut “Death Posture” is one hell of a throwback, nailing its claim that it sounds like it was recorded no later than 1992.  Worshipping at the altar of Nuclear Death, Defecation (a personal favorite), Terrorizer, Napalm Death, early Carcass and of course the mighty Repulsion, “Death Posture” blows by in a furious cyclone of grinding death metal that doesn’t hold back.  The sound on this thing is perfection, thick and moldering and so, so nasty.  The bass is just thundering, you can feel the twanging of those strings booming through your speakers in those slower, grinding doom parts between the frenetic blasts. Consisting mostly of songs that don’t breach the two-minute mark doesn’t hold “Death Posture” back from having catchy tracks without being ridiculously heavy.  Albums like this are what gets me out of bed in the morning.

90

Abduction

Abduction (France) – Jehanne

https://abductionfr.bandcamp.com/

Release -April/29/2020

Finisterean Dead End

ARTWORK – 78

A classic portrait of Joan of Arc, on whom, incidentally, this album is based.

FIRST TRACK – 83

A Baroque introduction ripped in Twain by the arrival of malicious blast beat laden Black metal. The vocal presence is unique, showcasing three distinct styles, and the track soon calms to offer rhythms of an undeniably addictive nature which are melodic, triumphant and powerful. A great start and introduction to an album which appears thus far in rather unique in its approach.

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

There’s over an hour of Atmospheric, (slightly Avant Garde in instances) and Melodic Black metal with a thin veil of melancholic Doom to get lost in here. Sweeping rhythms coupled with both fierce and majestic arrangements accompanied by a diverse, multi-faceted vocal lineup adds depth to the albums eye-opening allure. An epic thoroughly immersive audio journey with plentiful movement, epic sonic-scapes and even in instances passages which are oddly relaxing. This boasts the grandiosity, flow and diversity to appeal to a large audience across a wide radius within both the Black and extreme arenas.

Favorite Tracks; Top notch Black Metal dotted with fluid diversity flowing throughout!

FFO; Angellore, Schammasch, Sigh, Blut Aus Nord, Aodon.

May Releases

Naglfar Sweden - Cerecloth

Naglfar (Sweden) – Cerecloth

https://music.apple.com/us/album/cerecloth/1499904426?ign-gact=3&ls=1

Release- May/8/2020

Century Media Records

ARTWORK – 86

An exquisitely rendered ominous image. Is this a procession of the dead about to wreck vengeance? Or spirits merely out for a leisurely wander? Either way it’s a fantastic piece of art which has revved up the curious part of me to dangerous levels.

FIRST TRACK – 83

Blistering pace, majestic rhythms, venomous vocals and a familiar Blackened Death/Melodic Black vibe. Although this isn’t a new style it’s hard not to appreciate.

INITIAL LISTEN – 81

This is my introduction to the band. Many have commented this is the bands weakest effort to date, but not having heard them (yet) I will comment on this release alone (then most probably dig into the acts past work, depending on my appreciation of this).

Classically melodious and overflowing with swift rhythms and a sense of menace the style here is downright sinister and utterly recognizable. Overall, the album sports a great many arrangements to get excited about and is a pleasure to listen to throughout, though I can’t help but think it’s somewhat ‘safe’ with rhythms occasionally existing in the realm of strikingly predictable. The production is a little muddy and could be better but for as introduction to the band I’m left impressed and will definitely revisit again. I will also take a moment to discover their past work.

Favorite Tracks; Delivers throughout!

FFO; Dissection, Old Man’s Child, Sacramentum, Necrophobic.

barrenwomb

 Barren Womb (Norway/Finland) – Lizard Lounge

https://barrenwomb.bandcamp.com/

Release -May/22/2020

Loyal Blood Records

ARTWORK – 84

It might take a few glances and exploration of this image to work out what’s going on. To me it appears to be an image plucked from the mind of someone who contributes to AdultSwim on a regular basis. Teeth are flying everywhere and the person in the foreground appears to be holding a fork, or is a tiny hammer? (Is that an ear on the fork or a tongue?) This is strange indeed, perhaps an indication of the music on offer? Hitting play.

FIRST TRACK – 89

Not sure if this is Punk, Noise, Rowdy Rock and Roll or all of the above mashed together. It’s certainly interesting and I’m all ears.  What a curiously infectious start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 85

Once in a while I come across a collective of audio which is quite indescribable. Such is the case here. A few genres and styles come to mind while this tears its way through the senses but they soon dissipate as the unpredictability takes hold, moreover in some Tracks than others. This might be easier to describe if it wasn’t so addictive, infectious and humorous. It just grabs ahold and doesn’t let go. Frenetic is a good word to use here, distortion is rampant and the vocals are spat with punk attitude. However, there are calmer, slower moments to make for a breather. All in all, a diverse slab of surprising wrapped in odd, bizarre and enigmatic. As if the track titles don’t suggest such.

Favorite Tracks; Delights throughout!

FFO; Freighter, Wizard Rifle, Faith no More, Dog Fashion Disco, Polkadot Cadaver.

Red Mesa (USA) - The Path to the Deathless
June Releases
Red Mesa (USA) – The Path to the Deathless

https://redmesaband.bandcamp.com/album/the-path-to-the-deathless

Release – June/12/2020

Desert Records

ARTWORK – 92

Vibrant, vivid and striking.

Exquisite colors and details (courtesy of Joshua Mathus) make this image stand out and catch the eye. So much so that I honestly couldn’t resist a listen. Hitting play…

FIRST TRACK – 83

Palpable desert ambience leads into distortion-laden melodies with a violin accompaniment. Color me intrigued.

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

It would really be untoward for someone to call this merely “Stoner Rock”. For it’s so much more than merely that. This album sees a merging of many styles; namely Psychedelia, Blues tinged Rock, Heavy Metal (and even in instances Sludge). The resulting creation has a heavy Western sounding, passion fueled, slant which goes far beyond intriguing. “Chilling” is a word which works well in instances, “Ghostly” fits too. The band make the most of the injected Psych moments for atmosphere (of which there is plenty courtesy of violins and steel guitar guest players) while also adding momentum into their arrangements to keep unpredictability levels high and the listener on their toes. Overall, this is a fantastic album for anyone interested in the scene to take the plunge. This is neither this nor that, but a great many things interacting on many levels for a fully subversive listening experience one needs to explore over several listens.

Favorite Tracks; Delivers a hypnotic aura from start to finish.

FFO; The Sword, Baroness, High on Fire, Conan.

 Stygian Crown

 Stygian Crown (USA) – s/t

https://stygiancrown.bandcamp.com/album/stygian-crown

Release- June/26/2020

Cruz delivers Sur Music

ARTWORK – 79

A skull, snakes and swords embossed upon a leather clad volume or tome (of sorts) this leaves me intrigued as to what type of audio this album might contain. Pressing play.

FIRST TRACK – 82

An introduction dripping in presence offers the listener their first glimpse of the vocalist here although it’s more an angelic chorus. It’s not until the music actually kicks that her pipes are displayed in all their magnificence. The percussion oddly fits although it’s more distorted dirge (Bolt Thrower comes to mind) rather than the clean sweeping melodies one might expect (ala Candlemass; Snowy Shaw and Messiah Marcolin whom her voice is comparable to). Oddly, the combination works. A certain remarkable grandiose nature results from the combined mixture of styles and it’s surprisingly fitting for the term “Doom”.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

This could well be called traditional Doom. All the ingredients are there; the exquisite, passionate vocals and the catchy af rhythms (guitar and drum based) though there’s one small difference. The fact I’ve mentioned before, and although this ‘presence’ does seem to wane somewhat towards albums end the aura is still there. The impression has been made and it’s a formidable mark. “CandleThrower” (as the band term the style) is one hell of a spin on the traditional take and it’s not so wildly inventive as to scare potential listeners away, traditional elements still exist, solid are invocative and plentiful. This feels right, comfortable even. And this is album is downright fire which only spreads out of control as it starts anew, again and again and…

Favorite Tracks; Devour the Dead, Up from the Depths, Flametongue, When Old Gods Die, Trampled into the Earth.

FFO; Bolt Thrower, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus.

 Shed the Skin (USA) - The Forbidden Arts

 Shed the Skin (USA) – The Forbidden Arts

https://shed-the-skin.bandcamp.com/

Release – June/26/2020

Hell’s Headbangers Records

ARTWORK – 93

Courtesy of James Bullock this gloriously grotesque BnW image highlights the dire consequences of dabbling in “The Forbidden Arts”.

Brilliant inks but I’m left wondering how difficult it’s now going to be to get his (?) pants on.

FIRST TRACK – 82

Plenty of groove and diabolical nature in this track. Mid-paced madness with maniacal maelstrom tendencies and vicious throaty vocals.

INITIAL LISTEN – 84

With constantly shifting arrangements offering a myriad of styles ranging from Thrash laden Death, Melodic Death and Maniacal Death complete with groove passages, sinister solos/leadwork and palpable atmosphere this is an altogether accessible style. And honestly a few steps away from what I was imagining with term “Satanic DM” in my mind (which conjures the words raw, blistering paced, blackened chaos). However, this delivers throughout with its twisting somewhat unpredictable melodic approach to keep me intrigued and my whims pleasingly sated (with my limbs tapping of their own accord).

Favorite Tracks; Delivers throughout!

FFO; Deicide, Asphyx, Incantation, Grotesquery.

Dark Tranquility (Sweden) - Skydancer

Plucked from Metal Past
(In this case revisiting a classic to evaluate if it still leaves an impression)
Dark Tranquility (Sweden) – Skydancer

https://darktranquillity.bandcamp.com/

(Re)release – August/30/2013 (original release – August/30/1993)

Independent

ARTWORK – 78

An image depicting a moody sky. Rays of light break through the clouds to fall upon the forest below. Gives little away in regards to the music.

FIRST TRACK – 88

Highly infectious, exuberant and energetic structure. Rhythms incite movement and harsh, venom dripping, vocals add a vicious edge to propel this from a merely melodic (albeit swift and multifaceted) audio landscape into one that straddles both Technical and Aggressive Thrash and Death territories. A fantastic start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 89

Simply put… a stunning feat! One of the forerunners of the Stockholm melodic movement. A perfect balance of harmonies and melodies (draped in an array of invocative folk and classical auras) and swift paced rhythms (utilizing exciting riff combinations which are far from repetitive to the point of boredom) resulting in an unpredictable, often frenetic, though altogether fluid audio collection which is difficult not to appreciate. For Thrash and Melodic Death fans alike. This still makes an impression even close to some thirty years after its initial release. Fingers crossed a rerecording/reworking doesn’t appear to leave a stain upon long-time fans admiration of a classic.

Favorite Tracks; Inventive, energetic and enjoyable throughout.

FFO; At the Gates, (early) In Flames, Insomnium, Sabbat (UK), Eucharist, Omnium Gatherum, (early) Arch Enemy.

WTF Lightning Fire Reviews
A single listen of an album from a diverse selection complemented by a quick scribble.

Cursed be Thy Flesh - The Ritual

Cursed be Thy Flesh (USA/Slovenia) – The Ritual

https://cursedbethyflesh.bandcamp.com/album/the-ritual-album

Release – April/30/2020

Necrotic Records/Wrought Records/Anti // all forever

Artwork – 77

Ferocity – 76

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 75

Originality – 64

Genre – Black Metal/Symphonic Black/Raw Black/Melodic Black/Blackened Death/Blackened Speed/Dungeon Synth

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 81

Covering a pleasingly diverse radius of the BM genre this offers audio newcomers and traditional fans of the genre can (and will) enjoy. Raw yet polished in its production with applaudable, plentiful, nods to familiar influences there’s a great deal here to entice the first footstep within an unfamiliar realm without suffocating the listener in an absolute and unforgiving nature many associate with the BM genre.

Cryptic Brood (Germany) - Outcome of Obnoxious Science

 Cryptic Brood (Germany) – Outcome of Obnoxious Science

https://rottedlife.bandcamp.com/album/outcome-of-obnoxious-science

Release – November/22/2019

War Anthem Records/Rotted Life

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 77

Infectiousness – 68

Groove – 72

Originality – 65

Genre – Grinding Death/Death/Doom/OSDM/Crust

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 74

Varied pace displayed throughout each track (from plodding, sinister, Doom to blast beat-laden ferocity and stomping groove passages making for an unpredictable listen) slathered in putrescence and grime evokes a dismal, bleak surrounding where hope has long since faded replaced by inevitable dread and longing for a final release. Recc for those with preferences far from mere chuggery realms.

 Demonomancy (Italy) - Poisoned Atonement

 Demonomancy (Italy) – Poisoned Atonement

https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/album/poisoned-atonement-2

Release – February/23/2018

Invictus Productions

Artwork – 76

Ferocity – 78

Infectiousness – 71

Groove – 72

Originality – 72

Genre – Blackened Death/Melodic Black Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 71

A grandiose affair utilizing chants, choruses, tribal drums and a slightly different approach in the vocal department; a style which appears more spoken than sang. Percussion is akin to ‘light’ Grinding Death with a darker slant. The result is a sound boasting both depth/presence but an overall aura which might take a few listens to fully appreciate.

Excuse the Interruption… but Void has an album he wishes to share
Death Mask – Split the Atom

Release – July/1986

Killerwatt Records

Sometimes digging into the deep underbelly of metal you retrieve some unknown gems.  And other times… well you’re not as lucky.  Not to say that Death Mask is necessarily bad, but let’s just agree there’s room for improvement here.  Sounding like Motörhead b-sides got a low-dosage injection of thrash metal with a vocalist doing their best to sound like a cross between Tim Baker (Cirith Ungol) and John Stewart (Slauter Xstroyes), there’s nothing tremendously noteworthy here.  Sure, there are some cool tracks like “Lust for Fire” where the energy is palpable and all the ingredients come together properly, but you also have some half-baked duds like the cringey, mid-paced self-declaration of badassery in “Walk Alone.”  But hey you can’t win em’ all.  Death Mask isn’t a total waste, there’s a bit of a good time on here, but they’re definitely not in the upper echelons of any genre of metal they touch here.  An obscure curiosity to check out on a rainy day.

60

Drakonis (UK) - Blessed by Embers

Let us return to our normally scheduled programming
Drakonis (UK) – Blessed by Embers

https://hostilemedia.bandcamp.com/album/blessed-by-embers

Release – April/3/2020

Hostile Media

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 79

Infectiousness – 82

Groove – 76

Originality – 65

Genre – Blackened Death/Symphonic Black/Industrial/Doom/Melodic Black/Viking Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 80

Although the description (above) is varied the music here flows uninterrupted by transformation hiccup with varying degrees of menace, melody and ferocity to keep the listener entertained. And thankfully no over-indulgence in any one factor. Mood and majesty combine superbly with just the right amount of atmosphere alongside a vocal approach which has bite and should be instantly acceptable for most genre fans. For a debut full-length this bodes well for the bands future hinting at avenues which could well separate them from the herd. Keep tabs on these guys!

 Power Theory (USA) - Force of Will

 Power Theory (USA) – Force of Will

https://powertheory.bandcamp.com/album/force-of-will-2

Release – December/6/2019

Pure Steel Records

Artwork – 73

Ferocity – 64

Infectiousness – 83

Groove – 78

Originality – 64

Genre – Heavy Metal/Power Metal

Revisit- Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 86

I’m not usually a fan of the genre. However, for some reason this grabbed my attention and held it! Fluid melodies, epic arrangements, intriguing lyrical content and top- notch musicianship accompanied by an impressive vocalist sporting a range minus falsetto elements which usually keep me away from the genre. If like me you thought you were done with the genre, give this a shot, it might well reverse your opinion.

Apostasy (USA) - Accuser of Brethren (demo)

 Another Void Recc
Apostasy (USA) – Accuser of Brethren (demo)

https://pathologicallyexplicit.bandcamp.com/track/accusser-of-brethren

(Re)release – April/1/2020 (originally released in 93′)

Pathologically Explicit Recordings

Artwork – 71

Ferocity – 76

Infectiousness – 76

Groove – 73

Originality – 65

Genre – Brutal Death/Death/Grinding Death/OSDM/DeathDoom

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 80

Maniacal and diabolical flourishes abound as well arrangements which sport effective sinister atmosphere and rhythms to transport the listener to the edge of the abyss. Raw production fits the style perfectly. Tragically, this is all the band (or any of its members) released, perhaps it was released too soon and/or didn’t reach the circles it needed to. There’s no doubt this boasts an easy to appreciate level of quality. Who knows what the future may have manifested?

obedmarsh

 Obed Marsh (Australia) – Dunwich

https://obedmarsh.bandcamp.com/

Release – January/8/2019

Independent

Artwork – 78

Ferocity – 76

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 74

Originality – 76

Genre – Funeral Doom/Atmospheric Black/Sludge/Ambient/Drone

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 83

Ethereal quality hypnotic audio suffocates the senses conjuring an as if being propelled by the body working of its own accord through a thick fog towards “something” sensation. Vocals bear a’far off’ element which somehow adds depth to the already remarkable palpable ominous vibe throughout. This is meticulously crafted Lovecraftian Doom which channels elements from a variety of genres to evoke an atmosphere rarely experienced. Sit back, give this the time it requires and let the mind wander into realms both enigmatic and fascinating though altogether unfathomable.

 Torture Tomb (USA) - Killing to See How it Feels

 Torture Tomb (USA) – Killing to See How it Feels

https://transylvaniantapes.bandcamp.com/album/torture-tomb-killing-to-see-how-it-feels

Release- June/6/2020

Transylvanian Tapes

Artwork – 75

Ferocity – 83

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 81

Originality – 65

Genre – OSDM/Blackened Death/Crust/Brutal Death/Sludge

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 74

Cavernous, sick, OSDM with plenty of groove and a myriad of pleasing influence.

 Wartooth (Australia) - Programmed Dichotomy

A Recc from Demnuts3  (on Twitter)
 Wartooth (Australia) – Programmed Dichotomy

https://wartooth.bandcamp.com/album/programmed-dichotomy

Release – April/9/2020

Independent

Artwork – 81

Ferocity – 78

Infectiousness – 92

Groove – 89

Originality – 75

Genre – Thrash/Technical Thrash/Crossover/Aggressive Thrash

Revisit – It goes w.o saying.

Final Score/Remarks – 94

How is that only after three tracks Wartooth have managed to exhibit screamingly neon signed influence from more than a handful of ultra- recognizable acts and so brilliantly executed with such fluid precision? Also, in the vocal department, I’m not usually one for vocal gymnastics. But the effect works so remarkably here that it manages to widen the eyes in stunning appreciation rather than prompt pen to keyboard in complaint.

In fact, the album seethes with a level of enthusiasm, energy and exuberance that’s off the charts. I can only imagine what a spectacle the live show must present. In short, I can understand why so many are touting this as AoTY material (and so early on). This offering from Wartooth is undeniably a damn good reason to get excited about Thrash again! Be prepared to praise the genre again. This, moreso than anything else recently released, has given it the kick in the ass it so desperately warrants. And the bands “message” is refreshing also (that of waving the flag of individuality), yet another reason to jump on this and support the band (as if one needs another reason?)

Thrashin’ mad Koalas and Kangaroos. Are they a thing? (Did I just go there? You betcha’). Probably not, but with this in mind it’s now most certainly a possibility.

Altar of Rot (USA) - Altar of Rot

 Altar of Rot (USA) – Altar of Rot

https://altarofrot.bandcamp.com/album/altar-of-rot

Release – March/15/2020

Independent

Artwork – 85

Ferocity – 82

Infectiousness – 86

Groove – 84

Originality – 75

Genre – Blackened Death/Blackened Speed/Black Metal/Crust/Doom/Thrash.

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 86

Surprisingly versatile mixture of styles executed with flair. Raw production adds to the albums allure. Addictively infectious throughout!

With this quality on offer I’m sure labels will fight amongst themselves to pluck this act from obscurity.

Wretched Fate (Sweden) - Fleshletting

 Wretched Fate (Sweden) – Fleshletting

https://wretchedfate.bandcamp.com/album/wretched-fate-fleshletting

Release – February/22/2019

Redefining Darkness Records

Artwork – 86

Ferocity – 86

Infectiousness – 88

Groove – 85

Originality – 79

Genre – HM2 Death/Brutal Death/OSDM

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 87

Just when one begins to think the HM2 sound was exhausted along comes Wretched Fate. They give the familiar a twist, add their unique stamp, inject an atmosphere which showcsses their adoration for the horror genre then execute the whole with a reverance, precision and skillfull devastation a samurai swordmaster would be jealous of. In short, this is the arena I wished Dismember, Bloodbath or Entombed might have taken, as their styles  progressed, but never did. And to think I missed this ragin’ beast last year. Is there still time to add to the EoY lists?

Kryptograf (Norway)

Kryptograf (Norway) – s/t

https://kryptograf.bandcamp.com/album/kryptograf

Release – June/12/2020

Apollon Records

Artwork – 68

Ferocity – 53

Infectiousness – 69

Groove – 84

Originality – 72

Genre – Fuzz/Doom/Stoner Rock/Psychedelia/Vintage Rock/Progressive

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 72

Honestly, this is a lot mellower audio than I usually divulge my senses in but it boasts a certain something to keep the finger from the skip, and/or eject button. It bears definite flow, a dreamy fluidity, cosmic elements (which bring to mind Hawkwind), tons of “fuzz”, haunting atmospheres, melodies you can drift upon, but also an aura which recalls early Black Sabbath. This is probably not for everybody (admittedly I’m warming to the inner most circle of what the Doom genre offers) but it’s making an impression on me as somewhat of a pallet cleanser. A relaxing step away from that which usually brutalizes my senses.

Aeons Abyss (Australia) - Impenitent

 Aeons Abyss (Australia) – Impenitent

https://aeonsabyss.bandcamp.com/album/impenitent

Release – November/1/2019

Independent

Artwork – 79

Ferocity – 78

Infectiousness – 78

Groove – 82

Originality – 68

Genre – Death/OSDM/Brutal Death/Atmospheric/Melodic Death/Black Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 78

Far from mere chuggery this is pleasingly diverse. Each track boasts a unique identity with a myriad of styles, auras and pace showcased within the album’s length. A superb vocal range, occasionally nodding at the theatric, adds to the intrigue as well unpredictable, often intricate, arrangements hinting at a wide range of influences.

 Sanctifying Death Ritual (Germany)

 Sanctifying Death Ritual (Germany) – s/t

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/album/sanctifying-ritual-s-t

Release- June/5/2020

Iron Bonehead Productions

Artwork – 81

Ferocity – 83

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 91

Originality – 68

Genre – BlackThrash/Bestial Metal/Death/Speed/Black Metal

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 92

A jaw dropping audio cauldron of cavernous Death, Blackened Speed Metal and arrangements which will turn the ear of even the most casual genre fan. The albums raw production only bolsters its (masterfully controlled) chaotic approach and appeal which seethes with both nostalgic elements and present-day frenetic attitude. Expect to see this mentioned again come years end.

Heads for the Dead (International) – Serpent’s Curse

 Heads for the Dead (International) – Serpent’s Curse

https://headsforthedead.bandcamp.com/album/serpents-curse-death-metal

Release – September/24/2018

Transcending Obscurity Records

Artwork – 83

Ferocity – 77

Groove – 76

Infectiousness – 78

Originality – 72

Genre – Death Metal/DeathDoom

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 82

An unsettling audio landscapes smoky with the haze of dread and unquestionable sinister intent accompanied by an enveloping swath of amorphous percussion boasting varied degrees of ferocity invites the listener into its fold. Draped in a heavy pitch, all consuming, blanket of ill intent this is not the typical DM release but rather one relying on dense atmosphere than bludgeoning riff brutality. Aided by the echoed vocal attributes of (Revel in Flesh’s) Ralf Hauber and the mesmerizing drumming of Erik Bevenrud (Hail of Bullets) the spell is cast. And the audience is consumed by a delirious fog resulting from the masterful manipulation of the finest elements of Doom, Death and Crust.

Sangre de la Luna (USA) - Stirrings (demo)

Sangre de la Luna (USA) – Stirrings (demo)

https://bloodmoonproductions.bandcamp.com/album/stirrings

Release – November/5/2019

Blood moon Productions

Artwork – 72

Ferocity – 88

Groove – 71

Infectiousness – 65

Originality – 66

Genre – OSDM/Grind/Black Metal

Revisit – No

Final Score/Remarks – 64

Classical interludes break up a hyper-speed collision involving raw Black Metal and Grinding Death vehicles. Incomprehensible vocals and atmosphere adds to the mix making for a dismally, pitch, uncompromising brutal affair which, I’m assuming, only the extremists among us are likely to fully appreciate.

But wait for it, Void has a few words on this release also…

Black metal hailing from Portland, Oregon, I’ll admit this is not what I was expecting.  The acoustic intro led me astray in expecting an album with a heavier emphasis on an atmospheric approach.  Not quite, as the black metal contained herein is heavily distorted and blown out; the tone and drumming are very overbearing and give “Stirrings” a very mechanical feel, one that I don’t think does Sangre de la Luna justice.  The drums pummel out the guitars, who in turn drown out the vocals, and there’s simply too much going on at once, but not in the over-the-top chaos way that bands like perhaps Teitanblood have mastered.  There are good ideas lurking around in here and I can appreciate what they were aiming for, but the execution isn’t quite fully realized yet.

65

Woe Betide (UK) - Throne of Spines

 Woe Betide (UK) – Throne of Spines

https://woebetide.bandcamp.com/album/throne-of-spines

Release – May/24/2020

Independent

Artwork – 74

Ferocity – 82

Groove – 78

Infectiousness – 82

Originality – 72

Genre – Symphonic Death/Deathcore/Tech Death

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 81

Oozing with atmosphere and wicked, often intricate, riffs and rhythm transformations this one manages to capture the attention throughout warranting addition to a heavy rotation playlist.

 Henry Kane (Sweden) - Age of the Idiot

 Henry Kane (Sweden) – Age of the Idiot

https://henrykanecrust.bandcamp.com/album/age-of-the-idiot-death-metal-grind-crust

Release- May/22/2020

Transcending Obscurity Records

Artwork – 83

Ferocity – 78

Groove – 71

Infectiousness – 75

Originality – 74

Genre – HM2 Swedish Death/Brutal Death/Grinding Death/Industrial/Grindcore/Doom/Crust

Revisit – Yes

Final Score/Remarks – 79

Surprisingly diverse for a “Grindcore” release, this sports individual sounding tracks with varying lengths as well the traditional under-a-minute type. Levels of ferociousness are varied as well pace and rhythm arrangements. All in all, somewhat a mature, ‘out of bounds’ effort that’s well worth discovery and a few listens to fully appreciate.

tired zombie

Done. Now I’ll sleep like the dead!

And that’s about it for another monstrous entry in the Abrasive Audio series. Thanks for reading this far, hopefully I’ve introduced a few albums/acts which delight the senses.

I’ve tried to keep this installment diverse and have even added a few Recc’s I was most curious about. As always, I’m finish this by imparting the customary spot of sagely advice – don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the ears.

Cult

Whoops, nearly forgot. A huge thanks to Void for the Reccs and stepping in with his wisdom and insight at the last minute.

Abrasive Audio 2020- Part Four

black metal gif

As the year blossoms as too does the onslaught of extreme audio. At this point I’ve given up trying to keep track of it all, it’s a worthless endeavor (well it’s not worthless) lest all else; responsibilities, family and career, falls to the wayside. So rather than try I’ll merely report on that which I recently found to be entertaining and worthy of praise. Without further waffling on all manner of things which one doesn’t wish to be made aware of let’s just say we get started…

January Releases-

faidra

Faidra (Sweden) – Six Voices Inside

https://faidra-northernsilence.bandcamp.com/album/six-voices-inside

Release- January/26/2020

Northern Silence Productions.

ARTWORK- 83

A classic image which puts me in mind of Archaic Decapitator’s EP (I’m thinking a little research is in order here) wizened monks, Greek philosophers and bearded doomster peddlers. A bronzed effect only adds to its intrigue.

FIRST TRACK- 89

Atmosphere aplenty and an undeniable doom malevolence all topped by a hypnotic black metal majesty. I’m still a stranger to this realm but this is oddly comforting much like unexpectedly finding a blanket on a cold winters night when the heater has abruptly decided to go on strike.

INITIAL LISTEN- 92

Exquisitely crafted arrangements and hauntingly deep rhythms accompanied by atmospheric choruses, synth effects (in instances, and in part, described by “blips and bloops” which in fact isn’t that far off) and an undeniable (somewhat traditional) black metal aura. The description sounds somewhat odd, in fact as though all the ingredients shouldn’t interact, even in protest. But they do, and this is astoundingly impressive. Mesmeric is a good word but it doesn’t come close to what the all-encompassing experience here offers. An audio package complemented by commendable production values far from what fans of the mentioned influences (below) might expect, however this element only serves to heighten the experience resulting in an album which delivers each and every time its placed into the senses. More impressive still is that this is yet another example of what a single, solitary, mind can visualize, produce and bring to full realization. Do not miss out on this!

Favorite Tracks; Not a bad passage from start to finish, prepare to sink into atmospheric black depths which will result in the minutes passing and days woes dissipating.

FFO; Burzum, Hermodr, Mist of Misery.

proscrito

Proscrito (Spain) – Llagas Y Estigmas

https://proscritoyolvidado.bandcamp.com/album/llagas-y-estigmas

Release- January/27/2020

Momentous Mori

ARTWORK- 83

“Hey Mabel, would you look at this. Some silly bugga has flipped this cross over.”

– Yea, it was a bitch getting it to behave and stand up straight.

“…Mabel!!”

FIRST TRACK- 88

A melodic otherworldly doom introduction leads the listener into realms they might not expect. Throaty vocals, at times seeming to issue from more than a single orifice, somewhere between death and black metal (with an obvious similarity to a vocalist any fan of the roots of the genre will instantly be able to name), elevate this far and beyond traditional Doom territories and spiralling across what many perceive as the boundaries of death/doom. The music and vocals combined form a soundscape that’s both harrowing and nightmarish though is unique in that it strays from utilizing the more familiar vehicle in order to get there. An intriguing introduction to both the band and their ‘take’, their invocation, of a genre which has become stale as of late.

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

The cover might scream Black Sabbath (taken to the extreme) but this most definitely isn’t. Obviously, the influence is there. This is mammoth riddled riff Doom, though it’s what’s “added” that might not appeal to the traditional purists. Think plodding menace in a blender with Tardy throat issuances from Obituary. Add to that undeniable groove, a thick ominous nature occasionally traipsing into cinematic depths, nods to traditional heavy metal influences, distortion laden rhythms which touch upon sludge waters, atmosphere melodies to leave any old school fan of Paradise Lost in need of a new pair of pants and an overall infectious nature and you’ll be close. The vocals here aren’t for everyone; this is death /doom with an emphasis on vocals plucked from the cavernous death arena. Although for those with an appreciation for the slightly different, in effect audio which clings to familiar structures whilst adding/embellishing upon their dimensions, this will about hammer home all the nails! With that I’m mind stay tuned to the album’s final moments for the cherry on the proverbial cake. Huge thanks must be given to @gregorywjkelly on Twitter for reminding me of this (when I only remembered the covers image) He has an infinitely better memory than my own!

Favorite Tracks; Delivers throughout!

FFO; Obituary, Paradise Lost, Novembers Doom.

malignament

Malignament (Finland) -Demo I

https://malignament.bandcamp.com/releases

Re-release January/31/2020 (originally October/21/2019)

Purity Through Fire

ARTWORK- 80

Another image which panders to my weaknesses; the macabre and black and white inks. (Yea I know it’s not white but rather ‘open space’ and I also know the artist isn’t pandering to my whim, but this sounds good. I’m going with it!)

FIRST TRACK- 88

Majestic yet melodic with a splash of folk, discernable rhythms which are downright infectious all complete with surprising production values which showcase each instruments role. This is Black Metal I can subscribe to without even trying. A fantastic opener!

INITIAL LISTEN- 86

(Note; Originally released with the first two tracks, the third was added for the tape fornat and this unleashing). For a demo this shines with a wicked, undeniable, appeal. The production is surprisingly decent, it fits the genre perfectly, and the tracks highlighting the musician’s knowledge (of the scene) and stellar abilities both in the composition and talent department. Cold, somewhat traditional, riffs are complemented by atmosphere, groove (yes “groove”) to incite movement and lyrics which make one want to dive into the physical releases accompanying text/lyric sheet. All in all an outstanding offering which should leave fans eager, salivating for more. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the scene but this made an impression instantly.

Favorite Tracks; Call to Arms, Wolf and the Moon.

FFO; Arctos, Dissection.

February Releases –

plague album

Plague (Greece) – Portraits of Mind

https://plague-gr.bandcamp.com/album/portraits-of-mind

Release – February/14/2020

Redefining Darkness

ARTWORK- 91

A wicked collage of skulls, eyeballs, bones and rot with exquisite colors to boot. An amazing image. If the audio is half as good as this, we’re in for a treat!

FIRST TRACK- 91

A typical introduction including Doom laden riffs, a little piano tinkering and a few bass chords leads into what I’d like to term “utter old school bliss”. Familiar yet fresh this channels riffs, phrasing and arrangements those of us who have a rabid hankering for the roots of the scene will instantly be able to appreciate. Melody, pacing, even the vocal cadence and delivery evokes the golden era of the genre – I’m hooked! Suffice it to mention if the remainder of the album plays out like this my headphones will most probably have to be forcefully pried from my head come days end.

INITIAL LISTEN- 93

Trust those (talented) Greeks to take something good and add upon its appeal. This does just that! Manipulating the familiar, twisting it and tossing in composition genius this album serves up an experience which might divide the camp. I for one appreciate its ability to make me reminisce upon that which brought me into the arena of extreme audio while others might comment that it’s too much like celebrated releases I can see part of this argument though I’ll also add that its becoming increasingly more difficult to be 100% original and or unique without the fear of acceptance.

With this release Plague have somehow managed to insert old school values, sensibilities and stylings into the foundation of a framework which might at first appear all too (instantly) recognizable but upon further inspection is a new take on a vintage design, utilizing talent, ingenuity and obviously undeniable homage as the mortar of said structure. Expect to see this mentioned again, multiple times, as the year draws to a close.

Favorite Tracks; An (old school) eargazm from start to finish!

FFO; mid era Death, mid era Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower, Pestilence, Immolation, early Gorguts.

invocation

(A last-minute entry)  Invocation (Chile) – Attunement to Death (EP)

 

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/album/invocation-attunement-to-death

Release – February/21/2020

Iron Bonehead Productions

ARTWORK – 80

An array of forms left to wither to dust. From this image one might wonder if the last vestiges of life are seeping away in the form of smoke. An interesting image which invokes bleakness and a dismay aura making great use of grays, black and white to highlight certain areas.

FIRST TRACK – 82

A bout of heavy breathing (a meditative concentration state deep in diabolical predicament I’m thinking) brings about the first riffs and the album begins offering a rolling suffocating dirge assault with a vocal accompaniment which seems distant thought equally as sinister as the musical style employed. There’s groove here too but it’s the aura which is impressive; cavernous and saturated in occult themes. An impressive start!

INITIAL LISTEN – 86

Hardly the typical chuggery many might think when the genre comes to mind this utilizes a constant pulverizing assault. Though not the type employed by either Origin or Nile but rather an aura which seethes with an underworld motif; a highly-effective cavernous saturation bringing about images of ancient locales forgotten by humanity at large, though still employed by robed denizens of the underworld for ritualistic purposes one would rather remain ignorant of. In short, an excellent representation of doom/death drenched in pitch darkness and slathered in an ominous nature that’s palpable. Hardly audio for the whole family but I’m over this like white on rice (does that sound right?)

Favorite Tracks; Impressive from first to last note!

FFO; Tomb Mold, Incantation, Krypts, Funebrarum.

theophagist

Theophagist (Luxembourg) – I Am Abyss

https://theophagist.bandcamp.com/album/i-am-abyss

Release – February/22/2020

Independent

ARTWORK- 87

A hand reaching for help. Look closer and you’ll soon discover this hand is much like a Siren bringing many to their doom. This image can be interpreted many ways to include several mental conditions and possibly the word “toxic” but seems as I don’t wish to write a dissertation, I’ll leave my thoughts brief.

FIRST TRACK- 82

A fantastic build leads into pummeling riff territory and an intriguing introduction to the bands style. Providing many layers, multiple twists and turns and a variety of tempo changes, far from one trick pony/genre chuggery ville, this bodes well for the remainder of the album and certainly tips the hat to a smorgasbord of influence plucked from a wide radius of genres. An execution bolstered by top notch musianship and production values.

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

When I think of Luxembourg honestly nothing comes to mind.  But in experiencing this, that will now be brought to a screeching halt. For my virgin foray into what the country offers by way of extreme audio I left with a sizable smirk upon my chops. “I Am Abyss” provides a myriad of mixed styles, primarily melodic death sporting a decipherable vocal style (occasionally a twin pronged attack much like what Trevor from Black Dahlia Murder provides) but also other elements, exquisitely interwoven, plucked from genres as wide afield as Deathcore, thrash, melodic black and even groove with pinches of Djent tossed in for good measure. The addition of cellos and bass as an instrumental is a great touch putting me in mind of the brilliance supplied by Apocalyptica. I was left wondering if Ville Valo might add his trademarked sultry voice at any moment. Overall, this provides more than one might assume, boasts great production, plentiful riffs and terrific rhythms to make even the most stubborn of head bob in appreciation. A damn good debut, even if it did take four years to come to fruition but I’m glad it finally did and it only leaves me eager for more.

Favorite Tracks; Cannibal Preacher, The Awakening, Terrors from the Deep, R.I.S.E, Apocalypse (redux).

FFO; Black Dahlia Murder, Abysmal Dawn, Amon Amarth, Gojira.

But let us not forgot that which we may have missed (Huh?)

Short Sharp Bursts of 19′

Kharma

Kharma (Venezuela) – Chronicas Deletereas I (of 2!) EP

https://kharmagrind.bandcamp.com/album/cr-nicas-delet-reas-l

Release-July/13/2019

Independent

ARTWORK- 92

Lady Liberty, tentacles and a bunch of skeletons writhing in eternal torment. What’s not to like? But seriously, the tone and colors here are quite amazing. If you’re reading this guys, where can I pick up the shirt?

INITIAL LISTEN- 88

Grinding death, groove and lyrics I can’t understand one word of. But it works and this near twelve-minute slab of brutality is one I’ll gladly recommend to fans of grindcore mixed with brutally melodic death… and did I mention groove? There’s plenty of it and plenty of excellently orchestrated rhythms to move to. These guys need more attention!!

subservience

Subservience (UK) -Ascending from the Abyss (EP)

https://ukemrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ascending-from-the-abyss

Release- May/25/2019

UKEM Records

ARTWORK- 75

Something is making itself known, slowly but undeniably, but will it ever make it way to the shores of mankind? And of it does will it be mistaken for z loofah and sold by the thousands? This remains to be seen, until then I’m hitting play…

INITIAL LISTEN- 87

Clocking in at under nineteen minutes these Brits show us that, although they don’t add much to that which has gone before, they can still deliver audio of a caliber which shouldn’t be ignored. This EP provides rhythms, riffs and passages which take instant hold of the listener proving that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, especially if your brand of the wheel is of such a high quality as this. Surprisingly there’s a slew of influence here at varying degrees which doesn’t in the slightest detract from the composition on offer, but rather adds to its appeal. Suffice it to say I’m eager for a full-length as too should fans of brutal melodic death which keeps the excitement of the genre alive.

infernal conjuration

Infernal Conjuration (Mexico)- Infernale Metallum Mortis

https://infernalconjuration.bandcamp.com/album/infernale-metallum-mortis

Release- June/6/2019

Iron Bonehead Productions

ARTWORK- 88

Grandiose and classical. I’m of the belief this is a depiction of the landscape of a birthday cake for a God, an entity for which the number of candles cannot equal the amount of years. It’s a losing battle, how about a gift card instead?

INITIAL LISTEN- 94

Like the most wicked mashup of vintage Morbid Angel, Pestilence, Death (and to a lesser degree a few others) sans the all too frequently utilized and all too obvious copycat vibe. Executed with precision, diabolical flair, savage fury and undeniable revenance resulting in a slab of audio whose appeal should be akin to the ravenous onslaught of a populace devastating virus (sans the boils, general listlessness, hemorrhaging, seepage from every orifice, loss of life and grieving loved ones) if there’s any justice! Old school dipped in diabolical menace draped in homage to the chaotic black. Call it what you wish, but it’s best not to disagree on semantics rather enjoy the brilliance and talent on offer here. I’ve had this lined up for some time (since early 19′) but up until now haven’t hit the play button, I can’t for the life of me fathom why. Don’t be like me, leap upon this, ears first, at the next given opportunity, you can thank me later! This is a top of the year list addition for sure. Is it too late to perform a “last minute edit”?

allagash

Allagash (Canada) – Cryptic Visions

https://allagash.bandcamp.com/album/cryptic-visions-2

Release – May/6/2019

Independent

ARTWORK- 84

A fantastic image depicting a cave in which Neanderthals encounter aliens. It’s like a mashup of Nell and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I only wonder who would stand victorious in a (best of three) game of Checkers.

INITIAL LISTEN- 91

The music on display here is fluid. Reminiscent of traditional heavy metal yet with more a speed metal approach putting me in mind of a slew of German acts under the Power/Speed genre umbrella. The vocals are a little harder to get into. Various online comments have likened them to those associated with Brocas Helm but not being a fan of their work, I can’t tell whether I fully agree with this. They do however take a little getting used to, but once ‘over the hurdle’ this develops into an album which puts the listener in an entrancing spell, whether it be through admiration of what’s on offer or the album’s nostalgic qualities, a slew of albums/acts/tracks, attached to names which might not quite reach the tip of the tongue, will pass through the memory banks as this plays out. Sound bites add to the albums intrigue (good old Ronny Reagan pulls in the listeners from the get go) and the theme interwoven throughout, (strangely Blood Incantation comes to mind during the albums more mystical passages) which the covers illustration covers sublimely. In conclusion this was a damn sight better than I expected, to be honest I was thinking black metal at first based on the bands moniker (explained much later in the album via a soundbite), it delivers throughout, supplies a great more than merely I can incoherently gush about and should not be missed especially for those of us with a soft spot for traditional Heavy Metal accompanied by pace (sans brutality) and atmosphere of remarkable scope. Do not let this pass you by undiscovered, I’m in awe even to the point of stating that the final track “Eagle Lake”, a fourteen-minute instrumental, is one of my fave tracks from 19′ (albeit belated).

warbound

Warbound (Brazil) -Behind the Unreal

https://thrashordeathrecords.bandcamp.com/album/behind-the-unreal

Release – September/21/2019

Thrash or Death Records

ARTWORK- 84

Raw black and white imagery depicting savagery and all manner of sin, suffice it to say I’m left curious as something that’s quite curious indeed!

INITIAL LISTEN- 85

Energetic old school thrash coupled with heavily accented vocals. If only it were that easy to summarize. Truth be told this has more to offer than just that as the riffs showcased here are both ferocious and melodic. The album’s atmosphere is surprising, a great addition, remember this is thrash and not death or black and the result; an album I’m surprised isn’t talked about more. This isn’t a ground-breaking feat but it does its job damn well and will spark interest in the vast majority of thrash fans where aggression reigns supreme in their listening habits! Add to this to your high energy playlist, alongside Whiplash, Destruction, Kreator and Sodom. But before hitting play put away all the breakables, this will make you move!

mix tape action

Keep it up Cult, at this pace you’ll drive yourself into an early grave!

And that brings another mammoth installment to its climax. I’ve barely managed to get this out in time. Hopefully I’ve succeeding in including diverse enough audio for most tastes, as always feel free to drop me a line with any comments, queries, suggestions or with any wishes to contribute. Seriously your grammar can’t get much worse than mine. And this is usually where I say “Don’t fear discovery” and there it is.

Your slave to audio (and celluloid) in many of its extreme guises,

Cult

Abrasive Audio – The Year in Review

Part the Fourth (the second, and final, installment; so much metal one part just isn’t enough!)

thank you end of year lkit 19

This is it. The final installment. Before I continue I’d like to say a huge thanks to all concerned, the PR companies, the people I’ve interacted with, those I’ve reconnected with, those I’ve started new friendships with, those who continue to support my scribbles (you the reader) but most of all the bands who continue to strive to entertain even though the road is fraught with difficulty and the fact that it isn’t paved with gold as many might think. Here’s to another year overflowing with audio brilliance.

Without further waffling, I present my final picks;

nocturnalia

Nocturnalia – III Winter

https://nocturnaliamusic.bandcamp.com/album/nocturnalia-iii-winter

This offers a collective of radio friendly tracks with mesmerizing qualities running the gauntlet of traditional rock, folk and a style perilously close to speed metal. Never boring, this delights throughout and serves as a stunning palette cleanser for those evening when one just wishes to unwind. Fluid from the first until the last note with its fluid though varied composition, unique nature and thoroughly stunning delivery and execution.

Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove

Novembers Doom – Nephilim Grove

 https://novembersdoom1989.bandcamp.com/album/nephilim-grove

Shattering my preconceived notions Novembers Doom have utilized all the death/doom genre is known for then added their trademark thunderous rhythm approach, passionate vocal diversity and stupendous epic arrangements (which tug at even the most hardened of emotions) and have fashioned an album which delivers from start to finish. This is perhaps their finest work to date.

sentient horror

Sentient Horror -Morbid Realms*

https://sentienthorror.bandcamp.com/album/morbid-realms

Somehow Sentient Horror have utilized a familiar style and have added their own flair making it fresh and exciting again. All the ingredients a fan of the HM2 genre have come to expect. However, this band have imbued the formula with a certain something; be it maniacal solos, fluid lead moments or instances of ominous atmosphere which combine to levitate this to another level entirely. Lay your ears upon this and rekindle your love of the ‘Stockholm sound’.

Schammasch hearts-of-no-light
Schammasch – Hearts of No Light

https://schammasch.bandcamp.com/album/hearts-of-no-light

Atmospheric black metal with arrangements of astounding caliber the likes of which one will be surprised to discover here, this is so more than merely ‘black’ in any sense of the imagination. This takes the listener to realms which are quite unexpected though strangely don’t seem at all out of place. A release with both depth and cinematic opus qualities one needs to experience to fully appreciate, for my words cannot even come close. A fantastic introduction to the band and a style which is easily consumed for those like myself who are relative newcomers to this genre.

swampbeast void terror split

Swamp Beast/Void Terror SPLIT – Holocaust of Terrestrial Empires

 https://mesacounojo.bandcamp.com/album/holocaust-of-terrestrial-empires

Swamp Beast – Unrelenting death grind complemented by suffocating catacomb-esque atmosphere. A mesmerizing soundscape combining Napalm Death touches, passages of groove and a brutal whirlwind chaotic attack.
Void Terror – What Bolt Thrower “Realm of Chaos” might have sounded like if it had decidedly black metal undertones. Dirge laden and wickedly dark, yet chaotic and shot through with diabolical essence. A swirling maelstrom of audio madness one doesn’t wish to escape.

An excellent split with plenty on offer from two acts ripe for discovery. Keep an ear out for these guys they are both poised for greatness.

the deathtrip

The Deathtrip – Demon Solar Totem

https://the-deathtrip.bandcamp.com/album/demon-solar-totem

The Deathtrip have created an album which has the potential to garner appeal from across the BM landscape. Varied in both scope and approach raw audio (with an intensity to appeal to traditionalists and those acclimatizing themselves to the variety the scene offers; aka me) cavorts alongside melancholic atmosphere hypnotic, trance inducing, rhythms and surprisingly melody drenched under occult skies an effect which holds the attention from first to last. And the more one sinks into the experience the greater detail and intricacies it provides. This boasts an appeal which cannot be argued, begs to be repeated and often.

unfathomable ruinantion

Unfathomable Ruination – Enraged and Unbound

https://unfathomableruination.bandcamp.com/album/enraged-unbound

Track structures, although longer than most in the same genre, are infectiously contagious showcasing abrupt pace transformations, frenzied and maniacal moments and technicality the likes of which precariously straddles the fence between technical death and grindcore arenas. In short, this audio depicts an act who have no desire to fuck around. It’s straight down to business and these guys are bringing all the requisite ingredients to make a lasting impression, albeit one which will leave a mark whose after effects will require meds and most probably a trip to the ER.

Vampyromorpha - Herzog

Vampyromorpha – Herzog

https://vampyromorpha.bandcamp.com/

Although this occasionally dips into ultra-melodic realms it remains intriguing throughout and is most likely to fit nicely in the ‘guilty pleasures’ folder of those whose daily audio is drenched in nature extreme. A Gothic nature, Southern groove and passion alongside hard rock sensibilities (including soaring solos), and rough vocal approach (which oddly fits) and a willingness to experiment makes this stand out but it’s the caliber which makes it stick, and instantly!

warsenal

Warsenal – Feast Your Eyes

 https://open.spotify.com/album/58SvjDQbXqTG2Ng5qHohme?autoplay=true&v=L

In moments one could well imagine this is what Destruction (Germany) might have sounded like if they’d have spent more time listening to NWOBHM. The music is often face-melting fast though imbued with undeniable traditional heavy metal elements and even on occasion a tone likened to crossover thrash. As a whole the album is neither “this” nor “that” but rather a stunning smorgasbord of styles combined with expert cohesion plucked with reverence from a myriad of genres. This only gets infinitely better after the initial listen.

wolfbrigade

WolfBrigade – The Enemy: Reality*

https://wolfbrigadesl.bandcamp.com/

This is unapologetically formulaic at times, even a tad simplistic, but it hits home and has an effect that borders on hypnotic. Ungodly infectious and especially potent following a workout or participation in an activity with similar “results”, short and to the point this is to be played loud, but probably not in rush hour traffic as it tends to incite uncontrollable movements and a shit eating grin hardly anyone is likely to understand. Suffice it to say Wolfbrigade strike again and much like their last this destroys most everything in its path.

December

bethledeign

Bethledeign – Iconography of Suffering

https://edgewoodarsenal.bandcamp.com/album/iconography-of-suffering

Maniacal leads, slower paced passages and breakdowns for sorts with familiarity aplenty, riffs to leave one salivating and a varied style to please a great many bar those who yearn for silly, overburdening, technicality and heaps of progressive nature within their extreme audio. For fans of Cannibal Corpse, this will leave an impression.

death wolf

Death Wolf (formerly Devils’ Whorehouse) – IV: Come the Dark

https://helterskelterproductions.bandcamp.com/album/iv-come-the-dark

This is slightly different, familiar but not for the reasons one might think and a little experimental. At times the times the album has a ‘if Ministry played black metal this is how it might sound’ vibe while in others epic triumphant qualities take center stage and rhythms take on more a simplistic groove approach ala more recent Satyricon. However, you slice it this is unexpected but cannot be written off. Be prepared though for it has the potential to grow to criminally infectious levels.

Hvile I Kaos

Hvile I Kaos – Black Morning, Winter Green

https://rednebula.bandcamp.com/album/black-morning-winter-green

Intricate melodies writhe and duel for dominance, a narrative is carefully constructed utilizing an assortment of details and depth forming a rich tapestry to enrapt the listener. This is an experience sans a vocal accompaniment, for it doesn’t need such. It speaks volumes and stands testament to the talent, passion and composition brilliance of Kakophonix; the single soul behind the manipulation of the strings involved. A rich texture of melodies invoking darkness and beauty and the many grey areas in between. More classical than anything remotely extreme metal in nature.

oath of cruelty

Oath of Cruelty – Summary Execution at Dawn

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/summary-execution-at-dawn

Chaotic, tumbling melodies shot through with veins of maniacal madness and capillaries of diabolical finesse. This could well be Morbid Angel under the Kreator banner of old imbued with South American aggression. Unrelenting blackened thrash draped in a generous helping of sinister recommended for fans of the old school.

Revel in Flesh

Revel in Flesh – The Hour of the Avenger*

https://open.spotify.com/album/1vXNFib8ODt2uuRMIkzYbt?autoplay=true&v=L

Boasting a collection of tracks with a slew of stylistic ambiance this album offers a great deal to enjoy. Comforting in its nostalgic familiarity this seethes with an undeniable air of superiority.

I don’t know where Revel in Flesh have been between albums. I only wonder if there’s a location someplace in a remote mountainous region whereupon enigmatic Monks strip one of everything they know only then reeducate one (in the most mysterious ways imaginable) in the true path of Godly extreme audio. For this really is that good! Fans of Entombed, Nocturnal Hollow, LIK, Dismember and Entrails cannot afford to miss out on this!

exhausted animal

And that’s it. A whooping 153 releases spanning January through December 2019, only the tip of the proverbial iceberg if truth be told (there’s a whole ton of releases I didn’t have time to get to) Showcasing a total of 36 (absolute favorites) which looking back I could probably have shortened this list down to. A tip of the hat to those who have made it this far, hurdling the obvious obstacles which my horrid grammar produces. As always free to share and comment. I’m always up for suggestions, perhaps even a few people who wish to aid me in my quest to entertain (I’m talking unpaid contributors, I’ve yet to make a cent, I require someone else with the equal dedication). The comment link is at the bottom of this article. It’s been a pleasure, and even though I’m exhausted it’s been worth every keyboard stroke if only to preach the word of metal and support acts who bring me a modicum of pleasure in an otherwise dull, tedious existence.

Cult

Abrasive Audio – The Year in Review

Part the Fourth (the first installment; so much metal one part just isn’t enough!)

trick or treat the usual suspects

The sun has mellowed (somewhat, depending on where you live) trees are about to get naked (insert Beavis and Butthead silliness and memes here) and there will soon be more Jason’s, Michael’s, Chuckie’s and Freddie’s roaming the streets than one can shake a stick at. Best hand out the “good stuff” (candy) rather than the healthy edibles, lest one decides to visit after hours. In other news the last quarter of the year sees the unleashing of a veritable avalanche of extreme audio. The downside of which is that this is now being broken up into two parts rather than one monstrous affair. Forget filing Santa’s sack with presents for the family and loved ones, blow the allowance on metal instead!

October

Assassin’s Blade – Gather Darkness

Assassin’s Blade – Gather Darkness*

https://puresteelrecords.bandcamp.com/album/gather-darkness

The rhythms here are infectious to the nth degree and the beat enough to drive one to involuntary spasms of movement (I’d put this up there with a personal favorite of mine by Dio-fronted Rainbow “Kill the King”) And the album progresses from there to leave one with a grin plastered across their chops as if to say I’ve done something insanely wrong, quite naughty in fact, and I’ve gotten away with it. There is undeniable fluidity on display here, there are zero dull instances, the melodies and riffs are just short of mind blowing. The collective of tracks lifts you from the dull drum daily activities to a place where you forget all your ills and woes, let your hair down and bang yer’ head like one possessed this will stick in your head for days to follow. I’m not normally a fan of the genre. This however blew me away!

cleric

Cleric – Serpent Psalms

https://cleric-us.bandcamp.com/

The familiarity here for those of us with tastes for the old school and mid-tempo infectious silliness is undeniable. This is worship at the altar of both HM2 and the early 90’s British death scene. Boasting a seething dirge nature complemented by riffs and rhythms which are difficult to ignore this is a release which demands further attention and might well male one take a trip down nostalgia brutal ville to revisit that which is most probably collecting dust.

coffin rot

Coffin Rot – A Monument to the Dead

https://bloodharvestrecords.bandcamp.com/album/a-monument-to-the-dead

A wicked mash up of Death metal styles from a slew of genre standouts concocted with style. For a debut this is eye-opening audio. Shit, even for a second, third or fourth album this leaves an impression. Coffin Rot have successfully injected a shot of wake the F up into the extreme arena. And to think the ingredients were always there ripe for the mix. Sit up and take note, this is prime end of years best audio right here!!

cycles of the damned
Cycles of the Damned – A Time to Survive

https://cyclesofthedamned.bandcamp.com/album/a-time-to-survive

As this plays out as the listener is dragged from one destination to another in a journey comprised upon a spectrum of landscapes formed from the unlikely coalescing of a myriad of styles. Fluidity is uncommonly commendable and I would suggest an afternoon free from distraction to be able to let the power of this release (as a whole, not track by track if avoidable) sink in. This is drenched in doom sensibilities, sludge qualities and a certain amount of unquestionable angst. Cinematic soundscapes are introduced showcasing psychedelic moments amidst unbound atmosphere to adds considerable depth.

esogenesi

Esogenesi – s/t

https://esogenesidoom.bandcamp.com/album/self-titled-death-doom-metal

In part familiar, easily consumable yet different, the whole effect is hypnotic and has the potential to take the listener far from their daily woes. Naturally the lyrics are spoken in a tongue only a few of us can understand which only makes this that much more intriguing and well worth setting the senses upon.

gatecreeper deserted
Gatecreeper – Deserted

https://gatecreeper.bandcamp.com/album/deserted

Gatecreeper wrangle arrangements away from plagiarist realms to homage territories adding their own creative fingerprint to delight the eager senses. The album offers both nostalgic qualities and enough groove to set any dance floor on fire (what?) This hits the spot! Highly recommended! An excellent combination of death/doom/old school and HM2 worship.

gevaudan iter.jpg
Gévaudan – ITER*

https://gevaudan.bandcamp.com/album/iter

Channeling a myriad of styles from as far afield as stoner rock, folk and Gothic rock with a varied landscape of doom in-between Gévaudan have meticulously crafted a collection of songs boasting undeniable fluidity which possess the power to cast a spell, a unfathomably huge web of appeal, upon all who choose to lay ears upon it. This about has it all and I can’t for the life of me wonder why it isn’t spoken about often and loudly, I’m here to change that!

golgotha.jpg
Golgotha – Erasing the Past

https://golgotha.bandcamp.com/album/erasing-the-past

Primarily doom draped with growling vocals, but also traditional heavily accented vocals which often give this more a Gothic Rock edge. Folk elements are subtle, undeniable power, presence and a stunning composition mastery are factors which can’t be ignored. Rhythms are both soulful, passionate and melancholic coupled with keyboard atmosphere the effect is an album which will make one want to sift through past efforts and pronto.

grond graceless split.jpg

Grond/Graceless SPLIT – Endless Spiral of Terror

https://grond.bandcamp.com/album/endless-spiral-of-terror-split-2019

Grond – This keeps the listener on their toes with rhythms which are steamroller in their assault; both infectious and atmosphere laden, with occasional nods to a slew of influence. Hardly technical neither repetitive in its riff approach the audio here nestles someplace in between with definite appeal for a wide audience across the board.

Graceless – Old school groove with oomph and a vocal style which will bring a face-splitting grin to any fans face. Infectious is a term which doesn’t quite suffice in this instance.

Overall, fans of OSDM will likely scramble over themselves for the quality this offers, suffice it to mention that this would make an excellent accompaniment to an already outstanding collection boasting the finest the genre boasts. (Is it me or does that look like Judge Death? Anyone?

hot breath

Hot Breath s/t

https://hotbreathofficial.bandcamp.com/album/hot-breath

This is an obvious palette cleanser for those whose interests primarily reside in the extreme but for those who dip their senses in metals roots this delivers all that one could wish. Hardly a copycat act this collective are slated to bear the standard of the revival into an age where more of the same (seemingly on repeat) needs to be eradicated at all costs. Give this a listen but be warned, it’s dangerously and instantaneously addictive.

hour of penance
Hour of Penance – Misotheism *

https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/album/misotheism

Unmerciful in its approach and unrelenting in its salvo; this is what death metal is all about. Boasting zero progressive passages and sporting unerring brutality; intricate in its composition from start to finish. Drenched in speed, but not merely for speeds sake, and an atmosphere complemented by undeniable majesty which places it perilously close to the darker side of the metal spectrum this has the power to enthrall all who lay ears upon it. Top tier death metal right here!

in mourning
In Mourning – Garden of Storms*

https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/album/garden-of-storms

The audio here is about as varied as one can imagine without it running into ridiculous territories, Avant Garde, or experimental realms. The styles herein tumble over each as though puppies at play without once resorting to brutality, the fluidity here is astounding. Growling vocals complement shifting rhythms, sweeping, soaring melodies and progressive passages which are exquisite. In fact, overall this is an album I’m itching to recommend to the wife if only it wasn’t for the fact that she has an aversion to growling vocals.

lindsayschoolcraftmartyr.jpg
Lindsay Schoolcraft – Martyr

https://schoolcraftmusic.bandcamp.com/album/martyr

Arrangements are often melancholic, always classically tinged and the album throughout is surprisingly radio friendly. Lindsay’s voice is impressive, adds significant presence to the audio with its ethereal qualities, mood and range; smoky, sultry and angelic. Admittedly, this is not what I usually set ears upon but this is fantastic for those moments you might want to share audio with the significant other who perhaps (if your situation is anything like mine) doesn’t enjoy the more brutal/extreme side of the metal spectrum.

necronomicon
Necronomicon – Unus

https://necronomiconbm.bandcamp.com/

This album drips with excellence, wisdom, atmosphere and an epic audio landscape drenched in master craft-execution of archaic qualities one cannot possibly ignore. If blackened death is the area of the metal arena upon which you spend most of your time you would be negligent not to place this within the ears. If this is a scene which is new to you and you’re curious this is a great place to start your exploration. Highly recommended!

negator
Negator – Vnitas Pvritas Existentia*

https://negator.bandcamp.com/album/vnitas-pvritas-existentia

An inhumane drum accompaniment lays the groundwork for the percussion to embellish upon. The albums pace is primarily hyper-speed; although there are plenty of instances where a slower, more atmospheric laden, pace comes to the fore. If only as foreplay to the brooding, sinister, brutality which is about to follow. Surprising melodies, an undeniable grandiose aura permeate this release and an undeniable diversity in rhythm amidst all its brooding archaic nature, majestic rhythms and hyper speed tendencies makes for a release which definitely stands out from the typical blackened affair.

orodruin
Orodruin – Ruins of Eternity

https://orodruin.bandcamp.com/album/ruins-of-eternity

Huge riffs, passionate rhythms, a NWOBHM nature and tone weaved among traditional heavy metal and doom stylings accompanied and supported by a powerful lead voice. This will leave fans of late 70’s early 80’s mid paced rock/doom wanting more.

Ossuaire
Ossuaire – Derniers Chants

https://ossuaire.bandcamp.com/album/derniers-chants

Furious and unmerciful, yet hypnotic. I don’t get how that works, it’s puzzling to be sure. But somehow, this has the power to enthrall. Ancient and mysterious, majestic and grandiose, this seethes with archaic malevolence and undeniable passion. A stunning feat!

rank and vile.jpg
Rank and Vile – Redistribution of Flesh

https://rankandvile.bandcamp.com/album/redistribution-of-flesh

Speed is often replaced by crushing heavy, slower, riff passages. Social commentary and angst however, is still front and center and highly influences the content of an often twin-pronged vocal assault which will carve a grin on any extreme fan’s visage. This offers more variety in tone and pace than one might have initially assumed, each track has its own identity and, to be honest, the style here encompasses a fair few genres rather than being able to fit comfortably into just one. Categorization be damned! Give this a moment in your ears, you won’t be disappointed!

Screamer.jpg
Screamer -Highway of Heroes*

https://wearescreamer.bandcamp.com/

this is NWOBHM traditional heavy metal everyone should aspire to perform to the level of. Addictive and enchanting don’t quite reach the words I need to utilize in this instance, I’m still reeling. I swear if these guys would triple bill with Metalium and Traveler the Earth would spin so quick on its axis as to create a black hole (ha, that’s not how that works, I’m a far-reaching idiot) but I’d be a happy fella.

shadow limb
Shadow Limb – Burn Scar

https://shadowlimb.bandcamp.com/album/burn-scar

These cats deliver and execute a smorgasbord of styles which combine to form a mesmerizing audio tapestry, a tableau which is familiar while at the same time intriguingly unique. An audio landscape which is unpredictable and exhilarating though on the other hand is also soothing and hypnotic. Go into this with an open mind and leave with the knowledge that their name is one you will be hearing a great deal of in the future.

Singularity.jpg

Singularity -Place of Chains

https://singularityaz.bandcamp.com/album/place-of-chains

Inferi technicality with a splash of Gothic aura (ala Cradle of Filth) wrapped in a maniacal grin carving delectable shell. Delicious rhythms, chasing melodies, galloping riffs, technically cavorting with progressive brilliance. Sci fi element? Check! Feast your ears on this and you will not be disappointed!! Stunning melodic technical death from the desert. The Artisan Era bring it again!!

slutvomit

Slutvomit – Copulation of Cloven Hooves

https://invictusproductions666.bandcamp.com/album/copulation-of-cloven-hooves

More than simply an album caked in filth, infernal nature and frenetic diabolical mischievous riffs aplenty this is an album that drips black sensibilities though is weighted in speed tropes, maniacal values, instantly appreciate able raunchiness and, naturally, wickedness. Lethal intent laden riff and dizzying rhythm transformations bring to mind vintage Morbid Angel as well Vader, even at times Slayer to offer a listen which is quite simply one of the year’s most surprising.

the bleeding morbid porophecy

The Bleeding – Morbid Prophecy

https://thebleeding.bandcamp.com/

Atmosphere coupled with flesh melting riffs, a thrashy death approach and vocals seemingly plucked from early Destruction. If your mood demands furious fluid riffing, evil (as in the inclusion of guacamole on a burger) and vocals which only make one want to serve at the altar of a Dark God then this will hit the spot, then serve to obliterate it!

The Scourge
The Scourge – Warrant for Execution*

https://thescourge-us.bandcamp.com/album/warrant-for-execution

Between the albums delicate balance and masterful combination of a slew of styles (namely hard rock, NWOBHM, Southern groove and thrash among others) there lies utter undeniable brilliance. Swift pace cavorts hand in hand with melodies which would otherwise seem foreign, though somehow The Scourge have managed to syndicate the two much like PB n Jelly and then topped the concoction off with stunning musicianship, creative genius and a vocalist whose skills I can’t believe haven’t been discovered and utilized up until this point. Overall the meshing and molding of the styles is exquisite bearing a fluidity which is erratic and rarely witnessed across the metal cosmos. Don’t let your friends tell you about this, be the first on the block to preach!!

Totengeflüster.jpg

Totengeflüster – The Faceless Divine

https://totengeflsterblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/the-faceless-divine

An “Industrial” tightness, rhythm and blistering pace ala Ministry (circa “The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste”/”Psalm 69”), classical/Gothic symphonic backdrops, an occasional splash of war metal, vicious vocals a presence which is superb throughout all the ingredients for another unconventional black metal release which has me doing a double take, and I’m not even known to like ‘black metal’.

xoth

Xoth – Interdimensional Invocations*

https://xoth.bandcamp.com/

The shredding quotient in this is damn impressive the style dynamic yet diverse, infectious melodies, technical intricacies and progressive passages combine with a soundscape that’s part brutal death, part technical and slightly traditional metal in tone add to this lyrical content slathered in cosmic elements and a little levity and the result is a release which you cannot ignore!

November

abigail williams

Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond the Dark *

https://blood-music.bandcamp.com/album/walk-beyond-the-dark

Hypnotizing from beginning to end this utilizes both traditional and non-traditional means to attain the heights which it transports its gob-stricken listeners. Beauty cavorts with viciousness and black metal sensibilities frolic with folk, doom, progressive and even the occasional traditional heavy metal element to form an ocean of atmosphere which like the nature of water itself is harrowing, melancholic and ferocious. The whole is utterly palpable in its effectiveness.

blood incantation

Blood Incantation – The Hidden History of the Human Race

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hidden-history-of-the-human-race

Intoxicating passages are plentiful alongside melodies, which invoke wonderment and awe transporting the listener to unfathomably vast cosmic landscapes. Menacing, enveloping yet drenched in melancholia coupled with transcendental qualities (strangely wallowing in David Bowie and Devon Townsend pools in instances) which demand exploration this is an album which only blossoms the more it’s allowed the dominate the senses.

minaton
Byzantian Neckbeard – Minaton*

https://byzanthianneckbeard.bandcamp.com/album/minaton

This collective pound out a style which is heavily doom/sludge infused though tainted with an undeniable thrash/death aura courtesy of the blackened vocal approach an occult Gothic vibe binds the whole together. Blanket the package in irresistible groove, a bluesy black and roll passion and you have a winner. Forget the recent connotations which come with the term ‘neckbeard’ and jump in. But be warned, you might not want to leave the catacombs anytime soon

cattle decapitation
Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas

https://cattledecapitation.bandcamp.com/

Prog/tech/grind/brutal death you can call this what you will but there’s no argument that this is inhumanely crafted with both precision and intelligence. Progressive passages meld with technical prowess and a pace which varies dramatically throughout both the album and every track making for a listening experience to please those with discernible tastes and those with open minds. No matter one’s opinion of what the band preaches, though it getting easier and easier to see their point of view, there’s no argument that this is a release which will carve a great many grins across the vast extreme audio landscape.

chained to the dead.jpg
Chained to the Dead – A Gruesome Encounter*

https://chainedtothedead.bandcamp.com/album/a-gruesome-encounter

Overall, crimson, guts, stabbings, slicing’s, creepy soundbites and an infectiously groove laden percussion with an emphasis on melody and rhythm rather than blistering O.T.T brutality this is an album which decimates unsuspecting earholes without falling into repetitive realms, alights furious fanboy cinematic horror/cult research and demands attention. There is a fair few in the same vein as this with soundbites aplenty abetted by a similar audio style but Chained to the Dead have managed, somehow, to combine the usual elements (grindcore, death, crust) and then included a certain something to elevate the final result from the pack. This is criminally infectious!

crusadist
Crusadist – The Unholy Grail

https://crusadist.bandcamp.com/album/the-unholy-grail

It’s hard to fathom that this is a debut. This reeks of experience and screams of a quality which comes from trial and error. Rare is it that an album digs its claws in, deep, from an initial listen. This is one of those rare examples and I pleased to impart that the same sensation lingers even following a third, fourth and fifth visit. The partnership of the guitars, bass and drums combine for an undeniably amazing effect (a dynamic structure which will prompt movement, riffs for days, menacing and ominous auras par excellence) Varied solo work which will leave one wondering what the hell is in the water in Chicago.

depressed.jpg
Depressed – Beyond the Putrid Fiction

https://depressedblacklion.bandcamp.com/

Hardly audio to take the scene into fresh undiscovered territories this is however incredibly solid from start to finish. Injected with a groove infused dirge tone and varied rhythms to give even the most hardened of death fan a sore neck following a listen.

fleshcrawl.jpg
Fleshcrawl – Into the Catacombs of Flesh

https://fleshcrawl.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-catacombs-of-flesh

Channeling “Massive Killing Capacity” era Dismember and a dirge which brings to mind the best of Bolt Thrower while boasting more pronounced D-beat, Crust elements and less ‘clean’ melodies the band have carved an album sporting stellar production (heavy on the drums giving it that desired oomph) which is instantly welcomed with eager ears. A Fleshcrawl for the coming decade offering up the classic Swedish MK2 sound with a freshness for the next generation to cherish as their parents did before them

galaxy.jpg
Galaxy – Lost from the Start*

https://galaxyaus.bandcamp.com/album/lost-from-the-start

Channeling NWOBHM, Power, speed and thrash metal elements Galaxy have created a release that’s dynamic, infectious and draped in a cosmic narrative. And all in a way which reeks of homage yet breathes with exuberance and youthful energy, a package which is sure to stand out.

Iapetus - The Body Cosmic
Iapetus – The Body Cosmic

https://iapetus1.bandcamp.com/album/the-body-cosmic

For those who have the patience, time and willingness to allow this to seep into the system the rewards are immeasurable. I’ll mention that this flows with an uncommon and undeniable brilliance throughout. Showcasing a love of the genre which is unquestionable and a talent for composition which is awe- inspiring Iapetus have formulated an audio collective which is both epic, intricate, diverse, unfathomably distracting and mesmerizing to the Nth degree. In effect, an album one might want to tether themselves to reality to before embarking upon.

immanifest

Immanifest – Macrobial*

https://immanifest.bandcamp.com/album/macrobial

Draped in cinematic values and drenched in an epic celestial narrative “Microbial” does much more than merely entertain like the run of the mill/normal tech-death affair. Chaotic, enthralling, epic and enigmatic there’s plenty to lose yourself within on display here and Immanifest have captured the full attention. It’s been an amazing year for metal and thus is sure to be an album discussed come years end. Don’t miss it!

mortuary new release 19
Mortuary – The Autophagous Reign*

https://mortuarynancy.bandcamp.com/album/the-autophagous-reign

After thirty years most have slowed, perhaps even changed styles completely to appeal to larger audience (I think we all know who I’m talking about). Mortuary however have shattered the ‘over the hill’ adage; if there ever was a hill, they’ve blasted their way through it! Pulverizing, unrelenting, riff assault part grinding death/thrash (with just enough technicality thrown in) part South American aggressive thrash. Complemented by a precise Misery Index-esque drum barrage but all ungodly infectious. Likely to be treated like a box of Pringles (you can’t play this just once!) this is an album which’ll make you wish you were fit; a single track is likely to leave you sweaty and tired. Awesome audio with incredible allure.

mix tape action

Keep it up you maniac, you’re nearly done!

Don’t fret, I’m still here. As I mentioned earlier this theses three months are divided into two installments based on the sheer amount of releases (and the level of quality) unleashed. The final installment is on its way. Until then don’t fear the discovery of audio which might normally seem foreign to the senses.

Cult

Abrasive Audio – The Year in Review

clothing-optional

C’mon, even seals love the sun.

Part the Third

Half the year has disappeared already and one might be wondering where, as it certainly doesn’t move that fast when one wishes it to. The lawn is demanding attention as it’s sprouting faster than a leopard after a potential mate and clothing is apparently optional (which isn’t always a bad thing). The world of extreme audio is still chugging along and the intensity only seems to be building. Now if only the kids could find something to do (for more than five minutes at a time) I might be able to fully immerse myself within all that the metal universe has to offer. (“…but, Dad!”) Onward.

(As is traditional my absolute favorites are marked with an *)

July

abominism

Abominism – s/t

https://abominism.bandcamp.com/album/abominism

Occasionally, albums and artists come from out of nowhere to kick one on their ass. And this did just that! Only six tracks on offer here but they are more than enough with their epic qualities to whet the appetite and leave the listener wanting more. Atmosphere is rampant as too dissonant rhythms, technical passages and progressive elements concocted and woven with such creativity and professionalism as too only draw the listener into the album’s entrancing spell the deeper in the listener gets. There’s a great deal for everyone to enjoy here as the style blankets a wide radius of the extreme metal spectrum all balanced delicately with absolute precision.

Baleful abyss

Baleful Abyss (F.K.A Zombieslut) – Death Propaganda

https://balefulabyss.bandcamp.com/

Dirge driven groove that’s highly nostalgic of the 90’s which demands respect and makes a fantastic addition to any collection bursting at the seams with death/doom laden dirge and death bordering on grindcore.

Beastmaker – Eye of the Storm

beastmaker

https://beastmaker.bandcamp.com/

Think traditional heavy metal with speed metal tendencies draped in a fine shroud of occult doom. This flows so damn well it should be criminal, and that voice. And although it’s short, barely four tracks I can honestly say this is dangerously infectious audio.

desecresyDesecresy – Towards Nebulae

 

https://xtreemmusic.bandcamp.com/album/towards-nebulae

Crushing, heavy machinery, sonic barbarity with unmistakable influences aided by a suffocating atmosphere and an occasional cavernous doom presence which teases dragging the listener through grindcore waters. Highly effective and evocative audio with a vast cosmos conflict type narrative.

disowning human cattle

Disowning -Human Cattle

https://xenokorp.bandcamp.com/album/human-cattle

A myriad concoction of styles assaults the listener herein add a splash of technical expertise, undeniably excellent production and the album offers ten tracks any fan of the genre can readily consume without complaint and each with their own identity. Add vocals which fit perfectly and the album rockets into unforgettable realms. This album begs to be played again and again. Jump on this at your next earliest convenience!

 

ecliptic visionEcliptic Vision – s/t

https://eclipticvision.bandcamp.com/album/ecliptic-vision

Far from the typical brutal/progressive death affair this is an effort which delivers throughout and demands multiple listens to fully appreciate. Progressive themes knit tightly, and flirt constantly, with technical passages injected with nuance, varying pace and abrupt transforming rhythms. Ambient interludes add to the albums overall effect; the combination is bathed in other-worldly themes resulting in an album which thankfully stays this side of the gone too far to be saved cosmic tech-wizardry fence.

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Freighter – The Den

https://freighter.bandcamp.com/album/the-den

Hard to describe, even harder not to instantly like. There’s truly something unique and utterly mesmerizing about the style, or rather the mixture of styles here. The lyrics are comic book-esque and fantastical in their scope with a style that’s somewhat comical and the audio is a hodge-podge of styles which are familiar yet hard to instantly place. Riffs here and there leer at the listener with an air of arrogance as if to say I dare you to pair me with an act, track and album. I dare you to tackle the quest.

gates to the morning

Gates to the Morning – Return to Earth

https://gatestothemorning.bandcamp.com/album/return-to-earth-ep

Odd how Jazz and Metal are two genres so vastly separate from each other yet they come together so amazingly well. Close to an hour in length this is so much more than merely an album, it’s far from traditional in any senses, more a journey through an audioscape which offers an experience demanding the undivided attention. A sojourn through a wilderness fraught with melancholy, bliss and exhilaration. Melody intertwines with majesty; brutality cavorts with the innocence of beauty accompanied by rhythms which are soothing yet shot through with an undeniable sinister air.

pathetic

Pathetic – Rat King

https://pathetic666.bandcamp.com/

A glorious mixture of influences keeps this album rolling. D-beat rhythms cavort with old school values and plodding riffs akin to that of the earliest Grave material. Lyrics often reek of a deliciously jaded Pungent Stench vibe, add this to an occasionally wicked soundbite, a dirge-laden tone ripped straight from the basement of the underground 90’s (think Bolt Thrower, Terrorizer) and a pace which often picks up frequently offering groove one cannot sit still to and you have all the right ingredients for an album which feels like it might have been released twenty-something years too late.

shades of deep water

Shades of Deep Water – Death’s Threshold

https://dunkelheitprod.bandcamp.com/album/deaths-threshold

Although this doesn’t seem that complex in rhythm or composition (at times it appears to dive deep into drone waters) it has a certain undeniable quality, a power, a captivating quality which is difficult to ignore. The album is only made even more impressive based on the fact that it was composed, mixed, recorded and mixed by a single soul, a talented individual indeed, J.H. A Fantastic mood accompaniment!

Thy_Art_Is_Murder

Thy Art is Murder – Human Target *

https://open.spotify.com/album/6P55RLLgax6WruBMdKWlvf

The partnership of Djent, Slam, melodic, brutal death and one of the finest voices in the industry is stunning; mixed to genius levels and appreciatively differing ratios within each track. Atmosphere, brutality, melody and a caliber of production only elevates the albums grandiose nature. It’s all here, in spades, making for a release which demands respect and the senses upon it.

vagrant

Vagrant – The Rise of Norn

https://vagrantblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/the-rise-of-norn

Weaving a masterful combination of melodies and atmosphere with lyrics based around warriors, folklore, fate and superstition Vagrant have managed to create an album which flows exquisitely. Rhythms intertwine with galloping and heavy riffs forging a release which is far from the run of the mill melodic death or even blackened death album. Offering symphonic death, melodic death exquisite acoustic elements, doom, folk and Viking metal this has the potential to appeal to a wide audience.

August

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Abysmalist – Reflections of Horror

https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/reflections-of-horror

Only four tracks on offer here but as an introduction to what the band offer this is stunning, an outstanding example of how death and doom realms can be manipulated to great effect. A delicate balance of atmosphere and brutality presented by considerable oomph to grab and hold the attention rapt. With this as a debut the future is blinding!

anticosm call of the void

Anticosm – The Call of the Void

https://anticosm.bandcamp.com/

Dynamic, ever evolving, melodic, passionate and draped in atmosphere yet miles from what could be termed traditional, both in rhythm and vocal departments. For those who aren’t quite willing to fully immerse themselves fully in any one genre this is great location to start a life-long exploration drenched with realms of amazement and wonder which is guaranteed to set the senses on fire.

Book of wyrms album

Book of Wyrms – Remythologizer *

https://bookofwyrmsrva.bandcamp.com/

A true celebration of epic heavy metal and traditional doom with NWOBHM stylings, cantering and galloping rhythms, swaying melodies and wicked leads topped off with ethereal vocals. Overall a fantastic achievement which thankfully never wanders too far into psychedelic waters, though on occasion dips more than a toe into its murky depths. Now this is Doom I can subscribe too!! Tear me away from this now, it’s fast becoming an addiction.

Cruickshank

Cruickshank – s/t

https://crckshnk.bandcamp.com/album/cruickshank-s-t

Driving rhythms, which often fight for supremacy in chaotic standoffs, traipse through a slew of styles offering the listener a great deal to discover. Overall a release which will please fans of Kyuss, Olde, Tool, EyeHateGod, Acid Bath and a slew of others acts who refuse to conform to a style that defined by any one genre. Someone is going to have to pull me away from this with considerable force, it’s growing on me like a ravenous parasite.

darkened

Darkened – Into the Blackness

https://edgedcircleproductions.bandcamp.com/music

Although the familiarity is undeniable there is also something else which makes this stand apart. Presence, subtle atmosphere or the audios leaning toward death/doom territories. Whatever it is it works and I’m eager for more.

detherousDetherous – Hacked to Death

https://redefiningdarknessrecords.bandcamp.com/album/detherous-hacked-to-death

Channeling Malevolent Creation, Death and Asphyx, Detherous have managed to create a style that’s exuberant, furious (boasting exquisite time changes and abrupt mosh frenzy changes in pace) and technical. This is audio which unceremoniously pulls one back to the old school (both European and American) and does a great job of doing so. Call it homage, call it what you will but there’s no doubt this is executed with passion, flair and precision.

graveview.jpg

Graveview – Demos 18-19’

https://graveview-us.bandcamp.com/album/graveview-demos-18-19

Influences are undeniable but it’s what the band does with the tone and the myriad of other factors and how they incorporate it into their style which makes this special. Abrupt pace shifts and breakdowns executed with precision, know-how, flair, the fact that this is stunningly fluid, will incite grins aplenty and will delight long-time fans of the scene.

lllvilja livet

lllvilja -Livet *

https://phobiarecords.bandcamp.com/album/illvilja-livet-lp

A primitive, mysterious, spice heats up that which is already incendiary, both in its nature and infectiousness. Touches of stylistic diversity, and appreciative breaks from the same old, same old (which could well be expected based on this albums categorization, hailed as “Dbeat/Blackened-Crust”) propel this to refreshing heights making this a release set to be the bar which others in the genre will struggle to reach. This came out of nowhere to catapult me to the nearest medical facility on account of my abrupt skyrocketing excitement levels, it’s that damn impressive!

nomas last laugh

No/Mas – Last Laugh

https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/last-laugh

I can honestly say I believe this to be their best work to date, as it makes an instant impression and is criminally infectious/inciteful from its nuclear-powered launch. Six tracks and perilously close to eight minutes in length. Yep, this is grindcore! And these fellows have an axe to sharpen and senses to obliterate.

 

overt enemy possessionOvert Enemy – Possession

https://overtenemy.bandcamp.com/

Slayer worship through and through (there’s even a ripping cover of “At Dawn They Sleep” and the bassists name even has a decidedly “Slayer” slant to it) of that there’s no doubt but Overt Enemy execute the style so damn well that odds are they’ll take the vacated throne without a qualm and little complaint.

wraith

Wraith – Absolute Power *

https://wraith-us.bandcamp.com/album/absolute-power

Like an adrenaline shot to a form weary of hype this awakens immediately the same feeling one had when first introduced to the scene. With splashes of punk, a style which rarely lets up pounding maniacally at blackened thrash/speed gates and a myriad of influence which vomits from near every track this is an album not to be missed. Add a double billed Hellripper, Wraith show to my bucket-list and I’ll leave this plane a happy fellow.

wizard rifle self titled

Wizard Rifle – s/t

https://wizardrifle.bandcamp.com/

The sound is altogether mesmerizing, even from the albums first notes, while wholly unclassifiable. The exuberance and energy are undeniable and infectious whilst the rhythms and tempo are ever evolving, shifting like an amorphous beast the likes of which you’d kindly invite in from the cold for a spot by the fire. Dense riffs collide with sacrificial drum salvos and plodding rhythms transform into galloping frenzied moments all accented by a diverse vocal tirade which incorporates melody, shouting and angst in equal measures. An epic feel underscores the whole shebang though its hardly given much heed as the music whisks the listener away to undiscovered realms, vistas and valleys frequented by constructs which are nonsensical yet accepted as easily as a birthday check, in the mailbox, from a long lost relative.

September

arctos.jpg

Arctos – Beyond the Grasp of Mortal Hands *

https://arctos-northernsilence.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-grasp-of-mortal-hands

I’m not normally a fan of the Black Metal genre but this blows me away with its diversity and delivery in every way. Enthralling, hypnotic and stunning from start to finish, a must visit genre experience!!

alcoholocaust.jpg
Alcoholocaust – Necro Apocalipse Bestial

https://brigadantiposers.bandcamp.com/releases

Aggressive speed metal with the occasional splash of punk accompanied by maniacal and archaic heavily accented vocals. This could well be the foreign long-lost twin to Whiplash’s “Power and Pain” release. Criminally addictive and requires limbering up before hitting the play button. Prepare to have this reside in your audio equipment for an extended duration of time.

algebra

Algebra – Pulse?

https://unspeakableaxerecords.bandcamp.com/album/pulse

There’s an undeniable fluid nature here. Timing changes are exquisite, rhythms infectious and dynamic. Melodies are plentiful and change enough to keep a listener on their toes. A sense of familiarity abounds, leaves one scratching their heads as to which band or album this or that part sounds like, but it doesn’t take away from the listening experience in the slightest. Oftentimes an epic narrative unfolds by way of the music alone complementing the thought-provoking lyrical content. In short, a winning combination which if someone could bottle it would most probably be titled something along the lines of ‘Excuse me for a second while I blow your mind’, or” Forget the Remainder of your day you’re about to be Unfathomably Distracted”. Naturally words, as they often do, fail me as I attempt to imprint my appreciation upon the flashing screen beneath my hands. Don’t, DON’T, don’t, allow this to go unnoticed.

ankhara

Ankhara – Sinergia

https://fighter-records.bandcamp.com/album/sinergia

Showcasing passionate rhythms, galloping riffs and dynamic, high energy, percussion there are zero dull moments here to be discovered. The style varies and brings to mind a plethora of acts some more distinct than others as the album unfolds. If your interests lay more in hard rock more so than the darker end of the metal/rock universe this is where you’ll want to rest your ears for a while.

coldclaw.jpg

ColdClaw – Anti Martyr: Decades to Suffer

https://ritualsoundrecords.bandcamp.com/album/anti-martyr-decadess-to-suffer

Coldclaw’s is a style which captures the essence of black metal. Crust as experienced throughout the album in various passages featuring dominant drum salvos; which are difficult not to move to and death metal as heard within various chugging riff approaches and the brutality which is displayed dominantly throughout. The result is a collection of tracks which has the potential to appeal to a wide audience, some who are curious about arenas they perhaps haven’t discovered before and others whose interests lay within the styles mixed with such passionate precision here

come back from the dead album

Come Back from the Dead – Rise of the Blind Ones

https://comebackfromthedead.bandcamp.com/

With melody and groove throughout this rarely let’s up in the infectious department. Think a hybrid of 90’s European death, old school British grind/death with a complementary sprinkle of doom and a maniacal essence. A mixture no doubt which has been perpetrated before but, in this case, somehow it feels fresh and leaves quite an impression.

cult of sorrow.jpg

Cult of Sorrow – Invocation of the Lucifer

 https://cultofsorrow.bandcamp.com/

Traditional, melodic, riff heavy with just the right amount of fuzz, keyboard laden, passionate doom with heavy metal leanings. Think The Obsessed with vocals of an Ozzy era Black Sabbath slant. This has undeniable staying power, shows experience beyond only being a second full-length and is extremely difficult not to instantly appreciate. And this only gets better with repeated listens.

ethereal riffian.jpg

Ethereal Riffian – Legends

https://robustfellow.bandcamp.com/album/legends

A varied smorgasbord of doom, wall to wall melody and influence ranging from across the metal spectrum. Vocal inflections channeling Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies) a musical style often akin to that of early Faith no More, and unpredictable, driving rhythms with occasional strangely soothing qualities. Highly entertaining audio that’s dangerously infectious and pleasingly varied throughout.

high command

High Command – Beyond the Walls of Desolation *

https://highcommandsl.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-wall-of-desolation

Every once in a while, there comes an album which has a buzz surrounding it. This is one such example. Often this buzz has much to do with unique qualities; a quality which has the potential to take genres in new and exciting directions. This is hardly another run of the mill, dime-a-dozen thrash album although it bears the ingredients which most exhibit if only in part, and all wish to master. Is this the thrash album of the year for me? It’s certainly up there in the mix and unashamedly guilty of rekindling my interest in the genre.

Horror God

Horror God – Cursed Seeds

https://lavadome.bandcamp.com/album/cursed-seeds

Melody and groove take a backseat to the menace and ferocity on display though it’s still apparent albeit in frenetic doses. The constant timing and rhythm shift as well the musicianship on offer and the booming vocal cadence elevate this above the herd. A dark nightmarish, punishing, narrative is what’s on offer here and I’m taking the trip again.

 

IATT
IATT – Nomenclature

https://iattblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/nomenclature

Once over the initial foreign aura the album’s foreign nature grows on the listener, starting its enthralling conquest of the senses. In short, this will appeal to those with an open mind whose penchants run to blackened realms as well arenas which are often referred to as a tad experimental. Be prepared for you’ll want to lose yourself in its grandeur again and again.

netherbird.jpg

Netherbird – Into the Vast Uncharted

https://netherbird.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-vast-uncharted

A remarkable invocation of the blackened death style crafted with precision showcasing passionate guitar leads, acoustic brilliance and sweeping evocative melodies. A veil of doom, a definite well-executed presence, accentuates the palpable emotion throughout making for a release one will only want to experience repeatedly.

Sempiternal Dusk

Sempiternal Dusk – Cenotaph of Defectuous Creation

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/cenotaph-of-defectuous-creation-2

Catacomb-esque mid-tempo rhythms with subtle nuance and oodles of archaic, cinematic quality, atmosphere in the form of an unmerciful steamroller assault. Suffocating audio with a slight funeral doom aura, dense yet also flirting with a blackened vibe, a myriad of tempo and time changes under epic skies offers the listener plenty to chew upon. This might take a second listen to fully embrace but it’s worth the effort!

void king

Void King – Barren Dominion

https://voidking.bandcamp.com/

Took me a while but now I’m thinking the raw, unbridled, emotion-laden vocal style is a hybrid of Staind Channel Zero (although my only experience is the album “Unsafe”) and Danzig it’s highly effective against the slow to mid-tempo rhythms and presence, the combination is nothing short of powerful and utterly mesmerizing. The fact that this is radio friendly should not deter one from giving it a fair few spins. An altogether brilliant slab of doom/stoner rock with Southern rock touches. Highly recommended!

wintercrown

Wintercrown – Northern Lights

https://cultofosiris.bandcamp.com/album/northern-lights

I can’t pinpoint it, perhaps it’s the fact that Wintercrown aren’t afraid to branch out (ever so slightly) to encompass elements from other genres both musically and vocally. Or the fact that the combination works so ungodly well. Whatever it is, it’s executed excellently, I’m sold! And this has been one of the most impactful Black Metal experiences I’ve heard in recent memory. Bravo!

mix tape action

Keep it up, you maniac!

Well, there’s another couple of months’ worth of releases to dive into. Naturally, I haven’t heard everything within these three months, not even close in fact. I was slightly distracted with the summer holidays and the kiddos not being in school. However, I did make an attempt which often resulted in virtually sleepless nights and varied exciting moments of zoning out at work the following day. And all in the name of metal! (What a trooper). Due to the sheer volume of releases unleashed during the final three months of the year I’ve come to the conclusion that what I believed to be an initial four-part endeavor will now transpire into what I’d like to think of as a five-part opus. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Cult (a certifiable slave to audio extreme)

 

Abrasive Audio…Best of Year Lists #3

sixintheheadzine

Taking a break from the monstrous endeavor which I’m referring to as divine punishment for listening to tunes which are decidedly not wholesome in nature, I’ve decided to post the last of the Year End Lists to roll into my email. ‘Lists’ which a pair of friends have pondered over for, much like myself, weeks. Admittedly, it’s a daunting task. Without further ado.

 

 

A few selections which have rocked Paul PMZ’s (@paul_pmz on Twitter) world
star devourer
Star Devourer
Contact

https://winterdynasty.bandcamp.com/album/contact

An album unlike anything I’ve ever heard, this falls into the category of, “Sci-Fi Black Metal”, which is a new one on me… A concept album that is as whacked-out f**king insane as it is compelling. Contact combines spacey (couldn’t think of a better word sorry) synths with KILLER vocals and guitars to achieve something utterly bonkers and utterly brilliant. A truly epic black metal space opera in the truest sense of the word.

Bitter Lake
New Branches on Old Trees

https://officialbitterlake.bandcamp.com/album/new-branches-on-old-trees

Before I joined Twitter again in Summer 2019, I got all my music from iTunes, Spotify and Boomkat. I didn’t really understand Bandcamp. I’d bought a few things on it in the past (a Gucci Mane album, a Perc album and the Minecraft soundtrack) but I wasn’t aware of the sheer amount of jaw-dropping talent waiting to be discovered there for just a few quid. This album is an example of the kind of jaw-dropping talent I’m referring to.

catafalque
Catafalque
Catafalque

https://catafalque.bandcamp.com/album/catafalque

I have a vivid memory of listening to this album drunk, pacing around a kitchen on my own at about two in the morning listening to it on headphones full blast. An overwhelming, crushing, grinding beast of an album. The eleven-something-minute second track is like being dragged into a piece of hellish machinery to your death in a way that is hugely enjoyable. Like most of the albums on my list, the people who made this deserve to be millionaires but they’re probably not. I have a feeling I’ve used that line before in something else I wrote for Cult… Anyway, I dunno. It’s a fucked up, unfair world and this is the perfect music for it.

Blood Incantation
Hidden History of the Human Race

https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hidden-history-of-the-human-race

Why is this on my end of year list? Because it’s everything a death metal album should be. Everything about it is perfect. Also, it was on everybody else’s list and I just copied them.

Tomb Mold
Planetary Clairvoyance

https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/planetary-clairvoyance

Listen, I’m not like Cult or K-MaNriffs or all of you reading this who have an encyclopedic knowledge of metal and all of its sub genres and can go on about so-and-so plays a down-tuned this and Deep Purple recorded that in 1970-whatever. I just like f**king good music. And this is f**king good music and it deserves repeated listens. That’s all there is to it. That’s why it made my 2019 list.

wintercrown
Wintercrown
Northern Lights

https://cultofosiris.bandcamp.com/album/northern-lights

Everyone who knows me knows I love this album. Like, I really love it. And I feel honored to have interviewed Danthor from the band in the first issue of my zine SIX IN THE HEAD (working link elsewhere in this article). “Northern Lights” was very unfairly left off many ‘end of year’ lists but we won’t go into that… Simply put, this is perfection from start to finish and if you can’t recognize that I don’t know what to tell you.

Vastum
Orificial Purge

https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/orificial-purge

I put this on my list firstly because I like brutal death metal and this is most definitely that. And also, because the cover, album title and song titles remind me of Carcass and Carcass was one of the first bands I got into when I first started delving into extreme metal music. If you’re going to be brutal, then be brutal. Don’t half-ass it. Cut the ass off with a scalpel and stick a load of knives into it.

Texas Hippie Coalition
Texas Hippie Coalition
High in The Saddle

https://texashippiecoalition.bandcamp.com/album/high-in-the-saddle

Some people would call this a guilty pleasure but I don’t. It’s as simple as can be in about every possible way but the second I discovered it I wanted to put on a ten-gallon hat, grab a shotgun and drive my truck to the local bar and do bourbon shots with a load of chicks in “vest” tops who think that sort of behavior is perfectly acceptable. They can take this album when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

So those were my favorite “metal” albums of 2019. Follow me on Twitter @paul_pmz and download the launch issue of my tabletop gaming and music magazine SIX IN THE HEAD at https://sixintheheadzine.com/

Cheers.

fistful pof doom logo

Finally, here are a handful of releases (actually a ‘Top Ten’) which have caressed and molested the pleasure sensors of Fistful of Doom (@flatulentFuzz on Twitter) for the past couple of months.

No need to read up on thoughts on any of these, just dive right in.

KUBLAI KHAN- ABSOLUTE

https://open.spotify.com/album/6klYyVkzntFBjJch93UB6y

GROND/GRACELESS- ENDLESS SPIRAL OF TERROR

http://rawskullrecordz.bandcamp.com/album/grond-graceless-endless-spiral-of-terror-rsr-036

tort void addiction
TORT- VOID ADDICTION

http://discosmacarras.bandcamp.com/album/void-addiction

THE HANDS RESIST HIM- STONE HANDS

http://thehandsresisthim.bandcamp.com/album/stone-hands

RED BEARD WALL – THE FIGHT NEEDS US ALL

http://redbeardwall.bandcamp.com/album/the-fight-needs-us-all

do astral death cult
DO- ASTRAL DEATH CULT

http://doofficial666.bandcamp.com/album/astral-death-cult

CYCLES OF THE DAMNED- A TIME TO SURVIVE

http://cyclesofthedamned.bandcamp.com/album/a-time-to-survive

OGRE- THRICE AS STRONG

http://ogrereal.bandcamp.com/album/thrice-as-strong

SIFTING- THE INFINITE LOOP

https://open.spotify.com/album/20uNba0tEcRPrXjYwqAPKJ

HOUND THE WOLVES/GLASGHOTE- HOUND THE WOLVES/GLASGHOTE SPLIT

http://monochord-records.bandcamp.com/album/hound-the-wolves-glasghote-split

But let us not forget the link to the ‘Fistful of Doom’ show which deserves attention (apparently he likes bacon).

https://www.mixcloud.com/jameymorris/

That’s it. Thanks to all involved, in this and past lists. And to those who I’ve interacted with throughout the year. I’ve made a few friends and probably pissed of a great deal more with my inane questions and intolerable personality. Here’s hoping this, and the lists before it, introduced new acts and albums which might otherwise have been ‘ignored’ (for want of a better term).

Animal - music is meant for sharing

After all brilliant audio is meant for sharing, new genres to be explored no matter how scary they might initially seem. And this is a community. #SupporttheScene.

Here’s to another fantastic, mind-blowing, 365 days, unless it’s a leap year then I guess Hallmark will be rolling out a new line of movies for my wife to lose herself in.

Cult