Writhing Mass - Human Capital


You say Assück, I say sign me up. A seasoned crew of veterans invoke the name of the most holy Ass, and deliver delightful death-grind goodness. Blunt force riffs reflect all of grind's chromatic demons, and a meaty-thick guitar tone wipes the floor with your entrails. Atonal bile is dispensed in slithering bursts and terse blasts. Gurgle and howl, churn and hurl; don't swallow your tongue. We all need a little beating sometimes.
 

Obscura - Akroasis


A tremendous album. A skillful sidestep of the immutable tech-death template. Strong whiffs of Death and Cynic whipped to admirably stiff peaks. Less interstellar circus, less fucks given. Equal measures creativity, subtlety, and heaviness that feel timeless. Warmer, more introspect, more sprawling. Leads and solos that beg for hyperbolic adjectives and your best air guitar. Their finest hour, methinks.
 

Out on February 5th via Relapse.

Xantam - LifeDeathBeyond


Articulate, raging death that rubs sandpaper on a longstanding God Dethroned itch.  Possessed of majestic panache, sporting riffs that rate on the Dissection spectrum. Gut-gurgling vocals, explosive drumming, and a meaty-raw sonic oeuvre make for a compelling spin.  Keep these Eye Tyrants on your radar.

Gygax - Critical Hits


Unabashed heaviness of the auld school, executed with charismatic aplomb. This is how I want my straight-up heavy metal served, but modern purveyors consistently disappoint. Gygax roll a natural 20, threading the needle of impossibly compelling mojo. More Thin Lizzy than Maiden, more rocking’ than a sack of Deep Purple socks. Vocals more earnest than Mike Scalzi, less operatic than Russel Allen, somehow perfect. Righteous riffs, songwriting, fucking Dungeons & Dragons. What is best in life?




Out January 22nd via Creator-Destructor Records.

Forndom - Dauðra Dura


A slow unfurling of ancient sounds and ritualistic atavism; a singular sonic experience. Scandinavian chant borne on on pulsing rhythms and haunting melody. Assorted primitive instruments accompany the listener towards inevitable death. Not metal, per se, but entirely enthralling and addictive. A balm for blasted ears and pagan tears.



Out January 29th through Nordvis.

Lost Writings 2015


Writings & contributions that never made their way to this site:

A Devil's Dozen - Iron Maiden, Volume 2


A Devil's Dozen - Bolt Thrower



Last Rites MDF Fantasy Draft



A Devil's Dozen - Immolation


Transmissions from the Tree of Woe, Volume 1


Kult Mogił - Anxiety Never Descending


Delightfully not-quite-right death. Off-kilter explorations of anxiety and discord, made coherent by dedication to the wicked riff. Blessed by space, where doomed, festering concepts can flourish, then decay. Melody is used and abused amidst movements most twisted. Bestial vocal vehemence seals the deal. More Lantern than Portal, more Dead Congregation than Demigod, fully worthy of attention.

Necrosemen - Vglns


Single-minded savagery.  Beastly death-drone minus the murk. Charismatic, guttural ravings rife with murderous intent. Dense, hyperblasting epiphanies writ in guitar tones most meaty.

15 Favorite Albums of 2015

15. Beaten to Death - Unplugged

Spastic, sarcastic grind of the finest kind. Eccentric guitar tones, live vibe, random for-reals melody. Album the third is worthy.




14. Maruta - Remain Distopian

Diseased grind of the mechanized mind. Pugilistic anti-grooves, rogue waves of riff-carnage, crashing sheets of lead rain. Utterly unpredictable, perfectly mesmerizing.




13. Captain Cleanoff - Rising Terror

Grooved, wriggling slabs. Blasts at my frequency; the crunch I crave. Pointillist precision and cohesion. All the speeds, dirty deeds.




12. Lychgate - An Antidote for the Glass Pill

Grotesque, organ-driven decompositions. Bombastic, post-apocalyptic blackened prog, as if the lamb laid down on Broadway and died. Fascinating intricacies and virtuosic cathedral crushing.




11. Hooded Menace - Darkness Drips Forth

Another funeral with the riffs served up raw and screaming. Doomed horror most excellent, sinister melodies for sustenance. Grooves carved with an axe, dirges penned with panache.




10. Horrendous - Anareta

Evolution complete; a beast has been born before our very eyes. Beyond SweDeath towards a singular, spectacular vision. Sweet riffs dominate fluid dynamics; these guys make it look too easy. All the goddamned leads.




9. Cloud Rat - Qliphoth

Cross section of impossible rage, impossible hope. Blinding perspective, putrescent reality. Hyper-focused glimpses of beauty amidst the inexorable. Shifts from grinding chromaticism to gripping melody, subtle and sublime.




8. Obsequiae - Aria Of Vernal Tombs

Baroque beauty forged from soaring death-black melody. Streams of interweaving narrative crafted with impossible attention to detail. Medieval instrumentation tells tales of unremembered grandeur. A searing balm.




7. Heaving Earth - Denouncing the Holy Throne

Intricate, staccato death of the Immolative sort. Distinctive, devastating, memorable paroxysms. Riles the blood, begs for banging.
Original review here.




6. Bosse-de-Nage - All Fours

Leviathan articulations of derangement. Noise refracted though a lens of tremolated melody and utterly unhinged animosity. Percussive brilliance holding together unbridled chaos. Soothe your paranoia with apocalyptic cacophony.




5. Crom Dubh - Heimweh

Black metal most viciously triumphant. Requires a raised fist, begets banging of the head, elevates your damned soul. Melodious movements propelled by devastating drums, hellacious screams. Charismatic darkness.




4. Slugdge - Dim and Slimeridden Kingdoms

Shines Sunlight sound on the sad plight of space slugs. A goddamned death metal classic. Wide ranging journeys though sonic ichor. Tremendous songwriting, mastery of all the riffs, grooves galore. Clean vocals that complement the epic orations at hand. Dismember weirding through caverns of Withered runes, slipping in the slime covered remains of Gojira.




3. Nachtreich/Spectral Lore - The Quivering Lights

Classical chamber music bathed in melodic black metal blood. Piercing piano and string compositions. Extraordinary, collaborative coagulations. Thematic interplay borne on black wings. Masterpiece.
Original review here.




2. My Dying Bride - Feel the Misery

The Bride abides after all these years. Doomed riffs ring true, morose melodies rend the earth with crooked hooks. Glorious Gothic symphony of death. Aaron Stainthorpe, crystal clear clarion call of agony. The misery, I feel you.




1. Sarpanitum - Blessed Be My Brothers

An incarnation of triumph complete. A vulgar display of majesty. Seething death-divine. Swarming darkness elevated by exultant melody. Unrelentingly original, a cohesive vision executed with precision and skill. Unreal, addicting, gratifying slaughter.
Original review here.

Aosoth / Order of Orias - Split 12”MLP



Aosoth: can do no wrong at the moment.  Perpetuates their peculiar, glorious sonic oeuvre.  Miasmic overtures swarm around a perfect percussive performance.  Riffs most ominous are mysteriously soothing.


Order of Orias: a perfect compliment to Asosoth’s raison d’être.  Sprawling blackness, atmosphere both suffocating and redolent of the deathspell.  An assault at all speeds.  Compositional movements that engage the senses and warp consciousness.  Exalt. 


Khthoniik Cerviiks - SeroLogiikal Scars (Vertex of Dementiia)



A gem of extreme artifice. Pleasing, perplexing death-black oddity. Voivod vaulting The Chasm, or Atheist genuflecting in the Chapel of Ghouls. Elastic and intricate. Loosely woven, elusive threads bound by a knot of riffs most mighty. Much more compelling than their demo; a tall order.

Out now on CD via Necroshine/Iron Bonehead. Vinyl & Bandcamp from Iron Bonehead in February
 

Nachtreich/Spectral Lore - The Quivering Lights (Bindrune Recordings, 2014)


I wrote about The Quivering Lights, the extraordinary collaboration between Nachtreich and Spectral Lore, at Last Rites.

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