Annihilate This Week 2/01/21: “…an elegant rockpile monument to everything cruel and stupid and corrupt in the human spirit.”

ANNIHILATE THIS WEEK hits every Monday (or nearby) mentioning important new releases whilst grouping short reviews for albums, EPs and demos selected from the current week’s best. These albums were overlooked for a more detailed review for any number of reasons, I’m either low on time or the music itself doesn’t warrant depth of inquiry or require too-serious engagement. I do my best to cover as much of everything I receive in some form regardless of genre or representation so don’t hesitate to send anything and everything my way:

The fifth week of 2021 is highlighted by major releases from two of my long-reigning favorite extreme metal bands. Beyond this we’re treated to several incredible black metal-adjacent releases, several brutal-yet-intricate death metal releases, and a brilliant spread of doom metal meditation, funeral futurism, and even a small grouping of notable experimental music releases. If you’re not into the selection this week, relax! This’ll be back every 7 days with five more new releases from different styles, genres, etc.

The Album of the Week for my own taste is Stargazer‘s ‘Psychic Secretions‘ [Review], and this may very well prove to be album of the month (and potentially year) for my own taste. Not far behind is The Ruins of Beverast‘s sixth album ‘The Thule Grimoires‘ [Review], though fans will be expecting a mountain I’m sure the freshly melodious nature of the record and its “gothic” doom affect should prove a revelation. This fantastic week of releases is just warming up though as we’re getting the god-killer second album from MisotheistFor the Glory of Your Redeemer‘ [Review] which will prove to be one of the more profound black metal releases of the year, and one that folks will regret not rushing out to buy. Equally captivating, texturally satisfying yet brutally black metal in spirit is Alkerdeel‘s latest and long-awaited ‘Slonk‘ [Review] which is quickly becoming my favorite record from the Belgium based fellowes. The list of great works is relentless this week, I cannot leave out Black Hole Deity‘s groove-thickened technical death metal EP ‘Lair of Xenolich‘ [Review] or Finnish brutalists Revulsion and their self-titled full-length, both of which recall the heaviest clatter of late 90’s/early 2000’s death metal warmed to the pulse of today. In the realm of psychedelic doom metal we’re granted some thoughtful, artful meditative pulse via Oregonian duo Breath and their ‘Primeval Transmissions‘ [Review] debut. Last but not least I’d encourage folks interesting in psychedelic black metal, psychedelic interpretation of metal, and dark psych ambiance should check out the recent premiere of White Night‘s second EP ‘Solanaceae‘ [Premiere] which includes an interview and full stream hosted by this very site. Also, a last minute addition: Chaos Echœs‘ live album ‘Ecstasy With the Nonexistents‘ will receive a review this week or next, a glorious swan song from a beloved high-art extreme metal project.

Beyond the five records I’ll shortly review, these were notable this week: Sturle Dagsland is an incredible vocal artist from Norway, avant-garde in movement yet certainly crafting memorable esoteric world music with staggering animalistic vocal orchestrations that pull from all corners of the world for spiritual guidance. On ‘Sturle Dagsland‘, his first full-length album, his spirit animal is yet centrally the on-fire scatting of classic Michael Jackson, these severe falsetto-growled funk bursts serve as the main instrument that will surely thrill fans of Icelandic and oriental avant-pop artisans. The pitch to metalheads? He’s opened for Oranssi Pazuzu and hey, that kinda fits once you’ve heard it. The traditional mid-to-late 90’s Swedish melodic death metal sounds of Maestitium are music to my ears on thier debut EP ‘Tale of the Endless‘, very simple appeal and presented in a very classic style that I enjoyed quite a bit. If you’re aching for grinding crossover-thrashing shit look no further than Terrordome‘s ‘Straight Outta Smogtown‘, an absolutely violent record in the fine tradition of Polish metalpunk. Finally, make sure you don’t miss Cult of Luna‘s latest EP ‘The Raging River‘ which is worth the purchase for its guest appearance from Mark Lanegan alone.

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. Onto the reviews:

RELEASE DATE:February 1st, 2021
LABEL(S):Ashen Dominion

I’d admittedly jumped at the chance to feature this sixth full-length from Ukranian black metal duo Ulvegr who’ve more recently leaned back towards their raw, brutally whipped Hate Forest-esque sound. When I had reviewed their 2018 album ‘Vargkult’ I’d compared this shift to early Gorgoroth (or, Immortal) due to some really slick semi-melodic pieces snaked into their ruthless early 90’s black metal approach to blasted and bruising battery and I’d generally say the same of this one. The drumming here is especially hard planted in droning, hateful beatings and this lends a truly angered, violent feeling to these fellowes’ typically very thoughtful movements. Of course the central buzz of the riffing becomes more sentimental as the tracklist progresses with ‘Vargцld’ being a shining mid-point that transitions from rage and scathing mania towards listless, cold mindset. My personal favorite piece here is the Bathory influenced swing of the title track, I love this stomping sort of mid-paced song and the narrative feeling it lends to the full listen. Since this is one of the eldest projects between the two very prolific folks that make up Ulvegr, ‘Isblod’ feels like key manifestation of the most matured and self-secure entity they’ve managed to date, offering some holistic combine of the past and what textural feats are necessary to keep things interesting for the artists today. A thrilling and violent storm of a Slavic black metal record that carries strong, uncomplicated appeal.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

RELEASE DATE:February 5th, 2021
LABEL(S):Nuclear Blast
BUY/LISTEN:Band Website

You know, you don’t have to take Finnish folk metal mainstays Korpiklaani seriously at this point and well, they certainly don’t… Selling spruce flavored vodka and beard oil under their name and putting out regular high-fidelity, jigging, and quite long folk metal records that verge on the “adult contemporary” realm of music makes for quite the lifestyle brand. I’m kind of old, I get it. From my own point of view the silence of Skyclad‘s biting tongue and wailing violins has been rough these last few decades beyond an album or two so, I’d happily see “fun” albums like ‘Jylhä’ as a reminder every so often that this bright, drunken goof-jigging metal still exists and can be a good time. What is new for this twelfth album? This time they’ve aimed to be faster, more aggressive (see: “Niemi“), and focused on depicting some freshly vivid Finnish folklore, the most profound being “Mylly“. So, if you’re looking for something a bit like early Moonsorrow but still honking on the accordion, cutting the songs down to 3-5 minutes and enjoying life, this could be a bright spot for you. I personally cannot help that I am a folk metal dork, there is little resistance for twenty years worth of nostalgia packed into such an exuberant record so I’ve listened to this one far, far too many times. Of course it is an hour long with most of the catchy singles landing in the first ~35 minutes so, a light investment might be just enough of a good time for most.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

TITLE:Vacuum γ​-​Noise Transition
RELEASE DATE:February 5th, 2021
LABEL(S):Sentient Ruin Laboratories

Here we have what is likely the strongest record folks might overlook this week, perhaps only because it isn’t entirely clear what DSKNT are ’til a closer look is had. From the look of things we’ve got an experimental noise record, something dark ambient? Actually ‘Vacuum γ​-​Noise Transition” is a dissonant black/death metal record from members/ex-members of Antiversum and Exordium, their second since forming in ~2013. As with most Sentient Ruin releases a closer listen, a deeper stare, and an appropriately strengthened attention span yields the best results in response to such swerve-heavy, statuesque black metal storm. The order and arrangement of the album represents a sort of induction, entrance and exit that ultimately centers around building towards “Θ-Noise – Phase Shift” and releasing equal energy beyond it as that core is sandwiched between two layers of two part songs. Though that breach is the heart of the entire event, I’d found myself most impressed by the 9+ minute captivity of “Deconvolution Ξ-0 [Part II]” at the end of the album if only for the greater range of their dissonant, cold black metal and dark ambient motions. Mechanical and hateful extreme stuff that leaves a strong first impression.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

RELEASE DATE:February 5th, 2021
LABEL(S):Hypnotic Dirge Records

Omination are a funeral death/doom metal band based out of Tunisia, originally concieved by musician Fedor Kovalevsky in 2016 and later expanded to include his bandmates from progressive death metal act Vielikan. The influences for this project are only obvious for the sake of this spherical realm of keyboard/piano-heavy funeral death/doom being relatively small, though I would suggest ‘NGR’ (or, New Golgotha Repvbliq) has the brittle “on the verge” extremity of Finnish funeral doom metal especially down pat, particularly the best of (early) Tyranny and especially our beloved Profetus. Harsh, percussive, echoing, and hardly as minimal as one might expect from discussion of their influences Omination presents a stark, oppressed world in the throes of its prophesied downfall. My guess is that they’d learned some vital lessons on the ‘The Pale Horsemen’ EP from last year and infused more melodic sections to round out the experience. Grotesque, affecting, and soul-crushing in length ‘NGR’ recalls the very best of classic funeral doom taken to a maddeningly loud extreme and there is some considerable feat in pulling this style out of the shadows and into the post-apocalyptic fallout of mankind. If it is a cliché to suggest extreme doom metal is a pain that cleanses and strengthens the mind within its greater journey then I suppose it is because this thought fits so well within an 80+ minute grinding, cathedralesque opus such as this. The listening experience is topped off with a cover of Skepticism‘s “Nothing” from the yet underrated ‘Farmakon’ album, a deliriously deep cut moment which fits the mood and modus of this album quite well, ending on a truly sour, spacious note of dissent.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:Die Wampyriskra Symphonie [Compilation]
RELEASE DATE:February 5th, 2021
LABEL(S):Inferna Profundus Productions

‘Die Wampyriskra Symphonie’ is a compilation of two seemingly improvised demos from Old Castles both of which are supposedly from 2012. The first is raw black metal influenced by the busted but sometimes pretty scathe of Les Légions Noires and similarly themed circles since, very typical within the format we’re seeing from the (poorly named) Pure Raw Underground Black Metal Plague circle out of Chile in recent years. The second part is a ‘traditional’ dungeon synth tape, a sub-genre signifier which only suggests each piece consists of one or two layers of piano/keyboard trailing on with a semi coherent set of two-handed phrases, usually themed/paced after a march or an improvised moment pulled from many takes. I don’t personally find the black metal pieces here worthwhile, the atmosphere is typical and drowned out enough that it wasn’t worth recalling. The dungeon synth work is much more entertaining, capturing this vampyric mood well enough without providing any particularly rich musical statements. It does sound a bit like a fellow discovering the church organ module on his keyboard for the first time and playing around, then applying fairly uniform static grit atop the whole of the tape. In hindsight the combination of these two recordings is light on interest but the atmosphere created on the dungeon synth pieces is appreciable. It’d certainly caught my ear more effectively than a lot of the more typical stuff I’d come across otherwise when plumbing this week.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

If I missed your favorite album from 2020, whoa too late! If you’ve got 2021 digs to whip out E-mail me or hit me up on Instagram if you want me to review it, I’ll consider it.

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