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 the independent band/label requests I’ve received for review consideration (so far) this second half of 2019. Consider it a last call for requests, all other direct requests from bands will not be considered (outside of normal promo channels, PR submissions, etc.) until mid-December. 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 focus was chosen because I have to cut off requests outside of the normal channels until I can get extra work done for the end of the year. 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]||Hrůza zvítězí [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY from Kostnateni|
If you were lucky enough to have scored a copy of Fallen Empire‘s last sampler of what was to come in 2018, ‘Torment in Flesh’ or the ‘Konec je všude’ demo from that same year you’d likely have felt some intense anticipation for ‘Hrůza zvítězí’, the debut full-length from avant-black solo act Kostnatění. Entirely performed by musician D.L. (Glass Shrine, Voidbringer) with the goal of capturing the very essence of existential dread, the anxiety that comes with the fear of death. The title in Czech means “Horror will prevail” and the method of conveyance comes with hills and valleys of rapid dissonant black and death metal coloration to some great effect. Fluid between atmospheric black metal structures and Esoctrilihum-esque unpredictability, the characteristic nature of D.L.‘s songs primarily lies within bluntly discordant points of expansion; “Únik z existence” summarizes this type of ‘flow towards dissociation’ that makes ‘Hrůza zvítězí’ exciting, intense, and intermittently abrasive. The clangor of it all is unsettling and often unpleasant in the moment but care is taken to ease out of terror and ache into anxietous movement enough that it never feels stifled or entirely non-musical. The experience is less like Deathspell Omega and more akin to Ved Buens Ende, not in terms of actual sound but the effect of listening– A trip, a raw tumble in the rough rather than a majestic scouring of divinity. The ride is painful, someone else’s appreciable catharsis, I could feel my blood pressure clipping up towards the end of each listen while my body’s chemistry tried to convince me to stop listening. Ruinous and effective conveyance for sure.
|Title [Type/Year]||Nachwelt [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY from Weltfremd|
Eisenach, Germany based doom metal musician Marco Bruder finally brings to life his greater vision after three well received EP releases since 2014. ‘Nachwelt’ is not the sort of standard festival grade traditional doom metal you’d expect from Germany these days but rather an incorporation of many musical interests set under the dome of modern doom metal. Black metal, post-metal, and even some progressive metal elements feed life into Weltfremd‘s barge-heavy stoner/doom hugeness for an experience that swings, sways, and goes a bit space-faring here and there. It is a concept album and well, the song titles should be pretty clear we’re riding on the veins and rivers that lead through Hell. The three longer songs at the end are a bit much but surely define a sort of extreme doom metal side to the project that fits well with the theme of the record. There are some rough edges, such as some mixing of programmed and real drum elements, and not all of the ambient moments have equal impact on the full listens but the overall experience is pretty solid for a self-made debut.
|Title [Type/Year]||Leech Ghetto [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY from +MROME+|
Andrychów, Poland based project +MROME+ expands to a trio on this second full-length as they continue to grow in all directions. The goal isn’t to create a ‘brand’ or a defined style from album to album and in that sense the previous album, ‘Noetic Collision on the Roof of Hell’, and ‘Leech Ghetto’ are two very different experiences in different styles with the recognizable voice of Cremaster‘s Key V up front. ‘Leech Ghetto’ focuses on a mid-paced crossover thrash metal style that often breaks into darker metal tangents and groove metal style. Maybe think along the lines of a heavier Acid Drinkers album but without the humor and maybe a bit of Grip Inc‘s sense of rhythm early in life. Groove metal/rock isn’t really my strength as a listener since the late 90’s but I appreciated the melodic side of this album as it blended with some of the more unpredictable rhythms .
|Title [Type/Year]||When Sought [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY from Abounding|
Florence, Alabama progressive extreme metal band Abounding (formerly Ridge) sit on the fringes of categorization with great comfort and beautifully achieved introspection. There are legions of instrumental progressive metal bands jamming in garages and practice spaces today who’ve not yet figured out where vocals could fit into their music and it is a limbo easily understood. The vocals on an album like ‘When Sought’ are a powerful stylistic choice considering how ‘unrefined’ an extreme vocal sounds to the weirdly puritanical progressive metal fandom of today– The choice of tandem aggression is a glorious one, taking what could be something very Pillorian towards Mithras or mathcore depending on where Abounding‘s grooves tick. There is the sense that a grand philosophy of meter is lording over these otherwise meandering movements, a progressive-yet-pensive itch that is more Edge of Sanity than it is Neuraxis. Horrible references on my part, I’m sure, as the aim here is something more organic and naturalistic in spirit. Ruminations on self-empowerment in spite of conflict. Of course I couldn’t manage enough insight for a review but, that didn’t stop me from listening to this fine album quite a few times.
|Title [Type/Year]||Anti-Shechinah [Demo/2019]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY from HAR|
I’ve been a huge fan of Tel Aviv, Israel occult black/death metal band HAR since I’d first heard their ‘Visitation’ EP last year and I was excited to hear this raw and richly atmospheric demo from mid-August recently. ‘Anti-Shechinah’ in its grisly form represents a ruthless battery of war metallic noise, scrambling diabolic chords together into a righteous blackened noose of death. The brutal ritual necromancy and black magic of this band features the insight from members who’re also key members of Kever and former members of Sonne Adam but the style here is only slightly reminiscent of that Incantation-esque blackened brutality, opting for a more maniacal and feverish attack. It isn’t grind, or war metal, but you’re left with that same battered feeling. “Bor” is my favorite track on the tape, the riffs really come into focus in the middle and then blur out as the song ends. Brilliant band and I’m hoping they’ve got an LP in the works at some point.
|Title [Type/Year]||Hadron [LP/2019]|
|Rating [4.0/5.0]||BUY from Hadron|
Well, from the moment I pressed play it was pretty much a done deal: Danish traditional doom metal band Hadron rule on thier self-titled debut. Stripped down as an old Pentagram album (or Demon Head demo) but as brimming with traditional heavy metal power as Magister Templi or Sinister Realm there is great value to the retro-minded heavy/doom metal lover within ‘Hadron’. Their sound does trail off into the more ‘epic’ doom metal realm on tracks like “Fortiden” though they reel it back in to a Briton Rites level of epic, at least. A fantastic full listen crammed with 70’s vibes and 80’s despair that I’d recommend highly for the doom fanatic.
|Title [Type/Year]||In the Antechamber Below [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY from Molten Chains|
They sing of Death, O’ wary is the traveler in reproach of the castle which’d bleed the rivers of black blood from their very window panes! They come– bearing Molten Chains— knights of chaos and dread, swinging fire whips of steaming metal that’d incinerate with just one glance upon the armor of the unlucky. A certain billowing dread blackens the skies of ‘In the Antechamber Below’, the debut full-length from Vienna, Austria based traditional heavy metal musician Brenton Weir who serves as the visionary for traditional epic heavy metal band Molten Chains. The vocals are unassuming and without any particular production, a resemblance of live sound more than anything else but oh man… The guitar work rips my ears off every time. Riffs upon riffs in cascading bulges of thrash n’ trad-metal blasts of galloping sorcery make Molten Chains one of the straight up most promising new heavy metal bands of the year. Darker than hell imagery and relentless streams of riff after riff make for a very dense set of ideas that span 33 minutes but feel like a full 45. These ideas definitely warrant some kind of full label support and a steady line-up.
|Title [Type/Year]||Into the Meat Grinder [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY from Creeping Flesh|
Though they win some extra points for enthusiasm I’d say the realm of war obsessed ‘traditional’ death metal that Creeping Flesh conjure is a pretty well stacked minefield. If you’re well aware of the current modern moshable and mid-paced output from Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden then most everything ‘Into the Meat Grinder’ explores will sound very average. Group-sung vocals add to this feeling that maybe Rogga Johansson and crew might’ve over-saturated these sounds to a breaking point. I do like when they break into some Bolt Thrower inspired moments, such as “Stench of Guts” but those ‘For Victory…’ riffs are quite well represented by a hundred other death metal records from this year alone. Everything is quite professional, well-written, and polished without being sterile so if you’re just looking for straight up banging Bolt Thrower kissed modern death metal this is certainly an option. For my own taste, nothing stood out (especially riff-wise) beyond that professional quality.
|Title [Type/Year]||Spirit of the Lonely Places [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY from Ealdor Bealu|
Progressive rock tinged psychedelic rock darkness scrolls from the ambling and precarious towards the meditative by way of Boise, Idaho’s Ealdor Bealu on this thier second full-length album, ‘Spirit of the Lonely Places’. There is this odd sensation of stumbling as I listen to the record that largely stems from a focus on non-typical atmospheric flourishes and awkward performative moments that become endearing in sight of the bigger picture. Indie rock buzzing, desert psych landscapes, post-rock structures, all of it shouldn’t really fall into any sort of successful heavy psychedelic rock form but it does somehow manage to gel; It is a weird gel, mind you, but a viscous and worthy slime all the same. It might help to reverse my initial description, right? Psych-tinged progressive post-rock surely makes more sense without entirely missing the artists intention. You’ll have gotten the sense that I don’t have a strong opinion either way with this one– I only wish they focused less on eclectic pieces that flow together and more on creating separate worlds within each song. Lovely wingspan overall, and excellent organic touch to the mix.
|Title [Type/Year]||Acrid Death Fragrance [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY from A Vintage Death|
Yet another one man project but this time we’re treated to a melodic death/doom metal album from Italian project A Vintage Death whom are masterminded by musician Carmine of Hypocrisy obsessed melodic death metal band Rising Moon. Setting aside the similar song structures, programmed drums, and unbalanced guitar recordings there is a sort of rotten early Katatonia-esque vibe to some of these songs, alongside just a hint of early Novembers Doom in the quieter moments. They hooks aren’t quite there yet in terms of lead guitars, but I found the more aggressive ‘blasting’ sections were a very successful juxtaposition to what would otherwise be a somewhat ‘gothic’ feeling focus on record. The title track is probably the biggest ‘moment’ here, strong vocal work and some very heavy sections; If with the pace of the song were tightened up in the last minute… something more deliberately forward, it’d be a triumph for this style. A promising work though the rougher edges and poor layout/artwork detract from a vision with great potential.
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