…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: email@example.com
Here I present a grip of new releases from this week [October 9th through October 16th, 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:||Taker of Life|
|RELEASE DATE:||October 16th, 2020|
|LABEL(S):||Creater-Destructor Records, War Anthem Records|
It’d be remiss to approach Greek death metallic crust/hardcore punk band Cursed Blood without considering the now considerably distant origins of pre-Dead Congregation band Nuclear Winter, perhaps not only because of the style of that band back in the late 90’s (see: ‘Πυρηνικος Χειμωνας‘) but for the sake of the line-up featuring folks who were/are key components of each; At face value their debut EP ‘Taker of Life’ intends to recall mid-to-late 90’s Swedish extreme crust (Disfear, Skitsystem) with nods to the earliest output from Autopsy, Entombed etc. and this is a reasonable starting point in description. Cursed Blood has much more to offer than serviceable death-punk that aims for a good time, in fact the six songs on offer here are considerably vast, profound numbers full of unusually dark-attuned irascibility. In this sense ‘Taker of Life’ shouldn’t serve as a throwback to old projects on any involved artist’s resume, there is no obviate hook back into their prior grouping (Nuclear Winter, Sarabante, Vulnus, Satan’s Wrath).
Originally released on tape back in 2019 and now getting the vinyl treatment, you’ll have to keep in mind that this demo might be a hundred percent professional but it is yet a ~20 minute proof of concept. The first song is a high energy ripper, the second works in some deeper structural weaving, a more full and movement based gait and by the time the third song pops up you’ll be shocked at the progression in view. That crawling five minute beast of a title track reminds me of hitting “Black” on Neurosis‘ ‘Pain of Mind’ for the first time, hearing a bit more of the core conceit of the band in a slower, more expressive song. This one is pure menace and the sort of song you’ll be looking forward to with each spin. The second half of the demo continues to showcase a variety of potential areas of focus from grinding crust ripper (“Nailed”) to actual deathgrind/punk epic with some deep tugs at Celtic Frost (or, Final Conflict?) grooves (“Thorns and Nails”). “Backlash Rampage” pulls together many of these ideas for a grand finale, a thrasher with a memorable verve to its main riff.
I’m always up for a hit of death metal/hardcore punk hybridization if it isn’t just for the sake of shit breakdowns and other toughguy nonsense so, in that sense Cursed Blood are ahead of the curve. This demo is already full of album-worthy content that swings pretty hard so I don’t have any major gripes. When the drums hit the double bass hardest it pulls away from the rest of the band a bit, and I think in general the d-beat/crust influenced parts could just be straight up “dumber” and more direct but I appreciate the muscle memory of the death metal guitarist who keeps it moving. Essential listening this week if you’re big into metalpunk, death metal/hardcore punk hybridization or just a diehard Dead Congregation fan looking to grab anything related and worthy.
|RELEASE DATE:||October 13th, 2020|
Arsebreed‘s history dates back to the late 90’s as a sort of blood brother with Disavowed, both of which shared common membership and origin in their North Holland brutal death metal sphere. If you’d waited thirteen years for a new record from Disavowed and been as pleased with ‘Revocation of the Fallen’ as I was, then I would say you’re just as likely to be happy with what Arsebreed have managed here. With that said, it is worth mentioning what is entirely different here beyond the core riffing. First and perhaps most important is that it’d been a six member band when the first album (‘Munching the Rotten’) released back in 2005 and this meant dual vocal styles and lyrics about genital carnage. This time around ‘Butoh’ operates via five fellows and really lives for the furioso of the riff above all else, aiming for evocative mania and severe brutality throughout. This begins with a salvo of shorter, hardest hitting songs that soon pick up bigger grooves and blasts along the way. This album isn’t about gimmicky gore or silly bullshit, just killer performances that offer pure adrenaline.
Which performances to highlight, then? Man, all of them… But for the sake of some brevity, Daniel van der Broek (Disavowed) is a madman across the board in providing the main rhythm guitar and a psychotic thumb-blasted bass performance. The bass guitar isn’t set in the mix to be a major prominence but the playing is impossible to not focus on; By emphasizing the endpoint of each phrase a memorable yet frantic diction is created, this gives the riffing a ‘voice’ on the album which might be simple but allows each piece some identity after a couple of spins. If I had one criticism it’d be that I found the vocals uniform enough that I didn’t initially realize that both vocalists were back; That might have more to do with focusing on the very guitar-forward render of the album, though. Anyhow, nothing to deep to pull from the record after several whips through it. Just a blast with solid riffs throughout. I’d like to know more about the album title and whatnot but nothing that’d make for an interesting full review. A moderately high recommendation, much higher if you’re keen on early 2000’s brutal death metal antics.
|ARTIST:||ANARCHOS / MORBID STENCH|
|TITLE:||Ghospels of Necromancy|
|RELEASE DATE:||October 16th, 2020|
A split 7″ is all about leaving the biggest crater in the most efficient manner possible and in that sense both Anarchos and compatriots Morbid Stench make fine work of their brief introductory statements on ‘Ghospels of Necromancy’. Anarchos are heavily influenced by classic Swedish death metal, generally bringing some off-rhythmic shuddering to their recordings a la Nirvana 2002 albeit with a more punkish and lean approach. This makes the grind of their first song “Grotesque Perversity” wholly entertaining yet the somewhat imprecise hits of the second song (“Tortured Souls”) had me generally uninterested beyond the slower groove they’d phase into. Morbid Stench hail from El Salvador and Costa Rica and to be sure their sound matches up well with Anarchos‘, they’re just a bit more death/doom oriented overall. There is a bit of (early) Hooded Menace in their sound but the riffs aren’t pure doom, blasting hard enough to drive away Bolt Thrower comparisons along the way. A decent showing by each band and the right place to start if you’ve missed each of their debut albums in the past few years.
|TITLE:||The Great Hatred|
|RELEASE DATE:||October 16th, 2020|
Atmospheric doom metal or, funeral death/doom metal for that matter is an art that generally finds its importance in a balance of outrageous extremes and their ability to convey likewise extreme emotion therein so, when approaching ‘The Great Hatred‘ I wasn’t entirely sure what its message was. Well, beyond the obvious implication of the title. Aphonic Threnody began back in 2012 with a larger (studio) line-up featuring members of Pantheist and Urna among others and by the second album they’d whittled the personage down to a trio. For this third album they’re a duo with Chilean musician Juan Escobar (Tetractys, ex-Mar de Grises) handling all but guitars while guitarist and founder Riccardo Veronese (Towards Atlantis Lights) assumedly handles the songwriting duties and creative direction. The biggest change comes from the vocals now being handled by Escobar, who does a fine job but doesn’t necessarily deliver an earth-shattering performance to match the high melodrama of the music.
Again, the multi-directional compositions here aren’t so much hard to follow as they are elusive when landing upon a focal point. That is to say that the album sets itself at par without any remarkable characteristic or, directive statement. Setting myself in the moment and going with the flow reveals a melodic death/doom metal record with some funeral doom tendency and a number of gentle progressive metal reveals; Normally that’d be just fine, something I’d give plenty of time to reveal itself (see: last year’s Plateau Sigma) yet there is a feeling of claustrophobia and divested emotion that keeps me from warming up to ‘The Great Hatred’. I don’t doubt the serious or earnest qualities of the performances, they’ve just not reached me in any sense and that is a very important gauge of my sustained interest in the record. I’d also found the cover art quite ugly but that is just as much a matter of taste. I’ll still give the album its due time to blossom but thus far, nothing stirs within.
|TITLE:||No Symmetry… Only Delusion|
|RELEASE DATE:||October 16th, 2020|
|LABEL(S):||Seeing Red Records|
Serving up deep cut ’98 sludge metal vibes via hardcorish dissonance and increasingly disaffected melodicism this debut full-length from New York-based sludge metal act False Gods could be approached (at face value) as righteous revisionism or gloriously naïve energetic fusion. The album cover looks as if it were pulled from the pages of Metal Maniacs in the late 90’s, the kind of band a bigger label took a chance on with a moderate budget as sludge became more of a ‘thing’. None of these are slights, mind you, I only mean to illustrate the odd sense of nostalgia that triggered upon initial descent. We’re with ’em in the garage or a basement show for this recording and daylight is just about dead, the atmosphere is functionally electric with some space created when they’ve pushed fully into bigger doom grooves (“All That’s Left Behind”) or effects-blurred wandering (“I Know too Much”). The shove-off of “Enemy Territory” is a bit of an energetic island, providing the perfect high energy opener that never finds its true reprise but essentially illustrates all that is special about thier point of view. An impressive jolt to start but perhaps a filler track in the middle of a -(16)- or Crowbar record to break up the sullen energy, leading with it creates very high expectations.
The first single, “Stay Frosty” shows a different spark, the throaty melodic side of the vocalist and the drugged n’ deep in reflection that occurs when they’ve slowed down to a doom pace. There are myriad influences feeding into this sound (Lord Mantis?) but the basis is punk and doom, those essential corridors of sludge metal’s advent are there minus some of the southern rock bounce and well, the post-punk shards start to really fly as the record progresses into slower, more solemn pieces. “I Know Too Much” sounds quite influenced by Godflesh‘s beloved ‘Selfless’ album if that mild-industrial impact were traded for more blatant Killing Joke riffs. It is a nice moment, not exactly sludge metal ‘Fire Dances’ but a solid highlight nonetheless. This’d ultimately source some of my nostalgic reaction to ‘No Symmetry… Only Delusion’, all of those years listening to post-punk, hardcore and industrial influenced early sludge bands such as Fudge Tunnel. False Gods are a bit raw and scrappy by comparison, likely pulling from a different generation of songwriters but it is ultimately all related.
If you hit stop right there you’ve gotten the major impact of the record. “Call of the Neanderthal” is long and inconsequential beyond cultivating the feeling of a jammed-on live recording. “Lords of Emptiness” pulls it all back together despite sounding a bit too much like “All That’s Left Behind” to start, the exit of the song helps to make it a deep cut in the second half and a moderate standout moment. As we hit the ~36 minute mark the album ends with several threads left untied, no reprisal from Side A, no broader expansion of the post-punk guitar work, no third act in general. I’d like to be more of a cheerleader for a band that is pulling from classic sludge metal ethos to realize a unique sound but this album certainly needed one more “big” song before it left, be it a shot in the arm or an appropriately grand finale. A moderately high recommendation for a spirited debut album.
|TITLE:||Runnin’ Ape Like From the Backward Superman|
|RELEASE DATE:||October 16th, 2020|
|LABEL(S):||Cardinal Fuzz/Feeding Tube|
Monoshock were a psychedelic garage punk band from California who’d make a small legend of themselves in the late 80’s and early 90’s before disbanding mid-decade. Before completely disappearing they’d release the ‘Walk to the Fire’ double LP, a gigantic album that’d prove influential long after the fact thanks to its noisy fuzz-cranked guitar attack and classic Stooges-esque flair for the dramatic. The only reason I know of this band stems from chasing down original copies of Brainbombs‘ ‘Burning Hell’ which original came out on Blackjack Records, which was run by a member of Monoshock. Before approaching this record, don’t expect any edge here this is a double LP compilation of 7″ releases, rarities, and compilation tracks from a band that began all about live rock n’ roll sized good times and ended playing extended, krautrock influenced drugged and liquid jams. Get into the weird stuff right away if you like but I’d suggest checking out their full-length first for some important context. I’m all about the later stuff and the demo tracks on here and would recommend it if the album isn’t too far outside the ol’ comfort zone.
|RELEASE DATE:||October 16th, 2020|
|LABEL(S):||Me Saco Un Ojo|
Septage are a throwback goregrind/deathgrind band invoking the old ways circa 80’s Carcass, Blood, and certain Xysma demo tapes. Pitch-shifted gag vocals, death metal riffs over grindcore drumming, and gore collage artwork all pull together a very clear point of view. Sounds pretty stupid, eh? Well, actually since this band features members of Taphos and Hyperdontia the riffs are solid throughout. I’m not a gorebro at all but I do love the style of albums like ‘Symphonies of Sickness’, ‘O Agios Pethane’ and anything Impetigo so I more or less get what is up here, these tracks are generally a bit more heavy-handed with the tempo and less obsessed with “catchy” riffs. I’m just glad it wasn’t another kidz bop Mortician clone. Pretty short 7″ fillin’ burst of riffs here at around 13 minutes so not a ton to say, I figure the album cover will find the right audience pretty fast.
|TITLE:||The Void and the Unbearable Loss|
|RELEASE DATE:||October 9th, 2020|
Invernoir are an Italian gothic metal band who venture into melodic death/doom metal territory (ah via “Peaceville three” notions) to incite the core lead guitar progressions of each piece. Think of the core hooks of October Tide set within overproduced modern melodic death metal chug riffs and you’ve some sense of opener “The Path”. This comes after an introductory piece that is a full seven minutes long so, expect ‘The Void and the Unbearable Loss’ to win its war of attrition quite slowly and I’ve no problem with this sensibility. The rasped and death metal vocals are effective enough, functional but inoffensive in their conveyance of melodrama. Where I immediately fall off of the experience is the clean vocals which haven’t any sense of meter or melody in most cases, I recognize the oddity of gothic metal vocals getting their charm from unsuitable performances but these are not evocative in the slightest. In sitting with this album I’d gone from being very much in the mood for a sappy melodic/death doom record and instead got squarely generic imitation of more commercial artists that are decades gone (or evolved). In some ways a band like Soliloquium (whom I enjoy) is similar at face value, but quite an evolved and earnest vision rather than an impression of a certain style. I suppose I’m being harsh but at the very least put on “Cast Away” and if you can keep a wide open mind, then you’re better suited for the experience than I.
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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