PICK OF THE WEEK: Grave Miasma’s warped death devastates minds with ‘Abyss of Wrathful Deities’

There’s a lot of music out there designed to make you feel good inside, cause you to dance, put a smile on your face so you can tolerate the chaos of this world. Then there’s the opposite, music that darkens your soul, pushes you into nightmare terrain, and rots your insides, making a trip into hell something you might be able to tolerate.

UK death mashers Grave Miasma never will be mistaken as one here to elevate your mood, unless the darkest, strangest stretches of death metal warm your heart. They have returned after a long layoff from their debut record with their sophomore crusher “Abyss of Wrathful Deities,” a beast about to makes its way across the globe, proverbially blotting out the sun and threatening existence as we know it. OK, yeah, that’s obviously over the top, but when you take on the music supplied by this band—multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Y, guitarist/bassist T, drummer/percussionist D—it doesn’t seem all that exaggerated. These nine songs that bleed over 53 minutes are nightmarish, strange to navigate, and impossible to properly classify, which makes what’s going on that much more intense.  

“Guardians of Death” greets you with guitars welling up and crazed growls as the playing smashes your mind. The vocals scrape and the guitars go off, multiplying the anguished hell in which you’re immersed. The vocals keep agitating, the pace pummels, and everything ends in spacious hell. “Rogyapa” unloads bursting guitars and snarling vocals, while the pace is punchy and even a little deranged. The playing catches fire as the growls tear away at your flesh, and everything stomps as your head is left spinning. The guitars wail, the eeriness settles into your nervous system, and the playing finally relents toward the end, still rubbing your face in it. “Ancestral Waters” splatters as the growls mar, and the leads engulf and tangle you in power. Massive growls and shrieks unite and aggravate healing wounds, the guitars flood and swim, and everything ends in pure menace. “Erudite Decomposition” enters with crushing drums and a haunting, heavy vibe that refuses to quit. The growls sound like they originate from hell as the guitar playing is both smoking and airy, the leads rush, and the combination of relentless speed and strange atmosphere finally fold out.

“Under the Megalith” starts as a dizzying assault with the vocals wrenching and the playing penetrating, sending you on the run. The pace keeps gaining strength as the riffs fold, and the darkness thickens and enters your blood. The storm gets gnarlier as the playing explodes and spirals, and furious hell pushes into a violent end. “Demons of the Sand” slowly enters the picture as the growls collect, and the guitar scorches your flesh. Harsh growls only increase the bruising as the music drills its way into the earth, sending rock high into the clouds, choking out everyone within their reach. “Interlude” gives you a quick breather as its acoustics feel rustic and raw, letting the temperature come down a bit before leaning into “Exhumation Rites.” That track rips open with a driving gust and growls that crush, making you a paste stain on the ground. The playing chugs and mixes your brain chemicals, and great soloing emerges to open the lava flow. The drums unload as everything is engulfed in hell, pounding growls smear salt in the wounds, and everything comes to a jarring end. “Kingdoms Beyond Kailash” ends the album with yelled screams and a heavy dose of humidity that thickens the air. The playing hangs overhead as the hypnosis gets more involved, strange strings haunt, and the playing numbs your muscles as the song ends in an acoustic wash.

Eight years was a long wait from their full-length debut, but Grave Miasma reward our patience with “Abyss of Wrathful Deities,” one of the strangest, most destructive death metal albums we’ve encountered so far this year. This feels like it emanates from deep underground, as the forces of death rise and swallow you into hellish caverns. This is a mangling, psychologically warped record that is exciting, morbid, and as suffocatingly dark as you can find.

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

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

Or here: http://www.sepulchralvoice.de/shop/

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

And here: http://www.sepulchralvoice.de/

Sněť’s hellraising death metal leaves mental, physical wounds on mangling ‘Mokvání V Okovech’

Death metal isn’t required to make you feel like you’re being dragged through gross puddles and vats of acid in hell, but it sure goes down better when it does as it gives you the violent bounty you require. No offense intended toward the more technical and polished among death’s sphere, as they certainly play a part. But the ugly stuff is what really gets us and rots our proverbial guts.

Prague destroyers Sněť are insistent on making you feel uncomfortable and bruised after you finish taking on their violent debut record “Mokvání V Okovech,” an eight-track, 28-minute crusher that attacks with no warning. Their filth-based death metal feels disgusting and probably would taste even worse if converted into a consumable, but taking it on as music, the form in which it was intended, makes for an explosive, hammering experience. The band—vocalist Řád Zdechlin, guitarists Hnisatel and Ransolič, bassist Leproduktor, drummer Krütorr—completely unloads on you and delivers death metal that feels rabid and a little trippy amid all the carnage.

“Útes Mrtvol” is an eerie intro cut that sets the stage before noise awakens, the guitars sprawl, and the bloody ferocity slips into “Kůň Kadaver” that unload with terrifying ferocity and mauling drums. Beastly growls strike as the savagery spirals out, hellish riffs crush muscle, and the guitars burn off layers, ending in filth. “Princip Křížení” has drums slashing and total demolition going off, as the vocals turn up the deathly chaos to insane levels. The playing pounds away and lets the bruising spread, the fires suffocate, and the back end delivers feedback that gnaws at your wounds. “Demon” brings cataclysmic hell from the very start as the pace is speedy and mean, and the playing even gets swaggering as they enjoy distributing humiliation. The vocals hammer away as mangling cries explode, the drums unload, and the track chugs its way out.

“Zamrzlý Vrch” has a huge opening as clouds burst and bones are mangled. The playing smears as the drums turn stone to powder, and a huge gust leaves you grasping for the walls, the growls absolutely punish, and bodies are left behind in the track’s wake. “Folivor” delivers churning guitars as the growls sound like they’re choking on soot, and the melodies are burly as hell. The growls are violent and fierce, the force mashes you into the mud, and the track ends with bloody terror. “Sakrofag” digs its claws into your flesh as the power detonates. The band thrashes away as the heat increases tenfold, and the speedy playing rips out of control. The vocals are throaty and hellish, the power multiplies, and the track ends in chaos. “Vesmírná Saliva” is the closer, unloading slow-driving power but remaining heavy as hell. The growls gurgle as the leads take off, and the pace mashes guts. The fires are agitated, the playing keeps unloading, and everything dissolve in disarming, whirring madness.

It’s impossible not to feel physically and mentally affected after taking on Sněť’s debut record “Mokvání V Okovech,” an absolutely wrenching display. There’s nothing pristine or polished about this record, though what you hear is razor sharp and deliriously rowdy, which hits all the right spots. This album is a fire breather, something that should make deviously happy any death metal fan looking for blood.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/snet666

To buy the album, go here: https://shop.bloodharvest.se/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.bloodharvest.se/

Tvær’s atmospheric black metal worships at the altar of nature, pays homage to woods on ‘Uvær’

There’s never a bad time to take an extended period to enjoy nature, because no matter the time of year, there’s always something majestic to see. But right now in the U.S. is a particularly opportune time because life is bursting again, the trees are lush with leaves, and the weather is nice enough that you can spend time out there in relative comfort.

It’s also an ideal time to dig right into the heart of “Uvær,” the debut full-length record from Minnesota-based atmospheric black metal band Tvær. Their sound is huge and punishing, a nice blend of raw and bursting power that can fill you with energy and make you want to embrace our fragile surroundings while they last. The band—guitarist/vocalist AC, guitarist/bassist MH, bassist AA, drummer EC—sound like they’ve taken great inspiration from deep inside the woods, drinking deeply from their rich home state and translating that into their art that should ignite your own fire in your heart.

“I” quietly drips in before things surge, riffs charge, and great energy jolts. The shrieks tear apart any sense of calm as melodies race heavily, and chaos splatters, ripping through your senses. Fluid and mangling, the pace stomps, and the vocals crash through walls as a rush of storms ravage, the fury peaks, and everything bleeds out in cold strains. “II” starts with clean playing before the riffs open, and the shrieks hammer away. Delirious melodies smash away as the drums explode, and wild cries explode, pushing through your rib cage. That cataclysm settles into colder waters that lap over you before the volcanic power as the riffs take off, and it feels tornadic as it approaches. The playing plasters as the walls come crashing down, and that drives to a huge end before spilling out.

“III” picks up and unleashes a long stretch of clean, propulsive playing before the volcano violently bursts, leaning into a riff rampage. The guitars charge hard, smashing away and leaving you in rubble as shrill yells gnaw at your psyche. A vicious deluge strikes as the vocals hammer away, melodies pummel, and the force crushes you right to the end. “IV” begins with the drums lighting up and the riffs lapping, battering through the front gates. Clean calls echo as things turn blinding, letting melodic punishment have its way with you and icing down your mind. Shrill shrieks attack again, clean chants echo, and that leans into a clean pocket that washes over and cools the heat. That playing continues to stream before it heads off into the sea and toward instrumental closer “V.” The track is treated with rustic acoustics, a dark folk vibe, harps igniting, and a calm, solemn ending soothing wounds.

There’s not a place on earth where Tvær would have been more at home than with Bindrune Recordings, where they slip right in among a roster of like-minded creators. “Uvær” is a jarring, atmospheric, splattering first record that feels like it’ll be even more immersive once in the heart of deep nature. This is an exciting first step for a band that’s right up our fucking alley, and I can’t wait to hear where they go from here.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://shop.bindrunerecordings.com/products/tvaer-uvaer-lp-cd-pre-order

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

Synth warriors Zombi enter into nighttime, add strange vibes on steaming new EP ‘Liquid Crystal’

Photo by Matt Dayak

When I was a kid, I used to get seriously freaked out at night, which obviously doesn’t make me special or anything since that happens to so many people. But it instilled with me this weird sense that sticks with me to this day, an unsettling chill that works its way through me that I can’t explain, even having no fear of the night anymore or any apprehensions.

Music very often aggravated those old, glowing nerves, and it’s something I can’t explain. I just know it when I hear it. I really heard it with Zombi’s last album “2020,” and that carries over into that record’s companion EP “Liquid Crystal,” a five-track collection that carries over that vibe but doesn’t regurgitate it. The way the duo of Steve Moore and A.E. Paterra unleash that strangeness on this collection also is something that isn’t easy to put into words, at least as far as vibe is concerned. Basically if you were on the ride for “2020,” expect the sink even deeper into that universe on this collection.  

“Mangler” gets things started with the synth creeping in and the drums cracking as it feels like trouble is brewing. Everything feels eerie and strange with dark clouds hovering and your nerves on edge. The pace picks up, the sci-fi strangeness floods, and the playing fades into time. “Chant” feels light and airy with the bass plodding, and a mid-80s Rush feel moving in. The playing is dreamy and chilling as the pace numbs you, and cool melody snakes through the center point. The title track has keys lurching and the shadows thickening as warm air begins to pump into your face. The track has a total nighttime feel to it, cooling your flesh as guitar work slithers down your spine, leaving your blood standing. “Turning Points” runs a healthy 11:18, and guitars churn, drums echo, and the pace crawls ominously. The dreams begin to increase and get more intense, the cymbals crash, and the playing is deliberate and channeled, pushing on deeper into your mind. It feels like a beast is stalking you as your fight-or-flight tendencies kick in, the strangeness swims, and the droning keys head off into the clouds. “Black Forest” is the closer, bringing hovering synth and guitar licks that sound inspired by steamy old crime shows. All that gets under your skin as the drums hit hard, progressive vibes spit, and everything is swallowed in fog.

Zombi’s progression continues to get darker and more sinister, evidenced by what you heard on this great EP “Liquid Crystal.” The music can be equally mentally stimulating and strangely creepy as the band lurks around, looking for anything the make your nerve endings stand on end. Zombi have made a career out of proving their strange charisma is as effective telling stories musically as any words ever could be.

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

To buy the album, go here: http://relapse.com/zombi-liquid-crystal/

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