Annihilate This Week 7/11/21: “The mankind is dump, devouring all junk.”

ANNIHILATE THIS WEEK hits every Weekend (Saturday or Sunday) with the intent of covering important new releases — grouping short reviews for albums, EPs and demos selected from the current week’s best. These albums were overlooked for 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: grizzlybutts@hotmail.com


The twenty-eighth week of 2021 is highlighted by all killer material be it bestial black/death thrash, sludge metal, funereal black/doom, funeral death/doom, experimental soundscapes, post-hardcore/noise rock, old school death metal, melodic death metal, and beyond. If you’re not into the selection this time around, relax! This’ll be back every 7 days with more new releases from different styles, genres, etc.

The Album of the Week for my own taste is Laceration‘s ‘Demise‘ a strong death metal record from a band who has long ridden the fence between brutal late 80’s death/thrash metal and early 90’s death metal. This is their best release to date. Vouna‘s ‘Atropos‘ and Towards Atlantis LightsWhen the Ashes Devoured the Sun‘ are sating my need for funeral doom metal pacing lately, each incorporates heavy use of keyboards but they couldn’t be more different. Lately I am looking for more doom and this ‘Liquid Darkness’ album from German death/doom metal band Calliophis seems to be the exact right stuff. Dungeon Serpent‘s ‘World of Sorrows‘ reminds us that the early 90’s arena of melodic death metal still has a lot to offer, as well as some callbacks to the early 2000’s argument for the same revival. I’ll also be covering Molis Sepulcrum‘s HM-2 blood geyser ‘Left For the Worms‘, Cognitive‘s ‘Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction‘ as I try to stay hip with big-deal chug, and finally The Grasshopper Lies Heavy‘s combination of post-hardcore, noise rock and darksided post-rock on ‘A Cult That Worships a God of Death‘ has me feeling low, in a good way. As you whip down through these short reviews you’ll notice these records are all pretty good, I guess I was bagging on July too much? Decide for yourself.

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:


ARTIST:HELL STRIKE
TITLE:Hellstrike [EP]
RELEASE DATE:July 16th, 2021
LABEL(S):Chaos Records
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp

Our Pacific Northwest continues to serve as inspirational backdrop to some of the most potent primal yet cerebral extreme metal the world over and Portland/Seattle based quartet Hell Strike offer an idyllic example of this enriched classicist tonality with compositions that tread the line between austere melodicism, riff-slaughtering attack and ancient black/death metal hybridization. The first EP from these folks (members of Ascended Dead, Ritual Necromancy and Bloodsoaked (Mexico)) ‘Hellstrike‘ introduces the band as a fully realized entity sort of along the lines of Ænigmatum wherein the attuned ear recognizes the classic The Chasm wriggling charge of heavy metal serving as a sort of basal shared tonality which then expands into what can rightfully compare with the buzzing lunges of prime Order From Chaos, thrashing and irreverent as 80’s extreme metal but sophisticated by a love for Scandinavian refinement which could be noted within early Necrophobic or even ‘Back to the North’-era Merciless; “Chains of Frost” really lets us have it all in this sense, darting into far north aneurysms of intricate revelation, but notably making a “song” of it with tunefully written riffs that aren’t just our usual chunking reference otherwise. The riffs themselves stagger with the ready-to-collapse heft of a certain era as often as they rise to a sort of Armoured Angel flex of melodic strength — There is no tunnel vision for a certain type of riff but a full oeuvre of guitar work on display here that is just brilliant whether they’re going groovin’ brute or needling out focused finesse. So, with this said we’re not necessarily hitting their actual sound with precision via any comparison but conveying the already high skill level from these accomplished but still fire-wielding folks. The vocals are especially noteworthy here for my taste, snarled and deep echoing with strength, audible in enunciation and perfectly set next to the incredible guitar tone that “makes” this record such a thrill to behold. One of the best records out this month, untouchable sound and style. The only note I’d give is the running order might better present their deeper melodic cuts earlier since a lot of the real brain melting stuff happens in the second half.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

ARTIST:VOMIT RITUAL
TITLE:Callous
RELEASE DATE:July 16th, 2021
LABEL(S):Pulverised Records
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp

Vomit Ritual is an intensely blasphemous trio out of Riverside, California who drag their heavily atmospheric blackened death metal sound through what I’d consider both occult/ritualistic sensationalism and brutal bestial realms. What does that mean exactly? ‘Callous’ is not a starting point but a first arc arisen for a “death metal from black metal musicians” sort of group who’ve been out to find their own sound since 2008, initially featuring a war metal minded attack and aesthetic but now refining considerably after thirteen years of work. Most of the riffs on ‘Callous’ are directional suggestions that swerve upwards into exclamatory riffs that ‘punish’ as they complete their larger statement. The creation of loft via atmospheric and tremolo-whizzing guitar work almost always serves to elevate the listener into a falling, collapsing sensation. There is no mistaking the malevolent intent of the band, though this dynamic is not always so memorable. Fans of Deiphago and Mystifier should be impressed but this is perhaps far more distinctly atmospheric than that would suggest, Vomit Ritual does hit with their own sort of mid-paced brutality but I’d say they’re well on the road away from the typical bestial/occult blackened death metal path towards something uniquely formed. Without the impressive nearly 11 minute closing piece “Nervous Temple” to round things out the second half of the album, with its column of three ~4 minute songs, does drag on a bit with some redundant or more average rhythmic movement.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

ARTIST:LEILA ABDUL-RAUF
TITLE:Phantasiai
RELEASE DATE:July 16th, 2021
LABEL(S):Cyclic Law
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp

The pre-loaded information the mind presents predictive of subconscious truths presents much of reality as expectation, this represents personal truth and/or potentially false sensory disposition for some ancients but the bigger picture is that of personal distortions, “control” within a holistically rendered system of sensation. We are intentionally changed, melted and left to mold our ‘selves’ by the deeply enthralling phantasm conjured by Leila Abdul-Rauf‘s fourth solo full-length, ‘Phantasiai‘, an abyss and an extrusion away from whatever past portal we have stepped beyond. You’ll find something entirely different in each of the artist’s solo records but one can expect subterranean abyss via dark ambient works, some sparse and deeply layered vocal performance from this one. The brass bones of these pieces are distortions of trumpet and glockenspiel performances, made into a slow-crawling thunder storm that reaches impressive levels of eerie as we move from the downward drift of the first suite “Distortions in Phantasy” towards “The I Emerges”, each suite divided into four movements and their own side (it’ll eventually come to vinyl via Cloister Recordings). If you know her work from Vastum, Hammers of Misfortune and Cardinal Wyrm don’t necessarily jump into this meditative settling of personal sedimentation thinking you’ll hit upon doom and death but instead a forty minute transcendence from thought into matter. Ambient records must find a raw nerve in my hands or, strike upon the senses while my mind wanders, and my experience with ‘Phantasiai’ had just enough preamble to push me into a state of visualization that I found inspiring. The surreal and dark descent of the record is cool enough but it does not disintegrate without reassembly in mind and I’d appreciated the crux of it all resolving (uh, for me) within “The I Emerges”, particularly feeling the momentum of the full listen in the cathedralesque downward resonance of “The I Emerges: Imago and Mirror” and the final piece which I’ll not unveil so that it remains potent for those patient enough to discover on their own. I’m not sure if I’d compare this album with ‘Diminution’ (2018) directly since they are quite different experiences but, I will say that this one was beautifully immersive for having focused on two larger pieces.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

ARTIST:SORCIA
TITLE:Death By Design [EP]
RELEASE DATE:July 16th, 2021
LABEL(S):Desert Records
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp

Fresh off of their 2020 self-titled debut full-length Seattle, Washington-based stoner doom/sludge metal trio Sorcia have a whopping 16-minute song “Death By Design” here to sport their tuneful, nodding n’ burning style that finds a brilliant space between High on Fire-esque rhythmic burl, grunged-out doom, and what I’d consider hints of Acid Bath‘s over the top sensibility. This is reigned in a bit toward a late 80’s Soundgarden-sized brood as we reach for the last third of the song; “Death by Design” is ultimately a psychedelic doom metal song but, way more than that at the same time. They’re speaking my language as a record store creeper who hit music hard in the early 90’s but this sound and the mountain of a piece they present it with ain’t squarely ancient just, conscious in a broader sense. So, I didn’t want to downplay the title track here because it is that much of a prime showcase for what these guys do and should inspire folks to check out their first record but man, the acoustic version of “Dusty” is no less of a big deal here. Going from “Hey, that first riff is kinda ‘Blood Mountain’, eh” to kick the EP off and ending up in love with this soulful acoustic ballad, which is an original song from what I gather, has been a trip far beyond expectation. They can do -that- and they can do -this- what, Days of the New (well, less Alice in Chains in this case) sort of gig. I’m beyond impressed by these two pieces side-by-side and hey, holy shit keep doing both.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

ARTIST:CHESTCRUSH
TITLE:Vdelygmia
RELEASE DATE:July 14th, 2021
LABEL(S):Self-Released
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp

Chestcrush is a modern blackened death metal duo from primary musician Evangelos, whom is based out of Edinburgh, Scotland, and the already quite prolific French vocalist Thomas Blanc. When I say “modern” I mean that you’re getting a big, down-tuned direct input guitar sound with influences from sludge, deathgrind and perhaps deathcore in terms of sheer slow-chug n’ roll dynamics. So, of course this isn’t my kind of thing by default but there are a few pieces on here that recall a sort of ‘Gateways to Annihilation’-level of thunder which I appreciate, such as “Skullcrush”. Though the production values are quite well done and sharply balanced it all lands a bit average for my own taste when we break things down to a compositional level and look past the big guitar sound and screaming feedback. The cover art is solid, the black metal side of the vocals are superbly done, though I ultimately didn’t connect with this record beyond its professional quality recording.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

ARTIST:SEVERED BOY
TITLE:Tragic Encounters
RELEASE DATE:July 15th, 2021
LABEL(S):Caligari Records
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp

There is a schism of self-awareness that looms over the subject matter and inspiration for Boston, Massachusetts-based death metal band Severed Boy‘s debut EP ‘Tragic Encounters’, a penance for unknowing causation of ruin and a mediation upon how we might effect others without considering it. Great, how are the riffs? Well, these guys come from some considerable time in gritty and grinding chaotic hardcore band Lunglust so it is hard to separate some of their compositional tendencies from that headspace, especially in terms of the guitar work. I’d almost suggest this is a dark hardcore album influenced by modern death metal influenced records rather than death/doom metal as suggested. “Sparse Forest of Memories” more or less does all the work in explaining this, an arrangement that’d be considered incomplete or half-formed within the greater death/doom headspace but an approximation of the right feeling without the full payoff of a structured, long-form piece. There are plenty of great ideas injected into each song here but they amount to fragmented sentences rather than complete statements, losing a bit of the vital resonance that the suggested genre needs to remain profound across several listens. An average release but still very much worth checking out for some of the finer details.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

ARTIST:BLACK HOSTS
TITLE:Onward Into the Abyss [EP]
RELEASE DATE:July 15th, 2021
LABEL(S):Helldprod Records
BUY/LISTEN:Bandcamp

Śląskie, Poland-based thrash metal quartet Black Hosts have returned with a follow-up to their 2019 full-length debut ‘Times of Eternal Torture’ and they are no less serious about their dedication to pure witching thrash metal on these three riff-obssessed killers. Citing the most outraged eras of Kreator, Nifelheim and Whiplash we can consider these guys black/thrash metal to some degree but perhaps only because of their over the top howling vocalist who is extreme but still appropriate for this brand of sharp-angled thrash metal. Their riffs aren’t fully as murderous as say, Inquisitor, but they are kind of starting to lean in that sort of extreme direction on these songs, my favorite being the Artillery-esque guitar work of “Den of the Dark Sorcerer”. Murderous riffs, classic sound, and a really nice looking tape overall — Can’t wait to see what these guys do next.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

CHECK THESE OUT, TOO

  • TOWARDS ATLANTIS LIGHTS – When the Ashes Devoured the Sun (2021, Self Released)
  • VOUNA – Atropos [July 16th, Profound Lore Records]
  • MATTI RIEKKI ‘North From Here – The Story of Sentenced’ [July 16th, Svart Publishing]
  • LACERATION – Demise (2021, Rotted Life Records) 
  • DUNGEON SERPENT – World of Sorrows (2021, Nameless Grave)
  • MOLIS SEPULCRUM ‘Left For the Worms’ [June 16th, Pulverised Records]
  • THE GRASSHOPPER LIES HEAVY – A Cult That Worships a God of Death [July 16th, Learning Curve]
  • NOTHING SACRED – No Gods [July 16th, Rockshots Records]
  • COGNITIVE – Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction [July 16th, Unique Leader]
  • FELL HARVEST – Pale Light in a Dying World [July 16th]
  • PARADISE LOST – At the Mill [July 16th, Nuclear Blast] Live
  • INHUMAN ARCHITECTS – Paradoxus [July 16th, Vicious Instinct 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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