Sep 182021


Well, as you can see, despite injuring myself with an excess of alcohol last night I did manage to make it to the end of my alphabet. To do that, I cut away some (but certainly not all) of the black metal I had planned to include (not just here, but in the preceding segment), because I know I will have SHADES OF BLACK tomorrow.


It’s been a long time since we had a new release by this California death metal band. I discovered them by witnessing their fantastic set at the 2016 edition of Famine Fest in Portland, and the year after that they released their second album Remnants…. That same year they participated in a live split recording with Coffins, Skeletal Remains, and Carnation, but there’s been nothing else since then. Finally, we’re going to get a new Rude EP, and a track off of it, which premiered at Grizzly Butts, is the first item in this collection.

The song’s unearthly opening is in accord with the sci-fi theme of the cover art, and what follows is a menacing and morbid stomp — which in turn leads into flurries of darting and demented riffage, clobbering drumwork, gut-slugging bass, and hostile howls. Rude turn up the heat as the song moves, and then reduce the burner, making the music more dismal, but still twisted. Eventually, all hell breaks loose in a maniacal frenzy, and the guitar solo which spurts from the music the next time the band slow down is truly crazed and mind-mauling

The Outer Reaches EP is set for a tape release on September 24th by Dawnbreed Records and Headsplit Records. CD and vinyl editions are planned for release later this year by Dawnbreed and Caligari Records.



THE TEMPLE (New Zealand)

Speaking of mind-mauling, what comes next is indeed that — a sprawling typhoon of wild, dissonant riffing, bludgeoning and battering drumwork, and cauterizing howls. The pacing changes without warning, which adds to the song’s unnerving impact; the guitars scream in agony; and the heavyweight pounding is absolutely merciless. It’s a deranged experience, but weirdly, many of the sanity-mutilating motifs turn out to be catchy.

The song is well-named — “Hell Incarnate“. It comes from this New Zealand band’s self-titled debut album, which will be released on November 19th by Profound Lore.




Like Rude, Thulcandra have let many years pass without presenting new music. It’s been six years since their last album and five years since a release of any kind. In the interim, Steffen Kummerer has continued to make his mark within the line-up of Obscura, but at last Thulcandra are returning with a new full-length, and that’s the source of the next song I’ve chosen for you, accompanied by an official video.

Funeral Pyre” slowly builds in energy as the band simultaneously put the track’s seductive opening melody through a variety of twists and turns. They move into the red zone of blasting and blazing intensity, creating storms of fire and ice, but also relent, making the music feel more melancholy and stricken. In all their variations, the melodies are powerfully evocative and damned memorable.

Man, it’s good to have Thulcandra back, and in such good form. The new album, A Dying Wish, will be released by Napalm Records on October 29th.




No Sign of Life is the forthcoming 14th album by these long-lived Vikings, and “The King Lost His Crown” is its first single, presented through a video a few days ago. The song is a hard-charging thrasher, both murderously hostile and maniacally frenzied, and it eventually becomes kind of imperious and kind of otherworldly as well, just as it reaches a fret-melter of a solo. Johnny Hedlund‘s ferocious snarls do make it sound like he wants your throat between his teeth.

The album will be released on November 12th by the same Napalm Records that’s bringing us the new Thulcandra full-length.




Because of my alphabetical approach in these gigantic roundups, Untamed Land again comes last, but I hope they won’t be overlooked as a result (in case you missed the last time I slung a bunch of praise their way, you can find that here).

I use a plural pronoun, but Untamed Land is the work of a single individual, Patrick Kern from Akron, Ohio. On this newest song from his hard-to-describe debut album Like Creatures Seeking Their Own Forms (the title is a phrase from Cormac McCarthy‘s novel Blood Meridian), he first uses as piano to weave the main melody, surrounding it with booming militaristic drums, a dark cloud of scathing riffs, dolorous but sweeping synths, and wild ferocious snarls.

The music has a grim and grievous countenance, but Kern steps away from that to present what has become something of the band’s distinguishing hallmark — a piece of music (this time an acoustic guitar and banjo duet) that rings like part of a Western movie soundtrack. When all the instrumentation returns, the bass is prominent, and a different kind of keyboard rings in a different kind of way. The music seems even more sad, but also even more epic.

The song jolts and throbs with a vibrant pulse, and the glimmering tremolo’d leads and darting piano tones begin to seem defiant. It shines and soars like a sunrise… and the Western twang returns again at the end.

As it happens, the album is another release from Napalm Records, coming on October 8th. I encourage you to go to YouTube to read the song’s lyrics — they’re very good.


  1. Had the pleasure of going through the entire roundup today! An incredible ratio of bangers. The Breathing Process was a real stand out to me.

    That Angolan band you featured recently, Porta Magna, just released their second song which I would say is as good as the first. Very promising group!

    • Glad you did this! I bet you’re in a small group of folks who actually made it through everything. It would have been even bigger had I found that new Porta Magna in time!

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