…From the Tomb 10/05/20: “Accumulation of formless ajīva.”

…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 [October 9th through October 12th, 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.


Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
ARTIST:LEVIATHAN
TITLE:Förmörkelse
RELEASE DATE:October 12th, 2020
LABEL(S):Nebular Carcoma,
Bile Noire
BUY/LISTEN:Website

Whether you’ve come to this realization after decades of insight or by chance observation it is yet unwritten law that drummers make for many of the most fantastic solo black metal artists. Not necessarily for their precision but for their understanding of how to seat and unseat the melodic foundations of myriad sub-genre signifiers via rhythm. Black metal, as I see it, is more of an emotional-spiritual language spoken via rhythmic melodic technique and little of this breadth can be explored via fiddling away at niche imitation. That isn’t to say the average guitarist is but a wave without a moon to influence their tides but that an artist like Leviathan‘s Pyhcon (Feral, ex-Armagedda) seems to have insight beyond imitation or niche-bound trend. That, or he simply bears the benefit of clarity in hindsight offered by an eighteen year break between albums. ‘Förmörkelse’ is less of a volatile flood of rage n’ release as its longed-for and loved predecessor ‘Far Beyond the Light’ (2002) and more of a heavy metal record in the sense that it is guided by theatrical moments that evolve subtly and explode as soon as the greater musical language on offer is fully translated.

If the previous album had hints of darkwave gloom and atmospheric black metal meander within its melodic divergence then this second album speaks in equal measure to the heart of ‘ahead of its time’ yet firmly set thinking via unique atmospheric phrasing, guitar effects, Bathory-esque barreling, and soul-stabbing melodic tremolo runs. “Verklighetens Väv” is such an assault, coming on the second half of the album beyond a peaking of late 90’s nostalgic pieces, chanting adornment, and less than subtle hints at rock guitar wails. Just as I’d seen this narrative developing the arrows of subtly are traded for a smoking rifle of a song which rocks out in an ugly-but-necessary bout of release. “Melankolins Ävja” secures this feeling of an intensely evolved Leviathan, not shrinking into the old ways but pulling more darkness from each performance.

The vocals are shocking here, deranged and exasperated yet somehow in place, purposeful juxtaposition next to a now steadying reliance upon glowing folkish movements to pull out of those darkest spaces. I’m not sure if we’re getting more Hades influence this time around, some peripheral warmth from Dråpsnatt (who’ve some guest spots herein) or if there are more obvious Swedish black metal influences in hand that I’d not so broadly considered. Either way I’ve felt some tugs at rifts of time within each piece of ‘Förmörkelse’, a listening experience never stuck to any one period or too-focused influence — Crafting something steady in movement that defines itself via wild turnabout and easily felt tradition alike.


Rating: 7 out of 10.
ARTIST:THE TROOPS OF DOOM
TITLE:The Rise of Heresy
RELEASE DATE:October 9th, 2020
LABEL(S):Blood Blast Distribution
BUY/LISTEN:Website

Of course I’d celebrate any reason to ramble on about the contributions of guitarist Jairo Guedz to some of my favorite music of all time, be it early Sepultura (‘Morbid Visions’, ‘Bestial Devastation’) or The Mist‘s ‘The Hangman Tree’ but I suppose I’ll always think of him as the guy who left during the creation of my favorite thrash record, ‘Schizophrenia’. All of this is ancient history at this point, yet it is still interesting trivia and compelling nostalgia… Nostalgia which seems to have inspired ‘The Rise of Heresy’, the first EP from GuedzThe Troops of Doom, a band that makes clear as day the intent of their musical style as they grab directly from the raw ruckus of early Sepultura for inspiration. A conscious attempt is made to recall that rough interpretation of classic thrash metal and invoke the gods of 80’s death metal in the process and in that sense this EP nails its intended sound and style. If that wasn’t clear enough they’ve taken it upon themselves to cover a few of the more memorable songs Guedz wrote for/with Sepultura back in the day.

If you have nostalgia or undying love for that band or style of music, as I do, every second of this EP should be pretty stirring. Anyone else might have some mixed reaction to the raw and hollowed out guitar tone, the rough battery of the drums and the ‘dirty’ live in studio sound that comes with with plenty of room noise. Of course the explosive volume of it all is satisfying but I’m sticking around for the riffs and thankfully The Troops of Doom is basically all about chunking out huge guitar moments from start to finish. It doesn’t really speak to the theatric flair of ‘Schizophrenia’ in terms of compositions that rely on pressure-and-release for impact this helps to directly sustain the barbaric whirlwind of ‘Morbid Visions’ to some reasonable degree, relying on simple but effective pieces. Fans of Insanity, Possessed, early Vader and their ilk will likely be more up for this than they’d expect.

https://www.thetroopsofdoom.com/


Rating: 7 out of 10.
ARTIST:REPUKED
TITLE:Dawn of Reintoxication
RELEASE DATE:October 9th, 2020
LABEL(S):Soulseller Records
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp

Back for their third full-length on Soulseller after a seven year gap, Stockholm’s “diapered for fun” and “still too drunk for breakfast” death metal quartet Repuked offer up another sloshing good bout of potty humor, booze cruisin’, movie sampling and ‘Acts of the Unspeakable’ worthy doom-crusted dearth. Beyond the goofy shock value on offer there is a pretty solid Swede-topsy record here full of early Unleashed-esque riffing and a great grinding guitar tone throughout. The songs themselves are pretty consistent with the rest of what Repuked had been doing on their first two records yet this time around the band recieve a much sharper rendering. The style is intentionally reminiscent of Autopsy where I’d say the ratio of doom to meat-slapping is like 75% Cryptic Brood sized cool and 25% Murder Squad crawls. The more hardcore-ish pieces like “Shitfister” and “Kick Fuck” burn out quick on Side A and the rest of the album takes on a more focused sound that is probably a bit more on the Dismember side of things than I’d expected. Solid album, a good time throughout and they’ve not spent the entire album goofing around. In preview I’d recommend “Global Burning” and “Sewer Rain” as the best, deepest cuts.


Rating: 6 out of 10.
ARTIST:Black Communion
TITLE:Miasmic Monstrosity
RELEASE DATE:October 9th, 2020
LABEL(S):Dunkelheit Produktionen
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp

Hailing from Barranquilla, Colombia this bestial black/death metal trio are nothing if not inspired as they trawl old crypts for energetic and riff-heavy exemplary craft rather than rely on peers for action. That said the nuances here are going to be exclusive to folks who can pin-point the major differences between Blasphemy, (early) Beherit, and Profanatica. I don’t think that’ll be too much of an ask for most folks, and you’ll understand why it is appropriate to swing back to the the lineage of late 80’s/early 90’s when you’ve sat with ‘Miasmic Monstrosity’. It does sound like they’ve meant to find that particular point of inspiration where black/death acts would emerge from debunked extreme thrash metal ideals across South America, playing faster and more raw than anyone else without losing their sense of riff unto chaos. What does that mean in practical terms? A few Venom-punk rollers, some very nuclear off-time blasting, and a lot of drunken-style rhythmic play throughout.


Rating: 7 out of 10.
ARTIST:VENTR
TITLE:Numinous Negativity
RELEASE DATE:October 9th, 2020
LABEL(S):Signal Rex
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp

The raw and ever impious Portuguese black metal spheres continue to evolve at a high-rate, inspiring more and more truly nihilistic monstrosities to seep from the cracks. Ventr‘s ‘Numinous Negativity’ is a fine example of what the greater area’s new artists contribute as they arrive fully considered, serious and dedicated. ‘Numinous Negativity’ doesn’t just offer themes but a lifestyle and philosophy branded by negativity embodied. Sight granted via the horrors that Satan might will are horrendous, painful to consider and witness, and thusly serve as an illumination of the dark one’s power. The music itself is heavily influenced by raw black metal, particularly the guitar work but without the completely obfuscated guitar tone. In fact I’d say ‘Numinous Negativity’ is a remarkably clear and present render as a 10″ EP. None of the material challenges my perceptions of what black metal is per se, but sitting with Ventr‘s debut begins to feel like a potent distillation of certain riff ideas and various modes of simple rhythmic development that are effective in their evocation runs. However valuable that proposition sounds is up to you, I enjoyed each of the three main 7+ minute pieces that help this EP to stand out as an entrance with great clarity of purpose and vision.


Rating: 6.5 out of 10.
ARTIST:FOUL BODY AUTOPSY
TITLE:Consumed by Black Thoughts
RELEASE DATE:October 10th, 2020
LABEL(S):Self-Released
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp

British solo tech-melodic death musician Tom Reynolds and his Foul Body Autopsy gig have certainly come a long way in a short period of time since working with producer/engineer Russ Russell. Getting a much sharper render and working for the best take possible has made a world of difference. At the same time it’d seem his general stylistic goals have shifted from melodic death/thrash of the Scandinavian variety towards a more broadly exposed form of commercial melodic death metal. That isn’t so say the blend of modern technical and melodic death ideas aren’t there but the aim is much more dramatized and accentuated with lofty keyboards alongside some considerable focus on popular music song structures. This is undeniably effective and the hooks come easier than ever yet it all sounds a bit generic upon repeated listens. It isn’t exactly Wintersun in terms of Scandinavian melodic shred nor is any part of ‘Consumed by Black Thoughts’ as technically accomplished as the latest Inferi, which comes out nearby, but I see the artist eventually reaching or exceeding similar goals based on progress made thus far.

This particular EP is intended to bring light to the idea that mental illness shouldn’t be touted as a handbag, that treatment is seriously needed and untreated issues are not at all romantic, artistic or enhancing of the affected. The sense that mental illness can be a virtue is antiquated from this perspective, it is conveyed as treatable personal and societal issue. I appreciate the positive message in this regard and no doubt it’ll help folks stuck in a bad place. Themes are communicated via the packaging, lyrics, and very frequent use of sampled speech in most every song. This is where I check out of the record, I find samples overused enough that they become an obstacle to this sort of flow-based and ‘composed’ music where emotional resonance is handed off to a man describing depression. I’d rather be encouraged to read lyrics than get clips that summarize the feeling conveyed. I don’t mean for that to constitute a small rant but it’d been the only truly irksome issue I’d found with the EP.


Rating: 6.5 out of 10.
ARTIST:INFERI
TITLE:Of Sunless Realms
RELEASE DATE:October 9th, 2020
LABEL(S):The Artisan Era
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp

Inferi‘s overtly technical and occasionally symphonic/neoclassical take on melodic death metal hasn’t skipped a beat since they’d more or less kicked back into gear with ‘Revenant’ (2018). Progressive death metal music as a whole has had the bar set incredibly high via the consistent stream of technique intensive and fully modern releases from their The Artisan Era imprint these last several years and for that reason I think folks hold the Tennessee-based project at a different, sometimes oddly high standard. I’m not of the crowd that finds ‘The Path of Apotheosis’ superior to all else but I do believe that was their last release where the vocals made particularly good sense alongside the rest of the performances.

Of course I’m the guy who doesn’t like The Black Dahlia Murder, doesn’t listen to deathcore, and hasn’t bought an album in this style since uh, ‘A Celebration of Guilt’? So I’m not the mark but I can appreciate the overall construct of the music, the fluid interplay between the two guitarists, and how this sort of band does do a lot to extend several generations of technical/progressive metal applications to melodic death metal. My only standing criticism of the band regardless of the release is that I’d never found any song of theirs to present any truly compelling melody, so the ‘melodic death’ tradition is effectively erased beyond some basally extant riff techniques. As a listening experience I found the entirety of the EP to hold a certain gravity, always pushing along at a brutal clip yet the vocals do little for me.


Rating: 7 out of 10.
ARTIST:IXION
TITLE:L’Adieu aux Etoiles
RELEASE DATE:October 9th, 2020
LABEL(S):Finisterian Dead End
BUY/LISTEN:Website

It is Autumn after all and that’d mean it is time for the crippling seasonal depression to kick in across our northern hemisphere. ‘Tis the season for introspection and the glorious meditative value that sorrow brings to the holistically graceless human experience. Ixion are, however, entirely powered by graceful movements and provide a lushly detailed atmospheric extreme doom metal experience driven by gothy synths, dream-like death/doom, and a slow-plod down their signature halls. This is the fourth full-length from this underrated duo out of Brittany, France and man, what a different a couple extra spins makes with music as moody and detailed as ‘L’adieu aux étoiles‘ is. This time around one could consider Ixion‘s experimentation as touched by a bit of Cynic and Monolithe, feeling their usual poetic selves in view of the void of space and luxury of time yet the electronic music influences persist in their most clean presentation herein.

“Progeny” does a fine job of fully flushing from its corridors each freshened element of the duo’s sound, letting it all gush for a bit as choral synth and a sci-fi keyboard solo dominate the piece. What greatest perk that’d come with ‘Return’ (2017) was this sense of freedom, a stargazing wonder rather than oppressive emptiness and this is accentuated even more on this follow-up, which I believe is the second release without original vocalist Thomas Saudray. It may be odd to suggest such a dour and lovely keyboard driven atmospheric doom metal band would be at their most lively and inspired, ever, but it’d be fair in the case of ‘L’adieu aux étoiles’. The only point where I’d felt like the record fell too far into the ‘new age music’ field was probably the opening of “Farewell” where little points of doom offer any respite from the prettiness of its advance.

https://www.ixiondoom.com/


Rating: 7 out of 10.
ARTIST:KING PARROT
TITLE:Holed Up in the Lair
RELEASE DATE:October 9th, 2020
LABEL(S):Agonia Records,
Housecore Records
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp

There is a really tight-holed squidge of a fart at the end of this 7″ EP that finishes off just slightly wet. Eight minutes of Australian quintet King Parrot‘s own style of meandering n’ hammering grindcore awaits and well, how would I describe them to the uninitiated? The core experience of the band is that of late 90’s/early 2000’s everythingcore, where powerviolence, sludgecore and doom were regularly and comfortably crossbred, but jump over towards Blood Duster style gore-blasting fun and some quick early Soilent Green change-ups. Stoner grindcore? Close enough. These four songs were written and tracked in four days, basically a demo cranked out between tours to put down some ideas for a fourth full-length but they’d been clean and representative enough after post-production to fire off as a limited 7″. This whole off the cuff and raw thing works real well for them, I especially like the weird rock angle of “Nor is Yours” which I believe has Phil Anselmo guesting on the final chorus.


Rating: 8 out of 10.
ARTIST:KIRA
TITLE:Peccatum et Blasphemia
RELEASE DATE:October 9th, 2020
LABEL(S):Ossuary Records
BUY/LISTEN:Website

We started this week’s entry with one of the best releases of the week and now we end it with another. This one is just as likely to miss your radar due to their deeper underground status yet there is no shortage of insight to be gleaned from the grandiosity offered by Opoczno, Poland-based blackened death metal quintet Kira‘s second full-length ‘Peccatum et Blasphemia‘. Though their relation to Nomad (and by extension, Behemoth) is notable, what makes these guys a bit different is their ability to swing for deeper extremes without necessarily defining their sound via any specific influence or era. Some love for the blackened death of God Dethroned comes across along with some of the more brutal actions of their Polish countrymen but Kira are at their most compelling when they wander off into black metal spaces.

This slow-to-mid and exploratory black metal pace is often used when any particular song takes brief existential point of view (“Lord of Hallucinations”, “One Gram of Your Soul”) and therein the melodic voice of the album always bears a triumphant and strong timbre (see: “Temple of Suffering”). No doubt they’ve grown up listening to albums like ‘Satanica’ and ‘Serpents of the Light’, as have I, and the precise and thrilling edge of Satanic blackened death metal hits quite hard as it returns but I was generally most drawn to the melodious pieces, those driven by odd chord shapes and Dawn-esque black/death movements, brief as they are. The album might feel a little bit scattered in terms of a focused style but I understand this comes from an exuberant interest in many types of extreme metal; Seeing how willing Kira are to explore both black and death metal extremes that are as current as they are ancient is very promising. This isn’t an album you can skim through quickly and get a vague idea of, it really does need to be sat with and explored in earnest and for that reason I think it’ll be a gem for die-hards more than a quick sensation. A high recommendation for folks willing to sit and soak in the heritage and nuance of black/death metal records.


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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