Ten From the Tomb 12/21/18: Staring your severed head in the face.

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 sampler of some of the death metal releases I’ve so far overlooked this year. Consider it a soundtrack meant to catch up with some of the more under-served weirdos of 2018. 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 worth of insight beyond banal description. If you don’t like various types of death metal, relax! This’ll be back every seven days with 10 more albums from different styles, genres, themes, etc.

Hey! Don’t dive in thinking this will all be shit just because I missed them! I always have some quality control in mind and looked for expressive, meaningful or just damn heavy releases that hold value without gimmickry or bland plagiarism. This week’s inspiration came from a biweekly poll among Patreon patrons on my Patreon, who are also listed on the Patreon Producer section of the site! Thank you all! 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.


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Artist Barbarian Prophecies
Title [Type/Year] Origin [Full-length/2018]
Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Spanish death metal band Barbarian Prophecies began as a somewhat brutal anti-Christian slaughterfest but over time they tired of both their own subject matter and style. For the last few releases their approach has combined Death influenced prog-death as well as some modern semi-melodic death metal production standards. Their sort of 90’s death metal ideology has faded with changing ethos but this semi-melodic/semi-progressive middle ground on ‘Origin’ makes for a halfway worthy listen. I do feel like they’ve sacrificed their unique attributes to sound more commercial but it doesn’t ruin the record.


Agony Face - CXVI Evolving Discharges

Artist Agony Face
Title [Type/Year] CXVI: Evolving Discharges [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Spotify!

Surrealistic technical death metal band Agony Face hail from Milan, Italy and though their sound and imagery might seem off-kilter at first it ultimately fits in well with the more technical side of modern Italian and French death metal. Fans of Obscura, Hour of Penance, older Psycroptic, and that dry-rotted synthetic sound of late 00’s tech-death should enjoy this. There are too many bells and whistles for my own taste, and the actual guitar riffs aren’t thrilling, yet the record remains compelling for its mania and abrupt technical movements.


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Artist Cancer
Title [Type/Year] Shadow Gripped [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

The reformation of Cancer in 2013 to promote reissues of their first three albums didn’t really register on my own personal radar. I enjoy some Cancer songs but their material has never inspired passion in either direction for my own tastes and ‘Shadow Gripped’ is about on par with those old feelings. In most respects this new album recreates that post-’93 era of British/U.K. death metal where Carcass had quickly changed the direction of riffcraft twice in the space of two years, unable to excel within the sharper confines of increasingly technical death metal compositions Cancer pulled back towards thrash before they would release some of the worst records of the mid-90’s. ‘Shadow Gripped’ whips out a decent set of grooves and pulls in the original trio that formed way back in 1987, they’re still not technical masters but I found this ‘garage’ death metal approach completely satisfying. Big grooves and jogging hardcore influenced death metal recall the world of ‘classic’ death metal before albums like ‘Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious’ changed how folks played the guitar forever.


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Artist Descent
Title [Type/Year] Towers of Grandiosity [EP/2018]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Australian blackened death/grinders Descent blast the fine line between grimy Rotten Sound records, early Stockholm buzzsaw death metal, and their own d-beaten hardcore influences. They really nail the combined chaos of those sounds but nothing about ‘Towers of Grandiosity’ is memorable in the long run; I found myself consistently walking away from the record as it played, not because it was ‘bad’ but because the experience didn’t inspire me in the slightest. Great sound and style, just kinda went over my head.


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Artist Hatred Reigns
Title [Type/Year] Realm: I – Affliction [EP/2018]
 Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Ottawa, Ontario technical death metal quintet Hatred Reigns don’t offer anything new in terms of sound or songwriting but, the seed they’ve planted with their ‘Realm: I – Affliction’ EP shows some inventive moshable ideas at the heart of their technical brutality. They’re right on the verge of deathcore much of the time but not quite ready for the realm of slam. These are all worlds I’d rather not personally inhabit but I did enjoy the guitar work on all three of these tracks.


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Artist Noose Rot
Title [Type/Year] The Creeping Unknown [EP/2018]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Classic straight-forward US styled death/doom metal from current members of Gatecreeper, Shaidar Logoth, Skeletonwitch, and Boson. They’re more or less working with old school ethos here but you’ll get a mix of Vastum-like groaning blasts and the sort of death doom you’d expect from Coffins or early Cianide. The heart of the thing seems much more in line with Incantation for its implication of doom rather than actual doom metal compositions. I love this sort of old school death/doom but ‘The Creeping Unknown’ doesn’t hold much more value than its graveyard sound. A fantastic introduction to this side-project, will see how and if they develop it further.


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Artist Witch King
Title [Type/Year] Voice of the Ossuary [Full-album/2018]
 Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

If you thought that Noose Rot album had grit fire up this debut from Rhode Island death/war metal grinders Witch King. You should be immediately taken to a space already well inhabited by war masters Archgoat and Weregoat. Though they aren’t necessarily outdoing the bands they largely resemble, Witch King offers ‘Void of the Ossuary’ as a good example of where underground war metal shines in combination with pure death metal structures. It took them about a decade of demos to get to this point and you can gauge their progress yourself.


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Artist Ribspreader
Title [Type/Year] The Van Murders Part 2 [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [2.5/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

I have to admire the tenacity it must take to put out dozens of releases every year and somehow keep track of the differences. Rogga Johansson recruits a few of the usual suspects for this sequel to ‘The Van Murders’ (2011) and the result is about as bland as Ribspreader have ever been. At some point I have to tip my hat to how incredibly rote this imitation of old school death metal has become, as the riff ideas between Johansson‘s many projects are so diluted that dozens of projects should realistically just be 2-3. ‘The Van Murders’ is completely stripped down, mechanized, and appears almost physically tired in its expression. I apologize for being so cynical about the project, maybe it is too easy to rip on a generic product. I still had no trouble listening to it, and in many ways this record reminds me of Murder Squad‘s first album back in the day.


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Artist Saddayah
Title [Type/Year] Apopheny of Life [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Romanian death metal band Saddayah bring vast influences in to inform their relatively old school approach to progressive semi-melodic death metal on their debut ‘Apopheny of Life’. The vocalist reminds me heavily of early 90’s Loudblast and the guitar work takes from modern black metal and technical death metal for inspiration. It reminds me slightly of a band like Rudra. The balance of these elements is really stunning and although I felt ‘Apopheny of Life’ relies too much on uninteresting black metal guitar techniques for variation the whole of the album is effective and entertaining.


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Artist Thulsa Doom
Title [Type/Year] Realms of Hatred [EP/2018]
 Rating [3.75/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Italian upstarts Thulsa Doom arrive this year with ex-Demonomancy drummer B.G. Triumph driving their classic death metal sound with great propulsive force. Evocative of the late 80’s death/thrash scenes in Florida (and perhaps South America) ‘Realms of Hatred’ reminds me of the late 80’s Polish death metal scene which thrived on Morbid Angel (and later Deicide) styled death metal and in turn they’re not quite as ‘brutal’ as Coffin Texts, and perhaps even more thrashing than Sadistic Intent. It is a solid, inspiring old school death metal sound and a good compliment to other more recent licenses Invictus have smartly picked up.


Did I miss your favorite 2018 album? I’d like to know if there are any 2018 releases you loved that 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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