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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- I. Intro: Outliers, freaks, latecomers.
- II. New release announcements, new song previews, new signings, opinions.
- III. Week in review on GrizzlyButts.com, Spirit Coffin Publishing release news.
- IV. Next week’s Album of the Week, planned reviews for next week.
- ÆNIGMATUM ‘Deconsecrate‘ (August 13th, 20 Buck Spin)
- Burial In The Sky, ‘The Consumed Self’, Diskord ‘Degenerations’, Qrixkuor ‘Poison Palinopsia’, Alchemy of Flesh ‘Ageless Abominations’, Bohemyst ‘Cern a Smrt’, and Nigromancia ‘Hidden Rituals’ will be covered next week in long-form reviews. They are all very good.
- V. Short reviews for the following albums:
- APATHY NOIR ‘At The Edge of the World (Self-Released)
- CHAMBER OF UNLIGHT ‘Realm of the Night’ (Werewolf Records)
- V.2 Additional discussion/rating of the following albums:
- LUCUBRATION – Aspiration of Corrupted Ancient Blood [August 13th, Quiet Notes/Sacrificial Dance]
- TEL/AGE OF THE WOLF – Vigils [August 13th, Electric Talon Records]
- MALOSSI – Blanke Barter [August 13th, Rob Mules Records]
- INCARNATED – Choirs of the Dead [August 13th, Grind to Death Records]
- VI. UPCOMING TOURS/SHOWS (JUST FLYERS)
I. Intro: Outliers, freaks, latecomers.
So, you’ve submitted your release on release day, on the week of release, or months later and you’d like prompt coverage? Well, if it is good it’ll probably end up here. To be considered for a full-sized, long-form review or a short but thoughtful review otherwise please submit all promos at least two weeks prior to release. Keep in mind that I receive upwards of 200 promotional e-mails per week and that the typical review takes a minimum of three weeks of consideration before I am comfortable giving a scored review. Thanks for any/all consideration. Otherwise this introductory area collects news and other bits that don’t fit anywhere else this week.
Well, this one isn’t late to start but instead a European specific issuance of the fine debut demo from Chilean ‘old school’ death metal band PHANTASMAGORE on limited 7″ EP via Dawnbreed Records. I’ve already covered the original Burning Coffin Records tape in the past but this is definitely worth mentioning again as one of my favorite tapes out of the Chilean pure death metal scene recently. They’ve got two variants up for European customers over on [Dawnbreed.com] And if that wasn’t groaty enough, how’s about some TRENCH FOOT? The Liverpool based solo death metal artist has released his debut EP, ‘Sacrificial Gore‘, digitally today (August 6th) alongside a tape which releases August 13th on Stumpgrinder Records. Chunky, breathy, chug death with a simple, straight forward groove to it from former Cryptic Shift guitarist Joe Bradley. “Drowned in Offal” is the track I enjoyed most, check that one out at the very least.
Jump over to the Temple of Mystery webstore and buy something, eh? Start with this deluxe double LP reissue of PAGAN ALTAR‘s ‘The Room of Shadows‘, which was long sold out of its original version. This reissue arrives October 15th this year. I’ve already reviewed it and have long championed the band as one of the best all-time heavy/doom metal acts and a true original for traditional doom metal. Absolutely the sort of music one should not only support but champion at every turn.
II. News & Opinions (7/24-7/30)
Prolific black metal musician Floris, one of the fellows behind Asgrauw, Meslamtea, and Sagenland has announced his partnership with War Productions and Void Wanderer Productions for the debut full-length from his latest project SCHAVOT titled ‘Galgenbrok‘, due out this coming October 1st. I suppose the constant flood of second wave black metal influenced music coming out of Europe could certainly use his tasteful, usually somewhat modern and melancholic touch and that’d be how I’d describe the first preview track “Droglicht”, available [HERE] and [HERE]. Well, since we’ve already cut the throat open lets keep the black metal flowing: The good folks at Brucia Records have announced a September 17th release date for ‘Concealment‘ a full-length from blackened death-doom metal project KNOWLEDGE THROUGH SUFFERING. Suggested as a combination of dissonant black metal, 90’s death metal and extreme doom metal this one caught my ear quick and the first preview track, “God Alone Was Exalted on That Day”, delivers. Check that out over on Brucia Records‘ [Bandcamp] If you’re looking for something a bit more atmospheric this week Purity Through Fire have announced German atmospheric black metal project COSMIC BURIAL‘s second album ‘…To the Past‘ will release this coming September 30th as a limited A5 digipack. Cosmic Burial comes from Nachtig and Valosta Varjoon maestro V. V. and before you dive into the 10 minute stretch of “α Centauri A” [YouTube] make sure you also look up his debut album ‘Impakt’ from last year. Purity Through Fire have also announced the debut full-length from October Falls‘ maestro Mikko Lehto, a project he has named WOODEN THRONE which promises to be epic and celestially strewn black metal. The digipack CD version of his first album ‘Under the Moon They Wander Until Fading Away‘ releases this coming September 30th. A thick atmospheric light resonates from this record, as experienced within the glow of “Withered at Sunrise” [YouTube], the first preview track. We’ve heard shades of early Ulver in his past work but this seems to be an album that looks far beyond the possibilities of the eldest ways, a celestial musing from an earthly perspective. Unease, anxiety, ghostly horrors, drugged nighttime cemetery photography, all whirl into mass as Iron Bonehead Productions announces October 15th as the release date for SORGUINAZIA‘s debut full-length ‘Negation of Delirium‘, on CD and vinyl LP. Creeped-out raw black metal, atmospheric but with a filth guitar tone. Looking forward to hearing the full thing. For now check out “Black Spell of Supremacy” on [SoundCloud]. The black metal just never stops flowing and we’ve saved something special for last: Amor Fati Productions have announced September 15th as the international release date for FUSTILARIAN‘s debut album, ‘All This Promiscuous Decadence‘, on CD format with the vinyl LP version coming next year. You bet I’m sharing the photo of dude on the toilet, but still take this Portuguese act seriously, they are true mind-flayers. “Deceived in Ravenous Perversion” is perhaps the most exciting, venomous black metal piece I’ve heard this week, give it a spin over on [YouTube].
I always look forward to whatever it is that Toby Driver does next and news of a new KAYO DOT album is always welcome. Their label Prophecy Productions have revealed the first video single from ‘Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike‘, where “Void in Virgo (The Nature of Sacrifice)” [YouTube] introduces a theme of nature’s reclamation of urban wreckage but, of course this is just a seed of the greater statement the album posits: “Nature personified exacts her revenge upon the slothful and self-centered human race“, writes lyricist Jason Byron. “The people who have sacrificed her upon the altar of greed have failed to realize that they themselves are her, and that as they murder Nature they only murder themselves.” They’re describing this record as “monumental celestial doom” and oh man, am I already sold on this thing. Official release date is October 29th. Perhaps on a similarly omniscient-yet-distraught post-music wavelength, Disorder Recordings have announced the COVID-19 lockdown-borne ALTARS OF THE MOON featuring Nate Verschoor (Uada) as the main composer in collaboration with Jeff Wilson (Chrome Waves, Deeper Graves) for a project we could describe as soundscape-drenched post-metal with a blackened tendency. Vocals come from Heath Rave of Lotus Thrones who we can also count with Wilson as ex-members of Wolvhammer. Their debut album ‘Brahmastra‘ releases August 20th. Get a preview of Side A over on [Bandcamp]. The idiosyncratic world of BIÈRE NOIRE is fully revealed as this solo project from French artist Leo Vittoz (Satan) aka Riton La Mort unveils his ‘Pièce Secrète‘ debut full-length. The album will be released September 3rd via Throatruiner Records & Croux Records. What on earth am I talking about? A lo-fi, DIY brand of early neofolk influenced industrial with ebbs of French psychedelia and new wave. An intense, flamboyant, and oft maudlin experience you can fully jump into right now over on Bandcamp:
Dunno if this was already out or is coming soon but Seed Of Doom Records have announced a special split EP between a couple of my favorite bands from 2020, ASTRIFEROUS and BLOODSOAKED NECROVOID on vinyl 7” format. You need it, these bands rule. Check it out over on [Bandcamp]. Speaking of great splits: Blood Harvest Records have announced August 27th as the release date for a split EP between INFESTICIDE and INOBSCURITY REVEALED on CD and cassette tape formats. The 12″ vinyl version will follow later. Each band features more or less the same line-up so, it is kind of awesome that they’re doing a split that shows just how different-yet-related each project is. Check out the preview tracks over on Bandcamp: Italian death metal label Everlasting Spew Records have announced their signing of Portland, Oregon atmospheric death metal institution RITUAL NECROMANCY whom are best known for their impressive 2010’s releases via Dark Descent. Well, they’re not ready to announce any upcoming releases just yet but of course this means more of their stuff sooner or later. Great news either way. Another announcement from a band you should already know, Soulseller Records have announced Norwegian black/heavy metal act SARKE are ready with their seventh full-length album ‘Allsighr‘ on November 5th 2021. Read the announcement, check the cover art, and such over on Soulseller Records [Facebook]. They’ve also recently signed In The Woods… so, even more great news. Virginia’s finest war metal marauders ANTICHRIST SIEGE MACHINE have announced their second full-length album ‘Purifying Blade‘ will release on Profound Lore Records this coming October 8th. The first single “Victorious Legions Of Satan” delivers the loudest, most outrageous version of their black/death hammer to date, beyond scorched earth:
Xtreem Music have announced the fourth album from Dave Rotten‘s PUTREVORE is going to be up for grabs on October 5th. ‘Miasmal Monstrosity‘ is coming on CD, 12″ LP, Cassette and Digital and the artwork looks pretty ace. The first preview track “With Tentacles Adorned” is available over on [YouTube]. Speaking of death metal, perhaps one of my most anticipated releases of the year has been announced via the fine folks at Willowtip Records: Minneapolis, Minnesota based disso-death trio SUNLESS will release their second album ‘Ylem‘ on October 29th. Based on the first preview track, I figure this album is going to sell gangbusters. Check out “Forgotten (Remnants of Life)” over on Bandcamp: Also coming to Willowtip around the same time, the self-titled debut full-length from anonymous progressive metal project COGNOS. ‘Cognos‘ will release on October 22nd of this year. Claiming to fuse elements of extreme metal, new age, and prog for an experience seeking unheard of sounds, prepare for something weird but also not -too- weird that it isn’t unlistenable, check out the first preview track “Orb” over on [YouTube].
Pittsburgh traditional heavy/power metal band LADY BEAST are back with “The Poisoned Path” the first single from their upcoming EP ‘Omens‘ via Reaper Metal Productions this coming September 3rd. Check out “The Poisoned Path” right here:
III. Site Week in Review
This week we kicked things off with the 20 Best Albums of July 2021, a self-explanatory feature. This month I’d left off a few things, moved things around last minute and not without a bit of indecision, and… certainly a few editing errors due to needing to hurry up with it. We also premiered the ‘Pact of Morbid Conspiracy‘ split between OMENFILTH and CEREMONIAL WORSHIP, two fine underground black metal bands thanks to Eternal Death. I’ve added an interview with Ceremonial Worship, but haven’t get gotten the questions from Omenfilth. I’ll mention it once their answers are added, if they are. I also premiered the first SYMPOSIUM column, which I’d like some feedback on after this one fires off. Too much at once? Don’t like the paragraph format?
Our latest cassette release via Spirit Coffin Publishing: Tokyo, Japan-based solo sci-fi death/thrash metal project MARINER‘s debut EP ‘Devastating Synergy‘ is out as of July 30th, 2021. Grab a copy if you’re into it! If the shipping sucks, e-mail me and I’ll pro-rate it myself.
Beyond that point I’ve been largely aiming to catch up with last week’s review schedule, I’ve spent about a month playing catch up and haven’t quite found the time to knock out two reviews per day just yet. With reviews for Intestinal Hex‘s ‘The Exalted Chambers of Abhorrence‘, Galvanizer‘s ‘Prying Sight of Imperception‘ and my late-to-the party review for Swelling Repulsion‘s ‘The Severed Path‘ we’re caught up with most of June/July. August reviews begin with Anguish‘s fine epic doom metal growler ‘Doomkvädet‘ and Decrepisy‘s impressive classic USDM styled debut ‘Emetic Communion‘. The next few reviews will appear in this order Netherbird, Aenigmatum, Morbid Cruelty, Lucifer’s Fall and Baxaxaxa. After that? Diskord, Qrixkuor, Burial in the Sky, Bohemyst, Nigromancia, Alchemy of Flesh, and perhaps I’ll be ready with one of the two new Reverorum Ib Malacht records next week. After that there are about 15 more albums I’d like to get around to by the end of the month. We’ll see. For now keep these in mind: Thyrfing, Wormwood, Hour of 13, Nocturnal, Fluisteraars, Graveland, Beastlurker, Oxygen Destroyer, Devoid of Thought, Nunslaughter, Fucked Up & more.
IV. ALBUM OF THE WEEK (NEXT WEEK)
The Album of the Week (next week) for my own taste is unquestionably ‘Deconsecrate‘, the second album from Portland, Oregon-based death metal quartet ÆNIGMATUM. Though there are scores of amazing releases coming out next week this is the one that speaks to me via a ‘next level’ extreme metal feeling. A sensation I’d first felt listening to ‘Unquestionable Presence’ or, alternately ‘The Scream That Tore the Sky’, wherein the complex weave of a record speaks in easy phrases and opens a door beyond the norm. Beyond that, I’d felt like this was the best possible way to follow up their self-titled debut without rocketing too far beyond a technical/melodic classic death metal tonality. Lots more to say when the review is ready. This was a truly difficult choice, a rarity thus far this year in terms of AOTW selection since Qrixkuor and Diskord are no less impressive. I will buy all three regardless.
V. OUT THIS WEEK: Short (and shorter) reviews.
The thirty-second week of 2021 is highlighted by stoner doom, bestial skull-clubbers, Norwegian rural noise rock, brutal black/death metal, classic death metal reissues, dark metal, and modern ideation of chunky tech-death and melodic death metal. Uh, plus we have one “shock value” gore death record for the kids, the kids ain’t right. 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.
LUCUBRATION – Aspiration of Corrupted Ancient Blood [August 13th, Quiet Notes/Sacrificial Dance]
A bestial death machine built atop meditative rhythmic irregularity and fused between members of Oksennus and Kuilu, ‘Aspiration of Corrupted Ancient Blood‘ is a two song ~20 minute collapse between lo-fi black metal harassment and Immolation-esque daemonic prophecies spewed. Shrieking static, clubbed-hard rhythms, and brilliantly cold sludge metal extremity make for a chaotic and perhaps improvised sea of tormented sound. The experience isn’t pure pain but oppression, especially “Decease the Rotten Beast” which serves to stomp the mind into subservient mush. The secondary piece and title track begins with what I’d describe as harsh noise shaped into funeral doom metal, equally vital oppression. FFO: Ride For Revenge, Havohej, Corrupted.
TEL/AGE OF THE WOLF – Vigils [August 13th, Electric Talon Records]
Richmond, Virgina-based sludge metal band Tel share a very substantial split full-length here with Costa Rican stoner/sludge metal kings Age of the Wolf here on ‘Vigils’, which honestly turned out to be much more of a headcrusher than expected once I’d fired it up. First of all, Age of the Wolf have cranked the thunder on their gig, up to a nasty and huge Ramesses level of power here and their opener “Priestess of Cledones” had me geared up for the full listen immediately. Rasping, spitting and extreme as all Hell, this is how I like my sludge metal — Outraged and overpowered doom metal grinding the blues beyond death. They’re only slightly more chill on “Slaves to the Riff” but I’d say these San José based fellowes have totally won me over here, keep it this gritty, tuneful and outsized and I’ll always show up for it. My first impression of Tel back in 2019 was that they didn’t sound ready, not sure where to go between post-metal and sludge metal, not quite finding the tuneful aspect you could tell was there. I’d say the missing ingredient was the sort of post-metal meets traditional doom metal side of these songs which work quite well and are hard as nails but somber and kinda catchy this time around. The harmonized vocals are the main source of magick here, somewhere nearby Chrome Ghost‘s alt-rock influenced side. I’m impressed, this is not only a fine split pairing but the material on each side is legit, completely free of bunk or filler. For sure the best sludge-related release that has hit me in ages.
MALOSSI – Blanke Barter [August 13th, Rob Mules Records]
A turbocharged modern stoner/heavy rock album fixated on conveying rural 80’s-90’s nostalgia, ‘Blanke Barter‘ is sung entirely in Norwegian but its gloriously high fidelity production and sentimental tonality resound quite easily despite this very specific point of view as “vikings” of the auld valley. I’d like to put a twist on this record but there is none and I believe that is the point, very honest and catchy Norwegian heavy rock influenced by the prime era of Kyuss, Clutch, Monster Magnet and maybe even a hint of Fu Manchu. Anthemic to start, fun in the middle, contemplative later on, and plenty of experimentation with various sounds and instrumentation keeps it all holding up for quite a long 43 minutes. The Hammond-esque organs tend to be the best moments for my taste here, “Skuld” being a nice reprisal to some of the earlier fast-fed hooks of the opening pieces. “Kje Med Are” kind of sells the record for me but I wouldn’t say there are any points of collapse beyond that point. Interestingly enough the album’s crisp and high-definition sound is one of the first things I noted and it turns out this was mixed by Daniel Bergstrand & Fredrik Thordendal of all people. The label website doesn’t load properly for me and I didn’t find a Bandcamp for this record just yet but, would definitely recommend hunting this down if you are a stoney heavy rock fan and enjoy the Norwegian language as much as I do.
INCARNATED – Choirs of the Dead [August 13th, Grind to Death Records]
Incarnated were a death metal band formed in the Gävleborg region of Sweden in 1991 after splitting up what must have been a non-serious thrash metal band named Helvetica (yes, their logo was in all-caps Helvetica font). This compilation from Grind to Death compiles all of their extant works from 1993-1999 and they’re certainly not a generic band by any means, if we can gauge their use of doom metal riffs, death n’ roll, and sort of gothic clean vocals which pop up prominently on “Wool-Gatherers”. At his most brutal current Centinex vocalist Henrik Andersson makes a very strong first impression as he roars over the slower, most effective sections of these songs on the first demo, which I’m already familiar with. There are two demos which have never been released here and they sound like an appropriate modernization of the original Incarnated sound but I think the first demo is the one that resonates best with me. I really don’t have much information to go on here so I can’t really go into the provenance of these demos but these guys were somewhat original, or at least very slightly progressive for their time.
— 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:||At the Edge of the World|
|RELEASE DATE:||August 5th, 2021|
The fifth full-length album from Norrköping-based melodic death/doom metal artist Viktor Jonas‘ Apathy Noir builds upon the somewhat progressive expressivity of 2018’s ‘Black Soil’ with more of a focus on clean vocal sections, sophisticated rhythms and upholding a sort of classic ‘dark metal’ feeling nonetheless. The obvious comparisons are in order via Opeth and perhaps Novembre but also some of the newer October Tide releases thanks to a sound that is nostalgic of the early 2000’s melodic death/doom sound but not stuck there. I found ‘At the Edge of the World’ has some irregular melodies that don’t land the first time but a full listen that is easy to lock into if you are a fan of this style, as I am to some degree. After several listens I began to appreciate the deeply introverted nature of this release; Their presentation is entirely humble and very quiet compared to a lot of the classics that’ve inspired their work. This is almost more appropriate in terms of performance meeting up with intent, even if it reads a bit subdued at first. Give this one a few runs to reveal its deeper-set guitar hooks and melodies, they’re further from the obviate this time around.
|ARTIST:||CHAMBER OF UNLIGHT|
|TITLE:||Realm of the Night|
|RELEASE DATE:||August 13th, 2021|
Chamber of Unlight could be fairly considered a 90’s black metal inspired work but not a plain scenester approach to the current boon of strongly nostalgic Finnish black metal. Largely conceived by Necrosis (Ajattara, Deathchain, Shade Empire, et al.) and joined by Kassara also of Deathchain and many other groups (Trollheim’s Grott, Horna) we have two fellowes who’d really earned their major notice in the 2000’s and now present a sort of late 90’s orchestra-tainted black metal record in ‘Realm of the Night’. The sound is late second wave Scandinavian black metal, atmospheric and full of wickedly over the top personality but most of it stops short of true extremity of pace, landing a lot of heavily melodic and extended mid-paced sections. “From Grey Tombs” is nothing short of amazing for its twisted guitar hooks and psyche-blurring vocal performances yet I feel like the album as a whole is missing the absurd extremism of the era it otherwise invokes. This is less a complaint and the reality of how a black metal record is tempo-mapped today versus the speedier, brutality obsessed performances of the late 90’s; The deliberate, stoic pace serves Chamber of Unlight well. Though I am entirely content with this record as a full listen, I’d really like to see them push for moments of pure mayhem that tap into the inhuman mania and excesses of their influences more often.
VI. UPCOMING TOURS
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