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, don’t hesitate to send anything and everything my way: email@example.com
ALBUM OF THE WEEK
As August grinds out its second weekly cycle the Album of the Week for my own taste is MIMORIUM‘s ‘The Route of Haeresis‘ the third full-length release from the Finnish black metal band, and one to lean into their 90’s black metal sound with some impressive melodic black metal passion. I would definitely like to encourage more black metal submissions in general as we reach the final third of the year and particularly those with esoteric spiritual ideas, occult themes, and notable melodicism. If black metal isn’t your thing, consider checking out BORIS‘ third addition to their ‘Heavy Rocks‘ series of, uh, unique heavy rock records amidst their impressive prolific changeling discography.
- BORIS – Heavy Rocks (August 12th, Relapse Records)
- RITUALIZATION – Hema Ignis Necros (August 12th, Iron Bonehead)
- BARBARIAN – Viperface (August 12th, Hell’s Headbangers)
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.
IT SHOULD STAY UNREAL
There are many legendary injustices served yet scant few properly immortalized within the early Canadian technical death/thrash metal underground. Sure, the whole early Disciples of Power thing has thankfully been preserved with reissues/remasters yet there are too many lost gems out there to shelve in mind when we consider the wasted potential of groups like Molecular Repulsion (see: ‘Veil of Deception‘, 1991) and Psychicthrob (‘Bursting Dementia‘, 1991) and the potential for preservation of many inspired points of lost and decaying insanity up north. Having scratched-ass videos of them up on fuckin’ YouTube is no solace, but a dishonorable point of defeat for an independent cultural artistic high point in need of proper historic documentation. Anyhow, with this in mind it’ll no doubt appear somewhat cheesed for me to once again harp on what has become my signature gripe, eh, at least in private conversation: Obliveon‘s ‘Fiction of Veracity‘ demo tape and debut LP ‘From This Day Forward‘ have not been properly archived, preserved and cared for as the important artifacts of progressive death/thrash metal that they are, Canadian or otherwise. These are works which we can still find analogous action in the technical and progressive thrash and death/thrash landscape today, uniquely atmospheric and inventive recordings which were surely a struggle to finalize and certainly never “right” in the minds of the artist yet they are beloved and still very lovable in the ears of those who’ve enjoyed them in the decades since.
I bring this up with no disrespect meant towards the work Prodisk did back in 2007 with (admittedly unnecessary) remasters of ‘From This Day Forward‘ and ‘Nemesis‘ (1993) each including kinda awful computer generated artwork (and a terrible zoom-in for that second LP) which were clearly beyond keen on revising the original thought and presentation for a new audience. It was a self-conscious way of presenting records which should’ve been celebrated for their street-level progressive metal ambition and sometimes amateurish, character-rich result. These are recordings never meant to be well-known, they’d never had a chance to exist as popular music yet they deserve to be recognized as the brilliant gem-like presences they’d always been.
While I will wait to see what the recently announced reissues of Obliveon‘s back catalog will bring, since they’ve announced (in late May of 2022) plans for not only a new album but full availability of their past work, the roundabout point to make here is that the 1989 tape and 1990 LP need proper big-deal reissue which is restoration minded — What does that mean? Too often the grotesque and ruddy history of recordings are erased by the “betterment” of the revisionist remaster usually seeking to correct things like bass guitar presence and he uncertain clash of scooped mids, horrendous peaking and various other ailments of the late 80’s/early 90’s extreme metal distinction, much of which was admittedly due to amateurism or in some cases, ineptitude. Listeners should not be pining for the historicity of these records to be erased, they’d already survived the test of time with their own unique fingerprint and erasing it, glazing over the truth of their sound is the ugliest sin which is all too common to admittedly well-meaning heavy metal revisionists.
Two of my favorite records of all time, Demigod‘s ‘Slumber of Sullen Eyes‘ and Sepultura‘s ‘Schizophrenia‘ are particularly affected by this phenomenon wherein any chance of getting your hands on an original copy which hasn’t been fucking disfigured by the remastering process (or, just handling) will cost hundreds of dollars at this point (note: pre-orders for Svart’s ‘Slumber…’ vinyl remaster, which are undoubtedly going to be proper well done, are going up soon. so I can eat shit in that regard). Why is this a concern? We lose the nuance of these old records, wherein their unique sound design might’ve been flawed but we must accept that this is part of their distinction from the crowd and the mark left upon history. To wipe away the ugly thumping quality of a record like ‘Breeding the Spawn‘ or the eerie quietude of Loudblast‘s otherwise intense and brilliant ‘Disincarnate‘ means successive generations are experiencing an alternate history, a falsity which is unnecessary and often deleterious of certain performances. The way I heard ‘The Karelian Isthmus‘ for the first time in the early 90’s compared to the way people first experienced it beyond the 2003 remaster ends up being vastly different, devoid of a special sort of context that’d been two decades old at that point even if all that meant was that the Sunlight studios tom hits had a brittle, digital spank to their sound on the original it only adds to the Finnish death metal legend overall. Anyhow, where am I going with this? If we don’t take time to celebrate the quirks, accept the mistakes, and document history as it is these transformative and vital records become distorted “properties” to skim through rather than works of art to be celebrated.
The worst that comes of remastering old records for audiences is generally just incompetent preservation or revisionist detailing, a reimagining of something that the artist felt was an injustice which muzzles the original artifact in some way. Of course if this never happens and artists refuse to remaster this leads to people taking these sorts of mistakes and transgressions from never-ending conversation points into solution minded “fan remaster” projects, which’ve been a thing for some time but especially kicked up online when the ‘And Justice For Jason‘ remaster of ‘And Justice For All‘ was met with some serious attention, despite sounding like fucking trash. From this point we’ll work back to the subject at hand: Though I think the additional context of the 1989 pre-production demo [found here] is almost as important we can consider Obliveon‘s ‘Fiction of Veracity‘ tape is essentially the first version, perhaps a still demo level pro-tape shopped to labels and zines which essentially contains all of the songs off of ‘From this Day Forward‘ excepting the opener/title track which was recorded in early 1990. It is an insistent progressive death/thrash metal album which is notably more violent, faster and aggressive than its full-length counterpart, I’d encourage the reader to listen to the whole recording to properly distinguish the atmospheric, technical acumen, and feeling of the recording for later comparison:
The first thing you’ll notice is that it sounds like ‘From This Day Forward‘ played at double speed, the feeling and atmosphere isn’t at all the same but you’ll now understand why I’ve variously compared this band to everything from Cynic‘s demos to Voivod, Sadus and Atheist to peak Vektor when the speed and aggression is applied. This demo tape is notably also more indicative of what the band would sound like on ‘Nemesis‘ once they’d had the production/recording process and final render under their full control.
Per guitarist Pierre Remillard via Metal Crypt: “That’s why we did the second album ourselves because we thought something was really missing and we thought we could do better with Nemesis. That’s why we remixed it. We did a song and we thought it was a little weak. I didn’t like the sound that much. At the same time, it gave us the opportunity to use a different approach for Nemesis. That’s called experience! For the first album, sometimes it’s hard to control everything. You don’t have the experience. It’s hard to be in a studio and judge exactly what’s happening and how it’s going to sound in your car and everywhere. It’s a big, big learning experience.“
So, what exactly happened with ‘From This Day Forward‘ isn’t necessarily beside the point but we do at least find some agreement from the guitarist that, well, living with lessons learned is an important part of the artistic process. My argument is that this should be preserved for the sake of the listener as well. Those of us who actually care about this dark niche music would almost overwhelmingly rather have the so-called flawed original in its dinged-up glory than a polished up facsimile. In the case of their debut album, Obliveon surely had good enough reason to give it a second shot as they were signed and the recording could be better:
“We went back and remixed the album when we got signed because we actually didn’t like the first mix that much and we thought we could get something different, but we ended up in a studio with an engineer who didn’t have much experience with metal music, so he didn’t really do anything.“
However they got there, however disappointed some fans were at the time of release ‘From This Day Forward‘ is an entirely unique cult classic of its sub-genre, a record which might’ve been considered an apex weirdo but probably never should’ve been. The result is nonetheless one of my favorite albums of all time, a set of songs which have inspired me to no end for the last couple of decades. In terms of streaming the album itself in a convenient manner it will take some digging to find a proper rip of the original CD or LP releases. The way I’ve always identified the original mix versus the 2007 remaster has been the reverb on the drums but, this isn’t necessarily exact depending on the streaming format. I’ve embedded the version I’ve enjoyed most below but the version on [Spotify] is fine enough in terms of just enjoying the music.
So, all of my rambling on will seem like a load of nada, and it is, yet I find it important to peck at this subject over and over until I find some satisfaction in an affordable, proper release of Obliveon‘s pre-’93 work alongside serious documentation which doesn’t apologize or delete the errors of the past. This is especially trite on my part considering the band have announced reissues of their back catalog and whatever we get will likely be good enough. My major argument here ultimately channels into two points. First, ‘Fiction of Veracity‘ deserves its own feature as part of a compilation or as part of the reissue since it is a damned amazing document along with their other demo level work. Even if an entire compilation were devoted to the process of finalizing the songs on the debut full-length it’d be an incredible piece just as prized as Cynic‘s ‘Uroboric Forms‘. Secondly, I am sure that new mastering is necessary for the vinyl reissues but… yeah, please — please don’t let it sound anything like this:
DREAMS, BLOODY DREAMS
While I’m on a sort of underrated gems kick this week and after going on about the original cult sound developed in Sweden and the whole Crematory gig I figured it only made sense to make quick mention of perhaps one of the most underrated Swedish death metal bands to have been lumped into the ‘melodic death metal’ spectrum only to be sorta cast aside and ignored: Excretion. This wasn’t the sort of group that’d been plainly aiming to reproduce the intensity of Florida death metal, or Autopsy for that matter, but talented folks who’d obviously had some history with the high standards of musicianship of thrash metal in the late 80’s. This made some of their heavier riffing a bit choppy at times leading to pretty typical comparisons to Eucharist and Desultory thanks to fine lead guitar technique and extended, patiently developed pieces starting with their second demo tape ‘The Dream of Blood‘. For my own taste this is specific tape sets the band up there with groups like Sarcasm and demo-era Dawn in terms of modestly ambitious songcraft which creates a very distinct, depressive romanticist mood which I believe should also appeal to fans of the first Amorphis record as well as the obvious suspects per the use of acoustic guitar bookending and melodramatic lyricism.
Without reviewing their discography I would suggest that the ‘Resurrection‘ compilation which released on digipack back in 2016 via a Russian label (GS Productions) hasn’t been the best way to preserve the band’s work. These cheaper card stock type releases have a way of crumbling when used at all unless you are a lace-fingered librarian with your CDs. I’ve always felt this band deserved proper artwork fitting of their era rather than the weird fucking revolver angel wings they’d used on the way, way underrated ‘Voice of Harmony‘ full-length back in 1995. They didn’t sound like frickin’ The Haunted and their album art shouldn’t have looked like it. It was notably one of very few albums that’d really delivered on the old pitch for Swedish melodic death metal back in the 90’s when it was still cool to suggest there were Bay Area thrash metal influences in the guitar work. I’ve always heard a bit of the heavier rhythmic dirge of ‘An Justice For All‘ throughout the full-length but that might just be an old delusion. Either way, this is one of those bands folks almost never included in even the most deep dives into Swedish death metal, melodic death metal, so I figured I’d at least tout ’em a bit as Excretion‘s music is definitely worth more than a cursorial skim and a half-hearted thumbs up.
Although I will still put in some time in as I consider this record for full review I wanted to make sure I recommended this second full-length album from Finnish black metal group SERPENTFYRE who’d seemingly fought an entirely uphill battle in making ‘Baptism of Shadows‘ happen and now reap the rewards of what I’d consider a brilliant, nigh idyllic blend of nightside melodicism and foreboding introversion. Eh, well, riffs too. Fans of groups like Behexen and such will of course be first in line already for the sake of remembering their first record but I wasn’t so sure until I’d really shoved my face into the coals with songs like “Kaaos kaiken nielköön”, which was the one to truly sell the experience and make a fan of me. Anyhow, I will have more to say about this record sooner or later but I’d wanted to give it some due attention since it represents the sort of spiritual black metal which inspires me most these days. Check Altare Productions for the vinyl/CD issues.
Another record I’d missed upon self-release earlier this year (July 31st) which has riffs and confirms every kill — ‘Die in the Vortex‘ is the second full-length from death-thrashing grindcore quartet BRAIN FAMINE, major freakin’ riff hoarders as far as I’ve gathered from whipping through their discography a few times thus far. Cracked stuff, pretty much a blaze of heavy riffs hallucinated samples and even a groovy Carcass-esque shredder at the album’s peak (“Endless March”). We’ll see if it strikes with anything worthwhile to say on my part as I consider it for full review. Was definitely hot for death by endless riff grind hype after that Antigama record a couple months ago but this one might be even more aligned with what I’m all about.
Me Saco Un Ojo Records and Dark Descent Records have announced September 15th as the release date for DEAD VOID‘s debut album, ‘Volatile Forms‘, on vinyl and CD formats. Lots of yadda-yadda on the press release description but cutting right to it, this is a deeply punishing death/doom metal band featuring folks you’ll know from U.K. groups in the past now based out of Copenhagen, Denmark. Very impressed by this one from the first listen. The first glimpse we get of the album is substantial to be sure with the 11+ minute album closer “Perpetually Circling the Void”:
Selfmadegod Records have announced they will release Polish technical death metal band CINIS‘ latest album ‘Lies That Comfort Me‘ on CD and digital formats this coming September 23rd. You can watch the vocalist sing along to the lyric video “Witness” over on YouTube:
One of the best releases of September readies its descent by way of Czech black/death metal band ALTARS ABLAZE‘s debut album ‘Life Desecration‘, which releases September 16th by way of the good folks at Lavadome Productions. These guys play a brutal, culling blast of blackened death metal a la Angelcorpse and feature members of Heaving Earth, Supreme Conception and Elysium. The whole idea of their gig is to merge the most extreme aspects of the black and death metal headspaces and they’ve done a fine job with this debut. The second single revealed from the album “Drenched in Wrath and Blood” can be found over on Bandcamp:
French occult heavy rock band THE NECROMANCERS have announced their third album ‘Where the Void Rose‘ will self-release this coming September 16th with distribution from Ripple Music (US) and Season of Mist (EU). Think of their style as having evolved from a proto-doom and NWOBHM influenced sub-genre space. Per the press release: ““Where the Void Rose” tells the story of a decaying world, where some try to hold the horde back in the depths while others yearn to plunge into the abyss, exhilarated by the discovery of new knowledge and eager for answers in the face of the inevitable.” Check out the first couple of singles over on Bandcamp:
Metz, France-based death metal quartet CATALYST have announced their second album ‘A Different Painting For A New World‘ for release this coming October 14th through Non Serviam Records. They’ve suggested their sound “drags the old-school death metal sound forward to open it up to more contemporary, technical, and progressive shades.” The record will be a limited digipak CD and a gatefold double LP. No preview song or anything yet, but you can go look at the options and the album cover etc.
Experimental sci-fi themed melodic black/death metal project ZETA will release its full-length debut album, ‘Binary Enigma‘, on September 2nd. The album’s first single, “Suspended Colossus,” is available now and so far it suggests a pretty solid enough project, there are some purposeful hitches in the rhythms to kick things off before a full stop takes things down a notch, wheeling between melodic black metal riffs and heavier death metal runs. “The music was heavily inspired by classic 90s Swedish melodic black/death metal, American death metal both past and present, and the Metroid video game series.” Ah yes, exactly my kind of thing on paper. Check out “Suspended Colossus”:
The Sinister Flame have announced the autumnal equinox (or, September 23rd) marks the return of CELESTIAL GRAVE for their second full-length album Vitriolic Atonement, on CD, vinyl, and cassette tape. And I quote: “Celestial Grave largely unshackle themselves from “Finnish black metal” and locate a muse that’s uniquely focused and fiercely personal. Such was the case with the epic four-song Secular Flesh debut album in 2019, and now, three years later, that case is even stronger with their second album, Vitriolic Atonement” Good, because I liked that album a lot and wanted to champion it more at the time. I am looking forward to what they’ve been at work on. The album art has stunned me to start, one of my favorites thus far this year for black metal, and that will have to sate for now ’til we have a preview available. Keep up with the band over on Facebook:
Thrash metal band MANTIC RITUAL’s new EP ‘Heart Set Stone‘ will be released on September 2nd through M-Theory Audio. The EP features three new original songs and three covers of G.B.H., Razor and Mercyful Fate. I’m mostly posting this because I am a lifer when it comes to Mercyful Fate enjoyment and I love the song they’ve covered here, “Black Funeral”:
Turkish technical and brutal death-metal band INHUMAN DEPRAVITY have announced they’ll release their second full-length album “The Experimendead” this coming September 9th via Gruesome Records. It should be obvious why I’ve mentioned this release as their sound is heavily influenced by early 2000’s brutal death metal and the high technical standard of bands like Deeds of Flesh and a certain era of Sinister. Classics minded yet brutal and up to a high performative standard. The first single is “Beyond Rhythm Zero”:
Southern Lord have announced that they will be working with the one-woman black metal/crust project, MARTHE on future releases. Marthe comes from musician Marzia, who has played drums in several renowned Italian crust punk bands as well as guitar in death rock-post punk band Horror Vacui. Antifascist, feminist and misanthropic black metal by their own description. A single has been released to celebrate the occasion:
Probably the most skull-shocking and energizing announcement of the week for my taste, Nuclear Winter Records have announced October 10th as the international release date for EMBRACE OF THORNS‘ sixth album ‘Entropy Dynamics‘ on CD, vinyl, and cassette tape. I can confirm that this album rules. Darker still, daring to creep to the very depths of Hel’s brutality and inhale the fuming death from the sockets of the smoking skull…. “Entropy Dynamics / Nucleus Dissolved” will assault and mystify:
Avant-garde metal band DISILLISION have released the first single from their latest full-length ‘Ayam‘. Describing it as: “the first track that we wrote for the new record, on which we have worked hard over many months while the world had to faced existential challenges that are still very much threatening all of us.” The first single ‘Am Abgrund’ (“At the Abyss”) is a key component of this fourth record form the band who’ve scheduled the release for November 4th, via Prophecy Productions. Check it out on YouTube:
Following the announcement of ‘Shiki’, SIGH‘s latest studio album and its release on August 26th through Peaceville Records, the Japanese black metal group have released a video for the track “Satsui”. Mirai Kawashima says of the song “The album ‘Shiki’ is mostly about my personal fear of getting old and my fear of death, but some of the songs are a bit off topic and ‘Satsui’ is one of them. ‘Satsui’ means ‘Intent to Kill’ and it is my personal view on the death penalty. You often hear people say ‘The criminal penalty is not meant to be for revenge’ or ‘we all live in a country governed by law’, but I do not think things are that simple” I think this is a very apt thought and a cool enough video:
Bay Area based atmospheric technical deathcore band FALLUJAH’s fifth full-length album, Empyrean, is due out September 9th through Nuclear Blast. They’re suggesting the band have ‘returned to form’ but I honestly don’t know if that means they’ve gone a bit more tech-death or deathcore. Either way they’ve found a new vocalist and bassist and released a few singles from it already, the latest one is “Soulbreaker” which hints at the technical death/deathcore angle of past releases with some of the atmospheric leads that’d been so prominent on the previous album. Also, Nuclear Blast have a new logo and I think it kinda rules.
Australian death metal quartet WRITHING have readied their debut full-length ‘Of Earth & Flesh‘, a record which seeks to “expand the ideas already heard in the demo [while] incorporating even more US death metal influence as well as more atmospheric parts” and I think that is a good set of choices made if they all pan out. The record releases this September 23rd through the folks at Everlasting Spew Records with vinyl to follow later on. The first impression on my part is they’ve found a groovier place to start, hit a bit more brutal on the vocals, and gone most of the way there with the riffs. Not sure they are maniac songwriters just yet based on the preview track “Monolithic Extinction” but it serves as a great introduction to their sound:
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