It’s lately come to my attention that my Gmail account is overloaded with promo material. The only other thing that’s blatantly painfully and obvious is that I should be doing something about it. Now as most of this material is musical in nature nothing would be more sacrilegious than tossing it to the computers wastebasket icon without each receiving at least a preliminary listen. Without further ado. A short write up on what tickles my fancy.
Sarcasm – Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds
Dark Descent Records (28 April 2017)
Sarcasm have managed to survive a long spell of horrid luck. Their first full length, Burial Dimensions, was released in 2016 after being recorded in 1994. Following numerous Demos, compilations and an Ep this is their return to form.
I’m happy to report WtSoEM isn’t half bad either. Bearing roots in Swedish metal past with only a touch of the Gothenburg vibe the album gallops along at a great pace whilst sporting riffs and melodies that will toss many long-time fans of the scene back a few decades, smiling ear to ear as they plummet. Havel Bozarslan spits lyrics with a blackened edge to give the music a darker quality than other melodic death affairs. The epic A Black Veil for Earth breaks up the album nicely by adding an instrumental vibe and overall feel much akin to vintage Paradise Lost.
Overall this is an album worthy of keeping an eye out for, if you can turn a blind eye to cover art that in my opinion appears a tad dated.
Excommunion – Thronosis
Dark Descent Records (12 May 2017)
A break of fifteen years separates Thronosis from Excommunion’s much acclaimed last effort, Superion. And having not heard that album this is my introduction to the band.
Only four tracks make up this release. With the first clocking in at over seven minutes in length and boasting an aura drenched in brutality, darkness and diabolical atmosphere the listener can easily lose themselves in I’m quite sure these will suffice until another makes itself known. Hinting at influences as far afield as Morbid Angel, Emperor and Bolt Thrower with a hint of doom this release blankets the finest several genres has on offer and doesn’t scrimp on the quality either.
Christbutcher snarls rather than grunts to fantastic effect whilst Kyle Spanswick and Gordon Koch offer top notch percussion within an amazing mix.
If you prefer your death metal tainted with blackened tones, an atmosphere that invokes catacombs lost to history, seasoned with diabolical majesty and blazing intricate riffage as well as plodding menace this could well be an album that your ear have been begging you for.
Outstanding. Don’t sleep on this one folks!
OBSCURE DEVOTION – Ubi Certa Pax Est
Third I Rex/Dark Horizon Records (US) (26 March 2017)
Quite the package!
If truth be told I’m finding myself warming to the black metal genre as of late. With release as mind blowing as the latest from Sakrista and Vindland there should no honest reason why not. Obscure Devotion are another band I’ve yet to give a listen to but faced with such a stunning promo package I found that I couldn’t resist.
Plainly obvious from the second track is that this isn’t going to be ‘common garden’ black faire. Gone are start to finish blazing riffs (not always a bad thing) replaced by structure and emotion, elements usually not included in an album with a ‘black’ moniker. Strangely it all works very well indeed. The title track has depth, plenty of breaks and enough melody one could easily snap a spine in appreciation of. But it doesn’t stop there, the following track is just as epic in scope and exciting in rhythm. At this juncture, I’m finding myself in awe. This isn’t only black metal but so much more an album thus far that has managed to meld several genres seamlessly whilst still maintaining the gloominess associated with the arena.
Bands like SepticFlesh, Dissection and vintage Katatonia come to mind while spinning this unholy chunk of audio but there’s so much more to be found here than merely that. There’s also varied doom influence and a definite death vibe as well as an indescribable ‘otherness’ that binds the style together.
Rich, never predictable and wholly satisfying.
A ‘teaser’ can be found here
Lord – Blacklisted
Heavy Hound Records (26 May 2017)
Lord are a busy five-piece outfit hailing from Virginia (USA). Blacklisted follows Awake released in 2016.
Heavy is certainly a word that fits well in describing the style on offer here. Another word would be ‘Sludge’ as theirs isn’t a happy sound but rather a tuned down morass, a mixture of styles other bands have carved over time and perfected without ever garnering much of a fanbase to speak of. The anger and chaos associated with EyeHateGod and melodies that would point most towards Down come to mind as too do other genres that constantly fight amongst themselves for superiority in the six tracks that comprise the album. The title track is a great example of this and makes for a fantastic tune to destroy another person’s belongings to (although I don’t recommend it!).
Heart of a Hero is one of my favorite tracks here. Surprisingly it’s not the heaviest track to be found but it does have a certain dirtiness and panache all its own.
Overall a collection of tracks that tip the scales of hefty tunage far from the likes of death and black metal but at times nudging the fences of the grindcore arena.
Abuse – Nothing is Safe
Comatose Music (26 May 2017)
From this album’s art work, I get the impression that the artist is a fan of the Grand Theft Auto franchise. From a quick glance at the bands autobiography I can well imagine the musical style found here with much the same theme running through it. Again, this is a virgin listen of an act that has never hit my radar but this may be partly because this release has been sixteen years in the making.
With an intro made famous by Tom Cruise in 1999’s Magnolia (“Respect the cock…”) there’s no doubt left as to the main theme of this album – misogyny liberally sprinkled with a love for destruction, fast cars and firearms.
The music itself is sharp, concise, deadly as a nun-chuk to the gonads and straight to the point leaving no room whatsoever for frilly bits. Think mid era Carcass infued with Dying Fetus. The vocals are indecipherable complementing the music very well in only the one genre where this could be a compliment. The drumming, courtesy of Lord Marco (Six Feet Under) is precise enough to leave an octopus with jealousy inducing suicide. Overall the album is one I could gladly spin several times without getting bored all the while chuckling at the (comical) narrative while still secure in my point of view that those of the ‘fairer’ sex are to be worshipped rather than mistreated in any way (is this where I should include my email?).
A wild ride into Moshville on a machine powered by technical brutality.
Well that’s about it for today, my earlobes are about fit to burst and I can hear my neighbors sharpening their collective pitchforks in complaint. I’ll be sure to pick a more diverse lineup for them to mull over next time.
This is about where my throne is to be positioned. More ice please!