Annihilate This Week 5/22/21: “Though all to ruin fell the world and were dissolved and backward hurled; unmade into the old abyss.”

ANNIHILATE THIS WEEK hits every Weekend (Saturday or Sunday) 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 twentieth week of 2021 is highlighted by some of the best death metal of the year, various strong-armed doom metal records, a classic hit of pure heavy metal, and the usual surge of irrational, defiant black metal that comes at the end of each month. 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 Ghastly‘s third album ‘Mercurial Passages’, scoring the highest possible recommendation on my end and marking the second album of theirs to hit high on my tentative best of the year list. I’ve said enough in the review that I won’t blather on here about it. No surprise that Swedish doom metal band Alastor have done something remarkable on their latest record ‘Onwards and Downwards‘ in moving away from typical stoner sounds towards a uniquely harmonized and melodic voice that I absolutely love. In terms of straight forward reeking old school death metal worship, Russian band Gosudar‘s ‘Morbid Despotic Ritual‘ is obtuse and sating for the hungry-ass Finnish death metal fandom out there. British heavy metal group Heavy Sentence‘s ‘Bang to Rights‘ has already gotten a fair bit of hype either because it features members of ridiculously good bands or, in my case, because it wheels back to the old standard of NWOBHM/speed metal songwriting and gives it a mean handful of gravel to the mouth. I am still in the listening process for The Flight of Sleipnir‘s return with ‘Eventide‘ but I don’t think this will disappoint existing fans, the Colorado-based mythological krewe is difficult to describe but easy to understand when immersed, think of post-Agalloch black metal with some stoney, dream-like movement. Folks in tune with Finnish melodic black metal of today will find Goats of Doom‘s latest album ‘Shiva‘ a captivating listen as they pull melodic influence not from their peers but from far beyond black metal purity. The list could really go on for a while longer but I’ll cut myself off with the last true essential: Doom metal/heavy rock quartet High n’ Heavy‘s fifth album, ‘V‘, something a bit more traditional if Alastor weirded you out. I will attempt to review all of these this week plus a reissue of Incardine‘s ‘Seeds of Doom‘, a long lost record recorded by folks who would go on to feature in Unleashed beyond 1992, this version collects the album (originally released in 2019) and two demos, fans of the thrash oriented side of Swedish death metal will flip their tits over this one and I’m looking forward taking a closer lens to it.

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:Eight Headed Serpent
RELEASE DATE:May 28th, 2021
LABEL(S):Osmose Productions

Among the first handful of black metal acts out of Finland in the late 80’s and for sure the first out of Oulu that’d gotten any notice, Impaled Nazarene are the die-hard genuine article no matter how serious you take ’em beyond the 1990’s. No break-ups or long hiatuses, thirteen albums, and no need to release an album of “freeing” ideas since there were never any particularly well-drawn borders boxing them into their original grindcore-sped and hardcore shocked black metal sound, which they’ve wheeled back around to somewhat in the last two decades. Always aiming for violence, outrage, shock value and a hyper-sexual sense of humor I wouldn’t say an album like ‘Eight Headed Serpent’ is “fun” beyond the opening sample but I have the same sort of good time with it that I would with a classic Sarcófago or Sadistik Exekution record thanks to over the top speed and a shared intent to disturb and rouse. They’ve more or less repeated the putrid magick of ‘Vigorous and Liberating Death’ while messing with their pace here and there, “Foucault Pendulum” being an impressive outlier with its doomed five minute stride. I’ll always be kind of stuck on ‘Ugra-Karma’ (1993) since it’d been the gateway to Beherit and Finnish black metal in general for me but making room for this one wasn’t hard since it has some comparably nuclear energy. Other than encouraging a run through their impressive discography for gems this one is enough of a known quantity that it is easy to recommend without any fuss or caveat.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:Mortal Coil
RELEASE DATE:May 28th, 2021
LABEL(S):Wolves of Hades Records

Dödsrit have had an unexpectedly steep trajectory considering their relatively humble beginnings in Borlänge, Sweden as a solo project from musician Christoffer Öster. Crossing all wires between neocrust, post-black metal, and melodic black metal their music develops into increasing extremes wherein one side of the band is distant, reaching far off in lofty atmospheric climes and the other side is anthemic and introspective at once. ‘Moral Coil’ softens the crust edges even more, leaning into their weave of post-black metal elements more than ever while still keeping the melodic punk spirit of their music in tact. Their style approaches the melodrama of Ancst while veering heavily into prime atmospheric black metal territory a la Wiegedood without too strong of a post-metal heave to their arrangements that it might wash the experience out too much. As a first strike into recording as a quartet they’ve not missed a beat here, a strong and emotionally evocative record that sticks to the core Dödsrit style. I’m not a huge fan of atmospheric/post-black metal movements lately so this one didn’t really cut through for my own taste but I did appreciate that they’ve still managed a few nods to neocrust, which was the main reason I’d gotten into their self-titled debut.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

TITLE:The Human Legacy
RELEASE DATE:May 28th, 2021

We’ve heard similar stories a hundred times before, the triumphant “comeback” of the totally unknown underground band. Poland was a hotbed of extreme metal activity throughout the late 80’s but didn’t offer the best coverage in terms spreading their case to the outside world. Only the best bands stood above an oversaturated underground and at some point this meant that a ton of great grindcore/deathgrind bands went unnoticed or just started to try and sound like Vader. Case in point, deathgrinders Schizmopathic who’d definitely ruled as they cranked out a demo and an LP (which went unreleased until 2013) before folding around 1991. Their first “official” full-length ‘The Human Legacy’ comes three decades later but sounds as if it were written back in 1989, riding the wings of locals like Slashing Death and holding fast to the traditions of likewise long-dormant bands such as Mule Skinner. Though their style is undoubtedly ‘old school’ deathgrind a la Terrorizer they’re not stuck on any point of worship beyond the simple and effective punch of the old ways, centered around death metal percussion and lightspeed hardcore punk blasted attacks. Fans of classic grindcore and early deathgrind absolutely need to own this one for its classicism and the slight warp to tradition applied over this brief ~24 minute blast. Easily one of the best examples of deathgrind I’ve heard all year.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

TITLE:Golden Dirges, Molten Larynges
RELEASE DATE:May 28th, 2021
LABEL(S):Tartarus Records

Harsh noise, grids of static modulation, organic industrial beats, shouted vocals and synthesizer play with a sort of “mean” angle, we could easily see much of what Lung Knots does as ambitious and destructive for its rawness but the experience is yet leavened enough that it lands as readable anti-music. Think of it as a hi-fi rendering of rawness, everything carefully layered with effects to simulate the tearing and torsion of early 90’s tape scramblers but all of it landing with a layer of digital embossing that doesn’t scorch the original sample or performance itself. The distorted scream is such a harmless act from my point of view, having sat through thousands upon thousands of extreme metal records successful emotion doesn’t come from fraying the instrument as we experience here on pieces like “Our Torches Soaked in Oil”. Where this sense of nihilistic abandon, loss and torment comes is within the moaned, monastic and hummed vocal sections which clash beautifully with the dry and menacing beats, the true misery of the full listen comes with these moments. The glitch of it all leaves a sizable divot in the skull, a draining and droning work of hi-fi harshness and effects-play, but I found little more to pull from the stark and mumbling hellishness of it the second and third times through. A vital scraping but, I’m not convinced of its repeatable value just yet. Worth revisiting.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

TITLE:A Hill to Die Upon
RELEASE DATE:May 28th, 2021
LABEL(S):Unique Leader Records

‘A Hill to Die Upon’ is the third full-length from German brutal deathcore band Mental Cruelty and well, a quick glance at the Adam Burke album art and logo might have you thinking you’ve landed upon a melodic black/death record from a label like Black Lion but these folks have long been known for their over the top choices seemingly made for the sake of avoiding the status quo. You will actually feel some of the shredding symphonic black/progressive death metal energy which labels like The Artisan Era have become known for these last several years but you won’t necessary be so immersed that you’ll forget this is a modern deathcore record prone to slam and skronk into breakdowns for most transitions. Think of their work as on par with what Humanity’s Last Breath have been doing, totally alien and impossible sounding works that verge on competitive progressivity and vast, blurry masses of nondescript stylistic mushing. I’d really been impressed with the amount of ideas packed into each song here but I couldn’t help but find the rhythm guitar choices entirely dry, especially the way they’ve weighed down the meaty reveal of their ambition (“Abadon” and “King ov Fire”) with chunky mosh riffs that are obtuse and just pointlessly applied, erasing the organic feel of the record with palm muted chunder and bree-ing vocals. Of course this is a personal preference, I will never warm to the falsely boosted fidelity of deathcore because it all reads as pageantry to me that flops in a live setting. If I look past this sub-genre prejudice long enough to enjoy a few of these songs, this band isn’t half bad if we consider their demographic and stylistic aim. Not my thing but I have to appreciate the ambition on this one.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

RELEASE DATE:May 28th, 2021

Originally formed between ex-members of Mithotyn and, more generally speaking, folks who have been important additions to the history of extreme metal within the Mjölby, Sweden area for decades King of Asgard were too often compared to peak Amon Amarth early on, if only for their deliberate “epic” pacing and strong elements of melodic black/death metal. On those earlier records I would have pointed towards Obscurity (Germany) personally but, since ‘Karg’ (2014) they’ve begun to incorporate more and more melodic black metal elements, keeping the pace steady but heading towards the blackest part of the woods with each record. ‘Taudr’ (2017) was quite short, more of an EP by my own standard if we consider the cover song, but it’d been where this band clicked for me most and I am glad to see they’ve dug deeper into that sound here on ‘Svartrviðr‘. Don’t expect a jaunty viking metal album, this is much in the vein of Mithotyn where the somber side of Quorthon meets ominous black/death metal which is patiently melodic and almost always phrased with ominous roots rather than prideful, head-smashing glee. Fitting for a band that includes the fellow who’d done much of the songwriting for Thy Primordial back in the day. By the time I’d hit the second half of this hour long experience the longer pieces had really won me over, easing through their almost romantic-era melodic movements, tarantellas turned into death-marches through the snow which hypnotize in the best tradition of Swedish extreme metal. I’d planned on a much longer review of this one this week but I found myself distracting from the album itself with a multitude of context, really this one sells itself when sat with. It will likely end up somewhere on my best of May list.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

TITLE:Monarch of Dark Matter
RELEASE DATE:May 28th, 2021
LABEL(S):BlackSeed Productions

Ah well, I didn’t realize the latest Decoherence album was a compilation, perhaps because I’d not paid much mind before ‘Unitarity’. Anyhow, here is one of his side-projects, a dissonant atmospheric black metal record which features the vocalist from Aludra and the drummer from recent Aoratos and Akhlys records. Shapeless yet fairly stately in its movement, much of this record echoes downward while lacing some ornate and slick guitar voicing with my favorite track being “The Dark Maria”. The vocals are far too quiet and often inconsequential even at extreme volume so this’d felt a bit like either buried shame or obscuration for its sake, which I am not a fan of. The guitar work and its faux cauldron of reverb is effective and often quite impressive as a lead statement but I found no real connection or outright conviction with any of the other work within. It isn’t a bad record for this style but, far too buried within itself to develop any sort of larger statement.

Rating: 5.5 out of 10.

RELEASE DATE:May 28th, 2021
LABEL(S):Seeing Red Records

The bleak and obsessive steel-plated grind of Miami, Florida-based post-metal trio Bleeth exceeds expectations here on this relatively short EP, still managing their signature shot of early 90’s arthouse groove n’ atmosludged weariness but wrestling in the mechanical edge of the early 2000’s just short of Isis‘ earliest peaking aggression. Concise and eclectic, these pieces are all carefully chosen and not just a glom of random works, the mood veers slowly from stoned dismay towards an inflamed plunge. The lyrics here appear to fixate on the mind-body dilemma that comes with chaos and distance, the mind getting ahead of the body and towing the baggage of inequitable relation behind. The body in this case representing a trauma-stunned society. Sure to please the feedback loving, dark grooving sludge rock crowd first and variously draw in folks curious of industrial-edged and stoney post-doomed music. I’ll definitely be in a rush to hear where they take these ideas and freshened vocal trade-offs on a second full-length.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

TITLE:Decennium Ruinae
RELEASE DATE:May 28th, 2021
LABEL(S):Willowtip Records

British technical brutal death metal quintet Unfathomable Ruination celebrate their tenth anniversary as a band with this four song showcase of what they do best. First we’ve got a re-recording of the strongest piece (“Suspended in Entropic Dissipation”) from their self-titled 2010 demo and this is more or less worth the price of admission if you are familiar with the band’s history because they sound even more brutal and unwieldy here. Stick around for the three other songs here, all new originals that take a no-holds barred brutal approach to early Deeds of Flesh style hammering, some of the movement is clearly more modern than that’d suggest but this ultra straight forward harassment within represents some of my favorite material from the band. ‘Enraged & Unbound’ (2019) was a forward-thinking, inventive record in a different way and we see this on “Disciples of Pestilence” and its brilliantly technical guitar work but the two songs that precede it slap me back to my brutal death metal heyday back in the mid-2000’s. ‘Decennium Ruinae’ is a fine way to introduce Unfathomable Ruination‘s general vibe over the years, celebrating where they’d kicked things off alongside some pathways for the future berth of their attack.

Rating: 7 out of 10.


  • GHASTLY – Mercurial Passages [May 28th, 20 Buck Spin]+
  • CROSS VAULT – As Strangers We Depart [May 28th, Iron Bonehead Productions]*
  • RIEXHUMATION – The Final Revelation of Abaddon [May 28th, Lavadome Productions]*
  • THE FLIGHT OF SLEIPNIR – Eventide [May 28th, Eisenwald]*
  • GOSUDAR – Morbid Despotic Ritual [May 28th, Rotted Life Records]*
  • HEAVY SENTENCE – Bang to Rights [May 28th, Dying Victims Productions]*
  • GOATS OF DOOM – Shiva [May 31st, Purity Through Fire]*
  • ALASTOR – Onwards and Downwards [May 28th, RidingEasy Records]*
  • SADISTIK FOREST – Obscure Old Remains [May 28th, Transcending Obscurity Records]
  • ALLUVIAL – Sarcoma [May 28th, Nuclear Blast]
  • EISENHAND – Fires Within [May 28th, Dying Victims Productions]
  • BLOODY HEAD – The Temple Pillars Dissolve Into the Clouds [May 31st, Hominid Sounds]
  • ASCETE – Calamites & les Calamités [May 28th, Antiq]
  • INCARDINE – Seeds of Doom [May 28th, Vic Records]
  • PALE DIVINE – Cemetery Earth [May 28th, Cruz Del Sur Music] Vinyl Reissue
  • LUNG KNOTS – Golden Dirges, Molten Larynges [May 28th, Tartarus Records]
  • VRITRAHN-WERWOLF – Vritrahn-Werwolf [May 28th, Werewolf Records]
  • ANGSTSKRIG – Skyggespil [May 28th, Despotz Records]
  • SOURCE – Ethereal Self [May 25th, Self-Released]
  • BLACK FLARE – Black Flare [May 25th, Firecum Records]
  • SCHISMOPATHIC – The Human Legacy [May 28th, Selfmadegod Records]
  • OUIJA – Selenophile Impia [May 28th, Negra Nit]
  • CMPT – Mrtvaja [May 28th, Osmose Productions]
  • HEAD OF JEDDORE – How to Slaughter a Lamb [May 28th, Self-Released]
  • JUSTIN SULLIVAN – Surrounded [May 28th, earMUSIC]#

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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