(DGR brings us some ugly ass music for the end of an ugly ass week.)
Allow me to be short and succinct with this opener: Work has kicked my ass these past two weeks and the holiday music is really starting to get to me. Long story short: Here’s two recent discoveries of sonic destruction that I’ve been using to sandblast my brain smooth so as to forget all forty thousand versions of Little Drummer Boy that I have to listen to each night while working on these projects/messes. Both albums are currently name your own price and conveniently enough, came out in October of this year.
When it comes to grind releases, for me it’s a tossup as to whether or not I’ll truly enjoy it. Part of the reason is that there are subsections of grind that feel like the ultimate pick-up-and-play genre — just slam around on your instruments for a while and about five minutes later its guaranteed you’re going to have, well, something.
When I first learned that Vault of Dried Bones would be releasing an album-length split by Adversarial and Paroxsihzem, entitled Warpit of Coiling Atrocities, I simultaneously experienced both a thrill and a chilling sensation, like a burst of adrenaline as the blood started freezing in my veins. I haven’t yet heard the complete results of this destructive alliance, but I have heard two of the songs on Warpit, and I got the thrill/chill all over again, big time. Now you’ll get a chance to hear them, too, as we bring you the premiere of one song by each band from the split.
Both of these Toronto bands’ last releases came out in 2012 — Adversarial’s split with Antediluvian (reviewed here) and Paroxsihzem’s self-titled debut album. Both of them were hellholes of violence and depravity, which is to say they were excellent. So are these two songs.
You may not be familiar with the name Shed the Skin, but chances are you’ll recognize the names of some of its members. This Ohio-based band is new, but the line-up includes drummer Kyle Severn (Incantation), guitarist Matt Sorg (Ringworm), vocalist/guitarist Ash Thomas (Vladimirs, Faithxtractor), bassist Ed Stephens (Ringworm), and Brian Boston (ex-From the Depths) on keyboards. Hells Headbangers will soon be releasing their debut two-song EP and today we’re bringing you a stream of the first track: “The Skaphe of Christ / Rebirth Through Brimstone”.
Shed the Skin took shape when Sorg and Severn played together in a tribute to Cleveland’s Blood of Christ at a memorial show for their friend Tom Rojack (Blood of Christ’s 1993 promo EP included the song “Shed the Skin”), and then decided to forge ahead by recruiting the rest of the band’s impressive line-up.
Back in August I was halted in my tracks by the very cool cover art for a then-forthcoming split release by Portugal’s Monte Penumbra and Half Visible Presence from The Netherlands. Both bands include members of the most excellent Israthoum (W.uR in Monte Penumbra and Arvath going solo in Half Visible Presence). The cover art above is actually the artwork for the Half Visible Presence side of the split — you’ll see the complementary art for Monte Penumbra’s side after the jump.
HALF VISIBLE PRESENCE
“Downwards Deathmarch” is the name of the Half Visible Presence track, and it could hardly be better named. Announced by the sound of a funeral bell against the backdrop of a cold, desolate wind, the song is anchored by doleful, groaning, repeating riffs and slow drumbeats. It’s a deep pit of misery, corroded with distortion and its melody sodden with tears.
I’ve been swarmed by new short releases that I want to write about. I had a list of five that I’ve been listening to this week, from which I wanted to pick one for this Saturday post. And then the new Shroud of Despondency EP de-railed those plans. I only meant to give it a minute or two this morning, just to get a sense of what was going on, and, well, here we are.
For those unfamiliar with the project, it’s the brainchild of musician Rory Heikkila, originally from Upper Michigan and now a resident of Wisconsin. Prior to this new EP, the last studio release was a double-album from earlier this year entitled Tied To A Dying Animal, which featured a mix of metal and acoustic songs. This new EP does, too.
The EP also marks the beginning of the end of the project. It’s a way-station on the road to the band’s final album, the recording of which is nearing completion, before Heikkila turns his attention elsewhere (to folk music, it appears).
This year the Greek melodic black metal band Lord Impaler are celebrating their 16th year of life. In that long stretch of time they’ve released four demos (the first one in 1999), two split releases, a full-length album, and an EP. I’ve previously reviewed both the album (2011′s Admire the Cosmos Black) and the EP (2013′s Babylon Whore) — both of which are very impressive — but I’ve never heard any of the earlier demo recordings. Now all of us are about to get a taste of them in new form.
On December 7 Lord Impaler will release a special anniversary EP entitled The Serpent Seal – Το Αρχέγονο Σκότοσ Επιςτρέφει, which includes re-recorded versions of four songs from their first three demos, and today we’re premiering one of those tracks: “Final Gates”.
Vyrju began as the one-man project of Norwegian musician Jan F. Lindsø, but Vyrju’s debut EP Black also features session drums and clean vocals by Tim Yatras (Germ, Austere, ex-Nazxul, ex-Woods of Desolation). I’m a fan of Tim Yatras, and it was his participation in the recording that originally attracted me to it — well, that and the three big skulls on the EP’s cover, of course.
In a word, Black is captivating. The melodies in each of the four songs, with the exception of the short instrumental piece “Gone”, have a sombre and even depressive air, but they’re memorable and often beautiful in their own grim, ravaged way.
There is no disguising this. It’s all right in your face, like a brain-damaged, starving wolverine thrown in your face. With very few exceptions, it goes like a jet-fueled, turbocharged, bat-winged, red-eyed, race from start to finish. It’s the latest release from the venerable Morbosidad, and they still show no mercy.
Morbosidad have been shaking the foundations of extreme metal since about 1993, releasing a host of splits and EPs as well as four albums. This latest release, with a new lineup recruited by founding vocalist Tomas Stench, is a four-song EP named Tortura that will be released by Nuclear War Now! on December 15. On the final track, it features a guest appearance by Chris Reifert of Autopsy. It kicks all the asses.
After two albums in 2012 and 2103, Denver’s In the Company of Serpents have blessed this year with a new EP, set for release on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. It’s stupefyingly heavy and viciously catchy, and although its title is Merging Into Light, the merger seems to be happening in the last brief instant before the glimmer is extinguished and everything goes dark.
The music is tank-like in the roll of its mechanics, the guitar and bass chords so distorted and sludgy that it seems like an experiment in the most efficient means of sonic spinal compression, the drum strikes so powerful that they come down like a pile-driver on concrete. The effect is near-cataclysmic. But oh man, the groove is so dominant — these are neck-grabbing songs that will bend your head up and down to their will.
Anicon and Belus are two New York bands whose names I’ve been hearing for a while, but whose music I’ve begun exploring only recently. Together they produced a split this past June, which was co-released on 12″ vinyl by Fragile Branch (U.S.) and Dead Section Records (Denmark), with each band contributing two tracks. The songs of each band are also now available on their respective Bandcamp pages, with one bonus track (linked below) — and they’re all really impressive.
Anicon’s ranks include members of Trenchgrinder (vocalist/guitarist Owen Rundquist) and Krallice (drummer Lev Weinstein), as well as guitarist/vocalist Nolan Voss and bass player Alexander DeMaria (ex-Alrunes). They have two long songs on the vinyl split, “A Crown On Every Head” and “Blood and Stone”, and a third song (“Current of Ash and White”) comes as a bonus on the digital download.