Annihilate This Week 4/24/21: “Then was there terror, and the hair stood up.”

ANNIHILATE THIS WEEK hits every Saturday (or nearby) covering 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 seventeenth week of 2021 is highlighted by . 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 without question Nekromantheon‘s ‘Visions of Trismegistos‘ [Review], a stunningly violent and years-honed record that pushes for the impossible perfection of classic thrash metal. Second I must acknowledge the echoing horror of Swedish thrashers Insane and their second album ‘Victims‘ [Review], a brilliant crossing of their classic heavy/speed metal influences with ‘new old’ school thrash metal that doesn’t dare push past ‘Haunting the Chapel’ in terms of technological advance. In the complete opposite direction atmospheric/technical death metal artist Universally Estranged looks to the far-flung future for inspiration as his cosmic beast of a debut, ‘Reared Up in Spectral Predation‘ [Review], turns out to be entirely worthy of its hype, and its fan-fuckin’-tastic album art. Still to come are reviews for Domkraft‘s ‘Seeds‘, a psychedelic doom/sludge record that offers their most sorrowfully bent release to date. Ungfell‘s impressive and enthralling folk tinged black metal concept album ‘Es grauet‘, Autarcie‘s most austere and melodic work to date, ‘Apogée. Ivresse. Agonie‘ and Ifrinn‘s ‘Caledonian Black Magick‘ represent a trio of the best of April’s black metal releases. Nuclear Revenge‘s ‘Dawn of the Primitive Age‘ strikes bloody Teutonic iron with its black/thrashing riff-fest. And finally I must herald Fyrnask‘s ‘VII: Kenoma’, a record that is atmospheric yet dense with statement enough that is has been a daunting full listen which I will do my best to review next week.

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:Unconscious Suicide
RELEASE DATE:April 24th, 2021
LABEL(S):Awakening Records

Talented classicist heavy metal musician and recording engineer Cristian León got his start as the original guitarist for Ripper, eventually moving on to a rotating cast of thrash, death and heavy metal projects with the most notable being blackened thrashers Hellish and now defunct heavy/speed metal crew Armoured Knight. Running his own studio, recording a host of Chilean underground bands you already love in the process, has clearly inspired his output over the last several years and built up some momentum in the last three in terms of personally penned and performed output. Thirsty Demon is the newest solo effort from the fellow and it sounds like this one is really just a passion project for his frantic and erratic late 80’s death/thrash metal ideas, coming close to being too referential but still making sure it all comes together for a thrilling ride. At his best this work sounds like a nod to the best of the early Chilean death/thrash underground via Sadism, Atomic Aggressor, and Pentagram (see: “Negative State”) and these moments are enough to sell the album to the die-hard death/thrash fan such as myself. With that said we cannot entirely let ourselves get swept up in his admirable frenzy because there are some songs here that are either odes to the classics, such as the ‘Seven Churches’-lifted riffs on “Sadistic Desire”, or just a bit too closely referential for my taste. On one hand it makes the album instantly familiar but on the other hand it is kind of like the first Thanatos album where the Sepultura riffs are just, I dunno, a bit too close to the real thing. Those who have studied the height of late 80’s death and thrash riffcraft might find themselves puzzling through what is familiar here and finding whole sections of their favorite albums slightly altered. For my own taste, this is rad if the idea is to have fun and throw a few big nods to the classics. The speed, energy, and cacophonic sound of ‘Unconscious Suicide’ is perfect and the rhythm guitar work is generally off the rails good. Just, yeah, make sure you do the homework and dig through those early death metal records so all of those references don’t go to waste.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:Towers of Silence
RELEASE DATE:April 30th, 2021
LABEL(S):Transcending Obscurity Records

Man, how about that album cover, eh? No matter what you’ll end up thinking about the music itself, tasking Adam Burke with something darkly psychedelic always yields incredible results. This second album from Australian “cosmic” or psychedelic black metal group ‘Towers of Silence’ is best approached with the expectation of experimental black/death music in mind, ominous noise collages with a persistent extreme metal drummer jamming throughout its dark ambient aggression. What? Well, they sound like a less texturally fixated Chaos Echœs to say the least on songs like “Pseudocidal” and what a thrill this song is in particular as it builds to a frenzy. Angular guitar noise, war metal production values, perfectly woven horror ambiance, and a stark limitation on “human” noise for the first third of the album makes for an unwelcoming listen that does everything it can to disregard the consciousness of the listener. I’d found this made the first couple of listens compelling yet the deeper I pulled into ‘Towers of Silence’ and took a closer look at the nearly ~19 minute span of “Translucinophobia” the less the spectacle and atmosphere seemed to emit any purpose or, guidance through this terrifying landscape. If a certain lost or aimless feeling is intended, I wouldn’t say I’m keen to jump back into the midst of it too often with the hopes of some manner of torturous enrichment. “Vertexginous” ultimately swayed me from the record overall, I appreciate the extreme on offer here yet I just can’t go nearly fifty minutes with such a minimum of riffs. Now if you are a dark ambient, black ambient, and extreme horror-noise fiend attuned to the avant-garde spectrum of black metal that includes harsh and war metallic furor in your gig this will be a joyride to the right sort of personal Hell.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:Lamenting a Dead World
RELEASE DATE: April 23rd, 2021
LABEL(S):Translation Loss Records

This album was written as a reflection on the insanity of what it means to justify existence in the age of self-diluted piety.” Alright then, right off the bat I’m entirely into that. This Denver, Colorado based extreme sludge metal trio round out the near-decade mark of their union with a fourth full-length directly inspired by the wretched head of opportunistic humanity and follower-hordes within the United States as the authors reacted to what history will see as a deep, deep low for the country that reaches beyond a blind eye humanitarian/economic crisis and lands upon depraved mass ignorance and hysteria. Now I don’t want to run with that theme too much and put words in their mouth, the important takeaway is that this album is tuned to the key of devastation, just as sludge metal should be ‘Lamenting a Dead World’ is anxietous and miserable human dissonance that meets the sonic standards of extreme metal today. A quick glance at the whole package should convey a sharp artistic eye, a theme conveyed and even enhanced by a characteristically fine piece from artist Ettore Aldo del Vigo. Those high standards are met within via impressive sound design and riff-heavy sludge metal unafraid to be straight forward even amidst the gloss and power afforded by Earhammer Studios‘ finishing touch. So, don’t expect hardcore or progressive metal here, something closer to the early hits of Primitive Man before song lengths and sound collages became their signature. Honing in on core statements, providing a bit of death metal wallop alongside performances that hold up to the thickest atmosphere all lands pretty easily in my ears — I rarely sit through a modern sludge metal record these days and come out of it without any major complaints. They could bring a bit more traditional doom (or death/doom) into their riffcraft and really set things off with this sound but as is, this is a fine modern sludge album with a very high standard in mind.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

TITLE:Archaic Faces of Ecstasy
RELEASE DATE:April 30th, 2021
LABEL(S):Sun & Moon Records

Amorite is a Hungarian death metal band who tend to describe their sound as ‘old school’ death metal and I would say that tag deserves something like “progressive” or avant-garde as an extra qualifier, as their songwriting and arrangements are quite detailed, atmospheric and out of the ordinary in general. Formed as a duo in 2014 and releasing an incredibly limited debut (40 copies) in 2015 the duo would add a third member from drummer/vocalist Péter Szabó‘s progressive death/doom metal band Endless River around 2016 and their second full-length ‘Archaic Faces of Ecstasy’ would self-release digitally in December of 2020. So, I fully trust the taste of Sun & Moon Records as a mecca of the obscure and enriching worlds of black and doom metal yet I was surprised to see them pick up a death metal band; Well, of course as I’d suggested this is certainly not your average choice to begin with. As often as we see tags like psychedelic or hallucinatory applied to death metal acts it does feel like Amorite have tapped into the realm of altered states with purpose rather than spectacle and the result is unique rhythmic statements that could be likened to (early) Alchemist (Australia), ‘Clouds’-era Tiamat, and yes even a bit of pre-‘Still Life’ Opeth. Of course they might’ve arrived there via classic death/doom or interest in all manner of esoteric progressive death metal and ‘Archaic Faces of Ecstasy’ is admittedly more organic in motion but the sentiment works well enough. Deliberate but not slow, riff-heavy but not thrashing, and always a bit unpredictable in their path forward, I’d say Amorite have delivered an obscure gem with this second album.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

RELEASE DATE:April 30th, 2021
LABEL(S):Osmose Productions

When I had reviewed Bergen, Norway based black metal quintet Nattverd‘s second album ‘Styggdom’ back in 2020 I’d gotten a very angry e-mail from a fan down in southeast Asia (whom used his bands e-mail) threatening death for “misunderstanding” Norwegian black metal and cursing my homeland with more wildfires in a short but potent message. I appreciate this type of passionate feedback but I believe reviewing a band of their ilk should involve some harsh words for harsh music, some ribbing for stoic attitudes, and above all else “disgust” is the right and most -true- reaction for classicist black metal. In this context it’d been quite positive and a 7/10 is actually very good considering how many thousands of Norwegian black metal records I’ve listened to. My own ranting of the past aside, these folks have put together a third album that generally addresses all of my major criticisms of the past: Cut some of the “flowy” snow-gazing pieces, stab faster with a primitive club, and cut out around 45 minutes. The band suggest they have challenged their core ethos, pushed thier boundaries yet kept their harsh standards in place and I will say this has been a great success with a varied and impactfully arranged full listen that is yet nothing less than traditional. Moments that feel a bit out of left field, such as the piano arrangements on “Naar taaken fortaerer alt” end up being grand highlights on a thoughtfully set running order that still butts up primitive hulk next to emotionally charged wintry songs but for the sake of narrative movement rather than awkward juxtaposition. Nattverd are at this best on songs like “Martyrer av kristus” clangorous and blasphemic pieces that display apt study of classicist black metal specifically honing in on the second wave but not making tired, dry work of it. “I moerket slumrer ravnen” offers some strong reprisal of this same standard opting for some groove that’d come within inches of groovy n’ roll territory before rescinding that thought and I suppose this piece in particular showcased the fresh creative hand freed yet the mind properly restrained from fucking around too much and making circus music of it. Though they are still prone to sentimental melodic pieces half the time there is some strong conviction driving this album that is appreciable and I’d say valuable for tradition-seeking black metal fandom.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

  • NEKROMANTHEON – Visions of Trismegistos (2021) [April 30th, Hell’s Headbangers Records]+
  • INSANE – Victims (2021) [April 30th, Dying Victims Productions]+
  • SUTURA – Dawn of Cursed Souls [April 24th, Awakening Records]*
  • DOMKRAFT – Seeds [April 30th, Magnetic Eye Records]*
  • UNGFELL – Es Grauet [April 30th, Eisenwald]*
  • AUTARCIE – Apogée. Ivresse. Agonie. [April 30th, Purity Through Fire]*
  • UNIVERSALLY ESTRANGED – Reared Up in Spectral Predation [April 30th, Blood Harvest Records] +
  • IFRINN – Caledonian Black Magick [April 30th, The Sinister Flame]*
  • NUCLEAR REVENGE – Dawn of the Primitive Age [April 24th, Awakening Records]*
  • DESTRUCTION – Bestial Invasion of Hell [April 30th, High Roller Records] Demo Reissue
  • FYRNASK – VII: Kenoma [April 30th, Ván Records]*
  • DEATH SS – The Necromancer of Rock: The Origins of… (1977-1982) [April 30th, The Ajna Offensive]* Book
  • PLASMODIUM – Towers of Silence [April 30th, Transcending Obscurity Records] #
  • WITCHING HOUR – Where Pale Winds Take Them High… [April 30th, Sun & Moon Records] CD issue #
  • ORYX – Lamenting a Dead World [April 30th, Translation Loss Records] #
  • AMORITE – Archaic Faces of Ecstasy [April 30th, Sun & Moon Records] #
  • BECERUS – Homo Homini Brutus [April 30th, Everlasting Spew Records] #
  • NATTVERD – Vandring [April 30th, Osmose Productions] #
  • THE PLAGUE – Within Death [April 30th, Bitter Loss]
  • STONE HEALER – Conquistador [April 30th, Self-Released]
  • YELLOWTOOTH – The Burning Illusion [April 30th, Orchestrated Misery Recordings]
  • WARISH – Next to Pay [April 30th, RidingEasy Records]
  • NIADH – Our Victory is Eternal [April 30th, Eternal Death] !
  • MUSTASCH – A Final Warning: Chapter One [April 30th, Tritonus Records]
  • EWÏG FROST – Aïn’t No Saïnt [April 30th, Discos Macarras]

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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