…From the Tomb 7/06/20: “Wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space.”

…FROM THE TOMB is a weekly feature in the form of a list grouping short reviews for albums selected from the current weeks new releases. 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: grizzlybutts@hotmail.com

Here I present a grip of new releases from this week [July 1st through July 10th, 2020]. 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, lasting value is the major goal in approaching each piece. 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:Mind Control Broadcast
RELEASE DATE:July 3rd, 2020
LABEL(S):Argonauta Records

Here we’ve got a recording of a stream put on by a website containing live takes from Austin, Texas sludge metal group Monte Luna who’ve prepared these three demo songs being readied for an upcoming album. They’re a trio now after having been a duo for some time and they still play a junked-up form of stoner/doom influenced sludge metal. I get that these songs are still in the works, that it was a stream broadcast, and I admire that some of the sales (from the completed album, I assume) will go to charity to keep Austin venues running during the current virus-induced stasis within the United States. A vote to keep the arts alive is always something I’m enthused over but eh, I really wasn’t feeling this one from a completely objective standpoint. “Blackstar” has the right stuff, good point to start, I’ve liked their two records well enough thus far so this song has that familiar slightly morbid stoner swing to it with a bigger bass chunk blowing everything out. “Rust Goliath” drags along without really hitting upon the sweet spot they’d intended, they’re an inch away from finding the right harmony — This is the song with the most promise, for sure. Whatever they’re trying with the vocals on “Fear the Sun” is a total nope on my end, the puked wailing is just so painfully off and doesn’t work. Studio’ll help that no doubt but it just sounds like he can’t hear himself. Best place to start with this band is their self-titled record from 2017, this one is a hip curio but not a best foot forward.

TITLE:Chronicles of Decay
RELEASE DATE:July 3rd, 2020
LABEL(S):Black Sunset/MDD
BUY/LISTEN:YouTube Music [Stream]

Bremen, Germany based death metal trio Soul Grinder formed in 2018 with the common goal of ‘old school’ death metal style. For a self-produced debut this is generally the work of professionals, very market-ready stuff in terms of sheer ‘clean’ sound. I’m not entirely sure what their version of OSDM is but ‘Chronicles of Decay’ offers fairly well-polished groove-heavy death metal with a fair amount of ‘The Beast’-era Vader riffs and some light Cannibal Corpse influence flinging around. Catchier, groove metal fed pieces are front-loaded giving the impression that Soul Grinder are more or less a modern Polish death metal band (in style only, they’re German). Most of the album is mosh-heavy, straight forward, and just kind of plain beyond the half-thrash songs, such as “March of the Dead” which sounds like an ill-advised Pro-Pain song from the early 2000’s. Tried to connect with this record but it never really hit above average for my own tastes.

TITLE:Unworthy Adversary
RELEASE DATE:July 3rd, 2020
LABEL(S):Dawnbreed [Cassette]
BUY/LISTEN:Dawnbreed Store

Israeli blackened death metal duo Deathsiege have my favorite release of the bunch this week on thier second demo tape ‘Unworthy Adversary’. Independently released in late April but now making it to cassette thanks to the fine folks at Dawnbreed Records this seven song ~12 minute blast of furious death noise isn’t war metal but it’ll no doubt appeal to fans of the most primitive and violent sources of black/death fusion around. Concrete Winds and Ascended Dead are good references to start but throw in these folks’ own pedigree, including the underrated Har, Kever and Svpremacist. Up front the biggest kick in the pants here comes from drummer A.M. who is undeniably talented and one of those raw drummers who aren’t faking any of their shit, the live in studio feeling of the drums takes me back to basement shows and garage practice just enough to bring his rush of technical, blasting and brutally dynamic performance straight through the skull. Vocalist co-guitarist J.S. lands the spin in war metal territory to some degree but I’d gotten the snarling barks of peak Nunslaughter in there too, somewhat. Rabid and impressive stuff, I think it’ll make waves despite the pretty small run of tapes (which are likely sold out by now) but just like ‘Primitive Force’ keeps delivering, I think these guys will grow legs once they hit the right ears.

TITLE:The Final Exhumation
RELEASE DATE:July 10th, 2020

Now -this- is old school death metal and virtually unknown stuff outside of France as well. ‘The Final Exhumation’ is a remastered demo tape from 1996 when Bordeaux-based quartet Disabled were inarguably at their peak performance level and putting out their tightest, heaviest riffs. Think along the lines of early Sinister, Monstrosity and that thrashing approach to brutality we’re all still starving for in 2020. The band had released a polished-up demo compilation back in 2012 but (as the story goes) in late 2017 artist Chris Moyen (aka Thorncross) had found a pre-production demo recorded before their final 1997 EP. How does that even make sense? Eric Moyen, his brother, was the guitarist for Disabled. Beyond the history and freak unearthing of the damned thing, it fuckin’ smokes. Pure garage-grinding death metal, frantic and intricate but always focused on brutality and a thousand riffs-per-minute attack. At around 30 minutes long this is essentially a full-length record and the remastering sounds sharp enough to free the tape from its age slightly but they’ve thankfully kept the dry demo sound intact, no overdubs or cranked polishing. This is probably my biggest recommend on the list this week, few things hit me more righteously than 90’s death metal demo tapes and this is a damned brutal one.

TITLE:The Fever Syndrome
RELEASE DATE:July 10th, 2020
LABEL(S):Seeing Red Records

Meridian Dawn is an internationally reaching project with easily understood goals, wearing their melodeath intentions in obvious and bold ways while pushing a considerably modern version of the old Gothenburg methodology. Musician Antony Hämäläinen had (arguably) been the right guy for Nightrage during his tenure as (then third) vocalist for the melodic death metal supergroup but around 2013 he and drummer Jo Nunez (Firewind, ex-Kamelot) took off on their own to form Meridian Dawn with Into the Moat (a popular mathcore band) bassist Nick Ziros. Their first cuts were definitely aiming in a commercial metal direction with covers from Type O Negative and Fear Factory on the back-end of ‘The Mix Tape’ (2014) EP and we’d not heard from them since ’til this full-length was ready. Their style here is far more polished and sets out upon a mix of dark metal hooks, early-to-mid 2000’s melodeath modus, and a bit of that power metal spirit keeping things light and moving forward. Yeah, I mean I don’t belong within a mile of this kind of stuff beyond the odd Insomnium or Omnium Gatherum record but I did like this a bit more than the last several Soilwork records, for what its worth. Catchy stuff, sharp lead guitar hooks. My only gripe(s) with it were that the drums sounded artificial when the double bass drumming sped up on “It’s All a Dream” and the vocal patterns from Hämäläinen get somewhat ‘stuck’ in the same cadence for a few similar songs.

TITLE:La Tavola Osca
RELEASE DATE:July 10th, 2020

Narrated, composed, and largely performed by Italian musician Vittorio Sabelli (aka Euronymos) this sixth album after his five volume Six Elements set finds the classical/jazz musician pointing his one-man troupe’s dark revelry toward auld southern Italy in the ancient region of Samnium where ‘La Tavola Osca’ sets its weary head. Now featuring the vocal talents of Progenie Terrestre Pura vocalist Anamnesi for the harsh sung portions of the album no doubt ‘La Tavola Osca’ is meant to be a strong refinement of past efforts that keeps the raw, avant-garde and atmospheric movements from Sabelli enriching over time. Although this project became noted largely for the strong use of clarinet in the past this album focuses much more on its black metal roots than expected, still moving about like an early King Crimson jam with a black metal drummer but now feeling somewhat more like the sort of avant-black metal you’d expect out of late 90’s Germany or the more forward thinking circles in Paris.

Two extended pieces strike the twenty minute mark (give or take three minutes) having run the gamut of classical instrumentation, chorales, and a particularly effective performance from Anamnesi. The spoken word portions of each song generally set a mood but I did not enjoy their interjections during extended listening sessions wherein the album was left on repeat. This is less a criticism of Sabelli‘s voice and more of how flatly the words ring when expressed in a language I’ve never studied. “La Tavola Osca (II Atto)” is the piece I’d gotten most lost within and surely because it throws so much across the span of its ~17 minute run. Though some of the edges are still rough in marrying evocative concept-specific composition with raw, bloody avant-garde metal.

TITLE:Puro Odio
RELEASE DATE:July 10th, 2020
LABEL(S):Sentient Ruin Laboratories

Short and effective at ~5 minutes, this first blast of daimonian hardcore punk by way of Puro Odio hails from the mystic untamed wilds of the Basque region of Spain. Self-released as a 7″ in 2019 and now finding its cassette release through Sentient Ruin — This self-titled EP from the masked, misanthropic and nihilistic duo burns through their fiery stuff pretty quick, dropping into repetitive and trance-inducing slow-motion punk riffs long enough that I’d occasionally lose track of things while working up toward recognizing hints of their blackened hardcore punk intent. Sold spin, nice guitar sound, I’m interested to see what they do next.

TITLE:Tribute to Atrophos Vol. I, II, III
RELEASE DATE:July 10th, 2020
LABEL(S):Atypeek Music

Queen Elephantine are an experimental kosmische-minded psychedelic rock and doom influenced collective on their usual full-lengths but on the three volumes of ‘Tribute to Atrophos’ they are an improvisational jam band feeling their way across extended and intuitive trance-like experiences. Volume I has some uninteresting guitar runs for my taste, so I’d tend to favor the third volume where the groove shifts more dramatically throughout. Between the three volumes there is just under two hours of jams and so far you can purchase the first two volumes as a set. Dunno how valuable it’d be to really dig deep into this one beyond recommending it if you’re at all into psychedelic music and improvised jam sessions. If nothing else make sure you give Volume III a chance.

TITLE:Amadeus Street Warrior
RELEASE DATE:July 3rd, 2020
LABEL(S):Symmetric Records

I spend at least a few hours every day listening to retro video game soundtracks, I’m just not a sophisticated enough bastard to put on classical music. So, this chip tune soundtrack for a fictional video game from ex-Firewind keyboardist Bob Katsionis was an interesting prospect. The first thing that jumps out at me is the different packaging for each format, even including a 3.5″ floppy disk, and the exuberant if not typical 80’s styled artwork. Recorded using a modified VST plug-in, limiting to 16 channels and sounds using MIDI composition the result is pretty authentic. Drum sounds are more on the Super Nintendo side of things but the modulation reminds me of Sega Genesis games like Elemental Master (see: “The Castle”). Now if you’re familiar with Katsionis‘ work over the year you’ll undoubtedly recognize his upbeat vision and perhaps even some of the key changes typical to his songwriting in various projects. At the very least you’ll get a bit of the video games that influences his power metal ideas, which in turn influenced this video game soundtrack. I’ve no doubt geeked out over this since receiving it not only because the concept of the faux video game is solid enough but the OST format captures many moods, creates strong setting and manages to be catchy as fuck.

If I missed your favorite album from 2020, whoa! E-mail me or hit me up on Instagram 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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