…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 [May 23rd through May 31st, 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.
|Title [Type/Year]||Nullity [LP/2020]|
|Pelagic Records||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp|
No doubt Boston atmospheric sludge/post-metal group Lesser Glow were onto something uniquely achieved with ‘Ruined’ back in mid-2018, it’d been a strong enough balance of post-metal’s weightlessness and the heavier leanings of modern sludge but their personal touch upon the style arrives here on their second album, ‘Nullity’. The angular bark-and-riff rip of ‘Ruined’ now melts away into a surprisingly adaptable set of skills, leaning into deeper ethereal and heady passageways while still capably surging up a storm for effect. Although it’ll lead the mind towards the early 2000’s, I’ve found atmospheric sludge metal the best cumulative description of what Lesser Glow manage here on their second album. It doesn’t exactly fit as there are some additional elements and influences pertaining to their sound including alternative metal, atmospheric doom metal, post-hardcore, and even a few pieces that feature Jerry Cantrell-esque vocal harmonies.
The tone and the expanse of ‘Nullity’ steadies along the lines of Minsk or perhaps a less mechanical Dirge, right at the crux of two similar worlds that’d force the quintet to grow musically and pull away from the screaming mud. ‘Nullity’ is the classic follow-up in the sense that it persists with ‘more’, more of their best traits expressed through bigger highs and lows. What is heavier is now heaviest, what is melodic is now their most melodic and accessible. This’d all be an overblown mess in the hands of most post-metal bands yet Lesser Glow prove themselves adaptable in realizing the potential suggest on their debut, finding haunting and exceptionally dark pathways to a bigger, better ‘self’. “Fostering This Nullity” is probably the most impressive mouthpiece for their darker-yet-softer approach, featuring soft and hooking melodic vocals alongside a brooding sea of watery guitar lines. It crawls along with such charming irregularity, weaving between complex vocal patterns and the thundering mid-paced drive of an impressively rendered bass guitar tone, that I’d end up leaving the song on repeat for its steamy ‘Selfless’-era Godflesh sullen soul and twisted loose Isis-esque lilt.
‘Ruined’ grew on me the more I’d let it do its thing, as is the nature of complex-woven modern sludge metal releases, but ‘Nullity’ is enough of a leap that it’d appealed to my Neurosis-obsessed ass immediately; Not for sounding like them but for crafting pieces that bring that high-level dramatic scope each time. Not every song finishes its thought in the most gorgeous way and they’ve not gone “all the way” with the clean-sung catchy alt-metal pieces just yet, but the full listen is varietal-yet-oppressive enough that it feels as if it were crafted with the classics of atmosludge in mind all the same. Exponential growth from one of Boston’s finest post-metal machines that I’d give high recommendation of for those inclined.
|Title [Type/Year]||Riders of the Wasteland [LP/2020]|
|Hell’s Headbangers Records||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Why’d it take a war metal band like Violent Hammer fourteen years to put out a full-length? After two demos in 2006 and 2007 (featuring ex-Mythos and Belial guitarist) it looks like a good chunk of the line-up jumped off to focus on cranked crust-thrashers Ydintuho and the others formed melodic black/death band Vinnfrost. I figured their heads weren’t all into it just yet, the line-up wasn’t right and it was a matter of putting the time into what inspired them most, ‘Riders of the Wasteland’ isn’t a forced reunion, a ‘comeback’ or whatever it is a chest thumping primitive death/blackened grinding state of readiness that’d taken years to prepare for. This isn’t just another numb-fisted blast n’ spanked out black/death metal album though it’ll definitely fit in with fellow Hell’s Headbangers warriors Abysmal Lord for the barking into the void vocals as well as riff heavy brutalists Antichrist Siege Machine. Where Violent Hammer stand out is honestly just for the sake of not writing the same fuckin’ song a hundred times in a row. There are actual riffs here, thrash noodling, Blasphemy throttling, punkish refrains, and you can most definitely hear the love (and muscle memory) of classic European hardcore in the guitar patternation. This helps a pretty straight forward and brutal rip of a record stand an inch or two taller than your average war metal chest puncher. Biggest compliment I could give ‘Riders of the Wasteland’ is that I could listen to it twice in a row. Well, what I mean is that the ~26 minutes that it is kicking around leaves me wanting more and I was always happy to flip it on repeat. Doubt it’ll win over a war metal denier but anyone even slightly inclined will enjoy the slightly less traditional guitar work and heavy as shit sound.
|Title [Type/Year]||Mob Justice [LP/2020]|
|Self-Released||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp|
A strong voice in a slowly rising sea of Power Trip influenced brutal thrashers these last five years or so, southwest New Jersey based quartet Paralysis set themselves apart while strengthening their vision on this second full-length since forming in 2010. ‘Mob Justice’ embodies the confrontational severity of classic east coast hardcore in the early 90’s, going metal but not quite touching early metalcore in the process. I’d compare them closest to my old go to German crossover thrashers Erosion in terms of riffing, breakdowns certainly jam up in the furor but they’re all thrash appropriate ventures that never chip into the ‘easy’ dearth of groove metallic hustle.
Are you gonna remember Paralysis in a week? Well, yeah, the mid-paced thrash crunch of it is satisfying but not-so complex and that’ll sell anyone with the right inclination into its graces. I’d suggest the primary reason you’ll cling to ‘Mob Justice’ beyond the first impression is going to be Jon Plemenik‘s cuttingly savage vocal performance and likewise if you’re a 90’s hardcore fellow the ease of their specific blend here is unprecedented. The part that’d sold me was the end of “Onward to Slaughter” where the double bass kicks in and riffs sling out, classic as Hell metallic hardcore chunking and none of it stupid or listlessly brutal. The swinging fury of “Tombstone” and the agony of “Yet I Stay” clicked with me above all else in terms of riffs but when it came time to feel the beat I’d found myself loving the double-bass wallop of “Vessel of Behavior” even more and kinda wished they’d found more opportunities to kick it up on the full listen.
For my own taste I’ll generally lean towards what bands like Take Offense are doing with catchier Excel style stuff but, I was ~three spins deep into ‘Mob Justice’ when it’d start to truly stick with me. Looking beyond style points and mild semblance of other Cro-Mags and crossover influenced bands Paralysis‘ second album stands on its own as rad mix of hardcore punk and thrash metal. A repeatable, moshable, and hard-hitting listen when given the chance to punch with its full weight.
|Title [Type/Year]||Revel in Lunacy [LP/2020]|
|Sevared Records||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
This one came out a couple of weeks ago but I’d wanted to mention it all the same since I’ve been returning to brutal death metal quite a bit more these last few months than I have in years and Putrid Pile is a name I recognized from back in the day. And I mean way back nearly twenty years ago when MySpace bedroom bands were the new rage with the kids and brutal death metal drums were so fuckin’ triggered that it wasn’t such a big deal that Wisconsin-based musician Shaun LaCanne used programmed drums for his gory brutal death metal solo records.
Though he was initially influenced by Shawn Whitaker‘s likewise solo brutal death metal project Insidious Discrepancy and pushing out a similar ultra-Suffocation thump to start Putrid Pile was never quite as technical and no doubt his guitar work kinda settles nearby classic Nile and Cannibal Corpse at their most brutal. We’re talking building blocks here as no doubt there are better modern or timely analogues but you’ll get the idea, the synchronization of it all is brutal yet mechanical where all of the flair and meaningful phrasal moments are communicated by way of riffs that are intensely locked into the drum patterns. The too perfect and noxious double-bass hits do become irritating at certain points but I’ve been listening to this kind of shit long enough that I know I’ll like it more for that unique whack of the drum machine down the road.
The big riffs that shocked the turds outta me came with “Fit Subject For a Murder” where I’d gotten a hint of Azarath in the the blast n’ break moments beyond that song I’d say “Gore and More” has one of the more satisfying launches into song I’ve heard in the last several months, hell most of ‘Revel in Lunacy’ flings at you just as a brutal death metal album should, like a very wet face-hugger. “Savage Lust for Blood” is the jam to recommend first if you’re not familiar with what Putrid Pile are all about, you’ll get all of his over the top brutality and well-practiced guitar work without any pretense throughout the full listen but that’d be the song that sums it all up sweetly.
|Title [Type/Year]||The Impalement [LP/2020]|
|Self-Released||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Another record that came out some time ago but hit my inbox recently, ‘The Impalement’ is the debut full-length from Impalement the black/death metal masterwork of Swiss musician Beliath who is best known for his contributions to current Bethlehem drummer Torturer‘s (who provides session work here) black metal band Mor Dagor. The title track that kicks things off is what I’d consider a fairly standard Dark Funeral-esque approach to black metal, ceaseless blasting hammers and semi-melodic black metal arrangement otherwise, yet as the album pressed on it became clear the melodious aspects serve the full listen in a major way. The constant double-bass drumming and very similar range of vocal patterning make for a relatively dry full listen to start, the performances strike their intensity up to a 10 in the first few minutes and there isn’t much a ceiling left to come down from after that point.
Guest contributions from members of Belphegor and Cradle Of Filth make sense here as the aim of the album isn’t far from either band’s earlier modus of modern death metal intensity and performative black metal movements and aesthetics. Though a few of the songs on Side A were samey, “Alma Pater” broke things up a bit and I’d appreciated its placement on the tracklist. With that said by the time the otherwise inspiring “I Am All” comes around I’d often be ready to move on to something else as the constant brutality from the drums became unchanging and often at odds with the music written atop it. ‘The Impalement’ will have what I’d call a ‘norsecore’ feeling to it because of that insistent blasting. The Thy Primordial-esque melodic black/death metal moments that Impalement brings are somewhat few and far between but I did appreciate the notions suggested by the guitar work throughout.
|Title [Type/Year]||Idols [LP/2020]|
|Listenable Records||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp|
Note that this technically came out on May 22nd but I had to include it here. Describing a band like Swedish youngsters Chronus shouldn’t be such a difficult task yet they’ve thus far skated the line between retro genre-rock, modern alternative metal, and theatrical Ghost-esque hooks that it becomes difficult to hear the ‘heart’ of the band above the din of their respectable mainstream ambitions. No doubt it was their imagery that’d had me thinking of Mastodon to start but only the classic rock influenced modern rock songs you’d find on certain parts of ‘Crack the Skye’ and/or ‘Once More Round the Sun’ and you’ll understand what I mean once you are familiar with Chronus‘ vocalist’s phrasing. There is a sort of airy, AOR-esque feeling to some of the songwriting on ‘Idols’ that I don’t fully enjoy yet I cannot deny the slick-but-subtle hook of “My Heart is Longing For You” or the Queen circa ’77 stomp that kicks off the otherwise sing-along tilt of “Pharos”. I suppose if you’ve every wanted a ‘heavy rock only’ Mastodon or more of that Ghost covering ABBA feeling you’d gotten from the extras on ‘Infestissumam’ you’ll get something a bit more subdued than either on Chronus‘ second album. I had a good time listening to it and sussing it out but there was not point on the full listen where I fell in love with ‘Idols’, despite plenty of meaning oozing from the lyrics the music itself doesn’t feel fully formed or distinctly inspired just yet.
|Title [Type/Year]||Enevelde [LP/2020]|
|Terratur Possessions||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp! [May 29th]|
Here we have an absolutely unexpected treat of an atmospheric black metal album from the mind, and by the hands of, Misotheist vocalist B. Kråbøl who has done essentially every bit of work on this epic of ‘Enevelde’. A slow, foggy sweep of atmospheric bluster and menacing blackened snarls, much of this album uses presence for greater power just as Kråbøl‘s other project does, never appearing too eager to release fury without musical merit. The Trondheim, Norway-based musician is not entirely lone in this world as he’s enlisted some impressive guests by way of Whoredom Rife‘s vocalist K.R. (on my favorite track, “Forringelse”) and some guitar work from Nosophoros from Mare on “Daukjøttet”. These are substantial moments on an album with only four songs and spanning ~40 minutes in length yet Kråbøl is the central figure in Enevelde‘s universe all the same. As much as I liked ‘Misotheist’ back in 2018 I’ve found myself swooning over the contents of this record far more in recent weeks, indicating a much finer and repeatable product with homebrewed feeling yet cleanly enough render to bask in. A moderately high recommendation for this one, despite not having much to say about it.
TERRATVR POSSESSIONS · ENEVELDE – Daukjøttet edit
|Title [Type/Year]||Descend to Purity [LP/2020]|
|Karisma/Dark Essence||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
When I’d first fired up this second album from Norwegian diabolī Acârash I’d done so blindly, completely in the dark in every sense, and no doubt the corner of the mind whilst adjusting to the dark is where ‘Descend to Purity’ thrives best. It’d be reductive to call these Oslo-based fellowes work black n’ roll and be done with it as they’re surely in the same family of bands as Vreid, Tulus, and certain Satyricon releases yet their own take on infusing sinister heavy rock and stomp-paced doom into a core black metal spiritus is worth more than a simple filing away under “blackened rockemusikk”. The vibe is all in the creep n’ crumble of each song and in this sense it might make sense to reference certain Furze or Loits albums where the intent to incorporate more doom-rock moments was a clear goal, rather than band together more obvious comparisons.
Semblance aside it is the slinking, darting, and ear-catching guitar forward songwriting that is distinct here on ‘Descend to Purity’ where, again, the guitar work is a major driver for its easy moving swing, swagger, and occasional punched up true black n’ roll moments. Even though I’d felt it was a bit simple and somewhat repetitive in its motions to start I’d blink an eye and already be halfway through finishing Side B before I’d even thought of turning the record off. This is some small testament to the easy, trancelike sway of Acârash‘s songwriting, a hypnotic and unsettling experience at once. I would definitely recommend this LP if you’re at all attuned to the bands mentioned. My choicest pieces of the lot would have to include the intense sledge-forth of “Steel Hunter” and the doom-tinged intro to “Goat, Skull, Ritual Fire”.
|Title [Type/Year]||Poccolus [LP/2020]|
|Inferna Profundus Records||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Originally released in 1996 and considered one of very few classics in the scant mid-90’s black metal spheres of Lithuania, ‘Poccolus’ is also a fine example of pagan black metal before the parameters for its musical style were so typified and generally set in forms. Despite the remaster this is a raw experience that’ll recall the early days of “symphonic” black metal for its sleepy rhythms and gently set melodic device. The only thing that separates this reissue is the choice of a 12″ vinyl version or a digipack as an alternative to the out of print original Hammerheart Records CD and a 2006 smaller re-up. Despite the smaller issues with its raw sound quality ‘Poccolus’ is a reasonably forward-thinking record that appears timeless when revisited today. “Ugnis Kyla Virs Azuolu” is probably my favorite piece for how complete and immersive it is but if you’re not up for an 11 minute black metal song go for “Rudens Misko Snabzdesiai” a good mix of aggression and keyboard work.
|Title [Type/Year]||The Fear [EP/2020]|
|Shadow Kingdom Records||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp|
Fresh out of the gates and readied with dream-like chunks of catchy heavy metal in hand, Blood Star is a pure heavy metal side project from guitarist Jamison Palmer (Visigoth, ex-Deathblow) who pulls equally from United States mid-80’s power metal surge as well as the flux of Judas Priest influenced bands beyond their earliest 80’s hits. ‘The Fear” is an introductory single from the group that provides a couple of real sharp hooks and makes an insane case for more to come. “The Fear” has a sharp post-NWOBHM speed metal throttle to it that eagerly introduces the melodic capabilities of vocalist Madeline Smith who aims for a Stevie Nicks (er, Cauldron?) softness rather than a Leather Leone pure metal belt-out moment to start out but the incredible “Tortured Earth” remedies this, and that major ’85 Chastain moment is well worth the price of admission here. Stoked for whatever this band does in the future as long as it is as catchy as these two pieces.
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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