…From the Tomb 8/17/20: “Asymmetric to all rhythms, oblique to all paths.”

…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 14th through August 21st, 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:Contagion of Despair
RELEASE DATE:August 21st, 2020
LABEL(S):Svart Records
BUY/LISTEN:Self Hypnosis’ Site

As more and more artists look to plumb the nostalgia of the 90’s for everything from early nu metal, grunge and back again we’ve seen a lot of artists attempt to resurface the already quite surface level view of industrial music’s inevitable early 90’s slide into industrial metal yet you’ll see in the next few months many high profile releases will simply repeat the mistakes of commercial metal of the past. Be careful not to include ‘Contagion of Despair’ into that mix as this debut album from British experimental metal act Self Hypnosis, who’ve touched heavily upon industrial metal’s influence in their rather progressive approach to myriad forms. The impetus of this project came from Kris Clayton‘s writing sessions for his well-respected experimental doom metal act Camel of Doom, the material had evolved so far beyond that persona it made sense to push further beyond and a collaboration with Greg Chandler (Esoteric, Lychgate) soon intensified the idiosyncratic nature of the material, elevating it via Chandler‘s experience with sound design and unifying it with each musician’s penchant for doom, atmosphere, and progressive streaked work. The easiest way to describe the result is essentially (but not literally) prog-Godflesh, where the sweaty mood of classic early industrial metal conjoins the free-floating schism between sharp-edged atmospheric extreme doom and modern progressive metal.

I know what most folks are likely thinking, “Ah, a side project and/or diversion for fans” but man, this is so much more demanding than that’d suggest. A full 80 minute prog-doom metal opus awaits with four main chapters averaging ~15 minutes a piece and three 3-5 minute interstitial pieces that bond them both thematically and help to transition between four distinct atmospheric spheres. Sounds daunting? Actually beyond the sheer length of the key tracks becoming taxing the full listen is surprisingly easy for such attention-intensive music where polished production values and not so brutally complex arrangements are eased into with great care. Some alt-metal ideas, djent-like tones, etc. do suggest something more commercial to start (especially on the shorter pieces) but as the album presses on I believe fans of atmospheric doom metal variations will warm up to ‘Contagion of Despair’ considerably. The key songs for my taste started with “Scandal”, exemplar 90’s tribalized industrial flair kicked up to eleven and soon ducking into the incredible “Divided” which I’d suggest as the standout piece here overall. This is where I think Esoteric fans will fully feel Chandler‘s presence best harmonize with Clayton‘s vision. That piece along was enough to twist my arm and really start to appreciate what a remarkable effort Self Hypnosis’ debut is. It all sounds a bit niche but I think this one will win a lot of folks over. Also I think more folks should be chasing down Daniele Lupidi for cover art, really impressed with pieces that read strong from a distance and very close up.


TITLE:Where Only Gods May Tread
RELEASE DATE:August 14th, 2020
LABEL(S):Unique Leader Records

Manchester, England-based slamming brutal deathcore band Ingested return with their fifth full-length album of big n’ loud bonking brutality and this one is even more tailor made for the mosh-bro all-over-print crew out there looking up thug slammin’ kick-spinning stuff to dance to. I’m not that kinda bro, bro but I can appreciate their stuff from a brutal death metal aware angle. Production is loud and forceful, drumming is really fine-tuned, and if you look past the dual-vocal stuff a lot of this 50 minute record should work for folks who grew up listening to stuff like Nile. It isn’t really my gig per se but it wasn’t like I slapped the thing off in disgust, Ingested are clearly very talented and in good hands in terms of production and editing. Songwriting peaks around “The Burden of Our Failures” and after that mid-point in the album it starts to feel like they’re recycling a lot of similar song structures, riff ideas, and only really mixing up the vocal work. I figure the band should definitely see album closer “Leap of the Faithless” as one of the bigger successes on this record and maybe focus on that level of dynamism, respite, movement as it’d done a lot to redeem the somewhat tiring second half of a very long record.

RELEASE DATE:August 19th, 2020
LABEL(S):Amor Fati/Entropic Recordings

Woven between the hands of some pretty well-known and prolific musicians in Hypothermia and Laster, Silver Knife is not simply a meld of different flavored waters but a push in unison for the sake of breaking through towards deeper rhythmic sense within obscure atmospheric black metal today. Sure, in essential terms you are getting the sorrowful rip of Swedish depressive black metal severity and the druidic irreverence of Belgium/Netherlands borne lavish grimness combined in harmonious craft but, this’d be far too superficial an observation for the work inherent. ‘Unyeilding/Unseeing’ is often shrieking madness atop too-easily flowing curtains of distortion but this is almost always mere preamble for the coming snapping waves of lurid rhythm guitar work, seeming orchestras of dread bursting with melodic heft that is more often than not indomitable. “This Numinous Loom” breaks into this glorious ‘sweet spot’ quickly, appropriately sounding a bit like Nusquama‘s more severe relative in some sense but it is “Sundown” that finally flings the coffin lid open to let the rays of dark matter curse and coalesce all at the viewing. The hope is that they manage to iteration on this project at least a few times, clipping out the post-rock filler (“Unseeing”) and pushing harder towards the remarkable depressive rock kicks and sublime melodicism of the atmospheric black metal pieces at their most intense. Of the releases detailed in …From the Tomb this week, I’d probably recommend this one most, especially if you were big on recent records from Fluisteraars, Cult of Erinyes, and Turia.

TITLE:Radical Waves
RELEASE DATE:August 21st, 2020
LABEL(S):The Sign Records

Who could possible resist the bounding doom metallic charm of intro “Welcome” on Icelandic desert-rockers Volcanova‘s debut ‘Radical Waves’? These guys hooked me in long before the cowbell n’ jogging group-shouted stoner crunch of “Where’s the Time?” sunk in. Never heard of ’em? Sure, they formed back in 2014 and have been working up to this debut the right way, jamming out and finding themselves in a practical setting (live) before pushing out a record. For the most part you’ve got an idea what Volcanova sound like in terms of 70’s heavy blues with a free-spirited 90’s stoner rock rub but what makes them something special might take a few songs to sink in. Standout single “Super Duper Van” is a fine example of big hooks that come from a unique ear for harmonized vocal pieces and swinging Fu Manchu sized riffs pushing out at a Dozer-rocketed pace. You just can’t feel bad walking away from an anthemic stoner rock song that cuts to a few clops of a cowbell before it ends. “Stoneman Snowman” shows a small glimpse of their space-faring side, “M.O.O.D.” gets a big doomed and pained, and “Got Game” fits in one last desert bump before it ends. All things considered the energetic strengths outweigh the slight lack of variety on the full listen, this’ll be especially true if you’re a ‘song guy’ rather than a full album soaker-upper. Get those harmonies and harmonization reeled into bigger hooks and filth up that bass twice as loud and I think these guys have all the right potential to make big moves in stoner rock/metal spheres.

TITLE:Woeful Litanies From the Nether Realms
RELEASE DATE:August 20th, 2020
LABEL(S):Moribund Records

Best known in Portugal for his work in Sonneillon and Nefret as well as various industrial music projects musician Ishkur pushes towards the occult spectrum of black/death metal with his latest solo project Law of Contagion. Conscious of melody and groove while focusing on abrasive, rhythm-driven black metal ideals much of ‘Woeful Litanies From the Nether Realms’ could be considered fairly standard if not for the interest generated by the clash of the lead guitar tone and the rhythm guitar sounds. These feel a world apart and it often threatens to present the listener with a dimensional rift separated between the ears and presented through curiously harmonious melodic ideas. It is an album of atmosphere that is suffocating around the edges but freely writhing at its core which presents the listener with an impetus to push forward and follow each song to its often rather abrupt cut-off point. Though the album is primarily influenced by classic black metal acts such as Mystifier, Beherit, and Mayhem you would not think of any of them in reference to Law of Contagion, instead the constantly barreling programmed (probably) drumming and mid-paced vocal cadence lend a sort of sleepy, average quality to otherwise exciting Luciferian themes. Though there are some impressive moments here and I really enjoyed the combined effect of the guitar recordings I’d felt there was little worth remembering in terms of songwriting. The major exception being “Cult of the Damned”, the clear standout for my ears.


TITLE:Immortality Through Quantum Suicide
RELEASE DATE:August 21st, 2020
LABEL(S):I, Voidhanger Records

Written and recorded solo during the ongoing global pandemic, ‘Immortality through Quantum Suicide’ is a project born out of Ashbringer’s Nick Stanger’s need to cope with and express the negative mental energy proliferating under the pall of social isolation. The 23-minute record is a stylistic detour for Stanger, diverging from the atmospheric black metal of Ashbringer and the adventurous blackgaze of Wishfield to the oppressive and mind-mangling plane of technical deathgrind. Taking heavy cues from Ion Dissonance but leaning further towards the death than the hardcore end of the equation, ‘Immortality through Quantum Suicide’ run the gamut of technical death metal riffery through a kaleidoscope of quick changes and skewed rhythmic templates. Bolstered by a production job that pushes the guitars into the white-hot range of Rotten Sound and the drum machine to the brink of audible disintegration, it is a wild and exhausting tumble through the overactive brain of an anxious and sequestered individual.

Despite the overwhelming nature of the style in question, momentary pockets of harmonious though ominously clanging guitar provide the arc of the record with some welcome dips in intensity. Stanger’s vocals are incredibly reminiscent of Barney Greenway’s barked performances in Napalm Death, sharpening the impact of the weighty segments and grounding the stretches where the instrumentals skew hardcore or Dillinger-esque mathcore. There are a few twanging 8th strings and some breakdowns that will surely be a turn-off for some, but I thoroughly enjoy the way various stylistic strains tend to find new footing in as chaotic scenery within ‘Immortality through Quantum Suicide’. If your listening diet isn’t regimented to omit the influence of acts such as Ion Dissonance, Converge or Dillinger Escape Plan, then Xythlia provides a blistering deathgrind-template on which to project societal trauma.


TITLE:Exit Strategies
RELEASE DATE:August 21st, 2020
LABEL(S):Dead Sage

You see approximations of post-punk tossed around all the damn time anymore but where is the goth’s nihilistic intellect, the deft hand with a cheap synth? Frailty giving way to anthemic rapture inherent to the collar-popped, eyeliner and spiked-hair adorned side of post-punk arrives in spirit as Chicago’s Theyrgy buzzes in with a surreal haze surrounding the entrance of ‘Exit Strategies’, their debut EP. Members of 13 Flowers, Yakuza, I Klatus make up the crew here with John Doyle‘s vocals being a key distinguishing element. Even if I’d hear gothy post-punk as the most important influence to the first couple songs elements of modern industrial and shoegaze inform the whole, excepting “Walk Away” which feels like an entirely different session/band. The sessions for ‘Exit Strategies’ were apparently improvisational to start, building tight and catchy pieces from those original jams. That all might sound organic and experimental but the end result is very polished alt-rock with an electronic edge. I veered heavily towards “Crack of the Egg” and “Dreamcatcher” which are set up front for good reason, they’re catchy pieces with a definite point of view that feels bleak and most earnestly inspired.

RELEASE DATE:August 21st, 2020
LABEL(S):Primitive Reaction

Precambrian is more or less a direct spiritual successor to Hate Forest, a legendary Ukrainian black metal band many see as the precursor to popular atmospheric black metal innovators Drudkh. In truth their other project Blood of Kingu was probably the original spiritual succession but nonetheless Precambrian have brought the raw and aggressive assault of late 90’s black metal back into view since forming in 2014 releasing a couple of remarkable EPs with a somewhat unusual take on natural themes, keying into geologic time for inspiration. Black and white photographs of geologic forms, striations and composite layering are almost more indicative of underground funeral doom metal imagery at first glance but from the Hate Forest aficionado’s point of view this ‘Tectonics’ has the classic look of one of their records. This is entirely intentional and you can be sure its innards are pure and violent raw black metal with a deeper, almost death metal styled vocal.

“Archaebacteria” picks up almost exactly where ‘Sorrow’ (2005) left off but with a much more present drum kit and tons of gravel applied to the guitar sound, allowing for some atmospheric cinders to flare out as the riffs and roaring generate something even more caustic than Hate Forest‘s early post-ambient works. Naturally a fan of these artists might expect something closer to Blood of Kingu‘s ‘Dark Star on the Right Horn of the Crescent Moon’ from that description but any likeness wouldn’t be anywhere near raw enough in description of Precambrian. You get it, right? Raw, high on the attack, semi-melodic, sleek but ripping, and very much a stripped down anti-social black metal cyclone. I love it, really spent way too much time coming back for several listens and I’d have done a full review if there was much more to say about it. High recommendation.

RELEASE DATE:August 14th, 2020

Cancer hail from Perth, Australia and no doubt some folks will remember their style of modern depressive black metal from the small amount of buzz generated when ‘Into the Heartless Silence’ released back in 2018. I won’t insult the entirety of the depressive suicidal black metal spectrum but I will say that true artists are few and far between, ones that can hope to leave a mark beyond feigned adolescent despair and a bit of hair in their insincere eyes. So, I am not a huge fan of the style having sat through far too much of it back in the early 2000’s and seeing a few waves of fumbling opportunists cull fandom along the way. That said I don’t think Cancer are such an average duo, sure the vocal histrionics are a bit cartoonish and the music itself is nigh traditional otherwise but there are some fleeting moments that kick around a bit of that old Austere spark. The songs themselves are far easier to digest than say, Sadness but at the same time they aren’t necessarily as inventive so you can figure your own way towards any interest via that much information. Give the full six part run of “The Depths” a chance, I found it appreciated in value as it progressed especially the shift between part I and part III. Again, not my kind of thing personally but it was fine when approached with an open mind and at the very least an improvement upon their first album.

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

The space between Primitive Man‘s unexpected debut ‘Scorn’ in 2013 and their follow-up ‘Caustic’ (2017) was filled with a ton of visible musical development, changing artistic sensibilities and a real grasp of artistic direction that’d made that album something special. The trio’s third album ‘Immersion’ comes a bit quicker and runs just under half as long as the previous album, honing in on the strengths of ‘Caustic’ without leaning so hard into the experimental noise, dark ambient soundscapes and incredibly long extreme doom metal songs. As much as I’d initially loved the idea of a more succinct release from the band I can’t help but come away from ‘Immersion’ feeling like I’ve been served an EP’s worth if ideas that represent a step back towards something slightly more accessible or, at least easier to spin and absorb. User friendly Primitive Man conjures a bit of a internal conflict as I’d leaned so heavily into loving the overbearing misery of ‘Caustic’ that this release ends up feeling average.

Allow me to backpedal a bit as I’m not necessarily negating the release due to a lack of perceived artistic ‘progress’. Average Primitive Man is yet a unique and memorable entity, though the sensation of normalcy is disturbing for a band that’d appeared to be pushing the boundaries of sludge music in an appreciable, fresh way. Truth be told this Denver, Colorado phenom still represent true sludge metal’s heart, the absolute grimiest, most disillusioned and destroyed that doom can be without completely collapsing out of musicality. Shrieking guitar feedback, dissonance-fed grinds, and even some unholy blasting wreckage all make for enthralling sonic excess that manifests as sludge metal via extremity of funeral/death doom along the way; This is still enough of a thrill to warrant recommending the Primitive Man experience. The lyrical themes are yet focused on the holistic defeat of a person, seeing limitations in life and accepting them as inconsolable truth. There is great potential for the ruination of a person within an album like this but it is nonetheless only half of what ‘Caustic’ was in terms of its beating served, for better or worse. I’d intended to write a full review for this album a couple weeks ago but the more I sat with it the less it’d really gripped me outside the standout moments of “Consumption” and “Entity”, which I’d recommend.

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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