Annihilate This Week 2/15/21: “One who glistens horribly like a rainbow of insects; the one who quivers in a horrible manner.”

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 seventh week of 2021 is highlighted by clanging French noise rock, inspired dissonant avant-garde black metal abyssals, triumphant black metal rituals, a wealth of cold wave/post-punk experiments, filth-ridden deathgrind with some old school dignity in hand, traditional as possible heavy metal, ever-streaming dark/post-black metal, classic melodic black/death metal, and avant-garde blackened death metal so ridden with solar flaring energy that it begins to melt the mind. That is to say that if you’re a weird-ass metal fuck, there is tons to enjoy if you can find it. 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 unquestionably Suffering Hour‘s second full-length album ‘The Cyclic Reckoning‘ [Review], I have no qualms calling it a masterpiece of death metal’s modernist, most focused form of expression. I bought the fuck out of it as soon as I could. In terms of other records you’re going to remember, Harakiri For the Sky‘s fifth album ‘Mӕre‘ [Review] continues their thread of depressive dark metal which has long naturally fused with post-black metal, making for a familiar style of music that is yet their own distinct creation. Very catchy, very emotional stuff and always unapologetically in it for the ‘hook’ and the details that get you to return on repeat. If you’re as much of a fan of Scandinavian melodic black/death metal of the mid-90’s as it refined into the latter days of that decade you’ll love Thron‘s ‘Pilgrim‘ [Review], a sleek and sophisticated record that finds the band expanding their professionally rendered craft into brilliant new territory. Give it time to breathe before you judge the record at face value. If you’re interested in grindcore/deathgrind that is heavily influenced by the post-Terrorizer age of grind up through bands like Discordance Axis you’ll enjoy Socioclast‘s ‘Socioclast‘ [Review] a 17-minute trip that offers plenty of referential detail as it crushes past. I have not yet finished reviews for: French noise rock/post-punk band Echoplain‘s ‘Polaroid Malibu‘, Spire‘s (Australia) incredible ‘Temple of Khronos‘, a trip that fans of The Ruins of Beverast and Primordial will immediately appreciate, Vøidwomb‘s ‘Altars of Cosmic Devotion‘ will bring a bit of deadpan horror to their death metal sound, and you’ll have to stay tuned to see why I’m so excited about Dopelord‘s ‘Reality Dagger‘.

Beyond the six records I’ll shortly review, these were notable this week: Folks looking for raw and energetic black/death metal that punches it out hard should try Upon The Altar‘s ‘Absid Ab Ordine Luminis‘. Bloodletter‘s ‘Funeral Hymns’ marks their first record with Petrichor (Hammerheart-related) and it’ll likely be a surprise how catchy the record is after I describe it as classic speed/thrash metal influenced melodic black metal. That description will make more sense if you give the band a listen. Anyhow, the five albums I’ve picked out for this week should impress as each one has their own unique identity informed by a specific sub-genre focus. Other than that I’ve picked mostly killer shit this week, at least for my own weird ass taste.

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:Methods of Human Disposal
RELEASE DATE:February 19th, 2021
LABEL(S):20 Buck Spin

A reasonably successful crossover between the shared anti-musical notions of (real-ass) war metal and the death metallic side of revisionist grindcore, New York’s Gravesend manage a fairly riff-dense and satisfying full listen on this near half hour debut. ‘Methods of Human Disposal’ definitely lands in the general realm of bands like Vermin Womb and Knelt Rote but the slap-heavy drumming and abrupt black/death riffing chunks out closer to newer horrors such as Antichrist Siege Machine and Abysmal Lord, at least when things are really firing off. The only issue I’d had was that the interludes and creeped out verminous noise landscapes slow the momentum of an otherwise brief and on-fire release. If you pop bands like this like Vicodin, as in… as needed and rarely in excess I could see those moments as unnecessary interruption though I understand there is a certain brand of nihilism feeding their larger theme and the emergent rodent scourge across a plagued world is yet an important factor in depiction of their gig. I’m on board for it, got a ton of spins out of just a few killer riffs and ended up just wanting a few more of those bigger, focused blast-and-riff moments (see: “Ashen Piles Of The Incinerated”, “Absolute Filth”, etc.)

Rating: 7 out of 10.

RELEASE DATE:February 17th, 2021

There are several hyper specific niches of gothic rock/post-punk to keep in mind when approaching a synth-buzzing, deadpan-at-face-value record like ‘Euphoria’ but a modified take on the coldwave variant of post-punk seems to be the right answer, though I don’t personally find this record picks too deeply at the scarified reverb heavy gloom of the early 80’s. The synth rhythms are subtle but warm, the vocals rarely stir above an affected beat poet and the entire affair is satisfyingly introverted for my own taste. I found myself ready to toss this one aside after the main progression of opener “Radiant” came dangerously close to Survive‘s work for the Stranger Things OST, not that that is such a bad thing but it’d hit an odd note to begin with. In fact the issue I often have with modern takes on coldwave and darkwave is that the style is so often used in television, movies, and video game soundtracks that my associations become myriad (see: Robot Unicorn Attack 2). Sticking it out and cranking the volume a bit eventually drenched me in Future Faces‘ listless groove, which vacillates between a hard hump (“Enter Life”) to a cold, lost jog (“Shallow”) without cracking a smile anywhere in between. ‘Euphoria’ is an easy record to dip into and some of the aforementioned pieces are truly memorable yet “Nation” and “Visage” drag Side B down a bit as comparatively average pieces on an otherwise strong and fairly succinct (for this style) ~41 minutes. Great stuff for the enthusiast but if you’re just a dabbler in this style (as I am) you may want to keep shopping around for a go-to while you enjoy ‘Euphoria’ in the meantime.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:Syzygial Summoning
RELEASE DATE:February 18th, 2021
LABEL(S):Caligari Records

Perihelion Gnosis comes from the mind of musician Caleb Simard and his muse who contributes the lyrics, concept and artwork/logo while Simard writes and performs the music himself. Although this surrealistic and riff-gnarling solo death/doom metal demo tape is short at roughly twelve minutes there is no denying ‘Syzygial Summoning’ arrives with a thread of sludge-creeped and mutating slow-motion Finndeath directionality. The performances are more than capable, but never full on technical as groove, lead-driven melodies, and twisted early Tomb Mold influenced riffing persist as the major takeaways. The doomed death metal adjacent mountain-cursing plod of “Syzygial Summoning of His Pale-Skinned Majesty (Sacrifice of the Neverborn)” is the main event for my own taste, recalling that fantastic Bloodsoaked Necrovoid record from last year but kick-flippin’ into mid-paced riffs that recall prime caverncore to some degree. An excellent introductory tape, wouldn’t touch a thing in terms of production or atmosphere, and I cannot wait to hear what comes next.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

TITLE:Oculus Rot
RELEASE DATE:February 14th, 2021
LABEL(S):Brutal Mind

If ‘Cerebral Cereal‘ doesn’t ring a bell for you chances are you weren’t fist-deep in the early days of Unique Leader Records where I suppose Pyaemia and Disavowed introduced many folks to the product of the late 90’s Netherlands brutal death metal scene alongside Severe Torture. Whereas Disavowed were barbarian Suffocation cultists, Pyaemia were closer to Disgorge‘s (U.S.) gored and thump heavy grooves. It was a short lived bout of notoriety as an injury lead to a hiatus and a split vocalist Joel Sta would notably co-front Arsebreed before their own fifteen year hiatus between albums, which ended last year with ‘Butoh’. Buried formed between ex-Pyaemia members in 2013, eventually (~2017) consolidating into that band’s last line-up minus the guitarist. Their style is a pretty natural evolution of what brutal death metal was doing pre-deathcore scene diarrhea, a blend of late 90’s brutal death metal severity still informed by the classics but trading some of the implied thrashing technicality for groove metal influences that era is perhaps more famous for. So, while that does imply ‘Symbols of Failure’-era Psycroptic, and maybe even Decapitated‘s ‘Organic Hallucinosis’, I’d say Buried inherit none of the stop-start chug you might expect. I’m parsing nuance here rather than drawing hard lines, think of it as a more dynamic evolution of mid-2000’s brutal death metal with a groovin’, technical voice that develops as you hit the deeper end of the tracklist and stops just short of redundancy.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

RELEASE DATE:February 19th, 2021
LABEL(S):Putrid Cult

Though we’ve gotten leagues of cloyingly sweet, flowing melodies from underground Slavic black metal this last decade much of it reeks of ouroboric forms, recycled “pretty” shit that satisfies in the moment yet leaves no notable statement beyond whatever parodied aesthetic the artist manages to lock eyes with. Reductive and cynical of me? Sure, and I’d posit that attitude stems from having spent at least a decade squeezing what black nectar is extant in the well-buried (and sometimes, “cancelled”) halls of Polish pagan black metal, basking in the enriching 90’s scenery — Most of it unproduced and raw but all of it still musically superior to the hobby grade shoegaze rock in black metal clothing we’re served so often. Excuse the miniature rant but it takes a band like Szary Wilk to remind me exactly what I like about black metal, a lovely sort of arrogance that won’t settle for a less-than memorable stoic moment within each piece. Their debut album ‘Wrath’ makes every moment count; First pointing to the classics of Polish pagan black metal in expanding the baneful-yet-melodic death marches of early Behemoth tapes, Gontyna Kry and a bit of late 90’s Christ Agony before eventually touching upon Rotting Christ (“Wilczy Taniec”) just when the need to expand their melodicism calls. Seeking that sweet spot between Greek black metal’s heavy metal spirit and the more feeling-based pagan black metal guitarists of the mid-90’s ultimately finds Szary Wilk‘s debut a success, subtle as its opening moments are I’d found the value of this album grew within a few listens and it has become a favorite this month. Why no full review? In this case I don’t feel like digging into the specifics will necessarily yield much more than nostalgic praise from me and… actually might’ve detracted from the more direct suggestion that this is a great black metal record with very simple, obviate appeal. I will no doubt cling to this record all year long for its ease of approach at ~33 minutes and five all-killer pieces.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

TITLE:Utter Contempt
RELEASE DATE:February 19th, 2021
LABEL(S):Atypeek Music

Skittering post-punk, cockroach-stomping beats, warbling electronics and chorded bass guitar spirals lingering in the back of your skull might not immediately translate as pure noise rock when French quartet Valse Noot stumbles into their introductory moments but a method soon develops. Within their seemingly mad-ranting scrawl they defy the catharsis of post-hardcore and embrace the scrambling beat poet skronk we all think we remember being so prevalent in the early 90’s, a nostalgic but undeniably current bonking scream fest of an anti-rock record. ‘Utter Contempt’ balances its poetic, affected voice with textural guitar screech fairly well as Valse Noot present an utterly dramatic reaction fitting for their chosen title. Though I would suggest they’ve taken cues from the current French and Polish noise rock movements in developing these pieces into fine detail they stop just short of a plain ‘experimental’ tag with “Hereditary” being the most taxing indulgence. They’re at their best on the more actively ranting noise punk pieces, such as “Story of Decadence”, and thankfully roughly 70% of the full listen hits about that hard and gets about that weird. I love this kind of stuff as it takes a certain amount of induction before the abrasive nature of the performances reads as more than intent, challenging but ultimately readable post-hardcore/noise rock.

Rating: 7.5 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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