PICK OF THE WEEK: Undergang’s sewer-splashed death turns stomachs on sick ‘Aldrig i livet’

I was just watching “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” the other night, and the part when Uncle Eddie is pouring liquified human waste into a storm sewer not only is super disgusting, but it also made me think of the last thing on our agenda for the week. Naturally, that would be death metal that sounds like it emanates from where that excrement goes to rest and rot forever.

Danish crushers Undergang are the ones who labeled their sound “sewer death metal,” so it’s not like we’re coming down on them for their sound. But honestly, they absolutely nailed it with that descriptor, something that has perfectly summed up their approach ever since their start some 12 years ago. The band has returned with their fifth full-length effort “Aldrig i livet” that lands in our final month of the year that’s usually noted for its majesty, not its level of filth. Nonetheless, these maulers arrive with a 10-track, 31-and-a-half-minute beast designed to turn your stomach as the band—vocalist/guitarist D. Torturdød, guitarist/backing vocalist Mads Haarløv, bassist Martin Leth Andersen, drummer A. Dødshjælp—drags you through the muck, with a lot of it getting in your mouth. Be warned.

“Præfluidum” is an eerie way to start the record before it tears open as gross growls and muck collect, working their way toward “Spontan bakteriel selvantændelse” that brings lurching vocals from Torturdød’s guts. The band sludges along and pulverizes minds as the leads charge, and ugly fury burns off with disgusting fumes. “Indtørret” ramps up with burly death and gargled vocals, landing punches along the way. The track melts down as Torturdød’s vocals scuff, exploding toward the gates. “Menneskeæder” starts with drums destroying and the leads wailing, while the growls belch horrifying messages. The guitars confound as they chew up bodies, and that leads toward “Ufrivillig donation af vitale organer?” that revels in strangeness and unsettling vibes. The pace crushes as gritty riffs have their way with you, and the thrashy vibe and warped chaos end in slurry misery.

“Sygelige nydelser (Del 3) Emetofili” brings more stomach-turning growls and power that looks to ruin lives as the guitars blaze by. Everything stampedes and loosens screws while the track ends in thrashy, wiry viciousness. “Usømmelig omgang med lig” has stirring riffs and Torturdød just stirring vocally, manically toying with you. Electricity is sparked as the tempo hammers, working into a super heavy pocket and eventually a trancey ambiance before the Undergang train grinds you into the tracks. The title track starts feeling like it’s entering you into a fever dream before guitars drizzle, and the playing drubs. Dark mashing punishes your flesh before the guitars wander in the dark, and the back end is choked into submission. “Rødt dødt kød” starts quivery and unbalanced before the growls start to bubble, and the violence is handed out liberally. The band keeps hitting back, stampeding viciously as growls mar as they puke their last. “Man binder ikke et dødt menneske” closes this horror show with growls caving and the riffs heating up. The band then punishes with fire, adding more fuel to the blaze, unleashing alien torment, and ending with a nuclear blast.

Undergang are the epitome of stomach-churning, ugly death metal that sounds like it originated in the underground filth and flooded to the surface to infect us all. “Aldrig i livet” is another incomprehensibly vile collection from this Danish destroyer that’s been smothering us for the past decade. You’re not going to find another record is any genre quite as sickening and devastating at the same time as this one, and you’ll be repulsed by how many times you want to go back for more.

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

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

Or here: https://www.mesacounojo.com/shop/undergang-aldrig-i-livet-lp/

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

And here: https://www.mesacounojo.com/

Solid 7 inches: High Command, Mortiferum, Hyperdontia, and Chevalier bash multiple skulls

High Command (photo by Courtney Brooke)

You know how busy you think you are right now? Eh, maybe you are. Who am I to judge? Anyway, if you’re not running a website based on metal albums, carving out time to actually listen to one record front to back actually can be a challenge if you don’t have enough time. You don’t have that same excuse when it comes to a 7” release, so get your shit together, we’re about to discuss some.

Worcester, Mass., crossover crushers High Command are going for their swords and shields again on a two-track EP “Everlasting Torment” that’s their first new stuff since last year’s killer debut “Beyond the Wall of Desolation.” This has its share of epic glory, sludgy chaos, and grimy vocals, a devastating collection that’s out now digitally via Southern Lord and will be released on a 7” next year by Triple B. These tracks might make you want to get suited up to take the fight to a battlefield near you, though there likely isn’t one, so you’ll just look like a fool. Listening to this music won’t let you feel those weird, embarrassing thoughts, though.

“Everlasting Torment” brings heavy riffs and plodding bass, like they’re just teasing you before they launch the true assault. Great leads charge as the nasty howls devastate, blistering with savage shrieks, while the open thrashing begins to powder bones. The track turns back into a wrecking machine, and the command of, “Go!” brings awesome soloing that brings the track to a smashing end. “Sword of Wisdom” has synth rising up and riffs trudging before the vocals explode. The pace races dangerously, while Kevin Fitzgerald’s vocals punch through walls. Insane soloing whips into a frenzy before things slow down but remain heavy. Glory and devastation bubble to the surface while the leads crackle, and the track bleeds out into the winds.

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

To buy the album (digital), go here: https://southernlord.bandcamp.com/

Or here (physical): https://triplebrecords.limitedrun.com/store?view=f22907

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

And here: http://triplebrecords.limitedrun.com/

Times are shit, everything is hopeless, and luckily death metal is here to catch you in its disease-ridden arms to suffocate you into the next world. Or it’ll make the chaos feel a little more manageable. Olympia, Wash., doom-encrusted death squad Mortiferum teamed up with internationally based beasts Hyperdontia (they make me feel a little uncomfortable since I have a tooth infection right now) for a two-track split that offers one deadly cut from each band. These are two of the better bands still kind of creeping a little deeper in the underground, but this appetizer with both should have any newcomers feverishly going back to Mortiferum’s debut “Disgorged From Psychotic Depths” or Hyperdontia’s multitude of smaller releases and 2018’s sole full-length “Nexus of Teeth.”

Mortiferum enters with “Abhorrent Genesis” that delivers strange vibes and slowly burning rage before the pressure explodes. Creaky vocals snarl while the pace unloads, and absolutely sooty death growls rub your face in decay. Things slow to a doomy hell, boiling in guts before things ignite, the playing decimates souls, and hypnotic leads send the track to its grave. “Punctured Wound” is Hyperdontia’s foul offering, and it roars out of its hole in hell. Burly playing unites with mind-altering guitar work as the track surrounds you and pushes you to your psychedelic limit. Guitars explore before zapping into space, hammering heavily as the assault regains its fury, with the track ending in a sticky pool of plasma.  

For more on Hyperdontia, go here: https://www.facebook.com/hyperdontia

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

To buy the album, go here: https://carbonizedrecords.bandcamp.com/album/mortiferum-hyperdontia

Or here: https://mesacounojo.bandcamp.com/album/split-7-3

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

And here: https://www.mesacounojo.com/

Chevalier’s “Destiny Calls” made our top 40 albums of 2019, and that’s for good reason, because it’s metal that takes us back to our own formative years. I recently described them to someone by saying, “Imagine pre-Bruce Maiden with pre-Kiske Helloween soloing, and a Doro Pesch on vocals who sounds like she wants to kill you.” The band didn’t let 2020 expire without their deadly mark, as they have two-track EP “Life and Death” hammering at you. The band maintains their roots of power metal vibe, while vocalist Emma Grönqvist is in total command, waving a flaming war hammer overhead as her words rain down and leave you satisfyingly battered afterward.

“Deathstalker” pummels open as the guitars rise to the surface, and Grönqvist’s singing tears away at the fringes. The playing stampedes as the vocals pierce your sides, settling into steamy bashing that opens into a lava flow. Great power and fluid melody unite as the vocals continue to land shots, wild playing charges, and the track smashes shut. “Lifegiver” starts feeling like an early Maiden track, while Grönqvist’s vocals blast their way into your chest. Vengeful verses pave the way for a disruptive chorus that’s a blast to withstand, and then soloing slices in with a riveting, smashing spirit. Another sweep through by the band brings Grönqvist back in with force, and the band spends the final moments making sure they make their presence is known and never forgotten.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://chevalier.bandcamp.com/album/life-and-death

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

This is a lot of music from a bunch of bands, but luckily these 7” releases are easy to get through, and everything here is worth the price of admission. There’s something for everyone, or if you’re well rounded in your heaviness, a bunch of tastes to satisfy your ravenous appetite. Each one also is available digitally right now, so go hibernate and destroy your hearing all at the same time.

Eternal Champion’s fantastical burst of heavy metal rages into battle on killer ‘Ravening Iron’

On one of the more iconic episodes of “Seinfeld,” Kramer bursts into Jerry’s apartment to ask if he and George want to have some fun. They’re not sold because it’s just driving golf balls into the Atlantic Ocean, which I honestly don’t think sounds like a good time. Anyway, we bring the same offer of fun today, and chances are you’re going to be into this.

“Ravening Iron” is the crushing second record from Texas-based epic fantasy metal band Eternal Champion, and if you take this thing on and don’t find yourself having the time of your life, you might need a quick reevaluation of your priorities. There definitely are a ton of bands revisiting the formative years of heavy metal, but Eternal Champion are ahead of the pack, which we discovered on their great 2016 debut “The Armor of Ire,” and that carries over here. Over eight pumping tracks and a compact 37 minutes, the band—vocalist Jason Tarpey, guitarists Blake Ibanez and Nujon Powers, bassist Brad Raub, and drummer Arthur Rizk—sharpens their swords, heads into mythical battlefields, and delivers infectious glory that will fill your chest with the unquestionable power of heavy metal.

“A Face in the Glare” opens with a hammer striking steel, no doubt a nod to Tarpey’s profession in his forge, before the track opens in glory, stomping its way over bodies. “The moment I land is the moment he sends the storm my way,” Tarpey wails before a chorus that etches itself into your brain forever, with the track ending in tempered fury. The title track has riffs bursting and synth creating a sheen while Tarpey calls, “The smoke reveals the gathered gods, their favor won by slavish pawns,” amid a pace that rises with power. “Protected by fire, the Armor of Ire, thousands of swords, no one can take them from me,” Tarpey belts over the chorus while the soloing cuts, and group “woah-oh-oh” calls remind of metal’s glory days. “Skullseeker” charges open before the band leans into a calculated pace, while more strong vocals pump inside your chest. Soloing lights up, a simple chorus strikes, and the track ends in charring embers. “War at the Edge of the End” smokes with charging riffs, while the powerful verses make your adrenaline surge. “For my price, I’ll roam my wretched world ’til the end of all time, I will serve as thine guard,” Tarpey blasts over the killer chorus while things get faster, the soloing destroys, and the steam that explodes from each corner burns your flesh.

“Coward’s Keep” gets going quickly and lands heavy blows, while the vocals push in and bring a hearty essence to the track. The leads are muscular as hell, teasing fire, while the plying chugs with force, as Tarpey wails, “The seas will roll, the mountains shield the battle,” over a powerful chorus. “Worms of the Earth” has an unreal open, a vision of people dying on Roman crosses as the guitars explode with life. The riffs agitate as the entire thing opens up with harder vocals and the soloing killing, with yet another awesome chorus that drives to the stratosphere, and a thrashy finish that will leave your skin stinging and red. “The Godblade” is an instrumental piece that feels like it belongs in the middle of an early 1980s fantasy film, which is probably a little obvious on my part. Its warmth and thick mist floats, heading right toward closer “Banners of Arhai” that lights the torches and heads toward the bloodshed. “Pray your gods, but know there is one less for you, I wear its blood upon my blade,” Tarpey declares as doom feels like it’s right over the horizon. Humidity thickens as the bass drives, the drums increase the intensity, and the track ends in a haze of echoes.

Eternal Champion have, in a small amount of time, become one of the go-to bands for epic heavy metal, which they spread all over the glorious and infectious “Ravening Iron.” This thing is so much fun, such a huge burst of traditional metallic power, that it’ll be impossible not to visit with this thing over and over again. This is a tremendous second effort that pays off the promise of their debut and keeps their fires raging toward a promising future.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://www.noremorse.gr/products?searching=eternal%20champion%20ravening

For more on the label, go here: https://www.noremorse.gr/

Aussie death squad Depravity unleash violence, torment on crushing ‘Grand Malevolence’

We don’t get to do this very often, but we’re kind of bookending the end of last week with the start of this using depravity. Friday, we had the debut record from Glorious Depravity, and now today, we have the new one from Aussie death squad Depravity, who are here to ensure things get off to a disgusting, punishing start.

“Grand Malevolence” is the band’s second record in a mere four years together, and once again, Transcending Obscurity is behind this one, which is 11 tracks and nearly 50 minutes of death metal ferocity that rarely relents as it drags you into battle. The band—vocalist Jamie Kay, guitarists Lynton Cessford and Jarrod Curly, bassist Ainsley Watkins, drummer Louis Rando—bring experience from other groups including Impiety, Entrails Eradicated, Scourge, and plenty others to the proceedings, though what they do here goes even beyond what their collective other projects accomplish. This is a furious nightmare that seeks to scar and maim you, and it succeeds time and time again.

“Indulging Psychotic Thoughts” opens the record crushing organs as gut-wrenching growls and total savagery set the stage for this track and what’s ahead. Punches are thrown as the blood flows, scorching earth as it bleeds out. The title track opens pounding away as the growls curdle, and a smashing ferocity spits sparks. Melodic leads slice into flesh while lurching growls belch hard, and the track blasts final nails. “Invalid Majesty” enters with nasty eruptions and ripping growls while the earth rumbles beneath you. Viciousness is placed on the agenda as windmill blows are landed, and then things turn sludgy and even uglier, leading to a mangling final burst that scars psyches. “Cantankerous Butcher” is a tremendous title, and the song matches. It’s pure brutality as speed strikes, and the growls pay off the agitation of aforementioned butcher. The playing then unloads and confounds, pouring corrosive chemicals on your yawning wounds. “Trophies of Inhumanity,” which I assume are not mere participation awards, stomps through the mud amid guttural growls and manic pacing. Fluid soloing lights up and scrambles brains, while a final ignition melts flesh from skulls.

“Castrate the Perpetrators” brings strong playing and gritty growls as dual leads penetrate, and wild shrieks cut through. The leads ignite and blaze new trails while melody mixes in with the hell, and the playing goes cold and chilling as it streams away. “The Coming of the Hammering” explodes from the gates as the relentless pace crushes, while growls and shrieks mix to amplify the terror. The guitars spiral, hell is unleashed on earth, and the rampage finally ends in a suffocating cloud of smoke. “Barbaric Eternity” sounds exactly like what its title indicates, jolting and paving the path for deep growls and mauling punishment. Growls engorge and the speed jars, and then it’s on to “Hallucination Aflame” that clobbers and leaves bones behind. The gas pedal is jammed through the floor as the body of the song caves down walls, guitars swoop, and driving fury leaves everything in the dust. “Epitome of Extinction” has guitars awakening and a blistering tempo that looks to inflict permanent injury. The vocals jar while the bass charges up, techy pockets smash your brain wiring, and the track ends in a hint of melody. “Ghosts in the Void” is the closer and it bleeds in, haunting and making your flesh crawl, as the devastation chugs hard. Violence blows open with the growls spilling blood, and the track lands some final blows that leave you feeling damn near concussed.

As the year starts to wind closed, we have a clear view backward of what some of the most vicious releases of the year have been, and Depravity’s “Grand Malevolence” must be considered for that list if you’re being honest. It’s a gut ripper, a record that makes you feel uncomfortable and bruised deeply when you’re finished, yet you want to go back for more. This is a mangling dose of death metal that is as sick and warped as they come.

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

To buy the album, go here (North America): https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.de/shop-en

Or here (Europe): https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

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

PICK OF THE WEEK: Death veterans create Glorious Depravity, blast out smashing ‘Ageless Violence’

Photo by Caroline Harrison

Sunday night is WWE’s Survivor Series, and when I was a kid, it was one of my favorite events because it put together all of these insane forces on one team for the first time to face another team of equally colossal power in order to find out which members of the winning team would survive. It’s lost a ton of luster over the years, but I still love the idea of five mega forces joining to make one huge team.

I’d take the five people who make up death metal supergroup Glorious Depravity to take it to any other five musicians in a battle for supremacy and survival, and their debut full-length “Ageless Violence” is all I need as evidence to back up that idea. I’d also watch that match over almost anything on this year’s Survivor Series, but the utter savagery this band created together is the real story. Combining members of bands such as Pyrrhon, Mutilation Rites, Woe, Hexer, Belus and plenty others to create their seven-track first record that rips the contents from your cavity. Protect your guts! The band—vocalist Doug Moore, guitarists George Paul and Matt Mewton, bassist John McKinney, and drummer Chris Grigg—unleash true, blistering, bloodied death that feels like it’s coming for your life and won’t stop until you do.

“Ocean of Scabs” is a thing I never want to be immersed in, but it’s our opener, so here we go. The track rips open as Moore’s growls land their first blows, and the riffs crush your senses. The drumming decimates as shrieks whip up behind the chaos, guitars go off, and everything churns to a vicious ending.  “(In the Clutches of) the Oligarchic Exsanguinator” starts with weird, chilling speaking before the track opens its jaws and starts consuming, and choppy thrashing aggravates any bruising that has accumulated. Vile shrieks rush through as the soloing goes off, disgusting fury lurks, and the track takes its final nail right to its head. “Incel Christ” is one of the best song titles of the year, and this thing starts in instant hell as growls boil, and the riffs rampage. Dizzying rage impacts your balance while the guitar work adds heat, the growls hammer, and the track ends up bleeding on the slaughterhouse floor.

“The Stone Hammer Swings” blasts in with shrieks, and the drumming going for the kill while grim growls lurk, and the channeled pace leaves scorch marks. Vile chaos emerges with thick basslines blackening eyes, and the heat is allowed to hang around. The playing sends shots to your ribcage, leaving you heaving and vulnerable. “Digital Reaper” opens in total hysteria, smothering you through a mucky pace that leaves you gasping for air and paving the way for razor-sharp guitar work to deface. The pace steamrolls and some insane soloing explodes, making your head spin out of control. “Hospital Incinerator Blues” bathes in weird noises before the playing chugs, and the growls go for your throat. Shrieks destroy and bring panic, while a slower pace lets the band really sink in the punishment, making you feel every bit of their sinister mission that pushes you to your limits. “Forced to Witness” mercilessly ends the record as feedback gathers, and slow-driving playing aims to achieve a submission they don’t tend to honor. Wild soloing and feral shrieks that duel with guttural growls amplify the danger while the leads scald you raw. Channeled hell rises as the band rips shit apart, all while Moore repeatedly taunts, “You are forced to witness!” as the track burns its last drips of fuel.

Glorious Depravity manage to be even greater than the sum of its parts, which could be tough to navigate with so many vital forces coming together to create this band. “Ageless Violence” lives up to its promise and spends most of its run time making a mockery of your feelings and weak stomach, as they gleefully rampage through you. Hopefully this isn’t a one-off project, because this band living into the future to maim others is my dream right now based on how wonderfully deviant this record is.  

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

To buy the album, go here: https://translationloss.com/collections/glorious-depravity-ageless-violence

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

Blunt Razors find PMFS forces dialing back the volume, turning up darkness on EP ‘Early Aught’

It’s easy to complain about 2020, because unless you’re in the super rich category and have profited off COVID-19, there’s very little for most of us to celebrate. Yet, some people have it worse or have worries that supersede ours, especially if those are more of the inconvenience variety, and we should try to remember to save some of our positive energy for them.

Gared O’Donnell, the ferocious gravel-voiced vocalist/guitarist for Planes Mistaken for Stars, is one of those people who have been dealt a worse hand than most as he was diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer, which initially was deemed inoperable. But O’Donnell has been battling through chemo and radiation, leaving a trail of utter positivity behind on his social media, and there looks to be some hope for him. On top of that, he and fellow Planes member Neil Keener created a slew of new songs while quarantined together in Peoria, Ill., though some of them weren’t quite the normal Planes vibe. No issue. The two created Blunt Razors to release this new music, which is decidedly quieter and less harsh than their main project, though it still sticks the dagger in pretty deeply. O’Donnell sounds great singing in more hushed tones, while the music is dark, sobering, and perfect for these days that contains less and less daylight.

“Begging Calming” gets things started as a moody buzz hangs over, and O’Donnell’s vocals rumble more gently than we’re used to hearing. “You were hungry, I was starving, we two storms begging calming,” he sings as echoey murk becomes a factor and ends the track in solemnity. “Speeding” aches with hurt, evident in O’Donnell’s voice as he tries to reason, “Could you please pick up the phone,” teeming with heartbreak. The song is sorrowful and plodding as O’Donnell later calls, “I really want to hear your voice again,” over and over as his pain refuses to relent. “Unspoken” has a deep Midwestern vibe, especially in the warm guitar work, as O’Donnell notes, “You can taste it in the air, you can feel it in your knees, some words are best left unspoken.” Melodic guitars lurk around the edge of nighttime, finally bleeding into the dark. “Around You” eases in as voices are more delicate, and emotional darkness sparks unmistakable energies. The feeling is gazey and drenched in echo, and O’Donnell and Kenner go along for the ride. “Amber Waves” resonates in shimmering sounds and guitars that reverberate off walls, with O’Donnell calling, “I’d trade my kingdom to fly, to drown in amber waves.” Darkness tightens its grip while its essence glimmers in the dusk, giving off a last gasp of hope. “Under Ice” is a buzzing, gruff take on the Kate Bush cut that they dress in their own sounds and smells, giving it a jolting reworking.

As a big fan of Planes Mistaken for Stars, this EP was a must-hear for me, and with O’Donnell battling for his life, it was nice to hear his trademark creak. Blunt Razors definitely isn’t making the heaviest music from a sound standpoint, but their complete commitment to personal darkness on “Early Aught” can make you tremble like to black metal band could. It would be great to get more from this project, as well as PMFS, but as O’Donnell’s health is far more important, we wish him the best on his fight, and we just to hear his voice again.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://deathwishinc.com/collections/music

To donate to a Go Fund Me drive to help pay O’Donnell’s medical bills, go here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/gared-o039donnell/donate

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

Ambient beasts Urfaust pair up their strange alchemy with gin on brain-coating ‘Teufelsgeist’

Metal and alcohol have gone hand in hand pretty much since the dawn of this style of music, and that combo has wreaked havoc over people’s live and helped sparked some incredible art over. Along those lines, bands have had beers named after them, and some have their own wines and brews in which they had a hand in creating, and that’s something that’s just going to become more common.

The latest to embrace the ties with alcohol are Dutch ambient black metal ghouls Urfaust, who have tied their latest album “Teufelsgeist” (translates into “vicious circle”) into a package along with a small-batch gin (in partnership with Hoos London Gin) under the same name. Right now, there is no link to purchase the package, but keep watching Urfaust’s social media and Ván Records’ site for when the whole thing is available. The music is available digitally right now. This pairing makes total sense as this band always unfurls sophisticated, elegant sounds to terrify, so naturally they’d combine that chaos with a gin. It’s just classier. As for the music, get ready to dive back into the blackened void from which the band—guitarist/vocalist IX, drummer VRDRBR—seems to find their inspiration as you go on a strange, dramatic ride into the darkest regions of your brain.

“Offerschaal der Astrologische Mengvormen” starts with a synth swirl whipping you into darkness while mystifying playing haunts and enchants, burrowing into the atmosphere. IX bellows heartily, almost operatically, later getting grittier, almost like Mike Patton at his most dramatic. Synth continues to be a major force while the vocals call out amid a strange fog as calls and winds blend, leaving you at the door of inebriation. “Bloedsacrament voor de Geestenzieners” delivers eerie keys and more singing that reaches for the stratosphere. Some growls punch in here and there as noises pierce your side, and claustrophobic weirdness causes your stomach to tighten. Growls wrench as a funereal pace streaks, the sound cloud buckles, and the track is fried in industrial heat.

“Van Alcoholische Verbittering naar Religieuze Cult” is dreamy and hazy, hanging over like consciousness to which you’re barely clinging, and then the clouds break, and chilly, nightmarish darkness spreads its reach. Ambiance crumbles as the world implodes, and that all drains toward “De Filosofie van een Gedesillusioneerde” that simmers in a disarming fog. Muscular bass strikes while calls hover behind the madness, twisting and churning toward mystery, while alien voices warble in the ether. “Het Godverlaten Leprosarium” ends our adventure in a hiss of horrifying drone, bells chiming, and a void into hell opening its jaws. The track feels like everything is being swallowed whole as you battle your balance and nauseousness, stomach juices swishing recklessly. Noises shriek as your skin grows chilly, tearing at you as your head swims and body shakes.

Urfaust’s dive into drunkenness on “Teufelsgeist” is another captivating chapter from the band, as this is a record completely different from everything else in heavy music right now. That’s hardly a surprise from this duo that finds new and extravagant ways to confound on every release. Let your inhibitions down, let the drink hit your blood, and give in to Urfaust’s most debaucherous moments yet.

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

To buy the album and for more on the label, go here: https://www.van-records.com/

Denver’s Of Feather and Bone unleash merciless assault on gross ‘Sulfuric Disintegration’

Photo by Alvino Salcedo

We expect and hope that our death metal is going to be harsh and violent, because that’s the best type of this style of music hands down. Yeah, I know it’s not the only way to play this stuff, and I guess if everyone went for the jugular that it might be tiresome quickly, but when a band obviously has no concern for you, and you can tell from their intensity, that’s quite the bloody treat.

Denver’s Of Feather and Bone have taken that idea to ridiculous levels on their savage third record “Sulfuric Disintegration,” the heaviest music they have created to date by far. And these guys weren’t exactly warm and fuzzy before, but something in them must have sickened or spoiled or turned them into some inhuman beasts roaming the earth when they went in to create this album. From moment one on this thing, it’s clear you’re in for the fight of your life as the band—guitarist/vocalist DG, bassist/vocalist AS, drummer PW—just goes for it and doesn’t look behind, even while bodies, loose parts, blood, and piss leave a disgusting trail behind them.    

“Regurgitated Communion” is both gross and totally not something we want to be around, what with us in a pandemic, but musically it absolutely destroys with a gut-wrenching death metal assault. The riffs hammer you as cavernous growls begin to cut wounds on your trunk, while the pace makes a paste out of your bones, driving you mercilessly into the earth. “Entropic Self Immolation” clashes with your senses, with speed and power raging hard, and a smashing abandon going for the throat. Any throat. A beastly barrage attacks as the drums come unglued, clobbering with ferocity as the track blasts into space. “Noctemnania” begins amid a drumming slaughter while the growls punish, and their chaos tests your sanity. The playing races all over the place, just pounding away as zany speed gets almost comical, guitars chug, and the brutality finally relents.

“Consecrated and Consumed” is doomy and stormy as it unloads, blocking out your sight as you veer ahead at top speed. Grinding fury fires on all cylinders as the riffs aim to erase your mind, delivering a truckload of violence. The pace shifts and actually manages to get more aggressive as the track ends in menacing fashion. “Sulfuric Sodomy (Disintegration of Christ)” roars with rage as it gets started, as deep growls boil in blood, and the drums lambaste mind, body, and wretched soul. There’s no hope of being saved from this display as the band keeps the foot on the gas, sending you hurtling toward hypnotic hell. “Baptized in Boiling Phlegm,” which is disgusting, ends the record by immediately going off to the races, as riffs roll up, and the playing stretches its muscles. Guitars rampage before the song slows and hits sludgy territory, suffocating before the playing rips apart again, the tempo blazes, and a final gust of inhumane savagery pukes its last.

Of Feather and Bone have seriously upped the ante as far as deranged chaos and bludgeoning death metal force on “Sulfuric Disintegration.” Every time out, this band gets heavier and more explosive, and they have no concern with your mental or physical well-being as they’re pounding you into eternal damnation. This is one of the nastiest death metal records of the year, and you’ll legit need recovery time every time you take on this fucking beast.

For more on the band, go here: https://offeatherandbone666.bandcamp.com/

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

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

PICK OF THE WEEK: Fuck the Facts stampede back with harsh grind, atmosphere on ‘Pleine Noirceur’

Photo by Anndy Negative

It’s not strange now to say you miss a lot of things and people, because we’ve had a year unlike any other in our lives, and disconnection and distance are things we all have in our relationships. People reassure each other that one day this thing will be over, and we can gather and party and just hang out again, but it feels so far away.

Yet, the arrival of “Pleine Noirceur,” the latest record from grind/death beasts Fuck the Facts, almost made it feel like reuniting with a friend again who has been gone for five long years. It was 2015 when they last destroyed us, with Juno-nominated “Desire Will Rot,” so we definitely were missing the band—vocalist Melanie Mongeon, guitarist Topon Das, drummer Mathieu Vilandre—who has created some of the most interesting and unhinged heavy music over seven previous albums and six EPs. FTF have created a 12-track, 42-minute mauler that isn’t grind from front to back and is a bit more atmospherically experimental than what they’ve done in the past. Even in their bio, they suggest you made need a few listens to fully digest. I loved it from listen one, but the more you visit, the more it works into your bloodstream and chews into your brain.

“Doubt, Fear Neglect” open the record in a sift of noise that feels like it’s building momentum before a ridiculous, bulldozing riff sprawls, and Mongeon’s shrieks erupt and pound away. The track is wonderfully reckless and digs its claws into the earth before melody evens out, and a thick haze situates, feeling foggy before a violent end. “Ailleurs” is a quick one, a 1:17-long grinder that completely destroys, with the bass driving, speedy madness exploding, and the track mashing out into noise toward the title track that unloads a cool riff and plodding bass. The verses crush as Mongeon’s isolated yells jolt your cellular structure while the boulder keeps rampaging down the hill. Melody clouds the violence as the guitars let off interesting colors, the shrieks hammer, and the track has a gut-wrenching end. “Aube” is another fast one, a 1:24-long adventure into mystery while guitars create a strange mist, and the shrieks jab from out of the darkness. “Sans Lumiere” delivers stirring guitars and a ground-and-pound pace that opens wounds easily. The track gets filthy while Mongeon’s vocals send ripples of pain before the track halts in its track, rebirthed on the other side as a different style of beast. The vocals rampage as the growls get ugly before a tempered pace carries the track away. “Sans Racines” is 38 seconds of chaos as every element splatters the madness, riffs scuff, the vocals peels back flesh, and the drums leave dust.

“Everything I Love Is Ending” starts with a gritty riff and wailed yells as the pace begins to get more aggressive. “It feels horrible, everything I love is ending!” Mongeon wails as the track hit the gas pedal, power gushes, and the track ends in dark echo. “A Dying Light” bleeds into the picture as the guitars glimmer before the power kicks in, and gloomy energy drags heavy clouds overhead. Mongeon’s cries ripple while warmth picks up, and the back of the song ignites and folds into the earth. “Dropping Like Flies” has molten riffs and devastating shrieks, while the pace feels irreparably charred before weirdness arrives. From there, the bass thickens, the guitars are fluid, and everything dissolves in a sound cloud. “L’abandon” basks in playful guitar work before the band shreds the senses, atmosphere thickens, and then we soak right into “An Ending” that feels solemn right out of the gates. The pace brings shadowy sorrow as Mongeon’s vocals grind you into the dirt, with the leads shuddering in pain. Sounds create pools of blood before the final moments are devoured by erosion. “_cide” closes the album, a track that starts off lightheaded, but you know damn well the hammer is coming. Sure enough, when it does, a driving force bores into your chest as Mongeon’s vocals sound like they’re scraped from the bottom of her bruised heart, emotions charge, and the final blows finally take your consciousness.

Fuck the Facts’ return after five years proves some things are worth the wait as “Pleine Noirceur” is so incredibly satisfying and absolutely beats you down. The record isn’t full throttle the entire time and demonstrates more of FTF’s tool set they’ve built over the years, but when they light the powder keg, it’s as explosive as anything in their catalog. It’s great to have this band back in our periphery, and while they can’t deface us live right now, this record is enough to ensure our muscles are nice bruised in the meantime.

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

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

Mizmor, Black combine forces to reflect on what our world has become on immersive ‘Dialetheia’

There’s a good chance our lives never will go back to the way they were before. We’re suffering through a pandemic that has left some people in total isolation, it has robbed us of live performances from bands, having lunch with friends, and celebrating holidays and major occassions with family and acquaintances. It’s impossible to even grasp how things were last year at this time.

Looking back at our civilization and the changes we have had to endure make up a large part of “Dialetheia,” the collaborative effort combining black metal/doom mauler Mizmor and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Black (he’s a live member of Mizmor), a record that was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s because A.L.N. and Black could not create this music in the same room together and instead had to work with file sharing and building on the sounds that way. The two artists imagined what it would be like to look back on our old ways and traditions and act as observers on those actions, and the music in immersive and hypnotic, the type of thing that could make you drift off and experiencing the old world yourself, taking note of what you’ve lost and what has been altered. Album artwork, by the way, was created by the amazing Emma Ruth Rundle.

“Looking At | Looking Through” opens the record, running 16:12 and basking in accumulating noise and eerie keys. The ambiance expands its reach as guitars emerge, poking through the clouds, while cosmic keys woosh through, and light zapping opens as a calming aura rushes. Keys drip as echoes search, the air feels damp, and the track dissolves into a haze of white noise. “Nostalgic Dystopian” closes the record, a 14:31-long track that has a different feel with guitars buzzing and ominous tones filling your blood. Moody doom surfaces as the guitars call out, and ghostly voices gather and send strange vibes. Things slow down as the track is buried in sound, settling into a drizzle of nighttime keys that fade out into the blackened sky.

This is an interesting piece from Mizmor and Black, a true collaborative experiment that really needs to be visited numerous times before the ideas begin to germinate. “Dialetheia” may not be heavy sonically, but the themes and the weighty emotion certainly push you to pay the price as you navigate each murky channel of this creation. This is perfect for listening in the evening, perhaps in a hot bad with a soothing substance as you reach out to the universe and try to align with the energy coming back at you.  

For more on the Mizmor, go here: https://www.facebook.com/whollydoomedblackmetal/

For more on Andrew Black, go here: https://andrewrblack.bandcamp.com/

To buy the album, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/collections/gilead-media-releases

For more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/