May 142020


(Our friend Vonlughlio returns with this review and recommendation of the new album by the death metal band Unmerciful from Topeka, Kansas. The album is out now via Willowtip Records.)

This time around I have the great opportunity to write about Unmerciful’s third album Wrath Encompassed, released via Willowtip Records on April 28th.  This band from Topeka are well known in the BDM scene due to their 2006 debut album Unmercifully Beaten, which is considered a timeless classic in the genre.

As with many projects, Unmerciful suffered a long time through the hazards of time and life with no new music and lineup changes, until their 2016 sophomore effort Ravenous Impulse saw the light of day.  When it was released I must be honest and say that I had mixed feelings about it. Musically it was good, and yet somewhat different from their debut. In particular, the vocals did not go well with me, not that they were bad, but just did not click with me.  The drums were handled by Origin’s John Longstreth (keep in mind that Origin was also formed in Topeka), through a relationship with some of the members from Unmerciful who used to play in the band in the early years. Continue reading »

Mar 292020


At last, I’ve called a halt to my effort to pump so much new music into your ears that your brain drowns in it (though I still have plans for a SHADES OF BLACK column later today, so I guess I’m only pausing rather than stopping). Picking up from Part 2, the alphabetical ordering of bands continues here, R through V.


We begin with four tracks of roaring, howling, mind-warping death/grind courtesy of these North Carolina marauders. Veering between gargantuan roars and shattering screams, the vocals are truly ferocious; there’s a mountainous bass presence; and the riffing shifts from utterly crazed to sickeningly dismal and apocalyptically calamitous. The band inflict truly brutish, skull-flattening punishment; sometimes the distorted fretwork sounds like a giant excavation machine at work in a quarry; and they are equally adept at igniting conflagrations of ravaging chaos. Explosive and electrifying…. Continue reading »