Dungeon Serpent expertly mash melody into death on thrilling debut album ‘World of Sorrows’

The term “melodic death metal” kind of has a strange connotation for me because when I hear it, I immediately think of something that will be splashed all over band merch sites with 50 horrible shirt designs with bad colors and even worse jokes. And that’s unfair because there is some really great death metal that is wrapped in melody that will outright rip off your face.

One of those bands is Canadian powerhouse Dungeon Serpent, who are delivering their stellar debut record “World of Sorrows.” The project is the brainchild of Arawn, the sole mastermind behind the music, which is even more astonishing considering how full bodied and completely realized this music is. Over five tracks and 34 minutes, Arawn weaves a deadly fantasy world that he paints with heavy doses of melody and guttural death, a collection that certainly can sweep you up but has no real interest in being approachable. Instead, you’re met with scorching, sophisticated chaos that reminds of when bands first applied this style to the deadliest of arts.

“Necroscape” starts off by blasting onto the battlefield and galloping hard, ravaging bastards with harsh growls and journeying guitars that get your blood flowing. The bass rollicks as every element comes together, causing bruising of your extremities as the pace switches up, getting even gnarlier as the soloing explodes. Things keep blazing as classic metal power is ignited, ramping up hard before ravaging to the finish. “Decay” just crushes when it starts as the growls bubble to the surface, and your blood is sent racing through your veins. Riffs gash as the vocals turn even uglier, then keys rise and fade into the background as the playing retreats into the horizon.

“Immortal Incubation” is filled with animalistic rage, moody guitar work, and vocals that just mangle. The leads jolt again as the pace mauls you, gruff growls drop hammers, and beastly glory rips through your chest. “Cosmic Sorcery” opens with a power metal-style assault and hammering, melodic fury that just piles on ruthlessly. The growls leave scars as the violence is channeled before clean lines jolt, and everything blossoms in full, bringing a super charge of energy. The final moments just bristle with chaos before dissolving into watery keys and a gothy finish. “World of Sorrows” is the 11:31-long instrumental closer that’s quite the adventure, starting with great twin leads and an exploratory section that runs into speed and raucous energy. The playing mashes away as acoustics sweep in, gasping wind as things pick up anew, and the guitars gain momentum. The main riff returns and stirs, leading into a spiral attack that is finished off with chilled acoustic waves.

“World of Sorrows” is an impressive debut outing for Dungeon Serpent, returning the tenets of chaos and madness into melodic death metal. This music doesn’t try to play it slick or sugary; instead, the five tracks here use melody as pathway to deliver a hammering attack that crushes through its own fantasy world. This is a really interesting record, one that might be the first steeping stone of one of death metal’s future leaders.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://namelessgraverecords.com/products/32274931-dungeon-serpent-world-of-sorrows-cd

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

Severed Boy imagine horrifying actions without restraint with upsetting EP ‘Tragic Encounters’

Part of the thing that keeps most humans in check is the presence of a conscience, the thing that makes us step back and consider the consequences of our actions before we do something we might regret. But what if that was something that didn’t exist or could be eliminated entirely? How would that cause people to act, and would the world be thrown into chaos?

Nicholas Wolf and Reid Calkin, both members of Lunglust, considered that idea when putting together their new band Severed Boy and their debut “Tragic Encounters.” The band’s name plays up the idea of being able to being separated from one’s conscience and what might result, and that’s unfurled in the form of devastating, psyche-destroying death and doom metal. The five tracks are menacing and aimed at exploring the worst possibilities of humankind, fixating on the most heinous acts one could commit physically and psychologically, which explains why this music is so scarring.

The title track starts with guitars warming before the doom shower hits, and suddenly we’re saturated. Mangling growls and punishing guitar work charge your bones as a burst of melody rips through, and the drumming clobbers. Things get muddy and ugly as the last doom offensive is mounted, and then we’re on to “Pooling” that brings some indie rock fire at the front. Growls crush as the atmosphere thickens and even grows more inviting, but it doesn’t take long for things to go morbid again, unloading on you as the song ends. “Agony and Despair” in a strange instrumental that ties together dark clouds and shadowy strangeness, feeling ominous as they head into “Sparse Forest of Memories” that delivers mucky pain and leads that burn with ferocity. Growls drone into the earth as heavy punches are landed, and the band trudges hard, with no regard for your feelings. The track ends in smothering power and some bizarre ambiance, leading to our closer “Mindless Future Breaker” that drubs and immediately drills you into the mud. The vocals scrape as the guitars catch fire and revel in grime, and the assault floods your senses. The guitars slice, and black doom blood flows, and then their glory rises to the surface as they end things as punishingly as possible.

The promo materials that accompany “Tragic Encounters” label the music as upsetting and uncomfortable, and I can’t think of a better way to describe Severed Boy’s awesome debut EP. It just beats your ass for 20 minutes, rarely letting you up to get a breath or recover at all. That’s a positive because we didn’t come here for an easy time; we came to get flattened and borderline humiliated, and Severed Boy delivered.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/tragic-encounters

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

PICK OF THE WEEK: Portuguese terrors Concilium mar death, black metal with ‘Desecration’

The night is hot, and your breathing is labored, trying your best to find relief in sleep but only falling into the terrible loop of strange nightmares every time you lose consciousness. You stick to the sheets, certain that you’re hallucinating, dying, going mad, or a combination of all of that, and no matter what you do, your slumber is shoved violently back into your mind’s most warped storytelling.

Or, maybe you’re not actually asleep but instead trying to make heads of tails of “Desecration,” the mind-scraping debut record from Portuguese black/death metal phantoms Concilium, a work of art that feels like it was taken directly from your life’s worst dreams. The trio—N (guitars, vocals, compositions, art direction), Vulturius (drums), Occelensbrigg (bass)—create an atmosphere that makes it seem like you’re staring directly into a void of psychosis and a gasp of pure darkness around which your brain cannot fully wrap. It’s a stimulating, terrifying journey through buried darkness, ghostly whispers, and panicked feelings that put your fight-or-flight tendencies to the test.   

“From the Chalice” awakens in murky hell before bones are turned to dust, and the misery spreads. The vocals hiss beneath in a soup of blood and muscle that mars any hint of cleanliness, the guitars churn, and the elements hit tornadic highs before finally laying its head to rest. “Shadow Gospels” ruptures right away, delivering washed-out horrors that make it feel like you’re having body disassociation. The growls hiss as a cloud of smoke obscures everything, and then the playing adds a different level of pressure, making you go into a mental breakdown as the track carves deep into your mind. “From Emptiness to Oblivion” drips in, leaving an eerie fog you practically can cut with a knife. The track is both hypnotic and brings terror, plodding and adding to an echoey nightmare, finally washing away into a strange bath of confusion and electricity.

“Sacred Land of Impure Blood” alerts its arrival with bells ringing and the playing pounding hard, even making the bruising slip into an atmospheric assault. The growled whispers sit in the guts like a ghost, the track picks up and steers into the mist, and the carnage makes an easy landing absolutely impossible. “Blood on the Altar” drills in and grinds as the drumming reverberates, and we head into the heart of blackness. Total battery takes control, waves of chaos amplify your uneasy stomach, and everything finally relents by bleeding away. “Blood Candles” ends things with anguished guitars and whispers haunting, letting doom waters lap slowly. The pace makes your nerves go numb, and then the playing turns into a murderous gust, with haunting darkness strengthening its grip. Feedback tangles and lingers, a thick synth fog emerges, and the whispers mix in with the spirit of the night, ending the record with a sense of chill and dread.

It’s hard to put a finger on what Concilium have in their minds when putting their strange black magic into play on “Desecration,” but the results are intellectually punishing and sometimes utterly horrifying. This feels like evil spirits lurking toward you with you having almost no chance at keeping them at bay, leaving you at their non-existent mercy. This is music capable of climbing into your mind and rewiring your psyche, and not always for the better. Strange, vile, and violent only begins to explain just what awaits you when you confront the ghoul that is Concilium.

For more on the band, go here: http://sentientruin.com/bands#/concilium

To buy the album, go here: http://sentientruin.com/releases/concilium-desecration

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

Year of No Light immerse their thunderous music into human rebirth act on ‘Consolamentum’

Humankind is a volatile, unpredictable thing as we all have branched out since our own entrance into the world to create lives for ourselves that do not match with anyone else’s experiences and sometimes lives in odds of others. No matter what, we all have successes and failures, highs and lows, good and evil deeds that run through our lives, and once we leave this place, that pathway is the only thing that really is our own.

The human experience and our sometimes-troublesome journeys are something long at the heart of Year of No Light’s music, itself an anthemic soundtrack that feels like it could play in the background of a playback of our lives, which has spread out over all five of their albums. The latest for this French instrumental post-metal band comes in the form of “Consolamentum,” a title taken from a ritual practiced by the Cathartic Church in the 12th to 14th centuries. The act was designed as a sort of spiritual baptism before one’s death, a means of making amends for the failings one had during their lives in order to bring them closer to god. What the band—guitarists Jérôme Alban, Pierre Anouilh, and Shiran Kaïdine, bassist/keyboardist Johan Sébenne, drummer/keyboardist Bertrand Sébenne, drummer/keyboardist Mathieu Mégemont—weaves into this experience is a test that makes you face your own darkness and failures and creates a space for that catharsis to spread its wings, filling you with the ability to overcome and stretch out your own possibilities.

“Objuration” opens in a long drone, setting up the ambiance as the doom spreads, and the cloud cover darkens noticeably. The playing soars as the guitars heat up and increase the temperature, stirring as the melodies bubble over and race toward you. The intensity then ramps up, the drums pound away, and hypnotic playing tangles your mind, dripping then gushing, ending completely flooded over. “Alétheia” trickles in as a moody haze settles, feeling like a midday staring at a clouded blue sky. The storms then arrive and roar as the drama builds, and the sounds crumble within. The intensity explodes, the guitars lap over each other, and the track stop in an explosion of colors. “Interdit aux Vivants, aux Morts et aux Chiens” feels doomy and ugly at first before the sounds come to life and spread, getting burlier and more sinister as it moves along. Melodies scowl as the guitars stretch their wings, picking up momentum as your guts are squeezed. Hypnotic hell unloads, making the room spin dangerously, the playing floods, and you’re left blistered and scorched from the heat.

“Réalgar” starts clean, tingling your nerves as the scene is set, letting loose sparkling guitars that tease your ears. Gazey blood begins to flow, and the emotion starts to build up at a clip too fast to tame. The atmospheric pressure makes your bones vibrate, and then darkness strikes, completing an unpredictable heel turn that leaves you gasping for safety as you watch it dissolve before your eyes. “Came” caps off the record, beginning with a synth fog and drums coming to life, yet the band maintains more of a measured approach that dabbles in mid tempo. Synth makes sun beams crack the clouds, and at about 7 minutes in, everything erupts, and the fires rage toward the stars. The band pummels hard, your face is smeared in bloody soot, and the keys ring out, letting the track disappear into a red sky.

Year of No Light have spent the better part of the past two decades making incredible soundscapes and telling epic tales without the benefit of words, something they display again on “Consolamentum.” Their fifth record is another huge-sounding, sky-exploding display that builds inside your heart, spreads to your mind, and makes your psyche burst. This music is such that it should be heard in spacious rooms with audiences anticipating every high and low, and these songs mix in perfectly for that experience.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://pelagic-records.com/artist/year-of-no-light/

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

Death beasts Witch Vomit write another miserable chapter of horror on ‘Abhorrent Rapture’

You can’t always hear a band’s name and know exactly what you’re to expect, but more often than not, reading into what you can expect works really well in metal. But the first time I ever heard of Witch Vomit, I anticipated filthy, guttural death metal that stabs at you with no mercy and a penchant to disgust, and goddamn if they don’t nail that very thing every time out.

Lucky us, we’re blessed with a new four-track EP from these Seattle beasts in the form of “Abhorrent Rapture,” their first new music since 2019’s killer second full-length effort “Buried Deep in a Bottomless Grave.” We kind of know what to expect anyway since the band has a deadly track record, but even from the first time hearing those two words that comprise their name, it was easy to imagine what they had in mind, and we were disgustingly pleased with those results. The band—guitarist/vocalist Tempter, guitarist C.L., bassist J.G., drummer Filth—waste no time getting in, creating unreal carnage, and getting out, leaving veins squirting blood all over the room. This might not be a full-length record, but their power and violent intensity certainly don’t take it easy on you, unveiling old school death metal that brings no mercy or concern for your well being.

“Purulent Burial Mound” starts things with a strange movie clip before we rip into death metal’s worm-infested heart, devouring it whole anyway. Growls creak as the playing speeds up, going guttural and ugly, leaving waste behind. Guitars stir and crush, your stomach juice sloshes, and the track ends in a pit of blinding hell. “Funeral Purgation” brings twisting riffs as ugliness is belched out, even pulling into doom’s hallways. Leads light up as the lava flows, and then things get disturbingly calm before the riffs stab back, and the beastly assault leaves you writhing in your own piss. “Necrometamorphosis” guts as it trudges by, and an evil feel works into your bloodstream. Monstrous stomping comes to life, the leads twist guts, and the rampage gains even more steam, wrecking your psyche. Guitars squeal as the growls grunt in fury, and everything ends in a cloud of dust and unspeakable horror. The title track ends the collection by rumbling the ground beneath us all, and the growls grip at your throat. The pace races before the ambiance turns exploratory, soaring into space and leaving you dizzied. Reality then returns, the assault is reengaged, and the track ends in gargantuan terror.

Witch Vomit follow up the tremendous momentum they built with “Buried Deep in a Bottomless Grave” with this destructive EP “Abhorrent Rapture,” 18 minutes of pure death metal chaos. People already were mentioning Witch Vomit in the conversation of modern death metal powers, and they only serve to strengthen their case with these four songs. This is death that bathes in horror and doom that leaves you nauseated but weirdly satisfied.

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

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

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

Goddamn Darkthrone do it yet again, pay metallic homage to genre roots on ‘Eternal Hails’

For all the records we visit every year, and it’s in the hundreds, there comes a time maybe once every 18 months or so where we get to something where it’s like, what are we really going to tell you that you don’t already know? Yet, we write it anyway, because there are some bands that we just feel honored to get to discuss, and today we have one of them.

There is nothing about legendary Nordic duo Darkthrone that you don’t already know or have heard, and far more capable voices than mine have used their own words to etch them into history. Oh, there is one thing, but it’s more an annoying reminder: This band isn’t doing black metal. They haven’t in forever, and really, I think we all should have come to terms with this so we don’t put stupid expectations on their records, like their awesome 18th album “Eternal Hails,” one of my favorite titles of the year so far. Nocturno Culto (guitars and vocals) and Fenriz (drums and vocals) have spent the better part of the last several records planting their flags even harder into metal’s past, and each time out, they give you punishing, filthy, fun anthems that serve no theme other than the glory of heavy fucking metal.

“His Master’s Voice” gets things going with the guitars ramping up, the drums crumbling, and raw metal blasting at you, absolutely galloping. The vocals are gruff and blistering, as expected, with Culto howling, “Tied to the mast with his master’s voice, this will never last, hearing his master’s voice.” Things progress into thrashier terrain, with these guys sounding loose and spry, continuing to get meatier until the track fades into clean guitars. “Hate Cloak” has strong riffs and curdling growls, getting punchier as the tempo builds. The drums mash as the pressure builds, slicing into strange echoes, and then a bellowing howl of, “Eternal hails!” adds the perfect exclamation to the end of this jarring ride.

“Wake of the Awakened” brings speedy riffs and drums that aim to crumble rock, playing fast and rough, going into a guitar wash that delivers new intensity on the other side. The riffs trudge and trample as the drums cave in your head, all the elements suddenly align and hammer you, and raw howls take their final shots before the track leaks away. “Voyage to a North Pole Adrift” begins in dissonance before things slowly get fired up, with dark undertones increasing the shadows. The playing keeps upping the intensity speed wise, feeling like your heart is being jabbed before thick atmosphere rises. The spacious aura leads to the fires raging again, an incredible solo blows down doors, and voices echo as the track rampages to its end. “Lost Arcane City of Uppakra” caps off this awesome record with guitars storming, the growls slashing, and gruff elements meeting up with strange air pockets. Creaking speaking bellows as a chilling, alien synth line arrives and keeps looping, playing tricks with your mind. That fills the senses, ensuring your rocky path ends with you floating among the stars.

Look, it’s a Darkthrone record, and by now we all should have come to the realization this isn’t a black metal band anymore, hasn’t been in a long time, and we’re all better off for it. Records such as “Eternal Hails” prove that. These guys are metal lifers having created and absorbed more magic in this genre than just about anyone, and they blast back once again with a killer record that makes you feel good amongst your internal rot once it’s all over. Eternal hails for sure.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Darkthrone-101075189934422

To buy the album, go here: https://darkthrone.lnk.to/EternalHails?fbclid=IwAR2CiEYo1HvxJZpK1bvmWBBTzQMGxQiBPpypLDytuVJZRsr4m5NPwXZB-xw absolutely

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

PICK OF THE WEEK: Felled create atmospheric vibe with folkish black metal on ‘Intimate Earth’

It’s a perfect time of the year to find music that relates to nature, or that makes your time surrounded by that world that much richer. As much as I love music that relates to winter and all the possibilities with it, there’s something about being able to breath fresh air and be amongst greenspaces that makes it feel like life is bursting and everything isn’t hopeless.

My first experience with “The Intimate Earth,” the debut record from folk-infused black metal band Felled, did not occur when I was in nature, but it didn’t take me long to feel like I was amid thick trees, human-made trails, and oxygen not sickened by industry. The more I listened, the more I realized I was completely overcome by this record, and that the band—guitarist/vocalist Cavan Wagner, violin and viola player/backing vocalist Brighid Wagner (both of Poet), bassist Isamu Sato (ex-YOB, currently of Omnihility), drummer/vocalist Jenn Grunigen (Cerridwen)—could transport me wherever, no matter where I was locked physically. It’s also just an amazing sounding record full of highs and lows, softness and heaviness, and heartfelt performances that just flatten you in the best possible way.

“Ember Dream” opens with guitars and strings merging, creating an interesting ambiance that immediately arrests. The riffs then unleash some darkness as the growls devastate, and everything sweeps you up in the drama. The drums crash, the violins come to life and exert energy, and all elements burn together, leaving ash behind. “Fire Season on the Outer Rim” stirs up some solid riffs, the strings surge, and mangling growls strike down, adding menace to the elements of beauty. Grunigen’s calls then haunt as the drama continues to unfold, slowly dripping before things kick back into gear. Emotions jolt as Grunigen’s vocals settle back in, the growls add uglier dashes of color, and the strings thicken, adding to the rustic aura.

“The Rite of Passage” has guitars trickling in as the strings sweep, and the guitar work dawns on the horizon. The track then bursts as the growls explode, turning vicious, and then the growls begin to pick you apart. Black metal-style guitars inject huge melodies, the growls destroy, and the powers increase before settling into the earth. “Sphagnum in the Hinterlands” is the longest track on here, running 10:58 and starting with guitars poking in before everything is just engorged. All powers align and rumble your core as the guitars crawl over you like long, spindly spiders, and a brief gasp of calm opens into animalistic fury. The strings come to life, the skies darken, and cold rains give away to massive horrors that get pushed into the winds. “The Salt Binding” is the closer, a 9:06 being that opens amid arresting strings and psychologically jarring guitars. Grunigen’s singing emerges again as an emotional toll is paid, guitars weep, and the melodies flood. The voices combine as one as the track bleeds with power, feeling like a bloody folk tale, pushing every one of your buttons. The guitars soar gloriously, the voices sound as if they’re chanting to the beyond, and the strings create a bed in which you lose consciousness.

Ever since my first experience with “The Intimate Earth,” I instantly feel in love with the music and the worlds created by Felled. It’s not like there aren’t other bands seamlessly combining folk and black metal, but this band does it with such charm and striking creativity, that it feels like their music lives in your bones. This is an excellent debut from a band that already has won over my undying devotion.

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

To buy the album (U.S.), go here: https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Or here (Europe): https://transcendingobscurity.8merch.com/

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

Cerebral Rot double down in festering, disgusting madness on vile ‘Excretion of Mortality’

Photo by Erin Severson

Death metal isn’t and really shouldn’t be limited in scope when it comes to sound and subject matter, and we’ve seen so many bands branch out and do crazy shit, that sticking to the roots almost seems complacent. But that’s a lie. The roots matter, they always should, and any band that truly drinks from that insect-buzzing, disgusting swamp keeps the basis of this sound alive, well, and dangerous.

That brings us to Cerebral Rot, the lurching, ferocious death demons from Seattle who have been making ugly, gruesome metal that pays homage to where this stuff came from in the first place. Adding to that perverse glee is the band isn’t afraid to get slimy and gross (their Metal Archives profile lists death, decomposition, and feces as regular lyrical themes), and there’s something so satisfying about that, even while you’re holding back your vomit. That carries over on their devastating new record “Excretion of Mortality,” a seven-track, 47-minute excursion into the grossest, most detestable subject matter, and it all sounds so creepy and good. The band—guitarist/vocalist Ian Scwab, guitarist Clyle Lindstrom, bassist Zach Nehl, drummer Drew O’Bryant—isn’t shy to open veins and bleed you heavily, making you lose consciousness as you slip into a putrid pool of the unspeakable.

The title track opens and brings stirring riffs and trudging agony, while the growls are so gnarly, they practically hiss. The melodies get more progressive, and doom clouds even darken the skies, the band rips you apart at the waist, and the leads tangle before everything dies in humidity. “Vile Yolk of Contagion” (um … gross!) rips open as deeply lurching growls slither, and absolute menace spreads its wings. The band then drubs you into oblivion before speed attacks, ugly, intestinal growls smear, and everything comes to a vicious ending. “Spewing Purulence” unleashes guitars ripping holes in steel, thick bass barreling like a cement truck, and savage growls that crawl up your spine. The leads squeal as the playing gets meatier, swinging into something I can only describe as swaggering doom. Growls return and leave blisters, and the leads scorch, turning everything to ash.

“Bowels of Decrepitude” slaughters right off the bat as the growls leaves welts. The leads go off and do ample damage while faces are melted off onto the floor, as the playing mauls and numbs you, twisting your muscles before signing off. “Drowned in Malodor” continues the theme of delivering thick, rich doom that’s also kind of nauseating, letting growls roll in and weird speaking hypnotize. Feedback bleeds, the bass plods, and the track goes into a death spiral, rumbling to the end. “Retching Innards” brings guitars carving pathways, trudging before it really amps up the intensity. The track bashes away as the drums rumble the earth, pulverizing and wrecking psyches. The leads fire up and merge, scrambling brains, finally letting you up for air. “Crowning the Disgustulent (Breed of Repugnance)” is the closer and longest song of the bunch, running 11:05. They make the most with their time as after a spooky opening, the guitars unload, the pace dices, and we’re fully into gusting fires and devastation. That sends the power to the center as the leads swarm, and the violence increases, with the growls finally arriving about 6 minutes in. From there, flesh is mangled as the playing churns and twists guts, and the whole thing ends with the drums taking over, ending things in a haze of echoed double kicks.

Everything about “Excretion of Mortality” is a festering wound burning in the sun, stinking and letting disease set into the flesh. That’s what we’ve come to expect from Cerebral Rot, and they deliver in disgusting amounts, creating death metal that is vile and putrid while also satisfyingly heavy. This is a record that, once it’s fully out in the world and absorbed, will be on the tip of everyone’s tongues when discussing this year’s best slabs of true death metal.

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

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

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

Icelandic smashers Mannveira finally rise, deliver mangling black metal with ‘Vitahringur’

There’s an ominous aura behind the idea of “awakening a sleeping giant,” a saying that dates back to World War II and at the time meant that the United States had been provoked into joining the fight. However, we can use that saying today for something a lot less destructive from the standpoint of human lives lost and instead put that weight behind a band that’s finally showing its beastly power.

Icelandic black metal force Mannveira, have been around for a little more than a decade now, but we’re finally getting their debut full-length record “Vitahringur” 11 years after the project came to be. The world got something of a taste of what they had in them on a 2014 EP and a split effort in 2016 alongside Ellorsith, but this five-track, 35-minute crusher is the real indication of what this machine is capable of doing, and it’s clear they’ve spent their silence sharpening their blades. This band—vocalist Illugi, guitarists Örlygur and Sindri, bassist Óskar, drummer Jón—brings caustic and devastating power, a force that adds to their homeland’s impressive array of heavy bands, proving they are as hungry and bloodthirsty as the rest of them. Maybe more so.

“Ópin rjúfa þögnina” opens with dark blasts and guitars stinging as gruff growls march, and disorienting melodies cause your head to spin. The pace then picks up as the playing gets nastier, shoving you in the mud as the track drowns out. “Í köldum faðmi” bubbles up front before weird grunts greet you, and beastly wails signal the coming savage assault. That brutality eventually turns more atmospheric before things get animalistic, with guttural howls peeling back flesh. The guitars get airy but still open wounds, fury and mysticism unite, and things crush to a static-filled finish.

“Vítahringur” starts spacious as the guitars open, with the storm looming. Slow-driving misery pivots into vocals scraping and black melodies flooding and flowing. The track keeps gaining momentum as the guitars swim through psychological weirdness, and then raw growls punch their way in, leading the track to its noise vortex resting place. “Framtíðin myrt” lets growls escape as a numbing pace picks up the momentum, and the guitars tangle. Things feel properly hypnotic at times, bringing immersive calm, but then the rains crash down again. Leads gush melody, the growls scar, and everything fades into a nightmare. Closer “Kverkatak eilífra martraða” is disorienting as it begins as growls wrench, and a dizzying aura takes hold. The vocals go for the throat as the band begins trucking hard, and the growls turn to roars. Things slow and get disorienting, giving off an intoxicating vibe, and all of that dissolves into the atmosphere, disappearing forever.

I’ve never been to Iceland, but I imagine that majestic nature of the place would be in direct contrast with the misery-inducing, mangling black metal that Mannveira presents on “Vitahringur.” This is a devastating, molten record that feels like it sends lava flowing through your bloodstream, leaving you in abject torture. The atmospheric elements are disarmingly sinister, the heaviness bludgeons, and this band leaves you heaving in a pile of sweat and piss.  

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

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

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

Perilaxe Occlusion defy typical, delve into 3D modeling themes on crushing ‘Raytraces of Death’

Heavy metal is a world in which no topic is off limits, though that also could mean troublesome waters for bands that delve into, say, outright fascism. That always sucks. But there’s so much out there in this universe in which to concentrate, so many possibilities to explore and mine that really, anything could be topical for a heavy metal record. Even converting vector layers into pixels.

OK, I know. What? But look, this makes so much sense, especially from a technological standpoint. Metal musicians aren’t morons, despite decades of people deciding that’s the case, so why not head into areas such as rasterizing, the technique described above. That’s the rich territory explored by Canadian death metal travelers Perilaxe Occlusion, whose new EP “Raytraces of Death” takes you into mind-tangling terrain like no other creator before them. The band delivered a very well-received demo late last year, their means of introducing you to metallic bursts about 3D modeling, but these three songs go even further into the vortex. The band—guitarist/bassist XT, drummer/cellist XE (they’re joined by guest vocalist Ti)—pulverizes you with bizarre chaos and complicated strangeness that might take some time to wrap your head around but also delivers the goods in such a wonderfully strange way.    

“Fracturing the Voronoi” gets things started with doomy misery hanging overhead as the growls bury you in thick death. The track is punishing and ugly as the drums decimate, thick bass slithers, and the soloing goes off, scorching faces. We head into sludgy terrain, the band mashes bodies, and everything disappears into feedback streaks. “Incalculable Thresholds” brings the drums crashing in and a punchy, thrashy vibe that aims to leave bruises. Growls rumble as the guitars churn hard, getting strange and eerie and making you wonder what just happened. Things head into a strange pocket before re-emerging with black metal-style playing as the guitars spiral, and a heavy stomp directs the track right into hell. “Geometric Dismemberment” closes things, starting with doomy drubbing before things explode into total chaos. Cavernous growls bury as the guitar angle and drip, and your body is pummeled. Guitars rain down, dressing things with mournful tones, while the shadows thicken, pushing the track into a murky, uneasy mist.

Perilaxe Occlusion didn’t sit around and wait after their demo was so well received, and “Raytraces of Death” is a collection that builds on their promise and shows just how deadly their machine can be. This is an incredibly satisfying display, a quick look at where this band is expanding, and how they’re growing more sinister before our eyes. More of this over a proper full length is something I’m very much anticipating in the future.  

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

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

Or here (North America): https://debemurmorti.aisamerch.com/

Or here (Europe): https://www.debemur-morti.com/en/12-eshop

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

And here: https://www.debemur-morti.com/en/