…From the Tomb 2/03/20: “Ouranos falling from above.”

…FROM THE TOMB is a weekly feature in the form of a list grouping albums from the current weeks new releases with short reviews for each. These albums were overlooked for full review for any number of reasons with the most common reason being constraint of time. I try to cover as much 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 grip of new releases from this week [February 1st through 7th, 2020] with no specific genre focus or theme. This ends up being the most effective way to cover as many releases from 2020 in a timely fashion so things don’t bottleneck at the end of the year. Most of these albums made it here to …FROM THE TOMB due to time constraints for processing long-form reviews or because a paragraph or three’s worth of insight was all that was necessary. If you’re not into the selection this week, relax! This’ll be back every 7 days with more new releases from different styles, genres, etc.

Hey! Don’t dive in thinking this will all be shit just because these records aren’t getting full reviews. Quality control is an important part of this process and the focus of each entry places emphasis on expressive, meaningful, and ‘heavy’ releases that have some potential to hold value. I might not always be the target but you could be. Thank you! I am eternally grateful for the support of readers and appreciate friendly and positive interactions. 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.


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Artist DARK POETRY
Title [Type/Year] Specimen [LP/2020]
Deathhammer Records BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

‘Specimen’ is the debut full-length from Cyprus based quartet Dark Poetry who’ve by most accounts found their own voice through a form of psychedelic metal that takes heavy influence from the rhythms and melodies of traditional Middle Eastern music. Rather than steering your mind towards Dark Buddha Rising instead turn towards a mixture of mid-career Alchemist‘s Australasian airiness, Zaum‘s meditative movements and then reel it all back in towards simpler modern sludge rock. There are some latent extreme metal elements and some more driving moments but most of ‘Specimen’ dirges at a mid-pace using circular arabesque rhythms to develop a trance-like state that is perhaps too ‘present’ and focused to lull the listener to sleep but not aggressive enough to feel forced.

There are moments that appear ready to burst into alternative metal cheapness or some silly 90’s groove metal tribal stomp (see: “Your Own God”, “Reborn”) but these are empty threats, the band don’t necessarily push into anything so dated or commercial for the bulk of the record. That said, these songs may offer twisting and seemingly complex rhythmic patterning but the full listen is rooted in simple, subtle melodic devices and cyclically introduced variations. ‘Specimen’ does end up being an easy listen with excellent sound design and a tracklist that flows meaningfully together (well, outside of “Reborn” which feels like an approximation of thrash metal) but it is never a mind-blowing experience. The rhythms work but it all feels quite bare, as if it could be hugely psychedelic or use more traditional instrumentation to really spark to life the hip-swings of the guitar work.


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Artist BANNWALD / URUK-HAI / DRUADAN FOREST
Title [Type/Year] Kingdoms Lone Gone [LP/2020]
Antiq Records BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Dungeon synth is both a disturbance and a great wonder to me in the sense that some releases feel like the privately idealistic soul of the artist is exposed through their fingertips whereas other acts… simply shit out ambient music because they’ve found an easy, non-committal medium to contribute to. Each of the three artists here express serious intent with their pieces which vary greatly in voice and style but still fall under the grand umbrella of austere and ageless dungeon synth music. Druadan Forest of course draws my eye in first because ‘Dismal Spells of the Dragonrealm’ was a great highlight of my 2019 and my appreciation for the ambient side of V-Khaoz‘ work grew a great deal as I tripped my way through this projects discography. “Tuhat Tähteä Iku” explores some of those ethereal, descending atmospherics he’d explored in parts of the previous Druadan Forest album but this time evoking the night’s sky, stars as numerous and vivid as crystalline snowfall by torchlight. His use of repetition is subtle, hooking each song but never blatantly. I find myself wanting to repeat the piece again before it ends for the sake of it releasing me unwillingly. 

Uruk-Hai is a project I’ve known of for quite some time due to random searches for Tolkien influenced music but more directly because I was a fan of Vinterriket in the mid-2000’s (mostly between ‘Winterschatten’ and ‘Lichtschleier’) discovering Uruk-Hai and Paysage D’Hiver from split releases during that time. Because of these associations his music reminds me of the days where I’d have to hunt for music day after day, in stores and online distros, rather than have it fall into my idiotic lap in great heaps. Far less subtle and working with a more verbose language of cinematic sounds than his two peers, Uruk-Hai presents two tense and mayhemic themes centered around the orcish race, one a hymn of treachery and malice and the other a great marching fanfare for the birth of orcs from stone and slime. 

Knowing absolutely nothing about Bannwald other than he is Austrian, just as Uruk-Hai is, I’d really no expectations of his work. “Fortress I” and particularly part II set me right there, having a flashback to my first playthrough of Kingdom Come: Deliverance covered in horse shit and walking at a slug’s pace because I’d stolen an entire castle’s worth of swords, whistling like maniac trying to find my horse and run. “Fortress II” sings in my mind and I could leave it on repeat for hours and stare into whatever void causes me to daydream. The polyphonic quality of ‘medieval’ music tends to align the warring halves of my brain into glorious battle, the creative and the practical making a slimy crimson stain to feed my imagination. The entire compilation drives this effect in stunning fashion and all parts feed a cohesive theme despite their differently voiced pouring selves.


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Artist WILCZYCA
Title [Type/Year] Wilczyca [LP/2020]
Godz ov War Productions BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Wilczyca (“she-wolf”) are a raw black metal duo out of Warsaw, Poland who’ve managed a fairly common feat on their debut, a reasonable resurrection the homespun lo-fi sound of early 90’s black metal. Stylistically speaking the fidelity inevitably steers the conversation towards the typical Darkthrone comparison but there are a few songs here that are sophisticated enough to point towards Ungod or maybe the earliest tapes from Mastiphal. I wasn’t all that convinced by this album to start, “Ego Memini Inferno” has some strange drum overdubs (programmed elements?) that put an awful foot forward. Their campaign of terror began to wear on me when the title track hit; The classic punkish progression of “Wilczyca” is satisfying and memorable enough that I’d found myself shifting from moderate repulsion to thrashing convulsions within the span of 2-3 minutes. That’d be the peak of my interest though the sleepier Side B edges into post-’93 black metal atmosphere slightly. Lo-fi, 90’s, anti-Christian, all make for an unoriginal but commendable full listen.


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Artist NECROCHAOS
Title [Type/Year] Crawling Through Cadavers [Demo/2020]
Godz ov War Productions BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp

German musician Eugene Kohl (aka Gnev, Tsorn) has been intensely prolific between several doom (Crypt Witch), drone (Deathcarrier), funeral doom (Sinister Downfall) and black metal (Donorhall, Hexengrab) solo projects since about 2016 but Necrochaos marks his first venture into death metal. Although ‘Crawling Through Cadavers’ is a demo the sound quality is clean and polished enough to be seen as an EP. The songwriting isn’t much of a thrill but the pacing of each song carries the experience nicely. The average death metal fan should find this appreciably dynamic though Necrochaos excels most within atmospheric and mid-paced moments whereas the drums sound a bit artificial at higher paces. Some of the tracks on ‘Crawling Through Cadavers’ actually reminds me of labelmates Kingdom for the blackened edge applied to some of the more dissonant rhythms. The style of the project leaves future releases open for growth but as a standalone release these are impressive first rips into blackened death metal threads. Each of the ~4 minute songs work well in succession and lay solid framework going forward. Only thing I’d like is a more spacious, realistic drum sound.


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Artist GOATREICH
Title [Type/Year] Godfetor [LP/2020]
Ashen Dominion BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp! [2/05]

‘Godfetor’ is the debut full-length from Goatreich, a brutal blast of martial black/death from the collective talents of several Ashen Dominion artists. Though it gives off some healthy Archgoat style and vibes on the war metal spectrum throughout, there are a few mid-paced songs in the second half of ‘Godfetor’ that serve to even out the rapacious attacks that otherwise define the experience. What I’d appreciated about Goatreich‘s style both in preview and on deeper listens was the focus on the riff and rhythm without resorting to sloppy or overly punkish filler to generate faux intensity, instead the impact of the riffs create more than a plain implication of motion. ‘Godfetor’ will seem understated if you’re expecting a real atomic event based on their imagery though there are a few songs on here that could just about hang with the most brutal hits of modern war metal bands like Antichrist Siege Machine or Abysmal Lord while simultaneously leaning further into the black metal side of things.

The last three songs hold most of the interest and impact of the full listen, with “Circle of the Whores” being the most memorable piece as an outlier in pace and tone. This makes it harder to leave the full album on repeat because I’d find myself wanting to jump right to the end of the record where Goatreich are at their most thoughtful and sinister. The bigger picture of the album’s dynamic development as it plays is satisfying but war metal or this type of black/death metal however you’d label it needs an extra spark of the imagination to really stick with me. A fine record in the moment but I’d want something more enriching or at least more of those mid-paced creepers.


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Artist YGG
Title [Type/Year] The Last Scald [LP/2020]
Ashen Dominion BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp! [2/05]

Another black metal collaboration from the Ashen Dominion collective, Ygg offer a characteristically Ukrainian take on atmospheric naturalist black metal much in the style of Hate Forest, Walknut, or some of the earlier Wolves in the Throne Room records. I was attracted to their self-titled debut back in 2011 primarily because one of the key members, Vrolok, had left Nokturnal Mortum right after their ‘peak’ intensity had been reached, and I’d found the album art compelling. ‘Ygg’ was an alright debut but at that point their sound was too reminiscent of a then very prolific period of Drudkh‘s career and there was a glut of atmospheric black metal that made all releases feel somewhat redundant. ‘The Last Scald’ comes as a return to that sound after nearly a full decade spent with other projects (KZOHH, Ulvegr, Elderblood). Though I’m only familiar with the English speaking side of the Ukrainian modern black metal pantheon most everything that come from this circle is of high quality, both in terms of fidelity and giving some unique voice to well established black metal styles.

‘The Last Scald’ splits itself into four pieces that range from 11 to 17 minutes long, each song given more than enough room to breathe its folkish, earthen atmospheric black metal voice. Smaller details really count within atmoblack music and though Ygg‘s guitar and vocal style are very normal for this style of music the additional synth, jaw-harps, and touches of traditional instruments help to build larger melodies or shape progressions. The spirit of pagan black metal is there for sure but the style is a bit more modern than that usually suggests and they’ve not relied on folk-metal tropes for the greater voice of ‘The Last Scald’. The changes to Ygg‘s sound since 2011 aren’t so pronounced that you won’t recognize their modus, in fact there is little need to experiment since these musicians have several diverse projects that allow for unique expression in several avenues.

So, the fan who’d stuck around waiting for another Ygg album is treated to a strong follow up, a little bit more downtrodden and with some deeper atmospheric layers but really only introducing more capable lead phrasing without flipping their project into a new direction. I appreciated that steadfast adherence of style because the long gap in between doesn’t show when the albums are played back to back and having both in a collection allows for a strong showing of personality without unnerving ‘progression’ away from their base concept. “V nadejde o vechnom” is my favorite track here and I’d recommend it in preview.


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Artist KROSIS
Title [Type/Year] A Memoir of Free Will [LP/2020]
Unique Leader Records BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Bear with me here as I haven’t given a deathcore release a shot since Despised Icon came out with their second album and the top three search results when googling “progressive deathcore” made me want to hatchet the top of my skull off. I’m mostly kidding, but it is fair to say I’ve no taste for proggy metalcore, djent, or deathcore despite having seen countless bands live as they’ve passed through Portland and Seattle these last twenty or so years. I get the appeal, ornate virtuosic performances that appear inhuman without context; I think I ‘get’ it because the analogues with 90’s progressive metal movement towards heavier groove metal riffing to break things up uses a lot of the same pathways to dynamic movement and conceptual patternation. Krosis do sound exactly how you’d expect, a several generations evolved mix of high-speed djent and melodic metalcore adorned with keyboard/synth accompaniment. That synthesized instrumentation is often more vital to the experience than the guitars themselves here on the North Carolina based band’s third album shows they’re evolving past genre standards towards their own style.

Hey I’ll be frank, even the most progressive deathcore still sounds fuckin’ dunder-headed to me because of my own experiences with melodic metalcore in the early 2000’s. That’d be the major hurdle in approaching a concept album, a trope of progressive music that often tries to appeal to the intelligence of the listener while leaving a scant trail of emotional resonance, and applying that scope to music that is traditionally all about selling guitars to kids in the prime age range for guitar hero syndrome. Krosis approach personal valuation and self-actualization in a responsible manner throughout the parable of ‘A Memoir of Free Will’ and it quickly becomes clear they are intelligent young men with some well-spoken depth to their intent. The personal message conveyed through the lyrics isn’t sour or melodramatic as I’d expected but encouraging a better self, with or without major strife or roadblocks. That said, I’m unable to acclimate to djent influenced guitar tones for an hour long listening session, much less hit the repeat button.

Zooming outside of myself, as the lyrics more or less suggest, the bigger picture finds Krosis reaching longtime musical goals and personal satisfaction through this album and doing so without alienating the standards of progressive deathcore. Of course, as I’d said my sample size for this style is limited to eight or nine hours of research, basically looking for appealing niches within the prog-deathcore tag range. Point being that I may not be impressed with the guitar tone or the rhythm guitar style but there is at least some more earnest level of intent informing the confident experimental side of ‘A Memoir of Free Will’. It almost reaches the ornate levels of polished and knotted rhythms you’ll find in the biggest progressive death metal bands today and I can appreciate that they can get there without losing their deathcore thump, chug n’ squeal assertions. ‘A Memoir of Free Will’ didn’t connect with me beyond the lyrics and Krosis‘ progressive/atmospheric enthusiasm. I’ll continue to keep my mind pried open.


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Artist GOREVENT
Title [Type/Year] Fate [LP/2020]
Comatose Music BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

For their fifth album since forming back in the mid-2000’s Japanese slamming brutal death metal band Gorevent keep things relatively buttoned down. Leaning into their signature heavier mid-paced grooves while losing some of the more frantic whips of ‘In the Face of…’ (2018), simplicity breeds heavier impact this time around. Self-produced and stripped-down, ‘Fate’ lands as a nigh tribalistic punch of slammed-out, Fleshgrind-esque battery of belched-and-roared slugs; A brutal death metal record that not only retains the core personality of the Niigata based band but distills their essence into a potent 25 minute burner.

Gorevent more or less reintroduce themselves with this record, sounding more awake with inspiration compared to their last two records. I personally appreciate the straightforward nature of their style, it isn’t as over the top as many of their peers but also never sounds artificial or convoluted for the sake of ‘bells and whistles’. I could see why some slam fans might find it dry or too mid-paced but since my own taste leans towards late 90’s/early 2000’s brutal death if I’m going to go for mosh music and this fits in that pocket without sounding too bland or imitative.


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Artist THOREN
Title [Type/Year] Gwarth II [EP/2020]
Thoren on Facebook BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp

Back in 2018 Michigan instrumental technical/progressive skronk-death solvent Thoren introduced their ‘Gwarth I’ EP with as much ease as possible, dropping into increasingly complex and fiery dissonance as it proceeded. Two years later we’re treated to ‘Gwarth II’ a sequel that doesn’t have a second to waste reintroducing their frantically shifting mania. Guitarist and main songwriter Anthony Lipari has a talent for finding unsettling shapes and orchestrating them into bungling malevolent spirals of avant-garde technical death metal, on this second half of ‘Gwarth’ the attack is immediate and even more restless than before. The messaging behind this EP suggests it as a ‘logical conclusion’ to the first part but this is a suggestion of broad tonal strokes and not the moment-to-moment harassment that Thoren provide through the anti-cognition ray they’re inventing by way of such rapid-fire chaotic needling.

The natural headspace that shells the traumatized mind during the experience involves a thick layer of Gorguts and will feel kin to any metallic project from Colin Marston and his associations in the last ten years. This feeling may be compounded by the involvement of drum alumnus via chaos lords Imperial Triumphant and the noxious enlightenment of Pyrrhon. Because Alex Cohen and Kenny Grohowski have their own unique approaches and aptitudes with different parts of their kits their performances are only interchangeable for the sake of sounding performed on the same instrument. That isn’t meant as a dig but a real compliment for what Thoren are doing, the anxious and unpredictable streams of consciousness poured into each song almost directly alternate in equal parts for this second EP and the bigger picture begins to throb and flex its weave between foundational techniques, creating its own intensifying wavelength as it expresses. With that said, I really didn’t understand the “open air” provided at the end where acoustic patterns are divulged in a few short bursts. It shatters some expectation of a grand finale but that might be gilding the lily with consideration for how intensely challenging the greater thread of the album is initially.


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Artist DRÅPSNATT
Title [Type/Year] I Denna Skog [Reissue/2020]
Nordvis Produktion BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

To see Skellefteå’s underrated atmospheric and melodic black metal duo Dråpsnatt achieve some beautifully rendered and wholly respectable reissues and first time vinyl and digital releases of their early discography is a joy. Their first record has some of the most interesting provenance as the duo had worked together in some formative melodic black metal bands in the early 2000’s but forming Dråpsnatt meant they were ready to reach for something bigger, more meaningful. The rumor is that they’d had two false starts with albums prior and perhaps that’d been because their vision was atmospheric and allowed unstructured personal freedom. That’ll sound like an odd bed of chaos for such a sweetly rounded Swedish black metal album that speaks the languages of black n’ roll, folk music, post-rock highs, and even some symphonic elements through deranged touches of classicism and unpredictable melodramatic shifts. It’ll sound like the kitchen sink on paper but all of my sputtering is an elaborate bow to the creativity and nuance of Dråpsnatt‘s work.

From that point of introduction my attention focuses entirely toward the vinyl LP version simply because its transfer illuminates greater details and rare as the CDs were in the past, the vinyl version is a brand new event. Most noticeably new artwork Joan Llopis Doménech re-envisions the black and white photography of the original with gorgeous detail and immediately compels the spirit of the recording with nascence, darkness, and natural beauty. The album itself is hard to really pin down into a comfortable niche, think of the more brutish rhythms of Tulus or Sarke and shake them intermittently into the self-titled Borknagar album, applying a Bathory-esque sense of expansion and contraction. A messy description but it’ll make more sense in motion and you’ll likely have more modern references if you’re more familiar with the band than I. The free movement of the album is their own and though Side A is exciting and fresh in the air, Side B has some of the most appreciable revelry in composition (see: “En Sista Vandring”, “Han Faller Plågad Ned”). It’d be fair to say that the elements that make up Dråpsnatt‘s debut weren’t unheard of back in 2009 but that doesn’t factor into its appreciably sustained value over a decade later.


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Artist CODEX SERAFINI
Title [Type/Year] Serpents of Enceladus [EP/2020]
Halfmeltedbrain Records BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

With my mind screaming for some oxygen beyond the tormented musculature and unholy id of metal in floats several bright shocks of red-robed extremists of a cryptic but life-giving saturnine psychedelic order of Codex Serafini. Blustering in bassline first, the shivering fuzz of acid-dripping freedom turns all yellow lights to green with “Liber” counting out fours ’til the shaking voice of the goddess cues the soar of saxophone a mile deep and rising. With their landing pad unfortunate enough to hit Brighton instead of the ocean, this jammed and spiraling heavy psychedelic rock band enchant for just a quarter hour of ‘Serpents of Enceladus’ and it’d end up being exactly the right length to create intrigue, communicate their eclectic-yet-intense style and relaunch without violating any prime directive. The full listen unravels in five parts without interruption reaching full animalistic trance with “Fountains of Enceladus” and braying into the watery hum-und-drang of “Speaking in Tongues”. Brief as the listen is I’ve found it to be enriching as both a palate cleanse and a worthy trail of focus, with the basslines really guiding my trip along the shimmering path they splatter about as it progresses.


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Artist DRITTMASKIN
Title [Type/Year] Sosial Prolaps [LP/2020]
Edged Circle Productions BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Norwegian metalpunks Drittmaskin represent a shocking antichrist for the nearby modernization of crossover thrash, planting their foot in the early-to-mid 80’s and rendering their album as a cross between witching Teutonic thrash metal and the most classic skittering thump of a pre-’83 hardcore punk amalgam. With so many bands basically sounding like either ‘One Voice’ era Agnostic Front or Venom in glam metal heels these days it feels great to slip on a pair of Drittmaskin‘s finest loafers and take a deep drag of their jenkem — The raw scratch of the guitarist chunking out a punk rock take on thrash and digging into a love of everything from Dead Kennedys (“Fuck Reform 94”) to Aura Noir (“Hjertet Mitt Slår”) is something special here that may not be sauced up enough for the more coy stallions raised on modern thrash oats but it is most definitely the right stuff. Think of it like a necro-Norwegian version of that Zig-Zags band I was so nutso about last year. In fact, Zig-Zags guitarist/vocalist Jed Maheu contributes a guitar performance here, providing the melody for a reworked version of “Slime” retooled by Drittmaskin as “Giftlokk“.

‘Sosial Prolaps’ as an appreciably raw and exciting half hour experience that comes from the exact right place, mixing energetic globe-trotting hardcore punk rhythms with dark-thrashing n’ snarling n’ poo-flinging menace upon complacent local and global society. All of this without getting too locked into one channel of metal influence or sounding like a dry-bones Kvelertak cover band. Ah, right, this was all technically self-released back in November of 2018 where the band’s independence had them able to hit Europe with their nukes but here in early 2020 Edged Circle Productions have not only signed them on for second full-length but reissued ‘Sosial Prolaps’ on all physical formats and released a limited run of a new 7″ EP entitled ‘Når Dei Kjem For å Ta Meg’. Chances are you’d never heard of this band until the reissue was announced along with a new album, so if you’re in that boat with me this’ll be a great punch in the arm to discover out of nowhere. 

I enjoy this record and the whole lot of Shit Machine antics on ‘Sosial Prolaps’ enough to be hotly anticipating Drittmaskin‘s upcoming record. If you’re not into metal/punk hybrids I think the experience still translates to thrash fans and has some interest for the deeper addicted black n’ rollers or black/thrashers out there. If nothing else see if the extreme catchiness of “Punkeboms” catches your ear and go from there, I’m addicted to the whole gig.


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Artist MACHINATIONS OF FATE
Title [Type/Year] Machinations of Fate [LP/2020]
Redefining Darkness Records BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

This stellarly melodic death/thrash record comes from a side-project developed back in 2012 between folks who’d kicked off Thorns of the Carrion together (back in the early 90’s) collaborating with one of Internecine‘s original guitarists. ‘Machinations of Fate’ is their ‘Tyrranous Skies’ demo from 2012 with its previously programmed drums re-recorded by Ash Thomas (Estuary, Faithxtractor, Shed the Skin), who’d provided vocals for the project as well, in 2019. I’d done plenty of digging around Thomas‘ greater discography throughout 2018 thanks to that killer underrated Faithxtractor record but I’d never come across ‘Tyrranous Skies’ so it is cool to know what that’d sounded like and that they’ve picked those solid ideas back up again.

I hear shades of early Dawn, the ‘comeback’ era of Kreator in the early-to-mid 2000’s, and a righteous mix of melody and muscle keeping things cosmic-but-brutal along the way. The press release suggests Swordmaster as a point of reference (‘Postmortem Tales‘) and that’d be a bit closer than my own associations, pulling things back to late 90’s Sweden but cutting out the groove-beaten bounciness of that era for the sake of something more thrashing and throttled in motion a la Deathwitch. This is the kind of stuff I love to dig up as it has an enriching sense of melody that avoids saccharine self-involvement by way of death/thrash hurtling it along at a meaningful rip. The bonus track at the end “Celestial Prophecies” has some verses that pull me back towards those early Arghoslent tapes for a second and this’d be the bit to bring me back for those extra listens. Highly recommended for folks attuned to the history of melodic death metal in the United States before plug-eared deathcore kids co-opted it.


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Artist SEVEN PLANETS
Title [Type/Year] Explorer [LP/2020]
Small Stone Records PREVIEW on Bandcamp

Just about every week or two in 2019 I’d receive at least one instrumental rock/metal record and eventually kinda give up on extracting any meaning from the mushy exercise of ’em. It isn’t the lack of vocals that’d drive me away most often but rather the lack of prominent phrasal gusto in many young and talented bands. I salute those who’re passionate about their instruments but cannot bear the lack of sincere instrumental language developed beyond style. If there isn’t a voice to drown out my own thoughts, I’ll bulldoze the whole experience with my own internal noise. Shut me up, already! Hell, I was three tracks into West Virginia heavy psych sojourners Seven Planet‘s third album ‘Explorer’ before I’d even notice there wasn’t a vocalist, it’d spoken their cosmic blues and the easy-riding spirit within well enough.

At it since 2007 and ready to whip up a third album circa 2014 ’til a bout of cancer and life in general saw the band take a few years off to heal, stew, and hone their ideas Seven Planets shake it off with some real energy this third time around. ‘Explorer’ implies they’ve been there, are off somewhere else next, and that deeper shade of impermanence applies to every aspect of life if you’re willing to go there or… sit here within the presence of this syrupy psychedelic rock record as it buzzes and drips from ear to ear. Seven Planets peels in layers of descending potency as a listening experience, and what I mean is that you get the desert rockin’ psych buzz and blues-broken heavy soul of their conjoined purpose up front on those first few listens; From there guitarists Leonard Hanks and Jim Way provide the directorial thread of the album, expressing as the emotional driver for the experience and the spectacle of performance that instrumental music needs to not simply shrink into the background.

I could (and have) spend hours upon hours flipping through modern psychedelic rock records and never felt like I’ve moved an inch from my ass so I’m grateful that ‘Explorer’ took me somewhere colorful, bubbly, and with some screaming kinda mid-90’s soul. Maybe I’d just needed to chill out and spent a few too many hours zoning out staring at the album art but either way, I had a great time sinking into Seven Planets‘ latest. 


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Artist MALIGNAMENT
Title [Type/Year] Demo I [12″ LP/2020]
Purity Through Fire BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

This one-sided 12″ LP version of Finnish melodic black metal band Malignament‘s premier demo ‘Demo I’ was released this previous Friday (January 31st) and the original digital release of the demo came back in mid-October of 2019 but its resonance is one for the ages, as far as I am concerned. The glowing atmospheric pulse of modern Finnish bewilderment and sorrow achieve stirring glances of auld ‘Far Away From the Sun’ gloom on this invaluable set of (now) three songs to introduce the duo’s egress unto the rotten storm of public audience. “Wolf and the Moon” is undoubtedly the piece that’d take these last two weeks away from me, pulling my thoughts away from other music and demanding its warhorse were fed the corpse and blood it’d thirst.

The extra track not included on digital previews, “Bloodlust” is just as majestic as the first two, pulling in the ‘epic’ lead driven feel of the opener and offering a more solemn dirge. The tape and CD versions are sold out so, the vinyl version is what I’m recommending today, before that sells out too. If you’re as big of a fan of the melodic side of Satanic Warmaster, Sargeist and newer bands like Sacrificium Carmen as I am, you need these songs in your head. How many late nights have I yet spent with it, spinning repeatedly in the dark as it flows into my being! Ecstatic torment of the highest order.


If I missed your favorite album from 2020 already, whoa! E-mail me or hit me up on twitter if you want me to review it. If you’re in a band and you want a review of your latest, hit the Contact page and send me a copy, I’ll consider it.

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