TEN FROM THE TOMB is a weekly feature in the form of a themed list devoted to grouping together albums of similar interest that I missed throughout the year. These albums were overlooked for review for any number of reasons with the most common reason being constraints of time. I have a policy of covering 99% of everything I receive in some form, be it mini-review or full-feature, so don’t hesitate to send anything and everything my way.
Here I present a ten album random drawing of September releases not yet covered and/or worthwhile releases I’ve so far overlooked this month. Consider it a bout of realistic self-defeat in seeing fifty records from this month that I’ll never get around to reviewing because October is so packed with great things. Most of these albums made it here to Ten From the Tomb because I couldn’t manage the time for a long-form review or because I really didn’t have more than a paragraph or two’s worth of insight beyond banal description. If you don’t like the fact that I pulled these at random, relax! This’ll be back every seven days with 10 more albums and there is generally a thematic focus, this week I felt it only fair to pull the releases at random and give everything a fair shake.
Hey! Don’t dive in thinking this will all be garbage I didn’t want to write about. I generally skip over gimmicky shit. I keep my queue of coverage full of meaningful/thoughtful releases that at least manage a good concept or redeeming sound… Some sort of depth. This isn’t so much a collection of dregs and flops but rather a selection meant to convey diversity within underground/independent metal music’s sphere of influence. Think my opinions are trash and that I suck? Want to totally tell me off, bro? Click away and let’s all live more sensible lives full of meaningful interactions. I’m too old and bored with people to care.
|Title [Type/Year]||Fils de Dieu [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [4.0/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Though it might appear briefly tribal and meditative in first impressions Sektarism‘s third full-length reaches far beyond expectations rescinding their style from the depths of Stabat Mater and Worship aligned funeral doom. Instead this French group delivers a mountainous two part improvisational revelation with ‘Fils de Dieu’. The point of view here is incredible and inspiring as the lyrics see the death of Christ and advent of Christianity as the true impetus for the downfall of mankind. Inspired by the apocalypse slowly creeping up on us all, the music is meant to convey the slow death of humanity, a march towards death’s finality. Still essentially funeral doom when they build towards it, Sektarism have created a challenging record that demands repeated listening and analysis. It is lament and frustration that should feel as sedition rather than inspiration.
|Title [Type/Year]||Praise of Satan [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Satanic speed metal band Diabolic Force have been spreading their Brazilian seed across the land for nearly two decades now and they have stayed a thousand percent true to their early Venom, Vulcano and Bulldozer influenced style of ‘first wave’/proto-black metal. Why have they only released two albums so far? Well, each member in the trio has a huge stable of bands they lead: Hugo Golon (Cemitério, Heritage, Whipstriker, Flageladör, Virgin’s Vomit), Poisonhell (Farscape, Virgin’s Vomit, ex-Hellkommander), Whipstriker (Whipstriker, Farscape, Kuld) and they all collaborate in Atomic Roar and Virgin’s Vomit as well. With that huge list of bands in perspective these guys haven’t taken a break in a decade at least. What differentiates this band from the others? Their ambitions with Diabolic Force on this record really seem to pull back to the late 70’s and earliest 80’s in terms of speed metal’s origins.
|Title [Type/Year]||The Spectral Wars [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [2.75/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
One of a potential 22 bands that Rogga Johannson is active in, Grisly is more or less par for the course with his interest in recreating fast-and-loose tributes to his favorite 90’s death metal projects. This one takes a small stab at a mix of Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, and some Autopsy influence alongside his Down Among the Dead Men and Those Who Bring the Torture band-mate Dennis Blomberg. The sound is quite similar to Murder Squad and otherwise does very little to stand out amongst his nearly two dozen other projects. As it is one of about 6-7 releases Johansson has either written or played on this year it lacks any personal style or particularly well developed ideas, but even largely generic death metal can be very satisfying if it hits at the right time. I enjoyed ‘The Spectral Wars’ overall but, it went in one ear and out the other despite several listens.
|Title [Type/Year]||Vox Medusae [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
As sure as I was that anything closely resembling maudlin of the well couldn’t come close to (or actually exceed) Driver‘s ambitions, this eleventh album from Potmos Hetoimos landed in my inbox. Since 2006 Baltimore, Maryland musician Matthew Matheson has been hard at work creating a sort of music all his own with a growth arc that swerved from burgeoning post-metal and sludge epithets towards truly progressive music that defies reasonable classification. Heavily influenced by blackened mathcore tinged groups like Plebeian Grandstand and jazz-funk bombast this eleventh album is almost dazzlingly high-concept with a non-traditional musical scale attached to represent specific voices in a story of Medusa‘s influence upon an addict, his manifested emotional strife (lust, shame, rage) along with a killer, a witness to the killer’s ways, a prophet, and a conqueror of Medusa herself. This all coalesces into a narrative about pornography addiction.
Yes, it is even more complex than I’ve been able to paraphrase and trust that the dense 56 minutes of ‘Vox Medusae’ is worthy of every moment of focus even if the idea of ‘blackened mathcore’ sounds atrocious as a concept. In terms of enjoying the music presented within… Actually, I love the connections that non-traditional scales make between avant-black-math metal and jazz histrionics and again, it reminded me of Toby Driver’s more aggressive works if seen through a much more focused lens. I found my attempts to write a full review became masturbatory, so this is essentially the summation and some deserved praise. I think the depth on offer speaks for itself, and should be a nice introduction to Matheson‘s ambitious discography.
|Title [Type/Year]||Existential Void Guardian [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [4.0/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
How great was September that I hardly had time to spend with the latest Conan album? ‘Existential Void Guardians’ is the fourth and perhaps best album from the band that would dethrone Electric Wizard and honestly High on Fire at just the right time, at least in my book. This is a band that I always see as a 3/5 or 3.5/5 but still tend to get a ton of mileage out of due to their enormous sound. With Monolord and Coltsblood right on their heels recently, this album sparks a sort of greater versatility within their well-balanced wall of crushing doom. Johnny King (Malthusian, Dread Sovereign, ex-Altar of Plagues) destroys his kit on this one and couldn’t be having a better year between this fantastic beast and Malthusian‘s enormous, ragged debut. This one will certainly go slightly unnoticed for now but I believe it will make it onto a ton of end of the year lists once folks sit down with it. When “Paincantation” hit, I felt like if they did that like 3-4 more times throughout the album they’d have blown my mind to pieces. Unfortunately the album is largely devoid of surprises outside of that 45 second hit of extreme metal. Why didn’t I review it? It was a personal purchase and there are certain releases I’d rather not analyze to death if nobody is asking for coverage. The video for “Volt Thrower” is pretty amazing, too.
|Title [Type/Year]||Soul in Sanctuary [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Spotify!|
Rosslyn is an epic doom metal band from the Iberian mountain range of Spain in Calatayud. The band’s sound is pure heavy metal in style and hints at influences from power metal and epic speed metal despite their relatively mid-paced ‘adventure’ metal gallop. A lot of care has been taken with each composition and the unique tone of ‘Soul in Sanctuary’ which feels a bit like Sacred Steel at times. The vocalist’s inflections will take some getting used to but the lyrics are actually compelling in that they largely attempt to sum the plots of medieval historical intrigue and high fantasy fiction writers. Of course their approach could use some refinement if they wanted to appeal to more folks, but I believe this one will really pull in the sort of folks who find bands like King Diamond, Cirith Ungol, and Solitude Aeturnus have more value because of their unique vocalists.
|Title [Type/Year]||Muta in Potenza [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Italian thrashcore band Shenanigans embody the soul of late 80’s thrash in the face of crossover hardcore’s evolution. Their sound shows a true passion for 80’s European hardcore as much as it resembles bands like Erosion (Germany) who mixed pure hardcore with the hammer of German speed and thrash metal. But these Italians are far more furious and have no inclination of groove metal in their sound, ‘Muta in Potenza’ is rabidly fast and shouted hard throughout. The appeal here is largely going to be for classic mid-to-late 80’s crossover fans that want something more authentic than Municipal Waste or Iron Reagan, with a sound more along the lines of Crumbsuckers or even Raw Power and early Vitamin X. Short for a thrasher but just right for a hardcore fan at 22 minutes, I would highly recommend this to thrashcore heads.
|Title [Type/Year]||Serpent’s Curse [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
This chaotic death metal record comes from the mind of Jonny Pettersson who, much like Rogga Johansson has been extremely prolific with mixed results. With 14 active projects going and about half of them entirely written, concieved and performed solely by Pettersson it is no wonder I am only familiar with his work in the revival of Wombbath along with his work in Ursinne and Ashcloud. This time around he has written and performed everything besides drums from Erik Bevenrud (Down Among the Dead Men, Stass) and the impressive Ralf Hauber (Revel in Flesh, ex-Immortal Rites). How does it hold up? Well, the music is on par with Ursinne in terms of detail but the style is generally all over the place. From death metal to crust punk and some moderately successful death/doom in the middle of it all the experience is unrelenting and yet never registers as particularly heavy to my ears due to a very loud and frazzled mix. The songs call for control and a hammering guitar tone but it all muddles together with closer listens. The keyboards are a nice touch and Hauber is quite good at what he does vocally but I couldn’t find a ton of reasons to dip back into ‘Serpent’s Curse’ beyond 6-7 spins.
|Title [Type/Year]||High on You [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
These small town Arizona boys might’ve been known for some lo-fi dirty desert rock before but on ‘High on You’ they shot for the stadium with big hooks, big grooves, and a huge sound thanks to a likely pricey big producer. Paul Fig‘s (Amen, Bluebirds) team are best known for the ‘comeback’ records from Alice in Chains alongside huge albums from Ghost, Deftones, and Stone Sour though I wonder how much air they’ve really kicked into ‘High on You’ that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Fuzz Evil always had a sort of fun, non-serious tone to their stoner rock sound and on this record they’ve really focused on harmonizing a bit more. The record feels a bit more like recent Fu Manchu (or, I guess Queens of the Stone Age) records than it does The Obsessed, a bit too glossy and optimistic. I didn’t really warm up to this record the same way I couldn’t get into The Cult after ‘Sonic Temple’, the sound is immense but the songwriting doesn’t really take advantage of the fidelity, or vice versa.
|Title [Type/Year]||Mörkrets Intåg [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Northern Swedish solo atmospheric blackened neofolk rock artist Höstblod appears fully formed and mature in concept for his debut ‘Mörkrets Intåg’. The album is book-ended by two thirteen minute tracks that offer a fusion of depressive post-rock and black metal tonality that will immediately appeal to fans of Austin Lunn‘s work in Panopticon over the years, as well as those prone to the gentler moments of Woods of Ypres and Winterfylleth. Although when I say all of that it dawns on me how much more post-rock and neofolk this really is and I’d want to temper expectations therein. If you are a fan of the sort of stuff that Nordvis puts out I would flock to this immediately.
Did I miss your favorite 2018 album? I’d like to know if there are any 2018 releases you loved but thought didn’t get enough recognition. Drop me a line to tell me! It is always worthwhile to speak up for the lesser known stuff. Please remember you can contribute to my Patreon @ only $1 USD per month ($12 a year) to help keep me in front of the computer writing about metal. Thanks.
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