First Impressions Vol 11: Desalmado, Hardcore Anal Hydrogen, Deathwards, Oubliette, Rebel Wizard, Jungle Rot, Gra, Skeletal Remains, Gwydion and Mordant Rapture

Still rollin along, drowning in promotional material. But, it’s all good…its Metal, or in the case of HAH (the second entry here) something that’s quite different altogether.
Desalmado -Save Us From Ourselves 
Release – February/6/2018
Artwork – 7
I’m honestly not even sure what to think of this although it hints at despair and perhaps an era of blind justice and political unrest. A powerful image neverless.
First Track – 9.5
Damn. Fuck. Holy shit! I’m speechless (it happens) for an album with little to no presence on the net this is unbelievably good. A sublime mixture of Nailbomb aggression and clean groove laden grindcore ala Napalm Death’s Inside the Torn Apart. Did I mention the drums? Let’s just say Pete “Commando” Sandoval would likely be left grinnin’ from ear to ear following a listen.
Initial Listen – 9.5
This is an album that should not be let slip under the radar, although it has very little to zero PR coverage  (to my knowledge inside of the States) it speaks for itself in volumes and demands respect. I’ve rarely encountered an album such as this from the genre to which it belongs with such undenible groove and instant appeal. Instantly recognizable South American influence cavorts with familiarity to make this relatable and dangerously infectious resulting in an instant classic status.
Purists/traditionalists of the scene might have issues based on this albums rhythm, groove and inciteful melodies throughout. Nevertheless, fans of the extreme scene need to give this a moment and let word of mouth run rampant to propel Desalmado to the rightful pedestal they deserve to perch upon. ‘Outstanding’ doesn’t even come close to describing what this album offers!!
Hardcore Anal Hydrogen – Hypercut
Release – March/23/2018
Apathia Records
Artwork – 6
I’m confused, is this a ‘rock’ album or a polka/country jamboree collection? Perhaps the band have a sense of humor? This is throwing me for a loop perhaps a press of the PLAY button will tell for sure and set me on the right path (whatever that means).
First Track – 8.5
Psalm 69 era Ministry guitar meets 2001- A Space Odyssey in a heroine laden landscape of sinister hallucinagenic passages. Unique yes and strangely it remains utterly listenable. Yea, this audio experience is going to drain and deplete my complimentary use of the free online Thesaurus. But here goes…
Initial Listen – 9
Inhumanely fast guitar riffs, Jean Michel Jarre (He who was responsible for the 1980’s Miami Vice soundtrack) Synth soundscapes, duck quacks (ala The New York Ripper for all the Fulci fans out there), jazz interludes and a vocal style which is undescribable and I’m only halfway through the second track.
To be short, this album is an experience the listener won’t soon forget. Much like Crotch Duster’s Big Fat Box of Shit (or even in instances Jucifer) where a plethora of musical styles ferociously entangle, clash and clamber over each other for track domination although with that im mind a distinct extreme and infectious nature still exists, this is in essence a feast for the ears though at times (but often more so) not quite so frenetic in its approach as the aforementioned. My opinion therefore is that Hypercut be reccommended for those sporting a penchant for the unique, strange and enigmatic on account of its OTT schizophrenic nature. Place this dominantly in the ‘love it or hate it’ folder for this is where this’ll find its only true home for it’s too ferociously enigmatic and boisterous to be “happy” anyplace else and avant Garde doesn’t quite cut it! Give Hypercut a chance but leave your bias and assumptions at the door as this will devestate/dominate your senses like a continent-devouring tsunami. 
This is honestly an album that warrants several listens to comprehend. Onwards… to my second spin and I’m going to be late for work but it’s worth it!
Deathwards – Towards Death (Demo/cassete)
Release – June/8/2018
Invictus Productions
Artwork – 8.5
Medieval barbarity and an inverted crucifix, I’m thinking wicked audio is on the way.
First Track – 8.5
Admittedly this takes a few moments to get going (I’m impatient at the best of times). But, when it does…holy schiite! It’s like South American thrash colliding with vintage Slayer on a no-holds barred speed Highway (or Authobahn If You prefer) with innocent bystanders, classic Kreator and an equally beloved Destruction (from the same era), yanked into the melee. The vocals are wicked and the rhythms infectious. This is an amazing start and I’m not going anywhere soon.
Initial Listen – 9
If this is any indication of a full-length studio release to follow then Deathwards are set to make quite the impact on the scene. The rhythms are there, the time and tempo changes keep the album exciting and the whole affair is drenched in an evil fans of the satanic speed metal scene, circa the late eighties, will more than eagerly lap up. This more than warrants discovery. Shit, I even believe my fellow metal scribe, Void, would dig this (and we rarely agree) so that’s worthy of applause alone. Make time in your existence for this you won’t be dissapointed.
Oubliette – The Passage 
Release – July/13/2018
The Artisan Era
Artwork – 8.5
Gothic, sinister there’s even a crow perched overhead. Seriously what more could one ask for?
First Track – 9
A majestic, melodic and sombre introduction leaves little to the imagination as what to expect from the albums style. But then the vocals chime in and damn! What an accompaniment to the unexpected emotion laden melodies on offer. Thus far this is melodic black/doom par excellence in case you weren’t paying attention.
Initial Listen – 9
Soulful, melancholic and yet bursting with beauty and black metal values, albeit more of the melodic variety. This album boasts alot to like and very little if anything to complain about. The rhythms lean decidedly more towards the doom side of the metal spectrum but still hold true to traditional black metal sensabilities making for a listen which holds huge appeal across a myriad of genres and deserved so for this is a beast of an album.
To hell with a bank account balance, dip into negative realms and lose yourself in an audio experience that you’ll want to visit again and again.
Rebel Wizard – Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Responce
Release – August/17/2018
Prosthetic Records
Artwork – 7.5
Sinister, shadow laden and Gothic imagery blanketed in a primitive nature. I’m intrigued…but where are the skulls and spikes?
First Track – 8
I’m not sure what I was expecting, perhaps something similar to Akercocke, or audio with an.unmistakable doom edge. But certainly not this. Think speed metal meets NWOBHM with black metal vocals. The type of vocals (courtesy of NKSV who incidently handles all duties on the record) akin to a veritable force of nature, the type feel which oneight initially pass off as just another storm. But crap, when it hits one immediately ponders back upon their naivety.
Initial Listen – 8
Blanketing pretty much the entire extreme metal spectrum this album boasts a myriad of styles and influence capped off with a howling fury vocal presence. There’s melody and bursts of noise. Brutality and beauty. Majesty and Depravity. And let us not forget that this release could possibly win an award for the length of its track titles alone. Seriously, who amongst us can’t appreciate an album with a track entitled Drunk on the Wizdom of Unicorn Semen within its ranks?
Strap yourselves in folks for this is a wide ride which might just toss you back to the roots of your love for metal with a host who could well shred the flesh from your skull with his unbridled vocal chord assault.
Jungle Rot -s/t
Release – July/20/2018
Victory Records
Artwork – 9
Bright and vivid this image encapsulates beauty, viciousness and utter despair. The piranhas are-a-feastin. They know not a side or an agenda, only hunger.
First Track – 7.5
Is it just me or are Jungle Rot injecting more of a thrash element into their sound? Regardless, a great track nevertheless. Clean, take no prisoners riffage and still distinctly bearing the trademark JR style.
Initial Listen – 7.5
Bludgeoning riffage, brutal rhythms you can lose yourself in and a great production but seriously not anything new to break Jungle Rot out of the melodic death mold they’ve been in for decades. But it doesn’t matter in the slightest as this is another great effort to add to their already impressive output. If you’re a fan you won’t be dissapointed and if you’ve yet to hear JRs sound this is a great jumping on point.
Gra – Vasen 
Release – April/27/2018
Carnal Records
Artwork – 8
This image bursts with atmosphere, is easy to decipher and yet still has about it an air of mystery. Fighting in the trenches is a dirty, thankless affair especially when you know not whom or what you are fighting against.
First Track – 7.5
Ferocious yet triumphant and oddly compelling. The drum salvo is at times different yet still strangely ‘fits’, hinting perhaps at an album that doesn’t quite fit the traditional black metal mold though still promises what one would come to expect from a release in the genre.
Initial Listen – 8
A diverse collection of tunage to be honest. Ranging from more traditional black metal through haunting, atmosphere laden tunage, symphonic passages and then full circle again but not before journeying to more melodic realms first.
Truthfully this wasn’t what I expected however it is an exciting, eye-opening traipse through a myriad of darker audio lands which shouldn’t be missed.
Skeletal Remains – Devouring Mortality
United States
Release – April/13/2018
Century Media/Dark Descent Records
Artwork – 8
Some more Dan Seagrave epic awesomeness, if I’m not mistaken.
First Track – 8.5
Some distinct influence on hand here, namely Death, Comecon, Asphyx and Pestilence and the trademark Martin van Drunen style vocal presence. Though I’m hardly complaining as this has plenty of oddly familiar energy and rhythm (think 90’s European death metal) as opposed to cacophanous blasts of brutality and undecipherable noise. As the album progresses I’m grinnin’.
Initial Listen – 8.5
Everything about this screams golden era of melodic death metal (IMO about twenty-five years ago) without resorting to blatant copycat antics. Devouring Mortality flows supremely with galloping melodies, technical passages and infernal atmosphere while still boasting diabolical presence and rhythms which could well bring a small 3rd world village to its knees with its ferocious nature. Overall an collection of tunage that’ll forge a grin on any long time fans face while still pleasing those with a penchant for melody in their brutal tunage. A must listen and a sure fire contender for my botyl.
Gwydion – Thirteen 
Release – July /6/2018
Artwork – 7
Artwork that leaves little to the imagination. Swords, warfare and various conquests, many by sea, is what I’m thinking. But I’ve been wrong before now.
First Track – 8
An atmospheric cinematic intro, complete with sounds of skirmish, leads into a thrashy attack bordering on melodic death ala Amon Amarth audio though also with a rallying-the-troops type aura which works well in its surroundings. Complete with a symphonic edge it’s a great start leaving virgins (to the band and their style) eagerly anticipating the remainder of the album.
Initial Listen – 7.5
A delightfully varied collection of tunage that whips from primarily folk inspired classical to speed metal to epic darker tunage  (often on the fringes of the black metal arena) then back again in no particular order, and oftentimes all in a single track. Several passages make me think upon Amon Amarth while others leave me pondering upon the antics of the underrated Canadian act Black Guard. There are naturally also moments bordering on arena metal where fans will literally lose their shit in a live setting, but this is all part of the fun on offer and this album doesn’t dissapoint especially if epic folk themed viking metal is your thing, truthfully it isn’t mine but I was left suitably impressed. Rather than let this pass you by give it a moment of your time, leave your genre bias at the door and you might, also, be surprised.
Mordant Rapture – The Abnegation 
The Artisan Era
Artwork – 7.5
Gothic, sinister yet oozing with an aura of emotion and beauty.
First Track – 8.5
Emotional, classical and tight. Whirling rhythms, riffs piled upon riffs and passages of delicate fretboard intricacies. This is top notch technical death shrouded in a polished symphonic nature the combination of which isn’t at all overpowering but a spot on concoction boasting excellent production.
A fantastic introduction.
Initial Listen – 8.5
Intricate, emotional and technical passages and plenty of atmosphere this album has it all but also boasts surprisingly cinematic quality classical interludes which work excellently to break up the overall brutality, which isn’t at all overwhelming, of the album.
My only complaint is that this is short (under twenty-three minutes. Yep, it’s short!) Although I suppose it also serves to whet the appetite for more and that it does excellently as this is a solid example of symphonic/technical death that every fan of the genre should receive with open, eager, ears. 
This brings me to the end of yet another monstrous installment, thanks for making this far down the page and opening your senses to fresh audio experiences in the name of extreme audio.
Until next time.
Your slave to audio diverse, extreme and oftentimes oddly familiar in a resurgence kind of a way.

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