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: email@example.com
- 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.
- MORBID CRUELTY ‘Holodomor‘ (August 15th, Burning Coffin Records)
- Next week, I’ll be working on reviews for: Devoid of Thought, Irrlycht, Borboropsis, Our Place of Worship is Silence, Fucked Up, Nocturnal, Fluisteraars.
- PREMIERE: (August 18th): BEASTLURKER – Celestial Henchwhores Aflame [Out August 21st, Godz ov War Productions]
- V. Short reviews/ratings for the following albums:
- GLOOP – Crayon Sun [August 20th, Grimoire Records]
- CEMETERY ECHO – Come Share My Shroud [August 20th, Petrichor]
- ZAHN – Zahn [August 20th, CrazySane Records]
- ALTARS OF THE MOON – Bahmastra [August 20th, Disorder Recordings]
- GRAVELAND – Hour of Ragnarok [August 23rd, Inferna Profundus Records]
- SACRIFIXION – Shower Me in Death [August 20th, Hells Headbangers Records]
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.
Morbid underground death/doom metal band COFFIN BREATH caught my ear this week, and releases today via Seed of Doom on cassette.
II. News & Opinions (8/07-8/13)
“Aww man…” No dessert ’til you’re done with your mile-long Black Metal paragraph! First up is Italian black metal band ARGESH and the announcement of ‘Excommunica‘ which presents their self-described “apostate black metal” style in terms of concept: “Its concept is based on disrupting these restrictions in order to find the human need to evolve and become something different from the herd, expressing the harsh hate against the hypocrisy which this moral society proves to be with its values. We’re all suffocating in this oxygen ruled by corrupted divine idols.” So, you get the idea that herd spirituality holds human beings back from reality and ultimately cheapens existence. Agreed. They’ve got a flashy music video up on [YouTube] for “Source of Miracles”, where you can hear their Behemoth influences in the drums and delivery but also some waves of typical/distraught avant-garde black metal ideas. The album is out September 14th. Finnish black metal band KORGONTHURUS are “Honoring a massive 20-year journey as Satan’s ambassadors” with three songs from the gates of darkness. This is already out on CD/Digipak via Woodcut Records, the new announcement is for the August 31st release of the vinyl LP edition which includes one side featuring an etched design. Norrköping-borne black metal band FORNHEM (“Ancient Home)” have released a music video for “Uþarba Spa” the first single from the trio’s upcoming album ‘Stämman från Berget‘ (“The Voice from the Mountain”), will be released via Trollmusic on November 5th. [YouTube] This is perhaps my favorite black metal song of the week, the guitar tone is perfect and the bass guitar performance adds so much to the dynamic of the song, which is surprisingly orthodox in its intention but delivered with the charisma of the elders. Personal Records have announced October 1st as the release date for a brand-new EP from German melodic black metal band FIAT NOX, ‘In Contemptuous Defiance’ on CD format. Don’t even bother hesitating, jump into their storm:
AOP Records have announced a sixth full-length album from German black metal band WALDGEFLÜSTER is on the way, ‘Dahoam‘ will release on September 24th on CD, LP and digitally. The first piece revealed is the sentimental epic “Im Ebersberger Forst” [YouTube] Instead of turning back time after their re-recorded demo last year they’ve pushed beyond, emphasizing an ethereal but still grounded cinematic feeling on this track. In related news, Nordvis Produktion have announced the first album from WALDGEFLÜSTER ‘Herbstklagen‘ is now available on limited vinyl double LP release, it looks beautiful as the album sounds [Website]. Eisenwald have announced September 24th as the release date for ISKANDR‘s third album, ‘Vergezicht‘, on CD and vinyl LP. Cassette from their own imprint Haeresis Noviomagi. Great news, I need to redeem myself for not finding time for their last album, which was amazing! Check out this quote from the press release, holy shit: “Drawing equally from Bathory’s mid-era albums, King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King, the early works of both Enslaved and Hades, as well as Neurosis’ A Sun that Never Sets, Vergezicht signifies a crowning moment in this era of Iskandr.” Check out the first single “Bloeddraad“:
I’m not much for 90’s hardcore influenced death metal but this upcoming EMISSARY OF SUFFERING album from members of Heretoir, King Apathy, Disavow, etc. is shaping up pretty good. The second single/title track from the album “Mournful Sights” is up over on [YouTube] ‘Mournful Sights’ will be released on September 24th via Cold Knife Records on vinyl and in digital. After a few years Cleveland’s HAMMR are back with a new track “Forces of Sin” [YouTube] and a somewhat mutated sound, moving away from plain “Satanic speed metal” towards their own more cavernous sound. It really isn’t a huge change, still heavily influenced by first wave black metal, thrash metal, and the punk music that inspired it. This comes alongside the announcement for his second album, ‘Eternal Possession‘, out on Hell’s Headbangers on CD and CS this year, vinyl LP next year. No release dates given. French melodic death metal band DESTINITY have announced their ninth studio album and first in nearly a decade, ‘In Continuum’ will release this coming October 15th via Crimson Productions. [YouTube] A couple of good riffs in there, nice sound, modern but nothing too outrageous beyond traditional flair.
Speaking of melodic death metal, how about a new album from one of the inventors? A true original who so rarely get their dues: Helter Skelter Productions / Regain Records have announced March 25th, 2022 (next year, mind you) as the release date for the third album from Swedish melodic death metal band EUCHARIST titled ‘I Am The Void‘, on CD, double-LP vinyl, and cassette tape formats. Of course my brains are splattering out of my ears and my heart has stopped, since I’d long sworn it’d likely never happen (see also: Dawn) ah but it has and I can prove it via “Shadows” [YouTube] the first preview track. Of course you’ll notice this is a devotional black metal song, an exploration of personal spirituality rather than an imitation of the past. We still hear Johnsson‘s hand in the guitar work but this is Eucharist today, not farting around in the past and the piece itself is exhilarating for its intensity, purpose and imagery. Alright, I won’t review the whole thing right here but I could not be more impressed.
Great news: October 25th is the release date set by Memento Mori (CD) & Rotted Life (Vinyl LP & CS) who will release CONJURETH‘s debut album, ‘Majestic Dissolve‘. Conjureth is basically most of Ghoulgotha/Gloomed in terms of personnel but their stuff so far has been slightly more ‘traditional’ death metal in style. Check out “Wet Flesh Vortex” and see what you think [YouTube]. I’m all in on this one since I’d enjoyed their demos quite a bit. Me Saco Un Ojo Records have announced Hungarian death metal band ROTHADÁS‘ debut album, ‘Kopár hant… az alvilág felé’, on vinyl LP format. Violent, noisy death metal with great vocals, truly brutal stuff: Last up we have the clincher, the throat-slitter and the killer app of the week: Lavadome Productions have announced the debut full-length from Argentinian brutal black/death metal curse whirlers TUMBA DE CARNE, ‘Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar‘ will be released on September 24th on CD, cassette and digitally. Avant-garde, tonally unique, thrilling in their brutal mania, their sound is sadistic but not entirely primal with some sharp technical whips readied at every turn. Listen to “Odian” over on [YouTube].
III. Site Week in Review/Label Stuff
This week on GrizzlyButts.com – Covering a lot of bands with some serious meaning and history, so it has been slow going. I greatly appreciated kind words and re-posts from ÆNIGMATUM and 20 Buck Spin for the review of ‘Deconsecrate‘ which releases today, their brand of death metal contains elements of ‘elite’ death taste, underground classics that refined the sub-genre, but fully shoves into its own realm with this second album. Huge thanks to Burning Coffin Records for sharing my reviews of their more recent records, including MORBID CRUELTY‘s brand of ancient death/thrash metal, which’d got me to research a Ukrainian ethnic genocide in the early 1930’s by the hand of Stalin on their smoking riff-fest of a debut album ‘Holodomor‘. We examined the pursuit of excellence, perfection, and the cost of brutal ambition on NETHERBIRD‘s ‘Arete‘, perhaps the best ‘modern’ and polished melodic black/death metal I’ve heard this year; I was very thankful to have gotten a retweet from Fred Andersson after posting the review, especially since I’ve been a nerd-ass fan of his work for decades. Big-ups and thanks to maestro Phil Howlett, Sun & Moon Records & LUCIFER’S FALL for sharing my review of ‘III – From the Deep‘ a fine example of what great things traditional doom metal still has to offer in terms of narrative performances, Eldritch gloom, and big fuckin’ loud heavy/doom metal attitude. I’m a bit newer to the band’s stuff but I’ve loved everything Phil has put out (check out Solemn Ceremony!) and I continue to be beyond impressed with Sun & Moon‘s curation. From doom into the depths of early extreme metal’s contributions to the early second wave of pan-European black metal with the debut full-length from ‘old school’ and remarkably tuneful black/doomed band BAXAXAXA, ‘Catacomb Cult‘ is the sort of records that takes me underwater, away from the world and with my senses heightened. Finally, I spent a bit of extra time examining bad acid trips and the nature of psychedelic literature leading down the path of a fully redefined self as I likewise explored the long journey of U.K./New Zealand atmospheric death metal trio QRIXKUOR‘s debut ‘Poison Palinopsia‘, a record that appears as a storm of malevolence but soon reveals a calm center of the storm, and embodiment of the cyclone John Lilly described in revealing the greater value of guided psychedelic drug exploration.
Of course this means I’m not yet finished with reviews for: DISKORD – Degenerations, HOUR OF 13 – Black Magick Rites, BURIAL IN THE SKY – The Consumed Self, BOHEMYST – Čerň A Smrt, NIGROMANCIA – Hidden Rituals.
I’ve otherwise been busy finalizing and announcing the latest Spirit Coffin Publishing release: USA/Australian progressive death metal band SWELLING REPULSION‘s ‘The Severed Path‘ which comes out on Compact Disc this September 17th. You can read more about it on Facebook or our BigCartel page has all the specs + pre-orders.
Before that, JOURNEY INTO DARKNESS premiered their second single (“Impossible Universe“) from our upcoming CD, CS, LP release of ‘Infinite Universe Infinite Death‘ (September 10th) via Decibel Magazine‘s website. Pre-orders are available for all formats on BigCartel and Bandcamp. I’d also posted on Facebook about cassette tapes finally arriving, so here is the “photo shoot” for the Cassettes and CDs, which are both in:
I also have a number of tapes on sale including releases from: Nether, Merzotna Potvora, Xanathar, Anti God Hand and StarGazer. I will soon be uploading roughly 60 LPs and 50 CDs from my own personal collection to Discogs this weekend to help pay for the second issue of Mystification Zine. I’ll also be selling the following PlayStation 4 games: Darkest Dungeon: Ancestral Edition, Tales of Zestiria, Technomancer, God of War, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, The Surge, The Surge 2, Dishonored 2, Thief, Battlechasers: Nightwar, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age, Immortal: Unchained, Red Dead Redemption II, and the boxed edition of Nioh 2 — All for very fair prices, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
IV. ALBUM OF THE WEEK (NEXT WEEK)
The Album of the Week (next week) for my own taste is MORBID CRUELTY‘s ‘Holodomor‘ a prime example of South American death/thrash metal done right. Riffs with purpose, precision, speed, rawness, a solid amount of speed metal influence and we’re golden. If you are a fan of Insanity, early Morbid Angel, Atomic Aggressor and the first Sadus album you’re in for a great time. It’ll be officially out August 15th on CD via Burning Coffin Records. [Full Review]
V. OUT THIS WEEK: Short reviews/opinions.
The thirty-third week of 2021 is upon us. Let’s us consider this section “infopinions” from this point on, a bit of general info and an opinion or two on each release. 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.
PUTRID EVOCATION – Eternal Gloom: A Void of Agony and Repugnancy [August 15th, Burning Coffin Records]
Putrid Evocation are a Chilean death metal band who formed in Iquique around 2011 and eventually relocated to Santiago. Their whole gig is ‘old school’ in a different sense, leaning towards the occult/atmospheric side for certain aspects of their sound but presenting a riff-heavy brutal record in every case. Once you’ve picked this record up you shouldn’t be too surprised that members of Praise the Flame, Eaten Alive and Uttertomb are in this band because they’re just as capable of blackened death horror as they are slow-burning death/doom metal pieces. Although I’d enjoyed their debut LP ‘Echoes of Death’ on Xtreem Music back in the day, this is inarguably their most sophisticated and atmospheric work to date. The album art is incredible, too, always a fan of Fernando Giotefeli‘s work.
GLOOP – Crayon Sun [August 20th, Grimoire Records]
We are finally getting some decent noise rock in the second half of the year and this one is more or less right up my alley for its Amphetamine Reptile-esque harsh bombast and bounding grooves. ‘Crayon Sun’ checks all the right boxes in terms of being a shouty early 90’s noise rock trip with modern upgrades (see: USA Nails) via a big bass guitar wobble, constantly swerving and slinking guitar work with a distraught anti-industrial atmosphere. The sound and intensity of feeling is right, believable yet performative, but I am not feeling the cover art. Keep an ear uout for new releases from these bands too: Tunic, Stuck, Bummer, Grizzlor.
CEMETERY ECHO – Come Share My Shroud [August 20th, Petrichor]
Cemetery Echo are a goth/deathrock band from Buffalo, New York. While they are far from the first goth rock band to incorporate growled vocals and harmonized guitar solos these shrouded folks do a fine job pinching off catchy drum machine kickin’ pieces. I’m guessing they could do a mean late 90’s Sentenced cover if that was their gig. This stuff seems to be more for the love of the sound and the kitsch of this style more than anything else so, I don’t get anything too resonant or emotional from the vocals, just the right affect otherwise. Short EP, I’d go with “Come Share My Shroud” as the piece to sell the gig, and “Transylvanian Moon” to show they’ve got a bit more to show in terms of songwriting.
ZAHN – Zahn [August 20th, CrazySane Records]
Eh, you won’t find me picking up many instrumental rock records these days unless they’ve got some seriously engaging rhythms so, Zahn have the right stuff by my standards as a stoney, psychedelic noise rock-angled jam featuring Nic Stockmann (Heads., ex-Eisenvater) Chris Breuer (Heads., ex-The Ocean) and Felix Gebhard whom is a live member of Einstürzende Neubauten. So, part of the appeal here admittedly stems from being a big fan of their other projects but this only gets me in the door since Zahn is its own beast, a kosmische rock-minded but anxiety rock delivered set of songs with bits of neo-psych adjacent movement (“Tseudo”) and a few more experimental pieces (“Gyhum”) adding flavor to the bigger jammed pieces (“Zerrung”, “Schrank”). Although I’d felt vocals could’ve fit in here to some degree the distorted basslines and strong variety of guitar effects keeps these songs building their vibe and variation throughout. At the very least they’ve made a great case for kraut-infused stoner/noise rock being a thing to expand upon.
ALTARS OF THE MOON – Brahmastra [August 20th, Disorder Recordings]
Cataclysmic weapons fashioned by the multi-faceted Hindu “creator” Brahma, the Brahmāstra, are typically used as a threat of world’s end in Indian epic poetry, usually for the sake of glorifying a great old sage via prevention of apocalyptic destruction, or, in one case explaining the placement of a desert by way of a misfire. None of this is important for our observation of Altars of the Moon‘s debut release ‘Brahmastra‘ in terms of theme but instead we can focus some meditation upon the idea of a destructive weapon created by ‘god’, a thought that should ring of nihilistic inevitability and a failsafe of creation meant to erase what cannot be controlled. The gothic/post-metal project was formed by current Uada bassist Nate Vershoor (Swarming, Veiled) who was soon joined by two former members of Wolvhammer with Jeff Wilson (Chrome Waves) and Heath Rave (Lotus Thrones) showing a bit of what they’ve been honing in their own respective projects here via Rave‘s distant coldwave vocals and Wilson‘s knack for dreaming dead post-music movement. As a full listen the ride is one great big self-enveloping crescendo that rests upon several crescendos as it elevates, one part floor-gazing rock record and one part buzzing modern metallic coldness. As one continuous ~29 minute thread the experience does a fine job of holding interest without losing the plot, we’re always going somewhere with this record even when it begins to feel purgatorial around the halfway point. I’d expected more of a definite peak in the experience, some kind of ‘next level’ belting it out satori, but instead the second half takes the plunge and goes heavier and this ends up working out for my own taste either way.
GRAVELAND – Hour of Ragnarok [August 23rd, Inferna Profundus Records]
As far as I can tell, influential Polish pagan metal musician Rob Darken has wanted to reprise the spirit of his mid-90’s epic pagan black metal classics since doing a set of re-recordings for ‘1050 Years of Pagan Cult’ in 2016. In the meantime he’d re-recorded ‘The Fire of Awakening’ and ‘Dawn of Iron Blades’, reclaiming some of his classic discography while putting together the right pieces for the similarly righteous tone of ‘Hour of Ragnarok’, a process that appears to have taken a little over three years. Anyhow, my experience with Graveland over the years has been limited to CD purchases of ‘Fire Chariot of Destruction’ (2005) and a ‘Thousand Swords’ (1995) two very different records with the same sort of resonant heroic quality to their melodies, I would say that this places me in the right spot to enjoy ‘Hour of Ragnarok’ quite a bit though we could see this record as even more focused on grand atmosphere and pagan black metal style specific to Darken‘s cadre. The placement and tone of the keyboard performances here give me strong pangs of nostalgia for Ancient Rites and Forefather, which I’d greatly appreciated, but the real triumph of the full listen rests within its adventurous, oft regal melodic values. Since I don’t have an elaborate history with Graveland‘s discography in mind I’d enjoyed this record in a sort of bubble of ignorance from past works before going back and filling in the blanks. ‘Hour of Ragnarok’ should prove a remarkable surge of fealty amongst longtime fans as it presents a full band (trio) line-up and a sort of ‘freshened’ yet not modern update to the project’s infamous early sound, not regressive but resonating with past glories in mind.
SACRIFIXION – Shower Me in Death [August 20th, Hell’s Headbangers Records]
This German bestial death/thrash metal trio notably features the decaying echo-storm of former Cruel Force vocalist Carnivore and Avenger from Nocturnal & Front Beast, ensuring we’re getting proper 80’s death metal from folks who’ve the right taste and ability to pull it off. This first 7″ is a quick shot of their gig, not the most involved listen beyond the satisfying vocal effects and plenty of choppy riffs. The opener (“The Bloodied Pits of Savagery”) caught my ear quick but the way forward for the band is hopefully what they’re pulling off within the title track, the riffs land best here and the rest of the record is maniac noise, feral stuff for fans of Death Strike, Abyssus, and Slaughter.
— 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.
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