Ten From the Tomb 7/29/19: The adipocere beneath your fingernails.

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 some of the absolute best of my death metal review backlog. Consider it a look at albums I liked and/or loved but had nothing to say about. 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. Although I’ve discontinued the Patreon campaign for Grizzly Butts this feature will remain unchanged, I just wanted full independence for every aspect of the site. 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.


Artist Pathetic
Title [Type/Year] Rat King [Full-length/2019]
Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

From the grinding bass hit, samples, and ringing guitar feedback that kick off ‘Rat King’, the debut full-length from Calgary, Alberta death metal band Pathetic you know you’re in for something off-brand and dark as hell from this Canadian trio. I’d say the fact that the reformation of Witches Hammer picked Pathetic vocalist/bassist AJ Kovar for their reunification is a strong endorsement for the presence he brings to ‘Rat King’ where the bass is treated as a living animal amongst the guitar driven (“Shetani”), groove heavy old school death metal songwriting on hand. That buzzing, broken thunder suits the prowling NYDM meets 90’s Brazilian death crawl that so far defines Pathetic‘s style; I hear a lot of the same influences as I did with Rotheads‘ debut last year but with a modicum of ‘Human Waste’ era Suffocation and hell, I feel like this band is quickly going to head in a sort of Drawn and Quartered sort of sound based off of the intensity of tracks like “The Fatal Charade”. The trouble with sitting down and writing a full review of this album was that as much as I love these songs the samples they use throughout became bothersome to the point that I would skip re-spinning it here and there. This is my own gripe and not a major ache but it did distract from the songs I would look forward to on the full spin. Still, I’d highly recommend ‘Rat King’ for the love of that bass guitar tone/presence and how it interacts with the double bass drumming at a few points. Don’t just watch this band, grab their shit now!


Artist Curse of Denial
Title [Type/Year] Coming For Your Soul [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Formed among old school Ohio death metal musicians who’d done their time in Descend (‘Requiem of Flame’ is still underrated for its time…) and Decrepit (again, ‘Acrimonium’ was incredible!) the blackened death metal of Curse of Denial has flown quietly under the radar these last few years. This is partially due to their split in 2017 after their first record ‘The 13th Sign’ (2017) where some members’d formed Smoulder (not the Canadian epic heavy metal band) but eventually reformed Curse of Denial and provided us the pleasure of a second full-length. ‘The 13th Sign’ was dare I say a bit more death-thrashing and non-stop riffs whereas this second album, ‘Coming For Your Soul’, digs into that early 90’s Swedish black metal influence that’d kicked into the US black/death sound circa ’98 (at least) where groups like Abominant and Disinterment would venture a stab at a more brutal take on that melodic side. Curse of Denial aren’t going -that- far but they are pulling in those more intricate moments that reminded me of old obscure records like Amorbital‘s ‘Invidia’ but from a classic USDM perspective.

‘Coming For Your Soul’ takes some easing into and didn’t feel particularly distinct even after five or so spins, much like the previous album. When it did click, probably the eighth listen, I found the lead guitar work and some of the more triumphant progressions (“To Carry My Sins”) represented the core value that the album persists with. Somewhat modern blackened death/thrash (see: “Faceless”) would be how I’d describe it unless you’re willing to suggest melodic black metal informs the otherwise jagged thrash rhythms that unify the experience. There is a lot of worthy depth here and I think anyone who goes hard on either Curse of Denial record will get back whatever they invest in it.


Artist Cold Curse
Title [Type/Year] Violent Measure [EP/2019]
 Rating [3.75/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

If you’re just looking for an instant hit of “Fuck yeah, death metal” with plain 90’s hardcore and d-beat structures there are literally thousands of options released every year and I’d say about 75% of them are the same tired shit Comecon was doing three decades ago. Cold Curse lean into the late 90’s style of hardcore (non-metalcore) to great results on this their second EP, ‘Violent Measure’. What they’re doing with the pit riff here is genius and with a level of moshable insight that few ‘lifer’ death metal bands possess. These guys know to how to really make that HM-2 distortion work out the groove of the music and I appreciate that pit sense that can only come from good taste in heavy hardcore punk. I found myself listening to this for hours at a time like I would a hardcore record where its short length and heavy hitting songs really redeem because of how straight to the throat and concise the songwriting is. Some of it is hardcore ‘by the numbers’ chug-wise but I’m all for that if it is done well. The vocalist has this savage wretch he does (see: “Burning”) that I just need more of! Really hoping this band whip out a full-length soon. Check it out if you like stuff like Black Breath.


Artist Disowning
Title [Type/Year] Human Cattle [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

As XenoCorp continues to push beyond their Kaotoxin brethren into modern death and grind metal projects I am repeatedly impressed at the level of professionalism each group comes with. Disowning warranted mention late last year with their teaser EP for this their debut full-length ‘Human Cattle’. Modern but still recognizable as old fans of all walks of death metal Disowning bring the technical flair of Québecois death metal classique alongside some semi-melodic brutality that often reminded me of Kronos as much as it would sometimes kick into grooves a la Carcariass. Ornate and thoughtful but brutal and relentless the bulk of ‘Human Cattle’ hits upon the favorite sort of brutal death that can balance melody, technical leads, and crushing riffs into an almost neoclassic rupture. It isn’t quite ‘Noctambulant’ in terms of rhythmic savagery but I do get that sense of 2003-2005 death metal attack. I absolutely overlooked this and Ataraxie‘s album and still hope to remedy that with some closer attention to both.


Artist Immortal Bird
Title [Type/Year] Forgotten Lands [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Although I like death metal, grindcore, deathgrind, technical death metal, sludge, crust, and all of the other bits and pieces Immortal Bird pull from on their sophomore full-length, ‘Forgotten Lands’, their manifestation of these influences sounds a bit like melodic deathcore as it plays out. There are points where it begins to sound like Darkest Hour and others where I hear some Gojira and even a bit of a punch towards the Venom Prison style of chuggy deathcore/hardcore and well, at that point I’m open-minded but no longer curious. Wait so, why write about them if I didn’t like the album? I can’t deny that it is a memorable album with a lot of moments that are nicely cherry-picked from and eclectic/holistic view of extreme metal and that unfocused blender of stylistic shifts was a redeeming experience. If you can handle my recommending that you try this album while also suggesting it wasn’t for me, it is a pair of pants well worth trying on to see if they fit.


Artist Itheist
Title [Type/Year] Itheist [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Born from a great stylistic exodus beyond ~2015 this English blackened death metal band would begin life in 2004 as Aetherium Mors, a savagely Satanic melodic black/death metal band straddling modern (nigh technical) melodic death ideas and classic Swedish melodic black metal. They weren’t exceptional in terms of melodious ideas but their attack and attitude on Drenched in Victorious Blood (2012) was almost joyful in its execution. Their new vibe and vision since 2018 trades the occult melodic core for the aggressive and atmospheric blender of modern black metal and yet still pulls in those ‘new’ feeling death metal ideas. I see why they’ve changed their name despite keeping the same general thematic focus, as Itheist the duo appear to be keeping up with the times and their own evolving tastes. ‘Drenched in Victorious Blood’ was eight years in the making and ‘Itheist’ feels just as considered to some degree as something they’ve been working up to and needling out to meet the high standards of modern extreme metal.

The main reason I’d not yet reviewed this record in full comes from it being not particularly memorable and lacking any moments of ‘power’ in its attack; I understand that this is intentional withing the realms of twisted atmospheric and somewhat ‘technical’ applications of black metal but in no way does this stand up to the high bar that groups like Ascension and Schammasch. Because it neither gripped me or stick in my mind I found myself constantly appreciating the record but putting off a review until the window of meaningful discussion on the album had largely passed. Hey, I know it is trite and juvenile of me to say but, frankly the album art looks like a crap-covered donkey anus from a distance… Beautiful detail and layout closer in though! Definitely an independent band worth supporting and keeping up with. When they find their point of distinction from the masses I’ll be there to celebrate.


Artist Sxuperion
Title [Type/Year] Endless Spiritual Embodiment [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Sxuperion is the more directly ‘death metal’ side of Valdur, Weverin, and Bloody Mountain Records founder Lord Sxuperion (Matthew Schott) who is a fine artist and self-directed musician that’d become brilliantly capable of handling all instrumental duties between his black and death metal tinged projects over the years. ‘Endless Spiritual Embodiment’ is a new high point in this ‘solo’ project under his name and comes as one of his most thoughtful and inventive cosmic death metal records to date. The way I see this sound and style is as if Cosmic Void Ritual were to strip back their strange production (anti-production) sound and lay bare their atmospheric death metal ideas and blackened structures. I’ve been a huge fan of Valdur for a few years having cruised through their discography in full with each new release several times now and I feel like Sxuperion not only serves to collect his death metal leaning ideas but now culls them into concept and grand vision that reaches beyond the occult and the bestial for a follow up to ‘Cosmic Void’ (2016). As much as I like the first half of this record it was Side B (the last three songs) that really grabbed me and stuck with me; To the point that I’d sometimes just skip to the fifth track because I was excited to hear it again. Loose, slippery psychedelia coats each of those three songs making for a stellarly end to a record already defined by its atmospheric disenchantment. “Endless Embodiment” is the peak and the end of it all, a song you really need to hear even if you do pass this record on by because it was the clincher that had me coming back after having passed on ‘Endless Spiritual Embodiment’ when I’d first received it. Short, impactful, and well… It’d be near perfect if “Phallic Point Of Periapsis” didn’t kind of bung up the pace of the album with a night at the movies.


Artist Fulci
Title [Type/Year] Tropical Sun [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Fulci are a brutal death metal trio from Caserta, Italy who lead with their worship of film director Lucio Fulci, who is best known for his horror and giallo (horror/thriller) pictures. The bloody zombie and gore filled ones (Zombi, The Beyond) are where Fulci draw the most inspiration for their brand of US brutal death metal influenced fare which should remind folks of Disgorge, Malignancy (NY), and earlier Lord Gore. I didn’t necessarily realize just how brutal and orthodox their approach would be on ‘Tropical Sun’ as it was my introduction to their sound. Though I’m not much of a brutal death head anymore I would likely buy this on vinyl just for the artwork (via Misanthropic-Art). There are some serious Mortician-heavy moments here that I personally loved but in to way does this feel ‘old school’ brutal unless you’re looking back to the early 2000’s and consider that retro. My favorite track here was “Legion of the Resurrected” because it has a sort of brutal Bolt Thrower vibe to it that really helped push the middle of the tracklist along. I’d love to hear them do more songs along those lines.


Artist Miscarriage
Title [Type/Year] Imminent Horror [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Described as a slow motion version of death/war metal (Revenge and Pissgrave are mentioned) it does begin to sound like Miscarriage have quite literally drugged me and slowed a brutal death metal album to less than half time. In some ways this blurry, fucked mush of howls and pick scraped, drum thumping madness does warrant some of the early Esoteric comparisons it has gotten but it makes even more sense to consider their lo-fi/experimental black metal influences they mention as well as formative industrial groups (Swans, Godflesh) that keep Miscarriage from sounding like budget Primitive Man or anything like Corrupted‘s slicker discography. ‘Imminent Horror’ is a twitchy malformation of pig-like wailing and dry-socket bursting guitars that isn’t exactly death/doom metal but couldn’t necessarily be described any other way beyond dark and brutal noise. Count me in as a cheerleader for boundary pushing abortion-fueled experimental death/doom, always.


Artist De Lirium’s Order
Title [Type/Year] Singularity [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

If you’d been paying attention to European post-melodeath/thrash metal (circa 2000) and found your way towards groups like Occult (later Legion of the Damned), Deathchain, and such you undoubtedly became quickly bored and shifted over towards the more technical and generally interesting side of things a la De Lirium’s Order. Technical, progressive, accomplished, brutal, melodic, thrashing… It would seem they could do it all until the power metal influences began to really dominate their stuff beyond 2010 as the line-up changed drastically with a full restaffing of the band. ‘Singularity’ comes as a compliment to where the band left off in 2012 rather than a wild progression beyond it and this despite the seven year gap between records. I liked this enough to recommend to folks if you’re into technical melodic death metal and aren’t afraid of progressive power metal, which pops up quite frequently.

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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