Annihilate This Week 2/08/21: “Nous voulons chanter l’amour du danger, l’habitude de l’énergie et de la témérité.”

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 sixth week of 2021 is highlighted by watery, claustrophobic darkwave, semi-melodic death/doom metal, ancient Greek black metal, ancient Swedish melodic death metal, some stoner rumblings and even a bit of technical death metal. I’ll be direct: It isn’t as amazing as it sounds, but I’ve found a few strong pieces here and there. 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 probably going to be Vestindien‘s debut full-length ‘Null‘ [Review] for its proggy 70’s rock sized atmospheric timbre and blackened metalpunk influenced dirges. I’m still buzzing over how great Caedes Cruenta‘s ‘Of Ritual Necrophagia and Mysterious Ghoul Cults‘ [Review] is though I think most folks will be slightly less enthusiastic when realizing half of the album is re-recorded tracks from their 2014 album which was just reissued last year. I love it as I am a huge fan of classic Greek black metal. German death metal band Abythic have found a somewhat melodic vision of death/doom in conjuration of their third album ‘Dominion of the Wicked‘ [Review] and their new vocalist is excellent. A fairly strong album from Ablaze My Sorrow arrives in the form of ‘Among Ashes and Monoliths‘ [Review], though it doesn’t match the festooned-in-classicism (er, nostalgic?) feeling of their first two albums.

Beyond the five records I’ll shortly review, these were notable this week: The third album from Swedish djent/progressive deathcore band Humanity’s Last Breath, ‘Välde‘, [Review] isn’t really my style but I couldn’t help but appreciate the deeply considered landscape they’ve managed via complex technology-centered solutions to out-heavying the rest of the planet. Folk/black metal act Odal will release their latest EP ‘Leuchtend tobt der Geisterwald‘ this week, though there isn’t much fanfare for this band their back catalog is excellent. Brussels-based avant-garde act Emptiness continue their journey away from their black metal influenced beginnings, now crafting a watery, shoegazing suffocation of an album in ‘Vide‘. No doubt the art-metal crowd will spill their guts over this, I found it dreamlike yet discordant and actually somewhat hellish to sit through. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Eh.

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:

TITLE:The Final Tyranny
RELEASE DATE:February 12th, 2021
LABEL(S):The Artisan Era

Any release from the fantastically curated The Artisan Era is guaranteed to be progressive extreme metal performed by folks with elite technical skills, that is the baseline when you see their name pop up. This first EP from Nashville, Tennessee-based trio Demon King serves as the return to this highly competitive fray for vocalist/guitarist Matt Brown who brings in two old friends from his days in Enfold Darkness and Inferi for a shred-heavy blackened technical death metal record. ‘The Final Tyranny’ features Malcom Pugh (Inferi, The Artisan Era) on bass and Jack Blackburn (Chaos Moon, Skáphe, ex-Vital Remains) on drums and there is no doubt their skills elevate the propulsion of these recordings, the major details definitely lean towards Brown‘s point of view as a composer and central performer but if you are a fan of high-brained extreme metal that strives for something modern yet tasteful (technical yet melodically viable) you will find it in the resumes of these fellowes. As for what ‘The Final Tyranny’ presents in terms of style and vision, I’d say the initial impression is that they’re evocative of a hyper-technical Absu at a glance but with some of the neoclassical swing of early Skeletonwitch when bursts of “thrash” were actually neatly formed melodic death metal influenced runs played at the speed of shred. Brown was a founding member of Enfold Darkness and his distinct shrill register returns alongside the use of lofty orchestrated keyboards, which definitely helps this considerably intense set of four songs breathe in a way that will be familiar to fans of the label. It isn’t tech-death Old Man’s Child exactly but, I don’t think that idea would repulse these guys either. Though I am fairly difficult to sell on overtly shred-heavy stuff lately this one felt, well, “musical” enough that I’d warmed to its sound quickly.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

RELEASE DATE:February 12th, 2021
LABEL(S):Signal Rex

Trondheim must be built atop some manner of ancient burial site or leaking portal closest to Set, as the chasmic and devotional evil we’ve gotten from the area this last decade has left an imposing legacy. The circle associated with the fellowes in Funeral Harvest yet expands and completes as Nathas forms doomed ritual black metal act Nathr with Northr and Ond, both of whom are also now/were in Funeral Harvest. Influenced by cruel black/ambient works and blackened funeral doom acts such as Nortt and Sektarism their first EP ‘Beinahrúga’ yet persists with a ritualistic trance of their own. The experience isn’t pure grating misery and doesn’t feel like the mental crucifixion that black/funeral doom metal might suggest at face value. This sort of atmosphere is meant to leave the listener drifting in the moment, engaged but not so focused that it becomes more about the riff than the atmosphere. As with some of their other projects the “hook” is missing but perhaps by design and the investment of morbid meditation is the bigger purpose of the greater incantation. Excellent sound and aesthetic, well worth expanding this idea into a full-length if they can sustain that disembodied feeling for ~40 minutes or so.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:Seven Evils Spawned of Seven Heads
RELEASE DATE:February 12th, 2021
LABEL(S):Translation Loss

If you are a very lost Set Sights fan looking for Orange County style melodic hardcore/post-hardcore cushion this Wake influenced death metal band from some of the same guys ain’t it. I am definitely conscious of folks losing faith in retro death metal records from musicians pivoting off of the easing interest in alt-rocking post-hardcore, metalcore and such but if any label has the right taste to curate this ongoing movement it is surely Translation Loss and Swampbeast are definitely a good fit next to bands like Glorious Depravity and Teeth. Stomping hardcore beats, grinding dissonant riffs and a focus on the melting groove of each composition makes for a thrilling bit of noise to start. The crux of it is that the sound design/render of this record is pretty sharp but the riffs aren’t there in terms of death metal beyond vague use of transitional techniques. If we shift our point of view away from any mention of ‘old school’ anything we’re basically served a blackened death influenced sludgecore record with a bit of sea sickness and it at least hits the status quo at this point. I know that sounds reductive but the goal of this project appears to be to sound like current extreme metal rather than to actually engage in its historical development and though this isn’t such a crime in 2021, it doesn’t make for a repeatable affair. ‘Seven Evils Spawned of Seven Heads’ isn’t a mind-blowing experience but it is a well-crafted, groovy take on dissonant, grinding death metal. The one thing that I’d have to convey to younger folks pushing out ‘modern’ death metal records in this style is that they’ll stand out more with a real grasp of the late 80’s thrash metal that inspired the truly impactful death metal artists of the early 90’s. With this handle upon the riff as a complete, focused statement the actual essence of death metal is preserved and easily expanded upon with these swarms of flourish. Just an old man comment on my part. Enthralling and gorgeously presented modern metal but not particularly memorable for my own taste.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

TITLE:We Are Doomed
RELEASE DATE:February 12th, 2021
LABEL(S):APF Records

Oxford, England-based psychedelic doom metal quartet Indica Blues are exactly the fuzz-bustin’ upside-downturned mental drone I need here in the early stretches of February. I want doom, simple and stoney droning doom that can carry a blues-bartering tune and drag me through the muck of it with some reasonably bumblin’ riff action. I get the feeling that these guys jam, not necessarily sweaty eight hour long drug-addled frustration fests needling every movement but that they’ve floated a few of these bigger riffs through the doors of a hazy practice space and found the right spot with a live setting in mind. Speaking of frustration, if it is anywhere it is in these lyrics that’re processing the obvious cataclysms that encroach upon us with greater frequency year over year. If you thought ‘We Are Doomed’ looked and sounded a bit sunny at a glance, sure, they’ve got that psychedelic stoney swagger as a core driver in hand but that isn’t sunshine on the album art, its a nuke. I enjoy the balance of anthropocene regret, stoned determination, tightly wound heavy rock songwriting, and a head-hanging distorted bass grind keeping the weight up throughout. It all pushes along as a walking pace with the hand of doom ever threatening its clobber. Like I said, exactly the kind of soulful dirging music I need more of this time of year. If you’re looking for a close-enough comparison think of the first Electric Wizard album with a shade less Cathedral tonality or recent stuff from Mars Red Sky, definitely check it out if you gravitate towards Small Stone Records as often as I do.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:Possessed By Evil
RELEASE DATE:February 15th, 2021 [Vinyl]
LABEL(S):Nuclear War Now! Productions

Though the date is tentative and this only refers to the vinyl edition (the CD + tape were released last December) I wanted to make sure I got around to mentioning this one before it flew by. Evil are a black/thrash metal band out of Tokyo, Japan with ties to speed metal act Significant Point (whom also have a record out soon on Dying Victims). Their style is one of the best representations of the underrated classic black/heavy metal style out of Japan since the early 80’s when bands like Sabbat appeared as a sort of response to Venom‘s infamous worldwide representation. Evil are surely rooted in this style as their punk fueled rhythms and cutting, energetic riffing recalls both the early days of thrash in response to peak NWOBHM and the generations of its development in Japan’s not-so insular black metal ideology via bands like Abigail and Barbatos. The melodic language they’re voicing here us definitely rooted in classic heavy metal, thrash, and punk rock but it never becomes cloying or weird parody in the same way that bands like Midnight and Hellripper often can be. The best example of this for my own taste is “Reaper” an English Dogs style riff is the centerpiece but the song itself keeps the riffs burning on rather than defaulting to Phil Campbell style guitar hooks. Likewise hints of early Megadeth and Slayer begin to show once repeat listens unveil their high energy speed metal sound. Though I’m not about to write a thesis on this stuff, all killing no thinking, but I do love it and have been sucked into its energetic vortex repeatedly since the CD released. I feel like this sound is best served on vinyl and I’m impressed that Evil sound more comfortable jumping out of their skin on each release. An essential early 2021 release.

Rating: 8 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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