SEEN AND HEARD (PART 1): ACERUS, MONOLITH, EMBALMER
I’m making an effort to catch you up on all the new music I discovered last week that I’d like to recommend. I was able to post one round-up on Saturday but couldn’t get one finished for yesterday, so the plan is to post two today, this being the first installment.
In a recent edition of our weekly Rearview Mirror series I featured some music from the long-running death metal band The Chasm, a group that came together in Mexico City and now makes their home in Chicago. I mentioned in that feature that The Chasm’s main man Daniel Corchado has a side project called Acerus, and Acerus released a new full-length on January 15 entitled The Clock of Mortality. If you know anything about The Chasm, I doubt I have to sell you on this new Acerus release. But in case this is all new to you, I’ll say this:
The Clock of Mortality weaves a rich tapestry, incorporating strands of beautiful melody, galvanizing thrash riffs, galloping rhythms, and power-metal-styled soloing, along with vocals that straddle the line between harsh and clean. Acerus often reach for the “epic” in their approach to classic heavy metal, and often succeed. It’s heart-swelling, headbanging music with mature songwriting and top-shelf guitar performances throughout.
Monolith is a prolific creative force from Cortland, New York, composed of Colin Wilson and Jason Eldridge. Over the last 12 months they’ve produced 12 releases. If you trust the classification scheme of Metal Archives, eight of those were full-length albums, and the other four were EPs. That’s a truly… monolithic… amount of music.
I wish I could tell you that I’ve heard all of these releases, so that in turn I could guide your way through the mountain of music under Monolith’s name. But in truth all I’ve heard is the most recent release, Primordial, which the band discharged on January 15.
Primordial is itself a mountain of music, with none of its nine tracks shorter than 10 minutes. There are certain common ingredients in the largely mid-paced, doomy songs — staggering bass and drum rhythms; thick, fuzzy riffs that slither like giant pythons and stomp like the brontosaurs of old; and a wide array of lead guitar performances that range from seductive post-metal chiming to unhinged bouts of narcotic-induced psychosis. But there are no vocals.
The band anchor the songs with repeating riffs, thundering beats, and stone-crushing bass notes, and then use those foundations as launching pads for variations on the themes. You may find yourself sinking down into the music’s… primordial… depths, as I did — alternately rocking out or falling into a hallucinatory trance. If you want to sample something before diving all the way in, I’d suggest “DDT” or “Razor’s Edge”.
When I see a name like Embalmer, I’m inclined to guess it’s an old band, because surely a classic one-word metal name like that would have been grabbed long ago. And in this case, that was a good guess. Metal-Archives tells us that the band started in Cleveland in 1989 under the name Corpse Grinder, morphing into Embalmer by the time of their first demo release in 1991. More short releases followed up through 1998, and then there appears to have been an eight-year hiatus preceding the band’s debut album 13 Faces of Death.
Though M-A lists a scattering of other short releases since then, a decade has passed since that debut album, but now Hells Headbangers has set April Fool’s Day as the release date for the band’s second full-length, Emanations From the Crypt. But from what I’ve heard of the album so far, it’s no joke.
Last week, HH put the new album’s title track on Bandcamp, and it packs a wallop. It starts with a thoroughly morbid introduction (which also introduces the foul grotesquery of the vocals — though they get even nastier as the song proceeds), and then the band erupt in a blast of sulphurous ferocity, eventually returning to a reprise of the song’s staggering start, highlighted by a demonically demented guitar solo. Want more!
P.S. Plans are also in the works for HH to re-release Embalmer’s Into the Oven (1991) and Taxidermist (1992) demos on gatefold double- or triple-LP, with a bunch of bonus materials unearthed from the crypt.
I’m drooling over the Embalmed track, it’s fantastic! \m/
That Embalmer track is Naaaasssstttyyyy! Hails & Horns \M/\M/
Fuck yeah that Embalmer track was balls deep in my ears,what a ripper!!