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January 2017 Highlights – TO Staff

January is usually that time of the year, where everyone seems to be recovering from the holiday season. The month in terms of metal releases is usually quite dull. But this time around, the momentum of quality releases from 2016 seems to have spilled over into the first month of 2017 as well. So without further ado, here is that thing we do where we tell you what kicked ass this month (according to us atleast). ~ Shrivatsan R

Ashenspire (UK) – Speak not of the Laudanum Quandary (Avant Garde Metal, Code666)

Ashenspire

 

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SPECIAL FEATURE: Spanish Death Metal Roundup

Extreme music today is a global phenomenon. Barring a few remote corners of the world, metal and punk styles have been taken up by bands around the world and in doing so they impart it with a certain style or aesthetic that is native to their land. Having gone through years of globalization, extreme music today can be tracked down to a particular geographic location based on it’s characteristics.

So we decided to focus our spotlights on some of the lesser known scenes from around the world, starting with Spain. People tend to associate Spain with bands like Dark Moor, Mägo de Oz and Avalanch, all of which lean towards the power / progressive end of the metal spectrum. However, Spain happens to be the home for some of the grimiest and most gnarly underground death metal bands active today. So we present to you a list of Spanish death metal bands that you shouldn’t miss out on. ~ Shrivatsan R

Avulsed (Xtreem Music)

Avulsed

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ALBUM STREAM + REVIEW: Ill Neglect / Lambs ‡ – Trisma 7″ (Sludge Grind Split)

If you’re looking to give 2017 a heavy, bombastic start, here is just the split to get the job done. Titled ‘Trisma’, this 7″ vinyl release brings together two sludge grind mammoths in Italian band Lambs ‡ and German entity Ill Neglect. A collaborative release by multiple DIY labels, this split is a bleak, dreary record that contains a monstrous tone overall. Though it clocks under just twelve minutes, the shear abrasiveness and the intensity of the riffs would have you playing this record over and over again. To give you an idea about what this album holds, we have a full early stream of the album, followed by my review below.

Ill Neglect / Lambs

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SPECIAL FEATURE: Best of 2016 – TO STAFF (Combined List)

Yay! We’ve completed yet another revolution around our home star! While we celebrate this cosmically insignificant milestone by resetting our man made Gregorian calendars, the staff here at Trasncending Obscurity wanted to call attention to some of their favorite records from 2016. This combined list is split into Black, Thrash, Death, Doom / Sludge, Post Metal and Grindcore sections to reflect the tastes and preferences of our scribes in a better way. I’m sure even with all of us working together, we will not be accounting for every single standout release. So why don’t you comment below and tell us whether you agree with this list or if you had better albums in mind? ~ Shrivatsan R

Black Metal

Celestial Grave

Celestial Grave – Burial Ground Trance EP (Iron Bonehead Productions)

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SPECIAL FEATURE: Best of 2016 – Shrivatsan R (TO Staff)

Ah 2016, how I wish I could call it as just another year gone by. This year will be remembered as one of the most terrifying and mishap filled years in recent memory. Heck, some even doubted that we will ever see the end of it! But here we are, with only a few more days left on the calendar before we take a step into what hopefully fares to be a better year.

For all it’s fault, this year had one good thing going for it. I’m talking about the music ofcourse, especially on the extreme side of things. Then again, music has always been reactionary to the events of the world. So it’s not all that surprising we got so much good music from a year so shite otherwise. There were so many good releases this year that it is humanly impossible to highlight every single one. Hence I’ve restricted myself to 20 of my personal favorite releases this year, while saving away some for the combined TO STAFF list, which should be coming out very soon. So without further ado, here is my personal year end list.

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November 2016 Highlights – TO Staff

We’ve almost made it! One more month and this wretched year of 2016 will finally come to an end (and we hopefully get there as a species, without blowing ourselves up). The last few weeks, whether you’re in Europe, the Americas or like  me, in India, have been tumultuous for different reasons. The one consolation during times like these is the endless amount of excellent releases in extreme music. So yet again, we have a highlights list for you, this time coming from the penultimate month of 2016. ~ Shrivatsan R

Aenaon (Greece) – Hypnosophy (Experimental / Progressive Black Metal, Code666)

aenaonhypnosophy

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FULL ALBUM STREAM: Misanthropia – Omerta (Melodic Black Metal Concept Album)

A melodic black metal album focusing on the concept of organized crime (the mafia, specifically) in late 1940’s / 1950’s America? Well color me interested! The music through which Misanthropia channel this concept is equally intriguing. This is not surprising considering that this is not exactly a new band (they’ve been around for since the dawn of the millennium) and that ‘Omerta’ is the band’s third full length effort. A good way to imagine Misanthropia’s music is like old Dimmu Borgir, had they not been overtly obsessed with making their music symphonic and rather focused on guitar based melodies with the assistance of keyboards that are not too overwhelming. Then again, why imagine all that when you can just stream the entire album below?

Misanthropia

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SONG PREMIERE: Swedish Melodic Black Metal Force – Wormlight

Hailing from Umeå, Sweden, Wormlight have been making melody infused black metal since 2014 (initially starting out under the name Unhallowed). This is a group whose style of furious, yet subtly melodic black metal harks back to the golden age of Swedish melodic black metal i.e. the 90’s. Influences from bands like Sacramentum, Vinterland and Noctes can be heard in Wormlight’s music. Back in 2015, the band released their second EP ‘Bloodfields’ independently. Since then however, the band has undergone a few changes.

Original vocalist Nordlyst parted ways with the band soon after the EP’s recording and in his absence guitarist Tiamat Invictuz has stepped in to offer his vocal talents. Fast forward to 2016, and the band is now gearing up to re-release the ‘Bloodfields’ EP, this time through Black Lion Records. This re-released version contains two re-recorded versions of the original tracks with Invictuz in front of the mic. We have the re-recorded version of the title track, streaming below for you to check out.

Wormlight

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SONG PREMIERE: Instrumental Stoner Doom Trio – Spore Lord

To create an instrumental album these days takes a lot of talent. More so than traditional albums, because the artist has to hook the listener’s attention purely by the virtue of the music and hooking the attention of modern humans for more than a few seconds is an incredibly difficult feat to pull off. That has not stopped the Atlanta based power trio Spore Lord from unleashing their debut full length ‘In the Beginning’. If you have not figured it out from the band name and album artwork yet, Spore Lord’s music is psychedelic flavored stoner / doom metal and these guys manage to write music that makes one trip, even without any stimulants in one’s system.

Spore Lord seem to have taken a leaf out of the Karma to Burn book when it comes to numbering their tracks instead of naming them, albeit with proper order. The music is Sabbathian in a way that the riffs tend to resonate with the listeners almost instantaneously. Riffs are the protagonists here as they proceed to seduce with their bluesy charm and thick sludgy tone. The stoner metal groove is sure enough to get you banging your heads and before you know it, the leads and licks will have you reaching for your nearest air guitar. Take a listen to Spore Lord III, streaming below, for example.

Spore Lord

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