…From the Tomb 8/31/20: “Spirit’s wrath descending to redeem.”

…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 31st through September 4th, 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:September 4th, 2020
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp / Website

Although I was convinced that this album was fighting fit during preview sessions as soon as I gave this relatively young Swiss thrash metal band a more detailed listen the less I appreciated ‘Holodox’ for its attitude and performances. Musically speaking much of the quartet’s third full-length has the feel of Stone or later Coroner, technical guitar-centered thrash work with clean and dynamic sound. Classic thrash metal’s slightly more technical late 80’s underbelly is a clear influence upon everything Comaniac does and surely something I wholly appreciate as a die-hard fan of all things thrash yet the full listen relies so heavily on danceable mid-paced mosh riffs, jogged thrashing, and poorly developed melodic ideas that it feels a bit more like a too-late to the party band from 1994 or so — Not bad but also not as important or revolutionary as it seems to think it is. This is not a serious slight by itself, plenty of great thrash records came out beyond 1991, but the whole “thrash sucks today because everyone is a lemming” lyrical themes are somewhat ill-concieved and at times come across petulant and ironic coming from an average band without a particularly original take of their own.

The vocals/lyrics drive me nuts via a halfway hardcore bark with a little frogged-up throat manipulation sounding off key and incapable of conveying melody or power; This was especially bad on “Art is Dead” and the too-ambitious intent of “Head of the Snake” where that attempt to carry a tune via the vocalist ends up flattening the impact of each song. Sure, I’m being too harsh. I mean I own a pretty expensive version of Agnostic Front‘s ‘One Voice’ so, a pretty bad vocal can be an acquired taste but it isn’t a moot point when you’re sitting with a 45+ minute thrasher. The post-‘R.I.P.’ era Coroner-sized guitar runs and mix of modern and classic thrash metal riffing in Comaniac‘s hands amount to a uniquely untouched sphere of thrash that isn’t quite ‘tech’ thrash but still fastidious and aggressive. There is some solid power pushed out on each song and the album would really be a brilliant spark if not for the mid-paced attempting to explore unusual melodic ideas along the way. It feels like they’ve got a handle on all of this to start but the yowling vocal and incomplete melodic statements that plague each arrangement feel like a very loose interpretation of late ‘classic thrash metal’ ideology distilled to todays modern thrash attention span, not matching the truer than thou message of the albums lyrics.

Sure, turn the brain off let the vocalist do his thing and focus on the guitar performances and you’ve got a solid B+ grade semi-melodic thrasher with tech-intent. One pass of “Bittersweet” and you’ll understand my overall hesitation to dig this record. Fine, this is still a welcoming event and likely to please the generalist sensibilities of old school thrash heads and new schoolers alike, especially folks who dig stuff like Crisix and Havok. Production from Tommy Vetterli (of Coroner fame) is quite sharp and you can tell the band have been pushed to their brink in terms of the right take and new movements. ‘Holodox’ was also originally slated for an April 3rd release so I’ve had it since early March when it was then delayed until this first week of September. I can surely sympathize with how excruciating the protracted release has been, stretching things to five singles and having to keep up the hype for five extra months. At the very least give it a good once over and I think most folks will see the pros and cons of the full spin immediately. Moderate recommendation.

TITLE:Permanent Winter
RELEASE DATE:September 4th, 2020
LABEL(S):Svart Records

If you’re a fan of black n’ roll, blackened heavy metal, and any uncertain tipping of proto-metallic heavy rock era unto sepulchral extreme metal snarling the growing cock’d ‘Into the Pandemonium’-sized frigid n’ fuming rock of Persekutor‘s ‘Permanent Winter’ offers an unsettling surrealistic nightmare to cringe away from as often as it is relished. Don’t get me wrong though, I love what this Romanian ex-pat lead and Los Angeles-based quartet have to offer as a marriage of Bathory‘s uncomfortable thrashing rock age and the fear of a nuclear post-‘Cold Lake’ world. As far as I can tell the project’s first LP is a ghost in the closet created for the sake of PR, but I cannot confirm this suspicion or necessarily justify it, just a hunch. It’d been entitled ‘Angels of Meth’ circa 2006 via the non-existent label “Thousand Year Reich” who’d supposedly scammed them out of it. The inability to research the past of the band beyond a few dork-ass interviews killed any provenance I’d hoped to find so a full review never really pulled together and the mythos has been well-told. At the very least I can say that ‘Permanent Winter’ is a fantastic “fun” experience that gets its big 80’s metal riffs, punkish bop, and vicious black metallic rock spirit exactly right.

Since 2018 the project has been restaffed via members of Ides of Gemini and Lightning Swords of Death and no doubt this creates some considerable separation between the project’s first three EP releases and this full-length in terms of fidelity (render) and tautness of performances. Otherwise well over half of this debut features songs from their brilliant ‘Arctic Cross’ (2014) and ‘Ice Wars’ (2015) EPs so much of it should be entirely familiar if not louder and more brightly realized via this debut. The severe hard rockin’ power load of “Can You Feel the Frost of Dawn” should have most definitely been the album opener as its grinding, loose-shoulder beats and sword swinging main riff are the most exemplar realization of Persekutor‘s goat-cock rock gig to date. Now if you’d like to take it more serious than that, sure, this album is sincerely evil spirited and full of thoughtful and professional heavy metal songwriting that serves a hook or a big moment on each piece. “Chained to the Tundra” definitely is the moment that’ll cross the line for most folks, a catchy arena rock (via Jane’s Addiction) stomper that might be too tongue in cheek for some and just slightly ill-fitting for an early point on the running order. From that point on I’d felt like the song arrangements become slightly more erratic in terms of shared musical goal but certainly no dips in quality or impact along the way.

Despite the “fun” of the experience there is some appreciably fine songwriting carrying Persekutor to the finish line for my own taste. The rocky bombast and ‘Sabotage’-meets-‘Under the Sign of the Black Mark’ swing of a few songs make a strong enough argument to check this one out and no doubt if you’ve given it a spin it’ll stick on some level. I’ve kept coming back to these big dumb heavy metal/rock riffs and enjoying myself enough that I have to submit to their power and offer some moderately high (or just plain high) recommendation of this one.

TITLE:Spawned in Chaos
RELEASE DATE:September 5th, 2020
LABEL(S):Raw Skull Recordz

Netherlands old school death metal band Burial Remains stick to their Swedeath adjacent sound on this second full-length but this time they’ve introduced a few new members to fill the void left by Fleshcrawl vocalist Sven Gross, who is undergoing cancer treatment. I’ve admired the vocalist’s work since ‘Soulskinner’ at the very least, so quick recovery to him. With the introduction of Wim de Vries on vocals/guitars there is more than a hint of Grim Fate at the helm this time around but the style of Burial Remains continues its lineage of ripping Swedish style 90’s death metal rather than doomed Finnish stuff. This is a solid record, fantastic in spurts as it introduces some ‘The Nocturnal Silence’ spikes into the fray amidst its puking overdriven guitar sound. This probably speaks more to the sensibilities of (earlier) Bloodbath and early 90’s Hypocrisy the closer I listen but there are some intensely detailed riffs runs on this severely traditional 90’s death metal record that’ve ultimately won me over far more than ‘Trinity of Deception’ did back in 2018.

Doubt a lot of folks will outright love the digital-feeling crunchiness of that DigiTech Death Metal sounding distortion because it is so upfront but it’ll be way easier to appreciate on the more sophisticated pieces on the record, such as “Where Death Reigns”, “Spear of Destiny” and the Bolt Thrower-esque “Legions of Death”. Flip over to the cover of Slaughter‘s mania-inducing “Tortured Souls” and I’m actually fully on board for that overblown, strange guitar sound as it screams extremity across even the simplest, punkish groove without sounding like a typical HM-2 blown out death metal band. Huge fan of this shift from the first record to this second one, enormous sound and pure European death metal attack throughout. A high recommendation.

ARTIST:Oxalate / Perpetuated / Blood Spore / Vivisect
TITLE:4-Way Split EP
RELEASE DATE:September 4th, 2020
LABEL(S):Blood Harvest

If you’re up for a quick slip through the muck of northeast United States underground death metal the four bands featured here on this four way split curated by Blood Harvest Records are all entirely solid, noisy as fuck fiends. Blood Spore are the most familiar on my end since I’d really enjoyed their latest EP and they’ve managed the most ‘musical’ piece here with the sauntering Autopsy-esque dread crawls and doom lunges. This might actually be the best thing they’ve whipped up to date and I’m actually pretty psyched to see what the Philadelphia-based band does next. Each band included put out an EP or reissued a demo in 2019 and the cool thing about this split is that these are all previously unreleased or brand new tracks. Oxalate‘s track is frantic, freakish and doesn’t fully come together as one tumbling mess until the second half of the song where the pace picks up just enough to break into some solid riffs. Washington D.C.’s Perpetuated are on the brutal and short side of things compared to the other bands here, opting for a satisfyingly brutal beating of a song a la Corpus Rottus. Great vibe but the song could use some tightening or expansion in terms of it being a showcase for their path forward. Trenton, New Jersey-based quartet Vivisect is up there with Blood Spore in terms of putting a subtle but effective spin on a very familiar sound but these guys are deeper in the early Immolation vein. The transitional riff around 3 minutes into the piece is really sharp and the ‘Leprosy’ adjacent tremolo riffs could be tighter but there is no sense losing that spastic charm they’re up front with on this track. Excellent EP and a formidable showcase of some inspired up-and-coming death metal groups.

TITLE:Hallucination Scene
RELEASE DATE:September 4th, 2020
LABEL(S):20 Buck Spin

Industrial metal project Black Magnet‘s debut full-length steers hard back towards the early-to-mid 90’s style without subscribing to the primitive claustrophobic stature of ye olde danceable tekno-metal. This allows for bigger, often more organically spread beats that don’t always need a mile-long spray of reverb to hold ’em all together. By the time “Neuroprophet” rolls into its late 90’s Ministry-meets-Godflesh mind meld the scene is pretty much set and you’ll either get it right away or feel the extra cold shoulder if you’ve limited experience with late 80’s/early 90’s electro, industrial, and such. I definitely hear some greater influence from Front Line Assembly on a few tracks (“Crush Me” w/”Hegemon”), and I mean the Roadrunner albums where they went kinda metal but kept their melodic time in tact. I wouldn’t say ‘Hallucination Scene’ is plain iteration of a bygone era but an impressive and entirely apt study of ye olde personality driven music otherwise machined to express memorable melodic progressions in the simplest, most evocative format possible. ‘Hallucination Scene’ is a remarkably layered experience that offers some pleasant throwback to a well-missed era of industrial music without pushing the sub-genre niche beyond a cleaner, bigger spatial realm. At ~26 minutes this was the perfect quick hit of classic industrial influenced sound done properly and efficiently, presented without any gaudy dependence on spoken word samples or resorting to harsh noise.

RELEASE DATE:September 4th, 2020
LABEL(S):Signal Rex

Italian black metal quartet Idolatria could be reasonably described as orthodox black metal in spirit and often entirely divergent in motion as their twisted, Satanic wranglings spin up froth and unrest at oft mid-paced treachery. ‘Tetrabestiary’ is the second full-length from the band and the suggestion is that this one serves to emphasize the role of four beasts (bat, vulture, goat serpent) as fixtures represented as the unholy enemy across countless cultures. Cold Poison artwork and a Studio Emissary master compound the time and place wherein Idolatria pull the inspiration for ‘Tetrabestiarchy’. Via mid-paced sessions, mystic atmosphere, and a directly monastic vocal flair the whole of this album takes the free-flowing approach of modern black metal and crafts a meaningful yet unsurprising swarm of peak black metal art. High production values and mid-pace do ultimately add up to ease of listening and in this sense Idolatria sound a bit safe and soft beyond the generally ethereal quality of their guitar work and vocals. An excellent LP but I didn’t have much to say about it beyond an admiration of its unique tone.

RELEASE DATE:August 18th, 2020
LABEL(S):Trepanation Records

I’m nowhere near an expert or major fan of mathcore or math metal but I’d felt this Milan, Italy-based band were worthy of a mention this week for thier frantic if not typical mathcore sound. Lacittàdolente quickly blur the lines between post-hardcore, metalcore and mathcore with pretty effortless performances averaging about 3-4 minute per each of the seven songs. The minor internal struggle for me as a listener, who is already not prone to enjoy this type of music, came with the heavy amount of repetition employed at every turn where the idea the band were usually highlighting wasn’t particularly good. The breaks in the action are what end up characterizing the full listen, such as the trip-hop exodus of “Sleazy” or the tumbling muted mid-section of “Profiteering”; This is a plus in terms of making the full listen feel futuristic but also lacking in any too “far out” ideas. ‘Salespeople’ is fully functional, erratic yet quickly knowable with only a few surprises along the way and though it doesn’t align with my taste very well it’d been a decent listen. I’d recommend the title track/closer if you’re not sure about any other preview selections, that final song really says the most about the band and highlights their use of old song clips to create oddly hallucinatory moments within pieces.

TITLE:Ulcerous Dimensions
RELEASE DATE:September 3rd, 2020
LABEL(S):Sentient Ruin Laboratories

Spongy, tripped out dissonance and death/sludge crawling are a natural fit until all sense of groove and phrasal meaning is chucked out of the window for the sake of droning chaotic unrest here on ‘Ulcerous Dimensions’ the first album from Evaporated Sores. Tinges of industrial appear as somewhat practical realities based on the ‘bedroom’ nature of the project just yet but, likewise elements of harsh noise and power electronics reap the life from the (otherwise extreme metal) recording, leaving severed and harshly chaotic death noise that doesn’t appear to have had any sort of personal filter or knowable start and endpoint when approached without the bigger picture of the release. The full listen might seem short at ~35 minutes but the sheer density and ‘glitch in the machine’ presence of the arrangements makes that boosted half hour of death-doomed noise-to-face walloping entirely painful. There are no particularly meaningful comparisons to be made even if I were making a five part composite these are personal dips and valleys of depression and hatred that are unique to the artist for the most part. The techniques themselves, such as slow-crushing dissonance from an ultra down-tuned guitar aren’t particularly novel but also entirely less prominent these days as extreme sludge crossing and dissonance death/doom are ideas still being worked out by the underground in terms of compelling works. I’d say if you liked the latest Decoherence and the new The Funeral Orchestra album then you are uniquely ready as fuck for this reaper of a record. Moderately high recommendation. “Infinite Remission” is the track to hit up for a representative preview.

TITLE:Spring in Blue
RELEASE DATE:August 28th, 2020
LABEL(S):Transcending Records

Italian post-black metal band SVNTH aka Seventh Genocide aim for sentimental emotional resonance with this third full-length album focusing intently on youthful ambition, childhood trauma and all manner of life’s inspiration in the face of growth. A much more refined ‘self’ and sound are achieved therein as the band become more of their own thing than ever. ‘Spring in Blue’ makes a strong first impression via recording the album live in studio, a feat made possible by Colin Marston at his Thousand Caves studios. Because this band have always held the spirit of post-rock in one hand and some equal amount of sleepier Alcest-sized dramatics in the other, ‘Spring in Blue’ inevitably feels like a narrative enhanced by its surroundings; Perhaps boosted in spirit by trip to New York itself ah via marvelous dystopic sights and the freedom of a working vacation. The live and organically spaced render is never so huge that it feels impossible and manufactured via studio tricks but more like a late March impromptu concert on a college campus, intimate on the concrete yet loud enough to fill the entire block with mysterious and energetic noise.

The main set of four songs here range from about 11 minutes up to just over 14 and the two sides feature some comparatively brief introductory tracks that set the mood with some strong intention. As with most every artist in this somewhat flailing post-black metal stylistic sphere the journey is the payoff rather than the crescendo of release and “Parallel Layers” is perhaps the most exciting track in this regard, resembling a more melodic black metal spirited approach with some appreciably strong rhythm guitar moments. For my own taste this is the “heart” of the record where it sells itself without going too far to eclipse the rest of Side A. “Chaos Spiral in Reverse” matches that energy but doesn’t quite overthrow the prone spiritus of the final track “Sons Of Melancholia” where I don’t actually think the elevating mood of this song is meant to be ironic as it pulls into a Unreqvited-esque introductory build before working up to a more typical Svnth song that gallops with some considerable strength through its middle section.

The full listen is strong enough to feel like a meaningful step up beyond Svnth‘s two prior full-lengths, often effectively intimate and grand in scale at once. I found myself wanting more “Parallel Layers” style songs but the overall experience was a bit easier to sit with than most post-black metal records I’m given the luxury of an early spin. A moderately high recommendation, much higher if you’re fan of this particular style.

TITLE:Let the Earth Tremble
RELEASE DATE:August 31st, 2020
LABEL(S):Godz ov War Productions

A pure, hate-filled, and no-nonsense death metal album with swamp-blasted drumming and rampaging vocal efforts shouldn’t feel like a hyperbolic description of this Polish quintet and their debut full-length album ‘Let the Earth Tremble’. Think of the more tech-savvy side of Cannibal Corpse and ‘Formulas…’-era Morbid Angel alongside that hefty block of death metal brutality in Poland during the 2000’s via Trauma and Azarath as well. These guys had been around for some time as Born to Rot in their formative years but 2013 was the shift to Cancerfaust and a more brutal sound which works itself out between two EPs late last decade. ‘Let the Earth Tremble’ is a more violence record but not a plainly brutal attack and though the album is quite a loud and brutish presence the overall effect of soaking it all in shows a knack for melodic stuff as well as face-grinding heavier double-bass spanked pieces. I might not have a ton to say about the album but I really appreciated its straight forward introduction and the keen melodic side it develops later on the tracklist. Big riffs, puked vocals (some good, some bad), huge drum sound, and always delivered with an unforgiving brutal attack… I found Cancerfaust‘s debut well worth its meticulous realization. Moderately high recommendation.

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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