Author: Bryer Wharton

Abyss
Heretical Anatomy
20 Buck Spin
Street: 04.15
Abyss = Bolt Thrower + Napalm Death + Repulsion
 
It’s a little bit D-beat and a whole lot of death metal and, even better, it doesn’t suck. Canada’s Abyss take on the task of creating a relevant, new piece of music with the elder gods of death metal in mind. The only real issue I have with this album is that it maybe should have been considered an MLP or EP since it’s a whole 21 minutes long. Those minutes fly by in the speed and fury that is Heretical Anatomy. The raw-styled drumming sets the tempo for lots of shred-death riffing, which is nicely broken up by some jamming breaks. Abyss’ biggest strength with this album is their ability to sound like an undiscovered death metal album from the late ’80s or early ’90s. It’s rarely repetitive—a fresh change from old-school influenced bands that focus more on the sound than actual songwriting. –Bryer Wharton
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Bölzer
Soma
Invictus Productions
Street: 08.05
Bolzer = Celtic Frost + The Ruins of Beverast + Sulphur Aeon

Swiss black/death band Bölzer began to rumble the underground just two years ago with their demo, Roman Acupuncture. The rumbling and crushing grew further after the band played to U.S. masses at the 2014 Maryland Death Fest. The interest only builds for a band that has not yet released a full-length. The most intriguing thing about Bölzer is their songwriting and ability to stay fresh and change up drastically from the demo to last year’s heavy, yet weird and despair-filled Aura MLP. Bölzer have the intent and style of a classic Euro death metal band with highly blackened edges. The strength is all in the song dynamics, from immediate crushing to building and crashing crescendos of death, a slickly raw guitar tone and multifaceted vocal approach. The pounding march in “Labyrinthian Graves” is something to behold. These guys are a band to watch. –Bryer Wharton

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Gravecode Nebula

Sempiternal Void

Baneful Genesis

Street: 11.01.13

Gravecode Nebula = Esoteric + Ved Buens Ende + Virus

This massive debut album from Gravecode Nebula is the stuff nightmares, or what those really weird dreams that don’t make any sense are made of. Ultimately, it’s all just beyond heavy—doom/dirge gravel on gravel riffs that overflow in slow portions of songs followed by some ripping black metal–type riffs which seamlessly morph into dark, psychedelic–like oddities. All of it is not an easy listening experience— it’s more akin to flesh being ripped from your skull only to have a strange ectoplasm of healing applied by extraterrestrial microorganisms. There are more reasons to listen to this than minutes on the album. Stare into the void, contemplate the meaning of life, think of Bob Ross happy trees in conjunction with humanity consuming itself. All of those reasons make just as much sense as this album makes you actually feel. This is a feel. This is a feast for carrion for decades to come. –Bryer Wharton
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Lost Society

Terror Hungry

Nuclear Blast

Street: 04.01

Lost Society = Gamma Bomb + D.R.I. + Angelus Apatrida

From judging a book by it’s cover, I expected Terror Hungry to be one of those lame, party-thrash, throwback-to-the-’80s rip-off bands. Well, I got something completely surprising. While those throwback elements do exist in heavy forms on Terror Hungry, Finland’s Lost Society bring in some new styles and a lot of punch. The funny thing is that I thought the band name was familiar—lo and behold, I came to discover their debut was something I really didn’t like because of its total throwback nature. Terror Hungry is as much a crossover record as it is a thrash one. The riffs don’t slow down from ludicrous speed, and every song has a wild but well-played guitar solo. Terror Hungry brings a lot of crunch and a lot of finesse to the table. Lost Society haven’t moved out of the ’80s, but they made their tunes a hell of a lot better since their debut. –Bryer Wharton
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Immolation
Kingdom of Conspiracy
Nuclear Blast
Street: 05.14
Immolation = Incantation + Morbid Angel + Suffocation
New York’s consistently underrated Immolation don’t let up on the uneasy and unrelenting death metal with their ninth studio album, Kingdom of Conspiracy. Admittedly, there is a small level of fan-boy grease in my brain with Immolation. I’ve chatted with the guys in person and interviewed bassist/vocalist Ross Dolan a couple times, and the insight on how Immolation, the current machine of sturdy American death metal, operate helps me understand the record. Immolation play to the themes they create, and this record is all about the unease society feels—corporations and banks robbing the common workers, and the faithful blindly leaping to conclusions that don’t lead man towards a common purpose. The foundation of the record is built with guitarist Bob Vigna crafting his magic and the rest of the band elaborating on those themes and styles. It feels like there are a billion things going on in the controlled chaos of Immolation—bits discovered with every listen and unease, set from the beginning, just begging to be heard with each listen. Immolation may not be the same as they were decades ago, and they don’t want to be. –Bryer Wharton
 
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The Obliterate Plague
The Wrath of Cthulhu
Self-Released
Street: 07.13
The Obliterate Plague = Mortem + Morbid Angel + Unleashed
 
The Salt Lake City death metal band that’s always persistent and consistently good has finally officially recorded some tunes for the masses. Founding members Alexander Jorgenson and Alex Gomez have picked a collection of tracks from the band’s earlier era that never got any proper recording treatment and gave them the deluxe workup in an oh-so-good way. The production alone on the monumental seven tracks is beyond versatile, sharp and precise, without losing that live quality. It’s a blast to have these tracks from a band that’s made many infamous live incursions, including SLUG Mag’s Localized, on proper recording. When “Summoning of the Dark Lords” bellowed from my CD player, it brought back so many great memories because it’s a staple of the band’s live show. Channeling straight-up classic death metal, the influences of the players are noted, but the album is its own death entity. This seriously not only stands up against a hell of a lot of death metal records being released by the “big-metal” labels—it crushes them. –Bryer Wharton
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Ghost B.C.

Infestissumam

Loma Vista Recordings

Street: 04.10

Ghost B.C. = Blue Öyster Cult + King Diamond + Jesus Christ Superstar 

This new set of hymns from the highly praised Ghost B.C. has been even more bustled about than the bands debut Opus Eponymous. The album plays almost like a satanic rock musical with demonic lyrics and satanic church-sounding chants—it’s more rooted in straight up classic rock than metal, where the band picks up most of its audience. Initially, this wasn’t what was expected. I got to talk to one of the nameless ghouls of the band (last year) and realized from that interview that Ghost B.C.’s desire is to conjure images in your head-tell a story. Tempos change from highly upbeat rockers to mellow subdued crooners. It all feels very portioned and story-like. The tunes are supposed to be a bit tongue in cheek, stick in your brain long after the music’s stopped—just listen tracks like “Year Zero,” “Body And Blood,” and “Ghuleh.” so if the music feels like a fucked up Cirque du Soleil soundtrack just imagine what the live actions of Ghost B.C. are going to be like. Bryer Wharton

 

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Tau Cross Tau Cross album cover

Tau Cross Tau Cross album coverTau Cross
Self-Titled

Relapse Records
Street: 05.19
Tau Cross = Motörhead + Amebix + Killing Joke

In the age of super-groups—where some have made pretty established names for themselves—comes the question, Is Tau Cross a super-group? No, not just because it has Rob “The Barron” Miller of Amebix fame, the drummer from Voivod and some other dudes that aren’t in anything that hundreds of people have actually heard. But fuck, they are a “super” group all the same—that’s for damn sure. The whole album reeks of music that doesn’t sound like anything else. A strong album needs a strong opening track, and “Lazarus” starts things rocking that extra shit out of your bowels. It also falls far from the tree of what “The Baron” has done before, who exercises pipes he might not have used previously. It’s ripping rock/metal/hardcore/punk and everything else that’s cool. It’s an album of completely memorable catchy songs that you need to hear. –Bryer Wharton

Blood Purge

Blood Purge – Maniacal Carnage

Blood Purge
Maniacal Carnage

Self-Released
Street: 08.29
Blood Purge = Sodom + Morbid Angel + Destroyer 666

There’s quite a bit going on with the eight songs on Maniacal Carnage—at first listen, it gives the vibe of chaos on top of chaos. The unrelenting drum tempo and pounding make for a blistering pace without causing any distractions in listening. Listening further, the album offers a hell of a lot more from the tracks. Combining death and thrash metal with hints of the first wave of black metal holds listening ears like they’re stuck in a vice. Opener “I Am The One” and “Face-Ripper Monkey” have a great anthem-type feel—if you consider death metal to ever have any anthem-like qualities. Completely decipherable lyrics will have you chanting along in no time. What begins as chaos turns into calculated skull crushing. Memorable riffs and face-swelling guitar solos and leads deliver intractably in every song, proving that Blood Purge aren’t just another local band. –Bryer Wharton

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Incendiant
Self-Titled

Jordan River Entertainment
Street: 07.15
Insentient = Morbid Angel + Immolation + Death

Incendiant have a progressive vibe on this album and every song is inherently different. Incendiant’s songwriting ability is uncanny. From album opener “Night of a Thousand Kives,” pulverizing as it grooves, or the just plain brutal blasting of “Collapse of the Light.” Nary a song on the roughly thirty minute blasterpiece sounds the same as the one before it. I honestly haven’t heard a death metal album this year that is as remotely interesting as this debut. The record’s production is clear, yet raw, allowing every note and chord’s worth of Alejandro’s (Yaotl Mictlan, Ibex Throne) guitars to be heard as well as his hate-filled vocals to resonate in the brutality pleasure center of every metalheads brain. Clif’s (The Obliterate Plague) drumming has come a long way from when I saw Incendiant play back in 05, and further establishes his drumming efforts as some of the best in the state. I hope to Satan that Incendiant will continue their efforts because with a debut this amazing it can only get better.