PICK OF THE WEEK: Alcest conjure black metal fires again, maintain warm gaze on ‘Spiritual Instinct’

Photo by Andy Julia

People complain a lot when they don’t get the things they want. In music especially. Not saying every twist and turn a band or musician takes is a great one (in fact, there have been a lot of bad decisions over the years), but it’s their art and their brains making it, so sometimes divergences from the path end up being for the good.

For the past several years, there has been a lot of hand wringing over French blackgaze dreamers Alcest not being heavy enough and getting away from the elements that made people love them in the first place. There’s some validity in the claims because Alcest have backed away from the heaviness of their earlier work, especially when it came to 2016’s “Kodama” (an album I really enjoyed despite it being their least metallic effort to date). But here we are, three years later, and the band—vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Neige, drummer Winterhalter—return with “Spiritual Instinct,” their sixth record overall, and those seemingly abandoned pockets of ferocity have returned. But this isn’t an example of “you fuckers happy now?!” fan service. The shrieks and black metal elements are worked in organically and seamlessly, as the band maintains the earthy melody of the past couple records and simply lets the more abrasive parts settle back into the recipe, making it seem like they never went anywhere at all. It’s their heaviest album in some time, but it’s strong not just for that but for every strange twist and turn this band takes over these six tracks.

“Les jardins de minuit” begins the record with the bass driving and gazey playing, all par for the course for Alcest, with Neige’s singing reaching for the atmosphere. But don’t let yourself slip into a comfort zone because, before you know it, the power surges, and wild shrieks enter into the chaos, keeping things vicious and melodic. That sensation rushes ahead as the track has a gigantic feel, as shrieks and strength drive to the finish. “Protection” is crunchy and atmospheric with strong riffs and soaring singing. The track then gets heavier and more raucous as shrieks wash in, and the tempo pounds before the track swings back toward friendlier skies, with “ah-ah” calls lathering texture and the song gushing away. “Sapphire” has a spindly opening that crawls spider-like before the body begins to form. Clean singing and a mid-tempo trip are laid out, as the vocals swell and the playing is extremely catchy. As the song twitches, the shrieks rain down before we switch back to calmer singing, and the track chugs away.

“L’île des morts” is the longest track, running 9:04 that gets started with sharp synth beats before the riffs begin to lather. As the song grows into its body, clean singing and fiery shrieks trade places, like they do on so many songs here, while more “ah-ah” calls ring out, and things start to calm down while drums patter. A gazey cloud hangs overhead before the track rips back to life, the singing re-emerges, and a glassy haze brings the song to an end. “Le miroir” is heavy and sludging at first before the riffs turn more folkish, and the guitars glimmer amid the rumbling. The vocals stretch while the playing boils consistently, while wordless calling rises up, and the track burns brightly before giving way to serenity. The title track ends the album by bleeding into the scene with dreamy vocals setting the pace. The playing hits a mid-tempo pace as the vocals get higher, the sounds cascade, and things wash through. The drums tumble into stinging guitars hanging in a fog, with the track fading into an electric flood.

Alcest’s metallic side may have remained dormant for a while, but it’s clear that things were percolating under the surface, waiting to push through on “Spiritual Instinct.” But this isn’t just the band bringing back heaviness and savagery in order to make other people happy or because they need to do this. This is an inspired, dreamy burst of chaos that feels like Alcest’s early thorns colliding with their current introspective mind to create something exciting and rupturing.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/alcest.official

To buy the album, go here: https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

For more on the label, go here: https://www.nuclearblast.com/en/label/

Nordic black metal killers 1349 lick hell’s flames all over with crushing ‘The Infernal Pathway’

Photo by Dmitry Valberg

Black metal always has centered on hell, which makes a lot of sense. The evil and torturous elements of existence always have been a part of the sub-genre, as if it makes up the very nature of its DNA, and the threat of eternal damnation (if you buy the Bible version) or a place where one’s heathen instincts finally can have a place to reign surely, um, ignites the music’s fire.

For many years now, 1349 have been a purveyor of this style, and they’ve been one of the most consistent bands of any brand of metal. Live, they’re an utter beast, and their records have smothered senses, with their “Hellfire” and “Beyond the Apocalypse” standing as black metal pillars. By the way, the much-maligned “Revelations of the Black Flame” needs to be revisited. It’s long been a favorite of mine, and it needs to be one of yours. Anyway, 1349 have returned after a five-year break with “The Infernal Pathway,” an album that lathers with flames and is one of their most intense records in a good while. Dumb shits got all worked up over the style of “Dødskamp” just because it wasn’t 1000 percent ferocity, but black metal doesn’t always have the most reasonable listeners. That track is on here, by the way, but the record reinjects some serious savagery that the band—vocalist Ravn, guitarist Archaon, bassist Seidemann, drummer Frost—hasn’t shown in this manner in a while, as it feels like they went for broke and lunged right for the throat. This is a fucking monster.

“Abyssos Antithesis” gets the record off to a sort of misleading start, as the guitars hint as a looser rock n roll approach before things switch on a dime, and the band begins to thrash away with violent intensity. Ravn’s vocals swirl through the madness, as the band lays down the hammer in a way they haven’t in quite some time, smashing and scraping against the opposition, seeking to taste blood.  “Through Eyes of Stone” continues that assault and works to extract a submission from its victims, as the band lathers in hellish intensity. The chorus is devastating, with Ravn wailing, “Surrendering this mortal flesh,” on the back end, while the track keeps loosening teeth before coming to a devastating end. “Tunnel of Set VIII” (these tracks date back to the “Demonoir” album) is an ambient interlude that sounds like it was recorded in a hellish basement, and that leads into “Enter Cold Void Dreaming” that drubs from the start. The vocals over the verses are creaky while the guitars rage with black metal intensity over the bridge, leasing to a ferocious chorus, where the title of the track is spat out. The intensity is amplified while the leads smear, coming to a spine-crunching end. “Towers Upon Towers” has dizzying guitar work that walks zombie-style into crazed punishment that scrambles that meal of brains. Another powerful chorus erupts, the guitars go off, and warbling, detached speaking gives the track as ghostly feel it maintains to its grisly, abrupt end.

“Tunnel of Set IX” is the second of three interludes, this one swimming through noise banks while the sounds break overhead and right into the mouth of “Deeper Still” where Ravn greets you with the command of, “Fall to me!” The track thrashes and splatters its way toward you, as strange vocals slither, and the guitars rip out guts. An unexpected push of melody adds a swath of new colors to the mix, while the track comes to a blistering finish. “Striding the Chasm” rages out of the gates with fast verses that get your blood flowing and a concise chorus where Ravn simply howls, “Striding the chasm!” which would be easy to hammer back live. The gas pedal is pushed again, this time jamming it into the floor as the band creates havoc with soloing lighting the world on fire, the tempo galloping, and the chorus revisited before the track is swallowed into a void. “Dødskamp” is taken from the band’s Edvard Munch tribute track released earlier this year, and it has a more streamlined feel before the wheels are torn off. “I can no longer see where chaos ends and I begin!” Ravn cries, as the band continues to unload the lumber. “Death feeding life, death feeding death,” Ravn calls as the track continues to smother before ending in a pile of ash. “Tunnel of Set X” is the final interlude, scraping along with fires rumbling and entering into closer “Stand Tall in Fire” that pulls things back a bit, driving in calculated manner as they turn the screws. Weird speaking rolls as a more rock-style approach is used, with Ravn calling, “Release your soul!” He follows that up by the demand to unleash your spirit as the track fires up, and soloing tears things apart. The pace ignites again as Ravn howls to “lay naked by the flame,” as the song comes to a massive end complete with mechanical screams.

For more than two decades now, 1349 have been one of black metal’s most notorious warriors, burning fires that have not even come close to being extinguished. “The Infernal Pathway” is their hellacious tribute to the darkest, most foreboding elements of existence, and it absolutely bathes in its juices. This is a powerful, savage document from one of black metal’s most consistent forces.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/1349official/

To buy the album, go here (North America): https://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/

Or here (International): https://shop.season-of-mist.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Runemagick’s second reign gets grimmer, darker as they spread chaos on ‘Into Desolate Realms’

Time off is a good thing and can lead to recharging the batteries or just getting the desire back to do the very thing you stepped away from for a stretch. In fact, it’s probably a good thing that everyone should do now and again not just to get a breather but to gain some perspective on how to approach said activity and find ways to be even better at what you do.

Before their 2018 album “Evoked From Abysmal Sleep,” the 12th over record from Runemagick, we haven’t gotten a full-length from them in 11 years. This from a band that was insanely prolific during their early run, twice releasing two records within the same calendar, and putting out four albums between 2002 and 2003 alone. That’s not necessarily something that’s sustainable, and perhaps that’s why the band took a decade-long hiatus. Well, looks like they’re back to their old tricks and their 13th effort “Into Desolate Realms” is dropping on High Roller Records, and it’s a goddamn monster. The Swedish death/doom maulers also brought on “The Opening of Dead Gates” EP last month as well, so they’re back on their shit as the band—guitarist/vocalist Nicklas “Terror” Rudolfsson, guitarist Jonas Blom (who used to play drums), bassist Emma Rudolfsson, drummer Daniel Moilanen—hammers on this eight-track monster (some versions have the aforementioned EP tacked on) that keeps them humming and burning with an intensity only Runemagick can generate.

“Remnants of the Old” is a quick intro-style cut that sets fires burning, doom bells ringing, and the mood turning dour, heading into the title track that gets riffs moving toward hell. The growls land and lurch while the music boils, and the power continues to grow. The melodies spiral and sicken, wrapping their arms around your throat and squeezing the life from you. Rudolfsson’s Tom Warrior-style grunts bring a jolt of old-world nostalgia while mystical melodies trickle, drums clobber, and the pain spills into “The Opening of Dead Gates” where the growls crawl like a slug. The doom riffs create a thick blood bath that slowly spreads and sends pestilence in a stream, as ominous tones reverberate, and the leads continue “Sorceress Reburned” that starts morbidly as possible. The track takes its time sinking in its claws as a cosmic wash dashes over the guitars, while the soloing plays trick with the mind. Things stomp along while psychedelic warfare is waged, and strange melodies bring things to a mauling finish.

“Decay to Nothing” has guitars ripping out guts, while the music rumbles along, and monstrous growls make their presence known. Slow mauling and bluesy thrashing team up and bloody lips while Rudolfsson pokes, “You are nothing, and your soul will remain in nothing.” Guitars bleed generously while the ample torture increases and feeds into “In the Sign of the Dragon Star” that extends the massive horrors. The music seems to cut into bone before it kicks up and increases the intensity, creating a hellish doom pit before everything ends abruptly. Then the riffs return as soloing takes control, being charred with precision as an eerie finish leaves goosebumps. “Necromancer of the Red Sun” attacks from the gates and powders rock, as cool growls sink in its grip, and the heavy grip is added to the pressure points. Chanted growls and furious playing then spill over like lava and burn a path right toward you. “After the Sepulchral Lava” ends the record with guitars tunneling into hell with scary keys buzzing in your brain. Things gets bizarre and tricky as acoustics wash in, the main levels increase, and noise swallows the track whole to soak in its corrosive belly juices.

It’s clear that decade-long breather served Runemagick brilliantly, as their second life has been fruitful and wholly destructive toward our hearing. “Into Desolate Realms” is a smasher, a record that fans the flames they’ve sparked since their return and keeps them raging with emotional fuel. This is a band with a refilled tank and an agenda to psychologically maim, which they do with great power nearly 30 years after they drew their first droplets of blood.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/runemagick

To buy the album, go here: https://www.hrrshop.de/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.hrrecords.de

Swedish crushers Sarcasm push back with menacing, gritty opus ‘Esoteric Tales of the Unserene’

Photo by by Susanne Thorgren

We don’t often spill out a ton of blatant success stories around here because then we’d have to delve into corporate speak and jargon and things people don’t actually say in real life. That’s not about to change, but we are going to shower Swedish death warriors Sarcasm with similar praise because their path hasn’t been easy, yet here they are, firing back new music at us.

It was just two years ago that we got super excited for Sarcasm’s thunderous second record “Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds,” which followed their long-delayed debut “Burial Dimensions,” a record that  was recorded back in 1994, never got as formal release, and finally was pushed out into the world on a 2011 compilation before the actual issuing on its own in 2016. Got all that? Anyway, the band keeps pushing ahead and hits back with their third album “Esoteric Tales of the Unserene,” a decidedly grimmer, rougher, darker record than their 2017 release. “Ethereal Minds” was outright joyous compared to this record, where the shadows have thickened, and the band—vocalist Heval Bozarslan, guitarists Anders Eriksson and Peter Laitinen, bassist Jonas Söder, drummer Alvaro Svanerö—puts more black metal elements into their vicious stew, making this a more muscular but also additionally misery inducing record that could leave bruising.

“Vortex of the Vultures” has a glorious opening with riffs getting lathered up and Bozarslan’s growls punishing, with him howling, “Don’t you ever question our intentions.” The chorus is melodic and rushing while riffs roll through and the whole thing burns out. “Parochial Past Resonates” has speedy guitar work showering the ground while melodies rush, and the growls echo out. The vocals then strike at a spat-out clip as a strong chorus strikes, and things sweep before being turned to dust. “Flesh Was Carved Out From Seven Faces of God” starts with acoustics rousing before leads glimmer and crunchy verses do damage. The vocals sound raspy and raw, while strong soloing chars the senses before the band rounds back to the chorus, complete with cleaner singing and morbid melodies. “Flawless Anomalies” has leads spiraling into the ground, gruff growls, and a numbing chorus that destroys. Things get dizzying and humid before the band unloads another assault before a mangling end.

“Revolution of Consciousness” has keys dripping before the guitars open up and head to the races, as animalistic growls erupt and go for the throat. The track is absolutely drubbing as the chorus is simple but effective, and the playing comes to a guttural ending. “Realm of Shadowless Existence” has guitars bursting and stabbing across the land, also pushing into classic terrain for a bit. The growls rage while the playing crushes, with a gruff, scratchy surface revealed, and a killer solo bringing this to a massive finish. “Celestial Nights” changes things up a bit, starting slower and letting the juices settle. Things are doomier and stickier, with keyboards giving a horror film feel, and thick fog obscuring your vision. Acoustics rise while the mood remains murky, with movie score-style synth strings dropping the curtain. “The Great Calm Embraced” just explodes with drums acting like a killing machine and devastation being spread out. Synth swallows some of the smoke while militaristic drums leave welts, and the track disappears into a strange cloud.

Sarcasm certainly haven’t had the easiest road in bringing their brand of death metal to public consciousness, but what they lost in time they’ve made up for in grit and tenacity. “Esoteric Tales of the Unserene” is a pounding, merciless response to an album that brought them back into the conversation, and it might take some time for it to really sink in (I had to spend a few listens myself). This band withstood the misery of some unfortunate years and used that as fuel to keep their music on edge and still able to shred tendons.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/sarcasmsweden

To buy the album, go here: https://www.chaos-records.com/shop/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.chaos-records.com

PICK OF THE WEEK: Profetus bring existential doom cataclysm with cutting ‘Sadness of Time Passing’

Nothing is guaranteed in life, including the continuation of said existence. It’s not always an easy thing to grasp when we realize our times on Earth are limited, and we watch others around us we love suffer and sometimes enter into the beyond. It’s a constant reminder that at any time, our journeys could come to a sudden conclusion.

Finnish funeral doom monsters Profetus were dwelling on such subject matter when it came to their immersive third record “The Sadness of Time Passing.” Just the name itself should instill in you the misery and sadness locked into these five songs and 65 minutes of sobering playing, but actually taking them on is a completely different thing altogether. The band itself—vocalist/guitarist A. Mäkinen, guitarist/vocalist M. Mäkelä, guitarist M. Saarikoski, organist M. Nieminen, V. Kujansuu—suffered personal loss as well since “…to Open the Passages in Dusk” seven years ago, and that is laid on the line in generous portions on this record. There will be obvious comparisons made to Thergothon and Skepticism, but there’s also some Mournful Congregation frostiness in the mix, giving the best of all morbid worlds as you take on this record.

The 14:34-long title track opens up the record by bleeding slowly as the organs spill all over everything, feeling elegant and sorrowful as it stretches its way. Growls begin to bubble as a gothy melody acts almost as a carrier for the words, which gets inside you and cripples your heart. The feeling is haunting and massive as misery keeps falling and spellbinding, while clean singing adds a new texture. Growls swallow the pain whole as the track goes back to its verse structure, as the pace keeps shifting, and the track pounds until the playing gives way. “Nostalgia” opens with keys swelling and speaking echoing over the playing. The track muscles its way by taking its time, as the growls creak, and echoes splatter the sound. The song crushes in a second assault as the guitars catch fire, and the ground is awash in keyboard lights. The track bleeds painfully while acoustics flush, and the music disappears behind the wall of misery.

“Momentary Burial” attacks with deep shots, letting the music hang in the air as gurgly growls crawl over the verses. Those vocals get guttural and cavernous as the song moves, while the cymbals are bashed in calculated manner, as the riffs smear more salt in your wounds. Organs lurch while the growls cry out, the playing is immersed in sadness, and the track comes to a smothering end. “Northern Crown” quivers as the keys crash through the walls, while the speaking echoes, as the music reverberates in the clouds. The track is eerie and cold, with guest Ana Carolina Ojeda’s voice entering and adding a different strain of color before the bottom drops out to its doom. The drums clash as Ojeda’s voice returns, while the walls topple everywhere before calm trickles in. That mixes into one final blast of fury before the track fades into oblivion. “Tiarnia” closes the record, and at  generous 16:35, it’s the longest track here. Rain falls generously as thunder strikes, as the song emerges from the storm. Dialog mixes with a murky, foggy ambiance, with the band pounding slowly but surely, meeting up with thick keys. Melody manages to poke through the cloud cover, twisting and turning in the mire before there’s another eruption. Growls scrape while the leads bleed and melt, catapulting into mystical soaring as the track disappears in keys.

Our very existences are delicate things, as Profetus do a masterful job conveying their respect for that fragility on “The Sadness of Time Passing.” This isn’t just another Finnish funeral doom band that you should follow simply because of where they trace their roots. This is a band that makes you feel every twist and turn, every sharp point to your heart on this gushing, gloomy beast.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/SaturnineDoom

To buy the album, go here: https://avantgardemusic.bigcartel.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.avantgardemusic.com/

Legendary noise masters Boris dig back into drone, let dreams haunt on swelling ‘LφVE & EVφL’

Photo by Miki Matsushima

We haven’t dug into the pro wrestling references in a few days, so here goes: Chris Jericho is a dude who is known for changing his character every time he returns from an extended period away. Even at nearly 50, he’s still reshaping himself, which keeps him engaged with his work and gives the fans something to new to get into with every one of his runs.

If there’s a metal Jericho, it’s Japanese trio Boris, who have yet to make a single record that sounds like any of their other ones. They’ve also been insanely prolific over their time together, which is closing in on 30 years, and it’s often difficult to put a number on the amount of records are on their resume. I’ve seen their new album “LφVE & EVφL” called their 24th, but no matter what number it is, it’s another record that keeps you guessing, and it’s one that bears many spots and stripes. First, we haven’t heard Boris this deep back into drone in many years, and while it digs into the atmosphere of albums such as “Amplifier Worship” or “Akuma No Uta,” it doesn’t feel like retread at all. The music is fresh and brimming with lava, making it a really exciting listen. But the band—Takeshi (vocals, bass, guitars), Wata (vocals, guitar, echo), Atsuo (drums, vocals, electronics)—also delves heavily into dreamier territory, showing shades of vulnerability that balance out the quaking chaos elsewhere.

“Away From You” starts the record, and it’s a gazey, melting ballad that starts to trickle slowly before heading into dreamland. Breathy, softer singing emerges, spilling over the chorus, with the title repeated to work its way into your brain. Clouds then burst, letting the energy shower the ground, as the calls of, “I’ll never return,” wash out in a trance. “Coma” is the first heavy dose of drone, pulling you back into their formative days yet through a modern wormhole. Spacey rumbling ramps up, with the noise feeling thick enough to block out the sun, and then a storm begins brewing in your mind. The track works its way into the murk before slowly disintegrating. “EVOL” is the longest cut here, running 16:29 and letting light emerge and unleash a drone fog. The drumming kicks in, giving the song a tribal feel before the first heavy punches are landed, and then a sense of calm sinks in along with softer singing. Leads then catch fire and burst as the soloing flexes its muscles, as the intensity keeps pouring. Strange leads and melodies and rawer singing combine, while the noise is amplified, and strange noises end up spiraling into the unknown.

“Uzume” has drone cutting through bone, crushing and pulsating, creating stress in your muscles. The playing chews up ground as fuzz and volume combine, and the music streams into your central nervous system. Subtle riffs inject power and energy, leaving things off abruptly, with you wondering what hit you. “Love” has burly riffs stomping away with metallic wave of chrome washing up and leaving splinters along the shore. Stoner-style guitar work arrives, as the vocals swim in chaos, and suddenly everything feels utterly fucked up. Psychedelic smashing and slurry singing then walk into a wall of static guitars that bring about the song’s destruction. “In the Pain(t)” is a shorter cut that quivers and is reflective, floating along and merging with outdoorsy noises, leading to finale “Shadow of Skull” that unfurls its drone monster tentacles. Weird growls mix with singing, paving the way for primal noises, with the music slowly boiling in its juices. The emotion builds as things crash down around everything, howls and screams explode, and it feels like the center of demonic possession. That caused the pillars of the Earth to break into rocks and dust, hammering the ground below and bringing everything to a fiery end.

Boris’ chameleon act has lasted nearly three decades now, and that’s not about to stop, with “LφVE & EVφL” as the only evidence you need to prove that fact. While this record surely will make long-time drone heads who pined for their earlier days as happy as they’ve been in a while, it also has current flourishes and other nuances they’ve picked up along the way. The mighty Boris punish the land all over again, an all-reformed beast that’s still one of the mightiest and mercilessly loud bands alive.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/borisheavyrocks/

To buy the album, go here: https://thirdmanstore.com

For more on the label, go here: https://thirdmanrecords.com/

Mortiferum smash doom, death together in morbid manner on bloody debut ‘…Psychotic Depths’

Photo by Carter Murdoch

It’s easy to feel awful all the time because things are pretty much that way. All the time. How can anyone maintain a sense of positivity constantly unless that person is just completely disassociated from reality altogether? Now that I think about that, that’s actually not a terrible idea.

With that in mind, unfurling “Disgorged From Psychotic Depths,” the debut from Pacific Northwest-based death-doom crushers Mortiferum, is dropping like a ton of bricks, right into our miserable laps. Following two demo recordings, the band delivers a six-track, nearly 37-minute record that shoves your face into the dirt and soot, barely allowing you a chance to get fresh breath. Their playing is warped and violent, and there is a heaviness both from a volume standpoint and from its psychological impact, that it’s sometimes overwhelming to handle. The band—guitarist/vocalist Max Bowman, guitarist Chase Slaker, bassist Tony Wolf, and drummer/vocalist Alex Mody—really doesn’t seem very concerned with your comfort anyway, as they’re hellbent on bringing poisonous elements from the depth of their guts.

“Archaic Vision of Despair” starts with morbid slow churning before the track begins dealing blows, and the riffs pile the fuck up. The growls rush to the center as the guitars sludge through, with the drums following behind as they crash through the echo. Riffs slither along the wall like a ghoul, while the leads light up and slice through the doomy underbelly, on their way to a slurry finish. “Inhuman Effigy” blisters from the start, as vicious growls penetrate, the leads tangle you in their web, and the drums pulverize. Violent fury is at every turn, while the growls crawl in their own filth, and the track comes to a fire-breathing end. “Putrid Ascension” is gloomy and mired in death, while the growls painfully stretch their wings, and thick riffs pound holes in walls. The track’s agenda is clear as it continues to go for the throat, while the growls boil in blood, and some atmosphere arrives to give a bit of a breather. Funeral winds then begin to blow as mournful guitars saturate the ground, and the spirit is driven away.

“Funereal Hallucinations” has super thick growls, a trudging pace, and a feel of violence and lack of mercy. Shifty riffs show up and strike, while the track takes its time disassembling you and doing psychological damage. Soloing opens up and delivers a pretty cool ambiance, even infusing the room with oxygen, while the roars devastate, and the pace picks up. This leads to your guts being stomped in as the track fades into dirt. “Interlude (Anamnesis)” has acoustic flushes and a classic metal feel, while noise warps and leads right into closer “Faceless Apparition” that unleashes a monstrous doom storm. The leads light the way while slowly delivered menace arrives, as the growls strike, and the track reveals in morbid death. Hulking growls erupt as the guitars splatter all over the place, with speed arriving to break shit apart. The riffs then swagger and land blows, the growls rumble, and the track comes to a bone-destroying ending.

Mortiferum crawl out of the shadows and into the horror of doom-based death metal circles with their blades sharpened and ready to strike. Their debut “Disgorged From Psychotic Depths” is a fine first step, a nicely portioned record that shows what they can do but doesn’t drub you past your breaking point. This is a morbid new entry into extreme metal’s overflowing world, but it’s clear from this record they have what it takes the dominate the field and demand our attention with violence.

For more on the band, go here: https://mortiferum.bandcamp.com/

To buy the album, go here: https://profoundlorerecords.merchtable.com/?

For more on the label, go here: https://www.profoundlorerecords.com

Sempiternal Dusk return from shadows with doomy terror on cavernous death pit ‘Cenotaph…’

There are a lot of bands out there promising you their record is vile, nasty, disgusting, a true walk into death. And many of them tell the truth. Others like to talk the talk, but when it comes down to tackling their records, they’re heavy and all, but you don’t feel like they actually mean it. You wonder if they’d even be able to stare the chaos they boast in the face.

Then there’s Portland-based doom/death scoundrels Sempiternal Dusk who never would steer you wrong and prove that over and over again on their massive new record “Cenotaph of Defectuous Creation.” Five years since the making of their self-titled debut, this band is back to demonstrate that morbidity runs in their veins, and they’re not about to pull back on the horrors just so you can walk away in one piece. On this six-cut, nearly 37-minute beating, the band—vocalist/drummer TC and guitarists JH and VB—continually slam your skull into the ground and slowly rub your face in a combo of your own blood and mud, making you feel the infection in each scrape. This is not an easy listen, as you’re meant to suffer, but that’s what you should want. The band delivers in spades, making every ounce of this thing hurt like hell.

“Caverns of Aural Decay” starts the record as a brief lead-in track built with cavernous noise, simmering keys, and eerie rumbling that makes its way toward 10:20-long beast “Excavated Filth From Dimensional Incarnations,” where the ground crumbling continues. The playing is morbid and furious at first before it settles into its torturous slow-mauling pace that bloodies the entire record. Furious pounding and miserable growls from TC set in as the carnage is laid out before you and spread generously. The beating continues as the leads work their way into the fire, opening a cavern to murk. The growls increase their hold while the drums cave in everything left standing, and the track comes to a muddy finish. “Orgiastic Feast Upon Martyred Flesh” is doomy and ugly when it arrives and begins defacing your psyche. Smudgy playing backs up hissing growls, while the band utterly clobbers you. Guitars smear soot all over your face and into your mouth, while the grime increases as the song goes on. You’re dragged into hell for your punishment while the death growls boil, only to be given brief solace by the acoustics that end the track and let you fade into unconsciousness.

“Beneath the Emblems of Death” is a quick jolt at 1:11, but it’s hardly an interlude. The 71 seconds of complete death annihilation is crushing and violent, pouring buckets of blood. “Refracted Suffering Through the Windows of Hell” sounds like the sentence I just wrote, but it’s a slow mauler, as the cymbals are assaulted, and creepy growls move into your vision. From there, it’s total war as the bass lines thicken and wrap around your throat, the track explodes and sends shards of glass, and things rest in a pile of ash. “Spears of Pestilence” ends the record, and at 10:46, it’s the beefiest thing on here. The music bleeds in from another dimension, slithering in after you, crushing bones and muscle. You practically can feel the growls rumbling in your chest, exacting psychological damage before the pace switches, and we’re into thrashing combine blades. The track lays waste to whatever lies in its way, as the growls swim through the filth, the leads glimmer briefly in the dark, and the music drowns in buckets of its own blood and guts.

Sempiternal Dusk’s five-year pause between full-lengths led to a massive amount of anticipation for “Cenotaph of Defectuous Creation,” and this beast absolutely pays off all of that excitement. It’s truly a journey into sickness and depravity the way so many other bands claim to deliver but only do so superficially. Here, you’re dragged into the chain pit and beaten within an inch of your miserable life.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/SempiternalDusk/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/