Anytime I get an e-mail from Hellthrasher Productions, it generally means there are some nasty records waiting for me to dig into the violence. A few weeks back a new promo package arrived, and like many of the ones that came before them, they are jam-packed with death metal filth that have provided hours of terrifying enjoyment.
The most recent communications from Hellthrasher contains two fine death metal offerings, each one standing far apart from each other even if they rightfully belong in the same sub-genre quadrant. One of the bands offers up a more traditional style of death metal albeit with their own weird twists and turns to the sound, while the other travels darker paths and takes you on a trip into madness that you won’t soon forget. These are two strong albums that demonstrate just how powerful underground death metal is at the moment, and over the next two days, we’ll take a closer look at each of these albums.
First up is Ectovoid, a trio hailing from Birmingham, AL., that has been doing their thing for the past five years. Their style is twisted and vicious, sometimes mind-altering, and often basking in doom. Their approach isn’t exactly direct, but it should appeal to those who prefer their death sounding like it just crawled out of a swamp, blood and mud running all over it, slithering over the Earth’s crust. This band put out their first full-length “Fractured in the Timeless Abyss” in 2012, and now they return with their massive, devastating new record “Dark Abstraction.” The band—bassist/vocalist C.B., guitarist M.S., and drummer C.M.—all play together in thrash band Conduktor, but what they do here is meaner, deadlier, and a furious charge of feral power.
“Obscure Altars” grinds into the body of the album, with the music penetrating and pounding and the vocals sounding vicious. The guitars set a dizzying haze, with ominous playing adding muscle to this sinewy death. “Visions of Reflective Decay” burns right along with the line, “Twisted thoughts course through me,” giving you a deep look into the terrible void. The track has a strong, slow-smothering, old-school death feel that goes down right. “Mental Netherworlds” drives hard and violently, crushing as the tone gets guttural and hellish. The band churns away, applying the pressure and watching your eyes pop out. “Precipice of Absolute Chaos” feels doomy and lurching, getting stormy and shadowy before it launches into madness. The drums are just crushed, with a gruesome display unloaded before you, guitars stymying your brain, and your sanity pushed to its limits. Soloing is unleashed as the song blazes to its ending.
“Rituals of Hallucination” is aptly named as it induces nightmare visions and brutality. The tempos tease you, going back and forth but always pummeling, while the band chugs hard, grinding up bone and flesh in its gears. “The Expanse Between Slumber and Death” charges out of the gates, feeling like it’s much closer to the death spectrum than sleep. The vocals evoke mind-altering imagery, while the music sends shockwaves to both your body and your mind. “A Prisoner of Paradox” tears apart right away, with brutal heaviness smashing your guts, the vocals sounding massive and threatening, and the guitar work taking on a Sabbathy twist before an abrupt conclusion. Closer “Spawned From Unending Mystery” lets guitars rumble at will, the vocals add another layer of terror, and the pace achieves a level of fluidity and melody that adds texture to an otherwise bleak, hopeless conclusion.
Hellthrasher keeps the good shit coming, and anytime their music arrives in my inbox, I’m tearing right into it. Ectovoid’s “Dark Abstraction” is a great reason for that, because it’s another unearthed death metal gem that should be revered. The band is the right amounts of vicious and visceral, and they are threatening to break through the Earth’s crust and into more people’s worlds.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ectovoid
To buy the album, go here: http://hellthrasher.com/shop/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.hellthrasher.com/