…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 [June 6th through June 12th, 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]||Enhailer / Black Pyramid [Split LP/2020]|
|Burnout Records||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp|
We’ve treated to a couple of incredible split full-lengths coming out this week and this crossing of swords between Akron, Ohio trio Enhailer and underrated Northampton, Massachusetts trio Black Pyramid. Each band combine psychedelic stoner/doom metal with sludge heaviness to create their own unique brands of doom and oh man, do I love the Black Pyramid side of this record. One hulking 15+ minute track featuring their own signature take on early Electric Wizard pushed to Revelation-esque levels of cathartic prog-doom metal neuroses and then cinched up into a quaking High on Fire worthy seance. To think it has been seven years since they put out their third full-length and called it quits before coming back in 2015, these guys have always been special songwriters but could never seem to hold onto a drummer long enough to get somewhere ‘big’ with their grooves. I’d say “The Quantum Phoenix” does just that, managing one of their finest pieces to date.
Enhailer are a band I’d never really cared about before this release, they’d always seemed like the typical instrumental psychedelic doom/jam band that many musicians break out in their garages when bored. I believe this is their first set of songs with a third member as well as the first release to feature a vocalist, adding a ton of personality and a split between -(16)- style shouts and easy going psych-doom metal singing. The vocals are solid enough, good bit of variation, though I did not see any need for the spoken word samples used in each song with the exception of “Death on Speed Dial”. This split offers what I’d consider the finest set of songs from Enhailer to date, their sharpest performances and most coherent and effective jams as well. I definitely lean towards Black Pyramid‘s work simply because I know and understand their gig better having been a fan since their first record but Enhailer surely hold their end of the bargain.
So, if you know either band you can’t go wrong here and if you don’t know the other they’re in the right ballpark enough that it’ll all be one great big hit with most stoner/doom metal folks. High recommendation for this one if you’re a big circa 2000 stoner/doom metal fuzz fan and need something of that ilk… and with feeling.
|Title [Type/Year]||Echoes of a Dying World [EP/2020]|
|Everlasting Spew Records||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Instigate are a metallic hardcore influenced brutal death metal band from Italy comprised of key members/songwriters from Bloodtruth who’ve enlisted Demiurgon‘s (also on Everlasting Spew) vocalist as well as studio session work from drummer Kevin Talley (Dååth, Feared, ex-Dying Fetus) for this debut EP. ‘Echoes of a Dying World’ is fairly short at three songs but you’ll get what they’re all about by the end of the spin — 3-4 minute brutal death metal songs with some hyper metallic hardcore riffs within. Think of (newer) Dyscarnate‘s tough exterior but with more of a deathgrind focused sound. I’m not the biggest mosh metal fan these days but I generally like Instigate‘s lean into heavier, bigger grooves especially on opener “Obliteration”. The rest of the EP a probably a bit more brutal than the opener suggests but you’ll get the classic 2000’s grindcore feeling right away. If you’re a fan of Misery Index, early Lock-Up and enjoy metallic hardcore influenced brutal death (but not deathcore) I’d recommend this debut.
|Title [Type/Year]||Fall Into Dementia [LP/2020]|
|Awakening Records||PREVIEW on YouTube|
After ten years Medellin, Colombia based death metal band Casket Grinder have finally put together their debut full-length, ‘Fall Into Dementia’, a brutal but patently ‘old school’ death metal record in the style of Monstrosity, Sinister, and early Vital Remains. Although their sound is pretty straight forward and just hits hard front to back the riffcraft is the main spectacle on ‘Fall Into Dementia’, while the progressions are fairly simple to start by the time “Behold the Abominations” rolls around the rhythms begin to grow distinct and increasingly frenetic as the album pushes towards the second half. “Impending Lust” is a fine example of the sort of death metal that remains timeless, blasted out and slightly melodic riffing crafted using both opposing melodies and easily blended movements that all appear as one great swarming wrath. The only reason I didn’t dig deeper into this record was more-or-less because the songwriting largely blurs together in the middle of the disc and doesn’t start to introduce any really effective energy until “Hunger in the Morgue”, probably one of the bigger standouts on the full listen as it reminded me of an older Embalmer song. If you can hang with ’94-’98 style death metal, stuff that verges on old school rhythmics, technical touches, and brutality but never goes fully haywire then this’ll be one of the finer death metal records you’ll hear this month. I enjoyed my time with ‘Fall Into Dementia’ immensely, every moment is a blast with a smart-assed riff always around every corner, though I did not find the experience particularly memorable otherwise.
|Title [Type/Year]||Split [Split LP/2020]|
|Ván Records||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Surely a sign that we’re going to get a new The Ruins of Beverast release sooner or later, this is the second of two split releases for the project so far this year. The first came in the form of an 10″ EP (‘Don’t Walk on Mass Graves‘, 2020) featuring a mountainous contribution from underrated death/doom act Mourning Beloveth and this 12″ split LP comes with a side from Icelandic atmospheric black metal project Almyrkvi whom we’ve not heard much from since their debut in 2017 due to members focus on bigger records from Slidhr and Sinmara. Garðar S. Jónsson is a fine guitarist though I’m sure most folks will come away from thier half of this split marveling at what wondrous atmosphere he’s created handling the keyboards and such himself this time around. “Asomatous Grave” is haunting on a primal level throughout and a remarkable opener for the record yet the odd traipse into electro beats near the middle of the piece just wasn’t my thing. “Managarmr” soon builds high atop the peak of the previous song, elevating by way of astrally-source stairway and trance-woven guitar layers. Their side surely isn’t a monument of riff so much as it is a set of very effective movements that build atmospheric values ever upwards.
The ~13 minute celestial expanse of “The Grand Nebula Pulse” kicks off The Ruins of Beverast‘s side of the split, slowly introducing grit-rubbed basslines and monastic pulses. This is truly some of the most psychedelic material from Alexander von Meilenwald to date, menacing and ritualistic in its merger of various inter-instrumental tensions. The presentation verges on darkwave for a moment but ultimately serves as a ritualistic dark ambient piece, not far from the world of say Equimanthorn circa ’94. “Hunters” is a black metal song but not a return to the oldest of ways for The Ruins of Beverast, around the 2:40 minute mark an ear-worming doom riff moves front and center whilst the devotional background vocals swell, this break before going full blast shows perhaps a fresh direction for black metal-edged material in the future. An exceptional and harrowing song that inspired me immediately with its incredibly lain layers and aggressive “Schwanengesang”-esque intro riffing. Though the black metal piece is a thrill, I’d really gotten more out of “Silhouettes Of Death’s Grace” on the Mourning Beloveth split, though it is odd to consider each song came from the same artist. I continue to be an absolute fanatic for von Meilenwald‘s craft and tended to favor his side of the split in general but I felt this was a great matching of two superb artists. Very high recommendation for this split.
|Title [Type/Year]||Hapeleptic Overtrove [LP/2020]|
|Willowtip Records||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Though they were largely unrelated to the death metal leaning trend-surge of extreme progressive instrumental groups in the mid-to-late 2000’s (see: Sleep Terror, Blotted Science, etc.) Behold… the Arctopus were yet indisputably extreme and therefore often mentioned in the same breath as that particular wave of emergent progressive death metal arms-racing ilk. Midi-tight precision, ‘flow’ focused patternation often amounting to discordant nonsense, and the unusual use of a Warr guitar (via Colin Marston) set the New York-based project apart. It’d be an important jumping off point for artists who’ve certainly made their own distinct mark upon modern technical, progressive, and extreme music since their ‘college band’ days. So, why keep going back to this earliest and most scholastic formation of needled to high Hell progressive music? It is really a matter of void, of doing what others are still not doing (or, doing well at least) and making music that undoubtedly sound like nothing else.
‘Hapeleptic Overtrove’ demands that it be experienced as a captured performance, seated and in the right mindset for something challenging and performed to an inhuman standard. Unpleasant chaotica for some and a gloriously unknowable vexation for folks prone to analysis and wonder, the Behold the Arctopus of today is more interested in the -experience- of their noodling rather than the adrenaline-blasted surgical speed of their earliest works. Drums have evolved to complete unorthodoxy, to the point that I’d more loosely describe them as percussion. And as much as I’d love to delve into the minutiae of the guitar work it is surely beyond my understanding of theory, I’ve found that this band in particular deserves to be seen while heard because the physical movements needed to perform this level of musicianship is a vital part of the ‘language’ spoken. Would I recommend the ‘Hapeleptic Overtrove’ experience? Probably not to the average person who’d consider ‘metal’ their primary musical interest, but any seasoned fan of Caspar Brötzmann, Gordian Knot, and Spastic Ink will likely understand the need to sit patiently and squint hard ’til enlightenment.
|Title [Type/Year]||Indian Summer Brought Mushroom Clouds [LP/2020]|
|Shadow Records/Regain||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp|
Terrestrial Hospice is a Polish black metal duo featuring Skyggen (Tortorum, ex-Thunderbolt) on guitars/bass/vocals and Inferno (Behemoth, Azarath, ex-Damnation) on drums. ‘Indian Summer Brought Mushroom Clouds’ is their debut full-length and despite this their on-album chemistry is remarkably clean and in step. Comprised of two old pros, the Gdańsk based duo are fully in tune with the classics on this well-produced and entirely focused early-to-mid 90’s style black metal record. This should suggest a healthy obsession with classic Norwegian black metal style, but nothing cheaply abrasive or particularly ragged; Terrestrial Hospice are raw in personality rather than any sort of homespun or broken rendering, their debut is clean yet powerful as one would expect considering each member’s history. Without question their strength lies in the mid-to-slow paced pieces, not all that far from the hypnotic mid-paced swings of Funeral Mist of late, where slowing the attack a bit reveals a taste for both black metal and heavy metal classics. “Pyromaniac” is a fine example of this. A fine debut yet not so distinct that I have much to say about it, it’ll be a satisfying record for fans of Thunderbolt and pre-’94 black metal in general.
|Title [Type/Year]||Głoryja Śmierci [LP/2020]|
|Godz ov War Productions||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Hailing from Minsk, Belarus and bearing the wildly difficult to spell moniker Ljosazabojstwa (“breaker of fate”) do not shatter the mold when it comes to merging aggressive mid-paced black metal pieces with slower death/doom metal tirades a la earlier Necros Christos and Doombringer. When they are in thier death and doom metal mode on ‘Głoryja Śmierci’ I’d say Ljosazabojstwa are generally at their best in terms of performance. Most every song has a strong structural set of riffs, the patterns are classic but not ancient or too primitive, and there is some valuable ‘old school’ energy whenever their death metal side pulls up to a stronger pace. For a 45 minute album with just five tracks it is worth noting each piece hits around 7-10 minutes long; This long-winded form of composition isn’t unusual but doesn’t feel entirely justified in purpose, they’re just long songs for the sake of keeping things reasonably balanced and ambitious. For my own taste ‘Głoryja Śmierci’ is neither remarkable nor exceptional, just a solid black/death metal record that is at its best during its most squarely mid-paced death/doom metal influenced sections.
|Title [Type/Year]||Vespertine [LP/2020]|
|Dark Operative||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
‘Vespertine’ will surely not make sense without context, you can vibe with the pieces and imagine the spaces the song titles refer to but you’ll have missed the point. This Will Destroy You is essentially a post-rock group but they’ve expanded into all manner of applications and in this case ‘Vespertine’ is a musical score specifically composed for a chef Jordan Kahn‘s Vespertine restaurant a unique building worthy of 2-Michelin Stars and specific awards for atmosphere. So, this score is pure atmosphere meant to be placed and looped in various parts of the restaurant and it has been since 2017. If you’d like to experience it live it’ll be around $100/plate, alternately you could throw this on your phone and walk around the appropriate parts of your house and see what strikes you. Beyond creating a bit of an adventure for yourself I’m not sure of the utility of a restaurant score could be but I particularly loved “Kitchen” as it felt aimed at inspiration and “Exit”, a euphoric walk through doors previously only reserved for leaving places of worship to use the bathroom. If you’re curious about This Will Destroy You I’d rather recommend their self-titled or the two volumes of ‘New Others’ as a strongest introduction but for anyone looking for calming and euphoric ambient music this’ll be a strong choice.
|Title [Type/Year]||The Birth of Hateful Existence [LP/2020]|
|Slovak Metal Army||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Formed in Slovakia a decade ago but not truly in gear until around 2018, Slovak quartet Dominion of Suffering offer a fairly standard blend of modern death and black metal influences on their debut full-length. I use the term ‘full-length’ loosely because the record is just barely over 26 minutes long though I wouldn’t get too caught up on that distinction. It is a solid enough listen, the drums are a bit loud and artificial sounding when the double bass really gets rolling. The heavy use of reverb on the vocals makes for some interesting swarm-like effects on certain songs but I’d found Dominion of Suffering were far more effective when mid-paced rather than blasting it out. That’ll come down to preference, and no doubt fans of the brutal spirit of Polish death metal will appreciate this variation of it. The whole thing is very brief for a full-length and feels slightly unfinished as a result but the full listen is well-crafted and features a sharp and professional render.
|Title [Type/Year]||Continua [LP/2020]|
|Black Lion Records||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp|
Yet another black/death metal crossover this week but this Australian quintet stands out for their considerable mixture of melodic death metal and aggression, landing their sound somewhere along the lines of early-to-mid Hypocrisy. The big draw here on their debut full-length after about five years of quietude is the strong use of melodic death metal techniques alongside modern death metal guitar work when pertinent, nothing ‘old school’ and cave recorded but still unexpectedly aggressive as a general rule. Most every song on ‘Continua’ goes hard and hits into it right away but they rarely go full blast without finding some core melody along the way. This ends up being vital for repeat listening as it becomes more evident that guitar-driven late 90’s melodic death metal is a key component of what Nemesium does. “The Dawn of Retribution” and “Annihilation Prophecy” in particular channel the old ways (see: Gates of Ishtar) but the majority of ‘Continua’ chugs around a bit a la Black Dahlia Murder or adjacent. I appreciate their take on the style including the need to really punch certain songs out, it just didn’t always work for me. Moderate recommendation to fans of melodic death metal old and new.
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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