In rooting around among new releases over the past week I got myself into some pretty nasty and gnarly music. Because it’s my habit to impulsively share whatever I happen to be into, I’m sharing some of that with you here. But it’s not just the nastiness that hooked me to these releases. As I hope you’ll agree, the following two albums (and one EP) have other qualities that make them noteworthy.
Fair warning: on the spectrum of black/death metal, most of these lean more in the direction of death. Further fair warning: I haven’t had time to write thorough reviews, just some very broad and possibly superficial impressions, just a come-on for you to do your own listening.
SAVAGE NECROMANCY (U.S.)
The vocalist of this Arizona band has a great pseudonym — Diabolical Fuckwitch Of The Black Flame — and she also has a helluva voice. She opens the band’s debut album Feathers Fall To Flames with a gripping performance in the opening track “Milenio De La Crucifixión”. There she voices a fervent melodic chant in Spanish, though later in the album she also growls like a subterranean hell beast and howls like a rabid wolf.
The music in that first track changes in gripping fashion, eerie and ominous at first, then imperialistically brutal (but still unearthly, thanks to ringing bells), and then barbarically scathing. It’s your first clue that the band have a fiendish talent for cooking up bracing riffs and dynamic movements, a talent that becomes ever more apparent as the album proceeds.
From the rude and crude stage names and song titles to the Archgoat-like primitivism of the music, the album is certifiably blasphemous and brutal. On the other hand, the band also prove themselves capable of kicking things into vicious black-thrashing gear (augmented by spitfire solos) to let cruel mayhem reign.
Whether they’re stalking and stomping or going hell-for-leather, they also pack the songs with diabolical guitar hooks, plundering drumwork, and lots of nasty instrumental and vocal accents.
Yeah, this album’s really nasty — in a very good way.
Feathers Fall To Flames was first released last August by Impure Records, but is now getting a broader release on multiple formats by 20 Buck Spin.
ABOLITION RITUAL (Italy)
Foul horrors abound in Cosmonemesis, the debut album of Abolition Ritual. The music stews together sewer-dwelling death metal, psychotic black metal, and skull-scouring noise.
Diseased and dismal melodies slither in distorted and wailing tones across gravel-chewing bass lines, gut-punching kick-drums, and skull-splintering snare cracks. Horrifying roars and tortured screams echo from dank cavern walls. Judicious use of synths makes everything even more supernatural.
The songs are horrifying and hallucinatory, heaving and harrowing, pernicious and poisonous, imperious and implacably evil. But the high whining and ringing leads, the bone-gnawing riffs, and the cranium-rattling drumwork turn out to be perversely infectious too.
It’s all deleterious to your mental health, and you wouldn’t want to listen to it before sleeping unless you hunger for nightmares, but man, it sure leaves a lasting impression.
If you want to just test the album, I’d recommend the soul-shaking, spine-tingling calamity of “Chapter II – A Wide World of Solid Obstruction” or the hellishly psychedelic closer, “Chapter Final, Not Final – The Dark Changes And Bound Every Change With Rivets Of Iron And Brass”.
Cosmonemesis is set for release in April by the Italian label Extreme Chaos but it’s streaming and available for order on Bandcamp now.
Sadly, I really am running out of time, so I’ll have to make this final write-up short but hopefully sweet.
This Portuguese band’s debut EP, Explosions, was first released near the very end of last year on CD by Blood Harvest. I failed to make time for it then, but got a reminder when Caverna Abismal Records, Blood Harvest, and Miasma of Barbarity announced the release of a vinyl edition on May 27th of this year.
Over the span of five tracks (which includes a haunting instrumental at the end) Phenocryst switch between episodes of savage madness and passages of blood-congealing bleakness. They move from hammering gallops to lurching stomps, and between cruel, severely corrosive tremolo’d chord progressions and riffs that moan in misery. Along the way they throw in gripping (and relatively clean) melodic leads with dark, dire, and sorcerous sounds. There’s a big beefy bass in the mix as well, plus blaring roars that descend into noxious regurgitations and escalate to demented screams.
All the songs are great, but I’d suggest “Craters” as a taste-test.
Having now heard this EP, I’m happy to read that Phenocryst are at work on a debut album.