(In this post TheMadIsraeli does some catching up, with three reviews of 2015 death metal albums.)
About my absence from NCS: I promise you all, it’s not that I haven’t been listening to music; life has just been rather chaotic. I’ve got a triple review here — one established band you already know are going to be good, and two under-the-surface death metal records I’ve been listening to on and off for a couple of months that I think are definitely worth your time. All three of these albums also have distinctly different sounds.
Bone Gnawer – Cannibal Crematorium
Bone Gnawer has some weight behind its name. With only two full-lengths since 2009, one back then and the one I’m going to talk about now, and mostly EPs to their name, I think these guys deserve to be looked at. I’ve not visited any of the band’s previous material (which included Rogga Johansson in the lineup), I’m only familiar with Cannibal Crematorium, but it’s pretty fucking good.
If this album is any indication, Bone Gnawer is a beefy D-beat meat-grinder that spews a constant wave of congealed organs back at you. The band consists of Kam Lee on vocals (ex-Death and ex-Massacre), Ronnie Björnström on guitar (most notably ex-Aeon), and Morgan Lie on drums (most notably ex-Naglfar). It’s American Carnage with Swedish heft and precision. Definitely worth a look. Driving red-meat riffs, pulverizing grooves, and overwhelmingly bestial vocals in the style of old school Deicide, definitely a stand-out under-the-radar death metal album.
Grave – Out Of Respect For the Dead
Despite the looming presence of the likes of Dismember or Entombed when discussing old-school buzzsaw-guitar Swedish death metal, no one quite personifies the grime, bleakness, and intensity of the style better than Grave. The band have been on a REALLY solid streak with the last four albums, and Out Of Respect For the Dead proves to be no exception.
Boasting an even grimier production than even their own norm that’s also rough around the edges, this album is looser and has a very unhinged feel. The melancholy melodies, the fist-pumping barbarian grooves, and the frantic speed that’s the Grave trademark blender are all in full force here, with a distinctly gritty energy. I think it’s the old age (relatively speaking of course). For some death metal bands, growing older just seems to facilitate the rot and decay of our own selves to settle in and permeate the music.
Maybe Grave’s best release, this feels very akin to their first three albums with the more epic compositional style of their recent material. There’s even some Celtic Frost/Triptykon-esque touches of gloom here and there.
Crypt Infection – Disentanglement
Crypt Infection hits a sweet spot between the putrid technical excess and vocal vomit of Dying Fetus and the melodic tendencies and songwriting of Suffocation. Considering they’re hitting the checkboxes of two of my favorite death metal bands of all time, Disentanglement is right up my alley. Compared to the other two records, I don’t have much to say about this one — except literally imagine a mix of Dying Fetus and Suffocation. If such a thing appeals to you, as it does me, I recommend checking this out. Some really, really impressive riffage on here for any fellow guitarists who frequent NCS.