Annihilate This Week 3/01/21: “A naïve faith in causality, mid-collapse.”

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 ninth week of 2021 is highlighted by ambitious traditional heavy metal, shred-heavy melodic tech-death, over the top melodeath, riff obsessed death metal, avant-garde Hellenic brew, and stomping punk horrified black metal. There’ll be some variety beyond those selections but it is a fairly slim week of releases to choose from overall. 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 once again a tough call. In terms of non-metal stuff, Trigger Cut‘s second album ‘ROGO‘ lives up to high expectations with a classic post-punk tinged noise rock album that once again feels like it’d been pulled from the Midwest United States circa 1991. Otherwise I’d have to likely choose the avant-garde Greek black metal spiritus of Zaratus‘ ‘In the Days of Whore‘ and no doubt Reaper‘s second album ‘The Atonality of Flesh‘ is nearby. The ambitious yet occasionally abrasive traditional heavy metal of Swedish band Starscape‘s ‘Colony‘ also proved inspiring for my own taste. If you’re worried there isn’t any death metal to tide you over this week, don’t hesitate to buy Pustilence‘s ‘The Birth of the Beginning Before the Inception of the End‘ EP if you like riffs, their thrashing take on the style is well above average. More on each of these records when their reviews publish this week.

Beyond the six records I’ll shortly review, these were notable this week: I’ve got a handle on just about everything I wanted to cover with the only exception being Greek stoner/doom metal band Acid Mammoth‘s ‘Caravan‘ which is coming out on March 5th, I didn’t receive a promo but what Heavy Psych Sounds have released sounds great. Speaking of Hellas, Nightfall are back after about seven years with a pretty average album on Season of Mist which you might enjoy. I was basically done with their discography after 1995, and I still don’t have much to say beyond ‘Athenian Echoes’ is vastly underrated. And finally there is a new album from Los Angeles, California progressive/power metal band Witherfall titled ‘The Curse of Autumn‘ which is not my thing at all but, I suppose their brand of melodramatic power metal focused on depression and grief does have some broad appeal. There are some fairly catchy piece on the record but I’d found the record felt a bit forced in its sorrow at times, hoping to be cathartic.

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:Doorways of Time
RELEASE DATE:March 5th, 2021

Melbourne-borne heavy metal/hard rock troupe Butterfly have a pretty choice way of describing their general vibe, if I could paraphrase ‘rock like it’s the 70’s, party like the 80’s, and write songs with the 60’s level of craft‘. So they sound like Thin Lizzy, eh? To some degree yes, think of all of the obscure 70’s heavy psych that you’d listen to more often if they traded some of that blues rock energy for harmonized guitar solos and some early Judas Priest flavor. That mid-phase feeling as popular music wheeled from acid rock to heavy metal is more or less in hand on ‘Doorways of Time’, a record that has the ’78 swing of early NWOBHM singles thanks to a well-studied appreciation for late 60’s/early 70’s popular rock songwriting. Butterfly comes from former members of Abramelin, Bestial Warlust, and Hobb’s Angel Of Death and I’d say this matters a bit less than the general suggestion that they’re Australian which lends a certain ‘balls on the table’ expectation to their hard rock moments; When Butterfly gear themselves up for too much fun it generally works, there are a few small flops (“Heavy Metal Highway”) that remain endearing but skippable yet the full listen is remarkably accomplished for a debut. I figure if you’re going to aim for a throwback rock record that’ll largely hit old heads the running order needs to showcase singles first and variety throughout, I’m not sure if there are any major hits on ‘Doorways of Time’ but they’ve managed to deliver an set of memorable songs that are easily differentiated from one another. That lack of redundancy “makes” the album, which was released in Australia in very limited quantities back in late 2020. Now that they’ve got major distribution channels throughout Europe here’s hoping all of the sold out pre-orders will push ’em to keep exploring this ideal.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

RELEASE DATE:March 5th, 2021
LABEL(S):Sentient Ruin Laboratories

Philadelphia based hardcore punk duo Hallucination are immediately on fire as their first demo tape blazes through a nine minute blast of late 80’s/early 90’s noise and d-beat influenced sublimity. Think of Vermiform bands (Born Against, Life’s Blood and especially Rorschach‘s ‘Remain Sedate’) at their experimental-yet-focused prime alongside modern ‘old school’ hardcore takes (such as Raw Nerve) with a healthy chunk of Japanese metallic crust pushing everything along. Probably too complex of a description for what it is, fast and shouting crusted hardcore punk with an experimental edge and a Poison Idea cover (tape only exclusive) to set your mind right. A quick and easy “yes” from my perspective, I’m curious to see where they go with this sound.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

TITLE:Trapped in a World
RELEASE DATE:March 5th, 2021
LABEL(S):Good Fight

Seven albums in and just about twenty years later Los Angeles hardcore staple Terror are waxing nostalgic with a ‘live in studio’ set that compiles the best remembered songs from their first EP ‘Lowest of the Low’ and breakthrough debut LP ‘One With the Underdogs’. These guys were often lumped in with Hatebreed due to busting out into bigger record deals around the same time but Terror were always closer in line with classic Madball, a metallic and pit ready spin on the fundamental lessons of 90’s hardcore. The way I’d contextualize the period of hardcore where they busted out with these records (early 2000’s) was some light turmoil for the traditionalist as melodic metalcore groups had eaten up the focus of mainstay Victory Records and a lot of great weird/dark hardcore and punk bands ate shit soon after. Buried Alive were one of ’em I’d liked and their vocalist’s relation Terror lead me to buy ‘Lowest of the Low’ back in the day, that is the extent of my nostalgia in reference to these songs. Sure I’ll sound like a typical hardcore punk asshole who only liked the first 7″ from every band he ever heard but those are the songs I still connect with most. ‘One With the Underdogs’ touched upon a new era of beatdown that I’d never loved yet most of those still memorable groove-heavy pieces are kinda set on equal ground with the EP material. It makes for a solid running order and a sort of ‘early days greatest hits’ with a fairly stripped down recording in hand that emphasizes their love for what I’d consider a 90’s east coast meets west coast hardcore punk conglomerate. Original guitarist, Todd Jones of Nails, had a hand in these recordings and looks to be working with the band on their next full-length as well.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

TITLE:Murder Season
RELEASE DATE:March 5th, 2021
LABEL(S):Morbid and Miserable [Cassette]
Husk/Jems [CD, LP]

How can you tell the black metal/punk band you’re about to listen to is legit? Check the archives and see if they’ve done a split with Abigail. If yes, you’re probably golden. This Lexington, Kentucky-based trio hit their goal of Venom influenced metalpunk effortlessly on this their second album, keeping the sense of humor ripe for the horror movie matinee and motörpunk crowd. The whole record is fairly memorable in terms of simple guitar hooks and rasping engagement but I’d felt their dip into the Dream Death/Celtic Frost realm on “Death Divine” kinda stole the show; It’d stood out enough that I’d found myself wanting one or two more of those moments, despite the kinda funny lyrics. Album closer “Unholy Ritual” does a fine job reprising that sound and is probably my favorite of the tracklist. I’ve been listening to harsh variations of crust punk for three months straight for another feature so, ducking into this record felt absolutely comfortable. “Leatherface” is a solid enough highlight, when they veer into the more excitable hardcore punk territory the riffing picks up some steam though some variation in tone or presence would’ve helped to avoid the whole record bleeding together. Without a few well-placed samples to hold my attention I’d tend to nod off near the middle of the full listen. Either way ‘Murder Season’ is a good time and I figure that is the main goal of the demographic met, to have fun with a catchy metalpunk record.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

TITLE:The Mad King
RELEASE DATE:March 1st, 2021
LABEL(S):Symmetric Records,
Stormspell Records

Despite some middle reviews online the first album from Andreas Sinanoglou‘s heavy/power metal project Warrior Path did quite well back in 2019. For their first step it’d seemed they were intent on keeping it simple and this meant Yannis Papadopoulos (Beast in Black) didn’t really get a chance to explode with some of the bombast he is known for. Well, at least compared to what they’ve managed here on the second album with former Lost Horizon vocalist Daniel Heiman, whom we are all very excited to hear from after many years. With the addition of Heiman it seems Warrior Path are given permission to go over the top and fire on all cylinders as long as they keep it in the general Manowar/Firewind realm. This line-up fits like a glove and sings a bit more proud because of it, tending fully towards power metal for the bulk of the tracklist. This is fitting enough as you can feel Bob Katsionis (Outloud, Serious Black, ex-Firewind) putting quite a lot of his bravado into his part of these compositions, shredding within reason and setting the right moments alight with his enthused keyboard work. This should be the right balance of epic heavy pomp and pure power metal vibrancy for fans of early 2000’s power metal with a somewhat aggressive edge and I can imagine old Lost Horizon fans will flip their shit over it, you’ll get a hint of ‘Awakening the World’ just by virtue of Heiman‘s involvement and this’d been enough of a spark to keep me engaged as a fan.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

RELEASE DATE:March 5th, 2021
LABEL(S):Solar Asceticists Productions

French atmospheric black metal quartet Abyssal Vacuum continue their ongoing thread of depth-seeking movements, a fluid yet dissonant style of atmoblack which thrives on this fourth EP from the project. From what I gather each set of songs persists as a similarly themed exploration of an unknown cavernous expanse so, it is appropriate that we go from the sound of water dripping from the ceiling into a pool towards warming, increasingly wrought movements that are reactive as one might be wandering in the dark. What echoes back informs the path forward and I suppose what this means in practical terms is that each of the three pieces on ‘MMXX’ builds upon an intensifying sense of disorientation and anxietous movement via repetition and semi-melodic phrases. Guitarist/vocalist Sébastien B.‘s work is often sophisticated and intentioned yet as was the case with his enormous triple LP Dysylumn record from last year it all melts together into motion that jogs in place until the door to the next room is found. The sensation of listening to this EP on repeat is a bit maddening, trying to find a way forward while there is this extra layer of torment echoing around with every attempt to progress. I’m a bit torn on the experience because of this; On one hand the disorientation is unique and entertaining, on the other hand I find it a bit aimless and repetitive as if I’m being hypnotized and it just doesn’t seem to take. Thinking about it, sitting with it, and enjoying the overall atmosphere does ultimately lend itself to a certain level of engagement and I suppose that is the major value of its immersion.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

  • KJELD – Ôfstân [March 5th, Heidens Hart]
  • STARSCAPE – Colony [March 1st, Stormspell Records] *
  • PUSTILENCE – The Birth of the Beginning Before the Inception of the End [March 5th, Personal Records] *
  • ZARATUS – In the Days of Whore [March 5th, Ván Records] *
  • REAPER – The Atonality of Flesh [March 5th, Iron Bonehead Productions] *
  • TRIGGER CUT – Rogo [March 1st, Self-Released] *
  • SPORAE AUTEM YUGGOTH – The Plague of Aeons [March 5th, Personal Records]
  • Wÿntër Ärvn – Abysses [March 1st, Antiq]
  • NADSVEST / NECROBODE – Split [March 5th, Iron Bonehead Productions]
  • KING BONG – Ogopogo [March 5th, Mandrone Records]
  • THE HYENA KILL – A Disconnect [March 5th, APF Records]

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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