ENDTYMER is the inevitable weekly “music blog” series I’ve been working to avoid for some time. It hits at the end of every week with the intent of covering notable new releases, sharing news of new releases, and musing over various personal listening habits. It is a largely informal blog, has opinions, etc. so chill out a bit. — 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: email@example.com
ALBUM OF THE WEEK
As July kicks through its final weekly cycle the Album of the Week for my own taste is SEDIMENTUM‘s ‘Suppuration Morphogénésiaque‘ the debut full-length release from Quebec’s premiere old school death metal morphologists as they distort the continuum of doomed and filthy fucking death with a monstrosity of a record. If death metal or extreme metal in general isn’t your thing, consider checking out CHAT PILE‘s ‘God’s Country‘ this Friday as it is one of the better noise rock-adjacent records of the year.
- REEKING AURA – Blood & Bonemeal (2022) | REVIEW
- ROTHEADS – Slither in Slime (2022) | REVIEW
- CHAT PILE – God’s Country (The Flenser)
Thank you, ahead of time, for reading. 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. — If you’re interested in some short reviews and music news, you’ll have to wade through a few dumb quips first, scroll down ’til you see a Bandcamp embed.
WITHOUT ALL THAT STRUGGLE
As I pull my head out of the skull-shocking ice bucket of lo-fi Slavic thrashcore that comes with an in-depth study of soviet-shrouded speed/thrash metal in the 80’s, I’m back to my old mid-to-late summertime haunts. If you don’t know me, and you likely don’t, this specifically means a pool of sixties and seventies music documentaries centered around the Beach Boys, The Kinks and The Doors, this year taking a bit of extra time to scrounge up some literature on the relatively mediocre history of The Turtles per enjoying the Ray Davies produced ‘Turtle Soup‘. Anyhow — One of the only truly coherent, well-guided and earnest conversations with Jim Morrison came by way of Tony Thomas for the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s popular music centered radio program circa 1970, wherein it’d been shortened and edited considerably upon broadcast. In the early 2010’s we’d gotten the full thing [full transcript], even if it’d still felt heavily edited, wherein Thomas‘ line of questioning doesn’t appear to actually struggle with the notions put forth by this relatively thin (~150 pages) book of poetry they were promoting at the time, Morrison‘s The Lords and The New Creatures (Simon & Schuster, 1970) and the elaboration provided by the artist. Though the interview itself is a goldmine for anyone looking to understand an entire generation of folks whom were successfully urged to participate, to protest and demand thier status and voice as individuals (a generation) as they tired of waiting for societal purpose beyond conquering the planet and being machined into dwindling capital, work assets.
“[…] most people feel completely void and helpless in controlling their own destinies, controlling the destiny of human life, and I think it’s sad. More people should be involved. Rather than designating all these powers to a few individuals, I think the average person, whatever that is, should be a part of it somehow, and I think everyone feels that events are just going on without their knowledge or control. I think it’s one of the tragedies of our time. I suppose it has always been that way, but now it’s just become so obvious. Decisions are made for you which you have no part of at all. I just lament the fact that so many people are content with living a very quiet, well-mannered, orderly life when so many obvious injustices are going on, and they just seem to ignore it somehow or not care at all. They just let it happen without ever becoming involved. I think that’s sad.“
The part of this interview I’ve found myself ruminating upon the most over the years is this dichotomy of the performer and audience, keeping in mind Morrison was always the type to encourage the wild expression and participation of the audience to a healthy degree somewhat before his time, eventually finding the enshrinement of the idol a somewhat disgusting but necessary placement to allow for revolutionary, or, liberating ideas to hit en masse.
“To me, there’s something incredibly sad about a bunch of human beings sitting down watching something take place. Just think about it. I love movies as much as anyone else, but the spectacle of millions and millions of people sitting in movie theaters and in front of television sets every night watching a second or third-hand reproduction of reality going on when the real world is right there in their living room, or right outside in the street, or down the block somewhere. I think it’s a tool to somnambulize or hypnotize people into a kind of waking sleep.“
The point? Well, the way I’ve applied this thought to the present day looks beyond the obvious point Morrison made several times throughout his short life, the Nietzschean observations on the cyclic nature of life and societal ‘evolution in place’ as generations mill in and out of cultural conservation and self-liberation — at least as often as self-reflection is allowed and survival isn’t so demanding. When I consider today’s technology enabled participation en masse, allowing for unlimited fandom and unlimited possibilities for anyone to become a ‘professional’ musician, a comment like “the medium is the message, and the message is me” only becomes more profound but certainly not in the sense that it holds up as relevant phenomenon representative of successive generations.
When the musician today stumbles upon a personal streak of talent it is often without any reality-based standards in mind. The barriers of collective popular music taste, of considered audience, of curation, of financial limitations and the severe reality checks allowed by road-testing songs through live performances all appear to be out of the equation for most. The point then becomes a question of artistic freedom and unlimited access, which might feel good in theory for those carrying around fantasies of importance or “black sheep” syndromes common to sociopaths but typically produce delusional outbursts which avoid any sort of profound contrast with reality, reflecting people who’d rather avoid the confusing and overbearing amount of information they receive (or, have access to) from the entire world on the daily. The prerequisites supposedly gained and passed-down from the late 60’s and throughout the 70’s are some assumed accumulation of self-actualization and participation in truth-seeking -and- curious exploration outside of institution granted knowledge.
Non-participation in the whole soul-devouring popularity contest of music as “product generation” feels great to be sure, but none of this presents a challenge where we get the true message of the ‘self’ from the unexamined artist, whom often deign to present themselves in their naked mediocrity for the sake of the sheer impossibility of ever being noticed within the “meta consciousness” of the dreaded algorithm. Null personae, pseudo artistes nonplussed in demeanor and statement appear in droves, often for the sake of nothing producing art which feels no pressure to be anything other than mediocre participation. Consider how frustrating that is to folks who try very hard to combat their many obstacles in life, those who work quite hard for decades to produce music, only to dredge out absolutely dry and derivative garbage by default. *insert villainous laughter here* So many people are participating without a point of view, without any study of history or demonstrative respect for their craft, and most all create imitative garbage without any sort of individual point of view — The lives reflected in popular and unnoticed music alike today typically reflect an unconscious, purposeless droning cult whom have resigned to the ‘easy’ possibility (or delusional notion) that being passably mediocre might appeal to the generally low-set bar of the masses. If the message of your music must be “Me.” (or your delusions of artistic freedoms expressed) naked on a plate by default, I would request that you give the public your fiftieth draft and please… not the rough first, second, third… et al.
The real revelation that’d arrived to me this week beyond musing on the ‘voice of a generation’ (who didn’t want or intend to speak for them) involved a long-time coming to terms with the fact that I’ve slowly found myself absolutely hating ‘An American Prayer‘ (1978), a posthumous release from The Doors, spurned on by Elektra wherein the band added cheesy jazz-rock instrumentals to Morrison’s unpublished spoken word works. The idea for the album wasn’t meant to involve the band but an orchestral score and an abstract art triptych for the cover art by T.E. Brietenbach. I will continue to dream of an edition of these recordings with the intended art and without the tawdry instrumentals which bloat and distort the poetry readings of the album, but just like ‘Family Man‘, there’ll be no certain enough public interest for any such revisionist/redemptive thing to ever happen. Anyhow, I dunno how valuable any of those thoughts are but it was all a mood for a day or two this week.
YOUNG MAN, ATHEIST
This is not intended to be a review, but an contextual anecdote that got out of hand. — As Entombed pushed beyond the major successes of their recently remastered for vinyl ‘DCLXVI: To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth!‘, their final full-length with writing credits and performances from Nicke Andersson, the songwriting focus had naturally been handed to Uffe Cederlund who’d taken their sound to a modern place on ‘Same Difference‘ (1998) and back to the grittier death n’ roll gig for Uprising (2000). As I’d sort of suggested before death n’ roll had rolled over and mostly died somewhere in process of these records coming out, the lack of profound, valuable or at all interesting songwriting within the niche was entirely limited to these guys by most accounts. Some lifers will disagree, and I do particularly like Convulse‘s ‘Reflections‘ alongside some of Xysma‘s stuff… but anyhow, the now Cederlund-writ Entombed absolutely spoke to my interests at the time where, I suppose I was making the transition from high school’s slavish insistences and finally fending for myself in the real world. None of it really hit me as hard as say… ‘Gateways to Annihilation‘ had but, either way I can’t help but consider ’em a vital piece of my headspace at the time.
Around that time the seventh full-length from the band, ‘Morning Star‘ (2001), represented a necessary regression of purpose away from heavy rock and, with slight reluctance, a shift back to heavy metal. The revived interest in what was described by the odd journalist as “chromatic aggression” for the band saw press materials suggesting it’d intended to be a sort of ‘South of Heaven‘ (see: “Mental Twin” + “Chief Rebel Angel”) moment for the band, a death/thrash record of the sort that’d fueled their early work. Whether or not you’d found it to be successful in that regard, it was a record that’d helped stoke my own exploration of 80’s thrash, death metal proper, and doom metal’s many out of print/poorly archived relics. In truth it wasn’t so drastically different from what they’d been doing on their last two records and that idea really hadn’t reprised the band’s true revision of ‘underground’ grit until the follow-up ‘Inferno‘ (2003), which was largely panned or ignored by most folks at the time. What’d counted for me at the time was the implication that their world was once again malleable and able to adapt while keeping the spirit of the Entombed, their initial conviction, alive.
Elements of death/thrash on pieces like “I For an Eye” and “City of Ghosts” were exactly what I was looking for at the time and in a way those moments would define how I’d see this band until more and more bands began reviving the early sound of the band (pre-‘Wolverine Blues‘) with notable popularity, shifting the zeitgeist back to their undeniable leadership role in the characterization of Scandinavian death metal as a whole. None of that whole “return to form” business holds up when we consider songs like (my personal favorite here) “When it Hits Home” / “Young Man Nihilist” which basically read as a doses of the best parts of ‘Same Difference‘ and “Out of Heaven” which’ll feel like it’d fit better on Side A of ‘Uprising‘. So, the context I’d offer as someone who was there and eating up the hype back in 2001 is that this album felt like a switcheroo, the usual sort of press cycle that’d suggested a return to form which was eaten heartily by the “Yes men” of the metal press but delivered a record that was simply a bit heavier and aggressive than the previous two.
Though it’d take ‘Morning Star‘ about a year of issues for the worldwide audience to receive it on CD, vinyl and cassette we’ve not gotten any reissues or remasters of it since. I have a ratty, beaten up promo copy of the Koch Records version with a hole punched in the barcode which I’ve never bothered to upgrade beyond its splintered jewel case and have long been eager to at the very least upgrade to a proper copy, so, the announcement of this album as the latest in a series of in-house reissues (via Threeman Recordings/Sound Pollution) in collaboration with maestro Magnus Lindberg means I’m way on board with it. I’d consider his treatment of these remasters as primarily concerned with conservation of character with upgraded dynamic fidelity. Careless loudness-blasted remastering from popular metal acts on cheap vinyl issues are in fact happening en masse today but thus far this is not at all the case with Entombed‘s well-protected legacy reissues.
What did ‘Morning Star‘ actually need, though? Well, of their post-‘Wolverine Blues‘ era it needed the least man-handling for sure. The artifact-hot and compressed tone of the rhythm guitars at high volume were always an issue with the CD I’ve been trucking around for twenty years, the guitar tone had always sounded more flat the louder it got and clashed with the harsher heaving of Petrov‘s vocals, edging out some of the bass presence and leaving the low end flabbing out downward on any decent two+ channel setup. Without wrangling the distorted clobber of the guitars which define the record’s aggressive style we get a less garbled render here, all the more readable and still giving the band’s signature mean assed crunched-up guitar tone never fully reaching a point glass-squeaking cleanliness and thus sustaining the proper Entombed sound. It feels like the right way to present an album that many early fans of the band might’ve overlooked, once which does a fine job of selling their lifespan beyond ‘Clandestine‘ as highly evolved, adaptive, and surprisingly song oriented compared to absolutely all of their peers. I suppose at this point I’m anticipating how far they’ll go with ‘Inferno‘ if that is in the cards because, eh, if any record of theirs needs a real ass wiping in the minds of fans it is that one, but I kinda love how ridiculously dark and sludged it was.
The remaster/reissue of Entombed‘s ‘Morning Star‘ releases on CD and Vinyl this September 23rd and can be pre-ordered here: Threeman Recordings
Eh! bing-bong dad-fuckers, rank up your *animal noises* game with this tripped-ass nihilistic experimental avant-grindcore record from left hand shrieker sextet KNOLL who, /checks notes/ are hot out of Tennessee and crazy high off dissonant deathgrind fumes, brutal noise and a bit of busted saxophone abuse. If we can consider this a nowadays sort of product with a willing set of ears primed by one certain category it is probably meant to compete with the extra large push of bands like Full of Hell and I guess the more cutting/experimental side of Wake by sheer abstraction. I was recommended ‘Metempiric‘ last weekend and truly enjoyed the nutty screaming of the one powerviolence attuned vocalist, the Psyopus-esque methed-up guitar striking tech whips they take, and the brutal side of the band that has these Portal-drained riffing moments. It was too much of a damned spectacle to not mention and I’m glad I didn’t completely miss out on their gig. ‘Metempiric‘ released independently June 24th, check it out on Bandcamp:
Its been a couple of years in the trenches for Baltimore, Maryland-based progressive yet punk-slapped death-thrashers NUCLEAR TOMB who’ve finally skulled us with a set of new songs in the form of ‘Offer Your Life‘, an EP they’d self-released on July 15th. I really enjoyed where they went with this one, kind of accentuating their early Voivod influences in terms of the swing of their rhythms but holding up the sort of 80’s death metal tech-urgency of ‘Death After Death‘-era Insanity at the same time. They’ve kept it out of this world with this one, sounding rehearsed and probably recording in a rehearsal type setting for the most part, a sound which I greatly appreciated. Love the energy of this band and I think they’ve cranked their action up even more than they had on their last EP ‘Succumbing‘, which I’d enjoyed as well.
Ah, the big one I’ve been waiting for for a while now. Blood Harvest Records have announced Canadian death metal quartet GUTVOID‘s debut album, ‘Durance of Lightless Horizons‘ will release on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette this September 23rd, though the 2XLP will follow in ~November/December. Love the huge, high fidelity timbre of this one so far, gear up for it with the creeping entombment of “In Caverns it Lurks”:
Nuclear Winter Records have announced announced they will release dark death metal act CRUZ‘ sophomore full-length ‘Confines de la Cordura‘ this coming September 26th on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette tape. Their sound should interest folks who are big on the punkish, violently thrash side of early Swedish death metal but with a cavernous, evolved sense of rhythm. Check out the first preview track “Als Peus de la Creu” to see what I’m talking about:
Minneapolis, Minnesota-based blackened death metal trio SILURIAN have announced they will release their debut EP ‘End of Ordovicia‘ this coming September 2nd on CD, digital, cassette through their own Ordovician Records imprint. This band features members of Suffering Hour, Sunless, and Grand Demise of Civilization so, check them out here if that greases the wheel for you:
“Infusing classic elements of punk and post-punk, [for] fans of Killing Joke, New Model Army, T.S.O.L….” Wait, reel it in there /whoa now/ ask me on a date before you start talking dirty to me like that! Neurot Recordings have announced Oakland, California dark punk trio TENSION SPAN are ready with their debut ‘The Future Died Yesterday‘. The vinyl LP digital release will hit this coming September 30th:
Light the torches, signal the dark chapel at the top of the hill, preparation for the next major ritual begins tonight! Hell’s Headbangers Records have announced September 16th as the release date for Greek black metal cultists MEDIEVAL DEMON‘s fourth album, which will be titled ‘Black Coven‘ on CD, the vinyl LP version come later on. Huge fan of this group and everything they’ve done, check out the first preview over on Bandcamp:
Swedish ambient black metal maestro LUSTRE has announced their eighth full-length album ‘A Thirst for Summer Rain‘ will be somewhat different, “stripped-down, pale, lo-fi, and reverb-drenched” in terms of production, so, I’m absolutely intrigued since I’ve generally enjoyed their work prior. They’ve suggested the record is “about hope, faith, and inspiration during dark times“. The release date is set for August 26th on CD, Vinyl and digital through Nordvis Produktion. You won’t get to hear the first single until August 12th, there are only four quite long and involved pieces here to consider so, wait up or check out the details/pre-orders:
‘Morbidity Triumphant‘ is the title for the long-time coming eighth studio album from our death metal unlords and unsaviours AUTOPSY whom are once again working with Peaceville Records for the album’s release this coming September 30th. All we get to start is a trailer with a few seconds of some doomed up riff and a barf noise (vocals if you will), aaand yep, I’m in:
British death metal quintet DE PROFUNDIS have announced their latest album ‘The Corruption of Virtue‘ will release via Transcending Obscurity Records this coming October 7th. Their previous album ‘The Blinding Light of Faith‘ was excellent for its melodic/progressive death sound so I’m stoked on this one. They’ve got a preview song up, get to it:
GOATWHORE are ready to go with their seventh full-length, ‘Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven‘, which is set for release on October 7th via Metal Blade Records. I honestly haven’t really listened to Goatwhore much over the years outside of some larger live bills. I mean Falgoust and Duet are legends in my mind from all their sludge-related stuff which I’d loved in high school but this record will serve as my introduction to this band proper. Proper it is eh? The black-thrashing death metal of “Born Of Satan’s Flesh” suggests I’ve been missing out on a cool-ass band, and hey they’ve got riffs:
Nuclear Winter Records have announced September 12th as the international release date for SARCOPHAGUM‘s debut EP, Conduits to the Underworld, on CD and cassette. This black/death metal trio formed as a side project from members/ex-members of Golgothan Remains and thus far this three song deal is sounding great, check out “Pits of Hate”:
Spanish traditional heavy metal label Fighter Records have announced they’ll release the debut album from WHIRLWIND, ‘1714‘ on CD, 12″ vinyl LP, and cassette this coming November 22nd. That might seem a long ways away but it is already August, eh? The album art/non-logo aesthetic might not seem like much but, anyone interested in the power/speed metal out of Germany in the mid 80’s should appreciate this band’s memorable sound on this first single “Gallows Tithe”:
Tucson, Arizona-based deathgrind outfit LANGUISH have announced their third album ‘Feeding The Flames Of Annihilation‘ will release through Prosthetic Records on October 7th and this new song “Judas Goat” is a great way to kick things off with its ‘new old school’ death metal bounce and menacing vocals:
THREE SHORT “CASUAL REVIEWS”
EMBARLA FIRGASTO ‘Temporal Capsule‘
(Self-Released, August 1st)
Embarla Firgasto is a solo dissonant death metal project from Polish musician Krystian Łukaszewicz who has been chipping away at this record for roughly four years, certainly putting in the work toward realizing this sort of Penderecki-mulled approach to modern technical death metal sounds and their blackened, abstracted potential. He does a fine job of constructing experiences which are hypnotic and foreboding in terms of the intended atmosphere generated, which comes by way of various vocal techniques and plenty of ringing, twisted chords built into each phrase of this otherwise guitar-directed experience. Though his playing is quite precise it is largely functional, without the sort of dramatic flair a lot of the best artists whom play in this mode tend to lean into and as such it reads a bit tame here and there in terms of performance.
The more listens I’d given ‘Temporal Capsule‘ it began to read as indebted to the cold demeanor yet wistful rhythmic play of Immolation to some degree, which I like quite a bit yet it only highlights the not entirely dynamic drums here which appear to be programmed. A capable session drummer and stronger bass guitar presence might’ve make this whole experience more connective and personal. Taken as is, this album manages an impressive enough ride. I think the real hurdle for me is taking those technical chops and rhythmic ideas and communicating a full-bodied, physical experience to the listener with them. He’s really not far from greatness here and this one deserves some high praise for being so ambitious and generally pulling it off. Beyond that I think the band name/meaning is rad as fuck and the album art is great.
EXTERMINATION DAY ‘Be the Consequence‘
(Hoove Child/Green Coyote, August 5th)
The best way to react to a garbage-assed society ruptured of its pustule-rich corrupt cop problem amidst the countrywide realization that the rich will goddamned relish in watching folks die from the pox? In the case of Minneapolis, Minnesota-based metalpunk duo Extermination Day the right reaction was to channel the realization of an inverted world into trashy, supercharged ’79 acid punk songcraft delivered with a shade of The Obssessed‘s faster paced doomed rock habits, the sort of buzzed and irreverent kind of stuff folks were more prone to pick up around the the time those first four Motörhead records hit. Think somewhere in between pre-’85 The Mentors and that one Debris Inc. record but way less intoxicated? If you’re not sure what I’m going on about but you love stuff like Satan’s Satyrs the main guy here played guitar in that band for their last two releases before they called it quits, and hey the drummer from Suffering Hour is here and absolutely kicking it thoroughly out throughout. Catchy stuff with a lot of raw ‘tude in gear.
SHURIKEN CADAVERIC ENTWINEMENT ‘Constructing the Cataclysm‘
(Comatose Music, August 5th)
Definitely wasn’t expecting a band this serious and above-average when I’d seen they were kinda themed after the Onimusha games (either here or at one point). I guess Onimusha 3: Demon Siege was alright for the sake of the controls being improved but I don’t think I’d truly enjoyed a game in that style/theme ’til Nioh at least. It all started back when I first bought a Playstation and got a copy of Soul of the Samurai and quickly became frustrated enough to crack the game disc in half due to the tank controls being so unresponsive and the AI being unforgivi… Eh, right death metal. These folks play a form of brutal yet melodically guided death metal, managing a technically sound and intense record with heavy use of those dual vocal snarls you’ll at least remember from early Deicide records even if this band has more in common with stuff like Kronos. The main fellow here Jordan Varela (Lust of Decay, ex-Lividity) has been at it for ages and that experience with all aspects of the craft shows here throughout and his sensibilities should appeal to folks who appreciate the high standards of death metal’s brutal rebirth post-millennium. Though it is an ass-kicker throughout I’d found this record entertains for its full half hour rub with plenty of detail to pick at if you decide to turn a lens upon the performances in action. One of the better death metal releases from August.
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