PICK OF THE WEEK: Decrepisy mash layers of torment, trauma into madness on ‘Emetic Communion’

No one is immune to loss and tragedy, no one avoids the throes of trauma, no one leaves here undefeated, and to assume anything else is a goddamn lie you tell yourself. The world is full of pain and torment, which I shouldn’t have to tell anyone, but we live among people who have removed themselves from reality, so sometimes pointing out the obvious is necessary.

That crashes down around you on “Emetic Communion,” the debut full-length from Portland, Ore., death/doom crushers Decrepisy, and these five tracks are overwhelming examples of just how hard the negative times can impact you. Formed with members of bands such as Vastum, Acephalix, Ritual Necromancy, Funebrarum, and a slew of others, this album is darkness through and through, though its main impact is on your psyche. They unleash the pressure early on and just keep pushing until you feel the gravity, and the band—vocalist/guitarist Kyle House, guitarist Jonny Quintana, bassist Tim Lower, drummer Charlie Koryn—does not relent. The music is ugly and foreboding, and the vocals feel like they’re carving out space in your brain to eat away at you forever. Or as long as you can last.

“Dissipating Form” opens in the muck, rowing through doomy crushing and chugging as the guitars go nuts, giving off steam. Massive death growls from House aim to sicken as slow drubbing does ample damage to your body, and dizzying guitars make the room spin. The track stomps hard again, the blood boils off, and everything ends in smashing madness. The title cut spares you nothing as the pressure is applied right away, and thick bass snakes through the mud. The guitars spiral at first before giving off impressive heat as the soloing takes off, and vicious growls make their mark in your flesh. Ominous tones strengthen and suffocate while the back end fades slowly and with ill intent amplified.

“Embodied Decomposition” cuts right into bone and deeply as cool riffs peel back flesh, and the growls feel designed to maim. Guttural hell is unleashed, and fuck is it ever heavy as guitars jolt your bones, and mucky thrashing infects your blood. The track turns into a slow menace as the playing mauls infernally, and the track ends in a fatal blast. “Abbatoir of Sorrow” runs a healthy 10:34, and it makes the most of its extended time, opening into strange, eerie doom. The guitars scramble the senses as death rays feel like they’re working to evaporate you, and then the power mauls and insults your emotions. Growls melt flesh and liquify bone, the guitars rip into your arteries, and gravelly growls roll you in a grave of piss and acid, ending as bizarrely as it started. “Anxiety Womb,” which practically describes the state in which I’ve been living, ends things, a chilling instrumental outro with synth, hypnotic chimes, and space fumes that drag you to the beyond.

After taking on “Emetic Communion,” it almost goes without saying that these songs are informed by trauma and devastation, because every moment of Decrepisy’s debut rolls in that generously and always makes you feel like your chest is heaving. The death is harrowing and ugly, the doom is thick and intrusive, and the entire album leaves its mark on you well after it has finished. This is a powerful, menacing collection that never releases in strangulating hold and demands you pay the price.  

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Decrepisy-101533198428178/

To buy the album, go here: https://chaos-records.bandcamp.com/album/emetic-communion

Or here: https://seedofdoom.bandcamp.com/album/emetic-communion

Or here: https://lifeafterdeath.bandcamp.com/album/emetic-communion

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

And here: https://www.facebook.com/SeedOfDoom/

And here: https://lifeafterdeath616.com/

Dream-inducing doom pounders Mesa capture imaginations, push emotions on gripping ‘Collapse’

Floating off into strange dreams where you surrender your body and simply let music enter your bloodstream doesn’t sound like your typical adventure in metal and heavy music in general. For the most part that’s the case, but there definitely are those bands around that can act as an escape, where you can stretch your mind instead of merely get brutalized.

California-based sludge/doom (and that’s a loose description) band Mesa are one of those that have aims other than just leaving welts on your body. Their MIDI-obsessed crunch can be a big serotonin boost if this style of music works for you, and if your tastes are diverse, definitely give their debut full-length record “Collapse” a serious chance. Formed by Marie McAuliffe (also of Putrescine, who handles guitar, bass, vocals, MIDI) and Adam Heller (formerly of Megalodon, who takes on guitar, synths, MIDI, piano), they create a world on these six tracks that can be earthquaking but also dissolve into passages that feel like they’ve taken you into a fantasy world that wraps its tendrils around you and pulls you under for an experience you won’t soon forget.

“The Portent of Throne” slowly works its way into full form as McAuliffe’s shrieks rip into muscle, making your blood pressure rise before we’re into a dreamy haze. The vocals switch to a higher register clean singing for a stretch, and then it’s back to the thorns as the band pounds into fertile emotional ground, slipping out into the atmosphere. “A Stone Bridge of Folly” feels like it floats in the air before the savagery arrives, the vocals crush teeth, and the sense of adventure is off the charts. Guitars soar as oxygen fills the room and your lungs, sludgy blows are landed, and the guitars soar and soothe, thrusting out into the night. “Where the Mountains Join the Clouds” lets the keys establish a tone before the sound begins to expand and the emotions light up. Wild howls agitate muscles as the music swims, vicious shrieks lay waste, and the hypnotic playing melts your tension, leaving in a trancey fog.

“A Final Snowfall as the Dawn of Man Flickers” is an interesting, woodsy instrumental cut that starts in acoustics and puffy musical clouds, almost immediately bringing down your anxiety. Cool waters rush as the keys enhance the mood, the acoustics cool the flesh, and the final moments buzz in the back of your head. “Motif 8 (The Dirge)” continues that serenity as it feels like you’re slowly moving through the cosmos, letting breezes work through your hair. Punches are thrown musically as the vocals call out, the midsection is ripped open, and a dreamy prog jolt makes your hairs stand on your arms, ending on a high note as McAuliffe calls, “Her Body alight, soaked by oil, She lied down in consuming fire.” “With Light Comes Redemption” ends the album by getting off to a fast start with the pace punching up and the music whirling into the air. The drumming picks up the intensity as a melodic fury strikes, the keys flutter, and the track is swept off into a strange new plane of existence.

There is no way to properly sum up Mesa’s sound or to give a quick explanation as to what awaits listeners on “Collapse,” easily one of the most interesting, thought-provoking records I’ve heard all year. Heavy enough to live in metallic terrain but strange enough to leave unambitious listeners at arm’s length, this album feels and sounds different with each journey through these six tracks. There’s nothing quite like Mesa and the strange art they make, and I can’t even begin to think of anything with which to compare this magnificent strangeness.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://mesadoom.bandcamp.com/album/collapse

Or here (cassette): https://realmandritual.bandcamp.com/album/collapse

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

Flame, Dear Flame weave duo of formative stories into seductive doom on emotional debut ‘Aegis’

Heavy metal bands have been telling epic tales for as long as the medium has been a thing. The style just kind of lends itself to expanding your mind and taking a journey through either a story the artists have created or retelling of long-honored tales that have been a part of our societal fabric forever. In fact, it’s one of the things that attracted me to this style of music in the first place.

German doom-driven band Flame, Dear Flame have created their debut record “Aegis” as two stories put together, the first a three-part movement, the second a four-part story. “The Millennial Heartbeat” unfurls the story of the creation of the oceans and thanatography of the land, reimagining the genesis of the place we all call home. The songs originally saw the light of day in 2019 on an EP of the same name. “The Wolves and the Prioress” tells the story of a feral child that falls into the custody of a sage prioress, and it’s the most folk-heavy of the two pieces. The band delves heavily in melody and doom darkness, and vocalist Maren Lemke is an absolute force here as her great singing and expressive storytelling make this a really magical collection. Lemke along with the rest of the band—guitarist David Kuri, bassist Martin Skandera, drummer Jan Franzen—keep things riveting and enthralling, ensuring you’re fully engaged over these seven cuts.

“The Millennial Heartbeat Part I” starts the record and a triptych of cuts as the guitars burn, and Lemke calls, “We are unbound by your hands.” The playing heats up as the emotion bursts, colors flourish, and then everything slows and melts into the earth. “The Millennial Heartbeat Part II” has waters rushing and the vocals slipping in, easily numbing your wounds. “You will tear the world apart,” Lemke warns as the riffs buzz, and then everything catches fire. Echoey calls soothe, the playing plods darkly, and then everything liquifies, disappearing back into the waters. “The Millennial Heartbeat Part III” ends the trio as grimy guitars darken the atmosphere, and the playing churns generously. “Father, please forgive thy children, they know not what they’ve done,” Lemke wails as the guitars glimmer, and everything kicks into your chest. The playing then gallops, your heart rushes blood to your body, and Lemke calls, “Shall perish and once more will all become one, and all their deeds will be as though never done,” as things fades away.

“The Wolves and the Prioress Part I” is the first of a four-movement section, feeling rustic with acoustics as Lemke observes, “They never move or make a sound.” That charges up as the guitars flex, the band chugs harder, and gentle waters washing over can’t fully put out the embers that are a beacon in the murk. “The Wolves and the Prioress Part II” is doomy and emotional with strong singing and a fantastical feel, mesmerizing as the crunch lands. There is a strong push into the atmosphere as dark energies pulsate, and the final moments bask in mystery. “The Wolves and the Prioress Part III” also has a strong folk vibe, feeling transported from generations ago, combining smoky sultriness with woodsy imagination. The guitars create sparks as a psychedelic haze thickens, Lemke’s singing is soulful and thick, and you are permanently altered. “The Wolves and the Prioress Part IV” closes the album with guitars churning, the verses delivering force, and brief dalliances with solemnity being devoured whole. The guitars burst as the singing gets even stronger, the whole forces gushes, and it’s easy to get caught up and swept away. Acoustics rejoin the mix, the temperature begins to drop, and the track is swallowed in a thick, enveloping fog.

“Aegis” is as much a storybook as it is a record as Flame, Dear Flame unfurl two separate tales in which you can lose yourself. The band’s melodic doom and occult-feeding energy is compelling and fluid, and Lemke’s singing takes what already are strong forces and makes them into something even more special. This is an album that’s perfect for meditation, reconnecting with your spirit, or simply letting the darkness flow from your own vessel as you lose yourself into the stitches of these spellbinding epics.

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

To buy the album (North America), go here: https://store.eisenton.com/

Or here (Europe): https://store.eisenton.de/en/

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

Krigsgrav’s infernally smoking doom simmers in pain, suffering on devastating ‘The Sundering’

There is a price to be paid in this life for just about anything we do, and I mean that emotionally. Somehow, metal got this weird macho tag, and that’s likely due to insecure assholes, but it’s OK to be completely broken apart and vulnerable. Building back up actually makes you tougher, and there is a fuck ton of great metal out there to act as a sort of guide and spiritual partner.

I won’t lie: The past few months have been really destructive for me mentally, so when a record can come along and not just identify with my pain but also give me some tools to get work through that mess, it’s always welcome. Texas-based death/doom pounders Krigsgrav came along at an opportune time for me, as did their great sixth record “The Sundering.” This thing is heavy both musically and emotionally. It comes off as a collection of songs from people who have seen some shit, and that’s weirdly comforting because who among us hasn’t? This band—vocalist/rhythm guitarist Justin Coleman, guitarist Cody Daniels, drummer/bassist/clean vocalist David Sikora—just nails this and leaves you both cleaned out emotionally but also sufficiently devastated.

“Aeolus Speaks” gets things started as storming hangs over, ominous thunder rumbles, and that leads into “The Sun No Longer Reaches Here” that erupts with huge riffs and gurgling growls. The track gets savage as the pace picks up, and a doomy slurring hits over the chorus, mixing your brains. Strong soloing cuts through, a power metal flutter strikes, and everything rushes into the waves. “Timberline” arrives in a guitar surge as growls scar, and a strong force agitates the fires. Fiery melodies bubble up, and the rage melts into liquidy guitars, feeling fluid and dark. The leads take off and lightens the skies, blood surges, and group vocals pound with power. “Dread the Night” explodes with melody as the vocals power, and the pace chugs. The playing continues to heat up, bringing classic magic, the growls menace, and everything rolls in a pile of broken glass. “Absence” has a rustic intro with acoustics washing before the band starts to rip hard. The playing stampedes as Coleman’s growls get into your guts, and it feels like a gust takes you away, reminding of Maiden at times. Things crash to a halt as gentler waters trickle, the guitars then awaken, and the track explodes, firing into the air.

“Spirit Walker” basks in elegant doom as the track gets started, the growls corrode, and the playing opens even more, swallowing you whole. The leads feel like they soar through the air, moving through skullduggery and vicious blows, and then the humidity thickens, taking away your fresh air. The leads spiral, the growls crash down, and moody guitars take this thing to the finish line. “To Live and Die Without Hope” opens into foul punishment as the vocals suffocate, and the drumming crashes through walls. Eventually, some haziness sets in, and even some jazzy playing makes your limbs tingle before the violence crushes anew, and the track blisters away and out into hell. “The Winter Hours” leaks in like a spirit, giving off as vibe awash in elegance. The growls scrape as the track toughens, but then a cooler section sets in, teasing serenity before the fires blast all over, and the track ends in a pile of ash. “Darkest Road” is your closer, and it smashes its way in with guitars glistening and an emotional toll being paid. The track trades off from raucous to smooth, even visiting some gothy clouds before unloading again. The track rolls in shadows, the bruising becomes more pronounced, and everything fades into darkness.

This is a record that took me a few times to fully grasp, though I enjoyed every trip I had with Krigsgrav’s “The Sundering.” By that I mean the sweet spots are earned, so each time I went back, I discovered new things, and the power and passion here begin to shape themselves. This is a fantastic record, one that makes time for just about every human emotion, leaving you with a toll generously paid.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://krigsgrav.bandcamp.com/album/the-sundering

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

PICK OF THE WEEK: King Woman’s aim hits religion’s abusive hold, trauma on ashy ‘Celestial Blues’

Photo by Yoshino

There are people all over this world who will claim religion saved them and completely changed their lives. There also are people who had the opposite experience where religion was a dagger to their heart and flesh, equipped them with years of torment and guilt, and the most unfortunate of that group also faced violence, abuse, and death. For many, their suffering is too great to overcome.

Kristina Esfandiari falls in with those who were ravaged by religion, who saw its worst face and has spent years trying to recover. Her band King Woman has been a vessel for the mental anguish she suffered growing up in a Charismatic Christian family, where speaking in tongues and exorcisms in home were regular occurrences. On top of that, Esfandiari also suffered a near-death experience as a child, as well as being constantly threated with eternity in hell, and all of this is wrapped into King Woman’s second full-length, the enrapturing and cathartic “Celestial Blues.” This nine-track record is as raw and vulnerable as anything Esfandiari has put to tape, and that’s a major statement since the thematic material and music to this date have been both infectious and gripping. Along with bandmates Peter Arensdorf (guitars/bass) and Joseph Raygoza and special guest Jackie Perez Gratz (cello), Esfandiari pours out her heart and soul, shows a defiant edge, and vows to put this hurt to rest.

The title track starts the record, quietly flowing as Esfandiari, in a chilled hush, calls, “The devil left a bruise, but God left a light on for Her wayward ones, left under a fountainhead for dead, casting out the spirit of death.” The track then bursts with life as she clings and climbs through the trauma, the music pounding away, her pain on display as the track bows out. “Morning Star” is the lead single and recounts the falls of Satan, and she makes him a more sympathetic character as she takes on his plight. “The next thing I knew I was falling fast,” Esfandiari sings, “Lightning hit my wings, heard thunder crack,” as the intensity of the song picks up, as does the pain and isolation. “Lucifer, falling from the heights,” she sings repeatedly as the emotional intensity builds, gutting you and leaving you bare. “Boghz” is a slow drip at the start as the atmosphere develops, and her trademark whispery delivery gets inside you and chills. But you know the strike is coming, and as she wails, “Hey!” the heaviness untangles, and she howls defiantly, “Here’s what I’m gonna do, get down on my hands and knees for you, you know this is a lie, shot down by the arrows above.” The playing gets heavier and more sinister, the bass thickens and strikes out, and the track burns off fumes and slips under the surface. “Golgotha” eases in with softer singing and a pace that takes time to build its steam. Esfandiari notes, “The snake eats its tail, we return again to this hell,” as the pace picks up, eventually boiling over. Later, Esfandiari’s voice turns to a vicious shriek, strings mix into the body, and the track feels heavy and somber, lamenting a pain that never ends. “Coil” is a shorter one, and it goes for the neck as the playing gets more forceful, and the vocals swelter. The path pounds and cuts as Esfandiari defiantly calls, “5 wounds to take me, 5 wounds had me dead, 5 wounds you raped me, but I resurrect,” ending with the feeling that she has survived the worst and is here for her vengeance.

“Entwined” slowly unfurls as the verses just melt in front of you, lulling you into a sense of security. Then the chorus arrives and jabs the wound as Esfandiari wails with desire, “Oh god I need you, I’ve gotta know right now, you’re mine,” making your emotions skyrocket along with hers. The intensity builds and crushes, pushing this dark, stormy ballad into your world and letting the thunder crash down around you. “Psychic Wound” starts with the guitars heating up in no time with the verses numbing, the playing buzzing in your head. “Help me, I’m so chained to you, someone tell me what to do,” she pleads, seeing paradise slip away for her perceived wrongdoings, a dagger if there ever was one. She amplifies her calls and shrieks, letting the pain penetrate as Middle Eastern-style melodies encircle, and the remainder of the track burns in the light. “Ruse” arrives with the bass boiling and giving off steam, and a slower pace inching its way closer, as the vocals initially are softer before the rage kicks in. “You promised you’d love me all your life, well guess what? Looks like I’m not gonna be your fucking wife,” Esfandiari stabs, feeling both limitless anger and deep pain at the same time, feeling the betrayal wash over. The playing keeps gaining intensity and grows more ominous, with her promising these deeds will not go unpunished. “Paradise Lost” ends the record, focusing on the John Milton text of the same name that is another focus here. It starts with a hush, opening the wounds and letting the blood flow. “I need a place I can grieve,” Esfandiari admits as the tempo keeps you at an arm’s length. The tone is reflective and painful as the story goes on, darkness unfolds, and salvation slips away, ending with the painful final words, “Thrown from our intimacy, that voice was so misleading, I need a place I can grieve, it’s just the saddest story.”

Esfandiari’s lifelong suffering and trauma has been a backbone thematically for King Woman’s first two full-length records, and “Celestial Blues” is the heaviest yet as far as expression and words are concerned. Some of these songs cut right through me just from the lyrics themselves, and the music just compounds what Esfandiari has woven into these creations. Her suffering and her defiance both are palpable and powerful, with this music hitting as hard as anything else you’ll hear this year.

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

To buy the album, go here: http://relapse.com/king-woman-celestial-blues/

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

Abdul-Rauf creates seductive, dark fantasy world, indulges in senses on immersive ‘Phantasiai’

Photo by Dawn Howard

From the time we started this site, we wanted to work in enough flexibility so that we could do what we want, meaning not being tied down to heavy metal every day of the week. I listen to a lot more music than just metal, and I’m sure many of you do as well, and that carries over to the artists who makes some of the most sinister sounds on the planet.

Leila Abdul-Rauf has made a name for herself playing for some of the gnarliest, most vicious bands in metal including Vastum and Cardinal Wyrm, as well as groups such as Hammers of Misfortune, Saros, and Amber Asylum that explored other areas both heavy and not. But on her own, she’s managed to push things even further over four solo records, her latest coming in the form of “Phantasiai,” one of her darkest works yet. This eight-track record is split into two sections comprised of four movements each, reveling in shadowy ambiance and mostly instrumental murk. In Hellenistic lore, “Phantasiai” refers to impressions made through our senses before we form actual thoughts, and the tracks here visit thematically with seduction, addition to powerful fantasies, and renewal, though Abdul-Rauf makes clear that she wants listeners to form their own stories and not necessarily rely on her own.    

“Distortions in Phantasy I: Lure” starts in an eerie aura, a ghost moving through the dark as it takes on an elegant horror score feel. Fantastical dreams and angelic calls mix as the sounds get richer and fuller before bowing out. “Distortions in Phantasy II: Consumption” has guitars hanging in the air, slightly stinging as the keys haunt, and strange feelings work their way into your blood. Horns spread their message as regal melodies emerge, and the track chills you to the bone. “Distortions in Phantasy III: Suspension” spills in from the windowpanes as voices call out, and the mind is allowed to wander into fantasy. Soft singing helps amplify the atmosphere, rushing to the sky before dissolving into silence. “Distortions in Phantasy IV: Disembodiment” chimes in and creates a strange vibe as the hums float, and the music takes on a chamber-style vibe. It feels like working through a dream as birds chirp, horns bellow, and this section bows its head.

“The I Emerges I: Rebirth” simmers in the darkness as it rears its head, and then a dark fog thickens and rolls over the land, stretching that haze. Horns thicken the drama as the freeze continues, mixing with cosmic synergy and fading into the clouds. “The I Emerges II: In and Out of Being” starts with keys chiming and chants emerging, making itself both mysterious and calm. The atmospheric pressure slowly builds and cool the flesh as colors rush into the darkness, draining the music into the unknown. “The I Emerges III: Imago and Mirror” flourishes and opens portals into fantasy realms, making your mind tingle, but in a sense of calm. Sounds woosh through the stars and sooth wounds, and then the air pushes through your hair and settles into the ground. “The I Emerges IV: Cell” closes the record and this series of songs, delivering dripping piano and soft singing as the emotions rise. The track is numbing and almost nurturing, traveling through your mind and pulling back your spiking anxiety. The track radiates through your cells, giving off energy beams and rushing into the stars.

Abdul-Rauf has been responsible for some of the heaviest, most deranged sounds in the heavy music world, but her solo work has let her absorb the pain and reimagine it in these soundscapes that feel like they’re here to be a sort of companion for your own darkness. “Phantasiai” is one of Abdul-Rauf’s richest solo offerings yet, a collection that aligns with your senses and perhaps helps you get what’s flowing through you. This is a collection that’s ideal for quiet reflection as you examine your scars and damage and try to find a way to soothe yourself in a meaningful way.   

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

To buy the album (CD), go here: https://www.cycliclaw.com/music/leila-abdul-rauf-phantasiai-cdlp-170th-cycle

Or here (vinyl, due in September): https://cloisterrecordingsus.bigcartel.com/product/pre-order-leila-a-b-d-u-l-rauf-phantasiai-lp-crus-85-cycliclaw

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

And here: https://www.facebook.com/cloisterrecordings.us

Finnish death squad Galvanizer twist muscles and maul brains on ‘Prying Sight of Imperception’

People not in the know of heavy metal sometimes chuckle at death metal. It’s kind of a joke to some people who think it’s just Neanderthal shit and strange vocals, but there is so much more to it than that. Easy jokes by dummies aside, there are so many different forms death metal takes now, and there are countless ways in which this music can be played and consumed. It’s hardly caveman shit.

Finnish death squad Galvanizer prove that generously on their new record “Prying Sight of Imperception,” a collection that has brains, brawn, and psychosis as this album is difficult to deduce and hard to decipher fully. The 10 tracks packed into this vicious, perplexing display play tricks with your mind and attempt to make you rethink what you thought was a section of safety you had carved out in your mind. While it’s vile, twisted, and violent, the music on this record also can get into your cell structure and expand your mind as the band— Vocalist/bassist Vili Mäkinen, guitarist/backing vocalist Aleksi Vähämäki, drummer Nico Niemikko—keeps intact some of the tenets we expect but also expands beyond that to something stirring and fun.

“The Sanguine Legacy” is a quick, strange intro cut with weird, warbled voices, and then we’re into “Servants of the Scourge” that rushes out with fluid death and a plastering pace. Growls rustle as cool leads burn brightly, leading to the pace cooling down but remaining just as heavy. Guitars keep crushing, the band applies the pressure, and we’re on to “The Inexorable” that rips things apart as it dawns. Stirring speed and mauling playing unite and instantly put you in danger as the growls corrode and eat through flesh. The tempo gets even gnarlier as the band lands heavy blows before an abrupt end. “Blaze From Within” is a quick one, a tick below two minutes, and it wastes no time speeding heavily and unloading crushing growls. The playing gets thrashy and mean as the vocal spit nails, later shrieks carve, and the track blasts out as fast as it arrived. “Chthonic Profanation” starts with strange noises lurking before things blow up, and mucky death pulls you beneath the surface. The playing rampages savagely as the vocals rip out at a ridiculous clip, the drums and riffs kill, and everything lathers before all the elements disappear into the sky.

“Ground Above” chugs and charges, the growls and shrieks mix and do their damage, and the aura gets even more terrifying as the crunch gets more pronounced. The vocals carve their path as the guitars multiply the fury, and everything ends in outright violence. “Dia De Muertos” explodes with rage as the track gets impossibly fast, smashing faces and defacing psyches along the way. Shrieks peel flesh as the playing tramples whatever is in front of it, leaving everything in a pile of rubble. “The Ever-Crescent” delivers heavy blows as the band opens a massive assault that scrambles brains as blackness oozes from the riffs. Great leads flourish as the melody jolts, then everything is ground into dust. “Grotesque Devotion” starts with a drum massacre that leads to wrenching growls and playing that batters the senses. Thick bass blackens eyes as the track seems to find a new level of hell, shrieks mar, and the track ends in a pile of muck. “Of Flesh Unknown” closes this beast as riffs boil, and the tempo is absolutely smoking. The leads swelter as the playing gets unhinged, thundering hard before strange synth envelopes before the guitars angle strangely. There’s an atmospheric charge that adds air to the classic metal fire that erupts, and then the track seemingly fades into time.

Galvanizer deliver channeled, devastating death metal that spirals into your psyche and refuses to let you feel normalcy ever again. “Prying Sight of Imperception” might be Finnish death metal, but it’s an animal that shares some of their homeland’s metallic tenets yet also lives on a different plane, something a little different than what you might expect. Or, put more simply, Galvanizer delivers death metal that’s mangling and dangerous, art that exists to deliver trauma and never fails in its mission.  

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

To buy the album, go here: https://www.mesacounojo.com/shop/galvanizer-prying-sight-of-imperception-lp/

Or here: https://everlastingspew.com/34-galvanizer

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

And here: https://everlastingspew.com/

Hideous black metal destroyers Disimperium unleash devastating pain on EP ‘Malefic Obliteration’

There’s a thinking that metal revels in negativity, which is something that absolutely is not true as a whole. There is plenty in the genre that can make your blood rush and change your mind frame for the better, and it’s been this way from the start. But there is darkness in other corners as well as danger, and if you wander into some place unfriendly, it can be the end of you.

OK, that’s a little much, granted, but I implore you to tackle “Malefic Obliteration,” the debut EP from misery-inducing black metal force Disimperium and tell me you don’t feel an extra anxiety boost, another level of trauma that you didn’t need. This is vicious and blackening, which should go without saying considering the sub-genre, but you need to take this warning seriously, because these three tracks absolutely deface and promise uncompromising power. The band brings together members of Ascended Dead and Misrule, and the playing here crushes wills and tests psyches in order to figure out who can survive such an onslaught.

The title track heats up and crushes right off the bat as the growls mangle, and the playing turns into a pulverizing force. Things turn seedy and horrific as the guitars boil and sizzle, spilling guts right into “Fuming Nexus” where the drums plaster you. The track is ungodly violent and heavy, making it feel like the oxygen has been sucked from the room, and you’re writhing for air. The playing goes off as it feels like bricks are being torn from buildings, the leads squeal, and the track ends in numbing misery. “Infernal Machine” ends the record, and right away it’s a slaughter as the growls hammer, and it feels like you’re in the midst of a non-stop beating. Hell erupts as the weight and chaos get more immersive as the earth beneath you seemingly implodes. Pressure mounts, hell bubbles through cracks in the earth, and noise rises and suffocates.

Chaos and negativity are two things you are promised by Disimperium on “Malefic Obliteration,” one of the most fittingly titled collections of music perhaps ever. This feels like a devoured-earth policy come to maim and deliver nothing but broken bones and salt in your wounds, leaving you burning out of control. This is merely a 12-minute EP, yet it carries with it the weight of the world and the promise of physical and psychological violence.  

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

To buy the album, go here: http://sentientruin.com/releases/disimperium-malefic-obliteration

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

PICK OF THE WEEK: Craven Idol’s black thrash warns of gods’ lure on fiery ‘Forked Tongues’

Humans aren’t exactly the greatest stewards of the earth, nor are some of them particularly skilled at being responsible individuals, instead deciding to fall prostrate in front of idiotic politicians whose lies are so flimsy, it’s impossible to think of how anyone could fall for this shit. What amazing fodder we’d be for the old gods, what marks for doing absolutely no reading or research we’ve become.

That’s not necessarily the focus of the excellent “Forked Tongues,” the third record from Craven Idol, but it falls in line as they examine the silliness humanity has become. Instead, they use their thunderous blackened thrash to warn against the lure of false idols and the foolishness of following supposed deities who have no other concern for anything other than their own conquests. Further, the record acts as a sequel of sorts to the battle between Ancient Greek gods Typhon and Zeus, with Typhon returning to exact revenge after he served time in a burial spot beneath Mount Aetna. Those titanic battles are painted in fire and blood by the band—vocalist/guitarist Sadistik Vrath, guitarist Obscenitor, bassist Suspiral, drummer Heretic Blades—as they rage through seven tracks and 41 minutes of cataclysmic power that makes it feel like the earth is splitting in two.

“Venomous Rites” gets started by smashing away with the guitars charging and Vrath’s vocals going for the jugular. The playing speeds and wrecks guts while the chorus is simple but really effective. Soloing blares as the body of the song pummels, ending its violence in a pit of silence. “The Wrath of Typhon” stirs dangerously before unloading on you, simmering in thrashy nastiness. The furious onslaught continues as the vocals continue to add intensity, the leads splatter, and we end in ashen black glory. “Iron Age of Devastation” fires up with tangling guitars and scorching speed, feeling like your guts are being stomped mercilessly. Shrieks explode as Vrath wails, “Desecration! Annihilation!” as the track is buried in hell. “Even the Demons…” creaks and jolts before kicking into high gear, rupturing as the intensity soars. The leads bathe in fire as Vrath insists, “Even the gods kneel,” as melodic power comes to life, blasting through walls as the chorus jars one last time.

The title track has a great, energetic start, bringing a blast of juice that has a rusty razor punk feel built into the recipe. The playing hangs in the air threateningly before blistering rage surfaces, and the chugging leaves you devastated. Meaty grunts and thrashy chaos unite as mangling screams jar loose your screws. “Deify the Stormgod” runs a healthy 9:23, the longest track on the record, and it sits in thunderclaps before taking off on a melodic journey. The body of this thing ravages hard as drums come in to support the battle front as voices calls out desperately into echoes. The speed explodes and scrambles brains, howls echo, and the smashing playing steamrolls and tears right into “The Gods Have Left Us for Dead,” the 9:06-long closer. Things are torn apart as the guitars gallop heavily, and great melody runs headlong into murk. The playing splatters and leaves muscle and guts behind, and the vocals hammer you like never before. The leads swell and rush hard, an amazing wave of power quakes, and the track slips into the heavens where the great gods continue their self-centered battles.

Craven Idol’s journey into the war of the gods explodes on “Forked Tongues,” easily the strongest of their three releases, which is really saying something considering this band’s stellar resume. On here, the thrash is heavy as ever, and the black metal leanings are even more sinister, aiming to draw blood with every blow. This record is savage and uncompromising, a statement that this band is as hungry and bloodthirsty as ever, with everything in front of them seen as a target.

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

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

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

Ghorot slather doom, sludge, black metal into smoking mass on thunderous ‘Loss of Light’

The bulk of what you read on this site is generated from people clubbing my inbox to death with promos, which I actually really appreciate despite the tone of this sentence. I need to manage that better. But now and again, we see something we are intent to track down because it’s something we really want to hear, so we’ll harvest whatever music we can.

One of those albums is “Loss of Light,” the debut from Boise, Idaho-based crunchers Ghorot, who pledge to worship at the altars of sludge, doom, stoner, and black metal, and they definitely achieve that goal on this punishing five-track, 40-minute record. I was initially interested due to the involvement of guitarist/vocalist Chad Remains, who previously plied his trade in criminally underappreciated Uzala, and his partners here in Carson Russell (bass/guitar/vocals) and Brandon Walker (drums/vocals) help helm a power trio that is unstoppable. This is a sooty, blackened, psychotic good time as the band hammers you with great darkness, crushing riffs, and vicious vocals that batter you completely. It’s a really great record, one I have been visiting over and over.   

“Harbinger” starts the record by heating up with an absolutely killer riff that snakes around you, swaggering as the growls begin to pummel. The playing begins to twist steel as a doomy cloud thickens and threatens, and a savage burst launches fireballs into the sky as the finish simmers in soot. “Charioteer of Fire” lets steam rise as an extended introduction allows the band set the stage, which is burning out of control. Riffs stomp as the melody enraptures you as the howls emerge, scraping off strips of flesh as we delve into heavy psychedelic waters. Hypnotic jolts shake your foundation as the soloing bathes in lava, churning hard, emerging out of a strange fever dream and ashing away.

“Woven Furnace” delivers bubbling guitars as the pace pummels, and the vocals mash hellish growls and muscular shrieks into one ugly package. Punishing chants are unleashed and get your blood moving, ushering in violent thrashing, power that leaves bruising, and a snarling assault that drowns out in noise.   “Dead Gods” basks in slicing guitars and vocals that stoke the flames, bringing a plodding and pounding tempo to their accumulating pile of bodies. Growls echo in your head as your psyche is sliced open, the guitars spread their black wings, and a heavy shadow covers all, charging and stabbing out. “In Endless Grief” is your closer, a 12:26-long crusher that slips in and out of darkening mood as the vocals dice into your mind. The guitars melt rock as a heavy haze situates above you, letting noise accumulate and damage, with anguish running amok. The playing gets burlier, smoke fills the room as the soloing attracts heat lightning, and the final moments flatten and leave you in the dirt.

Ghorot’s full-length debut “Loss of Light” is about four years in the making, and it’s a barnstormer, an album I was really looking forward to hearing. My expectations were high going in, and they all not only were met but surpassed, as this is a band who I’m really excited to hear develop over the years. This thing will burrow into your psyche, set up shop, and wreck you, leaving your entire mind overwhelmed.  

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

To buy the album (digital, vinyl), go here: https://ghorot.bandcamp.com/album/loss-of-light

Or here (CD): https://www.inverse.fi/shop/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=940&osCsid=0d2ee1eec5a9a69bfbbfce61546aa55b

For more on the label, go here: https://www.inverse.fi/