Islander

Oct 232021
 

 

We’re on “bomb cyclone” watch here in the Puget Sound area of Washington. High winds and lots of rain are expected through the weekend, though official forecasters aren’t positive how intense it’s going to be. The power at our house is likely to go out, but I’m mainly wondering about why no metal band has yet picked Bomb Cyclone as a name (a search for it on Metal Archives yields zero results).

Now that I’ve updated you on freaky local weather conditions, let’s get to the music. Today I mostly focused on bands I consider old favorites, but explored a couple of new names (at least new to me) as well, and I’m throwing a curveball at the end.

MAZE OF TERROR (Peru)

I’ve wished for a long time that the day will come when I can catch Maze of Terror in a live show. I’m not holding my breath, because they’re in Lima, Peru, and I’m 4,969 miles away from there, as the crow flies. But we can dream, can’t we? Now my dreams are even more ardent, having seen their new video for the song “Starbeast” off their latest album. Continue reading »

Oct 222021
 

We’ve had the thrill of premiering the music of Cleveland’s Curse of Denial on previous occasions, helping to spread the word about the band’s 2017 debut album The 13th Sign (which included appearances from underground Cleveland mainstays such as Nunslaughter, Embalmer, Decrepit, From the Depths, Ringworm, and Keelhaul) as well as their 2019 full-length follow-up, Coming For Your Soul. And thus we jumped at the chance to do it again today.

This time the music comes from a new EP named The Reckoning, which is set for a November 12 release by Redefining Darkness Records.

If this happens to be your first encounter with Curse of Denial, its line-up is made from veteran talent consisting of powerhouse vocalist Rob Molzan (ex-Decrepit and From the Depths), plus three musicians who shared time in the instrumental metal band Pawns In Chess, two of whom were also members of Descend — bassist Michael Perez, drummer Shawn Hapney, and guitarist Jeremy McLellon. Continue reading »

Oct 222021
 

Adam Burke‘s fascinating symbolic cover art for Abscession’s new album Rot of Ages stuck in the heads of most people who saw it (certainly including me) before any of the music had been revealed. It turns out that the songs get stuck in the head too, like needles in a pin cushion.

Abscession’s music punches damned hard and grinds bones, deploying in expert fashion many of the traditional weapons of old-school Swedish death metal to create a potent visceral impact. The music is undeniably ferocious, but what makes it stand out from a lot of similarly inclined revivalist bands is the incorporation of evocative melodies, which really make the songs songs, each with its own character. And they really do irresistibly get stuck in the head.

Dead Man’s Hate“, the song we’re premiering today in advance of the November 19 album release by Transcending Obscurity Records is a great example of these qualities. Continue reading »

Oct 222021
 

 

(In late September Prosthetic Records released the second album by the UK band Cognizance, and better late than never we hope, DGR gives it the following very enthusiastic review.)

Upheaval, the newest album by tech-death group Cognizance, looks pretty standard if you go by tale-of-the-tape measurements for a disc, at ten songs and a little over thirty-three minutes. But one of the things that stands out with Upheaval – once you get past the eye-popping artwork – is that this is an album that fucking moves.

It may sound like a joke at first, but Cognizance waste absolutely no time with this one. The band find their groove early and stick to it for a half hour, and often you don’t even notice the time going by until the opening drum hit of “Hymns” reminds you that you’re back at song one.

Cognizance are brutally efficient with their time on Upheaval and it quickly lands the band in the ‘rolling landslide of riffs’ category of albums. You throw the thing on, it just bowls you over, and then the process starts anew. Which can sound wild at first, because it gives the impression that Upheaval kind of blasts by you without a second thought, but then you start breaking it down into individual songs and you realize that because the bar is set so high, so early on, that what is happening here is that Cognizance became ruthless in making hammering tech-death tracks in the interim. Continue reading »

Oct 212021
 

 

I wrote yesterday that there would be a Part 2 of this mid-week roundup. I wrote that to keep pressure on myself to follow through. Self-pressure doesn’t always work, but it did this time.

Just like the music in yesterday’s installment was geared to keep you on your toes as you move through it, or set you back on your heels, I think this collection will do the same. It consists of three EPs and then a couple of songs from a forthcoming album.

BLATTARIA (U.S.)

This makes the third time I’ve raved about this solo project of Oklahoma City musician Manuel Garcia, having done so in considering both the 2019 album Life Is A Disease and the self-titled 2017 debut. What makes it even easier to continue raving in the case of Blattaria’s new EP They Seek Power is the realization that Blattaria just keeps moving from strength to greater strength. Continue reading »

Oct 212021
 

 

The French funeral doom band Funeralium named their 2004 debut demo Ultra Sick Doom, and the name has stuck as a shorthand for their music. But what does it mean? As portrayed in their formidable fourth album Decrepit, it’s music that plumbs the depths of human illness — not so much the magnitude of the diseases that afflict the human body (though as you’ll see, this plays a role) but the deep-seated flaws in humankind which cause us to relentlessly ruin the Earth, our only home.

More precisely, we’re told that the concept of Decrepit was born in 2019 from the conviction that mankind was working tirelessly toward its own demise, diligently destroying its own habitat and the habitat of all other species — only to have these convictions reaffirmed during the first year of the pandemic, a year that seemed to cement the certainty of these convictions, and a likely forerunner of even worse times to come.

And so it was during the pandemic that Funeralium went back to studios in scattered locations to record the four imposing songs that make up Decrepit, creating devastating music on a scale (and with a sound) that matches the magnitude and nuances of the self-destructive human sickness that inspired it. Continue reading »

Oct 202021
 


Obscura and their rides…

 

I picked songs for six bands for this hump-day roundup, and all of them come with videos. I expect moving through this will keep you on your toes, or rock you back on your heels, because the tracks move in unpredictable ways from one to the next. I got thrills of different kinds out of all of them, and hope you will too.

As the post title suggests, I have an idea for a second round-up, which includes some recently released EPs. I haven’t started writing it yet, so I’m unsure whether I’ll have time to finish it for posting today, but if not, you’ll see it first thing tomorrow.

OBSCURA (Germany)

This latest track premiere from Obscura’s new album, which is delivered through a performance video, got my motor running in a big damned hurry. “When Stars Collide” is a turbocharged thrill-ride with glorious bursts of singing by Soilwork’s Björn Strid, the kind of song geared to set arenas on fire with its pyrotechnical fretwork and blistering drum attack, and the dual-guitar soloing is a big ear-worm too. Continue reading »

Oct 202021
 

What’s in a name?

In the case of extreme metal bands, there has been a long tradition of names that invoke evil, violence, dark fantasy and mysticism, horror, nihilism, and of course death itself in all of its guises. The impact of such names as Slayer, Emperor, Immortal, Immolation, Suffocation, Darkthrone, Hellhammer, Entombed, Mayhem, Bloodbath, and of course Death (to pick just a few) has been long-lasting.

Of course, the tradition hasn’t been rigidly honored — for example, remember the “verb-the-name” formula that dominated at the height of deathcore? — but naming rites to this day still tend to signify something about musical inspirations, many of them continuing to reflect the transgressive nature of the music in serious and shuddering words.

Which brings us to SexMag. So what’s in a name? In the case of this band and their debut EP Sex Metal, more than you might guess. Continue reading »

Oct 202021
 

 

(This is DGR‘s review of the new album by The Breathing Process, which was released on October 8th by Unique Leader.)

Sometimes a song can define a whole album for you. Samsara, the previous release by the genre maelstrom of deathcore, symphonic death, and black metal that is The Breathing Process, definitely had one of those songs. An eight-year gap between albums saw a group with a ton of material available to them, and Samara was one of those albums where every song was different, but if you’ve lurked around these hallowed halls long enough you’ve probably heard me banging the drum about the song “The Nothing” enough times to consider calling the cops and filing a noise complaint.

It was a massive song that was equal parts dynamic and cinematic and it was something that I had hoped The Breathing Process would take cues from in the future. Well, like all good turn-of-the-millennium TV commercials about the internet, “The Future Is Now”. October 8th saw the release of the band’s newest album, Labyrinthian, arriving only three years after Samsara and with a new vocalist in tow. Armed with over fifty minutes of music on their latest release, The Breathing Process have an album that is singularly focused on one objective, in comparison to its predecessor. After a handful of listens the one thing the band really seem to have settled on is sounding massive. Continue reading »

Oct 192021
 

 

The Australian band Tyrannic have already established themselves as a weird and wild force to be reckoned with, harnessing together elements of classic doom and savage black metal, but not really beholden to any genre constraints in their haunting and harrowing explorations of Death and what lies beyond. Yet what they’ve achieved on their forthcoming second album Mortuus Decadence is nevertheless a fierce and frightening leap forward from what they’ve done before.

As absolutely vivid proof of this, we present today the premiere of “Singe of Orgiastic Waste“, a song whose name may be confounding before you listen to it, but then begins to make horrifying sense as it spills its demon seed. In a nutshell, the track is a startling collage of calamity, a changing rendition of downfall, degradation, and derangement. Continue reading »