SYMPOSIUM – This Week’s News, Next Week’s Short Reviews | July 30th, 2021

SYMPOSIUM is a weekly “conversational newsletter” (which I refuse to call a “blog”) focusing on the past week’s new release announcements alongside reviews for 5-10 releases slated for next week. It also serves as a week in review, collecting all of the most recent content on Grizzly Butts in brief. 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/everything my way. The only rule is: If I can’t hear it, I won’t cover it! If you have new releases, show announcements, or important heavy music news that’ll be relevant or interesting to readers send it to:


  • I. Intro: Outliers, freaks, latecomers.
  • II. New release announcements, new song previews, new signings, opinions.
  • III. Week in review on, Spirit Coffin Publishing release news.
  • IV. Next week’s Album of the Week, planned reviews for next week.
    • ANGUISHDoomkvädet‘ (Sun & Moon Records, August 1st)
    • Netherbird ‘Arete’, Decrepisy ‘Emetic Communion’, Baxaxaxa ‘Catacomb Cult’, Aenigmatum ‘Deconsecrate’, Lucifer’s Fall – ‘III: From the Deep’, Nigromancia ‘Hidden Rituals’ & Morbid Cruelty ‘Holodomor’ will be covered this week in long-form reviews. They are all very good.
  • V. Short reviews for the following albums:
    • IXTLAHUAC – Teyacanilitztli Nahualli [August 1st, Nuclear War Now!]
    • GROZA – The Redemptive End [AOP Records, August 6th]
    • ESSES – Bloodletting for the Lonely [August 6th, Batcave/Atakra Records]
    • KRIGSGRAV – The Sundering [August 6th, Wise Blood Records]
    • EDENIC PAST – Red Amarcord [August 6th, Sentient Ruin]
  • V.2 Additional discussion/rating of the following albums:
    • VASSAGO – Storm of Satan [August 1st, Nuclear War Now!]
    • ASHEN – Godless Oath [August 6th, Bitter Loss]
    • CRYPT CRAWLER – Future Usurper [August 6th, Bitter Loss]
    • WALD KRYPTA – Possessed by Nothingness [August 6th, Eternal Death]

I. Intro: Outliers, freaks, latecomers.

Working full 8-10 hour days has long left me disinterested in posting news on a daily basis, it tends to clutter up social media accounts and builds a relationship with the reader that is passively automated, the exact opposite of what interests me as a reader and too-enthused fan of music old and new. Long story short, I often sit down to roughly two hundred e-mails a week and begin chopping away at an enormous dump of information and no — None of this is a complaint, I’m going somewhere with this. In fact I so often am graced with releases from bands and labels who are not willing/able to give the customary 2-3 month notice for processing a review promo. Some in fact send in, on a weekly basis, a very good album 1-3 months after release meaning I’ll likely be able to make time for in in 3-5 weeks, landing a review that is both far from timely and simply won’t be read. So, I’d like to provide space here for they whom are so often left to drown, fairly recent releases that were submitted past their release. It is a self-inflicted wound on the part of the artist to be sure, but I will gladly rush to slow the bleeding if the riffs rule.

EMERALD RAGEHigh King (Stormspell Records)

If you are a fan of traditional heavy metal, 80’s metal, classic power metal, and true underground United States heavy metal you couldn’t possibly have missed Stormspell Records‘ output over the last several years. Much in the spirit of Metal on Metal Records and various other labels that will always be more metal than I could hope to be, anytime I see they’ve got a new release I know that I’ll get a unique take on traditional heavy metal. Anyhow, this isn’t an ad, early in the week I’d gotten a promo for Akron, Ohio-based epic pagan heavy metal trio EMERALD RAGE‘s latest record ‘High King‘ (Released on CD July 6th) and yes, from the first few hits of “Into the Sky” towards the wailing intro I was an instant fan of this band. They’ve got a bit of Dark Forest and Slough Feg in their craw, probably first picked up a guitar for the sake of playing 70’s Thin Lizzy songs too, but you can tell they’re fans of speed/thrash metal beyond. See what you think of these three songs, you’ll get a good idea.

Also late to the party here this week is a host of three releases from killer Mexican record label Iron, Blood and Death Corporation who tend towards equal curation of true underground death metal and bands influence by classic ‘evil’ thrash metal world wide, their latest release with Typhonian was particularly good for my taste. Anyhow two of these releases already popped out on July 15th and the third I won’t likely have time for as it releases in just two days. MASK OF SATAN are a Finnish death n’ roll band who claim uh, Six Feet Under and Necrophagia as influences, gotta try that eh? SEER OF GALLOWS are a bit beige in terms of riffs on ‘Entropy of Holocene‘ some slight Swedish death metal influence in their modulation from mid-to-fast paced pieces. I would say an average release without much of its own flavor in terms of music and artwork. Finally the most interesting record of the bunch here NARASCESI‘s ‘Narascesi‘ comes from some of the folks behind Italian brutal death metal band Bastard Saints, whom we haven’t heard from in about a decade. This album is their take on black/death metal with dissonant grind influences, think along the lines of Dephosphorous or recent Wake records to start. Don’t miss it!

Another multi-album dump on my doorstep from a label I have enjoyed immensely over the last several years, the latest releases from renowned Russian extreme doom metal label Solitude Productions are certainly too valuable to skim past, yet I’ve gotten them nearly two months after release. I wrote a short review for Calliophis last week, a fantastic meld of melodic death/doom’s gothic/dark metal side with heavier death/doom and I’d still recommend checking out ‘Liquid Darkness’. The other two I’d just gotten a few days ago are just as impressive. First, ORNAMENTOS DEL MIEDO‘s ‘Ecos‘ is a soul-flattening epic of funeral doom metal, in tune with Finnish roots and musician Angel Chicote‘s own flair for momentum and ethereal keys. Think a more melodic Shape of Despair if the whole cathedral were on fire and crumbling in slow motion. I am a huge fan of Chicote‘s work in Graveyard Of Souls and Mass Burial so to see another album from this project is a real treat. If I’d gotten this record a couple of months ago, you could have expected to see it on my best of June, I’ll likely buy a CD here shortly. Second we have a new album from Brazil’s HELLLIGHT (read it as HellLight if you will) titled ‘Until the Silence Embraces‘ and they should require no introduction this being their seventh album since forming in 1996. For the uninitiated they are an atmospheric death/doom metal band which we could tangentially contrast with funeral death/doom metal but, you’ve gotten the idea. This album does a particularly nice job of highlighting the keyboards, often chorales and organs keeping their dirges afloat. This is their most focused and accomplished work to date, thanks largely to better balanced pacing and some of the best leads/keys from Fabio de Paula to date.

II. News & Opinions (7/24-7/30)

German epic heavy metal, Finnish melodic black metal, wolves, steel and fur-wearing snow-entrenched folks making funny faces into the camera at night all factor into the general first impression from this second full-length from Purity Through Fire‘s latest announcement, setting September 30th as the release date for AUSSICHTSLOS‘ second album, ‘Einsicht‘, on CD and A5 digipack, they’re also working on a vinyl version. The press photos aren’t taking themselves too seriously (a good thing) but the music is seriously good stuff here, an epic heavy metal plod delivered with a black metal rasp on the first single/lyric video “Flächenbrand” which you can watch on [YouTube]. Looking forward to the full spin through, and fans of Immortal and Satanic Warmaster should, too. Speaking of “epic black metal” this is typically shorthand for bands influenced by Summoning and sure enough we’re headed there in mention of WITHERED LAND a band from Belarus described as who’ll have ‘The Endless Journey‘ out on Naturmacht Productions September 10th, pre-orders will go live along with the digital edition on August 20th. The orchestral/symphonic movement on this first preview song “Over Distant Shores” does a fine job of illustrating the main theme of the album, a longing for the path home and I think folks who’ve equal love for Summoning and later Bathory will appreciate the approach therein. Can’t comment on the whole album since I don’t have it, but here is the single:

This coming week we will premiere an split EP from Omenfilth / Ceremonial Worship that acts as an ode to Hellenic black metal craft via Eternal Death, keep an eye and an ear ready for ‘The Pact of Morbid Conspiracy‘. This lines us up for one of the biggest news pieces this week, which comes from Iron Bonehead Productions who have announced the October 1st release for a 7″ EP from Greek black metal quintet KATAVASIA, whom you’ll remember released one of my favorite records of 2020 ‘Magnus Venator’. Their ranks also include members of some of the best Greek acts around: Varathron, Hail Spirit Noir, Aenaon, Melan Selas, and Agnes Vein. Expect riffs when ‘Invoking the Spirit of Doom‘ releases on 7″ vinyl, featuring one of the most compelling album covers I’ve seen in a while, a tormented sculpture in frame, ah well get a peek and preview below:

Fans of experimental music should know Nefarious Industries by now, the Philadelphia-based label are celebrating their 10 year anniversary this year with a free 74 track compilation titled ‘A Decade of Dissonance‘. With a catalog spanning eighty releases nearly as many artists worldwide, get read for a lot of idiosyncratic, progressive, and generally speaking art music. My favorites so far are Bangladeafy, Gridfailure, and Cinema Cinema.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin death metal quintet ANOMALY have announced they will self-release their full-length debut album, ‘Planet Storm‘, on September 17th and they’ve chosen a sort of overcomplicated way to present it. The album itself combines re-recorded and remastered versions of songs from their same-titled 2019 EP, they’ve included five new tracks and redone the old ones. So, the title is ‘Planet Storm MMXXI’ on the cover, and this makes it look like a demo. I’d just as well have skipped over all of that and said “some old songs and some new, hell its new to you fucker” but then again, I don’t know shit all. Anyhow, these guys have developed their sound quite a bit since forming in 2011 finding this latest, greatest peak in a style of semi-progressive death metal with a heavy emphasis on a sci-fi apropos atmosphere provided by stellarly keyboard work, modern death metal to be sure. Check out a few tracks over on Bandcamp:

A sense of place, a sense of culture in the southern United States via… black metal? Alright, this won’t be an easy sell on my part but I’m interested. New Orleans black metal band MEHENET have announce their second full-length ‘Ng’ambu‘ this coming September 10th on compact disc, digital, and vinyl (later on) via the fantastically curated Gilead Media with tapes from Stygian Black Hand. So, I trust the sensibilities of the labels involved and the messaging is compelling, but how does it sound? The “powerful fury of black metal mastery” b/w “utilizing samples of the bustling French Quarter and by paying respect and praise to the cultural music of the city” might be the most interesting angle for a USBM release this year yet the first preview track/album closer “The Music of Nations” doesn’t necessarily convey it without words, eh, at least not as much as an album like ‘Roots’ might’ve in the 90’s, if you catch my drift. Punkish, storming black metal expresses as organic and primal action while the drums anchor via an almost death metallic clobber coming from their punchy placement in the middle of the mix. Of course I’m raring to dig into this one and get more NOLA out of it, so far it is just a wild-ass song with plenty of anxietous riffing and a nice “live” feeling recording. Intrigue! See what you think over on Bandcamp:

How about more black metal? Always. September 15th internationally, Altare Productions and Lunar Apparitions are teaming up to release VELO MISERE’s debut album, ‘Monomanía del Inexorable Vacío‘, on vinyl LP and digipack CD. Spanish black metal elite, night-sided and thickly obsidian tones all over this thing, not exactly raw or lo-fi but we start collapsed on the floor as “Visión de la Sombra” is presented. Check out the first preview track over on [YouTube]. Our downward spiral continues with Saturnal Records‘ announcement of Finnish black metal quartet SOLACIDE‘s second album ‘Fall From Eternity‘ due out September 24th on CD. In some ways a very typical Finnish black metal band from a commercial standard but also a fairly experimental sound of their own, the growl-along nature of some vocals isn’t my thing but I appreciate their progressive touch to what is an otherwise dissonant song on “Forsaken by Gods” check it out on [YouTube]. From rituals of sinking spirits, to the smoking ashes of ‘The Red Dragon’s Invocation‘ the latest release announced by Iron Bonehead Productions who have set October 15th as the release date for ORGREL‘s debut album on CD and vinyl LP. The album art was enough to grab my attention but the song they’ve uploaded to [SoundCloud] seals the pact. Melodic resolve, dissolving spirits, and a vocal performance direct from the fellowe’s bile ducts. The last of our September released black metal mentions is the Purity Through Fire released CD version (LP coming later) of HAUTAKAMMIO‘s third album ‘Pimeyden Kosketus‘, out on September 30th. The band features a trio of impressive names from Finnish black metal: Guitarist/songwriter Grim666 (Kalmankantaja), drummer Lima (Azaghal), and White Death vocalist Vritrahn. Though we can certainly hear the guitar work of early Burzum feeding the atmosphere here this is only one element of the piece they’ve introduced the album with, “Pimeys Tuhoaa Valon Luoman” where the more dramatic melodic sections stray deeper into another forest entirely. Probably one of the better black metal songs of the week. Hear it over on [YouTube].

Orgrel, 2021.

One of my favorite labels for the last decade (since Omision‘s ‘In the Shadow of the Cross‘) Chaos Records have announced they’ll release the latest album from Guadalajara’s MORBID MESSIAHDisgorged in the Coffin‘ this coming September 24th on CD and cassette tape formats, the 12″ vinyl version will arrive later. Check out the fuckin’ splatterhouse of an album cover from Dahmer Art! and also the first preview song “Dungeon of Vermin” over on [YouTube]. Speaking of old-school die hards running great labels Chinese label Awakening Records have announced popular thrash metal killers ANCESTOR‘s debut full-length album from 2018, ‘Lords of Destiny‘ will finally get its vinyl edition this coming August 18th. Yeah, I know most folks only chase “new releases” but everything these guys have done sells out blazing fast for good reason so, heads up anyhow. Still love that album art and the Kreator-influenced logo! Check out the album over on [YouTube]. Speaking of thrash metal Danish ‘hyper-thrashers’ TERMINALIST have released a performance video for the song “Estranged Reflection”, these guys are fantastic talents and pushing this whole sci-fi tech thrash towards a more cerebral, high-conceptual place. Go check it out over on [YouTube] and support! Extreme metal pioneers since 1984 Swiss group EXCRUCIATION continue to evolve in strange, beautiful ways as they present this stunning ‘doom-thrash’ song “Repent, Sinners!” [YouTube] my favorite era of the band are the late 80’s demos they’d put out, most of them practically albums themselves and I’ve been excited to see what they’ll sound like with the extra inclusion of one the guitarists from that era.

Nah, no spiders. “Keep spiders out of death metal. Is a false!” Anything but spiders. Ah well, this Matt Carr illustration of a terrifying man-eater on the cover of the third album from Québécois death metal band OUTRE-TOMBE, ‘Abysse Mortifère‘, is nonetheless too pretty not to buy. The venerable Temple of Mystery Records will have it for sale on LP and CD this Halloween. Good old-fashioned death metal, crypt-tuned and nothing trendy about it. Nothing but love for this band’s sound and style.

That Zdzisław Beksinski cover art does kinda invoke a spider-type reaction but man what a stunning way to introduce Atlanta, Georgia-based death metal band OCCULSED and their debut full-length ‘Crepitation of Phlegethon‘, due out September 17th via Everlasting Spew Records. Occulsed comes from Justin (Father Befouled, Encoffination) and Jared from Gastric Phantasm for an Incantation-inspired atmospheric death metal sound. Brutal, breathy, rotten, and with a cacophonous Morpheus Descends kind of whip to some of their change-ups. Check out the brief burst of “Unction Of Muliebrous Broth” over on Bandcamp:

ÆNIGMATUM‘s ‘Deconsecrate‘ (20 Buck Spin)

While we’re all still high off of those death metal kicks, the clincher this week is “Animus Reflection”, the third track from ÆNIGMATUM‘s ‘Deconsecrate‘ LP coming on 20 Buck Spin in exactly two weeks (August 13th). Pre-ordered up and everything, cannot wait for this one, and I love how technical they’ve gone with these pieces. Anyhow, I’ll drool over it all in the review. For now go check out “Animus Reflection” over on [YouTube].

HEXORCISTEvil Reaping Death (Memento Mori/Unholy Prophecies/Godz ov War Productions)

III. Site Week in Review

This week we kicked things off with the last entry for Annihilate This Week sub-titled with a quote from Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (“A shimmering of heat—Outside the grave, alone I dwell.”) which comes from some of the last groupings of biographical short stories he’d written in 1927 before committing suicide at 35, a legend of “modernist” Japanese literature and a bookography you should pick up if you’re interested in the larger arc of his works, which goes from imaginative world-reaching mindset to tormented melancholy, fearing he’d inherited his birth mother’s mental illness which’d led to his adoption just beyond birth. Of the records covered, make sure you check out: Vrexiza and Expunged.

Beyond that point I’ve been scrambling to catch up with July’s review schedule. Shrieking Demon‘s ‘Diabolical Regurgitations‘ [REVIEW] being a fine extension of the member’s fine history of Autopsy-esque death metal. Hexorcist‘s ‘Evil Reaping Death‘ [REVIEW] being a goddamned firestorm of a death/thrash metal record, reaching all the way back to before we’d decided what black, death, and extreme thrash exactly were and roaring over it. Australian heavy metal group Fate’s Hand impressed me to the tits with their heroic self-titled debut EP ‘Fate’s Hand‘ [REVIEW]. I wasn’t sure what to think of Lykhaeon‘s second full-length album ‘Opprobrium [REVIEW] but it all kinda came together at the end. I am about a month late on covering Pandemic Outbreak‘s ‘Skulls Beneath the Cross‘ [REVIEW] but it rules, and I’d only gotten it a week ago, had to run with it since it is such a good record. And finally Canadian death metal cannon Perilaxe Occlusion continue to impress on their second demo ‘Raytraces of Death‘ [REVIEW].

And lastly, you got a big fuckin’ post about me and my shit. I don’t do these but once a year because it comes off a bit self-involved even if the point is to say what’s up and THANK YOU to everyone who has supported for these last four years. Hard to believe I’ve had solid support from so many since 2017, let alone folks who have followed/supported my stuff since 2011. Get your Thanks and read about what’s up next year: The fourth year… and far beyond.


ANGUISHDoomkvädet’ (Sun & Moon Records)

The Album of the Week (next week) for my own taste is unquestionably ‘Doomkvädet‘, the fourth album from Uppsala, Sweden-based doom metal quartet ANGUISH who are back with their own brand of epic, kinda necro-darkened traditional doom metal this August 1st. In fact, I am only calling it “traditional” out of posterity for the forms they create though their execution has never been plain or obvious. Creators of dark fantasy worlds, alternate religions, and all manner of inventive presentation I’ve never felt these guys’d gotten their dues despite pretty high profile releases for Dark Descent and High Roller Records. If you’ve some love for early Candlemass, a bit of (very) early Katatonia, and a touch of the first Cathedral demo/record you’ll find Anguish‘s crypt-attunement is high here as well. A full review is in the works for this weekend, or nearby.

V. OUT THIS WEEK: Short (and shorter) reviews.

The thirty-first week of 2021 is highlighted by another bout of varietal abundance as I try to break things up between lux reissues, unknown but aspirational extreme metal, fucked up post-punk, melodic black metal, stoner rock/metal, and a technical death metal album unlike any other. 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.

First, the “quick” honorable mentions from this week. Quick reactions, quick thoughts.

ASHENGodless Oath [August 6th, Bitter Loss]

Perth, Australia-based death metal. Tending towards a mix of slow, sludgy, and kinda danceable melodic metal it’ll be hard to soak this one in as “pure” death metal in any sense but they’ve lead with a very loud, very modern sound that’ll already push away from the ‘old school’ demographic for the most part. If they leaned even harder into this melodic death metal influences I think this might’ve caught my ear more. As is, great booming sound but a bit too commercially attuned and not distinct enough to keep me listening.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

VASSAGOStorm of Satan [August 1st, Nuclear War Now! Productions]

Vassago were long discussed as a sort of side project and a relic of Swedish black metal that’d preceded the formation of Lord Belial (under the name Sadist) but continued in tandem until their 1999 Andy LaRocque produced debut, known for its intense brutality, would be their last release ’til a 2020 compilation arrived. With this new second album ‘Storm of Satan’ they not only reprise their choice of producer but he also provides incredible leads all over this thing. Brutal, satanic (see: song naming convention) and basically everything I wanted from a new Vassago album. Could not be happier with this release, I just didn’t have much of a “spin” on it since it should hit the right skulls immediately. If you’re not sure what’s up, and don’t mind me being reductive, think of Impaled Nazarene but Swedish and used to be on No Fashion.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

CRYPT CRAWLERFuture Usurper [August 6th, Bitter Loss]

Another death metal band from Perth, Australia. This one heavily influenced by Swedish and North American death metal to some degree but obviously putting their own hardcorish lean into it. Think of their sound as ‘up to date’ with the simpler riffing you’ll find on legacy bands like Demonical but with influences from modern acts when taking a closer listen to the drumming. The best songs here have a hint of later Death in their guitar work though their use of repetition still feels a bit “green”, going with muscle memory on some of the riff changes and refrains. It looks and sounds like something I should love but just didn’t click with me overall.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

WALD KRYPTAPossessed by Nothingness [August 6th, Eternal Death]

This is the third full-length from this United States/Canada raw black metal duo who are likewise active as a duo in black/crust act Targrave and depressive black metal project Life Denied. If we can consider ‘Where None Remain’ their leap into longer melodic guitar phrases, a personal expression via “complete” song structures then let ‘Possessed by Nothingness’ be a splash of pure bleach in the face for those hoping to cuddle with cathartic sounds. This follow-up definitely scathes as much as it also builds upon the strong melodic sense of the previous album thanks to a gloriously raw recording, satisfyingly loud and spiked with shards of near-peaking guitar shatter. I have to admit a lot of USBM influenced by Finnish black metal and Judas Iscariot these days sounds like fucking Hot Water Music performed in a garage but in this case the miserable drowning force of black metal informs each melodic line. I appreciate this band not following any crowd, scraping these pieces from their own minds into painful yet entheogenic atmosphere. From my experience Eternal Death vinyl sells out pretty fast so if you see it and like it, I’d jump on it.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Thank you! I am eternally grateful for the support of readers and appreciate friendly and positive interaction. 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 slightly less short reviews.

TITLE:Teyacanilitztli Nahualli
RELEASE DATE:August 1st, 2021 [LP]
LABEL(S):Nuclear War Now! Productions

Recorded in 2018 released on a 40 copy run of cassette tapes in 2019 ‘Teyacanilitztli Nahualli’ is the third demo from this duo of Mexican and Colombian descent. So, I guess if I’ve bothered to mention it for the sake of the vinyl release it should indicate that these recordings hold something special, a youthful sort of arcane inspiration that reminds me of early Greek black metal in that it relates directly to the artist’s ancestral past, the old religion and glorifies the mythos of ancient gods. The music itself is appropriately dungeon sourced, vocals echoing through an impossible cave mouth and guitars screaming with distortion on the brink of blowing the 20watt amp out of its high end. If you’re about to compare this to Blue Hummingbird on the Left, hold that thought for a second and wait for Chopin‘s funeral waltz at the start of “Guía Mistico:Xoloitzcuintle”, at some point they were just jamming and having fun here, at least a little. While I won’t blow the significance of this one out of proportion, I do think it is a brilliant demo and the packaging/cover for the vinyl edition is worth mentioning. Something captivating and raw for fans of the deep underground when artists act freely, without expectation.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

TITLE:The Sundering
RELEASE DATE:August 6th, 2021
LABEL(S):Wise Blood Records

The moment that Dallas, Texas-based black metal project Krigsgrav catches the eye and the ear with their sixth full-length since forming in 2004 it transports me back in time roughly twenty years ago (er, to the early 2000’s) when Scandinavian extreme metal had become so popular in the United States that the choices for opening bands on any local ticket were basically bad melodeath/Dimmu-clone or the less attractive option of poop-and-rape themed brutal death metal. This was long considered a dark time for USBM where many of the innovative acts from the 90’s were pushed aside. So, we’ve seen quite a surge of nostalgia for the late 90’s and early 2000’s across the board of late and this is where a band with roots in that era shine best. Right, I’m not necessarily framing any of this as a bad thing but suggesting that the Scandinavian blackened melodic death metal inspired side is probably the most comfortably and capably achieved aspect of Krigsgrav‘s oeuvre we’ve gotten to date. They’ve more or less hopped between various sub-genre focused tastes over the years: Starting out a somewhat plain black metal band, going post-black/blackgaze, and then trying their own version of dark metal before focusing on this more modern assemblage of proggy melodic death with atmospheric black metal production we find on ‘The Sundering’. They surely read as a band driven by what is popular at the moment as their discography progresses but ‘The Sundering’ doesn’t, a well-polished record influenced by melodic metal. If Insomnium were in town they’d be a nice opener, if not somewhat forgettable in the greater continuum of this style.

How much modern melodic death metal do you listen to on a monthly basis? This really is the best way to decide if you are going to find Krigsgrav‘s finely detailed and neatly arranged style of melodic metal rote or refreshingly nostalgic. For the atmospheric black metal listener there is just enough of a hazy aesthetic applied here to the sound design that the punching through that the melodic death metal guitar arrangements do will be invigorating and a nice point of differentiation if you’re already a fan of Ashbringer (who’ve a similar approach to leads) or Amiensus who deal with arguably more successful loftiness via similar influences. On paper their melodic death/doom metal influences (some would say just dark metal) are what should be the major differentiation but the melodic death aspect of their works just has more charismatic impact which leaves some of their better pieces, such as album closer “Darkest Road”, feeling somewhat flat or overstated at the end of 50+ minute record. I’ve no real complaints as a listener beyond wanting a reason to return to the experience, there are so few guitar hooks that dig in with purpose and this type of emotionally driven record needs a level of poetic intimacy beyond a constant beauteous uplift to stick.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

TITLE:Bloodletting For the Lonely
RELEASE DATE:August 6th, 2021
LABEL(S):Batcave/Atakra Records

Oakland, California-based dark post-punk/deathrock quintet Esses aim for the drone and jangling ghoulishness of their respective niche first, vibrating with a bit too much energy for the pale dead punk’s gloom-up you might expect. They’re wriggling around pumped up for good reason, it really is where they shine best — Bopping into the form-fitting jig of “Infinite Void” and the ADHD-induced surf of “Pierce the Feeling” reveals the core joy-button of this record whereas the slower, stumbled-out pieces (“Faceless Past”, “Four Corners”) work up a wrack that doesn’t always utilize the smoking infinite hall of their sound design well enough. A fine enough album but there is little here that has me coming back for more beyond sub-genre notes and rhythm section.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

TITLE:Red Amarcord
RELEASE DATE:August 6th, 2021
LABEL(S):Sentient Ruin Laboratories

Not sure what just happened here but, I’m pretty sure the guys from Krallice just wrote and recorded a follow-up to ‘The Sanguinary Impetus’? Well, they didn’t just do it. ‘Red Amarcord’ was self-released in mid-November of last year and Sentient Ruin have picked it up for vinyl release, out next week. Of course I’m exaggerating a bit, the intent of this album seems to just be the most ridiculously pinging, guttural and technical death metal record possible a la peak Enmity, maybe Wormed and I guess Orchidectomy but I feel like these are all primarily bonded by supreme throat-farted vocals rather than riff patternation. It all slams around ’til “Politkovskaya” breaks into a Mithras-esque proggy fade out which might be the first hint of brilliance within the slam n’ jam of it all. It took me a few songs to start seeing this record as an impressive extreme rather than a “fun” brutal prog-death record. Still, I’d drawn a serious blank figuring my way through a review for it. Is “Duh, brutal. Ping, burp good.” alright? A high recommendation either way.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

TITLE:The Redemptive End
RELEASE DATE:August 6th, 2021
LABEL(S):AOP Records

German melodic black metal band Groza was formed initially as a solo project by P.G. who describes the beginnings of the band quite upfront as a “worship project” with no qualms that is was influenced by Mgła, in fact that was the point — He was inspired. When I saw the three 0% reviews on Metal-Archives while doing some research, reading the psychobabble justification for it, and listening to their discography I found it a bit ridiculous to see folks who’d obviously just started listening to melodic black metal (because of Mgła) outraged that projects shared in their same passion. Besides, to date I’ve probably heard two hundred records that directly ape riffs from ‘With Hearts Toward None’ and ‘Exercises in Futility’ this last decade or so and they tend to get the mediocre praise they deserve. So, what is so compelling about Groza that they would wear this special mark of ‘the other’? I ask this sincerely after having spent what, six hours with ‘The Redemptive End’ total and finding it an average, inoffensive melodic metal record probably more influenced by post-black metal than anything else these days and certainly nothing bold and chest-burstingly delivered as Uada. The main composer spends so much of these 5-7 minute pieces treading water with atmospheric builds that it all reads intensely beige, vanilla for my own taste. It isn’t until “Homewards” that we really get a deeper hit of something focused, linear and personal. Even then, nothing worthy of twisting folks knots. As was the case with Gaera‘s big label debut, I neither see the fuss nor the interest either way but a professional, inoffensive modern post-black metal record.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.


“TOURANTULA” East Coast Fall Tour feat. Inhuman Condition w/Crusadist
U.S. Tour Fall 2021 – Municipal Waste w/Crowbar, Skeletal Remains & Dead Heat
U.S. Tour 2021 – Mon Laferte (Chilean songstress!) w/Various artists
U.S. Summer (mostly West Coast) Tour 2021 – Exmortus w/Lich King

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