…From the Tomb 7/20/20: “…endless leaps and forward plans will someday have to cease.”

…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 13th through July 24th, 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:Thaumaturgical Rites of The Damned
RELEASE DATE:July 24th, 2020
LABEL(S):Sentient Ruin/Iron Bonehead
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp [SR] [IBP]

Deadlight Sanctuary finds Norwegian musician and Goatkraft vocalist/guitarist G. striking out on his own and roughing it with this cave-like abysm of bestial doom-haunted black metal a la ‘Drawing Down the Moon’, recent Havohej, and mid-to-late 90’s (demo era) Demoncy. Rumbling tones, a loose-shouldered attack, and gasping bellows all conjure familiar enough territory to start but once we’ve reached the second half of this ~27 minute record “The Eye of the North” shows the dude has much more in his mind-palace beyond olden ways, pulling in some incredible keyboard motions and doom riffs for some of my favorite moments on the full listen. Ritualistic, ominous, atmospheric and almost always on the verge of breaking into captivating surrealism, there is plenty to love here on ‘Thaumaturgical Rites of The Damned’ yet few pieces that push limits hard enough to remember.

The feeling of doom is palpable, evil in its intent and the effect is that of entirely morbid black/doom metal in sublimely eerie form. The only gripe I have with the full listen isn’t big, the double bass drums show their programmed nature on certain parts of “Cloaked in the Lurking Fear” though they are still generally effective. Becoming familiar with this release brought back memories of discovering early Mordor (Che) demos, Demoncy‘s ‘Faustian Dawn’ tape, and Alastis‘ ‘Black Wedding‘ demo all around the same time (~2002) wherein recommendations from others helped bolster my appreciation for black metal’s greater atmospheric intent. Of course Deadlight Sanctuary is less primitive in sensibility, or at least less naively constructed and smartly keeps the rhythms simple yet effective for black metal standards, using mid-to-slow paced death-like dirges and solemn ‘clean’ passages to create space between pieces which are largely intuitive and meandering shocks of black metal that is entirely conscious of the cavern it’d create. Folks who love morbid death sorcery of this sort will recognize it quickly though I wasn’t entirely convinced until I was lost in Side B and loving it.

TITLE:Monolith [Reissue]
RELEASE DATE:July 24th, 2020
LABEL(S):Agonia Records

‘Monolith’ was more or less the breakthrough moment for In Mourning as their collision of groove-stricken melodic and progressive death metal elevated to an incredible point of refinement beyond their debut. Vocalist, guitarist, and main songwriter Tobias Netzell would also sing on October Tide‘s comeback album ‘A Thin Shell’ that same year, helping to bolster this modern and intricate prog-melodeath album’s notoriety. At the time it’d been a ridiculously lux package from Pulverized Records with a lovely red vinyl plate and/or super jewel box edition, a case style I’d never heard of ’til then. This isn’t a new version of the album by any means but a reissue on a double LP set and digipack version to celebrate its ten year anniversary and the excellent folks at Agonia Records have put out a long-awaited second run.

Returning to the album ten years later I guess I’d say I’d been harsh on its case back in the day, it is an accessible feeling record to be sure but a strong alternative to following Opeth towards their prog rock element and an easy recommendation for folks who love Omnium Gatherum and Insomnium. This is quite a popular album and for good reason, you’ll see the color variants are long gone by now as In Mourning have put out some incredibly big album since 2010, the most recent of which I’m a big fan of. This one has great potential to win over any and every fan of progressive/melodic death metal variants. Check out “The Poet and the Painter of Souls”, I’d say it is the song that holds up best for its intense intro and faster paced kick-off.

RELEASE DATE:July 20th, 2020
LABEL(S):Into Endless Chaos

Although Leipzig, Germany-based blackened dissonant death/thrashers Evil Warriors had gone off the deep end on their second album ‘Fall From Reality’ back in 2018 this latest EP finds them weaving artfully within the abyss of time and space. All manner of reality is stretched and gymnastically portrayed as ‘Schattenbringer’ trade in pure void-conjuring dissonant abyss, reaching an incredible peak intensity on the 9 minute epic “Wahrheit”. Veiled, Occvlta, and a hint of Ascension all bleed together into Evil Warriors‘ sound, which is hard to describe in static terms beyond profound strokes of dissonance with a black/thrashing basal rhythmic interest. I’d like to group their modus with that of Witching Hour as well as the madness of early Nifelheim. The EP is essentially three songs but a ~22 minute experimental noise track added as a bonus track extends the listen to 45 minutes and is nice enough, though it doesn’t feel entirely related to the main three pieces beyond its psychotic atmosphere. I appreciate the greater progression from their second album to this work much more deeply affected by the modern dissonant edge of black metal though it isn’t a cerebral or affecting experience. This is made up for by way of mystifying energy, exuberant brutality and incensed performances. Easy to recommend but it won’t make quick friends with impatient types.

TITLE:Harvest: Songs of Autumnal Landscapes and Melancholy
RELEASE DATE:July 24th, 2020

Martin van Valkenstijn‘s work in Mosaic grew from a seedling most would describe as a deeply spiritual extension of the self by way of minimalist neofolk experimentation and spoken word. Or, I suppose if you do not know any German it’ll sound like an intoxicated man rambling on in odd cadence with the occasional acoustic guitar jangling nearby. I don’t mean that in a negative sense but I do mean to imply that this compilation (or, two compilations) is entirely challenging music created with a mindset of pure freedom, you won’t hear a moment of constraint beyond the man himself, working through dramatic folkish-yet-alien ideas. The first ten years of development are collected here by Eisenwald because they’d largely been cassette only releases. Consider this comprehensive of Mosaic‘s most experimental phase, even extending beyond the material originally found on the ‘Harvest | The Waterhorse’ (2015) compilation tape and including all of the stirring ‘Samhain Celebration MMXVI-MMXVIII’ (2018) compilation. So, everything besides ‘The Waterhorse’ demo from 2013 and the ‘Old Man Wyntar’ (2014) LP. This ends up making sense as definitive compilation if only because the two halves fit together in theme and performance.

Again, if you do not speak German the early demos contain largely spoken word and subtle instrumentation and if you are new to pre-‘Secret Ambrosian Fire’ Mosaic it will largely be surreal, disorienting and lacking an explanation of spiritual context. I’d followed the rabbit-hole of this band for quite some time after searching out related rarities from Valkenstijn‘s intense (and very underrated) blackened death metal project Alchemyst though it’d taken me a while to understand it as an outlet and a constantly evolving project, an entity more than a defined being, at least until things began to shape into full-lengths. The more recent style of Mosaic will come across more recognizably in the later half of the compilation, where I’d say “As the Fields call from the Grave” is inspiring and exemplar of the atmospheric black metal side of Mosaic. If you’re not sure what to think of any of it, know that my own appreciation for it comes from a place of experimental psychedelic music more than folk metal.

TITLE:A Solitary Plan
RELEASE DATE:July 24th, 2020
LABEL(S):RidingEasy Records

Thomas V. Jäger is the vocalist and guitarist for Swedish stoner doom metal band Monolord who’d gotten their start back when RidingEasy Records was Easyrider Records, whipping out three solid full-lengths before signing to Relapse. Looking back at that early roster I’m impressed at how much gold the label ended up touching early on, for sure I’ve long been able to trust their ear for lasting value regardless of genre, although I’ll admit I wasn’t sure what to expect from Jäger‘s solo joint. His vocals aren’t typically the major focus of Monolord, usually meeting the watery standard for Sleep-esque stoner/doom metal; ‘A Solitary Plan’ definitely doesn’t feature his signature nuke-toned guitar riffs but the syrupy vocal effects persist throughout most of the recording, adding a psychedelic late 60’s folk rock edge to the experience.

Intimate by design, and in message, yet filling a gigantic hall with reverberations much of ‘A Solitary Plan’ reminds me of Ice Dragon‘s more ballad-prone era before they’d start to move away from traditional doom metal altogether. You’ll have to crank the record a bit to expose the nuance and timbre of Jäger‘s voice, this initially felt like a bit of self-conscious burying of real tone but it’d end up being more of a stylistic choice. A bit retro but sorrowful as ancient doom, “The Bitter End” and Vietnam-era desert swagger of “It’s Alright” provide some of the more intentionally cathartic (or, as the artist suggests, therapeutic) speaking directly to difficult experience or empathy for the human condition. I was generally into the majority of the 7 song ~half hour record but even in such a succinct form it drags a bit around “Drone” and “Goodbye” where I’d eventually push on through towards the considerable finale of “The Bitter End”, a fine way to close out the spin. It is a fine place for Jäger to start and the songwriting is worthy of a solo project, though I can’t help but feel like one or two songs in this style might bring a sort of “Planet Caravan” vibe to Monolord‘s sound as well.

RELEASE DATE:July 24th, 2020
LABEL(S):Unique Leader Records

Kansas City, Missouri-based technical death metal quartet Ahtme have been around since 2005 getting their start as a deathcore five piece (under the name The Roman Holiday) their early days found ’em playing what I’d have described at the time as “JFAC-core” back in the day but this second full-length under the new name (since 2015) finds the band focused on intense tech-death brutality and less prone to breakdowns and such. Their style today compares well with earlier Psycroptic, or at least when that band began to experiment with more groove focused methods and time signatures. I wasn’t the biggest fan of ‘Sewerborn’ (2018) but I appreciate the mid-to-late 2000’s technical death metal influence upon their sound as the edges of prime Decapitated are all over this second album alongside more obvious deathcore and tech-death mergers. This isn’t really my kind of death metal record lately, the straight forward vocal style tends to lose the narrative for my own taste, but I appreciate the machine-like precision of the performances and their ability to approach signature movements via heavy harmonic whacking. Tons of fine detail to pick through and sharp technique to consider.

TITLE:Defender Destroyer
RELEASE DATE:July 21st, 2020
LABEL(S):Fighter Records

‘Defender Destroyer’ is the fourth full-length from this post-Iron Dogs project by way of Jo Capialicide who has generally leaned into classic anthemic heavy/speed metal sounds and fairly straightforward ’84-’86 English Dogs style metalpunk. ‘Defender Destroyer’ leans into those sing-along traits making for a keen sound but a faster-paced record than last years ‘Manifest Destiny’. Love the vocals, all of the straight-up hardcore punk riffs and speed metal action finds Capitalicide in top for but the drum programming is somewhat robotic sounding with heavy emphasis on the bass drum hits which feel mechanical and intrusive as the album spins on. The more time I spent with this album the more I’d start to feel like several of the songs are far too similar in structure and approach, where only a bit of melody separates the first four or so songs. Even if the drums are off and some of the pieces are repetitive I cannot deny the infectious UK82 and Oi! influenced verve of ‘Defender Destroyer’, I had great time with the melodic side of the album and would recommend it to anyone into early 80’s speed metal and faster almost melodic hardcore-edged sounds.

TITLE:Las Historias
RELEASE DATE:July 24th, 2020
LABEL(S):Electric Valley Records
BUY/LISTEN:Electric Valley Webstore

Argentinian heavy psychedelic doom metal band Las Historias would find their trio and their serious Sabbath groove potential around 2018 and they’ve refined that core jam-based blues rock informed sound to a decent standard on their self-titled debut for Electric Valley Records. It is a fairly short album at just around 31 minutes and the main buzz about it, beyond the psychedelic spread ass on the cover art, is the effects-drenched treatment of blues that guides its largely instrumental expanse. “Frankenstein” is a fine introduction to what Las Historias are all about, nasty as they are loud and loaded with screaming retro guitar sounds. The peak statement in terms of just filthy, stank-on-it guitar jams is for sure “Mayhem and Sex”, a familiar yet characteristically theirs mountain of a jam. Short but sweet, nothing about ‘Las Historias’ is complicated beyond the string of classic effects it’d taken to build thier way up high and I’d appreciate that simple-but-effective approach. A meditative yet filthy experience that is easy to recommend to any fan of jam-heavy psychedelic rock/doom metal hybridization.

RELEASE DATE:July 13th, 2020
LABEL(S):Nuclear War Now! Productions

The first of two war metal split LPs from Nuclear War Now! Productions this last week, and probably the one with the most recognizable bands, features Canadian warmongers Antichrist‘s first new recordings since 1994 and Estonian mutants Goatsmegma still riding high from their debut full-length last year. Bestial black death of two very different kinds can be expected. Antichrist bear the chaotic ancient death metal mark of late 80’s bestial death classics still presenting coherent and memorable riffing that is as intuitive as classic grindcore but delivered with the classic extreme metal cut-throat spirit. Goatsmegma lean more towards the noisome side of the spectrum, leading with some riffless bellowing attacks where the drumming and deeper attack of the vocalist generally provide the major force for movement. I’ll always pick a favorite on any split and this time around it is no contest, I love Antichrist‘s ‘Sacrament of Blood’ and this new material is an unexpected slugger here just beyond the mid-year point. That’ll be the major reason to grab this one for my taste but Goatsmegma‘s side is not bad at all either.

TITLE:Dead Christ Prayer
RELEASE DATE:July 13th, 2020
LABEL(S):Nuclear War Now! Productions

Another brutal split LP between a long-standing (previously long-dormant) fixtures in the antisocial hatesphere of war and bestial black metal (Aske) and a relative newcomer (Witchcraft) where this time around we’ve got two Finnish band. Right off the bat I already know I’m not the biggest Witchcraft fan as I didn’t like their half of a split with Perverted Ceremony last year. Their material hasn’t changed drastically, still ragged bestial noise with that is constantly spiraling the drain. Aske doesn’t brutalize the listener right away, instead opting for a short intro and two 5-6 minute pieces focused on cutting riffs and deeply fixated vocal presence. In looking up Aske‘s well-curated Bandcamp and checking through their 90’s material it is remarkable to see the artist having picked the project up after many years of distended case and still finding reasons. The slower, doom-paced “Kurnugia” is the strongest song of the bunch as it lulls the mind, screaming and writhing until their purpose has stung. I’d get this if you’re interested in the best introduction to either band, they both bring considerable energy and unquestionable darkness.

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