We had a busy day at the site yesterday, and I thought I wouldn’t have time to explore new music. But my wife decided to strand me at home last night while she went out and whooped it up with some friends of hers, and so what was I to do? I damn sure wasn’t going to venture into the loris compound by myself; my wife’s good with a knife and she usually has my back, but without her I’m not getting close to those devious fuckers. So instead I decided leave the loris ninjas to their own devices, hunker down at the computer, and drown myself in new metal. Here is a collection of new stuff from four bands that helped me pleasantly pass the time.
Let’s first have a round of applause for Juanjo Castellano, because goddamn, is his cover art for the new EP by Avulsed the absolute shit, or what?
photo by Veronica Splattercontainergirl
The EP is named Altar of Disembowelment and it includes five songs, one of which is a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Neon Knights” (which I can’t wait to hear). It’s due for release on September 9 (shit, that’s a long way off, isn’t it?) by Xtreem Music, the label operated by Avulsed frontman Dave Rotten. A 10″ vinyl version will be released by the Greek label Screaming Victims Distro. And yesterday, in addition to the unveiling of the album art and the disclosure of these release details, we got the first single from the EP, a monster named “To Sacrifice and Devour”.
There’s so much to like about this song, if you’re a fan of death metal: That completely morbid chainsaw guitar tone; those abysmal, cavernous roars and hair-raising howls; the absolutely massive riff thuggery; the delicious melodic guitar leads (which plant the song firmly in your head, if all the brute-force chugging weren’t enough); the gut-rumbling bass line; the steamrolling drum attack. It’s a doomy, decimating song that’s heavier than granite but electrifying at the same time — and tremendously infectious.
Speaking of excellent death metal bands with a new EP blessed by awesome cover art by Juanjo Castellano, I give you the latest release by Japan’s Coffins.
Their new EP is named Craving To Eternal Slumber and it’s scheduled for release on CD and LP (with bonus tracks) on September 7 by the Dutch label Hammerheart Records. And yes, that’s a long way off, but fortunately Hammerheart has made the EP available for digital download right now via Bandcamp, where it’s also streaming.
I’ve been a fan of Coffins for a while, but became rabid about them after witnessing their performance at Maryland Deathfest in 2014, and this new EP makes for a superb addition to an already stellar discography. It’s ridiculously headbangable from the very first minute of the very first song, “Hatred Storm”. It piles grisly riff on top of riff, all of them massive and grinding and addictive. It shifts gears with expert timing, moving from pavement-splitting chugfests to crusty punk romps to utterly ghastly doom/death staggering. The guitar solos will make you want to lift those invisible oranges aloft (or quake in fear), and the vocals are the kind of uber-deep growls that bespeak a complete absence of mercy.
And on top of all these fine qualities, the band also infiltrate their beatdowns with insidious little melodies that come back to mind at the oddest times, long after the EP has run its course.
This is already one of my favorite short releases of 2015, by a band so high up in the pantheon of current old-school death-metal practitioners that the air is so thin it leaves you gasping. Every song is a gem, but it will be tough for any death metal band this year to top the title track for completely relentless crushing-ness.
About two weeks ago I came across (and wrote about) a new single from The Cleansing, the forthcoming second album by Claret Ash from Canberra, Australia. Yesterday the band released a second song from the album, this one named “The Sombre Fields” — and it’s just as good as that first track.
The music is a rumbling, rolling phalanx of vibrating riffs and munitions-grade percussion, but in addition to being a galvanizing ride, the song is also blessed with moving waves of dark, memorable melody. It’s a bleak and blasted trip, befitting the song’s title, but it has staying power — and the vocals are completely unhinged, so thoroughly off the chain that you wonder whether the recording session ended in a trip to the emergency room. Really excellent melodic black metal, and further proof that this new album will be worth exploring in depth.
The Cleansing will be released on July 8 and it’s available for pre-order on Bandcamp.
Cetus are a new discovery for me, despite the fact that this band from Lansdale, PA, have been around since 2004, when they released their debut EP. They’ve got a new album named The Remnant Mass that will be released this summer by Dullest Records, and two songs from the album are now up on Bandcamp for streaming — “Jackal In Stasis” and “Excelsior!”.
Both songs are anchored by heavy, pile-driving riffs, deep, thrumming bass notes, and knee-capping drumwork. But as rock-solid and unstoppable as the low end is, the rest of the music seems on the verge of escaping gravity at any minute. The tempos are in constant flux and the guitar leads are completely unpredictable — swirling and darting like birds in flight or a school of fish fleeing some enormous predator. The vocals are raw, abraded, and furious — they make for an effective contrast with the machine-tight precision of the instrumental performers.
Just two songs in, and this is an impressive hybrid of hardcore, sludge, and “mathy” tech metal. Looking forward to hearing the rest of this album.