…From the Tomb 8/10/20: “Violating the paradox of apologetics.”

…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 [August 8th through August 14th, 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.

RELEASE DATE:August 14th, 2020
LABEL(S):Transcending Obscurity Records

Vancouver B.C. area bound technical death metal upstarts Atræ Bilis bring very slight hints of classic tech-death into thier modern take on the sub-genre, a deeper cut for the groove-stricken and technique obsessed Revocation and Gojira branded generation. It isn’t the most stunning riff album I’ve heard but if we must consider sound design in terms of guitar tone, effects, and shifting moods and textures there is plenty here for folks inclined towards conglomerated globalist modern tech-death sounds, something that will appeal to fans of deathcore as well as the more angular, brutal edges of bands like Replicant. Exuberance is always inspirational in a young extreme metal band though in this case it leads to some fairly dry riff salad along the way; This is no crime but the dichotomy between ambitious compositional detail and incredibly short ‘album’ length at just 23 minutes makes for a full listen that pulls together two handfuls of modern metal gimmickry rather than intentioned songwriting. Post-metal, melodic death, deathcore, prog-death, etc. the gamut is inclusive for sure. If considering this a 12″ EP then good on the band for a sharp, enthusiastic debut release. If considering this a full-length then it is all flash and very moderate in substantive endurance.

TITLE:Charred Field of Slaughter
RELEASE DATE:August 14th, 2020

Bear Mace are a pure death metal band from Chicago, Illinois and well there is no better way to put it than to suggest they sure as Hell sound like it. Nods to Master and Bolt Thrower aside, their polished but still unwashed production sound and rendering from Damien Herring provides a classic Midwest death metal sound. A love of mid-paced riffing emphasizes the more obvious influences of the band, I mean put on “Rogue Weapon” try to hide that weird Warhammer 40K era Bolt Thrower smirk on your face. I definitely didn’t intend to take Bear Mace too serious going in but I totally respect their solid grasp of ’94 death metal, where bands like Morta Skuld, Obituary, and a few others helped keep death metal cranking in kids bedrooms with slower, more brutally heavy groovin’ riffing alongside twinges of doom metal. Doubt it’ll blow minds but ‘Charred Field of Slaughter’ is yet a fine work I was happy to sit with.

TITLE:Alter Ego
RELEASE DATE:August 14th, 2020
LABEL(S):Willowtip Records

Nug are a five piece progressive post-metal band from Ukraine and I believe ‘Alter Ego’ is their debut album beyond an initial single back in early 2018. The music itself is not really my kind of thing as it blends the earlier proggy post-metal style of bands like The Ocean with hints of djent and popular extreme metal aesthetics. The theme itself is interesting for the sake of exploring what they describe as a common affliction with folks growing up, the presence of an alter ego, an actor within that does things unbecoming or unresolved with the ‘real’ person they are. I suppose I’ve had to paraphrase because I cannot necessarily relate to what is described as an illness of conformity. Still, I understand the intended statement. The album itself doesn’t represent this duality of identity apart from a few sludgier pieces that are nearly upbeat in motion. Again post-metal is less and less my thing as the years drag on so take my interest and assessment with a grain of salt. Folks interested in modern progressive metal with an extreme metal edge will likely find more than enough to like here.

TITLE:…And Nothing is Endless
RELEASE DATE:August 7th, 2020
LABEL(S):Witching Hour Productions

While many will consider this second album from sophisticated Polish black metal band Kalt Vindur an ‘occult’ black metal release I’d almost rather deem it alchemical. The quintet’s already quite advanced and tasteful debut is not built upon in iteration but instead the whole of their swaying, oft surprising notions of rhythm are rebuilt. Certain pieces feel quite doomed a la Carpe Noctem, others mid-paced and ornate a la Haar, yet there is some traditional heart here that speaks to both classic late 90’s Polish black metal cleanliness as well as the modernity of current French acts like Moonreich. I know that is a fair number of obscure layers to dig through but the picture Kalt Vindur paint is anything but blurry, always symbolic and intentional in its movements. The way that “Inner War” continues to hold the listener on their seat, an eternal beginning relived at least 3-4 times provides some payoff for paying closer attention to what ‘…And Nothing is Endless’ speaks through arrangement and not simply in the moment feeling. I appreciate a black metal album that insists that I sit and think about it after it finishes, too often it is just a relief to be finished with the lacking dynamics of average black metal acts who’re in love with the sound of their own belligerence. That’d be the most enjoyable aspect of this record, it welcomes the listener and speaks its narrative to all and not down upon them like peasants. Beyond that I think if you’d found the debut lacked some sense of speed and violence the second half of this album keeps the pace up and remedies that thought as the full listens finishes. Beautiful 8 panel digipak CD with a matte finish and fine art from Maciej Kamuda.

TITLE:Prelude to Perversion
RELEASE DATE:August 15th, 2020
LABEL(S):Dunkelheit Produktionen

This one kind of snuck up on me as I’ve only had the album itself for a little over a week now but you’ll understand how I can make a judgement fairly swiftly once you’ve heard it. This debut from German duo Blasphemous Putrefaction is a primitive and deadly event, a ~35 minute donkey punch of primeval, ignorant death metal delivered with the brutally slapping simplicity of war metal. Think of Antichrist Siege Machine or Proclamation and erase the black metal aesthetics entirely and you’ve figured its course out. There is some black metal lineage in their DNA, though, as these guys are best known for their current status in Genocide who released their third full-length last year on Ván Records. This is very simple music that is all about atmosphere, groove, and the rapacity of performance since none of the compositions are delivered as cerebral thoughts, trailing on even as they arrive. I love this kind of stuff and spent way too much time just sitting back as ‘Prelude to Perversion’ hacked it up. Sure I don’t remember shit about it but the attitude and sound are right enough that I had a blast.

TITLE:Created from Death
RELEASE DATE:August 14th, 2020
LABEL(S):Eat Lead and Die Music

Everything about Bull Elephant presents equal measures of sharp professionalism and esoteric, almost cartoonish prog-sludge oddity. ‘Created From Death’ is the second album in a narrative trilogy from this anonymous London, England based act and well I’ve spent enough time with Monsterworks to hear at least some of their hand in there but I can’t confirm it. So, what is the weird bit then? The narrative itself is set at the start of the first World War where the amorphous freedom fighting entity of the first act is dead and now resurrected by a renegade… armor clad orangutan. Think of it like a Wolfenstein plot but with magic beyond the occult as the protagonists wield the power of nature against the brutality of Nazi encroachment. All of this feels a bit pulp, accessible and yet all symbolism is placed with some strong meaning on the part of the artist. The music itself is surely influenced by classic progressive rock and its convergence with all manner of metal interests not specific to any one decade. It took a few listens to really wrangle it all in and hone in on the piece I’d liked best. The rasped vocals and sharper riffs of “Lebensraum” hit a sort of sweet spot on an album that threatens to never rest into any one pocket as it begins. By the time “Perverted Science” rolled in for the first time I think I’d get it, the borderless stylistic reach of the record becomes its own sort of progressive metal, never pretentious but theatrical nonetheless.

TITLE:First Black Communion
RELEASE DATE:August 10th, 2020
LABEL(S):Helldprod Records

Obscure Relic is a Brazilian early second wave inspired black metal act from Deoarsprofanum and Thiago Splatter who are best known for their roles in Power From Hell, Velho and Pombajira. This was a band they’d formed prior to the pandemic and put together this EP over the course of the last year after a quick demo. Now that they are quarantined they’ve created Feretral and released two albums under that name as well. All of this should suggest raw and traditional black metal that was created by instinct and muscle memory, all for the sake of capturing the right mood and feeling which I’d argue they’ve done with this EP. It doesn’t recall the nuclear event in my mind as I discovered Emperor and Immortal‘s pre-’94 releases back in the day but I felt that spirit was intended on some level, urgent and visceral but austere in its malevolent storming arrangements. Ah you know normally I’d just ignore a record like this having bought a few too many and never pulling them off the shelf but the ~18 minute spin and the sheer attack of this CD really has me transfixed. Simple and effective in its expression yet never cheaply presented, I’m looking forward to what they do with a full album.

TITLE:I Djävulens Avbild
RELEASE DATE:August 14th, 2020
LABEL(S):Hypnotic Dirge Records

If you hadn’t already assumed as much, Ov Shadows is a black metal act of the atmospheric variety out of Gothenburg, Sweden who’ve leaned into their melodic side on thier second full-length since forming in 2016. These guys come from a learned point of precision, cleanliness and chaos where the high standards of modern Swedish black metal are met but they are never plainly orthodox in demonstration. Opener “Den Eld Som Tär och Förvrider” hints at some occult black metal feeling in its middle portion but their approach is much more accessible in the sense that lyrics are more vaguely attuned to death prose rather than intently focused on spells, curses, rituals and any particular spiritual doctrine I could figure beyond the implication of the album title (“In the Image of the Devil”, more or less). ‘I Djävulens Avbild‘ is a strong album that didn’t manage to really polarize me either way; Ov Shadows continue to be incredibly capable, precise and melodically vibrant black metal that feels quite standard beyond some brilliant atmospheric conjure. I don’t want that to read as condescending or dismissive, they’ve met a high professional standard and it bears emphasis, my issue is more with the songwriting not catching my ear.

RELEASE DATE:August 14th, 2020

‘Continuance’ is the debut full-length from *deletes folder and walks away* instrumental –ughhhh– death metal duo Fermentor who also represent two thirds of San Diego thrashers Beekeeper. Man I remember buying Cannibal Corpse‘s ‘Gallery of Suicide’ back in ’98-ish and hitting that song “From Skin to Liquid” and really starting to think how fuckin’ cool death metal could be without vocals and to be fair it was because the Webster/O’Brien songwriting duo was ready to go off like a bomb at that point and the phrasing was just pure evil that the piece didn’t even need vocals. I’m not sure Fermentor have crafted anything so luscious here beyond the pure speed and sharp finesse of their interactions, the mood and motion of the music is clearly angled from a thrash metal perspective and this always creates the feeling that I’m listening to a pre-production demo without the vocals added. “The Decay of Western Society” finds a dark spot to exploit but just as soon as they hit one out of the park, “Seventh Circle” really misses the mark as it emphasizes the live n’ bare-assed nature of the recording. A clashing, guttural and belligerent vocalist would really help to bring pace and character to these thrashing death guitar exercises. I don’t think ‘Continuance’ is entirely non-functional but might find its place with listeners as background music for another task that requires energy and focus.

RELEASE DATE:August 14th, 2020
LABEL(S):Nefarious Industries

Titan to Tachyons is a *throws headphones across the room* instrumental technical metal act heavily influenced by free jazz, which should indicate a recording that is improvisational in nature but guided by some sense of predetermined shape. As with most of the art metal coming out of Colin Marston’s Thousand Caves these days the emphasis in the render is intentional and this sets guitarist Sally Gates (ex-Gigan) in the forefront of opener “Morphing Machineminds” suggesting that this is going to be a bit of a guitar strangler but most of these ~8 minute pieces give some alternating vignette between the rest of the trio, including drummer Kenny Grohowski (Imperial Triumphant) and bassist Matt Hollenberg (Cleric) with Trevor Dunn (Fantômas) providing bass on the closing piece “Everybody’s Dead, Dave”. Call me a retarded gorilla if you must but I’ve never been one to really dig into jazz music with any serious intent and while I appreciate the joy and freedom of these instrumentals as they dive into heavier aplomb, they’re all speaking a moderately alien language that is needling more often than it is surrealistic. If you happen to be slightly less of an idiot than I, it’ll no doubt be enriching and delightfully frenetic in motion. That said, if the vinyl was in a record store it’d be something conversational to pick up and ‘sell’ to a more enlightened friend pretty easily between the genre mesh provided and musicians involved.

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.

<strong>Help Support Grizzly Butts’ goals with a donation:</strong>

Please consider donating directly to site costs and project funding using PayPal.