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:

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Or here (physical):

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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:

For more on Mortiferum, go here:

To buy the album, go here:

Or here:

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And here:

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:

To buy the album, go here:

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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.

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