Annihilate This Week 3/27/21: “A certain narrowing of consciousness and a corresponding strengthening of the unconscious.”

ANNIHILATE THIS WEEK hits every Sunday (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 thirteenth week of 2021 is highlighted by blackened death/heavy metal hybridization, warped death/doom horror, tech-thrash comebacks, creep-heavy experimental blackened noise, technical death metal, funeral gloom and some solid heavy psychedelic rock. If you’re not into the selection this time around, 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 definitely Wode‘s ‘Burn in Many Mirrors‘, a brilliant fusion of old and new sub-genre influences unto a spirited and extreme heavy metal record. I did not receive a promo copy of Fuoco Fatuo‘s latest record ‘Obsidian Katabasis‘ but I am sure it is solid based off of their past work, the Italian funeral death/doom metal band definitely impressed me on their previous record. Finnish black metal band Sielunvihollinen‘s ‘Teloituskäsky‘ is uniquely melodic and entirely blasphemic, a great balance of regional black metal aspects without sounding typical. Spellforger‘s ‘Upholders of Evil‘ offers black/thrash metal solidarity and a great debut EP. A physical CD version of Vektor‘s ‘Activate‘ Single is also coming out on April 2nd, I don’t think I’ll review it (very good, prog metal piece is shockingly different) but I definitely bought it to add to the archives. Otherwise I won’t dwell on the first week of April too much, the six I’ve chosen today range from stoner rock jams to cutting edge technical extreme metal.

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:Moral Collapse
RELEASE DATE:April 2nd, 2021
LABEL(S):Subcontinental Records

Indian technical death metal trio Moral Collapse breathe a bit of fire here on their debut full-length, opting to hold their cards for a few Nile-esque piece before diving into increasing avant-garde jazz-fusion influenced pieces. The immediate appeal of ‘Moral Collapse’ relies somewhat heavily on those hammer-heavy pieces that distinguish Side A from Side B‘s sprawling ideals; Though it is a subtle arc to envision, there is a foundation built then shattered as the whole of the tracklist reveals itself. The presence of popular extreme metal drummer Hannes Grossmann is key in the sense that the project more or less formed as a way to convince him to do a drum clinic series in India, eventually becoming a project that’d employ his session work. Fans of Alkaloid and Grossman‘s solo project are probably the key demographic here though Moral Collapse is generally its own beast from the generation beyond late 2000’s tech-death. Vocalist, co-guitarist and bassist Arun Natarajan‘s resume should ring a bell if you can somehow manage to recall early February 2018 when I’d reviewed an EP from his Eccentric Pendulum project, a fine bout of modern progressive death metal. Namedrops might not generate hype for most here but these are fine, accomplished musicians from their respective niches.

As we land deeper in a state of weird through immersive listening it is the many guests and Grossmann himself that provide the most unique touches on this debut album. Guests from the death metal world (Kevin Hufnagel, Bobby Koelble, Michael Woess) aren’t necessarily the major stars here but their contributions tend to mark the most successful pieces whereas the unaccompanied songs are fine yet functional by comparison. My personal favorite moment comes with jazz saxophonist Julius Gabriel‘s runs on “Abandoned Rooms Of Misspelled Agony”, serving one of the boldest highlights on the record. This is somewhat to the detriment of the full listen in that it creates an expectation of jazz influenced off the cuff genius whereas several pieces simple slam on by with fairly strong but average rhythm guitar work as the anchor of the experience. This leaves the drums to do much of the heavy listening and functionally so, showcasing the artists high skill alongside some sharp modern technical death metal pieces along the way. The biggest thrills of the experience amount to about an EPs worth of music and the “filler” pieces spread between ambient interludes, intros, and such build the release up to nearly forty minutes without creating a clear or interrelated reason for their inclusion. The two pieces to really sell the record are the aforementioned “Abandoned Rooms of Misspelled Agony” and perhaps the most revelatory piece, “Sculpting The Womb Of Misery”. These songs are the best foot forward for Moral Collapse and certainly the ones to check out if simply curious.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

TITLE:Heavy Trip
RELEASE DATE:April 2nd, 2021
LABEL(S):Burning World Records

It has been a good long while since I’d instituted my “no instrumental heavy blues” reviews policy but between these guys and Clouds Taste Satanic‘s ‘Cloud Covered’ recently I’ve been into it again. Too into it… ‘Heavy Trip’ is a fantastic wah-soaked and slightly fuzzy jam session of the highest order, slippery and screaming (eh, guitar screaming) stuff that never wastes a second connecting strains of Sabbathian slow drawling mud and jogged-out stoner rock hustle. “Lunar Throne” sounds as if it were lifted from Electric Wizard‘s first album, the spaced one you’d probably mistake for a Cathedral rehearsal circa 1995, in the best way possible. Indulgent but never so baked that they lose the plot or miss the chance to find a tangent more worthy than the last.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

RELEASE DATE:April 2nd, 2021

New Hampshire based artist Ryan Beevers returns with a second full-length from Unflesh, a melodic black/death metal influenced technical death metal band that generally leans in the direction of Inferi and Arsis minus some of the more shred-heavy idealism that comes with that territory. This time around he has reset the trio line-up with folks who’d either played with him in Solium Fatalis or associated project Excrecor. The result should appeal to fans of the The Black Dahlia Murder school of melodic death. Much of the comments I’d made back in 2018 about their debut album ‘Savior’ still apply here: To paraphrase, though the style isn’t my “thing” per se I can definitely acknowledge the across-the-board improvements Beevers has made in weaving a more fluid dynamic into his arrangements, composing pieces that flow nicely and showcase a high standard of performance. The hooks never quite sink in though the style of this album is well communicated. For preview I’d suggest the title track is a strong standout, and the shred of “The Sepulchral Depths” is a fine example of ‘Inhumation’ at its best.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

TITLE:Slay in Hell
RELEASE DATE:April 2nd, 2021
LABEL(S):Carbonized Records

Though it is entirely accurate to suggest Steel Bearing Hand are a death/thrash metal band in the sense that they’ve combined thrash/speed metal movements with death metal vocals their songwriting lends itself to the dramatic and wandering epic metal-minded spirit of bands like Iron Age more than, say, early Morbid Angel. This focus upon lofty progressions and fairly standard riffing saps the death metal element from my mind quickly and this, coupled with increasing influence from black/speed metal, makes for a solid enough listen but an altogether tuneless record. Think of the first three or so songs here as (non-literally speaking) variations upon “Into the Lungs of Hell” ah via Dekapitator‘s second album but if they kinda busted out hardcorish crossover with a few Motörhead licks instead of landing “Set the World Afire”. Yeah, it sounds cool and it is pretty solid stuff but I didn’t find myself crawling back for more of it, definitely falling off of the ~6 minute pieces on the second half. By the time we get to the nigh ~13 minute closer “Ensanguined” and meet up with some slower Bolt Thrower grinds and deeper vocals the piece ends up feeling slightly bungled when the last third reaches a quasi-death/doom moment. I get what they’re aiming for and actually I’ll bet these songs would kill live, on record they’re lacking any major grip.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

TITLE:He Whose Name Was Long Forgotten
RELEASE DATE: April 2nd, 2021
LABEL(S):Everlasting Spew Records

Fossilization is an atmospheric death metal band from the vocalist/guitarist and drummer of Jupiterian, a fairly notable Brazilian band known for crossing death metal with doom/sludge. The idea for this project apparently formed in 2020 between the two fellowes reminiscing after a tour with Krypts and Encoffination. So, of course the inspiration is quite obvious and takes some serious cues from ‘Cadaver Circulation’ in terms of pacing and drum performances. There is a fine line between what those Finns (whom are one of my favorite bands, mind you) and what we can basically consider caverncore, early Incantation influenced death metal with a fairly lo-fi atmospheric presence, just short of actual death/doom. Of course I love this stuff, I’m a huge fan of what ‘He Whose Name Was Long Forgotten’ is doing in terms of style and production values: A cavernous setting, mysterious and brutal at once. The trouble is that the vocal cadence is largely dry yet entirely persistent, dulling the edge of the guitars and drowning out the already somewhat shapeless bass guitar tone, this makes it hard for the songwriting to really shine, landing a bit more aimless than it actually is. Though Fossilization are off to a great start, this EP won’t blast the Void Rot and Desecresy records off my shelf just yet but, I definitely think they should keep modulating this idea until it sticks.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:Doom Invocations and Narcotic Rituals
RELEASE DATE:March 30th, 2021
LABEL(S):Caligari Records

There is a lot to love about this first release from Czechia-based bestial death/doom metal quartet Můra (“mare”) who’d formed last year between members of epic doom metal band The Tower and black metal artist Sekeromlat. The deeper Gorement-esque vocal style flicked my ear first but the Runemagick-meets-Temple Nightside push of the first half of “Chambers of Decay” had me intent on sticking around. The last third of the song leans into a riff that is more clearly influenced by classic Hooded Menace but you get the idea, death/doom that isn’t afraid of the traditional spectrum of either sub-genre it blends. Honestly they’ve hit upon the right sound from the start and bear no serious (or in-depth, for that matter) criticism on my end, they’ve nailed a classic death/doom metal sound with some modern influences. It all drones on a bit and could always use a couple faster death metal pieces or, sure, there are endless possibilities but a record with ~20 more minutes of this sound and style would be absolutely golden. Easily recommended.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

  • OBVURT – The Beginning [March 31st, Brutal Mind]
  • XIFICURK – 1410 [March 31st, Void Wanderer Productions]
  • FUNERAL STORM / SYNTELEIA – The Ancient Calling [March 31st, Hell’s Headbangers Records]
  • NEKKROFUKK – Mysterious Rituals in the Abyss of Sabbath & Eternal Celebration of the Blakk Goat [March 30th, Putrid Cult]
  • VEKTOR – Activate [April 2nd, District 19]
  • WODE – Burn in Many Mirrors [April 2nd, 20 Buck Spin]*
  • THE SUN AND THE MIRROR – Dissolution to Salt and Bone [April 2nd, Brucia Records]
  • BRIDGE BURNER – Disempath [April 2nd, Hibernation Release]
  • SIELUNVIHOLLINEN – Teloituskäsky [April 2nd, Hammer of Hate]
  • HEAVY TRIP – Heavy Trip [April 2nd, Burning World Records]
  • PLAGUEWEILDER – Covenant Death [April 2nd, Disorder Recordings]
  • FUNERAL FULLMOON – Poetry of Death Poison [April 5th, Inferna Profundus Records]
  • BLUE OX – Holy Vore [April 2nd, Self-Released]
  • RUTTOKOSMOS – Kärsimys [April 2nd, Werewolf Records]
  • KARMA VIOLENS – Mount of the Congregation [April 2nd, Self-Release]
  • LIGHTNING SHARKS – Life is a Hideous Thing [April 2nd, Halfmeltedbrain Records]
  • LABORED BREATH – Dyspnea [April 2nd, Sentient Ruin]
  • RORCAL & EARTHFLESH – Witch Coven [April 2nd, Hummus Records]
  • SLEEPWALKER – Noc Na Krayu Sveta [April 2nd, Sentient Ruin]
  • LIFELESS – Anhedonia [March 31st, Talheim Records]
  • MORIBUND OBLIVION – Endless [March 31st, Talheim Records]
  • OBSEQUIAL JOY – Show My Mercy [March 31st, Talheim Records]
  • ECLIPSUS – Yurei [March 31st, Talheim Records]
  • GRABAK – Scion [March 31st, Talheim 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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