At the risk of overloading our readers with new music in light of what we’ve already sent your way over the weekend and this morning (a risk that obviously means nothing to us), here’s a carefully curated collection of chaos to begin the new week. If death metal is your meat and potatoes, this will explode your gastrointestinal tract.
It didn’t take long for a new Ulcerate song to cause a flurry of comments within our internal NCS group. Not long after the title track to the band’s new album surfaced this morning, my colleagues uttered such exclamations and opinions as “tasty”, “oh shit”, “this is probably the cleanest and least reliant they’ve been on recorded-in-a-cave-next-door style mixing they’ve had yet”, “it’s DEFINITELY more melodic, and the production is warmer, but those are GOOD things”, and “it’s a natural progression from what they were doing on Shrines of Paralysis“.
Someone even wondered if “Stare Into Death and Be Still” would get the band accused of going “mainstream”. Within the stinking filthiness of the interhole some people will accuse other people of anything, but that accusation would be objectively unreasonable here.
The song is still discordant and bludgeoning, chilling and feverish, mind-warping and body-mangling. The drumming, as ever, pops the eyes wide open, while the maniacally roaring vocals and berserker fretwork mutilation is fearsome. The melodies that dart, slither, and spiral through the extravagant tempests of sound provide appealing though disturbing accents, as do the calamitous passages that channel utter desolation. By my lights, it’s a fantastic herald for the new album.
Stare Into Death and Be Still will be released by Debemur Morti Productions on April 24th.
Every time this Polish band have made a release I’ve mentally done a spectacular tumble, not just from the revival of excited memories about the last release, but because each time I realize that I’ve forgotten about them! So much time passes between their releases that memories seem to fade, but they come bursting back, like freshly furrowed ground suddenly rich with flourishing life again. You think those words are over the top? Just listen to this new song off Nomad’s forthcoming sixth album.
“In the Hearts of Progression” reveals the talents of Nomad’s main-man Seth, accompanied by his Behemoth band-mates Orion on bass and Inferno on drums. The notes that open the song ring like an incredibly vibrant clarion call, and the joinder of the equally vibrant (and mountainously heavy) bass notes is a beautiful experience. And then the song really kicks the adrenaline into high gear, creating a maelstrom of insectile, darting guitars, blazing drum munitions, and howling vocal lunacy.
The song is an intricate, instrumentally impressive extravaganza that’s full of electrifying twists and turns, but delivers full-bore ferocity along with all the technical acrobatics, and it’s a delightful surprise when the song changes near the end into a grand and gloomy march, lit from within by spectacular musical lights — and then transforms again into a jolting and incandescent finale. In a nutshell, it’s a tremendously exciting track that’s a vivid reminder of why Nomad‘s return is always such a welcome event.
Nomad’s new album, Transmogrification (Partus), will be released by Witching Hour Productions on March 27th. Once again, Nomad have turned to Michal “Xaay” Loranc for the cover art.
I enjoyed re-reading Allen Griffin‘s NCS review of Like Rats‘ last album in 2016. It included this passage: “II is an album that can hypnotize with its constant parade of head-nodding riffs. And the Death Metal credentials are never in question; never does anything come to close to Metalcore or Nu-Metal. Material like this is what tricked Hardcore fans into becoming metal heads back in the day in the first place.”
Now, four years later, we have Death Monolith, set for release on April 10th by Hibernation Release Records (with artwork by John Regan / Hand of Doom). I haven’t yet had time to check out the whole record, but just the two songs that have debuted so far have torn my fuckin’ head off — “World Devourer“, which premiered at Decibel, and “Foul Wind“, which premiered at Cvlt Nation. I think it’s worth pasting here the band comments that accompanied those two premieres:
“’World Devourer’ is one of the more cosmic horror-themed songs on the record,” vocalist Dan Polak explains of the track. “It has a lot of Kirby and Lovecraftian influence where a celestial being awakens from a catatonic state to feed off the life force of the universe that surrounds it, including habitable planets. There’s a galactic storm brewing that nothing can stop it and all one can do is admire the necessary emptiness it has wrought.”
“The riffs of ‘Foul Wind’ evoke the image of the Pazuzu demon from Morbid Angel’s video for ‘God of Emptiness’ – just wanting to be worshiped in all its misanthropic misery while the ones who provoked it bow in dismay as what they conjured was not what they had wanted. Life eternal in a world of suffering after conjuring what you thought would get you ahead in this world or others.”
As for the music itself, “World Devourer” lives up to the title, delivering absolutely explosive power and high-voltage energy from start to finish. The music clobbers, shrieks, sears, jackhammers, and howls like a mad beast. The grooves are bone-smashing, the deranged whirring riffs bore into the skull with penetrating force, and the guttural roars and inflamed screams sound authentically crazed.
“Foul Wind” is more morbid and dismal at first, though no less capable of fracturing your skull. As the riffing groans and moans, and slithers like a giant reptile, the rhythm section show no mercy — and finally the song transforms into a piranha-like feeding frenzy capped by a spectacularly freakish guitar solo before the band slow down again to drag your mutilated corpse into a stinking abyss.
Five long years since their last album Magnificent Death, Florida’s Hot Graves are returning with a new EP named Haunted Graves. I’ve relished their music for a very long time. One of my earlier efforts to describe their sound came in connection with a 2012 split release they did with Whitehorse:
“The music sounds like mad scientists mixed thrash, punk, and d-beat, cooked it in whatever makes metal black, and then spun it in a centrifuge at high speed until it exploded and spattered the walls with filth. It’s mainly fast, abrasively raw, and smokin’ hot. It’s the music of a demon moshpit at a dive bar in Hell.”
I thought the band might have been interred for good after that last album I mentioned, but thankfully they’ve revived, with founding members Myk Colby and Tim Hutchens now joined by vocalist Jamie Stewart (also of The Absence, Disevered, Party Time) and drummer John Mamo (Pyre (US), No Fraud, Party Time).
All the ingredients quoted above are still present and accounted for, and the results are just as head-wrecking and blood-pumping. The shrieking vocals on these four tracks are absolutely nuts, and the propulsive energy of the braying riffs, the pavement-cracking bass, and the turbo-charged drumming are wild as hell themselves. The band do down-shift the pacing and bring down the pestilential doom and gloom, as well as anvil-strength hammer blows, just to give a different idea of the kind of ruination they’re capable of inflicting, and there’s some weird and wondrous soloing to be found here as well. It’s all the finest kind of mayhem — just awesome!
Haunted Grave includes artwork by TomorrowGhost, and it will be released on February 28th by Redefining Darkness Records, who are also releasing a CD edition of Magnificent Death.
BOMBS OF HADES
Bombs Of Hades are another old favorite of mine, and they also have a new EP due for release as a taster before they record their next album. Interestingly, two of the four new tracks are covers of songs by Flower Travellin’ Band and Townes Van Zandt. We shall see what creative mastermind Jonas Stålhammar (At The Gates, The Lurking Fear, God Macabre) and his band mates have done with those tracks, but I sure as hell like what they’ve done on the original track “Phantom Bell“, which shares the title of the EP and debuted not long ago through a video.
The swirling riff at the outset of the song sets the hook damned fast, and the follow-on riff, which has a rapidly pulsating quality, digs in even deeper and deeper as it cycles through the absolutely boisterous and bombastic drum-and-bass work. Stålhammar‘s vocals are pleasingly rabid, as we knew they would be, and the song includes a fine woozy, wailing, and ultimately fret-burning solo that gives this hell-for-leather track a hint of psychedelia. And in addition to being a thrill-ride, the track is damned addictive too.
Phantom Bell is set to be released on April 17th by Black Lodge Records and Moondawn.
BOMBS OF HADES:
CHURCH OF DISGUST
Consumed by Slow Putrefaction is a bit of a misleading title for the new three-song EP by Church of Disgust from San Marcos, Texas. To be sure, the music is capable of becoming as filthy and gruesome as a vat of stewed pus, gangrenous limbs, and rotting viscera, but slow it usually is not.
Church of Disgust deliver plenty of rottenness in their whirring riffs, their shrill, queasy soloing, and their full-throated, monstrous bellows, and they do periodically slow down to amplify the macabre atmosphere they create — and to pound the bejesus out of the listener — but in the main, their music is a fast-galloping, highly groove-some, mega-voltage attack. Their instrumental skills are quite evident throughout, and their knack for cooking up hook-y (but diseased) riffs and skull-plundering grooves are worth a big round of applause. It’s a helluva great little EP that I send your way with enthusiastic recommendations.
Consumed by Slow Putrefaction will be released on February 28th by Maggot Stomp Records.
To wrap up this gigantic round-up I commend to your ears Supreme Metaphysical Violence, the second EP by a doom/death trio from Los Angeles named Holy Death. Released on February 21st, it includes five tracks.
The uber-grisly depradations of the opener “Supreme Violence” are based upon absolutely toxic, abyssal-deep string distortions and the kind of bass-drum tones you can feel in your spleen. The music heaves and groans, hammers and harrows, achieving levels of crushing heaviness and grotesque atmosphere that are capable of leaving average humans cowering in a corner. Meanwhile, the guitar leads that pierce through these massive onslaughts are manifestations of viral infection and the misery of lingering death, and the vocals are absolutely horrifying.
On the other hand, wait until you melt into the slow, ringing guitar harmony that forms “Empty Grave“. It’s so sad and soulful that it might put a lump in your throat. It’s also an astute place to put an interlude, because two of the next three tracks are as mercilessly crushing and as frighteningly desolate as the opener, though “Pound ov Flesh” itself includes a mesmerizing instrumental conclusion that recalls the sorrowful melodic panache of “Empty Grave” (and there’s a great bass solo at the outset of “I Can See the Pale Horse”). The third one, “Nothingness”, is another instrumental, one that’s haunting yet beguiling.
All in all, a skillfully crafted descent into lightless pits of doom and despair.
The gruesome cover art for the EP was crafted by CVSPE. As on many other occasions, I have Rennie from starkweather to thank for this discovery.