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 2019. 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 best death, black and thrash metal releases from January 2019. Consider it a soundtrack to flipping a middle finger to the reductive fucking pricks who had the gall to look back at January and say it sucked! 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’re not into the selection this week, relax! This’ll be back every 7 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 am not doing full reviews for these releases! 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 weeks picks come from realizing how many great thrash and extreme metal records I’d not had time to dig into this January. 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]||Chapters of an Evil Transition [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY from Memento Mori! | PREVIEW on YouTube!|
Although you might be clued into their approach thanks to Ravenous Death being named after a Vomitory song and on Memento Mori but, while you might be getting some heavy old school death metal nothing about ‘Chapters of an Evil Transition’ feels normal or expected. This is a bit of an abstract movement from the catchiness of the bands first EP, ‘Ominous Deathcult’ (2017), and while I’d like to point towards Vomitory and Sinister that wouldn’t necessarily give a good enough clue as to what this impressive Mexican quartet can do. There is a satisfying rhythmic complexity to ‘Chapters of an Evil Transition’ that goes beyond the later Sadistic Intent feeling of the recording and cranks up to late-90’s Fleshcrawl levels of roar as it progresses. As a debut this is impressive but they’ve tried to fit too many ideas into one album and it is all a bit overwhelming at first. I’d recommend giving this a few full spins and immersing yourself in it rather than skipping around tracks.
|Title [Type/Year]||Unholy Infestation [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||PREVIEW on Bandcamp!|
Although they sent out promos for this debut from Detroit’s Plague Years under Seeing Red/Redefining Darkness‘ banner for its physical release in January it seems the band have a different licensing deal in the works for this debut. It sounds like they’ve hit upon the opportunity for a bigger deal and that’ll be no surprise once you hear it. Not only does it invoke the heaviest Power Trip hardcore-punched pit thrash with Arthur Rizk’s production on hand but, the music itself will no doubt excite fans of late 90’s/early 00’s Ozzfest line-ups with a sound that feels a bit like ‘Burn My Eyes’ era Machine Head as the record plays. This is a big fuckin’ moshable post-thrash record that feels like it’ll hit big when it resurfaces this year.
|Title [Type/Year]||Malice of Antiquity [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Astrophobos are a melodic black metal project from Stockholm, Sweden who sport a seriously traditional sound despite having ex-members of super dork demo project Unchaste back in the 90’s. The trio are incredibly skilled and this second album comes after about five years of maturation beyond their rote debut ‘Remnants of Forgotten Horrors’ (2014). If you were fired up about the ‘return’ of Necrophobic last year then ‘Malice of Antiquity’ is going to be a perfect fit as a loudly snarling melodic black metal record. This is an extremely evocative record if you have nostalgia for the more popular spectrum of semi-melodic black metal acts that’d persist and inspire in the early 2000’s. The band have used a session drummer for each record and this time original Novembre drummer Giuseppe Orlando steps in and really gives a great dramatic boost to Astrophobos‘ rasping horrors. For the sake of nostalgia I enjoyed this, though I felt like the actual melodicism was too understated and as a fan of getting lost in the captivity of melodic rants, they never truly stole me away from their grand-standing dramatics. Fans of Bane, Thulcandra and Hoth will no doubt love this.
|Title [Type/Year]||Warband [EP/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp! [CD version January 11th]|
Before you scoff at the Shovel Knight fanart lookin’ cover and the weird early 90’s too-late crossover band name give this Edinburgh, Texas quartet of youngsters a fair chance. For a formative release this first official EP from Archangel A.D. (formerly Archangel) does a great job of just getting right to their classic thrash influenced style, which feels a bit like English Dogs meets the most thrashing era of Running Wild with a bit of Bay Area thrash influenced vocal patterns. Its not exactly 3 Inches of Blood but I think it’s rhythms appeal to that crowd. I’m not at all impressed by the riffs here but I do appreciate that they’ve managed to balance their melodic thrash leanings with insistent and moderately complex guitar work. As a first breath of a newborn unto toxic atmosphere this is an inspiring gasp to life, but nothing so insightful or transformative that I’d rave about ‘Warband’, a very promising start to be sure.
|Title [Type/Year]||Embrace of the Godless Aeon [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Arisen in an era where Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir rose to unimaginable popularity, Hecate Enthroned were often regarded as a more reasonable alternative to those more popular bands thanks to some forays into melodic death metal influence. My own troubles with committing to their early discography came with some inconsistent keyboard performances as the line-up shifted slightly over time. I find their ‘Kings of Chaos’ (1999) record a bit underrated when considering what else was transpiring around them, and in many ways this record feels like a slight return to those days. With six or seven years between Hecate Enthroned records since 2004’s ‘Redimus’ it does feel like they’ve put quite a lot of thought into each album whereas their earlier output seemed rushed in hoping to keep up with the boon of symphonic black metal style. ‘Embrace of the Godless Aeon’ isn’t a poppy record, and there are only a few truly catchy moments in it’s nigh hour long play, and instead it feels a bit like a progressive metal record with their throwback to the bygone era of keyboard-driven symphonic/melodic black metal.
|Title [Type/Year]||Assassinos em Série [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Guimarães, Portugal thrashers Toxik Attack earn most of their points for enthusiasm on their debut full-length ‘Assassinos em Série’ and these guys love old school thrash metal culture almost as much as Tankard loves beer. The odd thing about this is that their debut is honestly more of a pure speed metal record and they’re thrashing like a maniac but in a style that’ll wake up folks who want that old Whiplash, Razor and Lethal sound with a little bit of a post-Municipal Waste update. The only reason I warmed up to this one came with the eccentric howls of the vocalist, who wails in an almost comical way that makes this sound like an experimental heavy metal record from 1984 rather than a thrasher from 2019. I felt like this album got dogged on left and right because a shout-out from Banger or a review on Angry Metal Guy isn’t really the right demographic for it; For the old-timey speed metal maniac who wants a distinct vocalist atop their party thrashing speed metal hell this is actually pretty solid.
|Title [Type/Year]||Wounds of Divinity [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
With a love of second wave Swedish black metal in bloodied hand Perverticon strike a second blow upon the psyche of the idolatrous. Though it was professionally recorded and well written, nothing stood out with the trios 2013 debut ‘Extinguishing the Flame of Life’ and though I think most perusers of Scandinavian darkness will find ‘Wounds of Divinity’ just as steadfastly late 90’s in affect, the melodies are more developed this time around. I am years beyond loving a black metal album simply for its evocative sound but I do think Perverticon do a good job of hinting at Sacramentum‘s second album in a more intricate way, closer to The Moaning or Satariel but with a heavy dose of what I’d consider a take on early Dark Funeral. Whether or not that is just my own frame of reference upon cursory listens, it does seem to be what they’re going for. If you were to play this beside the Astrophobos record I’d mentioned previous you should be able to pick up my comments about melodicism. Here there is that same second wave pulse but with more attention paid to the dynamics of melody and with appropriate rests from vocal performances to let the guitar work speak for itself.
|Title [Type/Year]||Hell For All [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY from Rockshots! | PREVIEW on YouTube!|
Originally a black metal side project from Italian musician Lord Vampyr (ex-Theatres des Vampires) the focus of this project has evolved towards Halford-esque thrashing heavy metal across the span of three full-lengths. If you’re a big fan of that early power metal sound that’d evolved in Germany as speed metal bands experimented with grand melody ‘Hell For All’ has that same inherent appeal, sort of like early 90’s Running Wild but with some small update to their influences. It isn’t retro metal at all but rather something that’d just as well open for Venom Inc. or Iron Savior. ‘Hell For All’ has an accessible vibe thanks to the classic rock/heavy metal influence informing the songwriting but I did find myself wanting a harder kick of thrash by the halfway point of the record.
|Title [Type/Year]||Aamamata [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Though I spent a lot of time with Majorca, Spain gothic doom metal band Helevorn‘s fourth album, ‘Aamamata’, it never quite hit me on a personal level. As a relatively ‘pretty’ piece of mid-to-late 90’s gothic doom updated for today it is exemplary, and should serve as a real discovery for folks who love the direction Amorphis has headed in since 2006 or so. If they took this in any more of a modern direction I think it’d appear as insincere as the most recent material from Swallow the Sun, which I found abysmal. “Aurora” feels classic in a sense, and it wasn’t until they’d touched upon some of their ‘extreme’ metal influences therein that I understood the full spectrum they intended traverse with this record. I ended up liking this album, though I found myself wanting more extremes to balance out the easy-drifting ‘Draconian Times’ feel of the full-listen.
|Title [Type/Year]||Basado En Hechos Reales [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
The history of thrash metal in Spain has some small history of what I’d consider post-thrash that influences many of the better known modern thrashers out there today from Crisix to Angelus Apaditra. I think Inferno fit into that mold pretty well with a non-challenging approach to riffing that is very straight forward and evocative of classic thrash. They’ve improved quite a bit since ‘Genética humana’ in terms of cleaning up the guitar work and focusing on the riff but the variation will be difficult to find for the first couple of spins. Don’t get me wrong, I love those old cranked out ultra-focused thrash records from the late 80’s, but this feels a bit more like 1994 than 1987 and I found myself uninterested in multiple full listens to ‘Basado En Hechos Reales’. The songwriting really just hits the general standards of modern revisionist thrash metal and although I don’t think this is a memorable record it shows great progress for the band and a decent full listen.
Did I miss your favorite 2019 album? Send me an e-mail and tell me about it. 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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