NY smashers Undeath more than live up to hype with gory, catchy ‘It’s Time … To Rise From the Grave’

Photo by Errick Easterday

Every year, there seem to be a handful of records that get the over-the-top treatment in the months leading up to its release that it sometimes can seem a bit much. But that’s the game, isn’t it? Drum up tons of social media chatter, ads all over whatever site you visit, and in the case of being a member of press, email campaigns that feel like constant pokes in the ribs.

Rochester, NY, death metal manglers Undeath have been that band that’s seemingly on the tip of everyone’s tongues (and fingertips) mostly based on the surprising success of debut “Lesions of a Different Kind,” a record that could have been swallowed up by the pandemic but instead outkicked its coverage in a good way. It certainly helped that the record is a killer, a master class of classic death metal, and that is why so many people have been frothing at the mouth for their follow-up effort “It’s Time … To Rise From the Grave.” And here’s the thing: Once again the band deserves all the fervor because this 10-track album is the real deal, a blazing beast that brings blood, violence, and chaos into a package that could strike the heart of any death metal fan of any age. The band—vocalist Alexander Jones, guitarists Kyle Beam and Jared Welch, bassist Tommy Wall, drummer Matt Browning—blasts back with a record full of memorable moments, bloody melodies, and outright devastation that’s anything but empty calories. This is a full-on feast that’ll leave you swollen and satisfied. And really sore.

“Fiend for Corpses” rips off the lid with the bass snarling and the band openly mauling you, the leads encircling and flattening. Guttural fury goes off, the chorus curdles, and everything comes to a punishing end as we head into “Defiled Again.” The drums unload as the guitars chug mercilessly, beastly growls open new wounds, and the playing just scorches, trudging and taking off reams of flesh. “Rise From the Grave” has great riffs and a galloping pace, blistering and stomping as your guts hang out. “It’s time! To rise from the grave!” Jones wails, quoting this monstrous record’s title, and the leads light up again, taking you to the floor. “Necrobionics” punches in as gnarly growls wrestle you into the filth, the drums splintering dangerously. Deep howls curdle your blood, and then the playing rallies, burying you in dust. “Enhancing the Dead” is ugly and deathly as the drums punish and the riffs strangle. Things come unhinged as they get kind of nasty, a doomy pall hangs over, and the final moments are ripped away.

“The Funeral Within” explodes with punishing riffs and tangling guitars as the pace has its way with you. A brief halt leads to it exploding from the other end, the band thrashes wildly, and thunderous hell melts bodies, going for the throat as it’s pulling you into the grave. “Head Splattered in Seven Ways” has a jerking pace and a memorable blaze, Jones howling, “Tell me, tell me, tell me the truth,” before everything gets even gorier. The playing gets hazy for a stretch, the bass flexes, and the leads take flight, grinding to the end. “Human Chandelier” is a tremendous song title, and it blasts its way in, the melody lines snaking and drawing blood. The leads add even more character, the drums bash away, and things round back before an explosive end. “Bone Wrought” detonates immediately and unloads, the vicious growls sounding like they’re boiling in Jones’ throat. The chorus is simple and easy to call back, the monstrous fury thrashes, and the final moments choke you into blackness. “Trampled Headstones” is the closer, arriving amid a slaughtering pace as things get mangy and violent. Guitars sweep as bones are turned to dust, the pace devastates completely, and a sticky death swagger sneaks in as the track slowly fades.

Yes, Undeath have been the recipient of an enormous amount of hype, and “It’s Time … To Rise From the Grave” is arriving with a big promotional push that might make some skeptical. There’s no reason to question as this record just rips as it’s a straight-up, blood-and-guts death metal that is catchy and devastating at the same time. Sometimes people go nuts for a band because they’re really fucking good, and that’s the case with Undeath and this awesome record that’ll only elevate them further among this era’s best purveyors of the metal of death.

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

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

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

Mysterious Egregore let loose black metal that twists psyches on devious ‘The Word of His Law’

Photo by Max Montesi

There isn’t enough mystery in heavy metal any longer as we know everything, and we can find any detail we want in about three seconds with the proper Google search. But coming across something seemingly alien or a product of something that exists on another plane is not something we experience all that often, so as long as a weird entity has the goods, it elevates the intrigue.

So, along come Egregore, a band shrouded in at least a semblance of mystery, and their indescribable debut record “The Word of His Law.” Simply assigning the black metal tag would be not really pay the proper respect to what this band does here, and strange synth work and chants that feel like they unravel from time and space gone by add more spice to what’s already a tasty concoction. We don’t have your typical lineup notes here—their bio notes Essentia Collapse orchestrates Architactician and Strange-Sight, and Catastrophe Saturna summons the Inexhaustible Wellspring of Non-Euclidean Conjurations, whatever the fuck that means, and they add that honorary member Helios Thread is responsible for the bulk of vocals with additional work by Nukklear Superion and Doomscribe. Got all that? It doesn’t matter if you do, because the music and strange ambiance here are the reason you should have interest, and this album will slay you with mystery and terror.

“The Place and the Time” is a strange but fitting introduction to this record, built with noises coming apart, echoing drums, and synth strikes, whispering flowing into “Howling Premonition” and its dive-bombing guitars. Infernal hell awaits as growls hiss and slither, and the tempo absolutely punishes your psyche, slipping into spacious weirdness. Your mind wanders as the guitars spill and pick up heat before it comes to a bizarre end. “Exfiltrating the Triangle” unloads with zany guitars and a splattering approach, howls spat out with tension. The playing trudges and chugs as it spills into thrashy terrain, and then the guitars jolt with the mauling howls of, “The candlelight grows dim, the hourglass is nearly empty,” sending chills down your spine as the playing races away.

“Reborn as the Word of His Law” charges forward, exploding in burly terror, guitars churning and giving off noxious fumes. Things suddenly blow apart, bone chips exploding, the riffs charging into speedy misery. Out of that, the leads dominate as everything is engulfed by the raucous finish. “Libidinization of Will Azothic” starts with whispers and guitars aggravating, the steam rising as the mystery thickens. Vicious growls punish and hold you under, then eerie clean chants arise, feeling liturgical and spiritually darkening. The playing increases the pressure again as the fires spread, the chanting returns and haunts, and everything fades into the cosmos. Closer “An Address to Abraxas” is the longest track here at eight minutes, flowing with echoing guitars and clean warbles, fogs building and feeling dreary. Clouds increase as your flesh is chilled, ambiance whips up psychological strangeness, and warped speaking gets under your skin as the sounds simmer and fade.

“The Word of His Law” is a record that definitely will not wash away from your mind anytime soon, as Egregore craft a memorable debut that leaves long-lasting damages. It’s strange, spooky, and punishing, a record that feels like it was created by something inhuman, and maybe it was. This is a savage statement that should reverberate for ages, signaling a new force that has powers we can’t understand.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Egregore137

To buy the album, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/collections/egregore

For more on the label, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/

PICK OF THE WEEK: Darkher arrive from clouds with doom-dreamt woe on foggy ‘The Buried Storm’

Photo by U Classen

Our own pain and darkness can come on like a brewing weather event, tracing the horizon, looking foreboding and threatening, making you wonder if you should take cover. Difference is when we feel these emotions within us, the collecting assault brews in our minds and heart, sometimes swelling so hard that we didn’t even realize we needed higher ground until the threat is on the doorstep.

Darkher, the project long helmed by vocalist/guitarist/bassist Jayn Maiven, uses this vision of trepidation on her latest record “The Buried Storm,” an album that delves into personal pain and trauma that must be met so it doesn’t overcome completely. Joined on this record by drummer Christopher Smith, Maiven brought in a host of guest musicians—cellists Arianna Mahsayeh and Melanie Chaplin, violinist Lambert Segura, cellist and background vocalist Ludvig Swärd (also of Forndom), guitarist/backing vocalist Daniel Land—to further flesh out these songs. Comprised of doom, folk, and immersive beauty, the record is heavy emotionally, cutting into your heart and acting a passenger as you take your own path into the unknown.

“Sirens Nocturne” opens in a noise cloud, Maiven’s hushed vocals getting under your skin early, influencing your dreams. Sounds threaten as the drama builds, atmospheric pressure increases, and the strings weep, sending the track back into the storm. “Lowly Weep” starts with light drumming and strings making their presence felt, ghostly visions lurk in the periphery, and the vocals haunt as your vision blurs. Strings ache as the low end drops, doom quivers, and the drums slowly pound, spiraling into the dark and the arms of “Unbound” that feels like a deep dream coming to life. Acoustics join the mist as Maiven calls, “It took my heart, it took my faith, it left my body,” as the track melts into the earth. “Where the Devil Waits” is glazed with strings as acoustics enter the picture, the vocals pushing ominous visions of rapture. The spirits accumulate as the oxygen levels increase, everything bowing out in sullen exhaust.

“Love’s Sudden Death” sinks into a doomy gaze that’s thick and dark, breathy vocals making your blood race. “This sudden death is killing me,” Maiven confesses as angelic calls ice your wounds, and a cinematic gush leads the song into deep wasters. “The Seas” has acoustic haunting and delicate singing as the imagery gets more threatening. “Here lies the sun, bleeding,” Maiven calls out as the aura feels like a mid-summer shower that washes away the entire day. “Immortals” brings dripping guitars and heavier cloud coverage, the essence making the water colder and immersive. “Capsized in the sea, immortals are we,” Maiven jabs, the guitars building into a squall. The emotion floods over as your vison gets blurrier, guitars turn to a trickle, and the track disappears over the horizon. “Fear Not, My King” is the closer, starting with piano bleeding and Maiven luring with, “I’ll kiss your every wound.” Darkness sweeps the skies as Maiven notes, “The more I close my eyes, the more I see,” as emergency sirens call morbidly in the distance, strings swell, and the final moments are obscured in vapor.

Darkher’s music is like something from another world or plane, an experience that gets into your bloodstream and changes you while you’re in its grasp. “The Buried Storm” is named perfectly because so much of this music is overcast and soaking, leaving your body shivering and your mind quaking. This is an immersive trip that is forceful and spiritual, something you won’t be able to shake until long after the music has stopped.

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

To buy the album, go here: http://lnk.spkr.media/darkher-the-buried-storm

For more on the label, go here: https://en.prophecy.de/

Doom legends Celestial Season begin new trilogy into meaning with gothic, solemn ‘Mysterium I’

I’m not the avid reader that I want to be, but generally what sucks me into the habit is discovering a multi-book series that keeps my attention over a long period of time so that every time I finish one story, I’m already set to jump into the next one. I just finished The Southern Reach Trilogy, a warped sci-story told on many existential planes that occupied a good half a year for me.

I already was excited about a new record from doom heavyweights Celestial Season, but my interest was piqued even further learning this new opus “Mysterium I” is the first step in a trilogy of albums, parts II and III set for later 2022 and 2023, respectively. Having regrouped just a couple years ago for comeback record “The Secret Teachings,” their first in two decades, “Mysterium I” follows in its footsteps with more gothic-washed doom that reaches back to their earlier days and gems such as “Forever Scarlet Passion” and “Solar Lovers.” The current lineup—vocalist Stefan Ruiters, guitarists Olly Smit and Pim van Zanen, bassist Lucas van Slegtenhorst, violinist Jiska Ter Bals, cellist Elianne Anemaat, and drummer Jason Köhnen—were parts of those eras, and here they further examine ancient mysteries and reach for knowledge, a venture that started on the last record and will continue.

“Black Water Mirrors” opens with voices calling and the doom clouds sprawling, the strings glazing your mind. “I shall never touch you again,” Ruiters thunders, and the playing turns dark and gothic, calm tumbling with cold whispers, and then the track chugs again, the growls bubble, and the spirit disappears into the fog. “The Golden Light of Late Day” breaks open with drums and abject misery with the strings leaving a somber lather. Words drip as the playing takes on a deliberate pace, misty chills sent down your spine, acoustics disappearing in the air. “Sundown Transcends Us” begins with guitars lighting up, the riffs flowing and steaming. Growls scrape as the guitars leave bruising, and then the energy returns and shifts, the strings dusting off the surface. Emotional punches land, the guitars carve paths, and the track ends in echoed ambiance.

“This Glorious Summer” rumbles in murk as beastly, wrenching power vibrates, and the simple chorus sticks in your brain. Things get gnarlier as the track ages, mauling rises amid moody leads, growls send up smoke, and a strange haze settles overhead before disintegrating. “Endgame” fires up hard with bustling riffs and deep growls, and things get even heavier as the melodies corrode and the guitars explore. Things turn morbid in a hurry as strings glide and pain increases, ending with bloody power. “All That Is Known” dawns gently as the playing slowly stomps, and the strings increase as the melody rains down. Growls creep into cavernous sections, guitars and strings weep, and delicate whispers lead the track into the light. “Mysterium” is the closer, entering in atmospheric pressure as strings expand, and dark, gothy waters flow. Growls gurgle as the guitars beam like lasers through fog, making your mind wander as speaking delivers ominous messages. The final moments get heavier and moodier, the thorns pushing into your flesh as the track bleeds out.

A band with a resume as impressive as Celestial Season’s doesn’t need to add anything else to their repertoire as they’ve proven themselves and influenced scores of other bands. Yet what they offer up on “Mysterium I” actually manages to beef up their already powerful collection and ties us back to earlier eras of the Celestial Season’s existence. This is a journey into ancient mythos, secrets that are part of our DNA, and an experience with gothic doom and death that absolutely levels you and is just cracking the surface of this mission.

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

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

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

Rhode Island duo Coma Hole mix doom, grungy bruises, powerful vocals on captivating debut EP

Music is a cyclical beast where ideas come to fruition, run their course, and one day new artists find the bones and breathe new life into them. It’s one of the things that makes being a listener so much fun because you never know what’s going to be thriving a year or five years or a decade from now and what ideas will start to gain dust.

Rhode Island-based Coma Hole prove this point expertly. The band—vocalist/bassist Eryka Fir, drummer Steve Anderson—revived the idea of a power duo, something it seemed every other band was doing a decade ago, yet it’s become a fresh idea again because that style of group largely has withered away. They play an amalgamation of doom, grunge, and noise, in turn making these sounds feel vibrant, urgent, and pumping fresh blood again. The four songs on their debut EP digs into issues such as personal struggles, monotony from falling victim to repeated life cycles, isolation, and then some brighter lights when it comes to realizing you’re stronger from the things you’ve witnessed and survived. The playing is dirty, heavy, swaggering, and features some outright killer singing from the very soulful Fir, who helps elevate these songs even further.  

“The Familiar” is sauteed in noise and feedback as the bass slithers along, and the track picks up momentum. The power wails as Fir’s powerful pipes blister as the track gets burly and sweaty, the bass/drums combo leaving ample bruising. “I want to make you feel my pain,” Fir howls as psychedelic heat melts the brief calm, the pace begins to pick up, and fuzzy trampling buries the track permanently. “Old Climb” punishes as the vocals go off, the playing feeling speedy and urgent. “My head, spinning around,” Fir calls as the bass curdles, the vocals agitate and amplify the challenge, and the drums mash flesh into unidentified forms.

“Wine and Bone” begins with grimy riffs and the bass rumbling the earth’s crust, the singing hitting new high points. Vir sings about “the endless road to become one with myself” as the vibe takes on an Alice in Chains aura, the playing crushing. High howls make the hairs on your arm stand up, the drumming powders, and the echoey finish devastates. Closer “Sinking” is the second-longest track here, running 11:23, and it bathes in noise, the bass crawling through the dirt, Vir calling, “I want to find my way to the light.” The song is dark and foreboding as the dangerous imagery clouds your mind, and the track slowly stomps your guts, and the drums splatter your blood. The track slowly gains speed, feeling like control is being wrestled from your grasp, and then everything disappears in a glowing haze.

Coma Hole’s debut EP is a fun, fiery, punishing experience that doesn’t feel like anything else going on right now, which is pretty refreshing. There are grunge and doom elements, metallic thunder, and really great vocals from a flexible, powerful vocalist who is total command of these four tracks. This is a killer experience, and I’m really excited to hear where this band goes from here.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://comahole.bandcamp.com/music

Terzij de Horde employ tornadic metallic blend to expose power struggles on ‘… I Am Your Enemy’

Heavy metal has a track record for lashing back at power structures and pissing all over those who try to keep others down for their own means. Which makes it weird when fascist bands start popping up because it’s like, didn’t you read the memo? We know you got it. We all did. You didn’t read it, did you? Well, maybe get back to us when you do.

Holland’s brain-twisting metal machine Terzij de Horde is not letting that whole questioning power go to waste, and they examine that very thing on their three-track new record “In One of These I Am Your Enemy.” Ever since there were people, those at the top have tried to crush those beneath them lest they one day have to let other folks have a chance. There is so much involved, layers that have to be examined, people who don’t want others to explore for answers, and that builds a societal and political structure that’s nearly impossible to overcome. The band—vocalist Joost Vervoort, guitarists Demian Snel and Jelle Agema, bassist Johan van Hattum, drummer Richard Japenga—does try to get underneath that dirt and filth on this, their second full-length album, and they do so with elements of death and black metal, atmospheric chaos, and striking violence that squeezes the blood from your veins.

“Cheiron” kicks off the record, and it’s the shortest track of the three, lighting up and destroying as it picks up speed. Vervoort’s shrieks slice through glass as fluid melody floods, and then things rampage harder, guitars clashing and the playing rampaging to its finish. The title track follows, an 11:37-long mangler that storms in with piercing vocals, a humid feel, and playing that pummels hard. Manic shrieks and an industrial blender of a pace whips through, howls echoing in the sky, the richly melodic playing flooding your senses. Things turn darker, the playing takes in a rubbery Voivod vibe, everything tangles dangerously as guitars ramp up, and the cloud cover leaves a strange pall.

“Precipice” is the 13:56-long closer, and starts with mournful colors bleeding in before the shrieks scar, and the track slowly melts toward rapture. Anguish and devastation combine as the heat increases, as does the speed, and things tunnel into the underworld as the journey gets more harrowing. Pressure continues to multiply as the forceful cries punish, guitars dizzy and chug, and the rumbling increases, making your footing impossible. The vocals cave your will, relentless playing keeps firing, and the final assault is mounted and buries everything deep into the dirt.

The world always has been torn apart by ruling forces that put their importance and worth on things, and that’s a battle that never will go away. Terzij de Horde capitalize on that and amplify that struggle on “In One of These I Am Your Enemy,” a title to a complicated and compelling record that’ll make you think about where you stand in all of this. This is raucous, it’ll cause the contents of your stomach to swish hard, and you’ll leave this battle bruised and battered but maybe with a few answers.  

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

To buy the album, go here: https://consouling.be/release/in-one-of-these-i-am-your-enemy

Or here: https://shop.tartarusrecords.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://consouling.be/

And here: https://tartarusrecords.com/

PICK OF THE WEEK: Gggolddd’s Eva sheds her blood, emotions over sexual assault with ‘This Shame…’

Heavy music is a place where darkness is most welcome, as artists shed demons, bask in evil, and lash back at a society that’s growing increasingly more hostile. Yet, there are scars that run even deeper than that, life events that can cut you to your core and change you forever, leaving distress and depression in its wake. Those have a place as well, and hopefully the music can provide healing for the creator.

Gggolddd vocalist Milena Eva dug to the deepest, darkest, most hideous place imaginable for the band’s new record “This Shame Should Not Be Mine.” Over the pandemic, Eva confronted something she had hidden away, namely her rape at the age of 19 at the hands of someone she loved. Trauma, loneliness, shame, and depression followed, forever impacting her, and we hear the aftermath of her personal journey through that on these 10 tracks. Eva and the rest of the band—guitarists Jaka Bolič, Vincent Shore, and Thomas Sciarone (he also handles electronics), bassist Danielle Warners, drummer Igor Wouters—delve more into electronics on this record, with the cutting, blunt, sometimes cathartic words having a heavy impact. Other survivors could find some of the material tough to handle, while others might identify their own experiences in Eva’s fire. That’s not for me to decide. But there’s a good chance there will be myriad reactions and feelings sparked by the music for anyone who has felt the same awful pain. Quick side note: The band previously was known simply as Gold and have four other full-length records under that moniker.

“I Wish I Was a Wild Thing With a Simple Heart” starts amid disarming noises and strange synth, Eva’s delivery getting right to the point. Her vocals slither as the dramas builds, guitars cut through mystery, and crazed voices at the end pay off the anxiety. “Strawberry Supper” dawns with synth quivering and Eva leveling, “I wanted to be loved like everyone else.” Foreboding beats arrive as the message gets darker, with Eva jabbing, “Did you ever think about the receipts I kept?” She sets on fire the insulting “boys will be boys” excuses, letting her rage loose to scorch those who deserve it. “Like Magic” has guitars gazing as the atmosphere builds, Eva admitting, “I was an easy target.” Her vocals are higher as synth bites, beats thump, and dark waves wash over you, leaving as the ground rumbles beneath. “Spring” pulsates and tingles, Eva calling, “Outside, flowers claim it’s spring,” though her demeanor is hardly able to feel that positive energy. The center tears open, spilling deeply and filling the room, guitars gush, and the end is enveloped in sound. “Invisible” has drums leading the way, synth glimmering, and the vocals again the main force. “I’ve been looking down, I try to keep it all a secret, from the depths of my gut, I wanna throw it all up, but I keep it all inside,” Eva levels painfully. The chorus is quiet but compelling, Eva calling, “Invis-ible” as the track plods and slips into the night.

“I Won’t Let You Down” is the longest track here, running 7:26 and bringing disarming noises as the track trickles open. “I won’t disappoint you,” Eva promises, “I won’t cause you trouble,” as the chorus stretches, keys zap, and everything floods over, the emotions filling your chest and mind. “Notes on How to Trust” would be an absolutely killer pop-style song, but with so much hurt and trauma packed into it, feeling good energy would be the wrong thing to do. “Where do I go? Who do I follow? Who bring me joy? Who brings me sorrow? How do I make sure I don’t go through this again?” Eva calls over the chorus, a heartbreaking sentiment surrounding by alluring synth, crashing beats, and stormy emotion. The title track arrives in bubbly keys and ominous vocals, making the unease palpable. “Who said I’m useless? Who told me I’m to blame? Stuck in this armor I’m creased and crushed into this shape,” Eva levels, the imagery related to what you see on the album cover. The playing is mesmerizing and alluring, blurring and trickling, draining away. “On You” is built on mostly just Eva’s voice, her singing joined by a robotic twin offering the same lines. “You put your filth on me,” she jolts, her hushed defiance a major force that works its way through the song and into your brain. “Beat By Beat” closes the record, starting with synth slicing swatches, and finally Eva finds some light for herself as she sings, “It’s time for some healing now, I will give myself a break.” The track itself breaks open and gets heavier, gazey playing glazing, and Eva’s singing building strength, the track sludging heavily before fading away.

The events that led to “This Shame Should Not Be Mine” is fucking heartbreaking, criminal, and dehumanizing, and the fact that Eva not only lived to tell about it but also found strength to explore her wounds in this manner is a triumph for her. This is Gggolddd’s most important statement to date, musically and lyrically, and we hope the sentiment of healing found in the final track is realized at its highest level. All hail Eva’s bravery, power, and conviction, and hopefully other survivors out there can find solace and venom on this record and find a way to heal their own wounds as their attackers dissolve into a pool of their own cowardice and piss.

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

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

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