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 constraint 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 requests from independent bands. Consider it a very small look at underground in process as they grow and iterate. 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 look for expressive, meaningful, or just damn heavy releases that hold value without gimmickry or bland plagiarism. This weeks picks come directly from my own curation of requests for review from independent bands but, every other week I conduct a poll on PATREON where patrons can vote on the sub-genre or subject of the list. Next week I’ll be covering hardcore punk and related releases. Thank you! I am eternally grateful for the support of readers and appreciate the friendly and positive interactions I’ve had with all thus far. 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]||Cold Front Rising [EP/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Karlshamn, Sweden death/thrash metal trio Cryoshock bring a bit of a stylistic ladder that they’d climb and descend as they pluck influences from a library that spans two generations. On one hand there is a love for that post-melodeath era where those bands began to fracture into moshable death/thrash bands. On the other hand there is an appreciation for classic Swedish death metal chiming in, almost in unison. On the third hand there is a love for classic rock and heavy metal kickin’ around. So, what does that all add up to? Let’s say its a bit like if Impious covered ‘Wolverine Blues’ circa 2005. Because these rhythms never become complex and Cryoshock are a tightly knit unit as they perform the result is closer to death n’ roll than pure death or thrash metal. The missing puzzle piece is quite obvious, a second guitarist is needed for this type of music and it’ll sound a bit incomplete as a result. I say this with no qualms for the songwriting and vibe of the band, I can see the band pushing it further over time towards a sort of ‘Inferno’-era Motörhead but with blast beats kind of thing, or well… a sound akin to later Unleashed would be a smaller step. I want a bit more ‘M-16’-era Sodom in the riffs and a bit more clank in the bass tone, just generally a little edge to set the band beyond their somewhat flat death metal production. I might sound down on the EP but my main point is that I see the potential here, a lot actually, and the songwriting has progressed nicely since their first EP in 2017. Love the vibe of “Cryoshock” and “Decimation Process” and would recommend checking those songs out.
|Title [Type/Year]||Last to Mourn [Full-length/2019]|
The raw thumbing of an overblown distorted bass guitar and a tribal hit of slow motion funeral doom drumming provide the body of ‘Last to Mourn’ whereas the head of Burial Fog is its growling vocal presence. Distant and eternally pensive within the sludge metal influenced pain of it all, this Philadelphia, Pennsylvania death/doom metal band stretches to the point of translucence on their debut, moving surely and slowly almost to the point of anti-musical abandonment. The thrilling churn of Coltsblood or the dry-barked crunch of Primitive Man both appear too warm as comparisons, and instead I’d point to the slowest Burning Witch, Thorr’s Hammer, and Khanate for clearer reference… but only if your mind can see those visions through the lens that early Corrupted saw through. The pacing is near immobility only pushed along by glimmering feedback ridden guitar swells that might occasionally interrupt the calm, plodding hammer of ‘Last to Mourn’. Well over 25 minutes into the album we’re treated to some emboldened doom metal riffs and yet the atmosphere of the album has remained unchanged and almost too painfully minimalistic. The same whirling guitar swells run endlessly shimmering in the background as if on an eternal loop. That’d actually be my main complaint, ‘Last to Mourn’ more or less jogs in place in terms of riff ideas and largely relies on very simple structures that repeat quite often. I understand that is what this is, I mean the extreme doom world has many bands like this but I personally needed more than a great atmosphere to come back to the experience on repeat. If you jump on YouTube and watch some live clips of the band, it works a bit better there so I think translating to record is the challenge here.
|Title [Type/Year]||Omnigasm [EP/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
At some point a certain status quo arises out of experimentation once a trend or new and well-documented sound achieves the ‘norm’. I only begin with this statement because I’ve seen this EP described as ‘experimental’ and this is misleading as to how far it stretches beyond today’s version of ‘typical’. Thrilling as it were in the moment what solo musician O.G. brings to this Oppress. project is a dissonant and brutal form of black metal that is a natural point of evolution beyond his long running occult black metal project Horla. With increased density and some level of blackened death informing its twisting forms ‘Omnigasm’ as if second wave black metal were to inform a band like Hissing or Antediluvian. The track that I most warmed up to here was “The Scraping of Bleached Bones” which appeared to have the greatest sense of movement and the root of an interesting approach to vocals. I suppose what hindered some of the experience came with the programmed drumming, which feels somewhat clunky when fills or cymbals are employed. It is a demo, though, so the drumming doesn’t really factor into the big picture. Plenty of great ideas here but not yet anything to fawn over until the project becomes more ambitious or original.
|Title [Type/Year]||Vermin [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Death metal project Inert formed between two former members of Spanish gothic metal band Drama in 2015. The two musicians in question remain split between Stockholm and Barcelona today but a full four member line-up would conjoin in 2017 after their debut EP ‘Obliteration of the Self’ (2016). With ‘Vermin’ the band begin to explore a style that is quite common in Spain but perhaps less common in Sweden anymore, a mixture of old school death metal and 90’s groove metal. So, this means there are chugs and guitar harmonics and a general swinging rock vibe to most tracks. Inert do hit the mark here and there with their transitions between pure death metal and groove metal but for the most part it sounds a bit contrived and non-serious. Because I was a teenager in the mid-to-late 90’s I found this half-thrash/death combination very bland but it wasn’t by any fault of Inert‘s rather than my own taste does not include Lamb of God and that legacy of simple mosh riffs. I think a band like Sol de Sangre or Canker have a better grasp of this style, but with all fairness Inert are fairly new and this is a good start for the band.
|Title [Type/Year]||ALMA [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
I’d covered Starless Domain‘s deep-space black metal triumph ‘EOS’ from January last week and now here in June we’re graced with a second piece ‘ALMA’ which is surely meant as a companion for the first. Again this is the fellows from Stellar Descent creating Darkspace influenced music that is less intentionally shaped and seemingly pieced together mathematically with repeating vocal samples. The same criticisms for the prior record exist here where the hawk-like screams of the vocalist appear without rhyme or reason and completely kill the atmosphere that the rest of the instrumentation creates. Drum loops are repetitive and mechanical and the guitars are largely on that same loop. It all becomes a sort of black metal musique concrète without purpose on the full listen and feels less ‘deep space’ and perhaps an atmospheric black metal equivalent of post-modern ‘cyber’ black metal. Whatever gripes I have with the cut-and-paste RNG sound of it all can be looked past but ultimately this is basically identical to ‘EOS’, too similar and perhaps too soon.
|Title [Type/Year]||Pulsión De Muerte [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [4.0/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Here’s an incredible death/thrash metal band from Medellín, Colombia who absolutely nail the intensity of South American death/thrash from the 80’s and kick it up to the recording quality of the early 90’s. The bounding rip of Insanity (United States) and the Kreator influenced crunch of early Brazilian death metal power the incredible attack of this quartet as the just have that absolute fire-powered sense of breakneck pacing and riffs. These guys need to release a demo compilation if ever possible because I’m curious to hear what their sound was like before their two albums, the first ‘Cruda Realidad’ (2013) is exactly on par with this one: Great recording quality, clear thrash metal guitar tone, and constant barrage of riff and roar. It comes together for a powerful death-thrash experience along the lines of Minotaur and Merciless but with an attack that is smarter and ‘cleaner’ a la Atomic Aggressor (or Pentagram). Of course I am biased towards this kind of 80’s death metal but this is a great example of it, it rips!
|Title [Type/Year]||Garbage Burial [EP/2019]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
There’s a steamroller comi… Oh, nah nevermind its a garbage truck and what better way to fill it than 17 minutes of thicc and chunky death metal of the moshable sort. This Sacramento death metal band don’t take this shit that serious on paper (see: Larry David) but holy damn are they a brutal beast on tape. Deeply thugged riffs and rotten as hell jogging grinds make ‘Garbage Burial’ a damned brawler to wrestle with, a big back of fuckin’ meat you just want to hug until it pops. Normally I’d poo-poo the use of samples just for the sake of it reminding me of early Skinless but I was pretty entertained by them the first few spins. Otherwise I am in love with the sound of this band, the guitar tone is just huge. Should be counted up there with the more notable scum-chugging west coast death metal around today.
|Title [Type/Year]||Weightless Waters [EP/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Here’s a deep gear shift that’ll be felt if you’re approaching these in order. Helsinki (well, I think Espoo originally) Finland based stoner rock band King of None have become ultra-refined on this their third EP since 2015. Whereas ‘Troubles by the Score’ (2016) was a follow-up in every sense ‘Weightless Waters’ finds the band taking their time to really stand out and progress. I’m typically more attracted to the doom-leaning side of stoner rock and stoner metal so some of the more blatant ‘rock’ stuff takes a bit of re-adjustment. Think of Wasted Theory, Sundrifter and Wo Fat for a general idea of their buzzing tone and 90’s rock influenced songwriting but King of None aren’t a loose and saucy stoner rock band but a tight and urgent rock band using that huge fuzz tonality for greater things. Its all a bit too mainstream rock for my taste but I’d never turn this off if it was playing. ‘Weightless Waters’ is a brilliant next step for the band and it’ll be cool to see where they go next.
|Title [Type/Year]||I [Reissue/2019]|
|Rating [2.75/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Troy, New York progressive metal band The Final Sleep originally self-released this first album back in 2017 and they’ve reissued it in early May this year as they gear up for sessions on a new album. Several of these folks have some history in 90’s hardcore and some would feature in post-millennial death metal projects but the fellow folks are most likely to recognize via namedrop is probably the original drummer for Arsis. Groups like Black Crown Initiate, Opeth, and Edge of Sanity influence their structural being but their sound isn’t as specifically stylized as any of their influences on this first album. I’m not the mark for this type of progressive music as it is melodramatic in an uncomfortable sense though there are some pretty solid riffs on “Catatonic”. I’m interested to hear how things have changed since 2017, though, and I look forward to their next release.
|Title [Type/Year]||Demo Sessions Vol. 1 [EP/2019]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Right, normally I just ignore when a band sends me a link to their Bandcamp without a code or much of anything to say but, there isn’t much to say and this shit takes like four and a half minutes to listen to. Fast deathgrind, has that aimless ‘From Enslavement to Obliteration’ feeling but that first song had a nice groove to it. Nothing really stands out here in terms of style just a nice old school feeling. Not a terrible way to spend four minutes, though. They’re from Richmond, Virginia and have an EP coming up on Horror Pain Gore Death around late summer so I’ll be keeping an eye out to see what they can do with like 20ish minutes, hopefully more crust and less basic deathgrind.
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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